Six Days

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'I should have told him,' she thought morosely. It might have given him a chance, warned him that trouble was on the horizon, but she hadn't, not wanting to worry him unduly with the vapid maunderings of her short-circuited mind. But now... now she was wishing she had, wishing to take back the last week and be permitted to do it over again. Like a small child who felt unjustly cheated in a game of kick ball crying, "Do over. Do over." until the others became so annoyed that they gave in and just let her try to kick the damn ball again.

It had been difficult living all these years with the knowledge that the day might come when the Quicksilver induced REM firings in her brain might come to pass, but not so soon. Not when they were at the beginning, not when they were so happy and loving life as much as each other.

When she'd initially had what she had thought was nothing more than a strange recurring dream in those first few weeks after she'd woken up it had been Bobby in whom she had confided. Bobby who'd had the bad luck to stop by for a visit right after she'd woken up from another rendition of sleeping horror. So it had been Bobby to explain the weird connection between Quicksilver and prophetic dreams that, while they often came true, were just as often not fully realized. Explained how Alyx, that alter-ego of hers she remembered nothing of, had them with an eerie regularity, but looked to them as no more than another bit of data in a business that was all about being in the know.

In the end, he'd told her that she should never let these dreams stop her from doing what she thought was best, from following the path that seemed right for her.

So, she hadn't. Then that same dream made a reappearance a few weeks ago and, while she'd mentioned it to Bobby, neither of them saw any urgency in telling the one who ended up lying in a pool of his own blood.

'If only I had told him.' She lifted her head from her knees to gaze at the headstone that marked his final resting-place, his last stop on this mortal coil before moving on to... whatever came next. If there were a heaven, she was quite sure that even if the gates were barred by St. Peter himself, he would find some other way in, climbing the back wall and hopping over to experience the joy and wonder of the afterlife. Then again he might just find it a tad too quiet and staid for his taste and escape for other realms. 'Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.'

The thief had never been completely left behind, and so she had made sure the coffin was black, though the funeral director kept trying to sell her the dark brown, with cream silk interior, as, to his mind, it was far more fitting the upstanding citizen he had become. In the end, it had been the black, knowing that he would approve of the choice since it was during the black of night when he would climb high-rises to practice his art. Black was the color of the snug clothing he wore, to blend in with the shadows and on silent cat's paws steal whatever pretties he had chosen on that occasion. Black of the headstone that had been fitted in place just the day before. Black on black on black.

She wasn't sure how long she had been sitting there, the tree doing its best to keep her upright, her mind wandering from place to place, trying to find some stable ground on which to stand. She had no idea why no one had kicked her out, as there had been any number of visitors, groundskeepers and security who had wandered by, yet none had taken notice of her. Perhaps she had faded into the background, Quicksilvering unconsciously, some primitive form of self-preservation that hid her from sight so long as she chose to remain sitting a dozen feet away from the sod covered mound of dirt and shiny black marble marker.

'If only I had told him,' she thought yet again, staring blindly across the perfectly manicured grass and wondering idly how long she was going to stay here, as there was obviously no impetus for her to move.

"Kid, what are you doing here?"

Bobby's voice broke her out of her musings and she looked up at him bleary-eyed and exhausted.

She had to clear her throat twice before she could manage to form a word. "S...s...s...sit...t..t..ting," she told him, confident that was the correct answer.

Beside him stood Dani, wearing a look that was a strange blending of relief and sadness. "Mom, how long have you been here? We've been looking all over town for you."

Michele shrugged, not entirely sure herself.

Bobby squatted down next to her. "Kid, you're still in the clothes you wore to the funeral... two days ago," he informed her with a strained smile.

"O...oh. Th...th...then I g...g...guess ...i...it's b....b...b...been t...t...two d...d...days." She truly didn't care; this was where she wanted to be; where she needed to be if there was going to be any hope of her finding her way. She knew that, just like she knew that she wouldn't succeed, her compass rose smashed and unreadable.

Bobby gently took her hands into his own and tugged her upright. Dani appeared at her side, offering her support, both physical and mental, as well. "Mom..."

"Th...th...they p...p...put the h...h...head st...st...stone in," 'Chele pointed out, waving weakly at it.

Neither turned to gaze at it, and, though she didn't need to, having memorized every contour hours before, she did. The words upon it were simple and to her mind apropos given the way things had ended.

"Mom, we're going to take you home." Dani's words were half statement, half plea, and so 'Chele nodded. It was a direction to move in, something for the damaged compass needle to point towards instead of spinning madly in circles.

Bobby placed a strong arm about her waist for support and urged her towards the parking lot. "Kid, are you gonna be all right?"

She shivered lightly as they stepped onto the graveled path and spoke what she felt in her heart and mind, "N...no. I...I'm l...l...lost."

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Darien G. Fawkes

1968 - 2014

"Heroes are often the most ordinary of men."

Henry David Thoreau

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Finis