FICTION: ‘Slur.’

Slur : This is a prompt I found via The Daily post. I believe that random prompts are an excellent method to challenge your creativity and gets the clocks ticking within your imagination. – @LHenrixx

They cuddled in their normal formation of ‘big spoon, little spoon’ as he jokingly called it. Him, in a foetal position, toned thighs gathered in unison near his stomach… With enough space left for her to sandwich her hands into his obliques. She loved those obliques. She, who stood a whole head and shoulders worth of height under him, snuggled toward his spine. A lavender and sea salt candle infused the room with a floral, musky smell. After a weekend of celebrating their wedding anniversary and two days until the bore of employment returned, they craved rest.

She always fell asleep before him. While many of her female friends failed to understand how she received any comfort that way (and jested much to his playful annoyance that she wore the pants in the relationship), she loved the quirky, unconventional displays of affection that they shared. He loved how beautiful and peaceful that she was when her body stopped fighting her nocturnal nature and allowed itself to submit to sleep.  Every morning, to her surprise, they woke up in the opposite position. Her, believing that it somehow ‘just happened’ and  him, smirking  mischievously as he purposefully waits for her to sleep before turning around.

Tonight was different. There is a difference between a couple that experiences real love and  a couple who are familiar with each other solely due to comfortability or convenience. True, organic love has an element of synchronization. From chemistry, to personality traits to intricate hypersensitivities. It was Summer. Everybody perspires, yet his scent was different. Not odorous or offensive. Just different. He had the same routine in terms of work, minimal social outings, same diet. The same action of relieving of his bladder at 3:03 am. Nightly.But somehow, his natural smell was different. Still a pleasure to her nose nonetheless. He had been lighting more candles in the house. He had also been reading before bed. Nothing alarming. All actions that many would overlook or fail to notice. But when two people are connected, nothing goes unnoticed.

She watched him sleep. Adored the curve in his spine that gave him the slightest hunched back. He was by definition, an alpha male yet was the most affectionate and anti- misogynistic man she had ever met. Even without aesthetics, their minds melded- from  humor to pet peeves to morals. They were a perfect match. She crept out of the bed, tiptoed down the hallway to fix herself a cup of Jasmine Tea. She bought the cup back to the room and rested it on her side of the bed side table. After taking a few mouthfuls of the fragrant, sweet liquid, she snuggled behind him and fell asleep.

The sound of breaking glass and a violent splash caused her to jump. Suddenly, hot, gripping hands constricted around her throat, as she struggled for breath. She opened her eyes and found him, on top of her with his eyes closed and a painful grimace on his face.

“I knew… it…. it was you!” He slurred. She faintly heard him through the mugginess of sleep and shock. She began to thrash her arms wildly against his torso, mustering whatever strength her body could give.

“Hon…. Honey. Wh…. What.. are… you… doing?” She yelled hoarsely, with limited breath. She was becoming increasingly light headed. Almost at an instant, he opened his bloodshot, feral and tearful eyes at the sound of her voice. She scrambled out of bed, fear in her eyes, fighting for air and holding her neck. He leapt over the bed and held her tightly within his arms- “I’m sorry” tumbling from his mouth several times. She stood defensively. This is beyond out of character.

“Why the hell did you put your hands on me?!” She cried, in disbelief.

He had a dazed expression on his face, his body rife with sweat.

“I…. I don’t… know.” He mumbled, almost inaudibly.

“No-  that is not good enough. What the f-?”

He put a hand over her mouth softly and nestled his face into her hair. She was no longer scared of him. He was not the stranger he was 3 minutes ago.

“I don’t know what came over me. I’ve been having these dreams.”

“What dreams? When? Why didn’t you tell me.?”

“Of the day that my Uncle died.”

That sent an automatic chill down her spine. His Uncle’s death was almost 15 years ago. He was in a youth behavioral programme at the time. There was no possible way for him to have been there.

“But you weren’t…”

“It….” His voice broke. She let him speak and turned around to console him.- leading him to sit on the bed, while she stood facing him.

“It has been happening over the last month. I keep seeing what happened that day. Like I was there.”

“How do you know it’s not just a bad dream hun?”

“My Uncle’s talking to me in it. He says to ‘pay attention’. It’s not just a dream. “

His head was heavy on her bosom. She could feel silent tears on his face.

“But I don’t understand. It was unsolved. And how does this explain you attacking me?”

“I was still dreaming, I’m so sorry. I saw his girlfriend’s face and I saw her ‘nod’ at somebody…”

“And then..?”

“The other times I would wake up. But his time… I….”

His voice broke again.

“What happened this time honey?”

“I saw them murder my Uncle.”

NOVEL EXCERPT: ‘Case Study X’

He bought me home. I didn’t invite him up. I wanted to. I needed to. I had envisioned it already. In every conceivable Kama Sutra position. But I knew if I did, the only sleeping I would be doing, was with him. We spoke for almost an hour, he explained he would be travelling for the next month but wanted us to keep in contact. He even offered to fly me out to his games and industry events, when I had free time. I politely declined because I couldn’t let him spend a flight on me- yet. He simply replied that he doesn’t live outside of his means, and anything he offers, he can and will facilitate.

I was sold. We sat in his Nissan 370Z. The surviving stars lined the sky, a breeze blew in. He removed a wayward strand from my forehead, leaned in and kissed me. Warm, lips pressed against each other. Which progressed to a heavy exhale, exploring hands, curious tongues, an erotic tug on my bottom lip with his. My hand traced his clear, unblemished skin, rested on his low goatee. We stopped, looked at one another and smiled.
“So you may be my Kryptonite, and that’s not a good thing.” He breathed, shook his head and bit his lip.
“Thank you for everything Jonah, I had fun.”
“Me too. Let me know you got into work, on time I hope.” He kissed my hand. I blushed, slipped out of the car and tried to maintain a level-headed walk while my lower regions partied and pulsated on the memory of our brief encounter. I fell asleep straight away, dreaming of a salacious, sensational space of nothingness.

I then woke up in a pleasant hazy state, partially confused as I thought I had woken up and called in sick. I even had visualized walking outside, seeing a gray sky and retreating to my bed. I guess I subconsciously wanted this lasting feeling to be upheld as long as possible. I sat on the transfer bus to the penitentiary. Strong, stirring thoughts of the night before. Jonah’s kiss lingered in my psyche. Lingered long, strong and hard. I hadn’t wanted to sell myself a pipe dream, especially not after my last relationship and the after-effects, but when it came to the brief instances I had shared with Jonah, what a piece of pipe to dream over. I was glad I decided to take up his offer for a date. It took my mind off the Warden, the looming verdict of the planted contraband in my office, my inmate case files. He took my mind off the prison and from the unfortunate and untimely outcome of the racially profiled, looming death penalty Dericks’ case.

A hypnotic, Samba-influenced song with a tribal undercurrent was on repeat in my headphones. I rested my head back on the seat, hair in a high bun, lips painted a daring burgundy- a contrast to my safe, usual choice of nude or clear gloss. Eyes closed, I indulged for a moment, until the bus jerked to a violent stop. Immediately, my high spirits were torn down. The driver was on the phone looking between the staff, the visitors on the bus and ahead. Levels of chatter and worry rose as everybody attempted to find the answers, peeking out of their limited spaces into the aisle. The driver instructed us to stay on the bus for our safety; he let off no more information than that. I remembered, that even though I had called my phone provider, I was on a different contact number. If there was an issue with the prison, I most likely wouldn’t have been notified. It sure as hell wasn’t an issue with the bus. I began to get anxious, I stormed up to the front of the bus. Just a stretch of paved, barren road ahead and behind us. Pissed. I had such a nice night-before, I even had a buzz waking up this morning. This was affecting my emotional feng shui. My worries over this contraband in my office began to flood back.

“What is going on?”
“Ma’am. I’ve been told to advise visitors and…”
“I’m not a visitor. I work here.” I hated being left in the dark in any situation, regardless of how minor or momentous the predicament at hand was.
“Ma’am. I can’t tell you right now, but I’m following strict orders.”
“From who?!” I exclaimed. He began bouncing his knee.
“How do I know this isn’t a plot to blow up the bus? Are we hostages?”
I should have known that the words ‘blow-up’ and ‘hostage’ in the same sentence near the vicinity of a penitentiary would cause chaos but I hadn’t had breakfast, or my morning Echinacea and Raspberry Tea yet. People were pushing, shouting questions, pulling out cell phones, getting increased levels of aggravated by the minute.
A congested smoky smell caught my nostril. Nobody was smoking on the bus. It could have been the gas from the van but it had a different foundation to it. I began to feel claustrophobic, I needed air- now. The minuscule window levers at the top did no justice.
“Let me out.”
“I’ve been given orders to keep everyone inside.”
“By WHO? Unless you can tell me who, I’m not bound by anything.” A few ‘yeah’s and sounds of agreement rose in the background.
“Are we gonna’ get shot or something? Town is like a twenty minute walk back where we came from. The prison is ten minutes the opposite way. Screw waiting here.” A heavy set man pressed the emergency button above the bus doors and exited. Half of the bus followed him, including myself. I needed to know what was going on.

To my horror, I looked ahead and saw thick, clouds of black overriding the sky. I coughed and spluttered as the densely nauseating smell of fire crept towards us. Other groups of people continued in pursuit of the prison. Family members, friends, lawyers, staff, everybody. I felt lost amidst the chaos, following almost aimlessly but knowing that I had to get to work. It was hard to see into the distance.
We all walked tentatively for around 5 minutes, until we heard a gunshot. The smoke and the foggy darkness intensified but all I could see of the prison was the outline.
“What was that?” Somebody asked.
“Sounded like a gunshot to me.” Someone else replied.
Then out of nowhere, what sounded like a firework streaked the sky with a piercing sound. It landed and exploded and a choir of roars, shouts and yelling took place. Almost like a war-zone, a stampede of bodies seemed to appear from nowhere. Running towards us

This took me back to the scene in my dream, it took an extra second to register before I unglued my wobbly legs from the ground beneath me, turned and ran. Ear-piercing sirens and blasts fired in all directions. The smoke was painfully blinding. The intoxicating fumes clouded my throat. My eyes began to sting.

Fight or flight took my body over as my wedges and I, ran for my life. A stitch tore under my rib, and short, sharp breaths carried more pain with each step. I hadn’t dared looking back, not once, I looked to my side, saw somebody in inmate attire with something in his hand, I continued to run, eyes fixated on the stretch ahead. The group who had left the bus had dispersed and the bus was nowhere to be seen. What was going on? Fear had seized every part of my being. Thinking straight wasn’t even an option. I ran for miles through what looked like the outback. I didn’t stop until I passed the turnpike and saw the town. I fumbled in my bag for my cellphone. I had an untimely missed call from Jonah. I called the prison- a long shot but at least was a possibility. The streets was full of cars; honking, beeping, additional catastrophe. Running to a near diner, I pushed the door only to be greeted by an owner with a saggy-faced, greying, scowling brunette and her fierce head shake. They had locked their doors. I pleaded silently, to no avail, flipped the bird and weighed up my options. I didn’t know where to run.