(Below is a small excerpt from my latest fiction piece, for those that asked me for it.)
Everett Blaine awoke to a searing pain in his head. It was the same, intense throbb that had plagued him for the past three weeks. He was exhausted, angry and weak, and it took all his energy to get up and fix himself a drink. The harsh Boston winter had infiltrated the shabby walls of his apartment, and Everett had to wrap a blanket around himself and drag it alongside of him to keep from freezing.
He had long since drank the last of the pre-prohibition bottles he’d stashed—all that was left was the medicinal whiskey he’d bought at the drugstore before the severe cold shut him in. It wasn’t enough.
Whiskey in hand, Everett sat down at his kitchen table and focused his attention on the notepad and pencil he’d left there a few hours earlier.
“Damned pain,” he directed at the pencil, and then nowhere in particular. “No point in it anyway.”
It was three o’clock in the morning, and he had been stuck in this routine since the headaches started. His shot at writing was slim once the pain began, this he knew, but lately the time in between bouts had been just as fruitless. At one point he had even begun composing a letter to Jeanne, the once love of his life, just to get a few words on paper. That too, had proved pointless.
He thought of Jeanne now, until the pain made it too hard to think about anything.
“I’ll always love you, you know that? It will always be you.” she’d promised him, the day before he left.
“Then you’ll wait for me?” He’d looked intently into her deep brown eyes and ran his fingers through her chocolate-colored hair.
“Forever, if it takes that long.”
She didn’t wait.
Althaea admired her own form as she slipped into the silk dress that had been left for her. She felt strong but light, lovely, but not exquisite. The dress was crimson, a shade that flattered the porcelain undertones of her complexion. Her reflection smiled, and she sensed the subtle duality that lay between the glass and her own physical presence.
“I’m an invention,” it seemed to say, “yet I’m more real than you are.”
A chilled glass of champagne appeared next to her. She picked it up and allowed the coolness to subdue the heat of her fingertips. The room which had previously been nothing more than a pastel haze began to unfold around her, and she now marvelled at the delicate intricacies of the wallpaper.
“Do you like it?” a voice, masculine, sounded behind her.
“It’s wonderful,” she turned to face him, “and you..I know you. I’m terribly sorry I can’t seem to recall just how.”
The voice belonged to a man, tall and thin with long, wispy hair ill-suited to the contemporary fashion. His expression shifted from cold-stoic to a warm, inviting gaze as he looked Althaea over.
“My name is Ambrose. You do know me, yes. One could say you have always known me.”
Althaea smiled, unquestioning, as only a creature newly minted can.
“I like you, that I know for sure. Everything feels so much more real with you here,” she paused, a furrow forming in her pretty brow. “Something is wrong, isn’t it? You and I, we’re here for a reason.”
Ambrose placed a hand on the small of her back, and guided her towards the door of the bedroom.
“That’s what we will have to find out.” Ambrose smiled, and Althaea let his gentle touch defuse the panic which had momentarily found her.