Authors Notes: - Yet another new bleedin' book. I really, really, really need to stop doing this. I know I'll finish them all but still! This is a lot of projects to be working on at once! However, I want this book to be a little different than the others. Granted there will be a butt load (sounds painful) of supernaturals and magic. But blah... not much happens in this chapter, it is the first one and all.
The book was old and well worn; the pages were yellow with age and stained with what looked like blood. Whose blood it was, I have no idea. The book was filled with writing that I couldn't even begin to understand. Oddly enough the writing, which was all done by hand, was easily visible, even where covered with the dark brown discolorations. It had belonged to my grandmother, she had given it to my on her death bed. I still remember that day clearly, even though I was only nine at the time. She was dying, not for any special reasons, she was simply that old. Unlike most of the women in her generation she had never married and had conceived my mother when she was older, around forty. She never had any more kids and spent all her time working to support herself and my mother. When women were fighting for equal rights in the work place my grandma was already well entrenched in the workforce.
She always looked elegant, even when dying. As her health faded she refused to go to a hospital, she simply accepted that it was her time to go. Even though I was young, I still admired her, her strength was incredible. Her hair was always long and just slightly curly. She would brush it while we talked and towards the end when she wasn't strong enough to do it herself, I would braid it for her. Once it was jet black, but it had faded to a color between white and gray. Moments before she fell asleep and never woke up again she called me into her room. She had always lived with us and my mother took the duty of taking care of her very seriously. I helped of course.
Her room smelled like cinnamon and other more exotic herbs. She loved to burn incense; it all but clouded the room with its smell. It was hard seeing her like that. She looked so tiny and wizened. I was used to her looking so tall, now she was just a husk of flesh with just enough life left to make her breathe. She had smiled at me just as warmly as she ever did, but I could tell it took most of her strength to do that much. With a claw like hand she had beckoned me to her side. I have to admit she frightened me. A child doesn't look death in the face every day. She laughed then, barely more than a rattle in her throat.
"Do not be afraid of me... Death is here for me, not you." She said.
Somehow that made me feel better and I sat down in the same chair I always sat at. She pointed towards the bookcase against the wall that faced the foot of her bed with that skeletal hand.
"Do you see that book? The leather one with the burned edges?" She asked weakly, her hand trembling from the effort.
"Yes grandmother." I had replied timidly.
"Get it for me." Her hand fell back to the bed, as if it had been held up by strings that had been cut.
I stood and retrieved the book, though I had to pull the chair over so I could reach it. Returning to her side I held it out to her, she weakly pushed it back to me.
"No child, that is yours now, it's all I'm leaving you but it is more than just a simple book, remember that always." Suddenly she coughed, her whole body shook and she collapsed back into the plush pillow, almost disappearing into it.
"Goodbye Richard, tell your mother I love her..." She paused to smile weakly. "Just as much as I love you."
When her eyes closed I had thought she died that moment. But her thin chest kept rising and falling, she had fallen asleep. Her eyes never opened again though, she died that night, peacefully. I didn't cry then and I have yet to cry for her. Sometimes though, tightness fills my chest and I can almost feel the tears burning in my eyes, but they never come. Her death was expected, I had finished crying before she died. When she was finely gone I was relieved, I knew she was suffering and I was happy that it was over.
I sat the book aside and picked back up my vodka and tonic. When ever I felt lonely or sad I always came back to that book. Holding it brought back memories of her, it even still smelled like her. I sighed and dropped the now empty glass onto the table.
My apartment smelled dank, like an old moldy towel. No amount of deodorizer sprays would make it go away. The paint was peeling and probably lead based. I wasn't too worried, I didn't have pets or a kid and I never really had the overwhelming urge to eat it. The carpet used to be orange; the only reason I found that out is when I moved a bookshelf that had come with the apartment. There right in the corner was the bright shiny remnants of what it used to uniformly resemble, sitting amid a sea of browns and varying shades of orange.
Once I had a couch, but I had to sell it to make rent a few months ago, so now my living room looked empty. The tiny TV looked odd sitting on an old TV try and facing an empty room. Eventually I'll probably get a futon to fill in the space, that is if I don't pawn the TV first. I sighed and pushed back, balancing the chair on its back two legs and kicked my feet up on my desk. The desk was one of the few nice things I owned. It was old, and made out of some kind of wood that had a honeyed glow to it when polished. Considering I never polished it, let alone kept it clean, it was just a generic wooden brown. The sound of clinking ice briefly caught my attention. For a moment I stared in fascination as the melting ice shifted position. Beads of dew formed around its base. For a moment I could almost hear my mother scolding me for not using a coaster. With a smile I moved a magazine over and put the glass on it. It quickly absorbed the dampness, making the paper distort and wrinkle.
My watched beeped twice and I looked to it. It was six o'clock in the morning, time for work. I didn't exactly hurry to get ready, that was the great part about being one's own boss. It wasn't like I was going to yell at myself for being late. When I picked up my coat I found it was still damp from the day before. That didn't bother me much, it was dry on the inside and it would get we soon enough. It seemed to rain every day in this city, and the days it didn't it looked like it would. No wonder we have a high suicide rate. I donned my hat, it looked pretty out of place for the area I lived in, being a brown leather almost cowboy style hat. It kept the rain off my face and made it easier to smoke when getting drenched. That reminded me; I reached into my coat and pulled out a mashed pack of cigarettes. I only found one that was suitable for smoking and quickly lit it up on my way out.
As I was locking my door a slight sound to my right caught my attention. I warily looked over and found my land lady coming down the hall. She wore a smile on her brightly painted face and carried a rat-I mean toy dog under one arm.
"Good morning Dick Tracy!" She called out. It was her little joke; I didn't find it too funny. I got razzed enough for being a privet detective named Richard.
"Mornin' Mrs. Wen." I said back, waving slightly with a weak smile.
"You have a nice day." Mrs. Wen said insistently as if ordering me, not well wishing. She waved before disappearing into her room.
I sighed and walked towards the elevator, only to find a nice big piece of paper tapped to it, announcing it was out of order. "Fuck..."
That explained why she was coming from the stairwell. I shouldn't be so surprised though; the damned thing was always breaking. It was only by sheer luck that it hadn't hurt anyone yet. I walked to the stairs and made my way down. Smoking and doing physical labor wasn't the best idea and I was out of breath by the last flight of stairs. Hell, I only lived six stories up and it's not like I'm an old guy. For a moment, as I caught my breath and smoked at the same time, I was tempted to through away the cigarette and never pick one up again. The urge quickly passed as the desire to suck down more smoke superseded it.
I stepped into the lobby and found it empty. It was too damned early to be up, but people were normally scattered about by this time. There were a few wet feet print leading from the entry to the mailboxes, the only sign people had recently been there. Outside the glass double doors I saw rain. It was like a gray translucent sheet pulled between the doors and the street. Yesterday it had only sprinkled, and apparently today was trying to make up for that oversight. Today was starting to look like every other day: boring.
~ ~ ~