A/N Honestly, if you've read this far, this is a "can't miss" chapter. :) Things begin to change.
Chapter Nine – Burn It All Down!
Little crystal blue prisms danced along the floor because of my light blue curtains in my bedroom. My arm languidly hung off the edge of my bed, as I lay half on my side and half on my stomach. And then I noticed two hands coming from my arm. No wait. Tesday's' small arm was tucked under my arm and her hand was beside mine.
Blinking, trying to wake up, I moved just enough to catch sight of Tesday's shoulder as she practically lay on top of me.
I moved slightly, hitting the side table, and then felt Tesday move closer into my back, and groan sleepily.
"Oh… shit," I whispered to myself. She was so close, like I'd developed a Siamese half.
I stared across at the clock: 12:00 p.m.
Oh man – how'd it get so late?!
The red light blinked, and I slowly realized it wasn't late. There had been a blackout some time through the night. I think I heard thunder, so there might have even been lightening that knocked out the power. Probably a summer storm since it was so humid now.
Maybe that's why Tesday was practically on top of me now. The noise maybe frightened her? The blanket haphazardly covered us both, so she might have also wanted to keep warm.
Again, I glanced across at Tesday's thin arm, light freckles spattered around the elbow area, and it was ruddy from exposure living on the streets. She also had such long, delicate fingers on her hand, like if for a different life she might have been a pianist or artist. And then I looked over the light bruising along the wrist and then it looking so much smaller beside my hand. I stared at the contrast for a while.
The contrast: She was thin, lanky, wild short and dark hair, those heterochromatic eyes and possibly suffering a mental illness, and I was tall, portly, sandy blonde-haired with pale blue eyes and boringly normal. We were yin and yang and made no sense. How did I end up with this roommate?
The feelings for her were unusual. Why'd she even kiss me and now she was pressed up against my back. It was unsettling, but also…different for me. She felt good next to me, which was worrisome. I barely knew her. She just showed up on my doorstep – literally – beaten and bloody on my porch. She shouldn't be with me and I should have turned her in to some social services immediately. I'd never done anything like this in my life.
But I called her my friend last night; of which she seemed truly happy to hear. It actually made me feel… happy – inside – to see her smile at that realization.
Through school, I'd never had a real, close friend. Did I even know how to be a friend or pick out a friend? I was always the girl who was brought into the crowd, like the last shirt you pack for a trip – not your favorite, but a 'just in case' item. During team sports, the leader would grudgingly add me to their team simply because I was tall. The after thought, the left over, just like in my family.
Oh man, I did not want to be emo and sit in a corner and belabor my childhood as the second favorite, or my lack of personality in school that garnered me the spot of 'one of the crowd' – not worse, not last, nothing distinctive, not really… anything.
I preferred my books, reading of facts and information, things of the past that couldn't be changed. People complicated things. Historical figures, they were set, like statues of stone. You didn't have to deal with them; they were dead and gone. They wouldn't talk back or question you, or grow indifferent, or move on to someone better. Everything of their life was settled and completed, only to be interpreted and not dealt with in the here and now.
But here I was… now, facing this stranger I called friend who lay beside me, too comfortably… beside me.
I needed to get out of bed. From the way the sun shone through, it looked like it might be around eight o'clock. It was still early.
Tesday started mumbling rapidly and incoherently. "Eradico es totus…. Nusquam left. Exuro es totus…. Exuro…. Eradico…. Es totus, es totus…."
I felt her thin frame press into me, closer, so close she was nearly on top, gripping more tightly around my shoulders, her speech growing more dramatic, "Es totus… es totus…." as if she could actually be swallowed by me. I could feel her breath behind my neck, between my shoulders, as she continued mumbling in what didn't sound English. She was rambling in a foreign language. What language was that? Spanish? Italian? I did understand Spanish, since I studied it in college, and basic language structures, and I knew this was familiar.
Tesday popped up. It nearly knocked me off the bed.
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Tesday yelled. "Everything's burning!"
"Tes." I sat up and in an instant, wrapped my arms around her back, as if needing to hold her in place. "Tesday, nothing's on fire."
Her eyes stared forward. Sweat matted her wild hair across her forehead, and along her cheeks and neck. She was sweating so much. I instantly lifted a hand to her forehead to see if she was feverish. She felt like she was on fire.
Breaths, loud and ragged, were all that came from her, as she slowly woke up, and then her gaze finally trailed slowly over until she stared at me.
"You…" I stopped, when I saw the blood trickle from one nostril and then the other, "Oh my goodness, Tes!"
"You're bleeding – your nose is bleeding. Stay right there, I'll go get a wet washcloth." I lifted up from the bed to run to the bathroom and grab a washcloth. I padded into the bath, and stopped at the mirror when I saw my own reflection. I also had a bloody nose, but in only one nostril.
In an instant I was ripping a tissue from the small square box beside my sink. I wound it up into a small conical shape and then stuffed it in my right nostril. I think Tesday and I must have hit each other in the noses while sleeping. It made sense, since she was practically on top of me when I woke.
I ran water under the washcloth, rung it out and then rushed back into my bedroom. Tesday was still sitting up in the bed and looked over, watching me walk back to her, and then slide onto the bed beside her. I wore a set of white pajamas that I hadn't worn in awhile, and with Tesday borrowing my stuff, I was running low on outfits to wear. I'd need to do some wash.
She hadn't done anything to stop the bleeding, and two red trickles ran from each nostril onto her lips. I wiped across her lips and upper lip carefully, and then held the washcloth up under her nose.
"Lean back a little," I instructed.
She did so, and I sat there, the tissue still stuffed in my nose and holding the cloth at Tesday's nose, and then pinching the bridge.
"How do you feel?" I asked.
"Am I hurting you holding this here?"
"No. Why do you have that in your nose?"
"I had a bloody nose too."
"That's not good. We shouldn't both have bloody noses. We shouldn't do things together. My head is my head and your head is your head. I don't understand why your head continues to want to be in my head."
"Tesday." It was my form of telling her to stop the rambling. "My head isn't in your head."
She moved slightly, her wild eyes staring into mine. She blinked, as if seeing me for the first time, and it felt awkward. She began blinking so much, and as if a shutter on a lens was perusing me, as I sat on the bed beside her, up and down.
"Ow, I moved too fast." She held across her stomach. "It hurts here."
"Oh man – oh, I'm sorry. It's your ribs hurting. Do you want to lie down?"
"Okay, hold this." I took her hand, placing it on the washcloth, showing her how to hold it. "Keep this here."
I sat up on my knees and helped her to lie down. I fluffed my pillow, and placed it under her pillow to give her some lift. I helped adjust her on the bed, as she began blinking and perusing across me again, but still holding the washcloth under her nose.
"Tes…does your head hurt?"
"Will you promise not to get mad if I tell you something, Cams?"
She continued looking me up and down.
"Okay, go ahead and tell me. I promise not to get mad."
"With the bright light coming into the room, I can see through your bed clothes – your boobies and your buttocks, and everything. It's kind of a sheer material."
"Oh…." Within an instant, I turned away from her and sat at the edge of the bed. "You know – I'm going to go shower and change super quick. Um… hold that washcloth to your nose and pinch the bridge. It should stop the bleeding."
I nearly ran to the bathroom to just take a quick shower and get dressed and ready. She'd be fine.
I walked back to the bedroom, wearing jeans and a red blouse – both very dense and non-see through - to find Tesday holding the washcloth as I told her, and pinching her nose. Fortunately, my nose had stopped bleeding and I removed the tissue before the shower. I still felt slightly embarrassed, a rush of warm blushing stayed around my neck and cheeks, but I needed to help out Tesday. I'm just not sure how much of me she saw.
"Cams, I had a nightmare."
"I know – I heard you. You were dreaming about a fire and talking… I think Latin?"
"Yes, the more I think about it the more I think you were speaking Latin."
"Why would I speak Latin?"
"I don't know Tes – maybe you should tell me why you speak Latin. I haven't known you long."
She pulled the washcloth away from her nose. "I think it stopped bleeding."
"Let me see."
I looked over the nostrils and I think she was right. The blood seemed to have stopped.
"Okay, why don't you go in the bathroom and get ready. I'll make you some breakfast."
She took my hand in her own. "Can we go away today?"
"Away. We can go on a trip and go far away. We can leave and drive…drive far away."
"I have work today."
Again, her making no sense concerned me. "Who is coming?"
"They are. I just said, 'They're coming.' So it's them. I can't be more specific because they are not more specific." Her eyes went blank, as she growled, "Quemalo todo!"
"What did you say?" She was speaking as if possessed with a very low and guttural voice. She was saying, 'Burn it all!' in Spanish.
Blinking she looked back to me. "Turn on the news. I think there's a fire somewhere."
"You'll know. It's important."
I walked into the living room area and grabbed the remote. I figured she proved her psychic ability enough for me to know to listen when she told me to do something.
Tesday followed me into the room as I turned on the local news station. Turning back to Tesday, she no longer had the wild, childish look. She looked like a woman my age for the first time, as she stood there, holding around herself, in only the bed shorts and T-shirt, and barefoot.
"Do you want a robe?" I asked.
"No, I'm fine."
Even her answer sounded normal.
On the TV was a special report of a fire with fatalities in north Plano. It was a 24-hour clinic and the doctor, Dr. Vandahar, and receptionist, Mary Harnack, had died in the fire. They had trouble putting it out, saying the doctor had been involved in illegal activity and there were incendiary devices at the back of the clinic that moved through the building quickly.
"Wow," I breathed. "And I had him look at you."
"You can't believe everything you see, Cams."
"I guess, but he was like running a meth lab at the back of his clinic?"
"That's only what is being said."
I turned back to the TV, to watch the fire, flames licking up to the morning sky as it burned. Firefighters were busy putting it out with the hoses. Paramedics were on the scene and lights from police vehicles and emergency vehicles were piled around the small parking lot and street where the clinic had been. I watched, my mouth having fallen open, as I realized this was the place I'd taken Tesday to the night before. It was strange that we had just been there.
"Oh my goodness, Tes, we were just there. I can't believe they died in that fire."
"Do you have messages?" Tesday asked me, her voice still calm and sounding… normal.
"What? Um…I'll go check."
I walked over to my phone, and couldn't believe how Tesday had taken on such a normal presence. Something happened that affected her differently.
On the counter, sat my phone and message machine, the light blinking because of the black out that had occurred. I pushed the message button, hoping it didn't mess up the one message I had. And then the Indian doctor we met was on the phone speaking, with his slightly British sounding accent:
"Ms. Longfellow, this is Dr. Vandahar, regarding your friend that you brought in to see us. I had noticed something from the few x-rays we took the further I inspected. I think you should bring her in again, or see a radiologist and have another look with better equipment. Nothing to get too worried over, it's just there was an anomaly around her brain area – not sure what it is - and it is better to be safe than sorry. Also, there was a small dark mass at her brain stem that I couldn't quite catch with the small area we x-rayed. We will need to take another x-ray of that area to get a better look. But, she really needs to be looked at further, because it may be possible there are tumors."
Click and it ended.
Instantly I turned to see how Tesday reacted to the information. Her expression was still calm and somber. She could have something seriously wrong with her, maybe cancer or something. Brain tumors? That could explain her problem and maybe even why she's psychic. That's why she's so… out there.
"That's not it," Tesday told me. "We should leave and just go. Not come back. We can leave now."
This was too much. There was his voice on the phone and to think he was dead. It was eerie.
"He saw too much and they killed him. You know that, right?"
"I don't know anything, Tes. It sounds like it's just a coincidence."
"Yes you do – but, you would rather play dumb so that you won't have to face being scared of the coincidences that are just too many to explain away. You don't think its odd we go there and he found something out about me, and now he's dead."
I stood there, shaking, swallowing, tensing, and staring across my linoleum floor and then up to the small window above the sink. There was a small sparrow sitting on the branch of a tall red oak that was just outside. What the hell was going on?
"They'll come and then we can't leave because they will take me away. And maybe even you if you are too far into my head."
"Tesday no one is going to take you away." I could feel underneath my skin begin to shiver, as I couldn't stop shaking. This didn't make sense.
"Don't be scared, Cams."
"Yes you are." Tesday stepped back from me. "I'm going to leave. I think that's best for you."
She turned and left the room, and I heard her walk down the hall to the bath.
I had to think. It was just a coincidence. She's taking something that happened and blowing it up and making it some conspiracy about her. She was a schizophrenic or had a brain tumor or something like that. The doctor said there was an anomaly in her brain. She was thinking the world was after her. She saw the vision of the fire in her dream and she misinterpreted.
I had to really think things through.
I wanted what was best for her. She had become a friend. That's why I wanted her to get help and I took her to a doctor, despite my thinking it was just something anyone would do in this situation. This was more than a Good Samaritan act. I liked her. I enjoyed her company when she wasn't frustrating the hell out of me. Well, maybe even then. It did make her fun to be around. She had lived with me for almost two weeks now, and I got used to having her around. I did like having her around.
I thought over the nose bleed this morning. If she had a brain tumor that might be why her nose bled, and then mine also bled and was it because my head was part of her head? I didn't understand that part. But I knew that there could be something physically wrong with her brain after that phone call and I did need to take her in to another doctor and have her looked at. Nose bleeds were a sign of brain tumors – right?
And the names she had said. Rachel was my mother's sister and Mary – the receptionist who died in the fire was named Mary. Was it information bouncing around and she just repeated? That's right, she said Mary. Why did she say Mary and not the doctor's name? Did it even matter?
But, what if this wasn't a coincidence? Tesday really could be in danger from someone. She was psychic. She was probably repeating what she heard them say before burning down the clinic. She repeated 'it all' in Latin. Now that I really thought it over, she was speaking Latin and then Spanish. She was simply repeating what she heard in her head from whoever had done that. I needed to finally just admit – Tesday was more than just some crazy person off the street and this wasn't a coincidence. There was more to this.
And then I heard my front door open and close.
I ran from the kitchen and to my front door, ripping it open, ready to chase her down. There was no way I was going to let her just go and this time maybe be killed or not ever return.
The sun's rays shot inside, blinding me for a moment, as I stepped onto the small porch, looking for her. She was there, standing – just standing - right in front of me, so that I nearly ran into her.
"Tesday," came out from me, relief strewn in the name. "You're still here."
I nearly wrapped my arms around her, so thankful she didn't run away again.
She stood there, her back to me, wearing the jeans I'd bought her and one of my old blue T-shirts that had shrunk in the wash from my wearing it so much through the years. It was one of my favorites with Nirvana's Nevermind album cover. It still hung on her thin shoulders, but didn't delineate from her perfect frame.
She hadn't moved. It was like something had stapled her to this position just outside my door. Her wild, dark hair blew lightly with the breeze, as I stood behind her, watching the form of someone I'd gotten so used to having around. Someone I really liked having around.
"I'm scared, Cams, and I don't want to leave you. Maybe that's selfish of me, and maybe I'm going to get you killed, but I can't leave because for the first time." She turned around, so that I could see her big, bluish/green eyes moving quickly in the sockets that had filled with tears. "I don't want to leave the first person I've cared for in my life, and who likes me so much and is kind to me, and who I really…." She stopped, swallowing her tears. "And I need you because I'm scared of being alone with them out there. And…I don't know what to do, or where to go. My mind is so blank and so full."
I did wrap my arms around her, as she cried onto my shoulder.
"We're going to figure this out," I told her. "I think I know who we need to go talk to - my dad."
"Your dad?" She asked, as if she hadn't read my thoughts this time, and like she was surprised by my idea.
"Yeah – he's lived in this area forever and knows everyone. He'll know how to help us, I think. He's really smart and wise. He races R/C cars with a retired professor who wrote a book on parapsychology that I think you should talk to. He's kind of a strange guy – should be perfect."
She actually giggled into my shoulder. I leaned my chin onto the top of her head, and held her only another moment. We needed to leave soon.
A/N Any opinions so far? Any ideas? Is the writing any better? ^^ Thank you for reading my story. I appreciate it. :)