Bluebird Inn – IV

Hank watched the car pulling away from his driveway with a sinking feeling. All he remembered was Nisha’s stricken face, her disappointment, disgust, anger and sorrow, each emotion that flitted across her face in those irretrievable moments.

“Hank, honey, are you OK? Come back to bed. What’s wrong, Hank, Hank, HANK?”

He finally heard Donna’s shrill voice shatter the silence in the room. He turned around from the window. He couldn’t bear to see her face anymore. He wanted her gone. He scooped up her clothes from the floor and threw them at her.

“Get dressed and leave!”

He felt as though he was thrashing his arms around in a dense fog that showed no signs of clearing. He wanted to come out of the fog, to reach out and find Nisha at the clearing. Her leaving felt as raw as a severed limb, as an “-ectomy” of some sort. He wanted her back in his life.

He walked into the bathroom and took a look at his face in the mirror. He didn’t like what he saw. He couldn’t understand his infatuation with Donna, couldn’t explain it even to himself, but one thing was certain – she needed to leave.

He walked over to the bar and poured himself a scotch on the rocks. He walked over to the balcony and saw the city lights flashing, the fast-moving traffic, the red taillights and the glaring oncoming headlights. Life elsewhere went on, its rhythm unchecked, while his own lay in pieces, broken shards that reflected back a distorted vision of himself, filling him with self-hatred.

He walked back in to see Donna dressed and poised at the doorstep.

She pointed a long manicured finger at him and said, “This isn’t over yet, Hank! You haven’t seen the last of me!” Then she left, slamming the door behind her.

He didn’t care. He leaned back in his chair, thinking, regretting his recent behavior, replaying memorable moments with Nisha, hearing her laughter, seeing her relax and unwind from the pressures of the day, on this very same reclining chair. He remembered the final look of hurt on her beautiful face. He visualized her driving, speeding away on Route 80 West, eyes clouded over with tears. Then he saw her on a desolate stretch of Route 46, staring up at a crackling neon sign that read – “B-UE-IRD M-TOR INN”. He saw her walk up to the lobby and then up an elevator walking up to Room 613. The brass numbers 613 grew larger in size, until they took over his thoughts completely, swimming in and out of focus, swirling around, making him dizzy and then he saw her sitting in a rocking chair by an open window that looked out into complete darkness. He woke up in a cold sweat, shaking.

Hank rarely spoke about it. Ever since he was a child, he saw things. He could rarely make sense of these visions. The images were disjointed, some vivid, some hazy. They always troubled him but he never could tie them together in a lucid reconstruction. Often he would see things in the news or glance upon a news headline and feeling a strange sense of déjà vu. This time the vision was real enough to make him sit up, it was clear, sinister and, most significantly, it involved Nisha.

He knew what he had to do. Getting dressed in a hurry, he ran out the door and into his car, setting out along Route 80 West.

Bluebird Inn – V

“Fancy meeting you here, Clara. Still hanging around?”

He walked toward me, his loping, stumbling gait as ominous as that fateful day. I felt cornered and trapped. His bloodshot eyes looked right into mine and asked, “Why Clara? Why?”

“You were in a murderous rage, you would have killed me. I was scared Tom, so scared!”

“ It came so easy to you, the killing, the first stab…after the first stab…, Clara, why did you keep stabbing me and twisting the knife each time? What did I do to deserve that? I had never struck you, had never laid a finger on you, woman, drunk or sober, never! I never would have hurt you, never!”

“There was no way for me to know that, Tom. I couldn’t take it anymore. You had imprisoned me in a life with no escape. You had snatched away every freedom I ever knew!”

“Well, my dear, there’s something to be said for being six feet under, under a mountain of dirt, worms crawling in and out of every pore, clawing at the darkness, at my eyes, trying to dig out the dirt, trying to see, seeking the faintest ray of light and finding only pitch black, screaming, with no one there to hear me, no wind to carry my stifled voice anywhere. That changed me in ways you can’t imagine. You see Clara, you buried me alive! I still had a breath or two left.”

“B-b-but you were dead! I knew you were dead!”

“Merely unconscious. Imagine opening up your eyes – or struggling to open your eyes under the weight of dirt, clawing at them, blinding yourself, can you imagine that Clara?”

“You were dead, you were dead!”

“ I wasn’t then, but yes, those conditions didn’t support life for long, I did die….I am quite dead now. And after you, all the women who remind me of your simpering, sniveling self have been paying for your crime Clara. Paying with their unfinished lives. That boy hates you Clara but he can’t kill. He can’t take a life. He talks to me every night, describes all our female guests in exquisite detail. He is merely a facilitator, in cleansing the world of cowards like you, one restless soul at a time. Yes we’ve lost a few, due to his incompetence, his resolve crumbles, he ends up calling the ambulance or the authorities and they carry them away on gurneys. But our backyard is filling up rather nicely with women who were buried before they drew their last breaths.”

“ Noooo…..I am not really hearing this, please tell me it isn’t true! You can’t do that to her, she is with child! Show some mercy, please!”

“Mercy….where was your mercy?”

1 Comment

  1. just checking all the blogs on the list, while revising S&Co page-design. Must find some time and sit down to read your bluebird inn series. Time is a big constraint just now. But soon…

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