Friday, November 28, 2008

The Price of His Love(Friday Fiction)

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Author's note: This is one story I am particularly fond of this MC, and her alien husband. There's quite a few episodes of them in my head, but this one was the most recent I was able to write out. It's a tad sketchy on the fact that she has an incurable illness and he's a healer...but now that you know that, it should help to fill in the gaps.

The nightmare replayed this morning. The images were too real and the reality was heartbreaking. I didn’t want to confront it, so I tried to run away from it.

Kalen stirred as I slipped out from beneath the covers. I dared to glance over my shoulder, relieved to see his eyes closed. I was half-way to the door before he spoke. “Are you okay?”

Despair wove its web into an arrow of anger than surfaced as a frosty retort. “Fine.” I tipped my sleepy chin higher, groping for the doorknob of the bedroom door. I left the dark prison to retreat to the warmth of the freezer light.

A tub of chocolate chip mint creaminess was my escape in this nightly ritual of running away. I spooned twenty-three mouthfuls before my tired body protested such treatment.

The stove clock flashed, showing the time to be three-something in the morning. My eyes were barely half-opened as I stuffed my fix back in the freezer and headed for the medicine cabinet. Two white blood sugar pills and one yellow pill to help me sleep.

I fingered the yellow capsule, the nightmare resurfacing. I shuddered and put the pill back in the bottle. The thought of being locked in sleep unable to wake from the horror, is more terrifying than not sleeping at all.

The stairs leading upward are even more mountainous in my semi-conscious state. I wonder how it feels to sleep on the sofa. There are plenty of blankets down there.

I almost turn back, but my feet refuse to obey. They are set in their course and I do not have the strength to decide otherwise. They continue up the stairs and into the bedroom. They give way beneath me, prompting the words that I would call a prayer.

Dear God, help me!

Somehow I manage to crawl beneath the covers and the precious warmth surrounds me. For a moment, I am blissfully alone.

I will sleep until morning.

Morning came quicker than I wanted. Kalen had already left by the time sunlight dared to coax my eyes awake. I have enough energy to stumble to the shower and dress afterwards.

Breakfast is oatmeal with soymilk. My blood sugar is too high. I hate the numbers for telling the truth and myself for making it higher instead of lower. Maybe if I eat all the ice cream now, I won’t have to come down for it tonight.

I am digging in the freezer to find my treasure. Cradling it carefully, I close the door to find myself staring straight into Kalen’s golden cat-eyes. My heart bypasses my throat and jumps clear to my brain.

The cool touch of the ice cream filters through, forcing my thoughts to regroup and focus. “Kalen.” His name bursts from my lips, followed by the familiar blush that creeps up my neck-even after four years of marriage.

Turning away, I fumble through the cabinets for a bowl and then through the drawers for a spoon. Scooping spoonfuls into the dish, I am aware of his eyes following my every move.

“What is that?” His question is innocent, his face mirroring child-like curiosity.

For once, I am surprised. I thought I knew everything after hearing his truth, but now I am mystified by this creature yet again. “It’s ice cream.” I tried to catch his eye. “You know-I’m always eating it…” My voice trailed off, I was always eating it, yes, but never when he was around.

“How can they make cream from ice?” His cat-eyes blink rapidly.

I know he is studying it from a different angle in a way I could never understand. One of Kalen’s mind-boggling qualities includes x-ray vision-down to a molecular level. He is analyzing every inch of my ice cream to death. “It’s a sweet.” I muttered, searching for another bowl. “Do you want a cone or a bowl? I have cones…somewhere.”

The child-like expression is marred by a look of complete confusion. For a being of ninth intelligence, Kalen is easily distracted. My irritable self resurfaces and in a fit of frustration, I jammed the spoon into the container, digging out a lump. “Here-eat that.”

Kalen seems unruffled by my attitude, because he is quite happy to try this new sweet. His forked tongue snaked out, wrapping around the lump of chocolate-mint comfort. The four black, pointed tips of his tongue make the ice cream look even greener as the expression changes from confusion to delight. “It disappears!”

“What?” I looked from the spoon to him.

“It disappears…it’s cold…and sweet…and then it just, disappears.” Kalen happily licked the spoon clean.

“Oh.” That was a new way to describe something I’d grown up craving. I found the box of cones and managed to scrape the remains from the container into a flaky specimen. “That’s a cone-and you the put the ice cream inside. You eat the whole thing-it’s good.”

I’d barely turned to put the spoon in the sink when a loud slurping noise startled whatever wits I’d had about me. I whirled around to see Kalen swallowing the entire cone.

Pure bliss was the only words for the look on his face, as his lips curved upwards in a smile, eyes closed. A gurgle of laughter escaped and his eyes popped open. “Thanks.”

I shrugged. “Working today?”

He mirrored my shrug. “I think so.”

“You think?” I couldn’t keep the sarcasm from my voice.

A puzzled eyebrow shot upwards. “Yes…I’m not sure yet…I’ve got the strangest feeling about today.”

“A feeling?”

“Oh yes.” He turned on his heel. “A very strong feeling.” He paused in front of the back door. “How are you feeling?”

“Fine.” I stuck a spoonful of comfort in my mouth.

He shrugged and stepped out.

I didn’t see him for the rest of the day. I didn’t do anything else for the rest of the day. The waking hours consisted of eating ice cream and taking the medicine. When the ice cream ran out,

I started on the soda crackers.

By the time my stomach was satisfied, I was in no condition to do anything else. I hate television, so watching something was out of the question. I didn’t want to eat anything else, so sleep was the next logical choice.

I aimed for the sofa, but landed on the ground instead. The dizziness started in my head and spiraled over me, like the customary cloak of depression that woke me each night. Vision fuzzed as I clutched at fuzzy sofa cushions.

The first wave of pain brought a moan that I couldn’t hold back. The second wave took more from me than I thought I had to give.

My knees wobbled, but offered some semblance of security. I wrapped my arms around them, pulling them up to my chest. My head felt as if it literally had split open in two.

Darkness slowly slipped over me, followed by a burning sensation from my wedding ring. I summoned the strength to twist it and whispered his name. “Kalen.”

He was there at once.

Strong arms encircled me and I was snuggled into the safety of the couch. Cool, scaled fingers stroked my forehead and cheeks, brushing away the tears and easing the pain.

“I never should’ve let them.” I whimpered. Thoughts swirled through my head for the mistakes I’d never be able to outlive. No woman in her right mind, signs up for experimental medical testing.

The pain in Kalen’s heart reflected through his cat-eyes as he buried my head in his shoulder. “It’s okay…” He soothed. “It’s okay…not your fault.”

“They could’ve warned me.” I sobbed. “They could’ve. They said I only had a few months to live…not years of torture to survive!”

“I can help you.”

Kalen spoke so softly, I could barely hear him. Another whimper threatened to break through. I knew he could help me. I wanted him to help me…but I didn’t want to go through the process that took the pain away.

Then the shaking started. My teeth chattered loudly as I lost control of my own movements.

“Tess!” Kalen stacked velvet pillows around me.

“Help me.” I chattered the words out.

A sigh of relief seemed to escape as he squeezed my hand. “Be right back…pineapple on the lower shelf?”

My head bobbed in perfect synchronization with my shivering shoulders. Kalen disappeared from the doorway and I heard him searching through the refrigerator.

He returned a half-minute later with the necessary tools in hand. A kitchen knife, the bowl of pineapple chunks and a tiny syringe.

The shaking seemed to slither away at the sight of his efficiency and the ritual to come.

“Which arm?” He tugged the pillows away, one hand extended.

I chewed my lip and offered the one closest.

“Don’t watch.” He turned my head into the sofa cushions.

My arm twitched and I bit my lip, drawing blood. The familiar taste made my stomach churn as the thin strip of fire raced up my arm. Softness soothed the fire away and then the itchy feeling started. I squirmed under his expert grip, waiting until my arm was relinquished.

Bliss ensued for the next few minutes as I energetically scratched at the thin red line that faded into my arm.

Kalen was stuffing chunks of pineapple in his mouth and he stopped when his green necklace glowed. I stared as he picked up the gem and touched it to the symbol glowing on his chin. The green glow enveloped him from head to toe, then faded. He reached for the syringe and drew it full of his green, life-giving fluid. A blood called morphix, his life-force.

“Ready?”

I shook my head, but leaned forward anyway. One arm circled around my shoulders and pulled me forward. I felt the needle prick my neck and then throb as it withdrew.

Kalen drew me close, stroking my hair and murmuring in a language I couldn’t understand. The pain faded almost at once and I could breathe again. I found myself wanting to live and that was fine.

Sleep came near and took me.

Copyright 2008 S. Harricharan

3 comments:

Laury said...

Wow. Is she an alien, too? I'm assuming no. I love the effects of ice cream, too. It always takes away my headache for a bit. But it doesn't last very long - boohoo:(

Love your story, silly Sawa. Where do you come up with this stuff?

Hoomi said...

Always a delight, Sara. It's always a fun exercise to examine aspects of human culture through the eyes of an alien race.

Leon Basin said...

That was really good.