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Day 24

By Robert Russell


Hazily, she jumped up and sprinted to the bathroom down the hall. She was awake now, with a pain, or more a discomfort, floating in her right eye. An inch away from her reflection staring back like blue daggers peering into herself, she pulled her lower eyelid downward and gently pressed her finger into the viscous vitreous. Slowly, she touched and claimed the long fallen eyelash that had tortured her for a second. Red vessels quickly swam to the white surface surrounding a sea of blue. She winced and looked for not a second too long then remembered her haze and longed to still be asleep.


Day 23 and the scars like illustrations still danced on her arms, a tiny reminder of a life once lost. Empty bottles cluttered her nightstand like her mind and flashes of her mother, moving photographs fell into the foreground, all else falling away. Bottles and Mom, the way it always was. Her worst fear had come true, just another reason she hated mirrors.


She slid the door and emerged onto her balcony and was suddenly struck with the fiery sunlight that sent her back in to snag her sunglasses. Crows cawed overhead as she lit a cigarette. Thankfully the flashes in her mind dissipated.


She loathed that balcony. The memories, the dreams, the temptations, all tiny reminders, invisible tattoos in her head. It was almost a year ago that day when the worst of her life had occurred. She had always been protective but nonetheless had loved her, but she was not missed, not anymore at least.


Retreating inside and back to her horizontal sanctuary, the clanging glasses rang loudly stirring residing thoughts. She reclined, reached, and retrieved a glass containing what she presumed was water but to her delight, burning elixir, which she downed in one long sip. The delight alleviated the numbness momentarily.


She awoke with a shooting pain floating in her right eye and after traveling into the mirror and fishing out an eyelash, she moved outside into the scorching sun on her balcony. The balcony she loathed and could never forget. She lit up, rose, and glanced cautiously over the ledge. The pavement below quivered enticingly and she saw again the image forever etched into her retinas. The worst of her life, and yet still to come.


A shame, the investigator noted from inside a yellow perimeter of police tape. He looked upward and then back down. Like mother like daughter, he thought silently.

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