“Mike, what if you’re right?” Sara asks in the dark. She has Sara’s voice, the voice of Sara on the bridge so long ago, right before the attack. The dark within dark voice, the voice disembodied, the voice in my head when Sara the werewolf speaks, and the voice I did not hear the last time she screamed.
“Doesn’t happen with enough regularity for me to fear it.” I rely. The meds are kicking in. The doctor gave me some sleep aids, and I talked him into some pain medication for my knee. This is that in between state, that place between sleep and awake, and that place between totally stoned and mildly buzzed. The red light on the answering machine blinks angrily. I missed another call. Damn.
Sam gets up to check on me. I’m speaking out loud, apparently, and I wonder if that means something. Sam puts his chin on the edge of the bed and wags his tail. I can’t see him but I know it’s Sam. Bert won’t get up unless it’s important, and the Loki Mutt has to be prompted to get near the bed, but Sam thinks any sort of activity might lead to petting. After a moment of futility, he gives up and I can hear him gliding away.
“That doesn’t mean you’re wrong.” Sara is fading a bit, and it reminds me of the time… no, that was fiction. I’m having problems separating reality and…
“It doesn’t mean anything.” I’m losing the signal. I need to sleep, really I do.
“Mike, you’re no longer in either world, fully. You’re playing with fire in this. You can’t keep pretending you’re…Mike? Mike!”
I drift off and the sound of Sara’s voice is something outside the room, outside the house, and I feel myself beginning to dream. It’s like a rolodex, with a lot of images, places, people, and it reminds me of flipping through the channels on a television, or surfing the net late at night. I feel a tug, and cannot prevent it. There’s a Cottonmouth on my pillow and I swing hard to push it away.”
OW! I’ve hit my hand on the wrought iron frame of the bed. All three dogs get up because I’ve make a loud noise and cursed. Lucas launches himself on the bed as I turn on the light. Sara is gone, and that’s good, but damn… The skin is broken. I look for the snake just to make sure and then realize as much as the mutts dislike snakes, one could never get into the house alive. That wouldn’t eliminate Loki dragging a half dead one in and it later recovering enough to move around a bit. I have to think about that. No more letting the dogs in when it’s totally dark inside. Sam doesn’t play with his prey, and Bert is just too damn brutal for a snake to survive an attack, but the Loki Mutt hasn’t developed the killer instinct, has he? The squirrel died hard and fast. I get up and take another pain pill, and then I realize that’s pushing the outer edge of reason. Should I puke it back up? Oh, what the hell do I do if work calls and wants me to come in, “I’m sorry but I’m stoned and I’m carrying on a conversation with someone cobbled together from the past and fictional character based on the past; how will that go over?
I pick up the work cell and it is quiet. It occurs to me to call and see if there is any chance they might call me, but I still am cognizant enough to realize that would be a terribly error in judgment. “Hi! It’s Mike, I’m stoned as hell and want to make sure you aren’t needing me tonight!” You see, this is why I never do prescription drugs or anything stronger than good coffee. I’ve always had this problem; medication, both legal and illicit, has a more dramatic affect on me than normal humans. I stopped smoking pot in the late seventies just because of such as this.
“Mike?” Sara creeps back in just as I’m drifting away again. Her timing is perfect. I cannot control getting back awake from this point and she knows it.
“Sara, you’re part of the problem, you do realize that?” I sigh, or I think I do. The 108 apartment is clear again, the light in the windows is the same from that place, and suddenly I feel as if I’m in a strange house. I feel slightly lost, as if someone will come in and wonder what the hell I’m doing here. Are the dogs still here? I can’t hear them. Part of me realizes this is sleep, or near to it, and another part of me is trying to make sense of the near light coming through the window. What window is that? What time of day is it? I can’t focus on any part of the room clearly.
In a way I cannot begin to explain to anyone in earth, the idea of Sara being in the same room with me is terribly painful. Sara, the real person, the woman, the one human being I can never truly detach from at any cost, is here with me in the room I cannot focus on and it feels like my soul is being torn. I know she isn’t here. I know she’s still gone, and always will be, but I can tell it is her.
“Mike, is there any way for you to just make peace with all this, and leave it be?” Sara laughs at this. This isn’t Sara. Sara was never one to make peace with a damn thing, or anyone. The idea that this isn’t Sara is enough to rip me upright, before I’m awake, and I’m standing in my bedroom as everything around me is still strange.
I almost fall as the room shifts. I can see the windows move around, it’s a reorientation to make them go back to where they are supposed to be, the light begins to come in stronger and stronger until for a split second I think it’s a nuke, but I’ve slept until daylight. The dogs get up, shake and stretch, and Bert looks at me with that, “Oh dear gods this is our only food connection” look he give me when this sort of thing happens.
I walk towards the door with the dogs in formation with me, and I swear I can hear a woman laughing.