Unforeseen Dives – 10a – Coping

<< 9 – Defusing

I cried out every thing I hadn’t dealt with for the past 30 hours I spent awake. I cried for the deaths hitting me hard, for the bundle of fear and stress knotted deep around my guts. I cried for Becky who failed by my side and would beat herself over it for the next week or so. I cried for Daniel who stepped up to support me, unprepared and tired. I cried for me. Mostly for me.
The pain burnt my cheeks.
My head rested between my arms atop my folded knees. The hospital gown grew mushy against my face. If it wasn’t for the wall, I wouldn’t be able to sit. I had no control whatsoever. My muscles’ spasms matched my feelings’ jerks. I had no strength left. I’d given my all. And despite all my efforts, on some level, the criminal had won.
She had successfully scarred someone for life.

I was so deep in my bubble of pain that I didn’t hear him rush to me. He scooped my heart off the floor and forced it back into my chest with the pressure of his own. Staggering in a rosemary and mint hug, I hung to his shoulders. He smoothed my hair slowly. His arms held me straight and his shushing brought me back to reality.
“It’s over, Cass. It’s over. I’m taking you home.”
Conference rooms were his domain. I wasn’t surprise that Casey had found me. Or known to look for me; Rebecca probably called him. She felt too guilty to face me but she wouldn’t leave me alone.
Casey picked up my clothes on the ground in a swift movement, releasing his hold for a second. He didn’t want me to collapse. His touch barely left me, and then I was in his arms again. He folded my glasses in his breast pocket.
“Before or after?” He asked.
“Now” I muttered.
I hated the hospital gown. It was my physical leaden weight and I wanted it off. He carried me to a bathroom and locked the door behind us. He sat me on the counter and stripped me to my underwear. He quickly dressed me up, not an ounce of lust in his care.
I helped him as much as I could which basically amounted up to sitting or standing straight. It was a daunting effort but I did it. When we exited the bathroom, the gown stayed behind, discarded.
I walked. I was heavily supported by Casey but I walked.
Improvement already.

The drive home was a silent one. Casey knew I had to sort this out myself. He was in PR now but he had been a psychic’s telepath in the past. He wouldn’t read my internal turmoil unless he wanted to risk being crippled too. He wouldn’t feel helpless like a human would, and try to hide it with unsolicited words of fortune cookie wisdom. He would drive me home. Period.
He chose a soothing music with hints of sunshine to fill the silence. It was perfect. I closed my eyes and forced my face slack in the light of the afternoon. The tears were temporarily quenched. Sounds told me the city was alive and well, unaware of the disaster that almost hit a couple hundred miles north.
I was jealous of its innocence. I felt so torn. The city didn’t have the right to be out in the sun while I was so deep in darkness.
Casey parked in my driveway and came around the car to get me out. He fished my keys in my purse and unlocked the door for us. I didn’t remember him getting my handbag from the locker room. He must have grabbed it before he came to me.
Casey had been here a few times. We had supper with coworkers and friends. He knew where I dropped my purse and where the rooms were.
“Bath or bed?”
I’d wash away the suffering later. I needed to sleep. He dragged me up the stairs and laid me on my bed after pulling the covers. While he worked on my boots, I fumbled with the buttons of my blouse. I gave up and he undressed me without complaining. Once I was naked, he tucked me in and bowed to my ear.
“Daniel beams me to tell you that you’re not welcomed at the office tomorrow.” He breathed against my neck in a low lover’s tone. The tenderness soothed my pain.
“Amy will throw a fit when she learns I undressed you… twice… during office hours.”
He was still murmuring against my ear and through his cheek touching mine, he sent a flash of amusement. I laughed softly. Satisfied, he kissed my forehead. After putting my glasses on the nightstand, he left. I was asleep before he locked the front door.

I woke up the next morning. My muscles were still aching from yesterday’s artificial effort. I hadn’t moved much but the nerves had tensed every contractible part of me the night before. I suffered the aftershock.
I walked to the bathroom sluggishly. Twenty hours of sleep and emotional baggage will do that to a person.  I glanced at myself in the mirror. My dark eyes looked like empty holes, my hair was flying every which way but down and the folds of my linens appeared in red streaks on my face’s right side. Such was the warrior’s morning mug.
I turned on the water and filled the bathtub. I added a handful of dry bergamot peels, an equal amount of sage and a dollop of lavender oil to kick it off. The anti-depressor, the healer and the soothing agent would fix me in no time.
I immersed myself in hot water and fragrance, allowing my spirit to soar. When the water cooled, I reheated it and wrinkled in it some more. I wasn’t ready to get back to the real world just yet but I had to.
I finally forced myself out of dwelling and patted the water off my body. I netted the herbs out of the bath and drained the water. I dressed up in cheap but comfortable clothes.
I was ready for step two of my rehabilitation.

10b – Coping >>


About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

14 responses to “Unforeseen Dives – 10a – Coping

  • Antonio Rich

    I’m coming in after a battle, it appears…the ache and heavy heart are palpable…

  • Phil

    Okay. Weren’t we talking about how you come up with your story ideas? I hope you’re in a better place than Cassidy?

  • Marsha

    “try to hide it with unsolicited words of fortune cookie wisdom” I love this line. I am guilty of doing this when I don”t know how to comfort someone.

    • Aheïla

      One of my favorite lines too!
      I had to work the phrasing carefully around it because the initial sentence was way too long but I wanted to keep it. 😉

      I think we are all guilty of that. That’s what makes it rich for me.

  • Sabrina

    Damned ! Now I’m totally drowned in the story. I already was when you were talking about it, but… well, you know.

    Looking forward on next sunday !

  • Alyssa

    And for every action there is a reaction, every gift there is a curse. I can imagine that the backlash of a psychic episode is pretty harsh. Well done!

  • Dmytry

    Another fun chapter. And what you said before about cliffhangers is interesting. I have started using them quiet often…but perhaps that is because I now write longer chapters, around 7,000 to 10,000 words each. Not everyone has the time to read more than one of those in a day.

    • Aheïla

      10k words is about 35 pages in novel format. That’s a huge chapter. That being said, it might be appropriate for the type of story you’re telling. I know nothing about it so I can’t offer an opinion. However, I encourage you to challenge your pacing; with chapters this long, there’s a high risk that they’ll feel heavy. Dragging. Make sure it’s the best way to tell your story. 😉

      • Dmytry

        Yeah, I’m always trying to find appropriate lengths. Originally, all of my chapters were around 4000 words or 2000 words long. These were the early chapters of what I’m writing right now, which is an epic fantasy book. However as the book progressed, it grew more complex, and now I feel that short chapters aren’t as fulfilling because the characters truly have alot to do. However, I still try to avoid 10,000 words whenever possible. If I could write a chapter in a 1000 words, and be pleased with it, I would.

      • Aheïla

        1,000 words is very short. I force myself to that for Unforeseen Dives because the attention span of an internet surfer is shorter. I don’t want people to look at the home page and turn around right away because they are scared by the large amount of text.

        A fairly standard chapter length for action-oriented stories is 2,500 to 5,000 words, I’d say.

        Epic fantasy, I suppose, has a bit longer chapter but it depends a lot on your type of story. If it’s politics-oriented, you can afford a slower pace.
        Sometimes, complex actions can be broken down in smaller parts in order to pace it more easily.

        As I said, not knowing your story, I don’t want to get into detailed advice that might be misguiding. Do what feels right, then get Beta readers to tear it apart for you. *laughs*

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