The Face Outside

My finger slides into an old hole in an old chair, like a drowsy surgeon prodding a rotted wound. It’s been four days since he called… nine since we’ve seen each other. This chair, many times, I’ve tasted his crown. He’s admired my… smile. Sometimes like a drowsy surgeon, sometimes like a hungry vagrant. Always a maestro. This chair, many times, we’ve sat and slept ’til dawn. Me usually on his lap, but sometimes I cradled him. Those times, I didn’t sleep.

Slumber begins to take me and my mind drifts to the ether. The phone’s nearby, so I’ll be woken by the most pleasant alarm. The ether takes me to a high-rise. I stand at an open window and a plank extends far, far. Far to another high-rise. I take my stride atop the wood. It’s sturdy… and there’s no wind. I can’t tell if I can’t look down or if there’s nothing beneath me. Soon, I get to the other building. I stumble inside and land on my shoulder, but I feel no pain. A party is happening. I wander through the bacchanalia, foreign faces of old passerbys, until I see him. He sees me. He sits on a stool and he sees me. He then pulls his pants away from his waist, and vomits in them.

I’m awoken not by a siren but by a cerebus. My cerebus, barking at the window in the middle of the night. I’m not sure whether or not to be grateful, but her concern worries me. I hit my knee on a stand and limp the rest of the way. I open the curtain… and a face stares at me. Just a face. No body, no hair, just a face. Its eyes are veined, but there are no pupils. Yet I can tell they are focused on me. Wide eyes under a heavy brow, focused on me. Its sunken cheeks betray the face’s youthfulness. Its cracked lips move as if they’re muttering something, but the only thing coming out is fog on the window. I can’t recognize it.

My dog drags her face on the floor, barks becoming almost gurgles. The pain in my knee continues to throb. The sallow face still murmurs wisps. And the walls begin to shatter. The face contorts as if it’s screaming, mouth spread wide and black tongue dangling. My fear is only matched by my confusion. I begin to run away… then the phone rings.

Don’t stop now! Read the first four chapters of my first novel, “Lie”, on Goodreads. It’s a surreal dramedy about four gals who go on vacation to help one of their own through a life-changing problem. If you like what you read, pick it up for only $1.99 wherever eBooks are sold. Thanks.

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