Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sweet Dreams

Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday

Today's words: drag, mumble, penetrate

Some stories need to be told. Miranda's begins here.

And now, it continues...

* * *

Sweet Dreams

She raced down a dark alley; mile-high walls of concrete speared up on either side. Behind her, heavy footsteps followed, unhurried, knowing there was no escape. There never was.

Over and over she ran down this narrow lane, came upon the same door that was always locked. As she struggled with the handle, willing it to open, the footsteps came closer until they were right behind her. Arms—dozens of them, it seemed—wrapped around her, groping and probing. Stale rum and cheap cigars filled her nostrils. Her stomach lurched.

“Miranda.” Craig’s voice penetrated the terror that suffocated her. “Miranda. It’s just a dream, baby. Open your eyes. That’s it.”

When she pushed away, he pulled her closer, wrapped his arms around her. He rocked her and crooned, as he would a frightened child, until she stopped trembling.

As the fog lifted and the nightmare faded away, Miranda was aware that she was being held, that Craig stroked her hair.

“I’m ok now,” she said, and rolled away from him. Embarrassed and ashamed, she sat on the edge of the bed. “I should go home.”

“What? No way.” Craig hooked an arm around her waist and dragged her back, coaxed her to lie down. He propped himself up on one arm. “Do you want to talk about it?”

Miranda closed her eyes. “No.”

“You need to.”

“No I don’t. And certainly not to you.”

“Why not me?”

Because, thought Miranda, I’m falling for you and I don’t want you to walk away like Gregg did. I can’t survive that again.

“Miranda, I probably understand a lot more than you give me credit for.” Her eyes shifted to his. He brushed the short fringe across her forehead. “He’ll keep winning if you keep it locked up inside of you.”

She crumbled then, covered her face with both hands and let the tears flow. It was too good to be real, she thought. He was setting her up so he could kick her down, she was certain of it. Once he knew how fucked up she was, he’d walk away, never looking back.

Craig said nothing. He simply wrapped himself around her, pulled her close and spooned behind her. “Close your eyes. I’ll be here when you wake up.”

That small promise, the certainty of it, made her turn and face him.

“I should have told you this before.”

“So tell me now.” He pressed his lips on her forehead.

And she did.

Craig listened in silence, his only reaction was to close his eyes at times. When he did, Miranda could see his jaw working as he struggled with his anger, but he let her finish. She waited for him to leap out of bed, tell her it was all her fault, say he couldn’t be with someone who had so much baggage.

“I have never met anyone as strong as you.”


“Most people would crawl into a dark cave and never come out.”

“I can’t do that.”

“I know. That’s what makes you strong.” He cupped her face, thumbed away the last tear. “Feel better?”

“Um. Yeah, actually, I do.” She felt light, like she was floating.

“Good. Think you can sleep now?”

Exhaustion hit her then. “Yeah.” She mumbled something incoherent as she snuggled into him.

He smiled as her eyes drooped. “Sweet dreams, Miranda.”

Craig was next to her when she woke, a protective arm around her. Miranda leaned into him. She was finally safe.

This is the end of Miranda's least here. Stories, such as these, never really end. The nightmares never go away, they just become bearable.


Heather said...

I am both relieved (she's safe, at least for the time being) and saddened. I will miss this story.

Monica Manning said...

Thanks, Heather. I needed to finish her story. There are so many other parts that are too difficult to write. I may expand it into a novel one day.

glnroz said...

,,,am I relaxing a bit,, should I? lol

Spook said...

Aww, happy ending! Yay!
However, I must say, this doesn't have the usual amount of face-grabbing pizazz that your work normally has for me. I'm not saying it's bad - on the contrary, it's probably better than most of my rubbish! - it's just not quite the same.

But that might just be me.
I'll shut up now :P

Monica Manning said...

glnroz: I won't say never, but I don't think I'll continue Miranda's story.

Spook: Don't shut're right. I felt I owed it to everyone to finish the story, yet there's so much more to tell, which is why it feels unfinished. I just can't continue it. At least not right now.

jason evans said...

I'll miss Miranda.

jaerose said...

She is able to rest..finally..sleep not dream..yes, I imagine it is a repose rather than an ending..but you need to stop before you turn any corner...Jae

Sheilagh Lee said...

I ma so glad she has Craig wonderful detailed story.

Bluebell Books said...

love makes life live.

profound story.

Bluebell Books said...

You write fabulous stories,

Please check out short story slam week 9 today.

Hope to see you around.