Saturday, August 7, 2010

bitter milk, pt. 14

The storm had started letting up when Nicole finally opened her eyes, staring at the darkened skyline as the lightning flashed against it.

 She thought she heard a voice asking her if she was okay, but it was someone outside the store.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah." Nicole heard her sigh and slump against their storefront. "Just needed a smoke, is all. You know me." Her words were completely flat.

"Yeah, that's you."

They were unimportant. Nicole, meanwhile, was cold and bruised and bleeding and the world was ending. But she was strong. It might've gotten to Rosalind, but it wouldn't get to her. Nicole didn't need anyone or anything.

There was a long silence as Nicole kept staring outside. The lightning was still flashing, sounding off like the siren call of armageddon, but the flashes were growing farther apart. Still, one flashed long enough and close enough to illuminate the street and for Nicole to realize there were bodies lying out there.

After that there wasn't a single siren the whole rest of the night. There was just the wind screaming and the burning building and the bodies in the street. The whole city was shut down. Nicole shivered. She wished there was a jacket to crawl into. No, that wouldn't have helped. She needed real heat. She thought about heating up by the burning building, by a real fire, but you know what? It was warm and dry enough here.

For some reason, Nicole wished Rosalind was here; she wished they could be warm together. She imagined warm clothes draped over a counter and the two of them snuggled together underneath, sharing their body heat. But Rosalind was just a means to an end, and she was dead now. Why bother with a broken tool?

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