CHAPTER TWELVEA Splendid Way to Go“Daddy? Are you there?”“My sweet girl! How is everything going?”“Daddy, I met him. I met him, and his name is Eddie.”“Congratulations! And he’s strong enough to handle you?”“I think he is, although he doesn’t know it yet. He’ll learn, though.”“Are you going to bring him by sometime?”“I will, Daddy. I want you to meet him.”“The desert has been howling for you at night, my dear. It’s pacing back and forth in front of the house, leaving footprints in the sand. You need to be very careful.”“I will. And Daddy? He’s going to love me. He’s going to love me until both of our hearts burst from it all. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Wouldn’t that be an absolutely splendid way to go?”
CHAPTER THIRTEENA Dangerous PathNow you might think that Bryony lives alone because there was never mention of a roommate. It would be a wise thing, true. If those close to her tend to end up as casualties of the cosmos, it would stand to reason that she would choose not to inflict her delightful presence upon anybody else. However, this is Seattle, and as we all know, space is a precious commodity in any big city. Prices are high, and Bryony works arranging flowers at the market, not as the CEO of some prestigious and eyebrow raising company. Not that this is a path that she couldn’t take, because she certainly could if she had the time and the inclination for it, but quite simply, the desire isn’t there. She is happy to be a flower girl and spend her days watching cheerful people (and a few irritated ones) prancing through the market. She likes listening to Eddie as he plays his clever songs, and even sings once in a while. Above all, Bryony likes to be free. She always needs the
CHAPTER FOURTEENHer Fragile HandEddie woke up one morning and realized that he had fallen for Star Girl. He knew that it would come to pass, and although grudgingly displeased with it at first, he soon came to accept the idea. He watched her as she laughed with her friends at the market. He watched as she talked wildly with her hands, explaining something to Chad the Fish Guy. He fantasized about beating up Chad the Fish Guy, out in the parking lot, preferably. When the sun was down and the cops were all looking the other way. What he would really like to do would be to tie him up and throw him off the pier and into the sea, but Eddie realized that was going a little far. A man could dream, however.Speaking of dreams: A man walked by, eating a fresh miniature doughnut from the vender, and stopped abruptly when he heard Eddie play.“I like that song, boy. Did you write it?”“Yes, sir,” Eddie said politely. He could be extremely polite if he wanted to, and something about this ma
CHAPTER FIFTEENI See YouThe girl caught his eye immediately.She was new to running, new to the trail, and her cheeks were rosy in the misty light. There was something about her, something special, a wobbling beacon shining up to the sky, only she wasn’t calling down the stars.She was calling him.And being a man of great appetites he obsessed to satiate, he knew he would answer her. Because, you see, that is the way it works, and has always worked, and this man somehow knew the girl’s whole life had been leading up to this moment.Wonderful. Simply wonderful.
CHAPTER SIXTEENLive A Thousand YearsRikki-Tikki and Syrina were watching a movie. They had reached that lazy part in their relationship where he was allowed to gain a few pounds and she was allowed to wear sweats, and occasionally go without makeup, and throw her hair back in a ponytail. All of this was perfectly acceptable and downright cozy.Although the term used was ‘watching a movie’, it would be more accurate to say a movie was on and they weren’t exactly watching it. They were dishing up bowls of ice cream and kissing in between strawberry spoonfuls, and Rikki-Tikki was telling Syrina about Samoa. He was also asking if she’d like come home with him sometime to meet his family, and Syrina was equally parts excited and nervous. What if they didn’t like her? What if she didn’t like Samoa? What if it all agreed with her so much that she never wanted to return home? How delightful! During this conversation, Rikki-Tikki brought up the subject of Bryony.“Syrina, she is going to
CHAPTER SEVENTEENA Delicate GuillotineBryony sobbed all of the way to the hospital, the note crumpled in her hand. Not Syrina. Not her dear, brave and true friend. It would be too cruel. It would be too much.She ran through the hospital doors and up to the front desk.“I am looking for my friend Syrina. Rikki-Tikki said she was here, and I’m so afraid! Is she alive? Is she hurt? Oh, won’t you help me find her?”The receptionist stared at this otherworldly woman whose soul was mixing with tears and spilling out of her ephemeral eyes. She wanted to grab the girl’s mitten-covered hands and tell her stories about faeries and trolls and great green monsters born from gardens. She wanted to ask her if she thought it would hurt terribly when death came to take her, as it most certainly would. Why, perhaps even this very minute! Time is of the essence! The receptionist opened her mouth to speak.“Bryony!”Bryony spun around at the sound of Rikki-Tikki’s voice and grabbed onto his sle
CHAPTER EIGHTEENHe Kills AgainFate grumbled and schemed and plotted. Sending an enthusiastic but second rate robber to do a professional killer’s job certainly didn’t seem to work. Now the gloves were off. It was time to call in the big guns.It is time to check in on our murderer.What the murderer really wanted, of course, was Bryony. He did not know her name. He did not know anything about her. She could be a young doll-maker named Cassandra or she could be young man-turned-woman who was originally named Maurice, although he did not quite think so, and he had a fairly decent eye for that sort of thing.But he also wanted to save her, as one saves dessert for a particularly fine reward for a job well done, a job like passing a grueling test at school or surviving this life, and thus he put Bryony away for later.That did absolutely nothing to dispel the fact he wanted to kill now, and to make it good and satiating. One does not necessarily have to have crème brulee to satiate
CHAPTER NINETEENA SongEddie sat with his back against the cloying floral wallpaper in his apartment. He held Jasmine in his hands, and ran his fingers over her strings as he looked through the window. The moon was extravagant tonight. The stars were full of brilliant luster.His fingers never ceased their movement and with his eyes full of the stars he teased out a song. It was something quite unlike anything else he had written before. It was about death and life and a plant that can heal or kill, respectively. It was a song about making the choice to love when you knew that in the end. . . you would only have . . .. . . empty hands.