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Starr Gardinier Reina

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The Love of Death
By Starr Gardinier Reina
Thursday, November 04, 2010

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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Paranormal short story.

She was on the telephone, but couldn’t remember who she was talking to. As soon as she hung up, her head started hurting. She grabbed her temples with her middle finger and thumb, started massaging them and sat down on the sofa. She thought it was the dry heat until images began swirling in her mind.
She could see a car going off a bridge toward what looked like a black body of water. Just as soon as the image appeared, another took its place. She could see a woman’s body lying in a car that was quickly filling with water. As if she were experiencing the woman’s agony, she gasped and tried to draw in air; she couldn’t breathe.
The next thing she knew she was being shook awake by Craig.
“Amber? Wake up. Amber?”
“Craig? What are you doing home so early?”
“It’s five thirty, sweetheart. I just got home.”
“Oh my gosh! I must have fallen asleep. I had a nightmare; it was weird.”
She tried to shake off the eerie feeling that something wasn’t right. The dream must have shaken her up more than she thought.
“You can tell me all about it later. Right now, you need to get ready to go to the party.”
She remembered that they were to attend at party at their neighbors’ Patty and Walt’s house as a welcome to the neighborhood. They just moved in two days prior and Amber was anxious to meet some new friends.
“I’ll be ready in fifteen minutes.”
She quickly got dressed, fixed her makeup and hair and rushed downstairs.
“I’m ready,” she called out.
“And you look amazing. Those spots on your chest are almost gone; you can’t even tell.”
Amber didn’t know what he was talking about. She thought maybe she had a rash earlier she didn’t notice and he didn’t tell her. She was about to ask him, but he rushed her out the door and across the lawn to Patty and Walt’s house. She didn’t know them yet and for some reason, couldn’t wait to.
Everyone was gathered in the backyard. It looked like the entire neighborhood attended and Amber was astonished. She saw people that looked vaguely familiar, but knew she couldn’t have yet met them. They had only been in the house for two days and the only once she met was Priscilla. Just then, she spotted her and steered her husband toward her.
“Priscilla, this is my husband Craig.”
“We’ve already met. It’s nice to see you again, Craig.”
“You two know each other?” Amber asked.
“Yes, we ran into each other yesterday when you were at the store. But I’ve known Prissy since my college years. I couldn’t believe we ended up here with her.”
“You’ve never mentioned her.”
“I haven’t had a chance. Anyway, Prissy, it’s wonderful to see you. The scar still hurt?”
“Not at all. Does your leg?”
“What leg? You mean my stump?” he laughed.
Amber frowned because she didn’t have any idea what they were talking about. Craig didn’t have a stump. Or did he? Suddenly, she was confused. She looked at Craig and thought she was looking at a total stranger. Something deep inside of her tried to tell her she didn’t even know this man.
Priscilla turned her attention back to Amber.
“Welcome to the neighborhood. You know everyone here. Of course, you may not remember me. We haven’t seen each other since we left our mother’s womb. It’s nice to finally meet my sister.”
Priscilla hugged her. Amber looked around and saw people she hadn’t seen in a long time. Her Uncle Alex was there. He died when she was only fifteen, but she could remember exactly what he looked like and it was the same as he did ten years ago; like he hadn’t aged a bit. She saw her childhood friend Cheryl, who died in car accident when she was eighteen. Then there was Tony. He was standing near the pool with a glass of iced tea in his hand. He still looked as handsome as he had when she was seventeen and swooning all over him. The last she heard about him, he was in a head-on car collision coming home from a party.
She began to get dizzy and felt as if she was listening to the conversation through a waterfall. Her ears were clogged and her vision was becoming hazy. She shook her head, trying to clear her eyes. She felt ill and needed to sit down. She looked around for a chair, but it looked like there were two of everything and everyone.
“It’s happening,” Priscilla said, nodding at Amber. “Let me get the others.”
“What…what’s going on?” Amber slurred.
“It’s okay, sweetheart. Just go with it.”
Her legs became weak and just before she fell to the ground Craig caught her and put her on the chaise next to the pool.
She was fighting desperately to breathe. She could feel water filling her lungs; she struggled to get air. She tried to break the window, but it was hopeless. She was trapped inside the car and it was now completely full of black, murky water. The seatbelt wouldn’t come off and she was wedged between the seat and the steering wheel of the car. She tried pushing the steering wheel away, but it wouldn’t budge.
Panicking, she tried to wake up from her dream; she had to be dreaming. What other explanation could there be. She tried to fight her way back to sanity. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. She banged her fist heavily against the window while life drained out of her. Then she felt something being stuck to her chest and her entire body heaving up and back down again.
Suddenly, she sat upright. She looked around her and everyone was smiling. Things were once more crystal clear. She knew she was right where she was supposed to be.
“I’m here,” she heard herself announce as she grabbed her new husband’s hand. “Dying was horrible, but I think I’m going to love death.”

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Reviewed by Donna Chandler 11/5/2010
I truly enjoyed your story, a nice mix of intrigue and mystery with a wonderfully unexpected ending.


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