Chapter 6

Written by: Joe Labrum

Seeing that old backpack breached a dike that has shielded and protected me for so long. Overwhelmed by a sudden flash of forgotten images, I sprang upright. Too suddenly, and I sagged backwards as the blood rushed from my brain. Brian, standing just behind, took the force of my slumping body as I reeled.

 

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All alone, tears streaking my grubby cheeks, I watch the wood paneled door with flaking white paint. Watching and waiting. The dream returns. But this time it is more real. I see detail missing before; wide-slat Venetian blinds thick with dust on a small window above my bed. Morning rays casting brilliant beams, like beacons, through billowing dust kept stirring by a wobbling ceiling fan humming a low soothing whisper. Aching loneliness all over me like a shroud consumes me as I watch the door. She never comes. I am supposed to call the lady who looks after me Aunty Emma but I don’t know her. She comes in and brings me warm milk and toast, and when she opens the door I hear the metallic melody of a music box.

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“Tamara?” The voice grows clear as it enters my universe, or rather, I return to it. I’m studying a somehow comforting humming sound from above me when I open my eyes and try to focus.  They are met by Brian’s impossibly hazel eyes that revealed concern, curiosity, a little trepidation, if one can see all those emotions in a single glance. The blush was involuntary and instantaneous.

“Tamara?” Brian called again. “What just happened?”

“I guess I stood up too fast and fainted,” the words just came out. It’s never happened to me before and I’m embarrassed and don’t know what else to say.

“There is more to it than that, isn’t there?”

I don’t open up to strangers. The vulnerability terrifies me. But, somehow I am drawn to this man and a need for a connection. Perhaps he is someone who could help me unravel the mystery of my childhood and the dreams. So, I’m lying on the floor, Brian’s jacket under my head smelling all manly of deodorant and sweat and I’m telling him my life. Well, as much as I remember.

When I got to the part about the recurring dream Brian asks me if that was what I saw. I tell him that this was different; more vivid, more detail. I explain how I have always believed that I was raised by my Aunt Emma, but in this dream it didn’t seem like she was my aunt at all.

“Don’t you know how she’s connected? I mean what the relationship is that made her an aunt?” the look of incredulity is profound.

“I never thought of it” I tell him, “not until now.”

“Remarkable,” he rubs his unshaven chin with his right hand and offers his left to help me up. In it is the New Zealand key ring.

“I found it in the backpack and some old letters”.

 

Comments

Well thought out. A really interesting chapter, Joe. The flashback gives us a little more backstory and was well done. The backpack is the key (excuse the pun) to the whole mystery. I love the fact that the story is anchored inside the house and not charging all over the place. It makes a nice change to read drama on the set, as it were. You have really shown how Tamara is feeling and I also liked the way Brian plays a bit part but that his part is that of a feed so Tamara can continue with the story. Not an easy POV to write in. I had difficulty with this on my chapter. Smashing job, Joe.
Thanks Ray for the kind words of encouragement.
This is a stunning chapter. I also like the link to Brian but those descriptive passages are so vivid and so cleverly raises a question around Aunt Emma and the key ring running through each chapter like a thread is very well executed.