The Night the Twinkle in His Eyes Died

Nothing compares
No worries or cares
Regrets and mistakes
They are memories made.
Who would have known how bittersweet this would taste?

Someone Like You by Adele

A strange sensation seeped over me like viscous black oil. My heart shuddered and I dropped the copy of “Me Before You” I was re-shelving. I breathed deeply while thinking that extra cup of coffee had been a mistake. The clock read 3:28.

It was a slow day. The weather was fantastic: a perfect mesh of cool and sunny with the sky cerulean and cloudless.

My cell vibrated in my pocket. A text from Tina: call me.

I told Lucy I was taking a break and sat on a bench in front of orange zinnias. “What’s up?”

“There’s been a mass shooting.”

“That’s bad. Where this time?”

“It’s here, Clare, where Dominic works.”

I hung up and with shaky fingers hit speed dial. Straight to voicemail. My thumbs jabbed out a text and I waited.

His ringtone sounded. Relief poured over me and I smiled, imagining the twinkle in his eyes. “You’re okay?”

Tansy’s teary voice spoke. “Clare, get to Memorial. It’s really bad.”

In the car, I jabbed the button for all-news radio. Eight police officers shot. My body trembled. I tried to focus on driving, tried to be careful. So many stoplights. Each time I stopped, I heard Tansy’s quaking voice.

The emergency room was organized chaos. Tansy was talking to a paunchy man I recognized as their Lieutenant. She had blood on her gray T-shirt and jeans. If it hadn’t felt real before, it did now.

Please let him be alive.

Tansy saw me and hugged me. She started crying again and I felt my stomach drop. I was too late.

“He’s in surgery. He’s died once already.”

Seeing my pallor, she dragged me into the nearest bathroom, the men’s toilet, where I vomited everything from my stomach into a urinal.

“He’s tough. He’ll make it.”

I nodded and rinsed my mouth. She led me through doors to a waiting room of stiff chairs where we held vigil, desperately gripping each other’s hand.

 

end 9/7/2016

S. Darlington

14 thoughts on “The Night the Twinkle in His Eyes Died

        1. Oh, yes, thank you. I took it as a tremendous complement. It’s made up. It’s part of the little flash fiction series I started to have fun with the daily prompts….although I guess this one wasn’t “fun?” And, thanks for taking the time to comment. I truly appreciate it.🙂

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            1. you know you can “ping” one of their posts and it will notify them. In other words, link to their “about” page when you do your write up; if they don’t have an about page, you can just link it to one of their other posts. (Is that clear as mud?)

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