Published by Amazon Genres: Contemporary, Psychological Thrillers, Romantic Suspense
There was nothing unique about the apartment. She inhabited a small one bedroom on
the fifth floor of a high rise near the Ottawa River. It was furnished sparsely and
decorated with a few antiques she’d picked up throughout the years. The Singer sewing
machine, circa 1911 seemed to hum in the corner on nights that she was feeling
especially lonely and when night had fallen too quickly. A red brocade area rug with a
yellow pattern cushioned her bare feet as she sat on her sofa trying to read.
The Thorn Birds failed to capture her attention and the storyline was dark, like her mood.
She set the novel beside her on the couch and pulled her knees up to her chest and
stared out the doors that led to her balcony. Snow was piled a quarter of the way up the
windows, producing patterns with a quasi-sinister quality. Or maybe it was just her
mind. Her thoughts were tortured and she felt like she was walking down a long, dimly
lit, windowless hallway and there was no end in sight.
Like her thoughts, it was endless. She rose from the couch and entered her little kitchen
with the wallpaper depicting various sizes of roosters, hens and chickens.
She flipped the light switch which made everything too bright and too real.
She wasn’t used to reality anymore. Pulling a block of cheddar from the refrigerator and a
knife from the drawer, she set both on the cutting
board and searched the cupboard for her favourite plate, a floral blue Wedgewood with
an exotic scene in the middle. She had found it the last time she had gone antiquing
which felt like an eternity ago.
Slicing exactly six pieces of cheddar, she walked back to
the living room with her plate and set it on the oval coffee table in front of her. Her
routine was always the same. She would eat three of the pieces of cheese and leave the
rest on the plate. Her compulsive tendencies were getting worse and she missed her old
self. She missed who she used to be and the image that stared back at her from the
bathroom mirror was someone unrecognizable. She felt like she was being followed by
her own self: the happy-go-lucky, smiling woman who called to her to return.
She was never alone.
Her demons became her shadow and for one fleeting moment in
time, she called to them to penetrate her. It was then that her voice was heard and her
breath lay crystalized on every surface – like ashes fallen from an urn. She ran one finger
across her coffee table and raised it in front of her, seeing a black film cover her
fingerprint but in reality, her finger was bare. She yelled out again, filling the room not
with words, but with noise. Any noise. She felt the monsters retreat, as if they were
afraid of the tinny sound of her voice and she was alone again – but it was only for a
“How long?” she asked the universe, doubling over and holding herself at the waist.
“How Goddamn long??”
She flipped the plate with cheese upside down, stood abruptly and walked over to the
balcony doors. The world was alive before her. She could see coloured lights, car
headlights and traffic lights. She could hear the horns of impatient drivers, the swoosh of
the tires that disturbed the slush and snow and she could even hear the people next door
at their party. She thought of him, then.
She traced the outline of his features with her finger, drawing his likeness in the
moisture on the glass before her. He had been kind to her. Her heart understood that. It
was her mind that painted him a different way. Something to run from.
She remembered dating. She remembered feeling excited and reveling in the unknown.
Dating was like hopscotch for giants. An adult game that made the heart jump instead of
the feet. A game she used to enjoy.
He was beyond handsome. He was cut from a mould that had since been broken. He
confused her. He wanted to speak with her and get to know her but he was too beautiful
for that. There was something else, too. Something she couldn’t think about. She was
sick of thinking. She was so tired of it. She wanted only to live again.
She looked at the clock that sat on top of the television. It was only half past five o’clock.
In the Summer, her home would have been filled with light and hope. She stared outside
and then back at the clock and then outside again and then with every ounce of strength
she could force from herself, she quickly walked to her bedroom, pulled on a pair of
socks and headed to the foyer. Stepping into her boots, she surveyed her home, shut the
light off in the kitchen, grabbed her purse and then her red coat.
She didn’t even care to lock the door.
Copyright Barbara Avon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barbara Avon is the author of eight novels. A romantic/suspense trilogy, a two part romance/time travel story, a stand-alone time travel/suspense romance and a two part thriller/romance. She is also the author of three children’s books. In 2017, Avon won second place in FACES Magazine “Best of Ottawa” awards in the female author category. In 2018, she was once again nominated and won in her category. Her books have been received favorably across the board, entertaining readers with an almost “movie-like” quality. Barbara has written since she was young, pursuing her dreams and vowing to write for as long as she can. She has worked at several different media publications and will continue to publish novels until “her pen runs dry”. She believes in paying it forward and you can read about this belief as the theme is given voice in most of her books. Avon lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, Danny. Connect with the author: Website | Twitter | Facebook
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