New horror fiction.
“Hello!” Dae called from the doorway of the house. Carolyn shuffled around the corner, draped in layers of flannel, with a blanket wrapped around her shoulders.
“Hey,” Carolyn said.
“Damn you are a sexy bitch,” Dae said. She held up bags. “I used my key. Hope that’s okay. And I brought lo mein, about twenty spring rolls, tea and wine. Oh and porn. Something in here should help.”
“Thanks,” Carolyn said. “Just…put them in the kitchen. Or wherever.” Carolyn walked slowly to the living room and dropped into a chair.
“So…” Dae said.
“So,” Carolyn answered.
“What’s going on?”
“I don’t know.”
“Is it bad?” Dae asked.
“Maybe. I don’t think so,” Carolyn said. “But they don’t know. I’m supposed to see him tomorrow. Talk about the tests.” Carolyn rested her head on the back of the chair. “Shawn is crushed. Not that he’s acting like it”
“He is brighter and shinier than I’ve ever seen him. Hanging out with friends. Going to hear music. He started taking pictures again. Has more clients than he can book. Hasn’t had a seizure in a year.”
“No, sweetie, not why is he acting, like, some white frat boy. Why is he crushed?”
“If we go to the appointment, and it’s bad, then my uterus is officially off the market. Yanking it off the shelves. Expired. Done.”
“Shit,” Dae said, looking at the floor.
“But if you go in there tomorrow and they say, that’s it, baby is off the table– are you…”
“I didn’t know if I ever even wanted a baby,” Carolyn said. “I didn’t think so. You know that. I’m not a mom. Now, all I see is babies. All I hear is kids. Singing. Screaming. I can’t stop them.” The sound of tinny carousel music came from the next room. “See? My phone.”
“Oh. Go ahead,” Dae said.
“No,” Carolyn said.
“I can go get it,” Dae shifted to stand.
“I said no,” Carolyn demanded.
The women sat without talking. The music marched on for a few more seconds and then stopped. Carolyn hung her head.
“I hate to bring this up,” Dae said.
“Just say it,” Carolyn said. “I know that’s why you came.”
“It’s not,” Dae said. “I wanted to see you.”
“Bullshit. What did they say?” Carolyn said, picking up her head and staring pointedly at Dae.
Dae breathed. “They’re taking you off all your current projects. Raj is going to call you on Friday to formalize it.
“Fuck,” Carolyn said, letting her neck go slack and dropping her head to the back of the chair.
“They’re not firing you,” Dae said. “He is absolutely clear on that.”
“Sure as hell sounds like it,” Carolyn said.
“I’m sorry,” said Dae. “It sucks. But…”
“I don’t want to sound like a bitch. Yeah, I’m your manager, but I’m your friend first and after. The work still needs done. The ad buys are slowing down and we need the content. And besides all that, I think you’re a fabulous woman. But you weren’t getting it done when you were there. I’d rather you be here and get better.”
“He’s a massage therapist, Dae. You know what he makes, what we have. How are we supposed to make it on one salary? In New York?”
Dae pulled out an envelope and handed it to Carolyn.
“Pay me back when you can. I probably won’t be there much longer anyway. Looking at some new companies. Maybe try something on my own. When I do, you come with me.”
Carolyn hung her head and tears filled her eyes. “I can’t cry. It hurts.”
“Then don’t, you maudlin, moody bitch.”
Dae crouched down to the floor and wrapped her arms around Carolyn. They smiled. Then, Carolyn wept.
“I hate you,” Carolyn.
“I hate you too,” Dae responded.
Carolyn trembled as she exhaled in spurts and cuts.
“You’re okay,” Dae said. “Promise. You’ll get better and figure this out.”
Carolyn said nothing. Her tears stung her skin when they rolled down her cheeks. There was a twinge in her stomach. Then another one. And then a faint flutter. As soon as she felt that, she stopped crying. She knew what the tests would show. And she knew that they would be wrong. Only she knew what was happening.
If you enjoy these literary ramblings, my new suspense novel Drowning Above Water is available at Amazon.