A Road More Traveled
Diana woke screaming, covered in blood, and found him laying dead by her side.
Her pink nightie was soaked through, sticky, and the room reeked of rust. Frozen in terror she stared at two wounds in the back of his head, each pouring blood. Her head pounded, and her vision was blurry. Was this even real? The warm, sap-substance all over her told her it was. The night before was a giant blank zone in her head, except for the gun. Had she fired it? She vaguely remembered the boom, how it shook in her hand, and acrid smell of gunpowder. A hangover from hell gripped her like a wicked vice, pressing the back of her neck and squeezing painfully.
She tried to get up, tried to run, but her legs dumped her by the side of the bed instead. The blood curdling scream she expelled scared even her. Did that come from her?
Scrambling in the dark for her cell phone on the nightstand, she finally grasped it and pulled it to the floor with her. Dialing 911, she barely waited for an answer before she screamed into the phone, “I’ve killed him! I’ve killed him!”
“Wake up, Diana!”
“No, no, no,” Diana murmured to the phantom telling her wake up, as she thrashed to and fro in the bed. He grasped her waist, pulling her toward him, and hissed in her ear again. “Wake up, please, baby, wake up!”
Diana’s eyes flew open and she lay stiff in his arms.
“George!” She screamed.
Her hands were curled by her sides and her legs straight out, and she couldn’t move. Her chest heaved, and she felt strangled all over again, just like every time he’d wrapped his hands right around her neck. As The remnants of that night slowly subsided, she sunk back into the mattress, this soft, deep one, and realized she wasn’t home.
Nor was it George beside her.
“Diana,” Justin’s voice pled with her again, “Di, please talk to me. You had a nightmare.”
Squeezing her eyes shut, she liked her lips and tried to control her breathing, counting to eight, holding for four, then exhaling for eight more, just like her therapist had taught her. Justin ran his hands down her arms, her waist, her thighs, and it calmed her.
For the first time, her breathing slowed, and she came back to reality much faster.
She finally turned on her side and looked at him, searching his face. “Justin,” she whispered.
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