CHAPTER 1: Death
Down went my curtain in the bathroom, slamming straight to the floor with a loud rattle and a solid thunk. God, I muttered to myself. Time and time again I have asked Enrique to fix the curtain rod to the window, but like everything else, he makes promises to no avail. The hot steam from the shower was pouring slowly out from the top of the shower through the opening making its way slowly down to my bare naked chest, as I leaned over and firmly gripped the shower rod and curtain and thrust it to the other side of the toilet so that it was out of the way. I hated things in the way, you know. It irritated me like no other. I didn’t mind the clutter so much just as long as the clutter was organized, neat and ordered, designed to fit my fancy so that I may find it again in the near future. I was careful not to knock over my cell phone off the edge of the sink. II didn’t bother to read the time, curious as I was, this was my day off and stay at home leisure of mine to spend with Enrique.
I stood tall and straight gently pushing down my shorts below my waist catching a glimpse of my breasts and like always, I couldn’t help but stare at myself in the mirror over the sink. I could feel the humidity from the shower spraying softly on me and I could feel the shower becoming hotter as the steam soften my nipples that were once erected to molten shape like a snow cone once again. My stomach, exposed, I noticed my scar as my eyes traced it down to my pubic bone. My fingers lined the scar, the overlap of new tissue of when I had my C-section two years ago. The scar sparked painful memories of my past and brought back the feeling of the shiny hand held blade silver in color and cold and edgy to the touch. Dr. Atticus, who had a family but died from a fatal plane crash, Atticus being the only survivor of his family, dipped the blade down my stomach lacerating the skin and peeling open my dark chocolate flesh as I looked on in horror, unable to speak. My mouth gapped open with no sound escaping my lungs. Pink tissue swelled and rolled over each other until dark red ooze sputtered out of what used to be my perfectly formed abdomen. Horrified, I was horrified, eyes full of black terror, bulging and popping and writhing in sheer pain. I remember it so vividly, Atticus hesitating with a kind of hesitation of horror yet awe staring down at me with wide eyes, alert and confident. He wouldn’t admit it but there was a brief moment of desolation in his eyes, a moment of sadness and pity. Body trembling, seizing and with head sinking into itself like in death as I pitched my one and only shrill of pure and utter agony, Dr. Atticus paused and pulled back in almost defeat but resumed once again in haste, carrying on in this unthinkable task. It wasn’t a normal procedure for either of us. I dread to think about it, refusing to accept my dreadful fate.
I cringed at the thought of this, mumbling to myself, it’s over, it’s over, and it can’t hurt me anymore. I retracted my fingers sharply away from my mangled abdomen and ringed back my bangs from my forehead. I lowered myself into shower, immersing my body in its entirety under the running water. Hot on my face, I lowered the temperature with one hand as to not boil my skin off, laughing to myself of my misdirection. My skin soaked in the warmth, leaving my skin feeling rough to the touch. I started to hum this song I learned from my when I was a child playing with my grandmother when she cooked. As she slaved over the stove for my large and loud unappreciative family, she would hum this beautiful Spanish song that she said she heard on the radio while cooking everything from Italian, Mexican food to hot dogs and hamburgers, tapping and motioning her hips sideways as if inviting a duo from an obvious suitor. I could still taste the spaghetti on my tongue, salivating and longing for her dishes, when I suddenly heard the rod rattle intended for window. Water drippled down my lips and chin as opened my mouth to breath. My eyes filled with water as I stepped forward in the tub to pull back the curtain to see if maybe the rod wasn’t placed completely on the floor and out of the way as I intended it to be, you know me being compulsive slob as I am. When I pulled the shower curtain back, I saw the rod ceased to exist. I wasn’t hallucinating this, that I know…I think. I traced the steps rapidly in my mind of how I did it. The rod was laying on the right side of the toilet, and when I looked again, the curtain was the only thing left lying flat face to the ground. What the…. I muttered.
“Hello? Enrique? Are you home now? Good, because I need you to put that rod back up in the window for me please. People can see in at night and I know you don’t want the old men across the way to get a show every night for free,” I giggled. Enrique had went out to talk to them old men, our neighbors from across the way. Sometimes they needed help and that is the kind of man Enrique is. Very kind and thoughtful, plus them old men had a lot of stories to tell about their lives, their now deceased wives and the children that moved away and they don’t get to see as much. But they loved asking how I was, Enrique, how is your beautiful wife? Say hello for me. You are lucky to have someone as smart and beautiful as she. Give her a kiss for me. Enrique would always tell me what he would say to them every time they bring me up. “I tell them Rosa, I tell them ‘I will be sure to do a lot more with my Rosa, you don’t have to tell me. You nasty old men, you better watch yourself, I better not see you peeping through my windows for Rosa’ and they start laughing patting my shoulders,” Enrique would say to me. The dirty old men would say back in response, “then we better make haste and look through the window when you are not home, eh Enrique.”
I don’t mind the old men, they are harmless and fragile even though they would never admit it. Their wives had passed away not very long ago and loneliness was becoming their best friend. It was nice for Enrique to keep their spirits high and their use for play to keep them bold and honest.
“Enrique! Let me know when your done putting the curtain up in the window. I don’t want them to see me.” I drew back into the shower to finish rinsing my hair, freeing the soap from my body. Suddenly, so quickly, the shower curtain drew back abruptly exposing me in the shower as I jumped expecting to see Enrique….but no one was there. Not a single person in sight. I lifted my fingers to rush away the water from my eyes and peered into the hot humid fog in the bathroom. Directly across from the tub was the sink and mirror. To the left of the sink was the toilet in its own little cove near the wall with the window directly on the wall to the right of the toilet. It was day light outside, but despite the nice mid-morning of the day, the bathroom was still dim. My flare for the natural light has always been my second nature, I just never saw the point in not utilizing the moon. Which brought my attention back to rod that was missing action. I grew nervous, very nervous. I closed the shower curtain again. I knew Enrique wasn’t here because I had a natural sense for it. Enrique would joke, kid and even play games on me but never to the point he would frighten me. I was the one who took the jokes to a scary and frightening level at times. I turned the shower off and stepped out naked onto the carpet. I reached for my towel that was laying on the sink where I left it, wrapping the towel around me and blindly groping for my phone but it was gone. I stared down at the doorway and I noticed the door was ajar. I always close the door when I shower when Enrique isn’t home. You just could never be too sure.
I didn’t know what to make of it. I left my phone on the sink when I came in, at least I thought so. Whenever Enrique is gone, I keep my cell phone by me just in case something happens and he needs to get a hold of me and vice versa for me. Especially for me, Enrique always like to be sure if I ever need him, I can get a hold of him. But now my phone is gone and I have no idea who stripped the curtain open. I wipe myself down with the towel and re-wrap myself with it so I didn’t drip all over the floor. Nothing makes me crazier than having water all over the floors so our feet can pick up the dirt and carry that nasty grimy shit with us throughout the house with muddy dirt trails. I open the door, peek out into the hallway. Our room is to the left at the end and right is to the living room and kitchen, etc. I listened for a second to see if Enrique was home already, walking around in the kitchen getting his favorite fix for the day, coffee, but I heard nothing. Not a single damn thing. Fuck, fuck, FUCK! I ever so faintly said. It’s probably nothing, nothing at all and if someone really is here, I am not afraid to whip some ass if needed. Nothing is worse than having a scared women gone pyscho, wishing they never came into the Dunn’s home.
I walked out into the hallway and trotted down to our bedroom. I figured it was nothing and Enrique wasn’t very far away if I needed him. I casually dressed myself in my some long shorts and blue baggy workout top, loosely fitted and comfortable.
I slipped on some sandals and treaded over to the window peering out at Enrique and the three old men as they saw and waved, one of them winking at me. I smiled and waved back. Cute little old men, I thought. Enrique smiled at me and mouthed the words ‘I love you’ as he turned back into his conversation holding a cup of what I already expected it would be his morning fix, laughing and in-depth with whatever conversation he was having with them, probably trying to get some business advice. Ever since he got it into his head to own a business, he’s been hanging out with them old men more than usual lately. The old men had owned businesses before for many decades so it only made sense for him to want to get some ideas on how to run company with his wife at the helm. I didn’t mind he was spending more time with them, I wanted Enrique to be happy and I felt like it wouldn’t hurt to learn more about it. It honestly wouldn’t hurt for me to be a part of his life more in this way either. I know he needs me more then I want to accept.
As I was standing there by the window, I felt a warm but still breath on my shoulders and neck, my hairs stiffened and as I was getting ready to turn around and scream when I felt a painful blow to the back of my head and everything went black as the night. I awoke feeling the blood pulsing down into my head, sitting there like a pool of sludge. My left temple was throbbing and my eye was stinging. It didn’t take me long to realize that it was swollen having such a hard time opening it, but my right eye was good and so I peered out into the darkness or what appeared to be darkness until I saw an object zooming out like a camera lens. From what I saw was horrifying, my entire body stiff like a board, unable to move. I felt if I moved it would lunge at me, but truth is I couldn’t really tell. I stared into the darkness, pupils expanded, and my heart pounding and thudding against my chest swearing that it could hear me. Fear swept over me like a cold blanket as tears formed puddles that began to spill down my forehead and into my hair. All I could think about was Enrique, my beloved Enrique as I gazed on in disbelief for what I saw…. was death.