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Adam entered the living room and sat down with a glass of red wine, careful not to spill. He needed to have another talk with his wife. Things could get difficult. The wine helped him keep a level head.
“I’m glad you’re here. We have to talk.”
“Okay,” she said. “About?”
“Can you help me to understand why you did it? Why you hurt me like that?”
Clara was silent for a long while. Adam took a sip from the glass, remaining patient.
“I was hurting too. And confused. Please…forgive me.”
“It’s hard, Clara.”
“I know. But I don’t want to talk about it now.”
Adam stood up, paced around the room a few times, and sat back down. “Well, are you happy? Can you at least tell me that much?”
“Yes, so long as you’re with me. I won’t leave you, Adam. You have to know that.”
“I know. And I love you, Clara.”
“I love you too.” There was another long pause. “Do you know I sometimes watch you while you sleep?”
“Really?” Adam idly swirled the dark liquid, observing how the glass refracted the room’s light. “I’ve been having bad dreams lately, so just knowing someone’s there watching over me really helps. Thank you, honey.”
“I have to leave now.”
“Already?” he asked, surprised.
“Hey, I know. You should come with me.”
His brow furrowed. “I…I can do that?”
“Sure. You already know how.”
“How?” he asked, sensing he wouldn’t like the answer.
“Same as me, silly.”
The room seemed to dim at the corners, as if its huddled shadows were conspiring to eavesdrop. “What? How could you say that, Clara?”
Another pause. “Clara’s not here,” came the reply.
Adam felt his stomach bottom out. “What…you mean…you’re not..?”
“No. Never was. But I did speak to her once.”
The deceit stung at his eyes. “Oh yeah? And what did you say?”
He shot up from his chair, rubbing his temples. “No. No, goddammit. H-how? How is this possible? All those things she said…I was talking to Clara, dammit. I was talking to her!” At this point Adam was not so much talking with another as he was pleading with himself. But he forced himself to sit back down.
The planchette beneath his fingertips raced across the board, spelling out a simple message.
Tears began to splash over random letters, blurring the ornate typeface. But Adam dared not remove his hands as the planchette continued to move.
“One more thing.” He did not respond, so it resumed without a prompt.
“Those aren’t dreams.”
Adam could recall only fragments of his nightmares – a dark alley, a dripping tunnel…the thrill of darting from shadow to shadow…a scream cut short…hands wrapped tight around something soft and yielding…and the reflection of the moon in a cold river, its black waters rushing at his bare waist.
He found his voice again, growling, “what do you mean?”
“I borrow you.”
At this, Adam withdrew his trembling hands and stared at them in disbelief. He choked out a single word: “Why?”
The planchette moved freely now, without need of human touch, and answered with a single word of its own:
Credit To – alapanamo