Lake Blue Whispers
By Lanie Goodell
‘I hate you… hate you… hate you… Hate. HATE. HATE! The words crept over my skin like ants, climbed through my pores, and marched up my arteries and into my brain. I stared at the violently white wall in front of me. I hate you!
Her voice bounced off the walls surrounding the delicate grey tissue of my cerebellum, echoed through the caverns of my neural pathways until she enveloped every centimeter of grey matter.
Something fell outside the door to my left but I kept my eyes trained on the wall. The bricks, with their porous surfaces, began to engulf the tiny ants. The same tiny ants that flooded my brain. The same tiny ants that crawled through my skin. The same tiny ants that were seeping through the ceiling in appalling numbers.
I stretched forward. My back scraped against the matching brick wall. Wait. No. That was wrong. I wasn’t leaning against a wall. I’d placed the pillow behind my back. The fabric of the pillowcase, grey as the fabric of my brain, seemed to have turned into an abrasive fiber much like that of a Brillo pad.
The microscopic ants flowed out of the scratches caused by the erosive material. The chair on which I sat, though intended for long term use, was hard against my bones. I couldn’t tear my eyes from the spot on the wall. The spot at which the ants came together to form a single word. Hate.
That word. That single word could make my heart turn over. My pulse quickened as I remembered the feel of spun satin. Golden spun satin cascading from the woman’s skull. It had spilled through my fingers as she sang those words.
A pool of liquid, lake, blue swarmed before my eyes. Sparkling waters that had turned dull as I caressed the pulsing artery whispering so softly to me. I gripped the edge of the pillow, remembering the thrill of watching the shimmering light of the woman’s lake blue eyes dim.
They clouded as I pushed, just a little harder, just enough to feel the whispering quiet and slow. So sluggish. I longed to feel that once again. To hear that whisper pulse through my hand. Lake blue quickly became my favorite color. I wished so desperately that I could change the color of my wall. My wall. The ants danced across my wall. Lake blue swirling ants.
I loved the ants. So glad they were no longer sage. They’d been sage too long. So much longer than they had been chocolate or ebony. The green ants had been with me weeks. So many weeks. The lake blue ants calmed me.
Someone knocked at the door. The pounding of flesh on wood excited my stomach. I could hear the skin scrape against the solid oak. As I listened to the movement again, the lake blue ants began to seep back into the porous white brick.
The fabric of the pillow at my back created vivid red marks as the beautiful ants scattered across my skin, following the veins moving out of my cerebral tissue. Hate. The ants whispered, as if to let me know they’d be back. Each time they left I felt so odd. I missed them.
I glared at the door. The thick oak hiding the acid look I cast that way.
A rough man’s voice called out. “Ms. Palmer?”
My ants were gone. I could no longer feel the comfort of their presence within my skull, only all my nerve endings as I slowly stood. The fabric of my gown felt like the pillow, creating an uncomfortable rash along the tender flesh beneath.
I adjusted my shoulders, reveling in the feel of the coarse fabric hitting my ankle, just an inch above the t-strap of my heels. I stalked to the door and jerked it open. The ache in my shoulder a pleasant memory of the evening before.
“That’s Judge Palmer, Mr. Anderson. I do hope you are more professional in the courtroom,” I snapped at the young bailiff in the hall. “I’ll be there in five minutes. After all, it’s not as though they can begin without me.”
Taking a last look at the disappointingly sparse walls, devoid of the beautiful blue reminder of my most recent victory, I smiled. There would be another. There was always another.