Flash Fiction: At Dusk

My home has always possessed an overwhelming cold that chilled my bones. As if the ice box had been left open and the slow trickle of frost crawled along the walls and nipped at my nose in my sleep, searing my sinus and causing frequent bloody noses in the middle of the night. It was around the time I wet the bed and nearly choked on my own blood that I paid a visit to my general practitioner.

“I’d like to run an MRI. Your pupils hardly react to light, and your reflexes are dull,” he said.

I went for the scan and under the recommendation of the doctor, had a very generous dinner. I grilled some lamb and roasted a tray of red potatoes, sprinkling pepper and sea salt with a drizzle of olive oil. Their crispy skins shattered under my teeth and melted in my mouth, the slosh of red wine washing it all down.

I warmed my hands above the stove top and continued drinking wine until I felt warm enough to move. I wrapped myself in another sweater and two large down jackets before crawling into bed with a full glass and a fresh refill of Valium.

I woke up at 2 AM covered in sweat. This has never happened before. My den of ice has kept me in a constant state of deep freeze and the last time I perspired was at least seven years ago when I appeared for jury duty. I eyed the bottle of Valium, reaching for a couple more to ease my discomfort. There was not a single capsule remaining. The beads of sweat grew cold and shrouded my body back into the familiar ancient cold I had grown accustomed to. How could I have taken all thirty pills? I checked the floor and bed, perhaps I had dropped some. There were none in sight, so I lifted the phone off the receiver and cradled it against my ear.

The dull tone of the ever patient phone line hummed into my ear like a lonely lullaby. I listened to it until a woman’s voice alerted me that if I should make a call, I need to dial a number and try again. I hung up, picked it up once again, and listened to the soft charms of the purring telephone before falling back into the grip of my frozen blankets.

Endless winter is upon me, its frigid lips pressing gently against my chest, slowing my tired heart. I will be swept away into the infinite blizzard and blown across the peaks of mountains and pressed into the icy snows of the north. I will rest when the cold disappears, when the stars plunge into eternal darkness, when the darkness shrivels up and folds onto itself endlessly.


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