Status: Infrequent updates!


The Puddle of Mud

I was taking the trash out as I waited for Ambrose to pick up his phone. I'd continue until he answered, I deserved just this.

My thoughts were excruciating, jabbing at me, telling me these were signs – but they were unfounded. I mean, there had to be a reason why he told Ciara, right? I couldn't go accusing him straight away.

He had to have a reason, definitely.

But as I tried and tried his number, the less convinced I was.

I gazed at the evening sky. Purple haze and stars that played peek-a-boo with the swollen clouds, it should have been beautiful. I should have felt relaxed and at peace with the calm of the dusk, but all I could think about was how dark my life had become.

My bones tingled underneath my chilly flesh, ringing a tune in my head that was shrill in frequency. They played a song I no longer felt connected to... and it was suffocating me.

My chest tightened so hard it was frightening to try to breathe. I just wanted it to be over.

Was that too much to ask?

I hung back as my co-workers left, laughing at stupid jokes. I only wish I could be in the frame of mind to find anything funny. I remember those days.

Without another chance to think about it, my mobile vibrated.

"Ambrose?" I zipped up my jacket as I began walking. I didn't know which direction I was heading.

"Yeah, is everything okay?"

I wanted to scream at him, because things obviously were not okay. So much that I wished I could reach into the phone and pull his ass up through the speaker. I mean, how could things even be remotely close to alright, when he was related to someone as monstrous as Ciara?

I swear, he was clueless.

"Ciara dropped in at my work today... do you think things are hunky dory?" I didn't mean to sound snippy, but that's just the after effects of dealing with her, I guess.

There was a moment's pause, before, "Fuck."

I rolled my eyes, as I traveled home; my real one. Living with Jesse was nice, and he was still such a sweetheart, but I had to face the music someday. Hey, for all I know, perhaps they'd seen the error of their ways and were looking to reconcile.

A girl can dream, right?

I'd just bypassed the salon, and waved to my hairdresser, when Ambrose broke the silence again.

"I'm sorry she was horrible to you, but she had reason to know, right? Obviously, I wouldn't like her to be a suspect."

A brother's love, even for an ice queen like Ciara, blinded him. To him, although he'd been tipped for years that she was not a nice person, his soft spot for her hadn't weaned. It would be cute if she wasn't so... well, her.

But people are just doing what they must to get by, you shouldn't be judging them, my conscience whispered.

I grunted.


"What?" I tuned back in, as I avoided colliding into a man's shoulder.

"Do you disagree? Should I really not have told her?"

I opened my mouth to say of course he shouldn't have, but stopped myself at the last second.

Because I realized he was right. Telling her was smart, keeping it from her would make her believe I already saw her as nothing but guilty. Innocent until proven otherwise, isn't that what they say?

"No, you're right. I guess she just riled me up the wrong way today." I ran a hand through my hair, releasing it from the strain of its ponytail. "How are you keeping, anyway?"

His laugh was infectious.

"I'm in the library. You can drop in if you want?"

I didn't hesitate, saying I'd be there in a few minutes. My parents would just have to wait, it seemed.

As I crossed the road, I saw Chief Gilbert hanging on the car door of a young driver. He was speaking loudly, as pleasant as always. So, I had no idea why my skin crawled when they'd began laughing in unison.

I halted opening the library doors, when he straightened up and our eyes connected. He was far enough away now, but it didn't extinguish the butterflies that fluttered wildly in my stomach.

Breaking contact, I entered the library, but it wasn't without the accompany of a dreaded feeling.

My feet created echoes in the halls, but I tried to mute them as much as I could, as I approached the study hall.

The light cold slid down my shirt back, meeting at my coccyx and making me shudder. It came partnered with a small chorus of murmurs, that I pinpointed originated from the group of school kids at the study desk, heavily engrossed in their mind maps.

Ambrose was here, I could see him in my peripheral vision, clicking on his laptop. As always, the rising steam from his coffee fogged up his glasses.

From the moment he looked up, and we made first contact, I knew everything I'd ever known before. Before yesterday, when I woke up in the water. Before the world got so hazy.

Somehow, being with Ambrose was as easy as breathing – but no matter how much I clawed at the hands that had grabbed me and held me down, I was drowning in suffocating blackness.

Some things just so happened to be more powerful.

Taking the free seat next to him, he grinned at me through a frothy white layer. It was gentle, undeceiving, so much that I didn't trust it.

"What are you researching?" I watched intently as he clicked on the appropriate articles and his hands whizzed across the keyboard. "Anything interesting?"

"Actually," Peering behind us quickly, he lowered his voice to a near whisper. "I'm looking to see if drowning can cause memory loss."

True enough, his Google search said just that. I pulled my chair in closer, though the thought of my near-death experience shook me to my core.

All of a sudden, his smile faded, mimicking my stony expression. We both knew this was a serious matter, because it meant that perhaps...

Shit. I didn't want to think like that.

"There!" I hit the screen, knowing Ambrose shot me a look, but ignoring anyway, as my eyes followed the words on the screen. "In near drowning accidents, a victim may suffer memory loss, have poor judgment and motor coordination. If the oxygen has been cut off for more than 5 minutes, the brain's neurons begin to die and a coma, or even death may result... a full recovery is possible if the oxygen supply was disrupted only briefly..."

I stopped, only because my throat was growing dry and it was getting hard to breathe. Was my vocal chord swelling? Was the air constricting me further? I didn't know, I just had the distinct feeling that I'd rather hyperventilate than breathe this cursed oxygen.

My head pounded, like my heart and brain had transferred places. If Ambrose was talking, then his words went unheard. All I could distinguish was the fact that I wanted to throw my guts up.

Things were different. I could see that now. I could see everything.


I raised my head, watching as six of him returned to being just the one. But the warmth was still there, and the unsettling burning in my stomach didn't cease.

"You woke up in the morning... that's overnight. How are you even alive? Better yet," He bit his lip. "How are you not brain-dead?"

I shouldn't be alive. If they'd held my head under the water with such force, left me in the water to rot and inhale the weeds, why was I full functioning? Why was I still here, when I definitely shouldn't be?

It's one thing to drown for a brief amount of time, get up and resume your daily life. It's another to wake up, washed ashore after a full night of binge drinking, and soaking in misplaced glory.

It seemed the longer I continue to live, I wish I'd just stayed dead.