Quit Playing Games

Chapter 54

The sheer curtains billowed in the wind that came in from the open window. She moved forward and slowly un-popped the buttons on the side and pushed the frame down. But still the curtains billowed.

That was how she knew she was in a dream.

She turned around, looking at the room. It was large and lushly furnished. A large dark oak armoire stood on her right, while an old fashioned washstand stood against the far wall. Beside her, a large desk was covered with white candles of various heights. Some had burnt down almost all the way while others hadn't even been lit.

She took a step forward, almost tripping over something that lay on the floor. She bent and picked it up. It was a large men's shoe: shiny black, as if it had been recently polished. It seems to glisten in her hands, then dissolved and trickled through her hands in a dark wave. She frowned, but took another, more careful, step forward. The floor that had been nicely carpeted turned into a long, gray fur. As if she was walking through bearskin.

In a way it tickled, but in another it started a tremor of fear through her. There was something about the color, the feel, that warned her but she still couldn't put her finger on it.

Another step and the fur was still there, but rather than cover the entire floor she realized that it was a long fur coat. That send another trickle of foreboding through her...

She looked up, seeing a large bed in front of her. It hadn't been there before, but that was the way it was in dreams. It was a four-poster bed with long poles: actually, they looked more like walking canes. Heavy brocade curtains hung down and the urge to open them and see what was on the bed was almost more than she could refuse.

A sound came from the other side of the room and she looked over. There was nothing there, however, the wall was now a bright red and the air seemed to waver wildly. A white figure seemed to form, but not enough for her to distinguish whom it was. She looked back quickly, but now the wall on her other side had changed too. It was a large vacuum tube. Two discs high above her held figures that were too distant for her see and they seemed to be playing some form of game, as a ball streaked back and forth between them.

She tried to call out to them, but no matter how hard she felt she called no sound issued from her throat.

Stumbling forward, she put out her hand and grabbed onto the bed. It had changed too: was now made of rough wood branches that wove themselves upward. She reached to pull back the curtain, which now appeared sheer but still masked what was behind it, and noticed that the wall was now a warm orange with a guitar hanging on it. A tremor of terror wove through her at the sight, but she still couldn’t figure out why.

Pulling back the once-again brocade curtains she found an empty bed full of dust. She reached for the covers and picked up an old taxidermied rabbit, which she cast aside. Beside it was a black top hat with speckles of blood on it. Shuddering she cast that aside too.

A noise behind her sounded and she spun quickly to see a skateboard slide by on a now icy floor. A black cowboy hat sat on its front and a small toy dog with a bobbling head on the back. To her right a basketball was talking on a cellphone before suddenly winking out of sight. She shook her head and turned back to the bed.

Brian was lying on it, propped up against virginal white silk sheets. He had a wide grin on his face, and wore only a pair of briefs. Backstreet briefs.

“Hey, beautiful,” he whispered huskily. “You have no idea how much I have been looking forward to this.”

Her mouth went dry at the look of love in his eyes and she knew that she was reflecting it on her face. She moved, crawling on her knees as she perched on the side of the bed. As she gazed at him she noticed that blood was starting to trickle down from the wound on his chest from where he had had his open-heart surgery. She gave a mew of protest and grabbed the first thing she could find to wipe away the blood. Looking down she realized that it was an Indian style shirt, made of cotton with blue threading.

Here eyes lifted back to Brian’s face, but now it was Howie’s. The look of longing was still there though, and it frightened her enough to make her lean back.

“Don’t be afraid,” he said. His eyes were now Brian’s blue, but it was still Howie’s face. Even that started to waver and as he continued to reassure her, the face she gazed at moved through all of the Boys before returning to Brian’s. Still Howie’s voice, though.

Her frustration with the dream overcame her and found she could speak. “I don’t understand,” she wailed.

Brian smiled sweetly, then sat forward, lining himself up in front of her. Then slapped her hard across the face. She rocked back at the sudden attack. He smiled wider and slapped her again. And winked.

“Brian!” she protested, raising her hands in front of her face to stop any more blows.

The smile on his face became fixed and then dripped away. Literally. White tissue fell into his lap as his face became one of pain and suffering. The trickle on his chest became a torrent, pouring down to join the gobbets of flesh.

She began to cry, terrified by the scene in front of her.

Brian began to wail as well. Agonized howls of grief that tore at her heart. The yowls were just sound at first, but then she could hear the words within them.”

“How could you? I loved you? I loved you more than anything else in the world? How could you cheat on me? How could you sleep with him? How could you betray me like this? I thought you loved me? How could you whore with him?”

His words pounded on her and she covered her ears with her hands. She squeezed her eyes closed, concentrating on trying to shut them out. It didn’t work: the words seemed to flow from her hands directly into her ears.

Opening her eyes she looked at Brian as he continued to rail at her. In his lap, formed of the blood and flesh, was Howie’s face. He winked at her and then smiled wickedly.

Her scream pulled her out of sleep. Sweat covered her and her body shook with fear. Tears streamed down her face, but she made no move to wipe them away.

“Oh God,” she muttered over and over as she rocked back and forth trying hard to calm herself.

She crawled from her tangled sheets and stumbled to the bathroom. Looking in the mirror at her bloodshot eyes, snarled hair and tearstained face, she shakily reached out to turn on the taps. With a sudden shake she bent over the sink and threw up the contents of her stomach, not stopping until she was heaving drily. Glad that the running water had washed away almost all the vomit, she filled her hands with water and washed her clammy face. She grabbed a facecloth and dampened it before twisting the water out of it and pressing it against the back of neck.

“Oh God,” she murmured again.

She opened the medicine cabinet and pulled out a bottle of sleeping pills. Pulling one tablet out of the bottle she popped it her mouth, washing it down with a glass of water. She grimaced at the taste and grabbed her toothbrush. Brushing vigourously to get rid of the taste of the pill and the vomit, she stared sadly at her reflection.

Putting aside the toothbrush, she wiped her blonde hair back from her face.

“Make it happen, Nick and Kat. Fix this for me, please God. I can’t take this anymore. Get rid of him, get Howie out of my life. Oh God, I can’t take this anymore. Keep him way from Brian,” Leighanne whispered, before hiding her face in her hands and beginning to crying. “I can’t lose Brian… Please, I love him too much. I can’t lose Brian.”

Chapter 55