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  Fever Dreams- Star Slight - A Silver Ring

  Bill Goodman

  Copyright 2013 Bill Goodman






  Fever Dreams

  It only takes a dip and a pull, Colin thought as he dipped the syringe into a clear vial. The sterile metal pierced the spongy top of the vial in the silent room and echoed across the walls. Colin could feel his heartbeat reverberating down his legs and shaking the rustic wooden floor that held him above the Earth's crust. With a pull of his fingers, the liquid inside whistled up the needle and into a small reservoir that held it captive. Colin turned the syringe upwards and admired the clear cocktail that he had captured. Through it, the dark cabin room looked like the reflection of a fun house mirror. A caricature of this dark cabin interior. One more time, Colin looked out of the dingy window, out to the expanses of the north western forests. Colin did not take in the beauty of the army of trees that stood at attention on the steep mountain tops or the flock of crows that ravaged the skies. He focused on the foreground and made sure that Vickie's four door sedan was not in the drive way. With the absence of her old Ford, Colin turned his syringe downwards and plunged it into his exposed arm. From under his fair pale skin, vast circuits of blue veins popped up, like a river cutting through terraformed earth. Colin's blue eyes sank into the dark bags under them as he pushed the valve of the syringe downwards. Those blue veins arise higher and pushed his skin outwards as if they were trying to escape the confines of his limbs and dance into the world. Colin looked outside once more to make sure that Ford had not pulled up and focused on the whistling of the clear cocktail entering his veins.

  With a sniffle, Colin quickly gathered up the evidence. The dirty syringe he wrapped in paper towels. The vial he placed back into his pad locked refrigerator. He dabbed his new wound with a small cotton ball and placed it in with the syringe. Colin felt his nose begin to dribble with snot as he left his study in the cabin. He walked through the dark hallways of his summer cabin and into the kitchen. When he turned his head downwards to the red flip top trash can that Vickie's mother had gotten the couple as a wedding gift, he felt the cascading mucus cross the part of his lips and then drip down, splattering the top with cloudy liquid. Colin stepped on the pedal below and dug in the trash, exposing the bottom of the bag. With his free hand, he took the napkin covered syringe and cotton ball and stuffed the packet deep inside the garbage. He released the trash with his other hand and patted the debris into it's proper place to hide the packet he had hidden. Colin felt a shiver creep up his spine and into his head as he felt his lungs shrink and a stark coldness in his bronchi. He poured himself a glass of orange juice with his shaky hands. As he heard the old ford drive up, crushing tiny rocks and specs of dirt under it's four heavy tires, he stomped into his bed room and covered himself in a colorful shawl. The bottoms dragged on the dusty cabin ground when the loud echoing of his stomps devolved into shrill sliding as his feet lacked the strength to pick themselves up. As Vickie entered the front door of the cabin, he could hear the sliding of Colin's slippers masking his sniffling that crept through the entire cabin. As she turned her eyes towards the direction of the sound, Vickie only saw a colorful trail of fabric dragging itself through a door way and a brown door shut behind it. Dust rose from the base of the door and danced in the light of the air.

  Inside the bedroom, Colin was able to make out the vague shape of his bed in the dusty horizon. He stretched his hand out as he approached. To an outside onlooker, he would appear like a leper reaching out to the messiah. Colin's shamble filled the room and the friction beneath his feet grew stronger. As Colin's foot slid across the splintered floor, it met a raised board, that looked to have been scuffed and roughly sanded. His slipper caught the board and Colin came crashing down beside his bed.

  Vickie gently sat the three paper bags of groceries on the kitchen counter when she heard the crashing coming from the bed room. She first turned her head and stared at the closed door in front of her. Vickie took the time to place the perishables into the large refrigerator that sat nestled between the counter and the wall. Milk, eggs, butter, cheese, all in their proper places. Then, she opened the bedroom door. Once inside, beams of sunlight poured through filters of floating dust. The tattered green drapes over the window waved in the room, staggering sunlight in the room. Underneath the solar spotlight, she saw Colin, lying still underneath her grandmother's shawl. The fantastic colors of the shawl clashed harshly with the drab brown floor and even more harshly with Colin's dingy yellow fingers protruding underneath it. Vickie sighed and pulled the shawl off of Colin. Exposed to the sunlight, Vickie watched over Colin, who was shaking or convulsing on the hard wood floor. Dust was beginning to collect on his face while Vickie folded the shawl and placed in on Colin's bed. She pulled down the sheets of the bed. It was cool enough between the sheets that she could feel it giving off icy waves as she flatten the sheets. Mustering all of her strength, she lifted Colin by the shoulders onto the bed. Vickie was a small woman, making this quite a feat for her. Using the last of the force she lad left, she pulled Colin to get his whole body settled, causing her to fall back on the bed, with his convulsing body on top of her.

  Vickie left the room clapping her hands together to clean the majority of the dust off. Once back inside the kitchen, she calmly placed the rest of the groceries into their correct places. Once done, she made her way outside where the brisk mountain air cooled the sweat that had collected on her brow. She placed both of her hands in her pockets. From one, she pulled a cell phone. From the other, a pack of cigarettes. Palmetto Slims. She slid a cigarette from her pack with a flick and placed the pack back in her pocket while using her other hand to fiddle with her phone. She produced a lighter and lit the cigarette, feeling the warmth of the flame loosen the chilled joints in her fingers. She dropped the lighter back into her pocket and took a long inhale and blew smoke over the mountains in front of her. She hit dial.

  “Hello?” a soft voice on the other end asked.

  “Yes, my name is Vickie Erics. I called earlier this week,” She said as she let the cigarette hand from her fingers. She eyed the smoke as it rose into the atmosphere above her.

  “Oh yes!” The soft voice grew excited. “Daisy told me about you. You are Colin Erics' wife, right? The writer?”

  “Yeah,” Vickie said. Smoke spilled from her nostrils as she spoke. “That's me.”

  “Well, I do hope everything is alright. I don't know what I would do without another Colin Erics novel to read!”

  “I wish it was that way,” Vickie said as she turned back towards the cabin. It just sat there, looming against the mountain tops. Trees surrounded the small cabin like green walls miles thick. The only other thing Vickie could make out besides the mountains and the trees was the long winding dirt road that she drove on. The only way to or from this quaint citadel. “But, I'm afraid Colin has taken ill. He's been sick for weeks. I've been trying to take care of him best I can. I don't think it's helping though.”

  “Oh, I see,” the voice on the other end said. Vickie could hear shuffling. Possibly papers, possibly the pages of her husband's latest novel for all she knew. “That's quite unfortunate. Time to seek professional care, yes?”

  “It is. I've tried everything I can, but I'm at my wits end. If anything, I think I'm making him sicker.” Vickie could feel tears forming in her eyes and then falling. They spread over her face like the rivers they took to get here.

  “Oh now, sweetheart,” the voice on the other end sounded like an old woman. Old women always loved Colin's books. “Don't go and say that. You are doing all you can, baby. Just give me your addres
s and we'll get one of our best folks out there to help you and Mr. Colin out, okay?”

  “Thank you,” Vickie said, now bursting into a weep. “Thank you so much.”

  Vickie returned inside and sat down on the couch in the den. Every few seconds, she heard a deep wheezing breath come crashing through the hallway to the bed room. It poured through the house like an echoing flood.

  Back in the bedroom, Colin fell into his fever. Somewhere between consciences, he traveled to places he was sure he was not meant to roam. Occasionally, he would open his eyes just to ensure himself that he was in a dream, but also to ensure that he could not escape it. Colin trapped himself inside his dream, but had his full mind about him. Just a conscientious observer, a fly on the wall, a journalist with a empty pad ready to be filled with notes. Colin could feel his body toss and turn and soak in the sweat his body was producing, but could not draw himself from the depths of his slumber.

  In his sleep, he could see many things he could not tear himself away from. He witnessed three children inside of a suburban home. A ranch house straight from “The Brady Bunch.” Three girls in long white gowns as if they were getting ready for bed, but the room had no beds
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