Chapter 14 – Chase
“Nicolas.” His name escapes my lips in lifeless whisper the chases the empty night. It is useless. He is gone. That last word rings hollow in my mind. Gone. Gone. Gone.
The sun fell into nothingness, gone like my heart. I scream. I called out his name. I cry out in denial.
Scalding tears blister my cheeks. The world is swimming mess of nothingness. The lights of the street lamps are smeared and drip into the blues and blacks of the buildings behind them. I feel the storm coming. An early snow storm. There are little black dots at my feet. The streets, just beginning to whiten, are wet with my tears. There is nothing left inside me. The past few weeks and months slip through me and out of me, down the drains of the city and into oblivion.
I hear myself screaming and yet it isn’t me. I hear myself calling his name over and over again. I hear myself shout out in denial. I will not let go, and yet it isn’t me who shouts, who denies. It isn’t me who cries. My heart cannot have been torn, shredded by his heartlessness. Not again. Not now.
There is silence.
Eternity passes as I stand there in oblivion. Snow flurries dance around me. Mocking me. The cold late evening fast turns into a bitter night. I watch as the street lights turned on. A door opens. Patrick runs over to me worried. I don’t move when he tells me I should go in out of the snow.
“Miss Lyons,” I barely register his voice, “Julia, the storm’s going to be a big one. You best go in, Miss Lyons.” He tries to put a coat over me. I let it hang there for a moment. The warmth of it gave me a momentary rush of feeling. Warmth. I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to feel. Patrick disappears and I shrug it off.
I must have stood outside in front of the granite steps for a long time staring blankly into the empty street in front of me. I’m trying to remember something. Which way did he go so that I could follow? I couldn’t remember. So I just stand here, a silent weeping statue. He had left so quickly. He must have been in a rush to get away from me. I want to melt like the snow into the cold black granite below me.
I look up into the unforgiving night. The lights of the city couldn’t fight off the darkness that was approaching. Patrick was right. This storm was going to be a big one. The blizzard that was threatening the edges of my heart had not yet swallowed me whole. It was waiting. Sorrow falls as soft harmless flakes.
My vision blurs. A hot shiver runs through my body. A searing white migraine over takes me and fall to my knees. My wrists are on fire. I claw at the bracelets. My heart burns and I disappear into the white pain. The nothingness of the blizzard takes me.
I stare into the white blanket of nothing whipping through the street. I would not fall into that nothingness again. I would not let go. What was I looking for? I could not remember.
My wrists are wet as I claw at them. I need to get these bracelets, these handcuffs, off. I claw at them.
I hurt all over and I am cold.
I tear my eyes away from the encroaching storm. Everything is blurry. I rip the glasses from my eyes and let them fall to the snow below. Much better. If I didn’t find shelter soon I’d be blown off course and I need to find something. The streetlights seem oddly bright now. The buzzing that they emit is tickling my ears. Irritated, I shake my head, my hair flying with the force of it. My head whips around and my sharp eyes focus on a sound across the street. I take a step towards it. There was a small squeaking noise coming from a trash can there. I see a sewer rat hop out and dash into a drain pipe. Was that what I was looking for?
The wind whips around my body in a fruitless attempt to drive me indoors and back into the warmth and safety of my home, my nest. Warmth. That reminds me of the something or someone I was supposed to be looking for. An image, slightly golden around the edges, flashes but I can’t wrap my mind around it. I blink and bring my hands up to my face. It was wet. Why was my face wet? It must be the snow.
My hands are covered in blood now. The bracelets are almost loose.
Something catches my attention. There is a large bird soaring in the sky. The storm tries to blow it off course. But that’s not what I’m looking for.
Across the street I see figures approach stepping out of the shadows. They are coming from all sides. But they are not who I am looking for. If they approach me I will defend myself.
What was I looking for? Perhaps I’d been hunting. My eyes pierce the drain pipe across the way. I see eyes looking at me through the pipe. No. That’s not what I wanted.
“Julia?” a recognizable voice called my name. I hide my bloody hands. “Julia… what on earth? Why are you standing out here?” It was my Aunt. She pulls me into the shelter of our home. I let her. Maybe I would find my answers inside.
The light inside is blinding. I switch it off. My Aunt says something about the storm but I don’t pay attention. I look out the window. The flakes of the blizzard were pounding up against the glass. I could hear the wheezing screech of the winds.
The figures across the street continue to stare at me.
I scowl as my Aunt switches the harsh halogen back on.
If I could only remember what I was looking for.
I ignore my Aunts insipid questions and I run up the stairs to my room. It looks alien to me but there is a familiar smell that lingers here. It smells of lavender and pine and something else. Something I’d never noticed before. It smells of feline. I wrinkle my nose. It wasn’t like the little kitty morsels my aunt kept at her office. My tongue clicks at the thought of dinner, but I need to concentrate. This smell is beginning to annoy me. I know it has something to do with what I am searching for.
With a screech, I finally get one of the bracelets off my wrist. It falls to the floor with a loud clunk. My migraine still throbs but it is so much better. My head clears a little. I work on the other bracelet.
Maybe if I just concentrate on this new smell. I crawl onto my bed. The smell is strongest here. I rub my nose into the softness there. The quilt smells like him. Blurry golden images float into my mind. Through the golden blur I see a pair of merciless blue eyes stare out at me. Watching me. Hunting me. This was the being I was looking for. He is running from me. He had hurt me.
I would hunt him.
But first. I crow with pain as I manage to tear the second bracelet off. I feel… light. I shiver and I feel as if I’ve plunged into an icy stream as that silver prison clanks to the floor.
I feel like I could fly.
I rub my nose once more into my bed. I need speed if I would catch him. My aunt is home. I hear her moving about below me. I would have half a minute to get out of the house before she realizes I am gone. I don’t think. I fly down the stairs, noiselessly, grabbing my Aunts keys as rush out the door.
The parking garage is next door. I hoist myself over the wrought-iron fence, my legs scraping against the spiked edges at the top. It hurts but it’s not enough to make me stop. I sprint past a sleeping security guard and up to the third floor.
I slow by a fraction. Would I take my Aunt’s new mini? Not a bad car. Fast enough. Or do I take my mother’s car. My aunt never drove it. She said she was keeping it for me. I knew that it would not only outstrip the mini by miles but it would also pulverize anything in front of it. No questions needed.
I whip the cover off the shiny candy-apple red paint and silver chrome. The little horse at the front of the hood smiles sweetly at me. This was my car. I unlock the door and jump in.
I don’t have the authority, legally or otherwise, to drive this beast, but my grandfather had shown my how to drive stick a few times and I was a pro at driving the carts at the Zoo. I turn the ignition and the car purrs under me. That noise, the feeling made my hunt all the more poignant. I let my hands rest on the leather of the steering wheel for a moment. Breathe in.
I fly out of the garage. Breathe out.
The sleek red car cuts through the sleet without a thought. The icy wet ground was no match for the heavy body of the beast as I cut through the streets. I was hunting. I roll the sunroof back and let the smells and sounds of the icy city flow into me.
I was hunting a cat, a very large golden cat. It was running and I was very far behind. Not for long. I catch a scent of lavender and pine, like a passing thought. I turned the car in its direction, tires screech against the wet pavement. It was heading northwest. The scent disappears as I near the water. The air was cooler here. I could feel the angry wind punch against the steel frame of the car. Two decisions. Either it went over the bridge or was keeping to the waters edge.
Decision made, I throw the car back onto the main street and onto a very large bridge. The George Washington Bridge. I watch the steel beams and cords fly by. Suspended over the churning water below I wonder for a moment what I would do when I caught up with the cat. This cat was my own personal monster. It haunts my dreams. It had torn into my chest and stolen my heart. The world blurs again and I lose control of the car.
There is something lying in the middle of the road. It was large and black. Instinct kicking in, I swerve the car. Wrong move. I misjudge something. The car hits an ice patch and at one hundred ten miles per hour, this is not a good thing. The car spins uncontrollably. It smashes against the old steel of the GW Bridge. My body smashes against and through the windshield and for a split second I can see the night sky. I fly off the bridge. I see the water speed up to meet my broken body.
I fall into darkness.