CHAPTER 19 – I
The room was quiet, peaceful. The day’s initial few sunbeams bypassed the curtains. This was his favorite part of each day: lying in bed, easing into the day, staring at the sleeping woman next to him serene in her slumber. In a short amount of time Aricame had fallen hard for Victoria Strife. Victor had left for some “important travels”, leaving his daughter in charge. She remained professional when needed, then relations turned personal when tutorials ceded.
Their days were orchestral: focused, purposeful, professional and educational. Their evenings were jazz: wild, imaginative, meandering and thrilling. She brought out the best in him and he hoped that he did the same for her. He knew he was training for the battle of his life, one that he may not survive. Yet even the gravity of that challenge relented when class was out of session, leaving him delightfully weightless in her presence. That’s when the two would dance.
Aricame rolled out of bed, careful not to disturb the beauty. He made some coffee, poured two cups, and returned the pot to the counter when…
Face down on the ground, ringing the only sound
Surrounded by shards of glass, inhaling smoke and gas
Shaken like an earthquake, the sense of life lost
A disturbance, a once-warm future now encased in frost
Confused, numb…Act!…Leap into action – save Victoria
Hold onto the hope while facing fear and dysphoria
The bedroom was no longer. In its place stood a pile of smoldering debris in to which Aricame dove. Pulling/peeling/prying/plunging/prodding/probing, he frantically searched for what he hoped he would never find. Then…he laid hands on the bloody nightgown that signaled the end of his life as he’d known it. He would never be the same again – nor would the world.
“How” and “Why” would have to wait. “Who” was his sole focus now. Racing into the street, his eyes locked onto the back of a car fleeing the scene. In a sprint that would have surpassed any from his athletic career, he was improbably making up ground on the automobile at top speed. The cool air of night yielded to the glow of the rising sun. An ominous fog rested upon the expanding blue horizon – coming closer and closer. The murderer was heading to the beach – no – the pier. The car would be jettisoned for a boat. An escape to sea, or so they thought. There would be no escape. The only drama left in their story would be determining how they would die…and that would depend on the “Why”. Why they did what they did…Victoria…Aricame’s thoughts were brought back to his love. The loss…loss of now…loss of tomorrow…loss of self and purpose. The pin was pulled, an explosion inevitable.
Shake it off! Aricame refocused and watched as the car came to a screeching halt. He saw Janifer Pompea leap out and onto her awaiting boat. Standing and staring, inhaling and exhaling, Aricame left behind his old life. He then continued his advance. His pain would set the Pacific ablaze.
The elephant and the shrew carry the same expectation
A billion and a half heartbeats before expiration
And while their years differ based on their size
Mathematical unity prevails, barring a surprise demise