Copyright 2015 MillieAnne Lowe, San Diego County, California
Alone, after her nephew, Eric, and his friend, Fire Chief Greg Mullins, had gone back to work, Robin stood by the television rubbing her forehead and twisting the channel selector one way, and then the other. “That’s the same stuff you told me this morning,” said Robin to no one but the television. “Well at least there have been no new murders by the Serial Killer,” she added. Plopping down on the couch, her fingers flipped through the evening newspaper. Her mind buzzed with noise, and her head began to ache again. The newspaper’s flag, The Examiner, and headlines referring to the serial killer became a blur. The television news reporter’s voice droned in the background.
Robin pinched the bridge of her nose and blinked her eyes. She wasn’t seeing what she was looking at. Tossing the paper aside, she headed toward the kitchen but moved slower than she expected. What’s wrong? It’s too early to be so tired. It must be boredom. Has the Serial Killer killed anyone else since this morning? She grabbed a glass from the kitchen cupboard and turned on the faucet, and at the same time turned the brown knob on her counter-top radio. The signal for the classical radio station KABL sizzled with static then became clear. The music of Stravinski’s “Rite of Spring” usually lifted her spirits, but tonight, the rhythm felt faster than usual. The string section played as if it were in a race, and the volume increased on its own, rising in decibels, hurting her eardrums. Robin’s hands flew to her temples and her fingers felt her head throbbing. She reached out with her right hand and snapped the radio off. The recurring visions of debris swirling like a cyclone returned. Sharp and bright bolts of lightning penetrated the scene. This time though, the background lighting changed from a deep amber to a dark and murky red. If anyone knew I have these awful visions, they might think I’m crazy. Icy cold silver flashes passed the left side of her face. Robin shuddered. Quit spooking yourself. Go paint a picture.
A quick sputtering of static sparked from the radio. “What is going on around here?” She patted the top of the radio. “Are your radio tubes about to burst?”
The quietness of no answer prompt more humor from her. She spoke aloud to herself, “Dear Lord, my favorite radio might be heading for the junkyard. Maybe you can help Ernie, the local fix-it man, to make it better?”
As she headed back to the living room, she realized the absence of pain, but when thoughts of the serial killer invaded her mind again, Has he killed again? Where is he?, the headache pain re-emerged. Robin held her temples and stomped the floor in protest, “Darn, it’s an addiction. I can’t get him off my mind.”
A blinding light flashed across Robin’s eyes and the muscles of her knees softened. As she fell, she grabbed the edge of the sink. Keep the eyes open and breathe in deep. Oh, it’s time to call the doctor about this. Robin slid to the floor. Her fingers clung to the tile edge of the sink as she waited for the fog in her mind to clear, then she pulled herself up straight again. Thanks for the help, Lord.
Taking small sips of water, she encouraged herself. There’s nothing wrong with you, Robin. You’re just exhausted from preparing for visitors. Go to bed now. “Besides,” she spoke out loud again, “if you can’t stand, then you can’t paint.”
Feeling better, Robin went around the house checking all its locks. “You know, Lord, it’s been a long and disappointing day. A full house full of female company would have been nice. Maybe sometime soon? But thanks for all those other blessings.”
Before climbing up the stairs, Robin looked into her studio and saw everything in good order. Clean paintbrushes stood in jars and holders and the sketches she drew of her neighbors lay on her desk. A blank canvas waited on the easel for her next creative touch. Then she thought of Fire Chief Greg Mullins. Why didn’t Eric bring him around long time ago? They seemed such close friends. “The next time he comes to visit, he’ll get a tour of this studio. Maybe he’ll have an interest in my art.” That Fire Chief, has a spark of light in his eyes when he talks with me. And his wink, combined with his smile, is out of this world. “That’s what’s missing, Lord. How about another dose of the Chief’s flirtation? It would make for a better day.”
Robin held onto the handrail for steadiness as she climbed the carpeted steps. She pushed off her flats, and lay back on her down pillows. The soft hum of the overhead fan lulled her into a deep sleep.
The sky became dark and the stars, like pinpricks, populated the sky above Robin’s Russian Hill home. In her bedroom, however, a different kind of darkness crept into Robin’s consciousness. In her mind’s eye, a vision of small items swirled around. Thin knotted yellow ribbons fluttered back and forth in the wind and then burst apart going every which way. Bright silver flashes passed by and she felt the coolness of them as they landed with a thump on her pillow. The same radio static she had heard down in the kitchen weaved non-stop through the chaos of the scene. Low moans of dread and shrieks of terror spiked through the darkness that enveloped her. Then the sweetness of quiet ebbed in like a gentle flow of water into a pond.
The serenity did not last long. Robin’s heart jumped as her bed shook. It seemed like the first jolt of an earthquake. But she knew that particular thump to be the prelude to a personal and terrifying event. She had felt this shaking before. No, no, no! No more bad dreams! Robin struggled to wake up as darkness covered the swirling scene. She tried to move her arms and found no response. Once again, she was a captive of the shadows she could not decipher. Hooded in dark robes, the faceless shadowy figures glided closer. As Robin struggled to wake, her breaths became rapid, and her heart pounded. But no matter how hard she tried, her efforts were all on the inside of her mind. Her arms, legs, and head – her whole body lay dead still. This is not insanity. This is a nightmare.
Robin tried calling for help, but her lips could not move. Once before, half way out of a nightmare she heard herself expelling guttural sounds of what she had been trying to say. “Jesus, help me!”
Even knowing that the nightmare would end in its own time, the panic continued to race through Robin’s body. What does the Devil of Darkness want? Does he want me to die of a heart attack in my sleep? Oh, God! Help me! Once again, Robin struggled to voice the name of Jesus. No sounds came out. She felt the strain on her vocal cords. Her hands tried to reach her throat to soothe the pain, but her body parts lay still. She couldn’t speak and couldn’t move. In her mind’s eye, she saw dark shadows moving toward her in the threatening murky red area where she lay. Then, cold and bony hands gripped her ankles and were dragging her toward the diagonal corner of the bed. It was a pit of darkness. She had been there before. Robin wanted to dig her fingers into the bed sheets to stop them, but she couldn’t move them either. She couldn’t save herself from the descent into the blackest parts of the darkness. Jesus, Jesus, save me…!
The sharp ring of Robin’s telephone broke through her nightmare. She rolled over to reach it but knocked it off the bedside table and its receiver fell off its cradle. Still frightened, she choked out the words, “Help me.”
Robin’s mind drifted between the nightmare and present time. Through a hazy vision, she stared at the telephone on the floor by her bed. Did she hear Eric’s voice? “Help me! I need you. They’re pulling me down.” She paused to catch her breath. “It’s the darkness. Oh God. Please, help me…”
Tears streaked down Robin’s face staining the satin cover of her comforter as she rolled onto her back. The Sacred Cross on the wall over her bed was the last conscious vision she remembered.
Copyright 2015 MillieAnne Lowe, San Diego County, California