Monday, December 7, 2009
Views of a Crime
(by Danielle Duer)
This tale started out being called "Dream Detective," with Nick, the detective, and his client, Chloe, being introduced in Part One and Part Two. The paintings in this post, Part 3, is by Danielle Duer, whose art I discovered via ArtOdyssey.
Part III, then:
The air is filled with a dangerously medicinal-looking fog, underlit by an eldritch glow. A pale woman in a blue gown pants frantically as she passes me on the dirt path, carrying a large, white bird.
I feel my right brow lift, all on its own. That means I'm curious. But just as I shake off my rather slow thought-process to turn and catch her by the elbow for some questioning, I hear the same wild panting back the way she came. Something in my peripheral vision makes me stop and look back.
A pale woman in a blue gown pants frantically as she passes me on the dirt path, carrying a large, white bird. This time, I notice that her lips are also blue, though not the vivid blue of her gown. Her eyes are peeled wide open in shock.
I let her pass. With my right index finger, I reach up and readjust my eyebrow. Just to avoid premature wrinkles. I wait.
A pale woman in a blue gown pants frantically as she passes me on the dirt path, carrying a large, white bird. The bird is undisturbed by the activities it’s been forced to partake in, though its bland gaze as they pass does seem to ask why I’m not doing anything about them.
I snap out my left hand and grab her by the elbow, thinking, third time’s the charm. She immediately starts screaming, really shrieking, her eyes not even taking me in, as wide open as they are.
I let go. She reverts to her earlier behavior.
The wild panting starts up again behind me.
“Well,” I announce gruffly to myself. “This is a swell dream.” A door slams somewhere behind all that fog, unhinging my thoughts. I decide to investigate. She passes me six more times on the path before I realize that I haven’t gone anywhere. She passes to my left, I pass a scarred and blackened tree to my right. Repeat. I stop walking, never having been one to strain my body with useless exercise. Slowly, I turn around in a full circle, looking for anything solid other than the woman, her bird, and the tree. The panting starts up behind me again. A thought strikes me. My head snaps around.
“Say,” I address the bird, “you wouldn’t happen to know where she’s taking you, now, would you?”
The bird stares at me balefully.
“Chloe?” I try again. “You know anyone named Chloe?”
They pass, breathily, neither deigning to respond.
I turn in another slow circle. I mull over the situation. I would probably seek help if this were my recurring dream, too. I might have to myself, actually, if this is all that’s going to happen on this case. Surely, the girl dreams something other than this? I reach into my jacket pocket and pull out my flask. Just to limber-up my mind.
Just as the flask brushes my lips, the scene goes utterly black. I can drink in the dark, but I pause anyway. Which turns out to be fortuitous, as the sky fills with an explosion that knocks me back several feet.
Metal screams and something roars, and whatever’s on fire tumbles past in front of me, so close it singes my eyelashes. I screw the top back onto my flask and tuck it away, so as not to lose anything. Then I take a deep breath and turn towards the burning car. A man races up to it from the other direction, screaming something. The sound of his voice is horrible, ragged. He lands on his knees beside the car and begins banging on one of the windows.
I draw a breath, thinking I might suggest a healthier distance from what still strikes me as an explosive device. But he gets up on his own and begins turning in broad, frantic circles.
I watch quietly.
He swoops towards the curb, picks up a large chunk of rock and comes back to hurl it at a different window, shattering the glass. Then he starts shoving himself into the car.
This is a dream, remember, and I’m here first and foremost to observe. It’s not just that I’m an asshole standing idly by while someone else goes through hell.
He drags out a small child. The child is missing important pieces, and is most certainly dead, though it takes the man an excruciatingly long time to understand that. Trying to give him some privacy, I turn away to take in the rest of the environment. It’s odd that no one else has come towards him, but even odder is that no one else is anywhere to be seen. And the street is not just full of smoke, but also enshrouded in a fog not dissimilar to that of the last scenario, with that woman and her ever-patient fowl-friend. I have a hunch there’s nothing past the fog. I visit my flask again, for courage, then take a few brave steps towards the edge of the world. But just then, the man’s voice returns in a howl of rage. The world goes black. There is a pause, in which I realize I’ve stopped breathing, and then the sky fills with an explosion.
So anyway, it’s a long, bizarre night. And this from the point of view of someone who’s daily grind is the realm of the long-winded and bizarre. Thankfully, it’s not as long as I’m sure it should have been, because my downstairs neighbor calls and interrupts at an unusually impolite hour, even for her, to complain about a leak. My leak, which has entered her apartment, by an unfortunate path ending right over her pillow.
Thus the day begins.
(by Danielle Duer)
by Danielle Duer
*Note how one eye gets up and walks away, here...Talk about a shift in perspective!