dontravis.com blog post #580
I hope you enjoyed the story about the murder of John Jacob Kinsolver and the result of our intrepid protagonist solving the case. Off hand, I'd say he was well rewarded for his efforts. Got good hits, not much in the way of comments.
At any rate, here’s a new one for the next two weeks.
Green trees and blue skies and the prism of the rainbow. Derek Paulson saw them just like everyone else. But he had a trick of washing everything through a filter that clued him to his emotions. Kaleidoscope eyes, he called it.
Right at the moment, he lolled on a poolside recliner watching Julie though a blue-green screen. Oh, her hair was just as raven, her eyes as brown, her flesh tones as tanned as ever, but he observed them through a blue wash. Blue, he figured was him being shy.
The filter tilted more toward green—envy—as the guy sitting beside Julie on the far side of the pool reached over and touched her arm as he said something. The pair went into gales of laughter. Unable to endure it any longer, Derek got up and dived into the pool. He swam under water for as long as he could, long enough at least for the water to go from verdigris to clear. Damn Billy Bream, anyhow. They said he’d gotten nearly every woman in the Alma del Mar Apartment Complex. Couldn’t he at least leave Julie alone? And that name irritated him, as well. Soul of the Sea. What a name for a damned red-brick apartment house without a sea within a thousand miles!
He surfaced and took a noisy breath. He couldn’t help but glance toward where Julie sat through a decidedly red cloud. Flustered that she sat alone, he grew confused and got out of the water on the wrong side of the pool.
He felt her eyes on him as he walked around the concrete pond. What did she see? A man? A boy? He smothered a snicker. Probably a man-boy, even though he was almost twenty. But like his mother always said—before he’d left home for college—it was a “young” twenty.
Billy Bream, now. Not much question about him. A man, not a boy, even though he couldn’t be more than a year older than Derek. Still, everything about the guy screamed raw masculinity. And Derek had to admit… damned attractive masculinity. He wished his shoulders were as wide, hips as trim, abs so…. Well, he just figured he suffered by comparison to the Billy Breams of the world
He paused to pick up his towel before walking over to claim the now-vacant lounger beside Julie Raynolds. That a instead of an e in her name, seemed perfect. Set her off as someone special, someone who didn’t run with the crowd. Someone, he hoped, who wouldn’t be snowed by Billy’s super-masculinity. Of course, that didn’t necessarily mean she’d respond to Derek’s reduced brand.
“You mind?” he asked, as he settled on the chair.
“Not at all. You taking summer classes?”
“Yup. Getting physics out of the way, plus a couple of electives. You?”
“Nope. Taking the summer off. I start work at a hobby store Monday. If you decide to make a boat in a bottle, stop by and I’ll sell you a kit.”
He chuckled. “Might just take you up on that.”
“Maybe you can explain the ‘physics’ of the thing to me.”
He liked the silver peal of her laughter, and a light purple haze invaded his eyes. Love. Definitely love.
Derek spent the rest of the weekend alone. His nerve failed him when he was on the verge of asking Julie to go somewhere with him, do something, anything with him. And she started work this morning. As he prepared for class, he considered doing exactly what she’d suggested yesterday. He’d go in and ask for a ship-in-a-bottle kit and make a big joke of it. Then he’d ask her to go to a movie with him. He stared at himself in the mirror and noticed a yellow haze. Naw. He wouldn’t have the nerve.
Thirty minutes later, as his ancient Taurus idled roughly at a stop light, a red haze clouded his vision. Alerted to something, he glanced around and saw what his subconscious had already spotted. A delivery van approached him at a speed that would make it hard for the vehicle to stop for the light. He also saw the driver glance up from something he’d apparently been reading and try to react. A yellow Impala approached from his left, the driver oblivious to the danger.
Derek punched 911 on his cell before the crash even happened. The van caught the Chevy amidships… hard. Even as the Impala skidded sideways toward him, Derek wondered if the driver could have survived. The yellow vehicle struck the concrete median and tipped into the traffic light station—the only thing that kept it from tumbling into his Taurus.
He was out of the car before the Impala even came to a halt against the far curb, racing through a red haze for the wrecked car. Even the belated realization that Billy Bream drove an Impala just like this one didn’t hit his pause button. He approached the vehicle from the passenger’s side and jerked open the door.
The sight of Billy Bream sprawled on his back across the bench seat, green eyes half closed, as still as a possum playing dead, caused him to flinch momentarily, the red haze flickering toa dark purple that frightened him. He hadn’t figured out all the colors yet, but this one must mean something ominous. Death, maybe?
“Bream, you okay?” he half-whispered, knowing it was a senseless thing to do. The guy was dead. Derek’s eyesight flickered green for a moment. Maybe not. Maybe just unconscious. How did you know of someone was dead? A pulse. He put his hand to Billy’s neck. At first, he felt nothing. Then an uncertain flutter beneath his fingers.
Other cars stopped and people bailed, shouting questions, cursing the delay, whatever. At least, there’d be someone to check the other driver. But what about Billy? What should he do?
The unthinkable. He tilted Billy’s head back and put his lips to the unconscious guy’s mouth. The contact surprised him, or his reaction did, at any rate. Collecting himself, he blew into the other man’s mouth a couple of times, and then crawled onto the floorboard to apply pressure to Billy’s chest.
“Come on!” he yelled. “Breathe, dammit! Breathe.”
He put his lips to Billy’s again, trying to ignore his eyes flickering through all the colors of the kaleidoscope. But mostly purple, strobing from light to dark so fast it made his head swim.
“Billy, dammit! Wake up!” he screamed.
I wish I had eyes that warned me of my emotions. There have been times in my past when such a warning might have come in useful. We all get surprised by our emotions from time to time.
We’ll see how this plays out for Derek next week. In the meantime, have a great holiday season.
Stay safe and stay strong.
Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!
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See you next Thursday.
New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time.