Taken: Breaking the Darkness Book 1(4)

By: Felicia Starr

I don't know if he knew all these things or if he just researched everything they tried to sell. Lucky for me, he didn't know from what schoolhouse the wood actually derived. I'm sure if he'd known, I would've been there long enough to have lunch with them too.

Patience always handled all the financial aspects of their endeavors. After I paid her, she gently put her hands on mine and asked me if I liked to read. Although I had a few shows I tried to catch, I mostly enjoyed spending my evenings with a book and glass of wine or coffee, depending on my mood. She told me she had some very special books she would like to sell and she would bring them to The Flea next month.

Knowing them, her book collection would be eclectic and old. I might have to bring a thermos of coffee instead of my travel cup to make it through what would probably be multiple history lessons. I'm sure they'd have my ear a good part of the day. That is, if I ever got out of here.

The intention behind purchasing the bookshelf was for Gram's book collection, still in storage with what was left of her belongings. Gram had a number of first editions, the spines of many worn and tattered. They would look awe-inspiring in my new bookshelf. I didn't want to bring her stuff to my house until I got settled and had a proper home for everything.

As nice as it would be to make it back to The Flea to find myself more rustic collectables for my new home, all I really wanted was some fresh air and sunlight. I couldn't begin to imagine how much the sun would hurt my eyes after all the constant darkness.

I missed the smell of the air just before it was about to rain. I loved to sit outside and listen to the rhythm of the raindrops as they bounced off the clay-tiled roofs near my little house. I'd just planted a row of purple passion penstemons along the honeysuckle bush. My plantings combined with the neighbor's abundant desert sage bushes created scents that filled the evening air. The aroma often made me feel like I'd slipped away into a secret aromatherapy garden.

Gram would have enjoyed what I planted in the tiny bit of earth that came with my little rental. Gram always had plants inside and out, mostly flowering herbs. We never went without fresh herbs. If we weren't cooking with them, she would dry them to make teas, most of which I found gross. She had a small following that came to her for her unique blend of dried herbs and teas. It amazed me that, for the amount of times we moved, they always knew where to find her.

Blanketed by this darkness, I wasn't sure if I was awake or asleep most of the time. Sleeping seemed like the only way to escape the emptiness. The problem was that my dreams almost bled into my reality, or lack thereof. Many of my dreams were pleasant and as mixed up as any other dream would be. In the nightmares haunting me now I was trapped in the darkness, just as I was when awake.

I kept having a recurring dream that I was watching myself sitting on the bed in the dark--distinguished as a dream only because the darkness was slightly lifted. The walls and ceiling seem to be painted a deep purplish-brown. The toilet was black. Even the concrete floor was painted a dark muddy green. Although the walls and the room were void of any décor, the space was crafted with precision and didn't look slopped together.

If I stared at the walls long enough, they appeared to be thinning out and moving away from me. Just as I reached out to push against the wall, my body felt like it was thrown across the room. I woke out of breath and my chest had a hot tingly sensation, as if I ran into someone's fist.

I kept hoping that if I spent enough time thinking about Gram, I would be able to have a dream about her. I missed her so much. When I was young and would wake from a nightmare, she would make me a cup of her special sleepy tea. Sometimes she would grant me a little snack, one of her homemade ginger snaps, and if I was really lucky, a game of dominos. She always had me tell her my dream and she would write them down in a dream journal. She told me they'd be locked in there so I could get back to sleep.

If only I could have one of her cookies at that moment. It had been some time since I'd eaten anything. I was starting to think my stomach's growls were actually trying to say something. I guess it had been too long since I had a real conversation with someone that my digestive sounds were starting to sound like spoken words. If I actually started having a conversation with my own stomach, I wouldn't stand a chance.

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