You have been pulled back into the past by a wrecking ball slamming into your side, spilling blood as it goes along its path of the destruction of someone else’s helpfulness. But we have also been thrust into the future against our wills. The two collide as you consider the way the wooden planks meet on the floor below you before all is dust, flannel and conifers. Your life, whatever there is left of it here, is evergreen. For this reason you squeeze your eyes closed as you wait for the end to come and expect me to join you, though I do not.
You wish you could tell me that there is so much more love than you expected, still flannel and conifers but freedom under the bluest sky you’ve ever seen. Your life, whatever there will be in the future is evergreen.
I am saved by a lover, but you question what exactly I have been saved for. If he loves me, doesn’t he want me to stay out of the dark and scary nights, away from the blood and hopelessness? To wait in a lonely room and wish I could have joined you when I had the chance? Your love for me is evergreen, and the last thought I have every night before I go to sleep is how glorious it will be to walk with you beneath those skies and hold your hand, no needles falling, no clouds to bring the rain.
They are nothing if not adaptable… the way her eyes widened in the darkness and it doesn’t seem so hard to get stuck in the time period from which they cannot escape. It is their fondest wish but it has died on their lips, the words downing in the winds and the waterfalls and driving rain, never to surface again. Still they meet in their corners, away from everyone with whom they do not desire to share secrets. She is certain that the time capsule they uncovered is the sweetness that makes the bitterness palatable. With the option to raise one’s voice beyond the occasional northern lights, all have a better chance of surviving the unimaginable.
The next two years were a blur for Aidan and Tasha. They grew especially closer in the anxious days of David Wilson’s disappearance.
“That could have been us,” Aidan told Tasha one rainy night after a long day of searching. “Do you ever think about that?”
“Yes, I do. Sometimes I’ve dreamed that it was us on the run, not him.”
“I don’t want to waste any more time. We love each other, Tasha. Let’s give this another try. What do you say?”
“I’d like that,” Tasha said. “I’m so sorry about everything that happened earlier.”
“I am, too. I just want to be in your arms.”
They were remarried in a quiet ceremony the week before David’s body was discovered in his Los Angeles apartment.
From a heavenly beach, David smiled as he saw his favorite subordinate reunited in freedom with the woman he loved.
Notes on this experience will come tomorrow while I think of more series to begin after that! I hope you’ve enjoyed traveling this journey with me. Flash fiction has opened up a new world of creativity for me and I want to continue learning more about it. ~EC
David blinked in confusion as he took in his surroundings. He had been asleep? Around him, the busy headquarters was humming with the efficiency of any Tuesday morning.
He glanced at the calendar. September 2013. Wait! He rubbed his eyes frantically. Wasn’t he tailing Aidan and Tasha in 2015?
“Are you all right?” Aidan approached his boss with concern in his voice.
“Yes,” he fought to keep from stammering his response as he looked up into the face of a very alive, healthy Aidan. Hadn’t he just discovered the bodies of Aidan and his former wife?
“Do you still want Tasha and I to check out that water plant? The poisoning case?”
“No!” David’s voice was sharp. “I mean, we’ve decided you’re more needed here. I’ll go there myself.”
“All right,” Aidan said, perplexed.
“Take Tasha to lunch. Somewhere nice. You two seem friendly again.”
Agent David Wilson was more moved by what he found in the guest room than he wanted to admit. He was rather embarrassed to find Aidan lying in Tasha’s arms, but he pressed past the awkwardness of stumbling upon them. At least they are dressed, he thought briefly before becoming greatly concerned about how still they were.
He bent low, careful not to touch either of them upon seeing the familiar infection in Tasha’s fingers. Aidan’s wound was oozing from under the bandage, but the appearance of the rest of the skin that caught his attention, shocking him. Their lips and fingertips were blue. He saw no breath rising in their chests after close inspection.
David slid a plastic glove onto his hand before checking them for pulses. Both Aidan and Tasha were dead.
Then he awoke, gasping for air as he lifted his head from his desk at headquarters.
In the FBI office in Portland, Agent Wilson looked at his text and flinched. It contained the news he’d been afraid to receive ever since Aidan had disappeared.
He stood up from his desk, exchanged a few words with his supervisor and left the building in a hurry.
The coastal highway felt endless to the agent as he drove south in search of a little town he’d only heard of from his missing subordinate. Heart in his throat, he at long last arrived outside a picturesque house near the outskirts of town.
Everything was quiet. A jeep which he didn’t recognize was parked in the driveway, drawing minor alarm from Agent Wilson as he silently prepared his weapon and approached the front door. His knock received no response, so he knocked again, louder this time.
“FBI! Open the door!”
In their dreams, Tasha and Aidan were free from the torment of poison running through their veins.
“You know this isn’t real,” Aidan, forever sensible, noted as they stared at a moonlit beach next to an inkdrop blue ocean.
“Of course, but I don’t care. Do you think we could have worked things out?”
He nodded. Willing the slumping sensation to stay far from his chest was futile.
She gave him a small smile as consolation. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and they realized that they were finally warm down to their bare toes that lingered in the sand.
“Don’t be sad here. Please.”
“I’ll try. And my answer is yes.”
They didn’t hear the pounding at the door of the house in the woods. If they had, it might have alarmed them. But they slept on.
“Tasha? You all right?” Aidan’s voice echoed with anxiety as he unlocked the front door and came inside.
“Yes,” she replied shakily. “I heard something and thought… I don’t know what I thought.” Sleep had tried to claim her as she recalled their past but the noise had made any trace of restfulness disappear.
“It was just the postal carrier,” Aidan said, wincing as he sat down on the bed. He stared into the air above Tasha’s head. There was very little for either of them to say. During the investigation, they’d seen enough poisoning cases to know that their fate was sealed. In a weird way, the absence of questions and what-ifs was a comfort. No false hope could crush them.
“Will you sit with me till I fall asleep?”
He smiled tenderly. “Of course I will.” Once he did so, he drifted off as well.
Tasha felt restless while Aidan was gone. As much as the house and its reminders of the man she had once loved and grew to love again comforted her, she was still aware of the dangers that lurked beyond its confines.
She wasn’t strong enough to latch a deadbolt or look out the window, so she distracted herself with memories of how happy they had been when together again on their secret project.
The first time their eyes met since the separation was full of tension but familiarity. It really hadn’t been a shock to find each other on the same task force. When Aidan’s boss had announced that Aidan and Tasha were to work together, an irrational hope had risen in her heart. Could they rekindle their past love, this time without jealousy?
A noise outside the window started Tasha from her reverie. Had they found her?
Tasha began to stir on the guest room bed as Aidan was caught unguarded, tears streaming down his face as he recalled their failed marriage, and how they’d wasted time on petty arguments and insecurities.
She tried to push herself upright but he stopped her.
.Not a good idea,” he murmured. “You collapsed outside, I brought you here.”
Tasha blinked hazily. “This is your house?” She examined the minimalist decor, typical of the young, single man he was when he’d lived there. “I like it.” She let her head drop back onto the pillow.
“It is. I wish I’d brought you here sooner,” he said gently.
“How’s your arm?”
“You’re lying,” she said, nearly slurring with exhaustion.
“Yeah, maybe. Get some rest, ok? I have to go get some groceries.”
“I’ll be here,” she sighed before falling back into a fevered sleep.