Angela stood at the edge of the cliff. She was so tuned in to the task at hand that the sound of the crashing waves below never reached her brain. Slowly she inched her toes closer and closer as they chased dust into the air that arced outward before falling slowly. She felt her stomach drop along with the sand as it too ran out of room and fell.
She closed her eyes and raised her foot out in front of her. She too had run out of room. As she stepped over she was grabbed up in strong arms and was being taken upward. The jolt from the tackle was so quick and so forceful that she was hundreds of feet in the air before she realized where she was. In front of her was the most perfect face she had ever seen. So perfect in fact, no one had ever even tried to imagine a face so perfect. His eyes were locked upward, though they did scan down just a bit here and there to look at her. He knew that she was trying to process what was happening. Where they were going. The corner of his mouth raised in a quarter smile just before giant white wings burst upward from behind him and propelled them faster as if he had just slammed his foot on a gas pedal.
The world quaked as uncharted heights blurred by so fast that her pulse screamed against her skin and pounded in her head. Her fingers dug into the angel’s shoulders as she hid her face against his neck and slammed her eyes shut.
When she opened them again it was all over. Everything was still and quiet and she was looking up at the night sky that was being poked by the brown blades of grass that she was sank into. She exhaled long and hard and watched her breath pour out around her. Angela wrapped her arms in front of her instinctively to protect herself from the cold. The first thought that entered her mind was that her clothes were gone and that she had no idea where she was.
As she stood up she knew that she had to be calm and think rationally. Every direction looked the same. What was the last thing she remembered before the cliff? She felt as if her memory was being blocked by some mysterious force.
It had to be the cold.
She shook a step forward before she heard it. When she stopped to listen, it stopped too. She tried another step and found nothing but silence still. At the third step forward the baby cried and didn’t stop this time. Suddenly she remembered her infant daughter and ran in the direction she thought it was coming from.
“Why?” she screamed as she searched the darkness for the baby.
Angela stopped and leaned her naked body against a tree. She was exhausted. The baby had stopped crying.
Sliding down the tree to the frozen ground she wrapped her arms around her knees and cried. Right beside her was her daughter. Angela picked her up and pressed the baby against her, wrapping her in her arms in a desperate attempt to keep her warm.
“Why? She cried “Why would you leave us here?”
Angela looked over and found the blanket. It shined a bright crimson light through the cold darkness. It was the warmest blanket that Angela had ever touched. She doubted that anyone had even bothered to imagine a blanket so warm. She wrapped herself and the baby and waited for light.
It would be just long enough to dream.
Angela walked through the door with groceries in one hand and the baby in the other. Once again just barely able to keep from dropping either as she fumbled the keys to her apartment to unlock the door.
As she sat the bags on the couch a light in the living room came on. Her heart stopped as her mind tried to flip the fight or flight coin. In the process her daughter slid down her hip a little and Angela just as quickly tossed her back in place.
“Dad?” Angela asked as she tried to nonchalantly put her keys down and turned to put the baby in her swing.
“Surprised to see me?” her father asked as he leaned back in his chair.
“When did you get out?” Angela asked.
“A few hours ago” he answered.
Angela turned from the baby and started to put her groceries away.
“So, are you going to keep me from my daughter like your bitch mother did?” he
“No” Angela answered as she felt her hand start to shake.
“Let me tell you how this is going to go” he began.
Angela’s heart sank at that sentence. It was his favorite thing to say. It was never accompanied by anything good. She knew to stop whatever it was she was doing and to go to him and listen.
“You are going to take your clothes off” he continued “Right here, right now and come over here and show me how much you have missed me.”
Angela stopped just a few feet in front of him and did what he asked. Her trembling hands calmed as they grabbed for the bottom of her shirt and pulled it inside out over her head. Her fingers worked in spite of the cold and snapped her bra off like they had done a million times before. Her shoulders dipped as the straps fell. One foot went behind the other and pried the other shoe off as her fingers dipped inside the waist of her pants and pushed downward. She lifted her legs upward as the legs of her pants stuck like hot taffy to her feet and pulled her socks free. It was there she froze with her thumbs between her panties and her hips.
“Will you shut the light off?” her voice trembled as she asked.
He smiled at her being so bold to ask. He smiled at her playing shy even though they had done this many times before. He reached his hand over and flipped the switch at the base of the lamp and watched as the silhouette of his daughter dipped her knees downward and bent herself free.
Angela stepped toward her father and climbed on top of him. She was going to do what her mother wouldn’t do. What she couldn’t do. She was going to protect her daughter.
His huge hands gripped at her hips and his mouth went toward her chest. She sank the kitchen knife into his neck. Again and again and again.
When the light finally came it was from a flashlight that Then there was another light. Then another.
“We found her!” the deputy screamed.
She was covered from head to toe in her father’s blood.
It was the only thing keeping them warm.
These are the things I dream.