Dreams of father wake me, images of his body pocked with knife wounds float in the darkness of the bedroom. My heart pounds and races, cold sweat clings to my temples. The same dream for so many years as father turns zombie and rises from death to laugh, assuring me it will never end. His manic laughter echoes in the silence of early morning, the first shards of light prying holes in the blinds.
My bedroom doubles as sarcophagus, sealing me from the threats of outside world. Each morning I wait for George to disengage the security measures, freeing me from the self-made prison of my dreams.
I count the minutes, feeling the time near rather than checking the clock ticking madness on the wall. Each click of the second hand pounds inside my brain, life moves on and on towards certain death while fear from the dream subsides and melts into anger. Father wears a shroud in the afterlife, his eyes boring up into my mind from hell through slits in the cloth.
“Keep me company these endless years, Ella. Come home.”
A light blinks green above the door and George enters in silence. He approaches the bed and wipes sweat from my forehead with a handkerchief, whispering something I can’t understand. My eyes close and I drift back into the dream, FBI men flood into the space surrounding father’s lifeless body. The world is full of sirens while hands grip me, probe me, faceless lobotomized men escorting me from the blood soaked tomb.
“Take this.” George places a pill on my tongue and a glass of water to my lips. “He’s gone, Ella, dead these many years.”
The pill tastes of chalk and I force my eyes open, finding George near me. Placing a bare foot on the hardwood floor, I steady myself on his shoulder. “I want to stay in my room today.”
“As you wish. I can bring books from the library if you want to work on your story.” “My story…” I walk to my desk and run a hand over my notebook. “And what’s that George? Who am I?”
His head tilts to the side, but he doesn’t answer, instead approaching the mini-bar built into the wall. Busying himself with making coffee, he steals a glance at me.
“You’re the master of Holden Farms, Ella.”
The Master of Holden Farms. Try as I might, I can’t make sense of it and I shiver in the cold morning air. I realize I’m naked and George watches me, arms behind his back, as if nothing were out of the ordinary.
“Bring my clothes, George.” “Very well. Do you wish to go into the city today? I can make arrangements.”
While I ponder the question, George places a cup of coffee on my desk. The steam warms my face and I sip the coffee while he displays an outfit for my approval.
“No, not that one. It won’t do. Select a shorter skirt that matches the green heels. I’m going to make a story today.” “Shall I run a bath for you?”
I nod and sip my coffee. A bath sounds like just the thing I need to clear away the dreams and the cold and memories of father. I’ll make a new chapter today. You can’t re-write the past, but perhaps you can color over the images enough to forget.