Thursday, July 22, 2010

Friday Fiction for July 23, 2010

Friday Fiction is hosted this week by Christina B, at With Pen in Hand. Look for the Linky tool and the list of wonderful reading over there.

“Precocious by Consent” has crossed the 25,000 word mark, with loads of story left to write. Detective Lloyd Timmons was the main character in the first book, “Precocious by Design.” Lloyd uses a technique of imagining conversations with the victims of the crimes he’s investigating, and Ilsa was the deceased in the first story. These conversations take a strange twist in this chapter.

Chapter 18

Tuesday night

Lloyd only knew that it was late. Just how long after visiting hours had ended, he couldn’t tell. Faye had offered to bring him a talking clock, but he hoped he wouldn’t need to wear the bandages that much longer. The next time a nurse came in to check on him, he’d ask her the time – if he was still awake.

The medication they gave him dulled the pain, and he supposed that was an improvement over how he’d feel without the meds. His left pinky finger itched, which he found bizarre since said digit was no longer attached to his hand. There’s something just plain evil about feeling an itch, when there’s no place to scratch it.

Finding a comfortable position to try and sleep was an adventure in and of itself. There wasn’t any side of his body that didn’t hurt more with his weight pressing it against the mattress. You’d think they’d create a hospital bed that would accommodate injured bodies better.

You’d think an Army veteran and long-term police officer wouldn’t get half his hand blown off by an amateur bomb in a cheap stereo.

Sort of like how a professional performer leaves the train station with the wrong client and gets herself killed, Ilsa?

We all make mistakes, lieutenant. Mine cost me more, but look what it accomplished. What did yours accomplish?

It’s too early to tell, Ilsa. What might we have said yours accomplished that first few days after your murder?

It accomplished getting me inside your head, Lloyd. Why haven’t you let me go, like you have the other victims you’ve imagined talking to?

I don’t know. Maybe my pastor’s warnings are coming true, and I’m slipping from just imagining these conversations, into some form of psychosis.

Are you starting to believe I’m a real ghost haunting your mind?

Again, I don’t know. I can’t understand why I can still imagine talking with you, but I can’t get Celia or Lara to form in my mind the same way.

What do you think happens to us when you let us go?

I imagine you walking through a door into eternity, where your spirit is already residing anyway.

No one ever told me what waits for me in eternity, Lloyd. What can I expect when you let me go?

I believe our spirits will stand before God and be judged for the lives we’ve lived.

How do you think Lara and Celia will fare in judgment?

They were just young girls. I can’t imagine God condemning them for anything they might have done in life.

What about me? How will I fare?

Ilsa, I –

You don’t want to say it, do you? I was a prostitute. I did things you believe are morally wrong. Is this why you don’t want to let me go, Lloyd?

I still see you that way I first saw you. Even knowing what I know now, I can’t let go of that image of an innocent girl raped, murdered, and thrown away over the side of a freeway.

But I wasn’t an innocent girl, lieutenant. I was a prostitute that catered to men considered the most socially reprehensible deviants in society. What waits for me, Lloyd?

God is the Righteous Judge, Ilsa. Only He knows what waits for you.

If this is just an imaginary conversation, Lloyd, then why do you skirt my question so much? Is it so hard to put what you’re thinking anyways into words?

I’m afraid hell waits for you, Ilsa. I don’t want to let you go because I don’t want to think about you spending eternity in hell.

Ilsa formed in his mind, standing at the left side of his bed and looking at him. Maybe I stay around because I’m also afraid that hell waits for me. Of all the men I knew in my life, Lloyd, you were the only one that really cared about me, without regard to what you might get from me in return, even when you learned what kind of woman I truly was. Why?

Because once upon a time, I had a dream where I stood near Jesus, surrounded by men ready to stone a woman for adultery. As I watched, He knelt down and wrote out in the sand every sin I’d ever committed. He looked into my eyes for just a moment, and I had no doubt that He absolutely knew I was guilty of each and every thing He wrote. I moved away, like every other man in the group, until it was just Him and the woman standing there. He let the woman go without condemnation, and as I watched, He looked to me in the distance, saw my pain, and then with a single sweep of His foot, wiped out the entire list. When I think about that dream now, Ilsa, the face of the woman is yours.

She touched his two missing fingers. A dream like this one, Lloyd?

He shook his head. More real than this.

She climbed onto the bed and snuggled up against him, much as his own daughter had done when she was little. With great care, she wrapped his wounded hand in both of hers. Is it worth it, Lloyd?

Is what worth it?

You once asked me if the results made my death worth it; what about your hand? Are your injuries worth the results?

It will be, if my involvement in this case helps stop this killer.


Yes, Ilsa?

When I dream about having a father, he has your face. I wish I’d grown up with a daddy like you.

I wish you had, too, Ilsa. Maybe then, we would have never had reason to meet.


Laury said...

Interesting story. I love the dream scene of Jesus and the adulterer. Nice writing.

Catrina Bradley said...

I think this episode is stellar. His "conversation" with Ilsa gives Lloyd's character depth that is hard to achieve is so few words. Well done. I also like the "dream" about Jesus. I can see every man present reading their own list of sins in the sand as Jesus scribbled, then slinking away. Awesome scene!