The Lady Under Red

Slowly, Darrel fumbled for the keys and slower still Darrel opened the door. It was midnight and Megan should have been in bed. The sound of a dripping faucet lead Darrel to the second floor bathroom. As he reached for hot water knob in the bathtub, a dreadful stillness seemed to take the world. Megan rested at the bottom of the basin, seeping blood from open wounds. The warm water had carried her away some time earlier.

Darrel found himself dumb and craven. He found himself a flask that he kept in his messenger bag. He found himself sitting facing away from the tub. He groped for meaning but that he couldn’t find. The whiskey was cheap and harsh but he swallowed with enthusiasm.

“Well, I guess you had a bad day. I guess, I’m having one too. At least I got my health.”

He waited for a comeback that wasn’t coming. Megan couldn’t and wouldn’t speak to him. His big sister had finally shut up and it seemed like he was playing tennis an opponent short. The words he lobbed over fell out of the window and into the bushes below. Despite futility, he continued on as it was all he was capable of at the moment.

“I’m not just drunk for the sake of being drunk, I was celebrating. That interview went really well, I’m starting on Monday. $9.50 an hour. I know it’s not much but I don’t have much overhead. Don’t need much. Met a few guys afterwards and we hit it off. I really connected and you know that’s rare for me.

Wait, you’re still practicing aren’t you? Doesn’t the pope frown on this sort of thing? My god you’re going to be a screaming bloody tree in Hell. Then again, I’m not sure if The Divine Comedy is canon to catholics. Anyways, if Hell’s too much for ya, you can always try the atheist afterlife. It’s at least… predictable.”

Darrel realized that there were arrangements to be made. First he called 911 the he left a voice mail for Mom. The ambulance came quickly and the EMTs were courteous and professional. They loaded her into the van and all but drove off before talking to him.

“May I ask your relation to Ms. Oglesby?”

“I’m her… Wait! Olgesby no. She’s a Harrison.”

“No sir. This is Ms. Oglesby. Lives at 850 Parker. Right here.” The emt showed him the clipboard. Darrel had neglected to unlock the door, it was already unlocked. Fortune smiled on the drunk that day and he thanked the god that wasn’t there that his sister wasn’t the one in that bathtub. Darrel raced two doors south and awoke Megan to tell her that she’s not dead. She knew that but she was vaguely happy for his happiness. There was a very loud phone call at six am the next day but otherwise it was a good day.

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