The Book of Gateways (Installment 4)

“MILO!” I scream like I’m insane. I’m on my knees lifting his head. There’s a large pool of blood that’s slowly been drying up. Blood is oozing from his lips and there’s a terrible gash on his eyebrow. Blood is starting to get all over me and I’m sobbing. I’m starting to notice that on his once beautiful blue collared shirt there are three bullet holes in his chest oozing blood staining his shirt. I can’t breathe or even speak and I’m cradling his head rocking softly back and forth.

            “It’s gunna be ok! You’re alright! Milo it’s ok Milo!” I’m dying inside. He grabs my hand mildly and it takes him a lot of effort. I’m hyperventilating and then I see that he lifts his arm and is pointing to an almost blank wall in the room save one painting. I’m completely lost. I can barely see pass all my tears. I’m choking now and Milo is making a motion towards the wall at the picture trying to show me something. His arm gets too heavy and he lets it rest beside him. I’m hysterical.

            “Milo! I don’t know what’s going on! I don’t know what happened! Who could have done this to you?” I ask myself frantically. Milo’s breaths are getting shallow. Then I hear the bell on the front door and I hear Piers.

            “Piers! Piers!” I’m screaming bloody murder. “Come here!” I’m barely choking out words. Piers runs to me and is immediately on his knees and tears are pouring out of his face. He’s instantly grabbed Milo’s hand and is holding it tenderly to his face.

            “Oh Uncle! No! What’s happened?” He screeches. “What’s happened to him?!” He shouts even louder. I can only shake my head because at this point words are useless. Milo starts coughing and starts trying to formulate words. Piers and I lean in close desperate to hear him speak and say that he’ll be ok, that everything is going to be fine, just like it was before he left. How selfish.

            “Take…care…of her.” Milo manages to whisper and then looks at me and gives me one final wink and then I hear an awful gurgling sound and I see his last breath go out of him. His eyes stationed to a corner of the ceiling. I fold over top of Milo’s head cradling him in my arms still begging him to come back. Everything is muffled but I can vaguely hear Piers screaming at the top of his lungs trying to shake his precious uncle awake. Somehow the police and ambulance are called. The paramedics manage to rip me away from his body and I scream and thrash, every inch of my body in defiance against these disgusting people who were not here to save Milo. Eventually Piers comes and grabs me as well and I’m fighting him too. Hitting him, yelling terrible things that I can’t even remember, and finally I cave. I collapse in his arms and I’m still sobbing. His arms supporting my weight. My eyes are swelling and red, I can barely see out of them. He demands that I change out of my blood stained clothing and he gently corrals me to a bathroom and hands me clothing. I don’t question him and numbly change. When I come out the paramedics and policemen are still here swarming like little ants. Piers’ eyes are swollen too and he’s still heaving from a recent crying fit. Probably while I was in the bathroom. Somehow he manages to guide me to the nearby love seat and I’m curled up in a ball on its cushions. He goes to leave for a second and I latch on to his fresh clothing my eyes crazed with fear.

            “I have to give your dirty clothes to the police.” He whispers to me. I’m still clinging to his shirt and I feel his hands gently loosen my grip. He’s away for what seems like forever and I’m constantly searching the room of the shop. I can still see him in my vision but I’m afraid that if he leaves for even one second he’ll be gone too. Finally he comes back and sits next to me. Tremors are running through my body and I latch onto him as soon as he sits down. His expression is empty, restless, and hollow but still his arms wrap around me and despite the chaos swirling inside the both of us his warmth still manages to contact me and I melt into a fitful and nightmare ridden sleep.

            I’m running. Running as fast as I can. And it’s dark. I can’t see! I’m running into an eternal void and I hear a voice. It’s Milo.

            “Cesar! Cesar! Where are you girl? Don’t know you have books to stock?” His Russian accent is still the same. Suddenly like a mirage Milo appears just a few yards away. I’m crying now and running as fast as I can. I try to call out to him but my voice is swallowed up by the darkness that is choking the life out of me. I’m so close. Five yards, three yards, one yard and I trip over something unseen. I tumble over myself into a nasty heap and I look up, Milo is just a couple feet from me! I’m desperate, willing to do anything to get to him before he can be ripped away from me again. I’m trying to crawl to him but it feels like he’s unreachable! Suddenly I hear a series of loud noises that rushes my eardrums and immediately my hands clamp my ears to block out the sound. I lock eyes with Milo but his gaze slowly falters and mine follows. His gaze leads me straight to his chest where three bullet holes have arranged themselves.  I lose it. I’m screaming at the top of my lungs and finally I managed to make it to him. I’m clutching on to him just like before, but this time his face is solemn, not the understanding expression it was once before. I’m asking him questions but he won’t answer. He’s just looking at me. Looking at me as if I’m the person who shot him. He starts saying something. A gentle whisper, so I lean in to listen.

            “You…failed me.” My eyes are at their widest. His words like ice slowly freezing my heart. I’m frozen and my heart starts to ache so violently I feel like I’m having a heart attack.

            “No, no, no! Milo I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” I’m shaking him “Please forgive me! I didn’t know!” My tears are falling onto his face. Then I feel my own shoulders being yanked and I am being dragged away from his body just like before.

            “Cesar! Cesar wake up! You’re having a nightmare!” I hear Piers as if he’s speaking over a loud speaker. Everything disappears. Milo is swept away and the darkness is replaced by a piercing light and Piers’ face hovering over me. People who are afraid of dying have no idea that there are some things worse than death. Like being left behind. Every time I wake up I have the harsh reality of realizing a person I cherished, a person that made my life worth wile, is gone.

            “Are you ok?” Piers asks while he gently brushes a piece of hair from my face. I nod slightly but I can feel my lips quiver into a pout and then I feel the tears rush to my eyeballs and I instantly hate myself. In some ways I want to hide forever in a dark room and cry my eyes out till I die, but I also hate crying with a passion and hate every moment of weakness I feel as these tears drop.

            “Hey, hey, it’s ok to cry you know?” He says quietly. A pang of resentment hits me because in reality he’s one to talk since he hasn’t cried since he first saw Milo.

            “How long have I been asleep?” I manage to choke out without releasing any tears.

            “Well I’ve been out for a bit but it’s like three in the morning.”

            “Have the police left?” I ask.

            “Yes, except one, and they took… Well they took Milo with them.” He says gingerly. I know he’s trying not to upset me but it doesn’t work and once again I feel tears building up against my eyes like millions of gallons building up against a dam just a moment away from breaking. Piers starts stroking my hair again. It’s incredible that he’s so well put together that it’s eerie.

            “Listen, they left one officer here to watch us since the murderer is still out there, and technically… Well really we shouldn’t be here. How about we go home ok?” He says helping me sit up. “We can go back to my place. Ok?”

            “Uh, well…” My voice trails off. I know it’s unorthodox to go to a man’s place that you aren’t very close to at such a late hour, but at this point logic has no place in my mind and I don’t want to be alone.

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