By the time I stepped outside, the leaves were on fire. The air reeked of deadly smoke as it hovered in the air, almost wanting to suffocate me like a firm grip around one’s neck. I coughed endlessly, trying to push forward; vision blurred and almost without breath. I tried to yell but no words came out. I was trapped…trapped amidst the burning brushwood, a place I knew nothing about, or even how I got there. And if ever I was going to be free, I wasn’t certain it would be in one piece.
I looked to my right as a light shone amidst the darkness, rooting my legs to the ground as it seemed it was beckoning to me to come closer. It felt as though I was in some kind of trance but this was real…everything was .
I heard a voice…no different from a whispering wind.
“Roland,” It called. “Roland…you have to move. It’s not yet your time. Keep moving…”
My eyes widened, recognizing who’s it was, “Roslyn?” I inched closer. “Rose is that you?” I asked, still not sure.
“Give me your hand…give me your hand, Roland.”
I swallowed hard, making towards her. “Almost there…almost there,” I spoke breathlessly, the heat seeking to consume me without mercy.
I staggered, a loud cough eluding my lips as my breath got thinner, my legs unable to urge me on as I slumped…remembering nothing again.
“Wakey-wakey. You’re gonna be late.” A cheery voice rang, the sound of swinging curtains ringing in my ears.
“Mama Pea!” I squinted, burying my face in my pillow.
“Get out of bed, Roland. Roslyn’s been waiting for you.” She urged, tugging at my feet.
“Roslyn? Oh, shit! Roslyn!” I panicked, getting up. “Did she say anything, Mama?”
“Ooh, look who’s worried.” She laughed.
“I’m serious. Oh, God!” I breathed, taking up my pants. “Had the weirdest dream last night,” I continued. “It was dark…burning bushes…and-and…”
“Yeah, yeah, baby. There’s Jesus. You can tell me all about it later.” Mama Pea hushed.
“Come on. Hurry. You gotta get the girl.” She winked and wiggled her fingers, as she walked out the door. “And one more thing…freshen up!”
“Oh.” I laughed, shutting the door.
I was such a handsome fellow…the blonde type and was quite naughty. One fact I was well known for, making everyone in our neighbourhood nickname me “the Grabbercino.”
“Whew! What took you so long?” Roslyn asked with a frown.
“Not gonna give me a kiss?” I teased, looking at her.
“Oh, you bet I would.” She chuckled and plunged her lips on mine.
“Mm…vanilla,” I complimented with a grin.
Roslyn was one hot lady you’d wanna be with. Our relationship was a bit complicated, really ’cause she saw me as some bad ass who didn’t stick to one girl, which by the way, it’s my thing.
“Love it?” She blushed, running a finger on my lower lip.
“Now you two quit doing that on my porch,” Mama Pea interrupted.
We turned, giving a slight chuckle. “Sorry grams.”
“Oh, I didn’t see anything. Time, Roland. Time.” She signalled to me, a finger on her wrist.
“Right. Come on, baby. We gotta go.” I said to Roslyn. “See you later, Mama.” I turned to gran, pecking her senile cheek.
“All right, baby. See you at dusk. And be careful.” She called to us.
“Don’t worry. We’ll take care.”
“Grams’ always worried about you,” Roslyn said, as we walked to the car.
I laughed, pulling the door open for her. “Here we go.”
Covington was really a nice city, though not very large, but was still the best…one of the best among all the cities situated in LA. The downtown streets were lined with boutiques, galleries and restaurants of all sorts, making it such a gazing sight to whoever came by. I could say it was far better than Nachitoches…a place I once called home…
“You okay there?”
“Mm?” I played dumb.
“Yeah. You’ve been…I don’t know…mute.” Roslyn spoke.
“Yeah…yeah, I’m fine.” I shrugged and focused on the road.
“You’re not tensed, are you?” She asked.
“About what? The game, huh?” I asked. “You don’t think I can beat those losers ass, do you?” I scoffed.
“It’s just a game, Roland. Whether or not you win, it doesn’t matter.” She smiled and rubbed my knuckles.
I scoffed again. ” ‘Cause Lucas’ playing?”
“Lucas?” Her eyes widened. “Why’d you mention him?”
“Saw you two some days ago…at Stalvey’s,” I frowned, taking my eyes off the road.
“I can explain…”
“Like I actually need one?!” I laughed. “You still love him, but I act like I don’t see it,”
“I don’t love Lucas, Roland! Why are you bringing this up all of a sudden?”
” ‘Cause I’m sick and tired of you going around with that asshole!” I shot back.
She made to touch me, “T-the road…”
“Don’t you dare!!” I huffed.
“Baby?” She gasped, her forehead glistening with sweat.
“If you two ain’t doing nothing wrong, then why are you sweating? No, answer me!”
“I swear, Roland. Lucas and I didn’t do anything. We just ate, that’s all.” She tried to explain.
“And I saw you two kiss!”
“N-n-no,” She stuttered. “No, we…we didn’t.”
I boiled harder, my rage getting the best of me, as I banged the steering so hard. “Screw you!”
“Don’t! Don’t Roslyn…!”
She screamed but it was too late…too late to turn back the hands of time and make things right again.
“CPR! Turn on the defibrillator…”
“Put the pads on the patients….pads on the patients! Pads on the patients…”
The yelling went on; Roslyn and I lying helplessly, our bodies covered up in blood.
Amidst the utter haze, we struggled…a struggle only I was able to overcome, as she slipped into the welcoming embrace of death…