Sunday, 13 March 2016

Excerpt: Between Death and Heaven

Phil ran his hand down her naked flesh as she slept, watching her clear white skin in fascinated absorption. She was a big girl, his Amazon, from her fiery, strawberry hair, inherited from Viking antecedents, long dead, to her piercing, green eyes that made him shiver every time she glanced at him. Most days he couldn’t believe she was his. His finger trailed down  her endless legs, thick and shapely as saplings, ending in long toes gaily painted yellow. She was asleep now, worn out from his passion, and hers. A smile played around her rosebud lips even as she dozed. Perhaps she could feel his gaze on her.

“Lillian?” he whispered in her ear before he bit it playfully. Her smile widened, but she didn’t open her eyes or say a word. “Lil me darlin?” he drawled, but again, she ignored him.
He leaned over her and placed a kiss behind her ear while he pressed his already erect member into her backside. Phil was a small guy, except where it really mattered. A shiver ran down her body as his lips touched her flesh, and Phil took it as encouragement. He promptly inveigled one of his legs between hers, widening the space between her legs as he slipped his long, slim fingers into her, kissing her neck all the while. She made a small sound of encouragement but didn’t open her eyes. That was all he needed to position himself to enter her from behind, all the while running his hands softly up and down the inside of her thighs, teasing her with sensation. She moaned sensually, arching her back to give him more access, her eyes still closed.
He thrust suddenly into her, unable to hold back any longer. His  eyes widened as the brown of his irises narrowed into pinpoints of pleasure. His mouth opened in a soundless groan as he thrust faster and faster into her, the encouraging noises she made egging him on. It was over in minutes, but neither minded. It had been a long night of celebration. 

“I don’t feel well, Lillian, I don’t feel well at all. Are you sure about the pork in that jambalaya?” Phil asked as he came back from his third visit to the bathroom later in the morning.
“The jambalaya’s fine. It’s your bloody habit of not washin’ your hands that is the fuckin’ problem, Phil,” Lillian replied irritably, though if asked, she’d have to admit that she wasn’t feeling a hundred percent either.
“Okay, okay. Cool your jets, Lil, I was just asking,” Phil replied.
“Sorry. Long night,” Lillian replied contritely.
“Really? What were you up to?” Phil said, instantly forgetting his discomfort as he jumped on the bed, facing her as she lay down.
Lillian rolled her eyes and turned away from him. She loved Phil with all her heart, but he could be just a smidge more affectionate than she was used to. South London did not encourage loving behaviour among its residents.
Phil and Lillian had been enjoying a nice, candlelit dinner the evening before to celebrate Lillian’s attainment of citizenship in the United States. Phil could hardly understand her strong, cockney accent half the time, but his heart had been hers at first sight and he hadn’t looked back since. The narrow complication of already having a girlfriend hadn’t stopped him from walking up to her with a fat bunch of daffodils the first time he saw her and asking her to marry him. She had laughed in his face, but he’d seen the interest in her eyes as they travelled over his five-foot-four frame, small but well built. The Navajo blood that ran in his veins gifted him his dark hair and brown eyes, and his Spanish ancestry was responsible for the bronze of his skin. And probably his height as well. His mother’s people were small, if proud, Spaniards. Although he was an accountant by trade, he worked over at the Evans’ alligator ranch and therefore indulged in some wrestling with extremely large reptiles. That accounted for his pleasantly muscled frame. When he’d told Sally that what they’d had had been good but it was over now, she hadn’t been pleased. But it didn’t worry him; she would get over it. She had to because he wasn’t going back to her. Especially now that Lillian had agreed to stay.
Phil’s stomach suddenly went into a cramp and he collapsed on the floor, squirming in pain. His stomach was churning like it was full of snakes attempting to exit via the stomach wall instead of following the correct route down to his anus. It actually seemed to undulate. He waited in horror for long, writhing figures to shoot from it in a burst of black slime and green goo, just like in the movies. Lillian leaped naked from the bed and attempted to straighten him out.
“Phil! Phil! Wot’s the matter wi’ you?” she cried urgently, “should I call someone… a doctor or somefing? Speak to me!” But Phil continued to thrash about on the ground. Lillian stood up and ran to the phone, dialling 999 instinctively before remembering she was in America now and dialling 911.
“Hello! Hello! Is this the emergency services? Me boyfriend’s in pain, you need to come quick!” she shouted down the line, speaking as clearly as possible so they’d understand her. These Americans did not like foreigners.

“What is the nature of your emergency, ma’am?” the voice on the line asked her.
This inquiry was too much for Lillian’s agitated spirit. She banged the phone down in frustration, looking around desperately for inspiration. Then, shrugging her shoulders, she grabbed the nearest item of clothing, which happened to be her dress from last night. She leaned down and picked Phil up, slinging him over her shoulder in a fireman’s lift and running out to the car with him. She grabbed her shoes as she passed at a run and the car keys. Lucky for both of them that Phil was such a diminutive man compared to her frame, which was a strapping five-foot-eight and 230 pounds. Furthermore, she’d been an amateur wrestler for many years before moving to the States to wrestle with alligators on the Evans’ alligator farm in le Marais. She worked there as a keeper and could bench-press twice her body weight. It was a match made in heaven.
She drove hell for leather to the Le Marais clinic, the one ran by the missionaries. Dr Jonathan Ross was on duty, and he took one look at Phil and murmured “food poisoning” before moving on to the next patient. Lillian wanted to grab at him to make him stay, but he was already out the door. The nurse who came to do triage took Phil’s temperature then hurried out of the treatment room, looking worried. Two minutes later, Dr Ross was back, his face much graver than before.
“What has this man eaten today?” he asked Lillian. For some reason, he was fading in and out of her vision, and she didn’t know why. The room suddenly went black and Lillian collapsed on the floor with a thunderous thud. She didn’t writhe and moan with pain, but it was clear that whatever afflicted Phil had affected her, too. They were both foaming at the mouth. Dr Ross called for gastric lavage in a panic, feeling sorely inconvenienced by all this drama. He had a bottle of ’64 Bordeaux waiting for him in his office!
Phil was going into cardiac arrest. Dr Ross shouted for the crash cart. He grabbed the defibrillator and prepared it for use. Just as he was about to administer the shock treatment to Phil’s chest, the nurse attending to Lillian cried out in alarm. Lillian’s heart was fibrillating too! Dr Ross went into total panic and ran out of the room. “Fuck!” he screamed. “They’re dead.”
The nurses watched him go in shock then the head nurse, Nurse Carrie, grabbed the paddles and rubbed them together.
“Clear!” she shouted, and then administered the shock to Phil’s chest. Nurse Eva went down on her knees and began to administer CPR on Lillian. There was a candy striper named Harpreet who had just started working at the hospital. She was from India, come to Le Marais for an eighteen-month exchange programme. It was her first day, poor dear, and she was at a complete loss as to how to proceed. She looked toward the door and saw an old, black woman peering into the room. She was tall and slim with hair that was fully white and stood up in an untidy halo around her head. She looked crazy, but her caramel eyes were calm and sane.
“Is everything alright?” she asked in a deep, gravelly voice.
“I’m sorry, vat are you doing back here?” Harpreet asked her uncertainly.
“I heard a sound, like a cry for help. I thought they were calling me, so I came.” The woman said.
“Vhy vould they be calling you?” Harpreet asked, not even realising that she knew automatically who ‘they’ were. The old woman shrugged her shoulders, a wry look in her eye.
“Well, I don’t say ‘me’ exactly, but I expect they meant for anyone who could hear to come help,” she said.
“Vat is your name?” Harpreet asked her.
“Matia Andrewes, at your service. What is yours, dear?” Matia asked her.
“Harpreet Singh. I am new,” she said with a bob of her head.
“Well, Harpreet. I am afraid it is much too late for either of us to help these two. Their spirits have been severed from their bodies. Bad juju went on here, I can see. Well, I shall be leaving you now. My granddaughter awaits me,” Matia said.
“Vait!” Harpreet shouted, not sure why she didn’t want the old lady to leave.

“Peace, Harpreet. It will be alright,” Matia said, and with a small wave, she was gone. It was like the sound came back on for Harpreet after that. The nurses were shouting and Dr Ross was screaming into the phone at reception, calling for backup. On the floor and in the bed, the two corpses lay—the only peaceful and quiet beings about.

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