Chapter 12 – Turmoil
My life closed twice before its close; it yet remains to see. If Immortality unveil; a third event to me, so huge, so hopeless to conceive, as these that twice befell. Parting is all we know of heaven, and all we need of hell. ~ Emily Dickenson
New Years Eve, 2005, Portland, Oregon
When I awoke, I found myself lying in fetal position on a king-size bed. The room tastefully furnished. But where? This was not Cairo. The last thing I remembered was sitting in the VIP lounge at JFK awaiting my flight to Cairo. My thoughts were a blur as were my eyes, which burned as if layered in sandpaper. I tried to sit up. My head spun as a light-headed wave followed by incessant pounding forced me to lie back. I felt hung over but knew that was impossible I only drank one glass of Pellegrino while I waited. I’d been drugged. Why? And by whom? Confusion mingled with my broken heart. What is happening to me I questioned as my eyes looked to the ceiling. As if I would hear an answer from above. I went to the window. Black and a black lab. I had to figure out what had happened, and more importantly where I was. I looked around the room and found the typical hotel pad of paper – The Benson, Portland, Oregon. How on earth I had arrived here of all places? I sat up on the bed again, trying to recall the events which had led me here.
My mind vacillated between realism and madness – numbness and heartache. My reality terrified me more than the incessant nightmares, which had plagued my youth. I knew beyond a doubt that my husband was dead, murdered before my eyes by monsters. I knew how crazy that sounded however implausible – I witnessed the massacre.
The police were convinced I was the assailant and not the victim. As far as I knew they considered me, their only suspect. What happened to the attackers? And my husband’s body? I was pretty certain that my sudden departure hadn’t helped. In all likelihood I was now a fugitive – me. A reputable scientist I had somehow found myself, hell, my life altered beyond my control. Truth be told, I had no idea how I arrived in Portland, let alone what really happened that night in the alley.
While my recollections remained random and bizarre, I was as certain as my heart ached, I did not kill Michael. I only wish I knew if it was because of me he was dead, or if the attack was merely a random mugging gone seriously wrong. While I feared the former, I really was praying it was the latter. Each instance my eyes closed my memory of that night sporadically materialized as an inferno of diabolical images incapacitating my being, each unsightly vision portrayed by unfathomable anguish. When my eyes reopen I strove to unearth the enigma and comprehend the tragedy with no accord. Were my thoughts merely illusions or some futile attempt of a coping mechanism?
I felt insurmountable anguish and emotional turmoil. But my mind saw what it saw – two monsters at the scene of Michael’s murder and two more in my home. I could not remove their demonic faces from of my mind. Not any more than I could explain how my body was literally broken and then all indications of injury seemingly disappeared. It was no dream. Yet it was a scene from one of my many inexplicable nightmares, which had come to fruition.
I blinked. The remnants of my conscious mind while seemingly alert were fractured. Time seemed meaningless, as had the confrontations. I was a lost soul with no idea how long I had been in this hotel. I recognized I had to regain my composure and pull myself from the deep chasm for which I’d fallen. My soul desperately influenced me to seek answers. I needed to unearth the truth even if it meant I would die as a result.
With immense effort I raised my miserable self from the confines of bed. A lone mirror hung from the pale sunlit wall. As I passed, the reflection was of an emaciated woman, sunken chocolate eyes staring coldly outwardly in a daze. What a mess. “Lexi you must gain control. You are disintegrating.” I whispered at the image. I could barely believe it was me.
As I crossed the room the thick tan carpet burned my toes like walking on a bed of coals. The strange sensation abated as my feet touched the coolness of the ceramic tiles of the earthen colored washroom. Drawing the water on the bath I descended into the depths of the sunken basin yet the water painfully scorched my skin.
I turned the cold water faucet on full stream, “damn.” I uttered. Yet water singed my skin as if scaled by boiling water. I jumped out of the basin and picked up the phone conveniently positioned on the wall between the tub and toilet, a fact I’d always found amusing and dialed room service.
“This is room, Ah,” I looked at the phone to find the room number, “869. Could you please send up an ice chest full of ice? Yes, an ice chest containing ice cubes or whatever you have. And a bottle of 1985 Château Margeaux, thank you.”
Minutes later a rap emanated from the door – the ice and bottle of wine had arrived. I swathed my sopping from with the comforts of a luxurious hotel cotton robe, and acquired my goods. You gotta love room service. The attendant entered and placed a chest of fully stocked ice and a small tray holding wine and supplies near the bed. I handed him a twenty as he departed and locked the door behind him.
I walked over to the table freely uncorked the bottle pouring its contents into the decanter the hotel sommelier had included. I poured two fingers in a glass; I was not patient enough to let the bottle fully open. The aromatic bouquet of chocolate, rich cherries, smoke, and soft tannins escaped from the burgundy liquid as it flowed effortlessly into its novel urn. I gave the glass a swirl and inhaled the luscious full body and richness of the crimson colored wine. “This will do nicely.” I said as I proceeded to roll the blue and white thermos cooler into the bathroom. The chest was heavy but I managed easily enough to dump its contents into the sunken haven of my bath. I removed my fluffy robe and climbed into a chilly sea of misery.
The coolness of the water could not restrain the inferno, which violently seared my internal being. An excruciating stab pierced my soul as I sank further into the freezing abyss. My eyes closed tightly as my sight entered a void of eternal unconsciousness.
Visions of mysterious shadowy figures, their features indistinct permeated my mind. Attempting to focus on the images the portrait abruptly became lucid – thin traces of sky blue narrowly perforating the pureness of the monstrous figures with transparent skin. Terrifying revelations: fiery eyes, fang-like teeth dripped scarlet they seem to penetrate deep into my core. Are these but the creatures who stole my soul mate and my colleagues Robert, Abdul, and Adele or simply a figment of my imagination? Unable to discern, I plunged deeper into the basin of anguish.
I heard a voice. It chanted an unusual rhyme in a language I didn’t’ recognize at first. As I listened the words seemed to transform. “Tusah uteriohs eran inviktuhs, meroh tusah penijtuhs.” I understood the meaning all too clearly. The voice imprisoned my trueness and I realized ‘my womb was void and always had been, merely my inner demon festering within’ – an illusion, a malicious act of deception.
The God I loved and worshiped so intently was merciless brutally ripped from me my husband and now a child I will never know. Disillusioned, I’ve been abandoned. My body was powerless to overcome such tragedies my faith dissipated as if my soul was no longer alive. It transformed into an obscure lifeless mass. Yet, another voice compelled me to ascend. To collect my senses and refocus the inert forces within me toward that of my destiny. Emphatically the voice soothed my being. The inner demons struggled violently as the cool water gradually abated my soul. Forever wandering my mind slowly returned scathed and dispirited. My body rose from the coldness of the icy bath and I cried out in agony.