I Live In Nightmares

Word Sepia 4

Randomly Generated Names: Anabel, Roland Matthews, Normand (ew)

Randomly Generated Genre: History/Drama (1700’s America!)

Randomly Generated Title: I Live In Nightmares

Time: 30 Minutes

Go!

Roland’s ashy eyes were fixated, like a predator, upon the young girl sitting before him. His expression was cold, composed, and effectively hiding all the disgust he held for her continued existence. Her dress was overly extravagant; golden folds of the cloth a harsher reflection to the soft yellow waves of her hair. A sweet little thing, with smooth skin, pink lips, and bright, eager eyes. She was 17, a full 8 years younger than him. She was also his new wife.

The new Mrs. Matthews stirred her tea contentedly, watching the cube of sugar disappear beneath the black waters. With each clink of the spoon hitting the porcelain Roland visibly winced. Her large, hazel eyes flickered up and finally noticed his stare. She stiffened, the spoon gradually slipping from her fingers and to the saucer underneath the up. Her smile was awkward, ugly.

“This is a lovely dining establishment, Mr. Matthews–Oh, um–Roland. I suppose it doesn’t make sense not to call my husband by his first name.” Her dainty little laugh died quickly, observing that he didn’t find it as amusing as she. His face had hardly moved. She pulled her teacup to her chest, whispering a soft, “Alright then” before taking a sip. This lovely little specimen went by the name of Isabel. Not that it mattered to Roland, all he saw her as was the woman who murdered his best friend.

He had been against the marriage from the start, finding women more trouble than they were worth. Normand, however, had been an encouraging match-maker. He was a little younger than Roland, with an oval face and shaved head. His eyes were pointed down slightly, traces of a legacy far across the globe that Roland found rather endearing.

“Come now,” Normand’s smile was wide enough to round his cheeks, “Isabel really enjoyed your company.”

All women do,” Roland replied, bored, “And she’s too young.”

“Perhaps, but she seems genuinely interested in knowing you, not your money. I have a good feeling about this one. Please, Roland, I want to see you happy.”

The irony was near palpable. The little Lady before him wanted to be wed upon her parent’s estate, far from sensible civilization and with barely a road to follow. It was no wonder that Normand ended up… Roland closed his eyes a moment, gathering his composure. All because she wanted a romantic evening by her parent’s lake.

“Roland…” Her soft voice was almost a caress to his cheek, beckoning him to look at her, “Might I… Might I ask you something?”

His dark eyes flashed open once more, gaze fixated on her. It was a struggle to hold back the hiss, “What is it, Isabel?”

“I don’t know if this is inappropriate… But… Why don’t we… Share a bed?”

There was no answer that would be appropriate, and he did not feel the effort to try to think of one.

“Is it because…” She tried again, “Of your… um… condition?”

SLAM!

Roland’s fist was trembling slightly against the table. The surrounding guests all threw alarmed looks at them.

“I have nightmares,” he said through gritted teeth, “And I would prefer not to strangle you in the heat of one of them. Even if you did deserve it.”

The girl shrunk down into her chair, limited by her tight corset. She was genuinely horrified.

“I… what?” Her hand went to her bared collarbones, “Why would you say that?”

“Oh surely you can guess,” he threw at her, fist tightening.

“I absolutely do not! Roland–you’re scaring me. Is this a part of your…?”

“This has nothing to do with me. This has to do with the fact that I had to watch my friend die just so I could marry you. And what a pleasant time it’s been, hasn’t it?”

Her jaw fell open, eyes near-circles. “I… What are you talking about?”

“What? Did no one tell you?” He was genuinely surprised, “So that’s how you’ve been living with a clear conscious. Well, my dear, on our trip to your horrid estate, we…”

The burden placed on his chest was almost too painful to bear. He felt he couldn’t breathe, but he had already started. His hand went over his mouth a moment, trying again to regain sanity. This was an incident that had haunted him every night for days. The expression on Normand’s face…

“We… We were attacked. Bandits, or some other pathetic form of human life.”

Isabel gasped, covering her mouth with both hands. It was a muffled, “Bandits?” She leaned forward, “What did they look like? Who were they?”

“I… I didn’t quite see,” he was forced to admit, “One of them had knocked me out before I could do anything. But Normand… and our driver…” Bile coated his tongue, “They were near dead. I tried to help my friend… but… There was so much blood.” Roland had to take off his hat, running his fingers through his dark hair.

“You… blacked out?” Isabel timidly asked. He knew what she was thinking, and it only made him angrier.

“I didn’t imagine the attack, Isabel. How else do you explain the fact that Normand is now dead? Well?”

Her eyes were still in that rounded state. “You said you were covered in blood–even though you didn’t see the attack? How did so much get on you?”

He stood, face red with fury, “Don’t turn this on me, you witch. We were attacked, and that’s that.”

Isabel shrunk into her seat, eyes flickering from side to side to the other customers. When she looked back to her new husband, she spoke slowly, “Normand… Did the bandits… Take anything?”

This caused Roland to stiffen.

“Well–not from me. I think they tried to steal from Normand, but he had fought back–“

“And they decided to run away after killing him?”

“Listen, whore, I don’t know the motivations of bandits. They’re from around your house, perhaps they’re as dimwitted as the rest of your family.”

There were a few gasps around them, but Roland’s focus didn’t falter from the woman before him. She took a long, slow breath. “When was the last time you’ve been to your–“

“Oh, what? You think I have something to do with the attack?”

It was as if a switch had been turned, and the girl’s face was suddenly deathly calm, “Roland, what was your friend’s name?”

“Are you deaf, woman? Normand.”

“His full name.”

“Normand…” Roland paused, scrunching up his nose, “What does this have to do with anything?”

“Roland,” she spoke calmly, “You arrived at the wedding with your parents.”

He stilled, looking her up and down. He winced; a bead of sweat fell into his eye. “I-I think I’d remember that.”

“Is Normand even–“

“Don’t you dare,” he threatened, baring his teeth.

“When was the last time you went to your–“

SHUT UP!” He shouted, wiping the sweat away from his eyes, “I don’t need to listen to this.”

One of the customers’ rested a hand on his shoulder, accompanied by a low voice, “Alright, alright, let’s talk about this later. How about you head on home, i’ll escort you.”

Roland twisted away from the stranger’s hand. “Listen, I don’t need anyone to–“

It was Normand. He was standing in front of him, hands held up defensively. “Sorry.”

Roland couldn’t feel most of his body. Was he real? His heart was pounding in his throat. Surely this wasn’t another… Could Isabel see him, too?

“Isabel…” He said, voice trembling, “This man… Is he…?”

He turned to her– only to find that she was no longer there. Even her teacup was gone.

Normand placed his hand on Roland’s shoulder again, more gently.

“Roland… when was the last time you saw your doctor?”

 -End-

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