Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chapter 25: Dina Paints The Ceiling

Mon, November 9, 2074 10:15 pm: Lothario Hall- Rawling Hills, Pleasantview

That morning, Adelaide had packed the last of her father's clothing and belongings to be stored away in the attic. It seemed a reasonable enough idea at the time but as Dina prepared for bed in a barren room, she discovered that Don had never been more conspicuous than he was in his absence. Every blank space was a signpost stamped with his name. There was the spotless corner where he used to discard his shoes, the pristine pillow where he drooled alongside his granddaughter, the unoccupied settee where he would watch Dina brushing her hair. Dina drove her fingertips into her tear ducts in an attempt to stifle her rising anguish.

Three weeks, four days, seven hours. Would she spend the rest of her life emptying picture frames and drugging herself to sleep?

Her doctor had prescribed an entire cornucopia of mood stabilizers and barbiturates for her insomnia. Dina had even experimentally taken Adelaide's post-caesarean painkillers. It did not then come as a terrible shock when the mattress creaked under the weight of his body. Dina caught a familiar set of movements out of the corner of her eye but she refused to look. It would be agony to look.

"What's got your goat?" Oh God, it had spoken to her. Tomorrow night, she would take the sleeping pills and nothing else. When Dina failed to respond, the apparition tentatively eased in closer to her. She could almost swear she heard him breathing. He chuckled in his low and vulgar way. "You didn't really think that a little thing like cardiac arrest was gonna keep me from seeing my favorite girl, now did you?" Dina bit the inside of her cheeks until she tasted blood. She would not gasp. She would not cry. She would do nothing to acknowledge just how Don-like the hallucination was.

"I'm going to close my eyes and count down from ten," Dina whispered. "When I open them, you will have retreated back into my subconscious." The apparition winced in pain.

"Aw come on, sugar. Don't be like that." Dina summoned her courage and looked at him. He was young, much younger than she had ever seen him in life. Delirium was a strange thing. And as far as Dina knew, it was not a normal stage of grief.

"Ten, nine, eight-"


"Babe, if you don't want me here, I'll go. All you have to do is ask."

"Seven, six, five..."

He laid his hand on top of hers, his fingers icy and smooth as polished steel. Dina reflexively pulled away. She closed her eyes and parted her lips to continue counting when she felt his weight lifted from the bed. Looking over, she found that the pillow beside her still bore the imprint of his shoulders. She was delusional. She was dreaming.

"Over here, Deen." His voice rattled the window panes. Dina clutched the bed sheets at her sides, more afraid of ghosts and shadows than she had ever been in her life.


Don stood in the far corner of the room, bandaged and bleeding as she had seen him only once before. She gritted her teeth and shot the apparition a venomous glare.

"You- Are- Not- Real," Dina snarled.

"Oh would you shut-up with that? You know what you're seeing. I prepared you for this a long time ago." Dina shook her head vehemently, tears spilling down her cheeks and collecting at the edges of her mouth. He was dead. He was gone. And this... This was unfathomable. "Anyway, I'm here to tell you that the shit's about to hit the fan. Take care of yourself, Deen. And take care of our family. You know how I love you." Don vanished just as quickly as he had appeared.

Dina stared upwards, unblinking. The more desperately she wished to banish them, the more vivid her memories became. She banged her head against the backboard, silently praying for oblivion. Colored silhouettes materialized and shifted. Her mind's eye was painting the ceiling with Don's broken bones.

July 31, 2052 8:43pm: 47 Peacock Lane- Camden, Pleasantview (Twenty-Two Years earlier)


"Donald?" The door snapped violently shut behind her, pulled by an angry wind. Don was seated in a dark corner of his kitchen, his torso and hands wrapped in surgical gauze. Dina slowly crept across the room, approaching him as one might a wild animal.


At length, he raised his head to look at her, stopping her in her tracks. He smiled weakly.

"Hey there, beautiful. What are you doing here?"

"I- I'm just visiting. Don, what happened to you?"


Don rose from his chair and began shuffling across the floor to meet her. All that Dina could do was stare at him, gaping.

"You shouldn't have gotten up for me."

"Are you kidding? I'd jump off a cliff if I thought I'd find you at the bottom."

"With the state you're in, I believe it. You look like hell." Dina traced her fingers down his abdomen, only then noticing the crimson stains blossoming across his side. "Don, you're bleeding!"


"Hey babe, calm down. Let's not worry about me. I'm ok. This isn't the first set of cracked ribs I've ever had."

"What happened," Dina begged.

"Can we take a seat?"

"Of course." Don collapsed into his chair in such a way that Dina realized he couldn't have remained standing much longer.


"Your husband happened to me. He sent that snot-nosed kid London over here to kick my ass." And seeing the horror that washed over Dina's face, he hastened to add, "It wasn't about you or whatever. Mortimer's looking for someone and he thinks I know where to find them."

"It's... Not Bella, is it?" Don snorted.

"Mortimer has always known where Bella is. And it sure ain't at the bottom of Blue Lake."

"I don't think I understand."

"You shouldn't. I never wanted to get you involved."


Dina rapped her fingernails against the tabletop, somewhere between pity and extreme annoyance. Don shrank away from her like a child caught in the act of truancy.

"Have you been to a hospital?"

"No but-"

"Don't you think that it might be wise to do so?"

"Well you see-"

"What if there's permanent damage? What if you're bleeding internally?"

"Dina, I always-"

"Who is Mortimer looking for?" Don pursed his lips and said nothing.


"I'm already involved," Dina yelled. "By multiple degrees, I'm involved! This is the father of my child, we're talking about. Who is he looking for?" Don winced, as uncomfortable with the mention of Isabella's paternity as he had ever been.

"It's... He's looking someone my mom used to know. A man by the name of Kvornan Tricou." Kvornan Tricou? Why did that name sound so familiar? Dina leaned back in her chair, combing her memory. And then in a flash she saw it- A large marble tombstone at Gothier Green Lawns, not far from where Michael was buried: Kvornan Tricou, beloved husband and father.

"Mortimer is a fucking idiot. Kvornan Tricou is dead," she scoffed. Don cleared his throat. He reached for the packet of cigarettes at the center of the table and began tapping it against his palm.

"Well," he said. "That's certainly one theory."


  1. Man, your killing me! LOL! I had to rid this chapter 1)because of the title and 2)I've gotten hooked since the last chapter! Which means I have to go back and read chapters 1-23 because I have SOO many questions! LOL!!

    But, what I'm reading so far I'm really enjoying!:)

  2. Ha! Phoenix, why did you do that to yourself? Yeah none of this makes any sense without the rest of the story. And there are still a lot of loose ends after reading this chapter. But that's a lot of what this story is about- Unravelling the mysteries of the past. *cue lighting bolt and eerie theme music*

    And read the prologue too! I know it's dense but there's so much information there. And I know that last sentence was redundant but... Ok, I don't have a justification for that. :D

  3. So Mortimer knew something about Elise's Kvornan... wow, this story has some great drama! Can't wait to read more :D

    Still loving your take on Pleasantview, by the way. Also, the way you've mixed modern and old-fashioned clothing gives a really cool effect.

  4. Thanks, Van! I think I have an addiction to pretty dresses that transcends time periods. And I felt like I could just run with that since the story takes place in a time/location that never existed.

    And oh yeah. Mortimer knew quite a bit more about Kvornan than Elise currently does. As Dina happens to mention in Chapter 19, Mortimer was pretty close to the Tricou family.

  5. Woah! So wait, dead ghosty Don went back to the past and visited her years earlier? To prepare her for visiting her now?

    And ooh Kvornan!

    Also that title is awesome, and the line that spawned it likewise.

  6. That is a lot crazier explanation than what I had intended here! :D

    She went to visit living and breathing Don years earlier and found him in that state. In this chapter we don't actually see the moment where he had warned her that he would probably come back all dead and ghostly.

    When he came back to her in present day looking beat-up it was to remind her of that night in order to help her to put a few pieces together about what was coming in the future.

    In another words, Dina is now constantly looking over her shoulder, just waiting for unresolved business to blow up- Business that she still doesn't fully understand.

  7. Things are starting to get mega-creepy here. And you have written SO many chapters since I last checked in :) It is going to take me so long to catch up. But hurray though... lots of reading to do.

  8. hehe Yeah, I have a 7 chapter/month goal that must be upheld!

  9. And the mysteries keep on growing ... keep it coming ... I'm still totally behind but I'm getting there ...

    Hmmm, so Don was faithful to Dina in your story? She was his the ONE? (I'm trying not to make gagging sounds here - lol - in my hood, Don is too wrapped up in his studliness to have a ONE. And Dina is far from a high caste person. ha ha)

  10. Don was definitely faithful to Dina. She was far and away the love of his life. My Don had a few women going at once in 2050 but the circumstances...

    For an outside viewer, he might have looked like a womanizer. But when you get into why he was with these women, you find that it's not as simple as that (OTHER than when he was making a little money on the side from certain prominent female members of Pleasantview society- but I'm not going to go into that just yet). He realized that rich women found him handsome and coarse and weirdly attractive in his coarseness but he wasn't hung up in any of that. There was only one woman in the world as far as he was concerned. And she's currently drugged up on barbiturates.