The Man Who Wasn’t There – Part 21

the-man-who-wasnt-thereBrian’s MRI doesn’t reveal anything bad, but it did show a something on his right shoulder, as suspected by Andre and Marissa. Unfortunately, the electromagnetic charge of the machine seems to have upset Brian’s inner balance and he’s not feeling very well.

Flowers of every type and color danced around him. Soon, they turned into lovely, slender women with flower petals for skirts. They swooped and whirled around him in an evanescent blur. Their faces were beautiful, delicate, ethereal. Their bodies were as brightly colored as their skirts. Long, green hair flowed down their backs. When he looked more closely, Brian could see it wasn’t hair, but fine vines. Brian was happy there, content. The pain receded, joy filled him. They invited him to dance. He joined them, twirling and spinning until he was too dizzy to stand. The dance whirled faster. Brian stumbled and fell to his knees. His stomach clenched and he vomited.

Gentle hands wiped his face. The stench of vomit filled his nostrils and he knew he’d really thrown up.

“At least he missed my shoes,” Jordan said quietly. Her hands mopped his brow “Hey, baby, we’re home.”

Brian’s aching eyelids rose slowly. He saw Jordan’s house out the window of Claude’s Escalade. “Sorry I hurled in the car,” he mumbled.

“Not a problem, son,” Claude said calmly. “We’ll get it taken care of. Are you all right?”

“No. I think—” he stumbled, falling on the grass of Jordan’s yard. He vomited again, gagging on bile. “Sorry,” he groaned. “I feel—” He gagged again, but nothing came up.

Strong arms lifted him, carrying him into the crystal room. Jordan followed as Claude and Miles carried Brian in the house and laid him on the floor. Jackie joined them, kneeling by Brian. He felt a coolness on his brow and recognized the resonance of Lester, his favorite crystal skull. It hummed and thrummed, warming his skin. Unlike the MRI, which had felt oddly hot and uncomfortable, the skull drew the pain and nausea away. Two smaller skulls were placed in his hands. These filled the spaces left by illness with a delicious contentment. His eyes drooped shut.

When he woke later, Brian’s head rested on a pillow and a soft chenille throw kept him warm. He could smell Jordan and knew she was nearby. He lay on his side, face mere inches from the large, pink crystal in Jackie’s meditation room. His movements alerted Jordan. She knelt beside him, touching his face.

“Are you okay?” Her voice was rough with emotion, her eyes full of worry. “Mom,” she called. “He’s awake!”

Jordan’s parents and his rushed in, followed by Claude Beauchamps. He took Brian’s vital signs, smiling.

“Better,” he announced. “I should never have done the MRI, but after Rose and I weighed the risks, we decided we had to.”

“Wait, you knew I was gonna hurl?” Brian asked.

“We suspected. MRI’s are difficult on our kind, especially those who shape earth. Throws us all out of whack. I didn’t think to bring a crystal with me, or we could have taken care of it before you vomited the first time. I’m sorry.”

“Sorry about the car.”

Claude laughed. “It’s all right. I’ve had worse to deal with.”

“You’re sure he’s okay?” Jordan hadn’t left his side since he woke. She held him, supporting his weight.

“Good as new.”

“Dinner will be ready soon,” Jackie promised. “Are you hungry?”

“Starving.” Brian replied weakly.

His father and Claude helped him stand. The supported him as he went to the small bathroom under the stairs. He felt much better, but a little shaky. Jordan was waiting when he came out. She gave him her shoulder for support, but he didn’t need it. Instead, he held her close, kissing her deeply.

She smiled up at him. “You’re feeling better.”

“Much. You taste fantastic,” he said, licking his lips. “New lipgloss?”

“Not wearing any.”

“Yum,” he whispered. “I could get addicted to that easily.”

Jordan buried her face in his chest. “You looked like absolute hell in the car,” she whimpered. “Like when we pulled you from the ground last year, kind of like death. I thought I was going to lose you. Don’t scare me like that again.”

“I told you, I can’t promise that. I’m not doing it on purpose,” he assured her.

“I know, but it doesn’t make it any easier.”

“I know.” He raised her chin. “But no tears, okay? I’m fine. Tell me what I missed.” They went to sit in the formal living room.

Their parents were talking in the kitchen, but the two of them didn’t feel like joining the adults. Brian sank onto the comfortable couch with a sigh. He was much better, but he still felt like he’d been someone’s punching bag. His sides and head ached, but it was dull, not sharp or immediate. He could live with it.

“Everyone’s gone home expect Claude and Andre. They refused to leave. Louisa and Adele went home with her family. I called Dr. Meru and he was really concerned about you, but he wasn’t surprised.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes 

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