Red. A fluttering of red. Like confetti or a late spring rain. It floated down from the seventh floor apartment at the corner of 82nd and Southgate onto the hustlers and vagrants that filled the street below. It drifted on the breeze, falling where it was led. Coming to rest on heads and hands, and on the hearts of the famished.
She roused, blinking away the sleep that had held her captive for an age. Her subconscious mind was clouded in dimness. Her head felt dizzy as if she had been tossed in a violent sea. The sheet that covered her was damp with sweat. It was a summer’s afternoon.
She moved, the luxury of silk caressed her, an invitation to resumed slumber. The bedding felt good, decadent, tempting. It was comfortable there.
She rolled onto her side; her auburn hair spilled across her face. Her lashes fluttered and settled. A shaft of light cut through a gap between the burgundy drapes and sliced into the carpet like a flaming arrow. She stared at it. It seemed to call to her, pulling her mind from the darkness.
She sat up.
The air was hot and stale. It prickled her skin and coated her mouth with thickness and lethargy. She uncovered and stood, feet unsure on the carpet, knees weak. Her body felt parched, her spirit dry, her soul longing.
She was naked.
There were flowering plants by the window. The leaves were wilted and dusky from inattention; the petals had fallen and lay scattered.
A noise. A movement in the hallway. She turned and screamed.
A figure stepped through the doorway. “Oh, you’re awake.” The voice was tinted with buried frustration.
She lifted the sheet to cover herself. “What are you doing here?” Her heart raced.
He crossed the room toward her. “Sshh. It’s ok.” His tone was reassuring. “Lie back down, everything’s going to be fine.”
She tensed and pulled the blanket about her like a robe. “I told you never to come back.”
“Ginny,” he paused, a smug expression tugged at his puckered lips. “You asked me to move back in. Don’t you remember?” His eyes seemed so disarming.
She stumbled. “What are you talking about? I threw you out.” Uncertainty gripped her. She looked down. Both sides of the bed were jumbled. Tears began to well in her eyes. “No, it’s not possible…”
“Baby, let’s just get you back into bed.” He seemed determined. “You’ll feel better with a bit more sleep.” He moved to the end table and opened the drawer. “Let me get you a pill. It’ll put you right out.”
Her fingers twisted into the silk cloth. “Get out of here.” She spit the words. “And never come back.”
He raised his hands and laughed. “Alright. I’ll go.” He stepped to the hall. “But you’ll want me again.” He winked. “You always do.”
The tendons in her neck tightened. “Not this time.”
Ginny trembled as the door slammed. Weakness washed through her as the adrenalin faded. “Oh God, what have I done?”
She found her wrap, crumpled and kicked under the bed. She clothed herself, pulling the flawless lace about her waist and tying it in place. She pulled open the drapes and averted her eyes from the brilliance, the twilight of the chamber fully exposed by the light pouring in.
She stroked the flowers. “I’ve neglected you for too long. I’m sorry.” The shame of her actions weighed on her. She shook with sobs. Her tears spilled into the cracked and shrunken soil. New buds began to form.
She opened the windows. The air outside was fresh and new. Falling to her knees she held her hands up in submission. “Father, forgive my depravity. Please cleanse me. Send your Spirit to freshen and fill me anew.”
A breeze moved through the casement and stiffened. It circled about the apartment and swept the staleness from the air. The burgundy drapes were lifted and shaken, blowing out the portal and over the street. The fallen petals fluttered and spun. They were raised, blown through the window, and carried away by the draft.
Red. A fluttering of red. Like confetti or a late spring rain, it floated down from the seventh floor apartment onto the hustlers and vagrants in the street below. It drifted on the breeze, falling where it was led, coming to rest on the hearts of the famished. Flower petals wholly restored and fresh with dew carrying the promise of redemption.
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