Listen up, muffins. Normally I try to keep it light on my blog; when I start typing something all serious and stuff I usually decide it's medication time and end up posting images of a carebear wielding a plush dildo. But here, all bets are off. You get to see the dark underbelly.
I've decided on what gift I want to give the interwebs during the course of my 2-week tenure at Scientopia. It's a story. A work of fiction, written by me for all of you.
So gather 'round, you lucky bastards. And it's even got a scientist in it, so it's totally relevant.
Or, you can go to my blog and watch a video of me and Poodle Friend crashing some ghost hunting. You know, whatever does it for you.
The Stone Woman, pt. 1
by Lab Rockstar
In Gail’s recurring dream, Michael’s cancer was in remission and Gail was making a package of instant chocolate pudding. The pudding firmed as she whisked it, brown and thick, in the bottom of her stainless-steel mixing bowl. It smelled of baking cocoa. I’m sorry, Honey, she was saying to her husband, instant isn’t as good as the regular kind. Michael, replying from the living room, assured her that he would like it just as well. When it was ready, Gail opened the cupboard to get two bowls, but the shelves were bare.
Waking up was a cruel disappointment for Gail. Reality was far harsher than the hope that lived in her sleeping brain. A month ago, Michael had relapsed, and four weeks ago, he had died.
On the twenty-ninth day since then, Gail lay awake with her eyes closed for a long time. She thought about writing on the little legal pad her therapist had given her, but the dream wasn’t new. Besides, behind her eyelids, the light was not so glaring. After some time, she began to wonder if she could just go back to sleep, but by some old habit, she needed to check the time first. Gail opened her eyes.
At first, she was startled to find herself in a foreign room, but then she remembered: it was the “Green Room” at the Scofield Bed and Breakfast. Green and gold fishing flies decorated the wallpaper and early midday sunshine glowed on the green carpeted floor. A week before, Gail recalled, Mr. Scofield had invited her to be his guest at the B and B—for free. She hadn’t really wanted to go, but her therapist had pointed out how people who have experienced a loss should try not to isolate themselves and should try to keep busy and so on, until Gail conceded. She rubbed her eyes. The light was so bright.
The digital alarm clock on the nightstand read ten twenty-three. There also was a box of tissues, a lamp, a coaster, and a book entitled A Field Guide to North American Vernal Pool Macro-Organisms. Gail let her head drop back to the pillow. This must be Mr. Scofield’s joke for me, she thought. She eyed the cover photograph of a larval caddisfly in his stone shelter, thinking of her senior year in high school when she did an independent study of vernal pool insects with Mr. Scofield, her former biology teacher. Gail shut her eyes again. Things sure change, she thought.
After a while, she dozed again. In another dream, Gail was processing animal specimens at the lab. Perched on her high stool, she leaned over the company microscope, but the hematological slide she had placed on the microscope stage was too dark to see. Gail began readjusting the illumination when suddenly, through her half-sleep, she heard someone snoring softly on the pillow beside her. Gail’s hand shot out to touch her husband, but grasped instead the mound of the green down comforter. I must have heard my own breath, she thought, blinking. Gail stared at the empty pillow and felt her throat tighten. She had to get up.
Pushing off her covers, Gail slid her feet to the floor. The carpet was spongy under her bare feet as she padded to the window. There, the foothills of the White Mountains rolled up and down behind the Scofield’s great meadow, which glistened with patches of snow like pearls amidst gray, frostbitten earth. Closer to the farmhouse, Mrs. Scofield scratched around in her vegetable garden with a hand trowel. The little asparagus trees that grew there looked hard and dead, and the peas and squash vines had shriveled to brown strings.
Tune in tomorrow for a riveting part 2!