Page 99 from Express Cafe and Other Ramblings
A Story Collection
By Heather Crouse
Reprinted with Permission: Copyright By Heather Crouse. All Rights Reserved.
Book Description: This book is comprised of a collection of works about the different paths that life can take. Each work is separate, but still relates to the human condition in some manner.
Instantly, the pantry was illuminated and my gaze locked onto the figure behind the cereal box. It was only there for a split-second, but was imprinted on my memory from then on. Dark-headed and small with liquid brown eyes that begged for pity. Eyes like Alex’s…or Julian’s. Then it struck me like a madman gripping my heart. The creature undoubtedly resembled my son. But, he’s dead, I thought. It couldn’t be. Could it? "Julian?" I whispered. "Julian, is that you?"
Desperate to find the creature again, I began tearing boxes and cans of vegetables off of the shelves, still calling his name. Frantically, I searched the pantry, but the creature had somehow vanished. "Please come back!" I felt a hand on my shoulder and spun, ready to confront the creature. The light shone on Alex’s stunned features and brown eyes.
"What the hell are you doing?"
Alex was rarely upset with anyone. He was known for his calm way of handling things. The tone he used now frightened me as nothing else could. I suddenly felt that I did not know the man standing before me. Helplessly, I gestured to the door behind me, heedless of the pile of junk at my feet. "Julian," I whispered. There was fear now, the desolate kind, in Alex’s eyes as he pulled me close. "It was Julian," I told him.
"I know, baby. I miss him too." He pulled away enough to look at me. "Emily, I don’t want you to worry anymore. I promise I’ll take care of you."
I nodded, knowing I would always feel safe with him. As he led me away to bed, I couldn’t help wondering if I had truly seen my boy in the features of one of the cazadores. Is that where everyone went when they died? Was it a kind of afterlife? Did some people, instead of returning as their most favored animal, come back as merely a miniature version of themselves? I didn’t want to care about it anymore. I wanted to go back home to Minneapolis. But, I didn’t know when Alex would be ready to return. I still worried about him considerably.
I didn’t hear anything else creeping in the kitchen the rest of the night. Alex held me close, but not tight.
Heather Crouse has been writing since she was nine years old. She has always wanted to be an author and has spent most of her life trying to fulfill that dream. She recently finished writing her first romance novel. She has had two short stories published in a private university publication. Her focus is in the romance genre. She writes both contemporary and historical romance stories and novels, and also writes literary fiction.
Visit her at: http://marielavender.webs.com/
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