Poison's Bend: Chapter 21
Warnings: language, partial nudity, implied sex, violence
The policemen who pulled Vidcund’s body from the pond the day after Catherine left for Sim State were compassionate.
They advised me not to look any longer than I must; for the corpse of a drowned person was a distressing sight indeed.
Yet it was I who identified the body...
My beloved. My lover. Mon âme sœur...
No... no! I refused to believe it, but it was true...
Vidcund was dead.
One of the police detectives respectfully approached me with a notepad and pen. “Any ideas how it happened, ma’am?” he asked.
I turned and gazed at him blankly. “Mr. Curious enjoyed fishing in our stocked pond,” I replied after a few moments. “I had it dug especially for..." I sighed and looked away. "Sometimes he would stay out very late, until he was overly tired, and...” I could not continue. My throat clogged with tears that nearly choked me with grief.
“I’m sorry,” I gasped between sobs, burying my face in my hands.
“It’s all right, it’s all right, ma’am.” the officer soothed. “It’s exactly what we thought... it’s unfortunate, but he simply fell in, couldn’t get out... and was too tired to save himself.”
I stared at the officer, unable to speak.
Vidcund had fallen into the pond and could not recover himself. The ground was so uneven in one particular spot near the pond...
that losing one’s footing there would be almost like being forcibly pushed into the water.
There would be no chance of recovery at all.
“I’m truly sorry, ma’am,” the policeman said, his hand resting on my shoulder. “We’re about finished here... in a few minutes we’ll clear off and... ”
Not waiting for him to finish his statement, I stood and walked sadly into the house.
Sobbing quietly, I curled up on the bed I had shared with Vidcund, and remained there while the police concluded their investigation.
Finally, they left... leaving me alone.
Catherine came from college to attend the funeral.
She was beautiful, and more like her father than ever. I realized she was the exact same age as her father had been when we had met, and I was amazed at the passage of the years and at how grown-up she seemed.
She said very little, at least to me, but her saddened, sympathetic,
expression was all too familiar.
Memories of my own mother assaulted me once again. Now I was seeing through my eyes when I looked at my daughter, and it was a frightening thing.
She’s watching the shadows close in ... the same as I did...
I feared for her.
Catherine couldn’t stay, she said. She had exams to prepare for... a term paper to write...
A life to get back to.
“Of course, darling,” I said, smiling. “I understand.”
She gazed at me with a combination of fear and worry etched in her stormy grey eyes. “Mom, I think you should...” she did not finish, but instead shook her head and hugged me. “I love you, Mom.”
I waved with relief as she left.
She’s safe now.
I turned to go back inside the house, but I found I could not do it. Vidcund was gone. His funeral had just been today. I found I could not bear to enter the home where my soul mate had lived with me.
Still in my mourning clothes, I called for a taxi, and ordered it to drive to Downtown SimCity. I needed something...
... to ease my tortured soul.
He caught my eye as soon as I walked into the club.
Under the colorful, swinging lights and from certain angles, his golden blond hair and green-tinted aviator glasses reminded me a great deal of Vidcund. For a moment, I thought it was him.
Only for a moment.
Still, I approached him, delighted to find that his eyes were the same pale, sky-blue as my soul mate’s had been... and, likewise, he was not clean-shaven.
My heart skipped a beat.
“Are you here alone?” I asked him in a low voice, leaning as close to his body as I dared. He was flushed from dancing, and the heady scent of patchouli drifted from his warm skin and quickened my pulse.
“Not any more,” he quipped, grinning. “You’re here with me now.”
I smiled. “That’s true.”
“Let me buy you a drink,” he said, motioning toward the bar. “The night is still young, and you... um...” He looked me up and down, raising an eyebrow. “Well, you really look as though you could use some cheering up.”
I looked down at my black crape mourning dress and laughed.
“I suppose you’re right,” I answered. “Yes, a drink would be lovely.”
His name was George Lillard, and as we sat at the bar, slowly sipping our drinks, I found out he was a chef at a famous four-star restaurant nearby, that he’d never been married, that he really wanted to be a scientist, and that he liked women’s lingerie.
“Of course, what red-blooded male doesn’t?” he said, grinning again as he drained his drink. “Hey!” he called to the bartender, pounding on the bar. “Let’s get a few more over here!”
Once the fresh drinks were brought, he turned to me, eyeing me appreciatively over the rim of his glass. “So how about you?” he asked. “I’ve practically told you my entire life story, but I still don’t know anything about you...”
I shrugged. “There’s not much to tell,” I said.
“A woman of mystery, eh?”
“Something like that.”
“Well, lucky for us, I like mysteries,” he said in a suggestive voice, downing his second drink and standing. “Let’s go somewhere more private.”
“Where did you have in mind?” I asked, although I already knew he wanted to go to my
house to conclude the evening.
“Your place?” He took my hand and pulled me to my feet.
“Why certainly, George...”
The sparks began to fly as soon as we entered the door.
Standing in the foyer, George kissed me until I was breathless and reeling.
I knew exactly where he wanted to go next...
“Where’s your bedroom, Aerin?” he whispered, his voice rough with desire. “That is... if you want to...”
My answer was to lead him down the hall, where our encounter was filled with raging demands and mindless passion.
It was exactly what I needed.
Afterward, feeling relaxed and satisfied, I sighed and reached out to embrace my lover in the warmth of romantic afterglow. However, I was shocked to see him recoil from me, fury blazing in his intense pale-blue eyes!
“Aerin, who the hell is Vidcund?” he asked. “Answer me! Who is it?”
“Hmm?” I asked dreamily, stroking the back of his shoulder. “Who?”
“You just called his name.” George accused. “When we were making love… you called his name, Aerin! Vidcund. So who the fuck is he?”
I was confused.
“Why... you are, darling,” I answered, laughing a little. “Don’t you know your own name?”
“Vidcund, it’s so not like you to play sex games,” I reproved in a sultry voice. “...but I’m open for anything. You’ll be a one-night stand named George, and I’ll be...”
George stared at me, wide-eyed and shocked.... then he recoiled. “You’re not serious, are you? Shit!” He vaulted out of the bed, hurriedly pulled on his jeans and snatched up his shirt as he was rushing out of the door.
“Why are you leaving?” I called. “Why, Vidcund? Why are you leaving? Why? Why did you leave me? Why? Why!” I leapt from the bed, hastily pulling on a robe, and chased after the retreating figure.
Catching up to him at last, I grabbed him by the arm and forced him to turn and look at me...
It... wasn’t Vidcund.
It was George.
I let go of his arm and stared at him, breathing hard. “George,” I whispered brokenly.
He wasn’t Vidcund.
Why was George here?
Why was he here and Vidcund gone?
“Aerin, are you okay?” George asked, the hurt and anger in his voice slowly replaced by concern. “I think you were... dreaming... or something. You thought I was someone else...”
He had been someone else... just a moment ago!
Now he wasn’t.
“I’m fine, George,” I answered, my voice trembling. “George?”
“Please don’t go,” I pleaded. “I know we may have rushed into things, but I do care about you, George. I do! Please... can’t you stay for a while?”
He considered for a moment. “I don’t know... you’re obviously not over someone, Aerin... and I don’t want to be just the rebound guy.”
“We’ll only take a walk,” I promised. “...it’s a beautiful night. Let’s take a long walk down by the pond...”
“Well, all right,”
Smiling now, he gently took my hand and allowed me to lead him down to the water’s edge.
He’ll never be Vidcund!
I sat by the edge of the pond, crying my heart out, for hours after George left.
He did leave.
I could not recall exactly how he had left, but he had... and now I was alone.
To Be Continued…