0 - The Fool
"Nothing is more dangerous than an idea...
especially when it is the only one you have!"
The Dream woke her again- but this time sadness, the yearning like some broken promise, descended over her. It was slowly killing her - the dream. Who was this man tormenting her in her deepest fabric of sleep? April knew.
April Leigh knew all too well!
The pillowcase, cool and smooth against her hot cheek, crumpled beneath the grip that brushed the tears that welled in her eyes. How many times had she walked down that aisle? No longer was the faceless figure unknown. She loved him now. That was not her first mistake. Nor her last. But this mistake would cost April her life.
It already had.
The Dream stirred the nether void, waking a creature that waited for its day to arrive. Today would be that day. The demon called desire was alive once more.
In recent times, he seemed farther away than ever. Now when she thought of him - his face, his eyes - the vision blurred to a smoky, gray shade of days so long ago. And while at one time she would have woken to a splendid day following such a night visit, now this dream began to depress her. Once upon a time, April's whole life had been wrapped up in this, making her feel like a child bundled safely in lamb's wool for a frosty winter morning. On this particular morning, however, April felt the wool begin to itch.
"Funny, isn't it?!" April mused. "Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Cry, and the world laughs at you. Some deal."
No answer came from the empty house around her. The only reply was the ringing bell of the telephone, shattering the silence. Although she was desperately glad to have a phone call, she wasn't quite sure she was ready to talk to anyone. Her voice creaked foreign in her ears from across the room.
"I know what I want and you know what you want. But I don't know what you want. So . . . what the hell do you want?"
And the machine beeped.
April raised her head, tilting an ear to listen, tense in anticipation. She heard the recording that had the previous night seemed so clever it had even cheered her up a bit. Now, though, she began to hear a little too much bitterness, maybe insanity, creeping into the picture. Suddenly, she wanted to shut it off, embarrassed that right then someone was actually listening to it. As the machine whirred, clicked, and beeped ready to record the next voice on it, another silence fell. Breathless, she tightened, ready to pick up the receiver.
"Click," the machine snapped, paused, then rewound, clicking off to await the next call. It created an unnatural, uncomfortable hush.
April finally relaxed after what seemed to be a very long moment. She wished that she had answered the call. Just the sound of another human voice would have helped. Even a wrong number might have been therapeutic. Anything to penetrate the surreal that surrounded her these days could have saved her.
Had she answered that phone call, however, she would have been driven one step closer to the edge. At the moment she would have answered, after such a struggle inside, subsequently making the decision and executing the task, what April would have heard might have finally destroyed her. All April Leigh would have heard in the earpiece was . . . nothing.
That Texas-sticky June morning, a dream caused the spirit of a young woman to stare blankly at the ceiling and state,
"Chance or no chance," she told herself in her most authoritative mind-voice, "you are blessed!"
The voice disagreed, "You are dead!"
She was convinced.