The Spirit Bundle
The Spirit Bundle
Life Takes a Turn or Two
Flyn strained to hear any sound in their studio apartment while quivering naked in the closet. Something had made him change his direction from the bathroom into the darkness of this space. An internal spasm rose from his belly. He forced his mind to concentrate on any sounds instead of back into his long-time nightmares of other dark places.
"There, was that a rattle?" A staccato of drumbeats then shot through the air with a shock of energy, and he grabbed for his breath, holding it tight in his lungs. As he slowly released his diaphragm, he heard a faint fall of tiny rocks tumbling over each other. He stood in the doorway and heard his grand-father's gourds rocking back and forth on the cherry wood dresser he used. Was someone in the room, playing with the rattles? How did they get in? Why couldn't he see them? When the rocking stopped, he realized, for the first time, the voices that had lived in his head since forever were quiet. A ripple of chills ebbed from his skin.
Stepping into the room, he heard Selena rustle their bed covers and heard her whisper, "Flyn?" He wanted to call out to her but their room was changing. "How can the room get darker?" he thought as a pressure surrounded him. He tried to detect the normal sounds of traffic outside their Oakland apartment. Nothing permeated the four walls of their space, but a vibration whispered across the room toward him. A force pressed against his bare chest and swelled over him as if he were a rock at the edge of the ocean and a wave had crashed against his form.
From a great distance, he heard the swishing of a huge pair of wings. The air inside the room pulsated with their slow lift and fall. A cool wind brushed against his face before the room shook under an unknown power landing on the hardwood floor.
Selena rasped in a whisper at the sound, "Go away!"
"Be ... still," he said, the tightness of his nerves told in those two clipped words. Every muscle was on alert. His breathing was so shallow that he felt light-headed. As he squinted into an inky mass of nothing, he thought he detected an incremental shift of energy occurring, mimicking the ocean as it gradually alters itself from a high to a low tide over time. The compressed air was thinning. Where once there was only darkness, now shades of gray furniture emerged from the ebony background.
He went to Selena then, pushing his way under the duvet and wrapping her with his arms and bare body. His skin felt cool next to her cocooned warmth.
"What just happened?" she whispered against his smooth chest.
"Not sure," he answered, hugging her closer and wrapping a leg over her waist. His usually deep voice quivered as he rubbed his beardless chin against her forehead. "I couldn't see a damned thing in the dark, and then ... it got eerier. The room got darker."
She snuggled closer. "Heard the rattles too, but after - the drum beats, yeah," he said, "In all my years, Sellie, I've never experienced anything like this."
"Well, I haven't either and I'm older than you. Could it be something to do with Pop Pop, I mean your Grandpa?"
Flyn smiled slightly at her use of the childhood name he had bestowed over 50 years ago onto his stately Lakota grandfather. He took in a breath and released it slowly, "I have no idea. In fact, we may never know." He sighed and stifled a yawn.
Wind and water blasted against the windows on the west wall of their apartment. Yesterday's winter storm had now returned to its full fury. Flyn settled closer to Sellie and marveled at the warmth their bodies created as he tried to release himself toward sleep.
The penetrating ring of the phone shattered their peace. Flyn reached for the receiver on the table next to his bed and heard his mother's anxious voice announce that she was at the hospital in Salinas with h