With slightly narrowed eyes, Libby could almost see each individual layer of the blue felt stretching out before her. It felt empty, like a blank canvas on a stand, ready to receive meaning straight from an artist’s imagination. Dark thoughts and troubled images glided underneath its surface, like a river flowing under its winter cover. Their images and meaning obscured, barely visible through the milky white ice covering the subconsciousness.
With an intense look of concentration, she stared at the sight of crisscrossed lines laid out before her. Her mind drew a blank, their meaning completely lost on her this moment in time. Abruptly breaking off her thoughts, she gasped for air; as if she was surfacing from cold water Libby realized she had completely forgotten to breathe. Her body suddenly felt like it wanted to catch up, air being pulled in and pushed out, speeding up with every intake of air. However, while fast, each breath hurt and felt like it was barely filling her lungs. The sensation being unable to breathe and the thought of suffocating became almost overpowering. Is this what a fish feels, flopping around on the ice? She considered in the little moments where she was clear of mind. Hard as it was, as the image of a silver-colored fish gasping for air permeated her mind, she collected herself slowly; consciously trying to slow down her breathing once again until she no longer felt light-headed.
Libby felt her left hand resting on the stained Bordeaux-colored cushion lining the wooden ledge of the table in front of her. Without looking down, she knew her hand could not remain still. Anxiety was flowing through her, coming and going like tides of an ocean, causing her fingers to tremble slightly ever since she had arrived here. The stress of the situation had her muscles and tendons in its power. She wanted to hold something in her hand, to feel it, to push and knead it, to relieve the tension building up within her. Memories of when she was a child, on her first airplane trip resurfaced suddenly, and after a moment’s hesitation, Libby’s slender fingers started gripping the visibly cracked old leather more tightly. Oh, how she wished she could bury them deep within the leather, ripping it apart and go through the filling within, breaking through to the other side, merely to sense the coolness of the veneer covering the oak wood under her fingertips. That feeling in itself was in stark contrast with the fire burning inside of her, that feeling of being alive, causing beads of sweat to appear on her forehead. Libby was oblivious to them slowly running down the side of her nose.
She wanted to let go, to disappear from the cold light this spotlight was shining down on her, and slink back into the void behind her. In search of relief, for a way out of here, but there would be none, and she knew it. In front of her, a blue ocean. Behind her, emptiness. What lay in front was ready for her, offering her so many possibilities, every one of them even more far-fetched than the other. A way to fix everything, fix those mistakes she had made. It was talking to her. She could hear the eagerness of the smooth surface, its silky whispers of confidence, it wanted her to commit to it, to give it what it wanted. It was ready. Ready for her.
Moving her hand from side to side, she felt them rattling around in her fist. They wanted to go, to escape their prison of flesh. It has been too long that they were kept inside. They were not meant to as they belonged out there, to be let loose on those blue waves. The edges of the ivory cubes impacted each other and the inside of the skin on her hand. She could feel each individual die, her mind trying to infuse them with her hopes and dreams, plans of trips still to make, while she stared intently ahead. Around her everything was quiet. As if someone suddenly pressed a
button in her brain her fingers suddenly released the dice and set them loose, fingers outstretched, opening as if slowed in time. On her right wrist, a tattooed faerie follows the dice with her gaze, its wings frozen on her flesh.
Each edge, face, and corner of the dice hit the felt that was stretched to its limit over the large stained wooden table. On the other side, someone grinned at her. What have I done .. reverberated around her head and she started second-guessing her decision.
The dice were thrown. Whatever would happen next, Libby would have no say in it, literally. Her faith lay now in the hands of twenty-one small black dots on an ivory cube, each eye looking at her unblinkingly, judging her for her past mistakes, and maybe even her current ones. Each side staring while turning slowly, the pips lingering ever so slightly. She couldn’t look away as the dice slowly came to a stop on the cold blue fabric covering the sheet of ice.
Eyes wide, Libby slowly looked up at the man standing across from her, his slender figure partially hidden by the other side of the icy table. His own gaze still fixated on the dice which came to a rest, two skulls captured in an eternal grin, their laugh directed at the winter night’s sky. He looked up and stretched his white hand out towards her. Where his eyes were supposed to be two voids looked at her. His hand gently took hers, and, as his fingers closed around hers, Libby’s eyes remained open as the ice cold water entered her mouth and lungs. As her eyes stared upwards, the car slowly sunk and disappeared into the darkness.
As the wind picked up, it started snowing again. Slowly the falling snow covered the tire tracks. It left no trace of her there, sinking, underneath the ice.
Faerie, airplane, skull, dice