Excerpt from The Gates To Faerie

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I woke up the worst kind of alone.

The alarm went off, same as usual. My arm was across her as I woke up, my befuddled mind thinking Wow, guess that wasn't just a dream. I managed to reach over and hit snooze in order to cuddle up, just the way we used to before getting up to start our day, just a few minutes with each other, before I realized something was very wrong.

What I'd woken up with wasn't a living, breathing woman.

I bellowed an inarticulate cry of panic and scrambled backwards out of bed, stumbling over the blankets on my way out of bed, but also ripping them off what was in bed with me.

Once I was free of their entangling grasp, I looked at what was there on the bed: a dried, desiccated corpse, long dead, eyes shrunken in, skin sagging, pitted. Intact as far as I could tell, but dead for years. Only the honey-blonde hair was unchanged, still the young, wavy style it had been the previous evening.

I wasn't going to pretend I understood, but it was clear I had to do something, and once I got over my initial panic, I knew who to call.

"Hello, Larry!"

"Mark, what are you calling about at such an early hour? You know I don't get to the office before eight-thirty!"

"Yes, Larry, but this is different, and I need your help now. I woke up with a corpse in my bed this morning!"

"Mark, I must not be awake yet. I could have sworn you just told me you woke up with a corpse in your bed, and I know that can't be true!" I started to tell him it was true, and he talked over me, "I know it can't be true because you wouldn't have called a securities lawyer over a criminal matter that didn't happen. Are you understanding me, Mark?"

"I didn't kill her, Larry!"

"Of course you didn't, Mark, because I must have misunderstood what you were saying. You couldn't have told me you woke up with a corpse in your bed because you didn't, and you wouldn't be calling me if you had."

"Larry, you're the only lawyer I know that I can call at this hour of the morning! Help me, here!"

"Mark, if such a thing did happen, the only advice I could give you would be to call law enforcement right away and not to say anything - and I mean nothing at all, no matter how innocent, until you can get a lawyer who knows what they're doing in these sorts of cases. Cops will lie and will try to set you up. I'd recommend Morris Silver, if he can take you. If not, he'll know someone good who can"

And then he hung up.

Well, shit.

So I looked up Morris Silver, and dialed their number. It was still early; it took a couple minutes with their phone tree to get the answering service on the line. I left my name and number, they said someone would be in touch as soon as possible, and read me some standardized advice like it was off a standard form, the central point of which was to tell anyone "On the advice of counsel, I decline to answer any questions or make any statements until my attorney can be present." Standard boilerplate.

I was steeling myself to dial the police when my phone rang.

"Hello, Mr. Jackson, I'm Julie Ingmar with Morris Silver and Associates. What is the nature of your difficulty?"
So I explained what had happened the previous evening. "I know how this is going to sound, but last night about ten PM my ex-wife called me at home. I hadn't seen or heard from her in seven years. I have no idea how she knew my number or where I lived, but she did. She fed me a story about how she needed to hide from some people for a few days. One thing led to another, we ended up sleeping together. Then I woke up this morning with a corpse - only it looked like it had been dead for years. Dried out, mummified, except for the hair. That was exactly how it was last night, so I'm pretty sure it was Diane. My ex."

"I see." I could hear the skepticism in her voice. "Have you called the police yet?"

"I was just about to. Look, Ms. Ingmar, I know it sounds like something that came out of Hollywood. I deal with enough of those folks to know. But I'm not stupid enough to jerk around my own attorney. You have to be able to deal with whatever the police investigation discovers. You can't do that if I don't tell you the truth about what I remember."

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on October 16, 2023 7:00 AM.

Excerpt from The Monad Trap was the previous entry in this blog.

Excerpt from Gifts Of The Mother is the next entry in this blog.

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