Back on Rails

Still been too tired at the end of the work-weekdays to write; I’m hoping when it’s not dark by 1830 that might change in my favor.  Even so, between last weekend and this one, I’ve over 6k words, so far.  I really want to get through the dinner scene at the Hotel del Coronado with Chris, Cat, and Cat’s ex, Anton.  As Anton is the son of the General in command of the Mexican Army ‘Stabilization Force’ in San Diego, Cat realizes it’s tricky to tell a guy like that to piss off.

Prior to that, I’d written a segment featuring Yamada Hanako (Japanese slang for ‘Jane Doe’); she’s Maya’s post-car-accident amnesia personality.  A pleasant young woman worried about her future.  A future cut short when one of her doctors pushes her past under her nose just a little too hard.  Attempted murder ensues.

Below the fold, a snapshot of when Cat decides to start working out in the mornings.  Chris uses the Five Tibetan Rites.  #1 is spinning in place.  I almost yakked when I tried it, too.

Wednesday morning Cat heard some sounds from her main room as she pulled some shorts on. What was he doing out there?

Opening her door, she saw that he’d moved the couch and coffee table, clearing a space for them both. He gave her a wave.

“For the first, we can face one another,” he said, indicating a point on the floor. “After that, I want to next to me so you don’t get anything confused or backward.”

‘I want you next to me…’ Cat shook her head to get that echo out. She moved to where he’d pointed. He stood opposite her, just far enough away that their hands wouldn’t touch. He raised his arms.

“I do twenty-one of each Rite. I’d suggest that you start with seven, okay?”

“Mmm.” She raised her arms.

They both started spinning. At three she was getting dizzy. At five she was biting her lower lip to not get sick. At six…

Chris had been watching her closely. He didn’t know people could lose their color so quickly. Uh, oh: she was starting to fall!

For just a moment, he forgot himself.

“Cat!” He cried as she fell. “Careful – !”

He grabbed her upper arms just she hit the floor. He lowered her the last foot, wondering why he seemed suffused with an odd, comfortable warmth.

“Cat!” He called again. “Are you okay?”

She let her eyes drift open. Unfocused.

“Was… dizzy… now… tired…”

In the periphery of his sight, he watched with surprise as a swath of her dark brown hair from her right temple faded to white from the roots to tips. Oh, no…!

He jerked his hands off of her arms.

Please don’t be dead!

“Cat! Wake up! Katerina! You’ve got to wake up!” He shouted at her.

“Lemme sleep… and I told you…” She mumbled at him.

“Katarina! I’ll never call you Cat again unless you wake up!” Balling his hands into fists, he lightly batted her head back and forth. “It that what you want, Katarina?!”

Please don’t die!

“Oww! Stop hitting me!” Her voice was stronger. This time when her eyes opened, they focused. “Why are you suddenly being a jerk, Chris?”

She raised herself to her elbows.

“Wow. Guess I got dizzy and fell, huh?”

I could just let her believe that…

“No.” He scooted back from her a little and put his hands together in front of him. He lowered his head to the floor. “That’s how it started. I moved to catch you. When I did…”

“That’s nice of you, Chris,” she said into his pause. “Why the theatrics, though?”

“When I caught you – with my bare hands – I began to steal your life.”

She froze.

“My… life…?” She unconsciously moved away from him, leaning herself onto the couch. “It that why I’m so tired, now?”

“I… I would guess so.” She saw his back heave with a sob. “I am so, so sorry, Cousin Cat!”

“Hey, it’s okay!” She’d never seen him like this. Yet another shock for her poor cousin! “Nothing that coffee and extra bacon can’t fix, right?”

She crawled over to him, her hand pausing only an instant before petting his head.

“It’s okay, Chris,” she softly repeated. “Why don’t you finish your routine? I’ll try again tomorrow morning!”

He raised his head to look into her eyes.

“You are far too nice to me, Cousin Cat.”

She ruffled his hair again. She found she enjoyed doing that.

“No harm done!” She said as she carefully stood. “Let me start the coffee!”

“Ah,” Chris began, standing as well. “About that?”

“Yes?” She punched the button and turned back to him. He pointed at the right side of her head.

“Um.” She saw him swallow. “I’m… sorry?”

Cat reached up and ran her fingers through her hair along the side of head, expecting to find blood. Not seeing any, she asked.


“Perhaps, the mirror in the bathroom?”

She looked at him quizzically as she moved that way.

Chris stood still, mentally taking note of how quickly he could pack his things once she threw him out. A minute passed. No cry, no scream. He heard her returning. Perhaps she cut the offending streak out…?

Cat came out of her bedroom with white streak highlighted with a small silver clasp: a leaping cat with tiny emerald eyes. She came over and carefully rested her head onto his chest.


“Not a word about that, clear?”

“Yes, Cat.”

She made no move away. Perhaps she was waiting on the coffee?

“In exchange for what you took from me, I want something.”

“Of course.” What could she possibly want?

“Tell me what you felt.” He felt her shudder once. “Tell me.”

He felt a powerful urge to embrace her. He resisted it.

“It…” No; try again. “You were an amazing, comfortable warmth. I have never been so relaxed and happy in my life.”

After a small pause, she replied, “I’m glad. Will… will that fade?”

“The energy I derive from stealing life does fade.” He recalled the feelings and almost perceptible memories of the older man on the flight. “The feelings do not.”

She felt him chuckle. She leaned her head back and looked up into his eyes.


“With the exception of a mother carrying her baby, I cannot imagine a closer family connexion.” He smiled at Cat. “You’ll always be in me.”

“Ho-kay,” she said as she moved away and grabbed a mug. “Now you’re just being weird. Off you go!”

She waved at the door.

“You’re throwing me out?”

She almost dropped the coffeepot.

“Your run, Idiot Cousin.”


When the door closed she allowed herself to weep only for a moment.

“Chris… Chris…”

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