[size=24]T[/size]he first sounds in the apartment after a cold hour of absolute stillness were that of Linus, his elbow knocking on the the hardwood of the stuffy apartment so hard that his eyes shot open. He had not, however, arrived at consciousness; only the craggy film of steamy grayness fogging what little vision he had like breath on glass. His fingers clawed and chewed at garments, at the bedskirt, more and more motion until Linus groaned. Without really thinking about it, his body jerked up so that his back could rest on the foot of the bed. With this great activity Linus? arms needed rest and he sat for maybe another ten minutes limp, arms noodled, wrists lame and up-turned.
The idiotic appearance of Linus? dim and halved green eyes seemed to dissipate with the minutes, with wiggles of elbow, groans and flickers of tongue. He doubles and crosses his arms, squeezing at the strange plate of numbness that sat squarely on his chest. It was when his fingers pawed at the moist hole cut into his shirt did Linus emerge from the blankness of the death he was temporarily afflicted with. The development of the activity, of the attack that coerced the product of his death was a blur, but Linus was very much aware of a the queer absence he had suffered. Because no deaf sleep, no blackness of intoxication, no pain of violent unconsciousness could stand up to the vacation of body and of mind he was shaking off.
Tears had long since congealed on his cheek, becoming like the plates of ice that appear on the grass when the cold follows the rain. He didn?t remember crying them. He didn?t remember anything besides a kick at the door. Mild eyes crawl around the room for clues. A mess on the floor, but that was nothing new. His shirt was thought on next---the hole, the moisture. Like a shot, but no wound. At first he thought of his rival and old mate: Lightning Fox. But there was no scoring on his chest. There was on the walls though, just outside the door. I must?ve fought, he thought. Who?
?Who,? he said in a voice that could not really support the effortlessness of the attempt, so the sound would not leave the range outside the beak of his nose. When he tried to wriggle up the numb square on his chest kind of beated; not really a pain, but a shock that seemed to invade the muscles of his thighs because they too seemed to become lame when called upon. So he jerked his head back and his spine crashed against the sharp beam of the bed and Linus winced and made a little sound of pain.
Anger came next. Linus didn?t have the ability, nor effort to cry or thrash, but what was next was the very heavy realization that Lilly was not at his side. He corked his head around to see on the bed; a lump was there, but Linus determined that it was too small and misshapen to be humanoid. After anger was panic. Because the clues suggest struggle. They suggest that he had been incapacitated by some unknown detriment and that he was discarded because he was of no use to whatever cyclone came rushing through his front door. And Lilly was not there. Lilly was gone. Why is she gone.
Whitened knuckles rattled and although feeling was at a premium he felt the crunch of paper and a cold metal shape. Linus opened his palm slowly because he was sure a key or some inclination or breath of theory sat behind the cage of fingers like a treasure. The balled up paper was left to slide down from his rattling fingers because he suddenly didn?t care. Didn?t care because the first object, the first clue was the bracelet. It was neither expensive nor aesthetic; silver loop with three tiny rubies. Eccentric for his income of course, but he was tentative upon purchase. He remembered the walk home. Remembered the sighing and the dragging and the hatred he had because the best he could do was walk in the door with a sixty goddamn dollar bracelet. But the girl loved it. She was tough then, that girl. She unraveled in spits, but she was always tough, his Fawn. And Linus never forgot the very sudden opening to the girl that came before their meeting, before whatever broke her, when she laid delicate brown eyes on the bracelet he had no faith in.
Linus collapsed his fingers a moment and closed his eyes tightly. Being a coward by trade meant that the fear of death usually made one lame and malleable. He knew he was a coward and cowards never understand when people speak of ?things worse than death?. Suddenly Linus knew that sitting on the foot of his bed with strange immobilization, with the gifted bracelet of the woman he cherished was so far beyond the punishment of death that he cracked a smile.
The numbness was nearly depleted now. He had spent the better part of a half-hour still now, with his eyes half-closed and not seeing and his fist closed tight and not feeling. He clambered to his feet, turned and whipped the bracelet at the wall and when it struck the wall he had that pitless, rollercoaster deafening in his stomach like he had just in some way murdered Lilly within him. Gingerly motioning to the side of the bed where he saw the bracelet fall, his foot grazed the crumpled note that had been conjoined with the bracelet in his palm. He bends over with a groan, whips around and seats himself with agonizing lethargy upon the foot of the bed.
?I?m sorry,? he repeated but his voice only added two spikes that rose up through the enunciation like a stencil; not quite speaking it, but sounding enough to provide structure.