Ruth (Part 2)
(If you have not read the first part of this story, click here)
Three Days Earlier (2:03 am)
My phone vibrates with an incoming call; a new number. Something vaguely familiar about the number leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I struggle to place it, but memory fails me. I disconnect the call, and slide the phone under my pillow. Minutes later, it vibrates again and without looking, I hurl it across the room, and it falls on a pile of unfolded laundry on the floor.
“Baby, are you okay?” A lazy but heavy voice streams from the warm body beside me. He pulls me closer, kisses my left cheek, and pulls the duvet back over my body. Just then, another ring.
Angry, I throw away the covers and head straight for the phone, and the number vaguely starts to register in my head. In that instant, I can still hear the clinking of cutlery in the kitchen, and strong fingers around my throat. I can still feel the helplessness, and the gasp for fresh air. I still feel the taste of blood in my mouth, and the sight of my two incisors on the floor. Six years later, this dark memory still sticks with me; the day a large portion of me died.
“Ben?” I whisper into the receiver.
I bang the door behind me and head straight to the bathroom. The rustic taste of blood in my mouth becomes too much, and the vomit lands at my feet. When I have gathered enough strength, I mumble into the receiver, again.
Somewhere in his background, the familiar clinking of cutlery and breaking of plates fills the air. Far away, a feminine voice screams, laden with cracks and pain. Stop! You are going to kill me! Or I am going to kill you!
“Ben?” I mumble again, feeling vomit rising up my chest again. It burns, hot, and before I know it, I am sprawled on the floor, coughing, my phone next to me.
“Sofia…” My phone cracks up. I stretch my hand and bring the receiver close to my mouth. “Sofia?”
I sit on the floor, and listen as Ben’s voice drowns in the breaking of utensils. I listen as he sighs heavily, and clears his throat. I listen as he cries, continuously, like a small baby. Like a hungry small baby. Like a hungry small baby who is lost. Like a hungry small baby who is lost, and is now at the mercies of kidnappers. I listen as his cries fizzle out, and he sniffs loudly. I listen as the background breaking of plates suddenly stops and in its space, a female’s screams settle in.
“Is that Ruth?”
And then, hell breaks loose.
Something breaks, hard, and I think it must have shattered the ground. Something, like water, starts first like a drip, and then with time grows into a gush. I hear the sound of heavy furniture being moved, and a heaving sound accompanying it.
“Ben?” I mumble into the receiver, albeit with a little urgency in my voice.
Silence. The call disconnects.
I struggle to get back on my feet, clean the mess on the floor, and start heading for my bedroom. I stop short at the door when I hear harsh whispering from inside the room.
“What part of do not make anything worse didn’t you understand?”
“No! You dragged me into this. I did not want to be part of it!”
“For goodness’ sake I do not even know you!”
“No! No! Not Sofia!”
The sound of my name is enough to make me push the door open, but the sight in front of me almost sends me back into the vomiting state.
Jade is sitting at the foot of the bed, with various pictures on the floor. There are pictures of me, Ben, myself and Ben, Ruth, Ruth and Ben, etc. On top of the bed lies a phone I have never seen before, playing a video of a memory I have hated so much in my life. A video I have never seen before. A video I had no idea even existed. A video of me crying, in front of strangers, as Ruth throws jabs at my already dead soul.
“What is…?” I stutter, and Jade scampers to gather the pieces in front of him, stashing them into a small black leather bag.
“This is not what it looks like,” he says.
“What does it look like?” I ask, the vomiting now rising, fast, up my throat and into my mouth. Before I know it, there is vomit all over the bedroom floor, and Jade is holding me by his shoulders, and laying me on the bed.
In the confusion, there is a constant ringing of phones, breaking of plates, clinking of cutlery, and bleeding of mouths. In the distance, I feel strong fingers gripping my throat, and pinning me down. Asphyxia nears, and I can feel my eyes popping. I am trying to pray, but my words remain buried in my stomach. I wait, and wait, and wait for the blood to start leaving my skin, and the soles of my feet to start turning cold.
Far away, Jade picks up the phone but remains silent. Same cycle; breaking of plates, clinking of cutlery, dragging of furniture, and a woman’s screaming voice.
“Is that Ruth?” I whisper. Jade places his index finger across his lips, and moves closer to me. Then, the sound of drizzling water that suddenly turns into a gush. In a sweep, Jade disconnects the call, slips into a pair of white pants, throws a sweatshirt on, and starts fumbling for the main door’s keys.
“What is…Where are…? What is happening with…?” I struggle to speak, fighting the vomit that is already rising within me, again. Then, I feel my pupils dilate, blood leaving my skin, and the soles of my feet begin to turn cold.
“Jade!” I scream, but he is gone already, the sound of his receding footsteps down the stairs leaving a bad taste in my mouth.
When the vomit shows up this time round, I let it spread on my bed, covering the strange phone, and taking away the cold in the soles of my feet.