CAHprompt: “Why am I sticky?” and “Poor People.”
Makenzie McDaniels stared out at the city from the wide glass windows that ran the expanse of the penthouse. The world was on fire beneath her, orange and red and yellow flickering and flashing and interspersed with green. The city was alight with flames and Makenzie sat safe and sound in a luxurious apartment owned by a man who had everything he could ever want and more.
“Kenzie?” Grant’s voice came from the bedroom. He had entered the room ten minutes ago, a weary crease in his brow. Makenzie smiled at the way he’d stumbled a little at the doorway, half his shirt untucked in the back. She had promised to follow soon, as soon as she finished with the drink she had made only a few minutes before he came in.
Kenzie turned away from looking at the half-closed door, back towards the skyline. She didn’t respond to Grant’s call for her. He always called out for her when she hadn’t come to bed, sometimes even when he was asleep.
She picked a specific flame, a fleck of red that flickered in and out as some stranger made their way through the traffic and down towards the city center. That person had a life, people who loved them and dreams to accomplish. That person, whoever they were, was in the center of it. The taillights of that car were traveling inch by inch into the very core of the inferno. Makenzie remained in her tower, the lights dimmed. She was not a part of that fire. Not tonight.
The whole city was running, racing towards an explosion of energy. Ultimately the race leads to nothing. There were no winners or losers. The people below her all raced, buzzed with life and energy. They kept pushing until they burned themselves out on the race course and collapsed. Makenzie knew all about the collapse. She had seen it in her father, only three days ago. Watching a vibrant and loving man keel over right before her eyes had put things into perspective for Makenzie McDaniels.
“Kenzie!” Grant’s voice was impatient now. She sighed. A strand of black hair fell into her view and she brushed it away. With two large gulps, Makenzie downed the vodka tonic and turned away from the burning city. She put the glass in the empty sink and shut off the lights in the living room.
Then she shut the door to the bedroom and pulled the hair tie out of the bun that had held back her cascade of curls. Looking at Grant’s weary smile and heavy eyelids she almost regretted staying behind. Grant’s charity had held an auction to raise money for the nearby homeless shelter and he looked like a train had bowled him over. Still, her father had died. She wasn’t quite ready to return to the inferno yet.
Climbing into bed beside Grant, Mackenzie leaned down to kiss him. Steadying herself by placing her hand on his arm, she felt some unknown substance beneath her fingers. She pulled back, brows furrowed.
She had intended to ask Grant how the charity event had gone.
“Grant, why am I sticky?” She asked instead.
Her tone implied she wasn’t sure she wanted to know the answer. Grant’s eyes had finally lost the battle, though, and his mouth was agape as well. Slow breathing was all that came, and a light snore that rose as she stared down at him in search of an answer. As she moved off the bed to wash her hand Grant started, rolled over, mumbled something in his sleep. She leaned in again to hear what he was saying, and he repeated himself.
“My fault. Those poor people.”
Mackenzie smiled as she pulled away again. Her father was right when he said Grant was a special kind of man.
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