Monochrome by H.M. Jones Read Free Book Online

Book: Monochrome by H.M. Jones Read Free Book Online
Authors: H.M. Jones
I’ll know better next time.”
    Ishmael coughed and stood back up, shaking his head. “It’s bad every time, and it’s worse with greater memories. The more you lose,” he ran his hand through his hair, “the harder it is to let them go. But I think you’re right about moving on.”
    He motioned for her to lead the way out of the bar. She stood unsteadily, feeling whiskey numb and bone tired. She was thankful for the whiskey, as she often was. Without it, she might not have been able to deal with the sudden loss of her memory, the separation from her home, and the worry over her family, without breaking down.
    She held her head up and walked shakily through the smoky bar to the frosted glass door, trying not to let the loss of her memory draw her back to the alcohol. Weekly practice walking away from alcohol had yet to make her good at staying away from it.

    ABIGAIL PUSHED OPEN the frosted glass door and stepped into gloomy blue outside, vainly searching for the reflective rock path. In front of her sat only dark cerulean trees and shimmering tinny grass. She pivoted to ask Ishmael about the path and realized he wasn’t following. She marched back to the bar, ready to upbraid him for holding her up, but stopped short.
    Ishmael was in a heated, quiet discussion with the bartender. She couldn’t see his face because his hat obscured her view, but his hands were tightly clenched fists at his sides. Jim was equally angry, his round face a flushed red. Jim moved in closer to Ishmael, spitting words into his face. She didn’t hear Jim’s words, but she could’ve sworn his lips said, “The girl makes it, you don’t.” What does that mean?
    She didn’t have much time to think about it because Ishmael launched himself at Jim, grabbed him by his stained t-shirt and pulled him over the counter. Abigail’s stomach jumped in surprise as she watched the uncaring, nonchalant Ishmael fling the bartender to the grimy ground. Jim pushed himself off the floor, and punched Ishmael in the face.
    To her surprise, Ishmael barely registered the blow from the burly bartender, even though his cheek started to swell with the hit. Enough is enough.
    She rushed in to stop the fight from getting more out of hand, but she was too late. Ishmael reeled back and laid the bartender out cold with a direct, solid punch to his face. Jim’s nose bled as he fell to the ground with a thud. A cloud of dust rose to greet the smoky air.
    Abigail hurried to Ishmael and grabbed his arm, pulling him to the door. She waited for loyal customers to stand and defend the fallen bartender, but was shocked when they ignored the ruckus and continued drinking, sipping their way through their last good memories. The only difference in the room came from the two men Ishmael watched so eagerly earlier. The tussle distracted them from their intense conversation. They were staring at Ishmael with cruel eyes.
    The tan, brown-haired man peeled his eyes from Ismael long enough to stare at her and lick his lips disgustingly. She glared at him and tugged at Ishmael’s arm, still shocked at the languid atmosphere of the bar after such a scene.
    Ishmael was staring down at the unconscious bartender.
    “Come on, Ishmael, I want to go home.”
    For some reason, her comment seemed to agitate him further. He pushed past her and shoved the door wide open. She noticed, as he did so, his button-up shirt transformed from mute grey to crimson red under his pea-coat.
    “What the hell was that?!” she shouted after him, once outside. He was facing the trees, furiously kicking black pebbles at them from the path, which appeared the moment he stepped out of the bar. He didn’t turn around when he answered her, glacial.
    “You wanted to get out of here so bad, so let’s go.” He started off down the reflective black path. She was forced to jog to keep up, lifting her velvet blue dress to her knees so she didn’t trip. She sported ridiculous white pantaloons

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