RTB – Narcissus
Author Note: A short story collection. Currently contains: Narcissus, Orpheus, and Endymion. More stories will be added in the future; so if you haven’t purchased it, buy it now. As more content is added, you will receive an email from Amazon (I don’t know if Smashwords currently sends out messages, sorry) and you can update your copy from wherever you purchased Narcissus. The price will go up as the series expands in size.
Summary: In some distant future, people no longer need to feel the loss of someone they love, because Ego Corp is there to bring them back to you.
NARCISSUS–a man deeply in love… with himself.
ORPHEUS–after the loss of his wife, a young man finds a new lover and the hope for a new beginning.
ENDYMION–a man grieving for a husband that isn’t even dead yet. Just lost in slumber…
EXCERPT — “Orpheus”
Her name must have been a curse. Her parents had chosen an ill-fated name, so it was destined, what happened to her. Though he would always blame himself for her terrible fate.
Euridice. Sweet, beautiful Euridice, the only woman he would ever love.
Raphe met her for the first time in a college coffee shop. A beautiful laughing girl with a head full of long golden curls. She’d gleamed in the sunlight, and he always felt that he was all her green eyes saw.
They dated for several years, then were wed on a perfect spring day. He could smell the flowers she’d woven in her hair and her laughter had rung like bells.
They’d been so in love. They’d danced for hours, until all they had was moonlight to see by. They drank champagne and made love by the fire. And it seemed like everything was going to be happy ever after…
Until Raphe came home one day to flashing lights and a door that had been broken in. His heart had gone right in his throat and he’d screamed for her, begged for it all to be a lie until medics sedated him.
He woke in the hospital, his arms strapped down. He was on suicide watch and drugs dripped into his veins to keep the hysterical madness away.
Euridice was dead.
Three men had broken into their home and brutally raped her before stabbing her twenty-seven times and leaving her to die. She’d written his name in her own blood and “GOODBYE.”
Her mother had found her. She’d been coming to wait with Euridice so they could surprise him with the news that he was to be a father.
Now he was a widower.
A year later, Raphe thought his life was coming back together. Grief was still a heavy weight upon him, but he was able to get through his days without falling apart.
Then he heard a familiar laugh as he was leaving the grocery store. His head whipped around and his frantic eyes searched out and found familiar green eyes.
“Euridice?” his voice broke.
There was a disbelieving laugh. “What? Do I look like a Euridice to you?”
Raphe shook his head, his cheeks blushing with embarrassment. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what…” He covered his mouth with his hand and turned away.
“Hey now. You’re not going to cry are you?” A warm hand rested on his shoulder.
“I’m okay,” Raphe said, turning to look into concerned green eyes. “I just… your laugh sounded like someone I used to know.”
Raphe couldn’t help his wince, but nodded. “Yes. My wife.”
“Your wife,” there was a hint of disappointment. “You’re married.”
“I was,” Raphe said. “She died last year. Some people broke into our house. I guess you could say I’m not quite over it.”
“You look really shaken,” the younger man said. “Why don’t we get you something to drink?”
“I… I’m all right,” Raphe said.
“I really have to insist,” the man said, taking him by the arm.
Raphe thought about objecting, but he really did feel strange. He let himself be led to the small cafe next to the grocery store. Then he let himself be pushed down in a chair. The umbrella attached to the outdoor table was a nice blue color, making him think of the sky.
“I’ll be right back,” the man said, then hurried inside.
Raphe set his cloth grocery bag on the ground next to his feet, then just sat staring at the metal tabletop.
He didn’t know how he could have believed even for a second that Euridice was back. It was just that that laugh had sounded so much like hers. So happy and pure, like the vocalization of spring.
“Here you go.” A cup was set down in front of him, then the young man sat down in the chair across from him.
Looking into his green eyes, Raphe realized they were darker than Euridice’s had been. It was actually kind of a relief. And from there he saw that the man’s hair was more brownish-blond, than golden.
Raphe lifted the drink, taking a quick sip. ” Thank you. I’m sorry. I…”
The man held up a hand, his eyes locked on Raphe’s face. “I really don’t mind. In fact…” he chewed his lip a second. “This isn’t the first time I’ve seen you. I’ve wanted to talk to you before, but I just never had the nerve.”
“Why?” Raphe asked.
“Because I thought you were really good-looking,” the man said, as though it were completely obvious.
Raphe couldn’t help blushing. “Oh,” he said, lowering his head a little.
Euridice had been his second lover and his first long-term relationship. He’d thought he was going to spend his entire life with her. He’d never looked at anyone else since he met her.
“My name’s Alec,” the man said, holding his hand out. “What’s yours?”
“Oh, I’m Raphe,” he said, taking Alec’s hand.
It felt like a spark between them and he couldn’t help gazing into Alec’s eyes.
“Oh,” he said again, his lips curving in a shy smile.
Alec’s answering grin showed even white teeth. “Oh indeed.”