Dom had known this was a bad idea from the start - the house, LA, Elijah sliding into his lap and whispering "C'mon, do it, I know you want to". But it was Elijah, always Elijah, and he was as bright as the sun, burnt onto the back of Dom's retina, with a gravitational force to match. Dom had been in orbit for a long time already before he remembered the old adage: what goes around gets dizzy and falls over.
He's dizzy. It's something about not really eating properly and the change in climate and not drinking enough water for the California sun. The frigging sun. He's been thirsty since he got here, like his inner equilibrium has bypassed the city and the panic and the fashion and the falsity and gone straight for the desert underneath. Aligned itself with that. Recognised something similar in denied nature.
He's thirsty as hell, watching Elijah spin on the sundeck, frying to a crisp in its wrought-iron pan.
* * *
"Hey, this is the coolest!" he'd declared the minute they'd walked into the house. Dropped the suitcase he was carrying and run out onto the deck, leaving the flimsy curtains billowing. "Check it out!"
Dom had stood in the main room, holding a box of kitchen stuff that was three seconds from disaster. "It's great, Lij." It was hot out there, hammer-on-anvil hot, and all he wanted was to stick his head in the sink and drown. But they didn't have the water on yet.
He came running back in, seared to a stark-edged after-image. "We're going to have so much fun out there. We can get deckchairs or something. It's like a cubby house made of light and air, Dom!"
"You'll get sunburnt," Dom warned.
* * *
Dom hasn't set foot on the sundeck. It's not his place. This isn't his place. And yet somehow he's ended up here, the driftwood cast up on parched sand by the moonstruck tide. Totally at the whim of celestial bodies.
He's started to forget that he might ever have had other plans. They're being picked out of his brain one by one every time he goes outside, like the vultures aren't waiting for him to die. Or maybe they know something he doesn't. He takes to wearing a hat, but really the only thing that works is staying inside as much as possible.
Elijah's discovered that if he stands on the middle railing of the sundeck's safety-barrier, he can lean his shins against the top railing and spread his arms wide to the sun-baked city. He hasn't yet screamed, "Look at me, Ma," but Dom imagines that's only a matter of time.
He thinks that one day he'll slip and fall - Elijah will - and Dom won't be able to save him. But that's OK too, because Dom's going to die too, withered away of dehydration, lost in the desert.
Sandbox by dee
All stories are works of fan-fiction by Dee. "Fan-fiction" means that she does not own any of the core creative concepts and characters, but she does heap adulation, appreciation and awe upon those people who do hold the intellectual property rights to those concepts and characters. Further, any instances of real people are fictional, and the author does not wish to suggest any truth should be attached to the actions, emotions and words attributed to them in these fictional stories.