• Holly Watson

Sleep with the Butterflies

Audrey Novak sits in the dim candle-lit room, her legs crossed and back straight, eyes closed as she focuses on the sound of the breeze brushing through the topiaries outside her window. Her breathing slows into deep, cleansing breaths. Her mind clears of all clutter and she feels no physical sensation from her environment. She feels weightless and invisible. The air continues to flow gently and gracefully into and out from her lungs. The cool, light wind ruffles the silk curtains and outside, the shrubbery makes soft crackles and whistles as the air wafts through. Seconds and minutes pass as Audrey sits in blissful silence while imagining being as light as the air that blows around her, being carried along the wind like a liberated feather being ferried gently by the breath of the atmosphere. A soft smile forms on her lips and she becomes so relaxed that her body shifts slightly into a looser posture. The fragrance from the cinnamon candles begins to fade.

The soothing hush is suddenly broken as well as her concentration at the crude, unsettling sound of a branch breaking in the yard. The loud, abrupt snap startles her. She jumps to her feet and glides toward the window as quietly as she can move. She sees nothing and no one. Her imaginative mind runs rampant for a moment before she settles on the rational explanation that it is likely a raccoon or deer. Besides, if anyone is out there, her faithful dog, Ogre, will surely alert her. She listens a few seconds, intently, for Ogre’s beastly bark or even a snarl. But, nothing. Her pulse calms, so she skips down the stairs and into the living room, stops and affectionately pets Ogre’s head, then proceeds to close and lock the two windows which were open. As a precaution, she goes around the house checking the rest of the windows to be sure they are all locked, as well as the doors. Once more, she pauses to pat Ogre’s head before heading back up the stairs and into her bedroom.

Still feeling insecure about the noise outside, she contemplates a moment on how to rest her worries, then decides on a hot bath to take her mind off of it. Smiling, she frolics into her bathroom, turns on the hot water then the cold water, tests the warmth until it is perfect and then proceeds to undress. She pulls her long dark hair up into a bun as the tub fills with steaming water.

Once the bathtub is full, she twists the knobs to shut off the flow, then steps in gently and cautiously. As soon as she is submerged, she releases a contented moan as she leans back and straightens out her body into a comfortable position. She lies quietly, still listening for any uneasiness from the dog or any sounds that are out of place, while struggling to genuinely pacify herself. Within a few minutes, she succeeds as the anxiety flees from her chest.

After soaking for several minutes, Audrey pulls the plug from the tub, steps out onto the floor and grabs her towel to dry off. She pats her skin dry then slips into her favorite t-shirt and a pair of soft cotton panties and crawls into bed clumsily. She reaches for the lamp and twists the switch and shuts it off.

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