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Crystal Dreams By Deborah McNemar

Crystal Lowden has a problem. Dreams of shadows have taken over her life, waking and sleeping.

Crystal Dreams

Crystal Lowden hesitated in the doorway of the auto shop, not sure what she was even doing here. When Sherry had first mentioned this as a second opinion, Crystal thought her therapist had gone off the deep end. A month later, she still had no idea why she’d bothered to come and the question of what a psychologist was doing working as a mechanic in a small town in Minnesota was still unanswered. The legs that stuck out from under the ancient sedan were long and encased in snug, well-worn denim that was practically black from the grease and oil ground into the fabric. The work boots were in no better shape, scuffed and filthy. The heavy smell of motor oil and gasoline hung in the air in an almost palpable miasma.

“Mr. Griffin?” she began hesitantly.

“Your ball joints need replacing. I could hear them pop when you drove in.”

The comment issued from under the decrepit car that had once been a deep burgundy color. Time and corrosion had won the battle and it was now mostly varying shades of primer and rust. Something clattered harshly metallic against concrete as he shifted. She heard a tool scrape the floor as he reached deeper under the car, the muscles of his thighs flexing under the well-worn denim.

Crystal opened her mouth and then closed it again, trying to find the thoughts he’d scattered. Ball joints? Already on edge, temper and tears fought a brief battle for ascendancy at the back of her throat.

“The car is a rental,” she snapped, swallowing hard. “I’m not here for mechanical advice.”

“Rosie’s café is open twenty-four-seven and it’s down the road, left at the stop light. Rosie makes good pie.”

“I’m not hungry and I don’t need a mechanic. I need advice.”

“Buy low and sell high.”

The urge to kick the man was growing stronger by the second. Eyeing the end of him that was exposed, for a moment she contemplated the best place to do so to cause the maximum amount of pain.

Anger existed only as a shield, though. Depression rose, dark and smothering, from the place where it hid much too close to the surface these days. Crystal closed her eyes and tried to find her calm, the lighted center of her being Sherry swore existed. Like so many times this past month, it eluded her. This was useless.

“Sherry forgot to mention your charming personality,” she spat. Turning on her heel, she stalked out of the small auto shop and slammed the door behind her.

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