In lieu of anything interesting, to fill the void, here's this:
24, 18, 15, 5. 24, 18, 15, 5. These numbers raced through my mind as I woke up to a spinning, bleary world. I tried to stand up, but gravity got the best of me. 24, 18, 15, 5. 24, 18, 15, 5. These numbers are important, I guessed. I wrote them into the snow so I wouldn't forget them. As my world began to slow down, and turn right side up I began to get a feel for where I was.
I'm cold, I thought
I'm dizzy, I thought
I'm scared, I thought
I realized that it was mid-winter, and I was severely under dressed for how cold it was. O forced myself up and began to walk. However I realized after minutes, that I was, in fact, nowhere. If one were to picture a landscape described as nothing, I looked around and saw nothing, a barren, arctic landscape. Not a light, a person, or hint of civilization around. So I did what any other person in my situation would do. I began to walk. I moved to, what I thought, was the west, In hopes of finding someone, or something that could tell me what-in-the-hell was going on and where-in-the-hell I was.. Weeks passed, months passed, although in reality it was only hours before I saw a sign, a light, a house. I ran up to the door and knocked feverishly, and attempted not to look desperate. The door opened, And then, with a shriek, closed. I blinked at the door. Apparently I looked too desperate. And then wondered what do do now. From the doorway I heard a very loud, very threatening, and, surprisingly, very manly, “GET OUT,” . I decided to take the advice and move on to the next house, far to far down the road. The next house was a small, one floor house. The lights were on, so I attempted to knock on the door. The door opened to a women in her late 20's, whom I believe I just woke up.
“Can I help you,”
I coughed, and attempted to muster the energy to speak, but I couldn't so I simply nodded.
She let me into the house, and I felt warm for the first time in, what felt like ever. She handed me a robe and sat me down on a chair.
“Who are you,” She asked, I looked around the room expecting to find an answer. I found the magazines on the table.
“ Maclean Flair Maclean” She looked puzzled for a minute but decided not to pursue questioning.
“What happened to you,”
“I don't know,” I said truthfully. “Uh, do you have a phone I could use?”
“Sure, in the kitchen,” She pointed the way, and I followed, found the phone and stopped. I didn't know who to call. I had no number to call, no friends that I knew of. I began to type in the only number I knew 241-8155. The phone rang three times and then, a male, around age 30 answered.
“Hello?” I said
“Who is this?”
“ You called me,”
“ I know jus-”
“ Wait, Conor?” He said
“Conor, it's John, where the hell are you?”
“ Ah, I don- uh, Hold on,” I put the phone against my chest, “Excuse me,” I called.
“ Yes,” My hostess called back as she walked back into the room
“Bit of an odd question, but, Where are we?
“ 48th street,”
“48th street,” I said in to the phone
“We don't have a 48th street”
“ What city are we in,” I said to her
“ Detroit,” I repeated into the phone
“ Detro- Wha? What are you doing in Detroit”
“ I don't know, where should I be?”
“ Here, with us, In LA,” He said
“ When did I leave?”
“ Three weeks ago, you didn't call, or make any sort of contact. We thought you were dead,”
“ Kind of over-dramatic of you, don't you think,”
“ You don't remember?”
“ Remember what?”
“Who do you think you are Conor?”
“ I Think I'm very confused,”
“ Conor, you're a 29 year old cop from Los Angeleas California , we graduated at the same time from Artesia High School, in Lakewood, We both went to the police department, instead of going to college, I still feel this was a bad idea, but that's because you were the one who was promoted to detective, while I was giving bike safety lectures, any of this ringing a bell?|
“ This is... a lot to take in I-”
“ Conor, you need to get back home now,”
“ It's your wife Conor, their dead”
I stood their for a second, looking, waiting, hoping for a feeling. A feeling of sadness and regret, a feeling of anger and vengeance, but none of these came to mind He could of told me that the Johnson's down the street had died and would of felt the same thing.
“ How quick can you get here?” I asked
“ To Detroit, I can't drive all the way up their pal, you're on your own,”
He then hung up on me, without a good bye or any other information.
“ What happened?” My hostess said from behind the door
“ My wife's... dead.” I replied. I heard a crash from behind the door and I assumed she had dropped a dish to the floor. She came running out to comfort me.
“ My God, are you alright?”
“ I think I'm, going to be sick,” I said. I wasn't feeling sick out of loss, or sadness, I felt sick as if I had eaten bad food. A pain in my stomach that felt as if something was trying to get out. I had a feeling I couldn't stop it.
She ushered me into the bathroom, and it was here, where everything I had eaten past the eight grade, came out. Minutes passed, hours passed, although in reality it was only seconds before it subsided. I sat down next to the sink, resting my head on the cupboard below it.
I'm alone, I thought
I'm confused, I thought
I'm lost , I thought
After seconds of self contemplation, She came through the bathroom door.
“Are you alright?” She asked.
“ I don't know,” I replied truthfully.
She sounded as if she was going to continue her train of thought but it got caught somewhere in her chest. She then looked around the room as if searching for something to say. Her eyes then rested on the toilet to my right.
“ I don't mean to pry,” She began, “But that doesn't look normal,” She pointed to the contents of the bowl, I pried my head of the cupboard, and looked at her point of interest, and there floating in whatever it was I had previously eaten, was a small, white package.
“ That explains so much, and yet so very little,” I said as I reached in and quickly yanked it out of the water.
“There's something inside it,” I said, as I tried to teak open the surprisingly resilient package. After giving up and passing it to her to open, and then giving up and stabbing the thing, I pulled out it's contents. A small, DV audio tape. I looked over the tape from all angles, trying to see any writing on the tape.
“ You wouldn't happen to have a mini-DV player would you?”
“ Know anyone who does?”
“ I don't think so,”
“ Then I need to find one,” I said and began to stand up.
“ You're not going anywhere,” She said, “ Your going to stay here at least until tomorrow,”
“ I-” I began but was quickly cut off with a don't-fight-me-on-this-you're-not-going-to-win look and a promptly shut up.
She stood me up and walked me over to a couch where she said I could sleep for the night. She brought out bedding and other sleep accessories.
“ Now if you need anything, I'm just down the hall,” She began to walk away, but I stopped her.
“ Wait, what's your name?” I asked, surprised I didn't ask this before.
“ Alex, Call me Alex,”
“ Thank you, Alex,” She smiled and walked back to her room.
It was this time alone where I could calmly and coolly think, about what just happened to me. I've learned more about myself in the last couple of hours, then most people do in years. In the last couple of hours, I learned I had a wife, and learned they were taken away. I try to think, try to put together what my life had been. Tried to remember. Usually You can just feel the details. The bits and pieces you never bothered to put into words. And you can feel these extreme moments... even if you don't want to. You put these together, and you get the feel of a person. Enough to know how much you miss them... and how much you hate the person who took them away. But I can't. My mind a white wash so thick that anything and everything is gone. I wished I could remember anything. I leaned what my name is, but I'm not even sure if that's true. I don't know the name of the person on the other end of that phone. How can you trust someone without name. I began thinking about Alex, a person who I just met. Who has done more for me then anyone. She was my best friend of the last two hours. Alex. I could trust Alex. I don't know what it is, but She seemed stable.
Then my thoughts wandered to the Mini-DV tape on the table in front of me. This tape could hold every answer to every question I had spinning in my head. Maybe it would wipe the whitewash from my mind. This thought, however didn't stop there, it grew and grew until the thought ensnared my senses . This tape no longer could be the answer, it was the answer. I couldn't shake this fact. That tape, Thar wonderful, small, all knowing tape. I had to know what is said, had to. So I very calmly, yet frantic-ly got up, left a note to Alex apologizing, in case I wasn't there by the time she woke up, and stole the keys to her car. I knew I should have felt awful for what I was doing but I needed to know. I quietly opened the door, and left my safe haven. I questioned immediately whether or not this was a good idea. I couldn't have second thoughts now, with the answer so close to my fingertips. I started the car. Granted this is not the quietest activity, but I had to risk it, so I sped away fast enough to squeel the tires. Maybe she wouldn't notice? So I drove, wasn't sure whee exactly because I still didn't exactly know where I was. I drove, I was bound to find something right? After what felt like years, but was only minutes I found a block of stores, a block of very dark, very closed stores. I did not think this far, I thought. I couldn't stop now. Instead of thinking through a plan, a rational, brilliant plan without any repercussions, I got out of the car, found a rather large and heavy rock, and hurled it through the window. In an instant, amongst the glass breaking, the alarms blaring, and my heart beating in my throat, I stormed through the store, found a ape player and ran out to the car. I started the car, and then sped away. Faster then I thought possible. I waited until my pulse slowed to normal levels, before the gravity of the situation hit me. How is this going to look, I thought. I get followed, chased down, interrogated.
“What's your name?”
“ Conor,” I would say
“ Last name?”
“ I don't know,” I would have to say. I could always make things up, however I remembered that I'm not very good at that.
In what felt like seconds, but was actually minutes, I made it back to Alex's house. Quicker then I thought I would've. I wasn't being followed, I didn't here sirens, aside from the ones ringing in my head. I made, I thought, And I have the player, I could actually find out what that tape said. I found the note I wrote for Alex and through it away, she would never have to know. I found the tape through the dark and opened the recorder, and tried to slip the tape inside. Now I say tried, because it wouldn't actually go in. I tried flipping the tape over, and nothing, I tried forcing the tape in, and nothing. It didn't hit me until minutes of attempting to hammer the tape into the player, that I had gotten the wrong player. My answers slipped away. I may of just put myself and Alex into danger of being arrested , and for what? A tape player that was utterly, utterly useless. To be so close and yet so achingly far away was maddening. Call me Ishmael. I lied back down on the couch. It was dark. Pitch black. Blacker then it had any right to be. I couldn't see anything anymore. All the light that I once had was gone.
It's dark, I thought
I'm tired, I thought
I'm asleep, I thought.
I woke up alone, a familiar sensation now. I wasn't sure what time it was, I glanced at the wall clock, which told me it was 7:00. I stood up and noticed that I was fully dressed, Fully dressed with clothes, I sharp 180 from the robe I fell asleep in.
“Conor,” said a soft voice from behind me, “ Are you ready?”
“For what?” Is what I wanted to say, but it came out as ,”Yes honey,” I looked at the women in front of me, like most people now, I did not recognize her. She was dressed in a very elegant dress, something expensive and classy. Something I knew I could never afford She seemed to glow, the golden light emanated from her. She shouldn't be talking to me, I'm out of her league, she shouldn't be talking.
“Who are you?” Is what I wanted to say, but I didn't, instead I went to the door, opened it. Instead of the outside which one would normally expect, instead we emerged into a very lavish, decorated ball room. We were alone amongst millions of people, all faceless shadows dancing around us, giving us a wide birth, as if our love and hope repelled them, that as long as we were together, they wouldn't go near us, We were the bright spot in a world shrouded in darkness. As if the warm feeling we exuded kept them away. All if them dancing around us in formal elegance. My heart pounded in my ears. Adrenalin surged through my veins, her touch electrified me. Like a shock to the heart. She leaned in close and out her head on my shoulder. She tells me everything will be alright. I say I don't believe her. She raises her head and looks me in the eyes, her eyes pierce through my soul. I wanted to believe her. Hey eyes, the Ice blue eyes that seemed to glow brighter the longer you looked at them. I believed her.
She felt almost weightless as I held her, spinning in slow lazy circles to music that only we could hear. I loved her, I knew it, she knew it, I didn't know her, but damn it I never wanted to leave her. Hours passed by. Loving, blissful hours, just me and her. Those millions of faceless apparitions didn't exist to us. Unbeknownst to us, however , not only did they exist, they moved closer. It began slowly, a darkness dampened the light in the room. The warm feeling cooled. Her eyes that grew brighter the longer you stared at them, they began to dim. Her mouth went slack. Her knees gave way, and all of the sudden I was the only thing supporting her. Her weightlessness vanished, The room grew dark and violent, the faceless dancers around us kept dancing, encroaching on us, getting closer and closer. They began screaming, a horrid, peircing scream. The scream of souls long forgotten. Those with nothing left. My ears began bleeding.
I held tight on the limp figure that I danced with just seconds ago. She looked up at me, her eyes, her once perfect eyes, were dead. Dead and cold. Empty and sad. She struggled, as if trying to speak, but she was almost to far gone. She took one more gasping breath, shuddering, and spoke one word, one word that I couldn't make out. Her last word, whatever it was I couldn't make it out. She closed her mouth, and then fell back, her head fell back into my arms as fast as gravity allowed, her head bounced of my arm. And the force was so great, so earth shattering, that the once perfect figure I held in my hands, fell apart. Like wet newsprint, she fell apart at the limbs, broke, like a fine china doll, I tried in vein to keep her together, it was a lost cause but I couldn't give it up, she was mine. The only thing keeping me gripped to reality. Now in pieces at my feet, I was soaked from the knees up in blood. Once vibrant and red. Now tar like, cold and black. I stood up, the faceless dancers moved closer and closer. There gowns and tuxedos swishing around us, as If they didn't notice my life laying before them. I stood their alone in the crowed. Her head stared at me, a dead slack mouthed form of a person. Her glow subsided. The dancers moved closer Now enveloping us in a black dome, still screaming that peircing ungodly scream.
They moved in so close to us, so close to each other that the movement seemed to stop. Giving us very little room. I looked at the once idealistic women now in pieces, like a broken memento. She was an unfinished symphony, tarnished silver, a ruined painting, I stood up. I couldn't shake the feeling that this was my fault. I did this, I couldn't shake it, it wasn't my fault, it wasn't my fault, but I did this. The black dome around us closed in, now so tight that it would soon crush me in the all consuming weight. I couldn't take my eyes off the bloody sight. The dome pressed into mt skull. This was my fault. The blackness crushed the fragments of my sanity. This was My fault. I ducked to avoid the inevitable, but it was like stopping the ocean with a broom, running between the rain, punching out God. This was my fault. I couldn't breath, I didn't want to breath, I didn't deserve it. This was my fault, I was the failure. This was my fault. I can't breath. This was my fault. I can't see. This was my fault.
“This was my fault,” I said out loud.
And then, I smiled.
And then I laughed.
And then I awoke.
In a sweat so cold that it chilled me to the bone. I slapped myself across the face, to make sure I was awake, then again to double check. My eyes were blurred with tears, sweat and fear. I wiped the combination away. I took huge, gasping breaths, but stopped immediately because they reminded me of her. Whoever she was. It took me a while for my head to come back to reality, and I noticed, that for the last, however long it's been, I'd been laughing. Not a happy-go-lucky laugh either. A cold, merciless cackle.
A laugh to instill fear,
A laugh to convey hatred
A laugh to show accomplishment
I sat down and waited for my breath to slow to a normal rate. As my eyes got used to the darkness around me, I realized I was not alone. Alex, Sweet, gentle, caring Alex was there. She was standing in the corner, apparently frozen in fear of her thrashing, amnesiac, half insane house guest.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“I, have no idea,” I replied.
“ You ever have those dreams that you're so sure was real, and then you're almost mad when you wake up?”
“Yeah,” She said
“ Just about the opposite of that,”
“ You're kinda having a bad day, huh?”
“ Worst one I can remember,” It was at this stab at weak humour where I saw her odd half smile, one where both sides of her mouth didn't curl up, but you could almost sense that it was genuine, and not one that she just puts on to humour you and to get you to stop talking. She actually listened, and wasn't just waiting for her chance to speak.
“ What time is it?” I asked
“ 6 In the morning,”
“ I need to go,” I said “ I need to go now, and find out whats on that tape,”
“ At least stay for some coffee,” She asked. I obliged, I couldn't say no. She turned on the TV and disappeared into the kitchen. The sound of glasses clinking, and water rushing eminated from the small, yet functional kitchen ...