Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Hooded Man Part 4

She looked around at the rainbow dots that danced behind her eyelids.  After being here as long as she has, she's gotten rather used to the sheer and utter darkness that her surroundings consisted of.  And for some reason, this has caused her eyes to react in the odd way of making there be color, light. 

She breathed deeply as she looked at the still body of Shakes.  He was sleeping, causing havoc in someone's dreams.  But she didn't feel like sleeping right now.  Though Shakes seemed to enjoy these dreams... she didn't as much.  They creeped her out almost as much as the dreams she used to have of the hooded man. 

It wasn't just that they creeped her out, but she feels so mean in them.  Sometimes, she'd crash into a person while driving in a car.  It wasn't even like it was an accident- in the dreams she wanted to cause pain to her victims.  Other times she would... oh, some of the things she did in her dreams were so disgusting, so inappropriate there is no way she'd want to consiously think about it.  In fact, some things that she dreamed about were suppressed into her unconsious.  It has been that bad.

She leaned back and sighed.  At times, living in this world of black nothingness can be boring.  She scowled.  Who was she kidding?  It's always boring here, she's absolutely miserable.  What kind of life is she even living?  Though, there really wasn't much of an alternative. 

Sure she could decide to lose all hope so she could disappear then sink into the ground.  But... then what?  She couldn't do that because, however crazy, maybe where she would end up would be worse than where she is currently.  Now she just lives in the absense of practically everything.  The place below her feet could be full of somethings that were so unpleasant that she would actually wish for the nothing that she currently has if she were there.  It really wasn't that bad.

She held onto her head since her logic was so weak that even the smallest groove might cause it to shatter.  A tear fell from her eyes.  Staying strong was getting harder and harder by each passing day.  Not that she could tell how much time has passed.  It was almost like she was in a coma, or dreaming the whole time... at least thinking so was one of the few things that have been keeping her sane.

Then, she heard the slightest sound coming from Shakes.  His breathing had changed ever so slightly.  When you're in complete issolation, you begin to have heightened senses.

"Good time," she said to him.  Since there wasn't morning or night in the black void that they lived in, everyone just says that instead of 'good morning' or 'good night'. It helped them ignore the fact that there really wasn't any time at all, for all practicle purposes.

"Good time", he echoed back.  His voice sounded conflicted, or was it confused?

"What's up, Shakes?"

He raised an eyebrow at her, but didn't say anything for a moment.  "Well, I think I may have an... inkling about what happened to the others."

She reciprocated his eyebrow gesture.  "What do you mean?"  Then,  her eyes widened with a hope that she hasn't had in a long time.

"I don't know."  He shook his head back and forth.  "You'll think I'm crazy."

In response, she looked around at the dark emptiness.  "What could be more crazy then this?"

He shrugged in agreement with her, but still looked unconvinced.

"Just spit it out!"  She was too excited to let him ponder the seemingly impossible explanation he had.

"Well," he began, "there was this guy I saw in the dream I was in.  I don't even want to discuss what I had been doing... Well, a man saw me doing the terrible things I was up to, and he screamed at me, 'Tell her I'm sorry!'"  He paused for a few moments.

She looked at him, not quite getting the significance.  "So..."

"Right, yes.  I was getting to it... I'm sorry...  The man came up to me, while I was in the middle of whatever hate thing I was up to.  I don't even remember what it was.  Anyway, he said that if I talked to you about it that you would know him.  I don't know.  It's crazy, but he said that he's Soter."

She nodded at him, unbelieving.  He was talking about the poodle woman before who had disappeared.  Her nickname was Soter, because it means savior in greek.  She had given everyone  hope under the dire circumstances.  She was like the grandmother, consoling them all, even though she wasn't that much older than the rest of them.  At least, accoriding to Shakes, since they only met briefly.  And, of course, she was also called that because she was the first one of them in the place of blackness.

"Why would you believe that?  It was just a dream."

"But that's just it," he began.  "It isn't just a dream.  We go into another's dream.  Do you think that the subconsious of the person in the dream that we're in would know of Soter?  No.  Somehow, the dream was speaking to me.  Or-"

"Or what?"  She breathed in deeply.

"Maybe we haven't been dreaming at all.  It's quite crazy that we dream other people's dreams...  But I was so sure that was the only explanation... that's what Soter said...  They feel like dreams, I know, since we have no control and they're rather fuzzy..."

That's when she understood it.  Somehow, someway, they may not actually be where they all think they are- that of course just being the two of them, since everyone else had disappeared.  Or so it seemed before...  She felt her stomach rise with the most hope she has gotten in a long time.  So long that... oh, heck.  Time doesn't even count in here...

She wavered these thoughts of the lack of time from her mind.  There is hope.  Real, actual hope!

But... then where were they?  How could he - them all - end up somewhere else other than a dream?

She glanced back at him.  He was looking at her, but patiently.  She has found herself thinking more ever since she's gotten there- and he thinks a lot as well.

"You know what I'm going to say, right?"  She sighed deeply.  She had an inkling....

"Yes, I think I do."

"Well, we'll have to start now I suppose.  Better now than ever.  Just don't fall asleep!"

Her heart started to beat- a delayed reaction.  He meant that they must, somehow, find a way to seep down into the black to leave this place.  There was nothing else they could do.  There was no where to go and nothing else to do.  They don't need to eat here, or anything.  They don't even need to sleep.

They only do that because it's what they're used to.  It's strange not sleeping when you've been sleeping all your life. Plus, of course, it was discovered that super fun things happen in those dreams.

Well, at least in the dreams they do things.  And though they're insane maniacs under dire circumstances in them- at least they aren't utterly hopeless and depressed in them.

"But.. what about the fact that we're not hopeless like the rest of them?"

He shrugged.  "Well, we don't have much of a choice, do we?  And besides.  Soter left, and she wasn't hopeless."

She nodded.  So, this could work!  It would only take forever... Or maybe not, because it took no time for Soter.  "Alright," she said.  "Let's do it!"  Her heart started pumping, as if the decision would cause her to instantly disappear to where ever they would go.

They both sat down, trying to act as hopeless as possible so that they would disappear.

Many hours, or was it days later- they couldn't tell- she looked at him, the first gesture that she's done in a long time.

"When is this going to happen?"  He wasn't willing to budge his long time concentration, so he didn't react to her at all.  Not even a twitch of the mouth.  When he didn't answer, she screamed with all her might, "Tell me!"  Before, when she talked to him, she was somehow able to ignore the
calamitous circumstances.  But somehow, living in her own mind, has caused that to be rather difficult for her. 
She was no longer so sure this was going to be easy... She continued, "We don't even know how long this is going to take.  It could take fucking years!"  Her voice cracked, and there was no echo.  Her voice carried out into the black unknown.  Clearly, he was committed to his feat of disappearing.
Slowly, she tried to feel for a wall behind her.  When she had first come here, she had felt a smooth wall- but apparently there was no wall.  She's never felt a wall since.
When she reached her hand out in vain to feel for a wall, her hand shook.  And when no wall was there, she screamed while thinking, please, please, someone help me!  I don't deserve this...

Then, her stomach lifted, bringing about an odd sensation like she was happy, joyous.  A feeling she hadn't felt in God only knows how long.
She looked up at the bright blue sky and sighed while looking at the birds soaring through the air.  They were tweeting and flying into a tree.
Then, she felt a soft, slightly wet sensation on her hands.  She glanced at her hands.  Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!  She was no longer in the black world.  She wriggled her fingers around, laughing- yes laughing in delight of the feel on her hands.  She stood up, letting the sun touch her face and warm her up.  She squealed in complete and utter happiness.  She was back home- no longer in that crazy black place!
It worked...
She had officially lost hope, and now she was back! 
But where was Shakes...  Her breath caught in her throat, suddenly scared.  She was all alone now.  Looking about the area she was in, she tried to see if she could figure out where she was.  She scowled, and the new-found lift in her stomach was sucked away with the strength of a black hole. 
There were no landmarks around, not that she could see anyway. 
She let herself stop thinking about him altogether so that she could instead focus on what was more important: finding her way home.
She found herself near a convenience store a few minutes later.  She went up to the counter to ask where she was.  She felt silly doing it, but what else could she do? 
"Hi, sir."  She looked at the cashier.  He was a muscular man, though fat, with shaggy brown hair all over him.  His eyes were large yet slightly mean looking.  She was able to hold her own rather well, despite his unfriendly demeanor, "I would just like to know where I am.  I was driving around and I lost track of where I was..." She blushed, turning crimson.
He leaned back faintly with blank eyes.  At least he didn't want to laugh at her.  "You're on Hazel Street, five miles west of I89." 
She managed a grin.  "Thanks," I sort of know where I am now, she added mentally.
Leaving the store with purpose, head held high, she sighed- but this time with minor pleasure.  She was only about a half hour from home.
But then, her heart fell again.  How would she get home, even if she knew the way?  She didn't have her purse, and obviously her car wouldn't be around.
She moved her hands to rub her face. Except, there was something in her hands.  She raised her arms high in the air (not minding who noticed this strange gesture), and right in her hands was her purse.  She giggled to herself, though it wasn't maniacle at all.  She had it with her the whole time!  Now, that was expediant.
A smile formed on her face.  She was in the city, so she was able to wave down a taxi.  In no time, a taxi stopped for her and she hopped right in, happy as a kid in a toy store.  Things were finally going well for her!  She looked at the roof of the car.  Oh, happy day, there's a roof, she thought, and buildings, lights, and people!  If she just had some chocolate right then, she could have been the happiest, most grateful person just then.
In about an hour, she arrived at her condominium complex.  Quickly, she started to pass through the lobby, but someone's voice was calling for her.  And it was familiar.
"Libs, it's me."  The voice beckoned her.
She whipped her body around and stared in awe.  It was her husband.
Her voice wavered, "Oh my gosh- David!"  She rushed to him, bringing him in for a hug.  "David-I-"
"Don't speak," he said.  Let's get into our house first."  She nodded vigorously.
He used his key and opened up the door.  Her breath got caught in her throat when she went inside.  It was... too much.  She saw her old red armchair, fish drapes... and the picture of her mother.  Oh God, her mother.  What had she been thinking this whole time?  She must have been panicing... poor woman...
She wasn't able to think about her mother for long, though.  Her thoughts instead shifted to the strange things that had happened to her who knows how long ago.  The doors slamming.  Disapearing pens.  And then of course the scratching...  Though they all seemed so simple, since they led her to her half-death...
"Come, you should sit."  Her husband brought her out of her woes and put his arm around her.  Ah, that's comforting... she thought.
Slowly, he motioned her to the sofa, and he sat beside her.  "Now-" he began.  She didn't let him continue.  She leaned in to kiss him, hungry for lip to lip contact.  It had been so long...  He didn't satisfy her need, however.  Instead, he put his finger to her lips.  "There's no time for that."
She looked at him utterly hurt, though he didn't seem to think it was a big deal.  Maybe he really did mean to leave me, and felt so bad when he found out about my disappearance that he came back to give his last good byes.  A grimace formed on her face of the horrible thought.  He must not love her anymore, ever since she started acting insane.  She didn't think that he noticed what was happening, but obviously he must have.
"I'm so glad you're feeling okay."  She glowered at him.  That's all he had to say?  And besides.  News flash- she wasn't.  She came back from who the hell knows where!  She didn't want to think of it anymore.
That didn't stop her from thinking of Shakes, however.  He was really nice to keep company with... and he was really good at telling stories to pass the time away.  They had become so close when there was nothing... and now, he probably would never see her again.  Sure he would lose hope and come back eventually, but why would he come to see her?  She was nothing to him, just the last person there was to keep company with.  Literally.
"Look at me," her husband said, knocking her out of her trance.  He wasn't used to her being like this- being so lost in thought.  It's like her whole personality had changed.
"It's going to be okay.  You're here now.  How about I make us some lunch."  That was just like him.  Make something significant out of nothing.  He was her husband, and he was back.  She smiled faintly, glad for the familiar.
She sat on the couch just thinking while he made grilled cheese for them.  But this time, she wouldn't let her thoughts turn sour.  Life will now be getting back to normal.  She was thankful for that.  Nothing weird had happened to her after... the event occurred (she refused to think about the 'black world' incident).  All she had to do was call her boss and explain that... Explain to her that... oh well, she would think of something later.  She was too busy being happy for that right now.
"Sandwiches are almost ready!"  He proclaimed. 
"Yay!"  She screamed, giddy as a school girl.  "I'm going to wash my hands."
She walked into the bathroom, turned on the sink and scrubbed her hands.  When she looked at herself in the mirror, she screamed.  She wasn't herself exactly... She looked like someone else.
Obviously, there's going to be a part five more, at least :).

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Hooded Man: Part 3

Hey, sorry it took so long you guys!  I hope you like it :).  You'll feel some chills, I know, more than the first and second part.  Heck, I was feeling some chills just writing it!  And, there are a couple swear words in here, but not many.  I hate swearing myself, but in stories I find them necessary sometimes.  Oh, and I believe this is also the end...
She was lying on her bed with her husband.  She cuddled and held him, not wanting to let him go.

She looked at him with longing, sad eyes, "Why were you gone so long?"
"Oh, that doesn't matter now.  What matters is that I'm here with you now."
She nodded.  "Yeah, I suppose you're right."  She leaned in for an overdo kiss.  She closed her eyes and waited for their lips to meet, but when they didn't, she opened her eyes.  Her husband was no longer with her.  In his place was a man all in black with a hood.  It was him!  He had invaded her real life!  What had happened to her husband?  Sadly enough, it wasn't too hard to believe that her husband was now gone and this Hooded Man took his place.  With all of the weird things that have happened to her, this wasn't so bad.  At least she could come up with some explanation, that wasn't stretched quite as much as it has in other situations.

She looked at him, and jumped up from bed.  He was with her!  In her dreams, she's only seen him right before she crashed to the pavement, but here he was, in her room.  He had been touching her!  Actually, now that she thought about it, what had she felt?  It felt just like a scratchy blanket was clutching onto her, just with a little more weight.  But somehow, he had felt... empty.

Now, he wasn't even so much as looking at her anymore.  He was simply twiddling his 'thumbs'- well, more like the arms of his robe since his hands weren't showing.  He didn't even look that scary.  Heck, her husband probably was just messing with her!  He had gotten up and put on the robe, and got right back by her before her mind could process it.  Maybe that's why he felt 'empty'- because he only had put a piece of fabric on her until he got back?

Had she even told him about her nightmares?  She must have, otherwise, how could he be lying here like this?  Clearly, he went to a faraway town to find this exact robe to mock her, and that's why he had been gone for so long.

She looked at her husband and laughed.  "Wow hon, you sure go through a lot to creep me out!  Really."

He looked at her, and her heart sank.  No eyes penetrated through the robe, but she felt... different.  Suddenly, she had a strange thought, I'm not your husband.  Be cautious, be cautious.  Her heart sank deeper into the pit, maybe even past the pit into the ground.  Though that thought clearly went through her head, it felt foreign.  And she knew that this... creature had sent her the thought.  What was he?  Who was he?  How...?

She woke up from her terrible dream sweating, which wasn't surprising.  Since she's been having dreams of The Hooded Man every night, sweating has accompanied it with no exceptions.  She looked at the empty spot beside her.  Ever since the day he didn't pick her up at work, he's been gone.  Just gone.  She had no idea where.  She hasn't even told anyone what happened.  Who would she tell?  She hasn't seen her friends in weeks.  After the horrific events that have been happening to her- also known as her life, now- she hasn't felt like doing anything with anyone.  She knew that socializing would be good for her, but... she didn't have the will anymore.  She has let the creepy occurrences of her life be her life's only focus, besides her job.

She hasn't even told her parents, or his parents.  It was just too embarrassing... what would they even say, anyway?  'Sorry about that, sweetie, I guess you never were good enough for him.'  No, they wouldn't help.  Even if he was with his parents, or knew where he was, obviously he didn't want to be with her anymore, or he would've communicated with her what the problem was.  She is in on this alone.

She sighed, and got up.  Though she decided she wasn't going to go to work today (she decided to take up her husband's idea of having a vacation, even though he wasn't here with her anymore), she didn't want to lounge in her bed.  Because if she did, she would surely fall back to sleep and that would mean she would dream of The Hooded Man.  She always dreams about him every time she sleeps.

She decided she should eat something, so she went into the kitchen to make some scrambled eggs.

After breakfast and getting ready for the day, she decided to walk around town.  It didn't matter what she would do when in town, but she couldn't stay in her condo.  Being alone... scares her.  Being alone equals strange things.

She walked around the city, trying to be as joyful as possible.  She looked at all the monuments in her city, like the giant water fountain in front of a business complex, and the giant modern sculpture in front of the art museum that looked like an abstract person.

She passed the people walking near her on the sidewalks with jealous eyes.  Most that were walking around by now were the tourists.  Everyone else was at work.  So many of the people around now were families, friends, couples.  Everyone seemed to be having a great time with their companions.  She had no one.  She was walking around in vain, hoping it would raise her spirits.  At least nothing creepy was happening.

When she was stopped at a crosswalk, she thought she saw someone that looked exactly like her husband across the street.  When the walking sign came up, she speed walked so fast that she soared past everyone else.  She had to go over to see her husband and demand an explanation!

She was able to get near him rather quickly because he was walking quite slowly like he always does.  She touched his shoulder, and said, "Hey, why did you do that to me?!"  He turned around and stared at her with his nose up.  He gave her furious eyes and breathed loudly.  "Why are you bothering me?"  He grunted.  She blinked at him.  He wasn't her husband at all... What a stupid mistake!  He was so not him from the front.  His nose was wide and fat, his hair went over his eyes which were small and bird-like.  And, not the dove type of bird.

"Um, I'm sorry, sir..."  She quickened her pace even more to get away from him... After walking for a block, she turned to look behind her to see if she could spot the man.  She thought surely he must not still be there, with his slow moving and all, but with what happens to her, the improbable is likely to happen to her.  Heck, the impossible has already happened to her.

Behind her she still saw him walking towards her with a deep sneer on his face.  Obviously he had quickened his speed.  What does his type do to innocent ladies such as herself?  She wasn't about to find out, so she decided to duck into some store when he wasn't looking...

But when wouldn't he be looking?  Then, a thought came to her mind.  If she could just reach Lakeview square where the performers are before he got near her... Then she'd be fine!  Surely they're distracting enough!

Finally, she made it to Lakeview and decided it would be a good idea to go to some store, any store.  She didn't even look back to see her husband-not-so-look-alike to make sure he wasn't watching.  That would just give him an easier chance to get her... and she couldn't allow that!
Quickly, she speed walked toward the store- a convience store- and when she got inside, she was so paranoid that she ducked down behind a shelf of junk food.  She just noticed how hard she was breatheing and how fast her heart was pounding.  Then, she heard someone walk into the store.  That was him!  Now, he's going to come over to her... 

She closed her eyes, ready for whatever he was going to do.  She could only imagine what he had in mind, and she was thinking the worst.  When she opened her eyes, she laughed.  It seemed as though she was no longer in the store.  She was in a black room with no lights on.  Oh wait- the power must have gone out....  But she knew that could not be the case.  Even with no lights, the room would still have some light from the outside shining through.  She decided that the sun must have died out, and felt behind her to ensure that the shelf was still behind her.  Her hands went over a smooth wall, not a shelf.  Panicing, she stood up without taking her hands off the wall.  She started to run around to see how big this room was.  She was running forward for only a minute at top speed, though the wall never stopped.

Exhausted, she sat on the ground panting.  When she could breathe normally again, she shouted, "Where am I?  Is anybody here?"  Nobody answered her, but a minute later her echo returned.  She shivered.  This room was enormous.  If it was such a big room, then how was she still able to hear her echo?  Don't sounds eventually drown out if you're in a big enough place?

She closed her eyes as she had only a few minutes before, convinced that she had a narcaleptic attack or something.  When she opened them, she cursed.  She was still in the pitch dark room.  Instead of focusing on where she was, she decided to twiddle her thumbs even though she couldn't see them.  It felt silly, but at least she was thinking about something else.

Then, in the distance, she saw a bit of light.  She rejoiced!  So excited, she started to run toward it.  But after running for half a minute, she felt no closer to it.  Between breaths, she screamed, "Hey, you... light! Where are you going?"  It didn't say anything.  She closed her eyes and decided to continue to run this way.  It's not like she could see anything, anyway, besides the light.
When she opened her eyes, she stopped.  The light was now right in front of her.  She blinked and rubbed her eyes.  In front of her wasn't a light at all.  A golden retriever was sitting in front of her.  She could see him clearly though she could see nothing else.  He wasn't light at all, he just looked like a dog in a fairly lit room. But, of course, this room wasn't lit at all.  She grinned widely.  At least she wasn't completely alone...  She bent down to hug the dog and put her face in his fur.  She said to him, "I'm so glad you're here!  Where is here, anyway?  Where are your mommy and daddy?"

The dog licked her ear, and a strange thought came into her mind, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry...  The thought she could tell wasn't her own, and she believed it rather willingly.  That was the least weird thing.  You know, I'm not really a dog...  Then, she felt a new sensation: the fur she felt on her arms left with the feeling of skin.  She let go of the creature and backed away, staring at him in amazement.  Now, a man about the age of thirty was standing before her.

He didn't try to take his eyes off her.  His eyes had a certain quality to them that she couldn't describe, and quite frankly made her squirm.  He spoke the words aloud this time, "I'm sorry."  She walked back to him.  "Wh-what are you sorry for?"  He looked around at the black nothingness.  "This is everything," he muttered under his breathe, but it was barely audible.  "I'm sorry.  What are you saying?"  She spoke as calmly as she possibly could.

His expression became more fierce.  He was acting utterly helpless.  He started breathing hard and looking all about him, though it seemed like he was looking for an actual object.  He threw his arms in the air and looked at her intensely.  "This is everything."  His voice started rather calm, but became very desperate.  "This is it!  No more...anything..."  Her voice shook,"What are you talking about?"  She hasn't acted this terrified in a long time, even after the weird things started happening to her on that one day.  Suddenly, he was acting strangely composed again, "I'm just sorry I brought you here."

"What do you mean you brought me here?  Why the hell would you do that!?  Where is here?"  Tears started streaming down his face, though his composure was still the same, "It's not my fault.  It happened no matter what I tried to do!"  She sat down and dragged him with her by the arm.  "You're going to tell me what the fuck is happening!  From start to finish, you hear?"  He nodded slowly.
He began his long story by telling her about how he came to be here.  He too had impossible events happen to him.  It started out with simple, strange things that couldn't be explained. Car keys being in a different spot than where he set them down.  His computer turning on when he hadn't actually clicked the on button.  But, then weirder things started to happen. Waking up somewhere else entirely.  Seeing the time change back and forth on the clock- with the sun's position to show for it. Pictures on his camera he never took, mostly of scenery that he's never seen before.  Then, the most horrible thing had happened to him.  His best friend of twenty years disappeared.

One thing that lined up exactly to what she experienced were the dreams.  He too didn't remember his dreams much before, but he started to after these events began to occur.  He had dreams about a hooded man too.

"Then one day," he continued, "Life got to be too much for me.  I became paranoid and thought that anything I'd touch would do something... something, I don't know, impossible.  I closed my eyes, wanting it to be over, and it was."  She became scared at this statement, not because he started to cry but because he didn't.  His tone was hollow which frightened her more than any sob. "So, then we're dead?"  She tried to mimic his hollow voice, but instead her voice cracked.  He shook his head.  "I've had a lot of time to think, you know.  And, my conclussion is that we're not dead.  I don't know where the hell we are... but this isn't the place of death.  There isn't enough people."

"Enough?"  She said with hope.  "So there's some, then?"  He nodded, but not happily.  "Oh, there were dozens of us.  There were more, but..."  He stopped for a long moment, and she wanted to hear what he was going to say and again not, at the same time.  "What do you mean, but?"

"Some of us... disappear."  He looked at the nonexistent ground and shook his head slowly.  "Tell me."  Even though she didn't want to hear it, she did.  "Well, we know of one case.  I don't even remember his name.  But he was clawing at the ground, wanting out.  At this point, he no longer has any emotion in it, or at all.  He wouldn't speak to us when we attempted to initiate conversation.  He wouldn't even flinch.  He was too engrained on tearing away at the ground.  Before this time, he was the only hope we had.  He showed us... what fun we did have.  But I'll get to that in a moment.  Well, one day, one guy saw him disappear, like that, as if he fell into a hole he created.  The other guy had stepped over where he disappeared from, but there was nothing..."

They didn't utter a word for a long moment, but stared at each other just because there was nothing else to stare at.  Then, she realized something, "How-how can you see me?"  When she spoke, she tried to look at her body, but couldn't see anything.  "For some reason we can only see each other and not ourselves..."  "How is that possible?"  He moved his features in a way that would show humor on someone else, but just made him seem more lifeless, "The impossible is what the possible is here.  All that we get to do for fun is what we do when we sleep.  When we fall asleep, we don't slip into a dream.  At least, not our own.  We go into someone else's and our subconsious causes havoc.  Just like in real dreams, you don't know what you're doing.  You can't control them.  That's our only fun.  Causing havoc."  She dared to bring it up, "What about the man that was in our dreams... before.  The hooded man?"  He shook his head, "There never was anyone here that was him in other people's dreams."  "But..."  He was still shaking his head, "Trust me, I know that no one's had one of those types of havoc dreams.  You just... know things here.  Anyway, we know little, but what we do know is solid.  Besides the people disappearing..."  "But why are we here?"

"We've all had a lot of time to think, but no one has been able to come to any conclussions..."  She stopped him in the middle of his sentence, "Where the hell is everybody, then?  I mean, isn't this place just a giant black room or something?  I saw you from a far distance as a light-and, you were a dog, what the fuck?  But nothing else..."  "Well," he began, "Once you're here for a while... you lose all hope, or you live in the dreams of others all the time.  And, either way, your light dies out and you start to blend in with the black.  And then... you almost disappear.  After that, you eventually disappear entirely, to who knows where."  She was already quite still before, but now she froze in fright, terrified.  It took this long for it to hit her.  She wasn't going home.  She's hopeless.  This is the end, as far as she was concerned.  "So, you're telling me that people could be all around us right now?"  She looked around at the blackness.  She was becoming so disoriented that she wasn't sure what was up and what was down.  But then, she saw a light in the distance.  She looked back at the man she had been talking to, and realized she hadn't heard his name.  "Who are you, then?"  He looked back at her, as he had been staring at the cieling.  "Oh, everyone here calls me Shakes."  She raised an eyebrow and almost laughed.  "Shakes?"  "Yeah, like William Shakespeare.  I am known for telling the best stories..."  She looked at the speck of light coming toward them while he spoke, she blinked, and suddenly he was standing in front of them with four legs.  The being resembled a poodle.

Shakes put his hand on top of the dog's head, and brought it back right away.  When the dog looked at her, she did the same thing.  Then, a woman stood before her.  "Oh, yeah," Shakes said, "We all greet each other that way.  And as our dog breed of choice.  It's..comforting."  The woman, who was only a little older than she was, took over the conversation, "Yes, we can all shape shift, though that's about the only thing we can do.  It takes practice, but you'll get it.  You have all the time in the world." 

In the distance, she saw a new light spark, but it was close enough to make out an outline.  This time, it wasn't a dog, but a man that looked utterly soul-less.  He screamed, as loud as he could (which wasn't that loud), "No we don't!"  And then, his light was obliterated.  She swallowed, only all too sure what had happened.

The woman looked her straight in the eyes, "I think I know of your husband," she said as she started to sit down.  "What of him?"  She asked in amazement.  She felt the most spark in her that she had in a long time.  "I-I think I'm him."  She looked at her curiously and shook her head.  But for some reason, the  feeling she saw in her eyes were point enough that she was in fact him... somehow, in some minute way.  But then, her light was fading, and she looked at her with utter terror.  The terror on her face was greater then you'd see on any dying person.  In no time, she vanished.

Shakes looked at her and shook his head hollowly.  "I guess we're the only ones left.  For now, at least.  But she was the first one..."

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Hooded Man: Part 2

The office was dead silent while she continued to stare at the ad she was putting the final touches on.  Her boss had given her suggestions to make the toilet paper ad more appealing.  In other words, she had to change the ad to follow his specifications.

Her job is one that requires everything to be perfect, and the hard part is that her perfect is not another's perfect.  She has to, essentially, guess and check to see what others would like.  She often meets up with clients to see their take on her ad, and even her family sometimes.  Many would find it funny how complicated the job can be.

She was hemming and hawing over one font from another that were barely different, when the scratching came.  Oof, she thought.  For the past month, the scratching had been on and off.  Luckily, it only seemed to come on when she was bored or stressed. Ever since the day the sky suddenly turned dark, and when her purse was stolen, her life has been horrifically strange.  On that day, she did call her husband to have him pick her up, even though he had work himself.  When he had gotten to the facility, he suggested she get her cell phone which was in the car. She never brings it into work with her.  She had to use the spare keys he had, and when she opened the car door... there was her purse on the front seat.  Ever since, she has been in denial that the events of that day ever happened to her. But, she couldn't deny that the scratching was very real.  It made more sense than the sky suddenly turning dark or her purse being stolen, and then put into her car... because people have headaches, so inner head scratching isn't such a big jump.

She stopped her work for a moment because of the pain from the scratching.  She has gotten rather used to feeling it.  She vowed a week or so ago to continue to do whatever she was doing, or start doing something, if the scratching started, but the scratching was often hard to ignore.

For a minute, she stopped thinking about the pain when she saw one of her coworkers come into her cubicle.  "Hey Cindy, there's not much left of Julie's brownies."  After finishing, he left, and her eyes perked up.  Everyone in the office knows that her brownies are to die for.  She started to walk into the break room, when she overheard a conversation.  But she only heard, "...and she's been told that she's going to die soon..."  She could have sworn that he looked at her when he finished that phrase.  She shrugged off the thought, understanding that he obviously was just looking around, and simply noticed her.

Then she was in the break room.  She saw the brownies right away, in the left corner of the 'food table', where they always were.  She took one of the two brownies left, a plate, and found a seat.  She took the first bite of it, and closed her eyes.  Bliss.  Then, she heard music in the background, which was strange. Music is forbidden at her workplace... well, it really was an unspoken rule, but no one ever dared to break that rule.

She tried her best to ignore the music in favor of concentrating on the chocolate happiness in her mouth.  But, the music became so loud when the male singer started to sing, "and death came seven days later..."  The music faded into the background, and she shook it off, though the words were seeping into her soul.  Death, death, death..  She looked at her brownie and scarfed it down, as if eating would make her forget it.  She smiled when realized that the scratching had stopped.

After work, she got into her car, turned on the music, and forgot all about the subtle strange things that had occurred.  Instead, she tried to listen to the words of the songs that played and attempted to understand the meanings of the songs.

In the middle of one song, she heard the singer say, "and don't you forget it."  She stopped humming to the song for a minute.  He's never said that in the song before, she was sure of it.  It was one of her favorite songs, actually, and here he was saying a new phrase.  WUIT, the radio station, must have been having some sort of a contest.  Perhaps it was something along the lines of guessing which words don't belong in one of the songs played throughout the day?'  Surely it wouldn't be too hard to find those words spoken by him on the web.  And, isn't auto tune able to fix voices well enough to make it sound like someone is singing even if he isn't?

When she got home, her husband kissed her in greeting.
"How was work today?"  He always made sure to ask her about her day before she did.
"Oh- right... it was fine."  There was no way she would be able to explain to him what happened... Every strange thing that had ensued throughout the day was odd enough in her mind, if she spoke it, then it wouldn't seem like she was serious.

"And yours?"
"Oh, same old, same old.  But... Bob got a haircut."
He had always been interesting to hear about...  He always described him as being this clean cut Harvard-like graduate with nice hair.  They both moved to the couch to continue their conversation.
"That's... nice."  So he got a haircut.  Could he say anything more uninteresting?
"Yeah, but he shaved it all off."  She gasped.  He never seemed like the type that would shave his head, even if she's technically never even seen him before.
"What's for dinner tonight?"  Her husband is the type that briefly mentions something, then changes the subject right away.
She laughed at him.  "Why did he get all of his hair shaved off?"
He shrugged.  "I don't know.  Maybe he has that one kind of cancer...."  She looked at him with her eyebrows up, and nodded mockingly as she saaid, "that's called breast cancer."
"Oh... right.  Well, I don't know.  Maybe he's sporting a new look..."
"Or, maybe his wife has breast cancer and lost her hair after chemo, and he decided to shave his hair too so she wouldn't feel bad?"
"You know... death will happen to you soon... that could be!"
She blinked at him.  "Wh-what did you say?"
He was unfazed, "I said, you know, that could be!"
"Oh... right..."  She blinked hard, and suddenly felt very tired.  The stress of her job must be weighing on her.  That must be it!  She isn't thinking straight.  "I'm rather tired, I think I'm going to take a nap."
His eyes bore into hers.  "Really?"  She doesn't often take naps.  "Yeah... could you make dinner tonight?  Thanks."  He nodded.  "I'll make Thursday's dinner tonight, then.  Is that cool with you?  It's ham and potatoes."  They switch off making dinner every night.  "Sure, that's fine."

Slowly, she sauntered to her room in the back of the condo.  She grabbed the polka dot fleece blanket she had on the chair in her room, and threw it on her bed.  She lied on her bed, put the blanket over her, and wriggled around until she was comfortable.

Even with all the strange events of the day- or perhaps 'mishearings' is a better way to put it- she was able to fall asleep quickly.

After getting up from reading the morning paper, she looked out her window.  She laughed.  It was still dark outside, so why was she even reading the morning's newspaper?  She looked at the cover of the paper, and realized that she was reading the one from earlier today. The same creepy man was on its cover.  This 'hooded man' was looking at her.  Or, more like was looking in her general direction, because his face wasn't showing.  His head was covered by the hood... none of his skin was showing anywhere.

She threw the paper on the ground and looked behind her, suddenly paranoid that he could be right there, looking over her shoulder.  She backed away from it, now scared that he was going to step out of the paper.

She apparently backed up too much, because when she put her right foot behind her, she no longer felt solid ground.  She was about to fall out of the window!  She panicked and brought her foot back in. She laughed nervously since she was so relieved!  But her laugh was such a pounding laugh that it caused her to lose balance, and she fell out of the window head first.

She started to scream with horror.  Before she plummeted to her demise, she saw the hooded man.  He simply shrugged at her before she slammed on the pavement.

When she woke up, she found herself with her head on her desk at work.  She lifted her head up, and looked around, half expecting for The Hooded Man to show up.  But of course, there was no sign of him.  No sign of anyone, actually.  She looked at the clock, and it said that it was six o' clock.  Generally, some people did stay in the office after six, though obviously no one did today.

Slowly, she got up, and started to walk, and she passed a mirror.  She frowned at her reflection and fixed her hair.  She continued to walk, and decided that she would go home now.  She wasn't sure how she had gotten here.  Maybe she never did go home. Perhaps she got so bored that she had fallen asleep in the middle of it, and imagined the rest of her day up until her 'nap'.  Yeah, that had to be the answer.

When she was in the parking garage, she went to the spot where she always parked, and got confused.  Her car wasn't there.  She was sure that she had parked there.  For a long time, she looked through the whole parking lot, and she refused to panic.  She felt around in her back pocket for her cell phone, and her breath caught in her throat.  It wasn't there.  That's when she realized she forgot her purse on her desk too.

She went back to her desk and didn't see it there.  She sighed, and decided that she could just call on her husband with the phone on her desk.  She picked up the phone, and dialed her home number.  "Hey, could you please pick me up?"

"Libby, why did you leave?  Dinner is ready, and it's getting cold.  You could have just told me if you wanted to go somewhere."
Her heart dropped.  So, she did go home?.... And yet, she showed up at work?  But... how?  Wasn't it possible that she sleep walked?  She was only a ten minute drive away... couldn't that have been enough time for her to sleep walk to work?  She's never sleep walked before, but obviously she did, and her subconscious thought that her work was a good place to go.  After all, she hadn't finished the ad she had planned on completing today.
"Um... I don't know.  I-I'm sorry.  Could you just please come?"
"Where are you?  What about your car?"
"I... took a walk... and I'm tired now.  I'm at work."
She could practically see the furrow in his brow, "You went to work?"
"Okay... I'll come.  You really should think about taking a vacation."
"See you soon, then."
"See ya."

She hung up the phone and looked at a far away wall, zoning out.  Even though she took a nap, she still felt exhausted.  It must be because she walked ten miles in two hours.  She put her head on her desk and breathed deeply.  That's when the needle pain came.  Oh, yay... 

For the next thirty minutes while she waited for her husband, she tried her best to 'rest her eyes', but sleep didn't come.  The scratching didn't cease.  It was going on for so long that she was getting used to it.

Once it was 6:45, she was still in her seat and was still waiting for her husband.  It wasn't like him to be late, especially if she needed him.  She decided to call him again, but this time on his cell phone.  Maybe he was in bad traffic.

He picked up on the first ring.  "Hey, what's up?  You in traffic or something?"
She heard nothing in reply, only the static from the sound of nothing on the phone.
She waited a long moment before speaking again, "hel-hello?"  Still nothing.
"Alright, I'm going to hang up now."  She put the phone back on its base and stared at it.  That was strange....  it's not like his phone is even that old...

As a last resort, she decided to walk home- that is, until she saw his car on the road.  Surely he was driving, but hasn't arrived because of the traffic...

She walked on the sidewalk home slowly.  The confusion was wearing away at her.  Why was all of this happening to her?  She wish she knew the answer, but none came.  Before everything that's happened to her    in the last few weeks, her life was relatively normal.  She was never terribly confused over something before.

She's gone through so much.  After the scratching started and her purse was stolen, many other strange things have happened to her.  One day, she felt a massaging sensation like in her dreams, when no one was even touching her.  That was one thing she could accept happily.  But, most of the times, the things that happened to her weren't that great.  When she was home alone one day, the doors kept opening and closing.  There's no way the wind had so much as budged them, even though she liked to think that's what happened.  The windows weren't even open and no fans were on.  It wasn't like the doors creaked, either.  The doors were slammed and opened wide.

On another day, she was writing down food items on her grocery list, and her pen kept disappearing when she'd go to check one food item or another.  She did look all around on her counters at first, but she ended up going back to the drawer to get another pen when she couldn't find it.  When she went back by her list, there was her pen.  She had looked at it for a long minute, zoning out.  She really had set it down.

Not one of her days had been normal since.  She was starting to wonder if her brain was damaged in some way.  Since, how could she explain the impossible to anyone?  Even her husband wouldn't believe her. For a while, she was in denial of what was happening, making up excuses for these occurrences, even if it was a stretch. She was done denying what appeared to be the truth The only explanation was that her brain had gotten damaged somehow...  She wasn't about to pounce on the chance to get it checked, though.  Of course, she would be asked why she insisted that something was wrong with her.  How could she explain to them that strange, impossible things were happening to her?  If she did, wouldn't they send her to an insane asylum?  Do those even exist anymore?  But what scared her most was, maybe she really was going insane.  She wasn't about to, essentially, have a professional tell her what she was beginning to believe- that she is losing her mind.  What's the harm in waiting it out?

She looked at the cars as she walked, hoping in vain that she'd see her husband's car.  The traffic was even lighter than usual.

Since she never did see her husband's car, she had to walk all the way home.  She finally got home at about eight o' clock, and she was absolutely exhausted.  That nap definitely meant nothing by now.

Once inside, she went over to the couch and plopped down, panting hard.
"Hey, where are you?"  He was no where in sight.
"Why didn't you pick me up like you said you would?"  There was no answer, and she started to think that maybe he was worried about her being gone for so long that he went to the police or something.  If that were so, then why didn't he just pick her up in the first place?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Hooded Man: Part 1

I feel this short story is long enough to put into parts.  Just like with a regular story, I want you to first suck in the mystery before it is revealed.  Enjoy this story!  It is creepy, but only so creepy.  I mean that it's not disgusting or anything.  I usually don't even like horror, but that's what this story is!

A middle-aged woman left her bathroom after she finished getting ready for the night.  She snuggled in her bed next to her husband, and turned off the nightstand light.  He put his arm around her affectionately, and she touched it back.  She didn't feel like talking, or anything else for that matter.  It had been a long day at work since everything that could go wrong did.  She just wanted the day to be over, and thankfully, now it could be.

She closed her eyes, and hoped that she’d be able to fall asleep quickly.  She had to travel two towns over for work the next day, so that involved waking up early.  She was going to get up at four in the morning, so she needed sleep now more than ever.

But sleep didn’t come too easily for her.  Her thoughts kept playing over and over on the presentation she would have to give tomorrow at the meeting.  They were like an ear worm, the same scenes were playing over and over in her head and there was no use trying to stop it, unless she was to think of something else with equal emotion.  And oh, she did think of things with more emotion.  One of the thoughts that passed through her mind was the time she fell off her bike from going down the ‘scary hill' when she was seven. Her older brother dared her to go down the hill with her because she'd always been such a scaredy cat before.  Of course, she followed through with the dare because older brothers are able to convince little sisters to do things they usually wouldn't want to.  She fell rather hard, though she didn't go far.  Pressing firmly on her brakes were to blame.  She sprained her ankle and skinned her knee pretty badly, and she was scarred for life.  But whenever she’d think of that memory or another equally horrifying memory, it would only pass through her mind once or maybe twice, until the same freak-out thoughts for his presentation would come through.  If only worries could be erased.  But finally, her worries slipped into the back of her mind as sheer exhaustion overtook her, and she fell into a deep sleep.

She was sitting in her comfy recliner: her special recliner her mother gave her when she moved out.  It’s red and rather tattered, but full of memories.  She had the newspaper in hand, and she read the title of the headline.  It read: Another Life Ended By ‘The Hooded Killer.’  She looked at the picture, which was of this ‘Hooded Killer’.  His face wasn’t shown at all, but was covered entirely with a hood.  He was wearing a hooded robe of some sort.  None of his body was shown at all. There was no draw strap below the neck.
Her breath caught in her throat, and she suddenly became very scared.  She looked about after realizing that she no longer felt the newspaper in her hands.  After looking all around her, she thought she was stupid; of course it must have fallen.  But when she looked down it wasn’t there.  She also looked under the recliner, but it wasn’t there either.  She shook her head and was able to convince herself that she never had the newspaper in the first place.

Then, she got this feeling that she should look over to her right by the window overlooking the city.  When she looked, nothing happened, but she still thought it was necessary to go by the window.  When she made it to the window, she felt a soothing sensation, as if her husband were there massaging her back.  She let the pleasure over take her, and closed her eyes, screaming with pleasure.  She looked behind her in order to look at her husband lovingly, but when she turned around no one was there.  She continued to turn, convinced that he was just moving along with her because the pleasurable massaging sensations were still occurring.

At that moment, she found herself falling from the now open window, and was plummeting to the traffic below.  Before she could question how this happened, she noticed a black figure by the window.  And then it did the unthinkable: it waved to her.  She couldn’t tell if it was a ‘hey’ wave or a ‘you’re dead’ wave, but she wasn’t able to mull through this for long, because a second later, her body crashed to the pavement soundlessly.

She woke up sweating profusely.  Her husband was still soundly asleep beside her, but she couldn’t stop breathing hard, even though she knew it was over.  It was just a dream, after all.  She’s never acted this way after waking up from a dream.  Actually, she hasn’t remembered the last time that she’s dreamed.  This dream was so vivid and so realistic- her condo in her dream looks exactly like it does in real life.  Everything from the fish drapes on the window, to the little picture of her mother as a girl was to a perfect tee.  And then of course, there was the deep feeling of foreboding throughout the whole dream.  She knew something was going to happen… and then it did.  As for the hooded man, she tried to convince herself that he was hilarious, now that she was trying to brush it off, thinking that a dream isn’t worth fussing about.  Besides, she really had to get back to bed so she’d be able to do well on that presentation today… she looked at the clock, and it was already two thirty.  God, I really only have three more hours until I have to get going… she thought.

After the meeting had ended, she wiped her brow and sighed loudly.  She didn’t die; she delivered her presentation better than she had hoped.  She doesn’t often have to speak for her job, but on rare occasions, it happens.  It was funny, her job.  It involved hyping up toilet paper, since she was in the advertising business.  She had to show her new advertisement for it since she’s a graphics designer.  Saying that it is- ‘so soft it feels like you’re on a cloud’, seemed rather humorous and silly at first, but now it felt as common place to her as, ‘do well in school, and don’t do drugs’ is to a teenager. Cheesy sayings and ads are a part of the territory.  Since she always loved art, she figured that a career involving it would be her best bet.  When she was a teenager she had hoped that she’d be able to be a Disney Pixar designer, but that never panned out. Besides, as her mother put it, ‘being in the advertising business is ‘safe’’. 

She looked around to see everyone else getting out of their seats, and were headed to the room next door where lunch was catered in.  She was so lost in thought that she didn’t want to get up quite yet.  She watched as the last person was out of the door.  No one had said anything to her such as, ‘hey, aren’t you hungry?’, because none of them were her friends.  Though she loved her job well enough, she’s always thought that the people in the business aren’t that friendly.  Or, maybe she’s just not likable enough for them.

Suddenly, she felt something hurting inside her head.  No, it wasn’t a headache, that’s for sure; it felt like something was scratching inside her skull.   But not the positive kind of scratch, it felt like a needle was slowly going up and down her head.  She held her head in agony.  It hurt so much that she didn’t even consider how improbable it was.  Sure, some people may have had similar experiences, but if this has never happened in her life, why would it start now?

She looked outside.  It was a beautiful sunny day, not a cloud in the sky.  But then she blinked and when she opened them, the sky was as pitch as night, and it was so cloudy that no moonlight could seep through.  She rubbed her eyes- refusing to believe this- even though her eyes were full of makeup.  She looked at her hands in disgust when she saw all the makeup that came off.  From the intense pain in her head, her eyes had watered a little, so that only aided in getting her makeup off.  So, she ran off, scared of how the dark came about and also so that she could fix her makeup in the restroom. She didn't want anyone to see her horrible eyes!  It wasn’t often that she would run in her old age, but it also wasn’t often that such strange things would happen to her either.  Once in the lady’s room, she could forget it anyway.

When she was out in the empty hall, she forgot where the restrooms were.  At least she didn’t see the dark sky anymore.  She turned to her left and looked in the room where her colleagues were having their lunch.  They were all eating and chatting, they didn’t care that she wasn’t there.  No one noticed her out there.  She didn’t want to ask anyone where the restrooms were, not only because she didn’t particularly like anyone here, but also because of the makeup smeared on her face.  So, she decided to continue on in the direction she was headed.  It had to be somewhere.  She looked through every door in vain, because obviously normal looking doors aren’t where a restroom would be.  She continued without letting herself freak.  In an everyday situation, this wouldn’t be anything to freak over.  But after that episode, it wouldn’t take much to scare her.

When she was about halfway down the immense hallway, the needle scratching came back.  She held her head and massaged it, even though it didn’t help with her pain at all.  The needle scratching seemed to be scratching from the front of her skull to the back, so on a whim she turned around.  Maybe the restroom was on the other side of the hall after all.  As she turned around, the pain diminished, and she sighed in relief.  The lessoning pain made her slow down, but when it started to appreciate in intensity, she started to speed walk.  It felt even better than it did before.  The faster she walked, the better her head felt.  And then, she started running, and even sprinting, the fastest she’d gone in decades.  Now, the pain was just a sliver in her head.  She laughed, at first child like, but it turned demented.  The pain was almost gone!

Suddenly, the pain started to come back in full force, and she was so surprised by it that she tripped and screamed in pain- it was almost like she had no control over her vocal cords.  She just wanted to lie there, but when it lessoned up a bit, she got up.  It hurt again, so she tested her pain.  She kept walking straight and it hurt more, but when she turned around, the pain alleviated.  She looked to her right after walking a bit, and she finally noticed the restroom.  She sighed with relief, and went inside.  Finally, the pain was gone again, subsequently she decided to laugh joyously.  Thankfully, no one was in the lady’s room, or she would’ve been looked at like she was insane.

She went to the mirror and frowned at her reflection.  Her makeup was more smeared than she thought.  She dug around in her purse, and took out a makeup remover pad, mascara, eyeliner, and eye shadow and put them on the counter.  Her mother always carried her makeup and even her makeup remover pads in her purse when she was younger, so she developed the habit too.  She always used to say that, ‘you never know when you’re going to need to spruce up your makeup’. Though she never thought there would be a time, she put her makeup in her purse too, when she was old enough for a purse.  And now that the time has come that she needed to spruce up her makeup, she silently thanked her mother.

She wiped her eye down with the pad, and started applying her eyeliner first.  When she had perfectly rimmed eyes, she reached down for her eye shadow.  She put her hand exactly where she had set it down, but it wasn’t there.  She moved her hand around the counter near her.  She looked down, but she didn’t see the rest of her makeup or her purse.  Her heart started to thud.  She lost her purse!  But oh wait- she thought- my stuff could have fallen, I guess…  She looked under the counter, and searched frantically for her purse, but it wasn’t there!  So, she decided that someone sneaky must have come into the restroom and stolen her purse! 

She busted out of the lady’s room and hysterically searched for someone walking away, but, she didn’t see anyone.  But of course someone could have easily gone into any of the nearby rooms, so she decided to check them.  She peered into the room directly in front of the restroom, which looked like a big office for an important person.  She just saw one person typing away on the computer, with no sign of her pink leather purse.  At least she would be able to find it easily.  Pink stands out more than brown or black.  So, she quickly went over to the next room.  This room was an empty conference room, so she went to the next one.  The next room was a large office with many cubicles, so she went inside.  She walked casually with purpose around the office, using her peripheral vision to look for any sign of pink.  She wrapped her way around the whole room and never saw any sign of it.  She sighed, but it wasn’t over.

She took the elevator down to the first floor to see the receptionist.  She walked over to one of the ladies, trying to look as un-frazzled as possible.

“Hello, I would like to report a stolen purse…”

The receptionist looked at her with soft, concerned eyes, “What happened to your purse?”

“I set it down, and then someone took it without my seeing."

“Alright, what room did this happen in?”

“The lady’s room on floor seven.”  

She started typing the report on her computer, and asked her a few questions so that she could be contacted later, such as her full name and phone number.

“We’ll get back to you as soon as we can with information on your purse.”  She turned from sweet and understanding to cold and uncaring.  She was already looking at the next person in line.  “But… don’t you have security cameras or something?”

“I’m sure we do, possibly.  But that isn’t my department.  Now please- there are other people needing something.”

She couldn’t stand for that!  Her purse had been stolen!  She wasn’t playing around.  Though not often forceful, she felt the need to be now.  “No, I’m not going.  Not until I see that footage!  Could you get someone who knows something about the security cameras?”  The receptionist did just as she asked without question.  Maybe she should be forceful more often!  She called in someone named ‘Ponzy’.  Interesting name… she thought.

“Someone will be here for you in a few minutes, so could you please sit down until then?  Thanks.”
She did as she was told; glad to get away from that rude receptionist.  She had to wait for a good ten minutes or so, and she started to get anxious.  She almost wanted to go up to the receptionist again and ask her when he said he’d come, but she didn't.

Finally, an authoritative large man came walking in.  He said, “Someone wanted to see me?”  She stood up and walked up to him, “Yes, that was me.”  He raised an eyebrow, “So, you lost your purse, ma’am?”  One of those 'permanent frowns' formed on her face, “Yeah, I did…”  He started walking, urging her to follow him,  “Well, come with me and let’s see if we can’t sort through some recent footage…”

She followed him to the elevator, and he pressed the top floor which is floor twelve.  The wait in the elevator was excruciatingly uncomfortable, what with the lack of conversation and all, but what would she say anyway?  ‘Do you like your job of sitting through hours of watching security camera footage?’  That would be an awkward, strange conversation, especially since she didn’t care.  She didn’t even know what he did exactly, except that that was a part of his job.

They walked to the end of the hall and went through a ‘staff only’ door which was opened by one of his many keys on his belt.  They walked into a room with a single large computer which she thought was odd.  She’s always pictured rooms like these to have lots of screens, but there’s probably a way to open up the footage of more than one camera, so it made sense.

“So, you said you were on floor seven, right?”  “Yes.”  He was sitting down at the computer and pulled up footage from every camera from the seventh floor.  “Oh- take a seat…”  She rolled the swivel chair he was pointing at over to the computer. 

“Okay- let’s see… there’s only one restroom on that floor.”  Figures, she thought.  He rewound the footage to when she was in there and played it out.  The camera only showed the sinks, mirrors, trash cans, and paper towels, not inside the actual stalls. 

She saw no one in the restroom, except for her.  The whole time it played through, she was staring at her purse to see where it would go.  She was so transfixed on it that she didn’t even blush over how she had acted- now that a guy was staring at her half hour ago self.

It was almost to the point where her purse got stolen, but the camera started going blurry.  “Huh, that’s odd,” He said.  “I’ve never had a camera malfunction before.” 

But she didn’t even hear him, because the pain was back in her head.  It scratched her head randomly.  Scratch….scratch……..scratch…..scratch, scratch.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Girl and the Plant

On a lovely, sunny afternoon, a girl was working on a school project in a group with Robert and George.  They were making a poster about the book The Lorax by Dr. Suess.  “I’ll get the orange marker and draw the Lorax!”  She said helpfully.  The boys didn’t even look at her since they were too busy beautifying the poster’s title.  When she got to the markers, she stopped and first looked back at her group members.  They were playfully wadding together scrap sheets of paper and adding glue to it, as if her leaving was an ‘A-Okay’ for them to mess around.  She knew why, they like to use up lots of glue and add it to paper just because they can.  Their hands were a sticky mess, but they didn’t care.  She shifted her attention to the rest of the class who were all talking, cutting, and drawing, and the teacher was on her computer.  No one saw her at all, so she decided, on a sudden, random urge, it would be alright to touch the ivy plant that was near her.  The leaves felt smooth, and then she touched its veins.  She removed her hand from the plant and turned back to eye the class.  Since no one was looking at her still, she started to turn back to the plant.  No one cared about her and school didn’t even matter.  Her parents never have the time to help her with her homework, and when she would ask them for help, they’d tell her, “Sabrina, not now.”  It’s like they don’t even know what she says-ever.  They never remember later.   So if her parents don’t care, why should she?
She was about to touch the ivy’s leaf again, but when she turned to it, it was no longer right there.  She looked around on the rest of the window sill, and then on the table.  It was no longer anywhere near… so what happened to it?  As little girls often do, she let her imagination run wild.

Maybe my teacher has super speed, took it, and put it on her desk, she thought.  After thinking it, she was sure she was right.  What other explanation could there possibly be?  She ran quickly to her teacher’s desk, as if the plant, if it were on her desk, would suddenly disappear.  By now, all the girls were looking at her with strange expressions, while the boys looked at her like they wanted to join her:  it was almost time for recess.  “Sabrina, we walk when we’re indoors,” her teacher said.  She had nothing to say in reply.  When she made it to her desk, she scanned it frantically for the ivy.  It wasn’t there.  The teacher looked at her with concern.  “Sweetie, is there something wrong?”  She didn’t show any sign that she heard at first.  She was raised on telling the truth (her parents weren’t all bad).  She was sure that they lied, but just because her parents did, didn’t mean it was right for her to, she was old enough to know that.  But right now, she couldn’t exactly tell the truth.  She would just make her go to the nurse, since that’s where her teacher would send Lilly after she did something weird.  She tried to stay away from her because she was also raised to consider weird as bad.

Instead of lying or telling the crazy truth, she decided not to say anything.  But then, what was she supposed to do when her teacher asked, “Does this have to do with your group?”  She tried her best to ignore the question by walking away from her teacher.  She knew it was rude to do so, but she had no other option.  She’s heard horror stories about the nurse.  She once ripped a kid’s baby tooth out and the blood wouldn’t stop flowing out of its socket… no way could she go to the nurse!

“Excuse me Sabrina, I just asked you a question.”  Her voice was more sincere than unpleasant.  “Um… I can’t tell you.”  It wasn’t until just now that she looked back at her fellow classmates.  They were staring at her wide eyed.  She blushed and stumbled near her group members and sat down, looking at the floor.  George tapped her and whispered (though it was a very loud whisper), “what is wrong with you?”  She could practically feel her blood pumping throughout her whole body.  She tried to play it off like nothing happened, “what are you talking about?”  To ignore the situation, she remembered the orange marker and decided to use it to draw out The Lorax, like she was going to originally.  She could feel that it wasn’t in her hands, so maybe she put it in her pocket.  She felt around in her right pocket, and then her left, and it wasn’t there.  She looked back at George and Robert with a smirk on her face, but they were already looking back at their glue paper wad.  She mentally wiped her brow.  Boys sure forget what’s happening quickly, she thought.  She looked back at the rest of the class, and was relieved.  They were all looking back at their posters.  I guess all kids forget what’s happening quickly, she thought, I’m lucky for that.  She smiled along with her thoughts.  But then, she looked behind her, and saw her worried teacher looking down on her. 

…Though, adults always remember everything…  “Sabrina, may I please speak with you in the hall?”  Before she could answer, she saw what George and Robert were doing.  “Boys, stop playing with the glue that way!”  She pointed to the sink.  “Go wash your hands, and then continue your project.”  They didn’t answer, but did as she said.  Stupid boys, she thought.  Then, her teacher looked back at her.  “Come on.”  Her teacher started to speed walk away, so she was forced to jog after her.

When they got out of the classroom, her teacher closed the door inaudibly.  “Sabrina, is there anything that you would like to tell me?”  Rapidly, she shook her head.  “No.”  Her teacher smiled lightly, with obvious sympathy showing through.  “I called the guidance office, and Mrs. Polvasky is ready to see you.”  Her stomach flipped.  “What… why?” was all she was able to think of.  Without a direct answer, her teacher put her arm on her shoulder and said, “You know the way there, don’t you?”  Go to the office and say that you were supposed to see Mrs. Polvasky, and she’ll see you right away.  She’s very nice, don’t worry.”  Her teacher opened the door, and looked back at her.  “You’ll be fine.”  She smiled, and then went to join her class.

For a minute, she just stood there and she started to think about the plant, now that she was alone, without the prying eyes of her teacher and classmates.  Why should she see the guidance counselor?  She didn’t do anything wrong, she just saw a plant disappear, then ran to her teacher’s desk to see if she could find it there, and wasn’t able to articulate what happened to her teacher....  Because that would not only make her go to the nurse (why was she supposed to go to the guidance counselor versus the nurse anyway?), but would also mean that her teacher would think of her as bad.  But she didn’t do anything, just saw a plant disappear!  She had no good option… now. Sure, she could’ve ignored the plant disappearance, and, therefore, wouldn’t have reacted to it… but it was too weird to ignore.  She knew what she saw, and was positive that it was there, and then it wasn’t. 

Because she had no answer, she decided to put the incedent aside, and started to walk aimlessly, not at first meaning to talk with the guidance counselor.  She would just attempt to figure out what made her freak out, and her teacher didn’t know what made her tick, so, of course, the guidance counselor wouldn’t know either.  She’d have to tell the truth of course, because she couldn’t take it anymore!  Who cares what her teacher and the counselor thought!   She saw what she saw!  The counselor would have to understand.  Because she’d be telling the truth!  Yeah-of course she would. 

She stopped suddenly when she turned a corner.  There was a teacher looming about, and may ask her where’s she’s going.  She could say that she’s going to the restroom or something, but she’s never been a very good liar.  And then the teacher would accompany her back to her classroom… and her teacher would be disappointed that she never went to see the guidance counselor, and would make sure that she makes it there this time.  She’s spent her whole year trying to gain her teacher’s trust, and she didn’t want to break it now.  Sure some of her classmates called her a teacher’s pet, but she didn’t care.  No one liked her anyway, so her bond with her teacher was all she had.

She bit the bullet and turned direction, to ensure that the teacher never saw her, and to go the right way to the office.  She couldn’t prolong the encounter anymore.

When she made it to the office, the secretary smiled at her.  “Ah, Sabrina, Mrs. Polvasky has been waiting for you.”  She stood there numb.  She didn’t want to talk to her.  She just wanted to go back to class and act like this never happened.  When she did nothing, the secretary said, “Her office is that door to the left.”  Shyly, she ambled to her door.  When she got inside, the counselor smiled at her warmly.  “Ah, Sabrina.  Come in.  Have a seat.”  Quite willingly, she took her seat.  She didn’t like the feeling of an adult she didn’t know towering over her.  After she sat down, the counselor closed the door after her.  “What’s the problem, honey?”  But she was already zoning out, and only could tell that she was saying something, but she didn’t care.  Instead, she was looking around at the counselor’s office.  It was a rather small, cozy office.  She scanned past posters, like the ones in her class, and saw a painting of a cat chasing a dog, and she giggled.  Mid-giggle, her view of the painting was obscured as the counselor came in front of her.  “Hon, can you please talk to me, and then you can leave.  And I may even have a treat for you when you leave…”  She motioned to a jar of candy on her desk, and the girl marveled in delight.  There was an assortment of miniature candies on it, and she even eyed her favorite one: Twix.

“So if you could please sit down….” She obeyed, now that candy was in the cards.  “Is there anything upsetting you?”  Her impulse was to shake her head, but when she looked at her with big, worried eyes, she froze.  This is exactly what her mother would do to her when she wasn’t quite telling the truth.  She didn’t want to prolong this any longer, so she decided telling the truth would equal candy, “Yes, something is wrong… very wrong.”  “Yes, what is it?”  “My teacher wouldn’t believe me, that a plant disappeared by the window… but it did happen, it did!  It did I tell you!  I shouldn’t even be here.  Where did it go?”  The counselor didn’t say anything for a long moment.  “Oh, you silly girl!  Such a big imagination!  Please tell me what your real problem is.”  She was appalled that she didn’t believe her.  She never lied, so why would she start now?  She wasn’t telling a story, it really had happened!  When something involves candy, she can only be dead serious!  “I’m not lying!  There was a plant… boom!  And then… boom again, and it was gone!”  The counselor sucked it in, and took out a notepad.  She must’ve been bored of this conversation too.  She wondered what she was drawing.  “Alright, then that’s all I need to know.  Pick out a piece of candy and you can go along to your class.

Happily, she dug around for her Twix and ran back to class, not caring who saw her.  She was so glad that that was over!

My first story on my new blog!

I am going to be writing an anthology collaboratively called Life As We Don't Know It, for my first set of stories here.  Basically, something surreal and impossible will happen to each main character for these stories.  If something is not answered, then you'll find out what happened for my last short story, which will wrap it up.  I don't know how many I'll do for this series, but we'll find out!

Background: I was inspired from The Twilight Zone to write this.  Obviously, surreal things will happen to each person, but only the one person will be experiencing it (I suspect, I may change this), and all will take place in modern reality.

Unlike I've done before, I'm going to keep this one blog for the rest of my stories.  I can't just keep making new blogs each time!  I will just have to make a nice table of contents like I have in the past.