Chapter Two

No amount of movies or comic books will ever prepare you for what I’ve just witnessed. None of this is what I had in mind when I woke up this morning. I’m still trying to convince myself this is all someone’s tasteless idea of a joke.

Assuming I know what I saw, and assuming I know what I felt, it’s near impossible to fake any of that. The chill from the winds, the disappearing bodies, even the squeaking mice. A prank of such level would require a ton of setup and a ton of manpower to pull off. All of which I doubt anyone would have the luxury to waste on someone like me.

That’s what bugs me the most. Why me? I’ve never done anything to earn such a response from anyone. Never gotten under the skin of anyone, never as much as looked somebody the wrong way. In fact, my interaction with other human beings have been close to nil these past couple years. And as far as I can tell, I’m not on a set of a movie.

So why am I still sitting here on the ground instead of making myself vanish?

I’m petrified, but I’m also enthralled. A part of me tells me I should run. But then there’s this other part of me that’s interested in finding out what’s going on. When your mind is that divided, so is your body. You have no idea which is which so you’re stuck somewhere in between, both physically and emotionally.

The young man rolls himself up to his hands and knees, coughing and exhaling loudly. He then staggers to his feet, wobbling side to side before finding balance. There’s a revitalized look in him that reminds me of an ancient sorcerer that kidnaps green-eyed women.

The young man’s face is calm. But not the happy sort where you’re having a good sleep. This is more toward burning confidence like you’re ready to kick some ass. His chest rises and drops in a steady rhythm as he breathes through his gaping mouth. He shares a look with me, his dark eyes overflowing with the same confidence. The young man begins stalking toward me, each step corresponding to the same rhythm of my heartbeat. As he gets closer, the warmth emitting from his body washes the cold from the air, like an aura made of flames.

I stare back at him and think to myself, I’m next.

I twist my body around, crawling on all fours, trying to get myself back up to a vertical position. My foot steps on a paper wrap and I slip back onto the ground. So much for fight or flight. The impact sends pain into my chest and I lay there grimacing at my mishap.

Footsteps approach closer and I try simply crawling away this time. Not even after moving a foot, I feel the young man’s feet stop nearby, hovering his immense presence above me.

I manage to sit myself up. My throat remains dry and no matter how much I try moving my trembling lips, nothing seems to come out. Not even a squeak.

The young man gazes at me with a face that’s unreadable. Even despite what he had just gone through. Only moments ago, this guy was turning cops into the seven plagues of Egypt. I’m afraid to find out what he wants from me.

The young man’s arm comes up, causing me to flinch and cower, which in turn makes him hesitate for a moment. But he soon reaches down and grabs me by the wrist. Something then flashes in my head and I pull away from the young man.

What the hell was that?

In that brief moment, I saw a dark squared room with a single light bulb hanging above. It looked like I was sitting in a chair at the center. There were unusual objects placed around the room, devices of some sort, all facing toward me. And in front was a large metal door.

The young man steps back a foot or two, hands placed on his temple. Something tells me he wasn’t expecting that to happen any more than I did.

But this is good news for me.

I use this opportunity to stand myself up and run away. I stop for nothing. No looking back. No checking the time. Not caring if my legs turn to mush. I’m running as if I’ve forgotten something in the oven and I need to get back there to prevent my apartment from burning down.

A few blocks later, I arrive at the complex where I live, having some difficulty breathing. But there isn’t any time to rest. I waste little time dashing up the stairs where my apartment is. My hand dive into my pockets, frantically looking for my keys as I keep an eye on the street. In the state I’m in, it’s not as easy as it looks.

I finally manage to get a hold of my keys, dropping other things from my pocket in the process. Finding the right key to the lock takes me a few more seconds. With the door finally open, I rush into my apartment with haste and shut the door behind me as fast as I can without causing too much commotion to my neighbors.

I leave the light off and lean back against the door, sliding down to the ground. My arms clutch my knees as I try to catch my breath. I remain like this, letting my mind and body drift away.

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