Posted in Short Stories

The Familar Sense

Who was he and how did he get here?
Those two questions are probably the most ridiculous questions with which to begin a story. They are cliche and typical, but unfortunately, they are the only questions that could begin this narrative. For this man did not know who he was or how he came to arrive on this road. His vision was blurry as if he had just awakened from an abnormally deep sleep and his steps shuffled as if his heart had been slowed. Why he even continued to walk forward, he did not know. He just continued on although he had no certain destination in mind. His dark, brown skin was coarse and wet from the rain just as the pavement he journeyed on. His bloodshot eyes stagnant and blinded from the downpour. There was no pattern to the steps he took, so every moment or so, he’d trip and have to pick himself up again.
“That seems to be a pattern,” I thought as I observed him from some nearby bushes.
The man seemed to be of Spanish ethnicity and seemed to be wandering away from the heart of a nearby city that was somewhat quieted by the thick downfall.
“Perhaps he came from there,” I wondered, looking over in the distance to see some lights barely poking out from the storm. Quickly, I scribbled some notes in my pad.
“Odd,” I thought, examining the pad. “Why aren’t you wet?”
My thoughts were quickly averted when I heard a vehicle approaching a ways down the road. The man didn’t seem to notice.He just continued forward, but I most certainly noticed. After a few more minutes, the slow going vehicle finally neared a curve as it neared the man. He still remained unaware, or he simply ignored the vehicle lost in his own thoughts. Either way, this did not stop the vehicle from slowing to a stop at the side of the road a hundred feet behind the man.
“Hey!” The driver called out as he exited the vehicle. “Hey, are you okay, man?”
The man ceased his walking upon hearing the driver’s voice. It was the first voice he had heard in what seemed like an eternity of torture.
“Hello?” The driver called out again.
“Surprising,” I thought. “I hadn’t realized good samaritans existed in these parts.”

The surrounding area was hostile, at least. Overridden by poverty and crime, the dazed man found himself to be lucky walking in the rain as not many thieves wished to become drenched. My opinion on the driver was still undecided. Perhaps he was some sort of “do-gooder” interested in the welfare of this poor, confused man. Or maybe he was a common thief interested in abusing his friendly facade for the benefit of stealing. But it didn’t truly matter who the driver was, instead it mattered that the soaked man replied.

“Hello,” the man said, turning around to face the driver.

Pausing, the driver waited for an answer that wasn’t to come.

“Are you alright?” The driver asked, concealing his annoyance at the fact that his clothes had completely absorbed every ounce of rain that they possibly could.

“I’m not sure,” The man replied, fumbling. “I don’t know.”

“Get in the car,” The driver breathed out heavily. “I’ll give you a ride into the city.”

As fast as the muddled man could, he stumbled into the passenger seat of the sleek vehicle. It was intriguing, how this man did so little to consider the consequence of this action. He knew not the driver or what fate this would establish. With little thinking, he entered the car and drove off with the man to the heart of the nearby city without once wondering where the paved road actually led.

“So that is where it happens,” I whispered quietly to myself.

“Apologies for the mess,” the driver said, tossing some garbage from the passenger seat floorboard to the cluttered backseat. “I work construction and practically live in my car.”

The soaked man did not reply. He only stared forward.

“So where were you headed?” The driver asked, hoping to learn more of the sopping, mysterious man. At first, the man did not reply. But then, as if slowed down by the father of time, he pushed a single question out of his mouth.

“What?” The man said, unaware of what the driver had queried.

“I was just asking where you were headed,” the driver repeated himself.

The man thought for a moment, his head swimming in both the rainwater that dripped from his scalp and the mystery that rattled around in his jarred brain.

“I don’t know,” the man said realizing that after moments of silence, he should probably reply. “I just don’t know.”

The man’s tone was that of certainty which is odd; for if anything, he was uncertain. He was uncertain as to where he was. He was uncertain as to how he came to be there. He was uncertain as to why he could not remember a life that most certainly should be imprinted upon his mind and to top it all off, he was uncertain as to his own identity.

Who was he and how did he get here? Those two questions are the questions that rattled off from his panicky mouth.

“I’m sorry, what?” The driver asked, uncertain of what the man had said.

“Who am I and how did I get here?” The man asked, a tension croaking throughout his voice. “I don’t remember.”
“I offered you a ride and you accepted. Just calm down, man.” The driver responded, realizing that the man had tears dripping down his face along with cool droplets of rain.

“I know that,” the man exhaled heavily, referring to the how of his sitting in this car as it sped towards the city. “The road, how did I get on the road?”

“Look, man, I don’t know.” The driver said reassuringly. “I saw you on the side of the road, and I wanted to make sure you were okay.”
On a dime, the man’s emotions dissipated like smoke in the wind.

“Why?” He asked singularly.

“Why what?” The driver asked in return, unsure as to what the man was asking about.

“Why did you wish to know if I was alright or not?” The man said. “Why?”
“And this is where the driver shall brag upon his Samaritan deeds,” I scoffed inwardly. Who wouldn’t? Everyone, from time to time, enjoys taking credit for their actions. And this, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing to do. But it can become quite irksome. But unfortunately for my mocking pride, the driver disappointed both of my theories as to his intentions. For his answer was neither that of malintent nor pious self-righteousness. Instead, the driver merely stared forward down the road and said quietly “I just felt as if I was supposed to.”

“Why did you wish to know if I was alright or not?” The man said. “Why?”

“I just felt as if I was supposed to,” the driver said, staring down the rainy road. “I just felt like I was supposed to.”

“Interesting,” I thought undetected from the back seat of the vehicle. “This man also finds himself unaware of the circumstances.”

After several moments of awkward quietness, the wet man spoke up.

“Daniel,” the man said, certain for what seemed like the first time, although this ordeal was no first time.

“I’m sorry, what did you say?” The driver asked inquisitively.

“My name is Daniel Lynch.” The man said, completely certain. “I am Daniel Lynch.”

“Well it is nice to meet you,” The driver said, extending a warm hand to Daniel as he kept his focus on the road, “Daniel Lynch.”
The driver offered no name of his own, which I found to be disconcerting for when introductions are made, names are typically exchanged. Especially when one party has already stated their identity. But to me, it seemed, as I observed unobserved from the back seat, that the driver did not withhold his name out of secrecy or even rudeness.

“Perhaps,” I thought. “He himself does not know.”

And perhaps this was the case. Maybe the driver had found himself completely unaware as to who he was or how he came to be here just like the man who remembered himself to be Daniel Lynch and nothing else.

“Daniel Lynch.” The man mumbled over and over as the driver continued his guiding of the automobile. “Daniel Lynch.”

Eventually, after a half hour or so, the driver and the man known as Daniel Lynch arrived on the outskirts of the city. Expertly, the driver navigated his way through the outskirts and into the heart of the city. His hope was to reach his apartment in the inners, as they had come to be called by local residents. Once there, he would call whatever number the man called Daniel Lynch requested. Then, once Daniel Lynch found himself on his way, the driver would retrieve his favorite pornographic video and indulge himself after which he would sleep.

It seemed that the driver was somewhat of a pervert, just from a glance at his apartment. His bed was ill made and his kitchen seemed to be infested with an insect species which I had not known existed. Posted on his refrigerator were postcards displaying his favorite nude models and on the table that bridged the gap between the television and the living room couch were crumbled magazines about a boy who apparently loved to play. Nonetheless, despite the driver’s reserved habit of overly enjoying the female body, he was a good man. Somewhat of a pervert, yes, but nevertheless, he was a good man; a hardworking man who did his job as a construction worker quite well. He was friendly and handled his place in society decently. Or was he?

“Whatever happened here,” I wrote in my pad quickly as I finished my inspection of the driver’s apartment, “he certainly did not deserve.”

Whatever happened here, he certainly did not deserve. Or did he?

Just as I finished my inscription on the weathered parchment upon which I wrote, the driver and the man known as Daniel Lynch entered the apartment. They could not see me, per the usual, but out of habit, I stepped aside as the driver brushed passed. Flinging an informal briefcase that hung from his shoulder onto the kitchen counter, he quickly swiped all inappropriate content and stuffed them into one of the tight drawers of the small kitchen. Daniel Lynch did not seem to notice the pornography that lay about as he gazed around the room curiously.

“This is where you live?” Daniel Lynch asked as he examined every nook and cranny awkwardly.

“Yes, it is.” The driver replied. “I’m sorry for the mess. Like I said in the car, I don’t have much time to clean.”

“It’s quite alright,” Daniel said reassuringly. “It’s just that I feel as if I’ve been here before.”

The driver paused what he was doing as he looked up at the man who still dripped with rainwater.

“What do you mean?” The driver wondered out loud to which Daniel uneasily responded.

“This all feels so familiar.” The Lynch man’s voice trailed off with a note of rising agitation. “It feels so oddly familiar.”
The driver did very little to react. He merely stood there watching the perturbed fellow as he wandered throughout the living room.

“So it’s true,” I thought quietly as I silently approached the driver. “He too feels as if all of this is strangely familiar.”

A myriad of expressions passed over the driver’s face within but a moment of time as he quietly assessed the situation. This fellow whose name was Daniel Lynch obviously had some sort of amnesia and clearly, his brain was on the fritz attempting to recollect the events of his past. This would all be well and fine with the driver except for the fact that he himself knew not who he was or how came to find himself driving on that road. He knew not why he stopped to pick up the Lynch fellow or how he managed to know where his apartment was. Had it not been for instinctively withdrawing a single key from his pocket upon arriving at this smelly dump, he would not have known that this apartment was his, to begin with.

“What are the odds that two men stunted by amnesia’s blunt force would find themselves in the same room with one another?” I wondered as I stared at the driver’s thick-skinned face. “What is going on?”
Shaking himself from his troubles, the driver spoke up as he tossed the Lynch fellow a cell phone device.

“Here.” The driver called out as he tossed the cell phone. “You can call whoever you need and then you can be on your way.”

Clumsily catching the device, he thanked the driver and stepped out into the hall of the building’s floor so he could contact… Well, who would he contact? All he knew himself to be was Daniel Lynch, and even that did not give him very much to go on. If the phone had not belonged to someone else, he would have thrown it against a wall in fuming rage. Constraining his frustrations though, the man flipped open the device hoping that some sort of clue as to what to do would come to him. But instead, he glared at the phone in an angry stare as he thoughtlessly began punching in numbers. There was no process of thought that empowered the man’s actions. For these actions were merely that of exasperation and vexation. But through some sort of miracle, although the word ‘miracle’ is not a word I’d apply to this situation, the phone began dialing.

Now typically when one types in random numbers on a cell phone device and it begins to dial an obscure number, one tends to right their wrong by ending the dialing cycle and redialing the correct number. But this desperate man put the phone to his ear instead, curious as to who would answer on the other side. Finally, the cycle completed.

“Hello?” The Lynch fellow spoke into the phone softly.

“Hey, Danny.” A young broad was heard answering.

“Hello, who is this?” The man responded, at the end of his wits.

“I hope they’re treating ya wall.” The lady said in a thick, New York accent.

“I’m sorry, what?” Daniel inquired without hesitation.

“I can’t talk for long. I’m seeing someone today.” She replied on the other end as if she heard not a word Daniel said.

“Who is this?” The man practically yelled into the phone.

“He’s a real nice fellow. He lives on Parker St. right next to that pizza joint you like so much.” Here the lady paused. “I just came to say that I can’t pay for your flowers no more.”

“Flowers? What flowers?” Daniel thought quickly, utterly confused by the conversation.

“Everybody keeps telling me that I gotta move on. They says you were a bad man who left me because you didn’t care.”

“I don’t understand.” The man said, attempting to get a word in.

“But I know you were a good man.” The thickly accented woman continued on in her monologue. “I know you did bad things, but deep down, you was good.”

The man called Daniel Lynch could not wrap his brain around what was happening. Had he, by mistake, tapped into another phone conversation? If so, then why was there only one person speaking? Where was the other speaker?
“I know I keep asking you to come back. But not this time.” The woman said as pain welled up in her voice. “Goodbye, Danny.”

And then just like that, the call ended.

“No, don’t hang up.” The man squeezed in tightly before the line went dead. But it was too late. The woman was no longer there talking and the conversation had come to an abrupt end.

“What the hell…” The man muttered hushedly.

Taking a moment or two to regain his composure, the Lynch fellow also known as Daniel Lynch also known as Danny reentered the driver’s apartment and returned the cell phone.

“Thank you,” Danny said quietly as he handed over the device.

“You’re very welcome.” The driver reciprocated the man’s appreciation. “Did you get in contact with someone who can help?”
At first, Danny stumbled in his words. He wasn’t quite sure what to say after such a disheartening phone call. What could he say? The Lynch fellow could honestly not think of any way to which he could relate his confusion.

“Yes.” The Lynch fellow lied, hoping to comfort the driver. “Thank you for your help.”
The driver, knowing in his soul, that the Lynch fellow should not leave, said his farewells and let the man out of the apartment.

“Don’t do that,” I whispered quietly, although I knew that neither of the men could hear me. “There is clearly a connection between you two.”
Nevertheless, the Lynch fellow left and the driver retrieved his favorite pornographic video.

Wandering down the inner’s dirty city street, the Lynch fellow dug his hands deep into his pockets as he mused over the past hour. He racked his brain from ear to ear only to arrive again at the inescapable conclusion of his utter unsureness. He knew no explanation for his lack of memory, he knew not who the young broad was and he knew not how he came to find himself on that road. The rain cleared up as the Lynch fellow unwaveringly continued on.

“I just came to say that I can’t pay for your flowers no more.” The Lynch fellow repeated in his head. “But what does that mean?”

The driver, who had already pleasured himself, had fallen fast asleep on his rickety, unstable bed. He had no dreams that night that he knew of, and the following morning, he awoke as he would any other morning, almost forgetting the fact that he had forgotten who he was. Instinctually arising from his sleep, the driver carried out a morning routine that consisted of relieving himself of unwanted bodily fluids and solids, having a cup of tea, cooking himself a whole food breakfast, reading a headline or two and then continuing on to work. During his day, he worked hard as he would any other day, not even thinking of his encounter with the Lynch fellow the night before. A heavy rain ensued eventually, causing his workday to come to an abrupt end as clouds darkened the environment unnaturally. Hopping into his vehicle, the driver started the engine and began making his way to the inners within the city. The rain did make his drive difficult, but fortunately, the driver was skilled behind the wheel, unlike so many others. After about a half hour of driving, the man saw a figure in the heavy downpour that walked the edge of the road as he rounded a curve. Kindly, the driver pulled to the side in front of the man and stepped out.

“Hey!” The driver called out as he exited the vehicle. “Hey, are you okay, man?”
The man ceased his walking upon hearing the driver’s voice. “Hello?”

Slowly, the man turned around.

“Daniel?” The driver asked surprised. “I thought you found help?”

The Lynch fellow, who knew not who he was or how he found himself to be on that road simply stared forward, hoping to remember if he had met this man before.
“Daniel, what’s going on? Are you alright?” The driver asked, unsure as to why the Lynch fellow stood in the rain once more.

“I’m not sure,” The man replied, fumbling. “I don’t know.”

“Well, get into the car,” The driver said in an understanding voice. “and I’ll give you a ride into the city.”

As fast as the muddled man could, he stumbled into the passenger seat of the sleek vehicle.

“I’m sorry for the mess… again.” The driver said as he chuckled.

“Again?” The Lynch fellow asked curiously.

“Yes, again, why?” The driver returned the query.

“Have we met?” The Lynch fellow stuttered.

“Yes,” The driver said, assuming that the man merely suffered a memory loss of some sort. “We met last night, actually.”

“I’m sorry, I do not remember last night.” The Lynch fellow replied. “I do not even know who I am or how I came to be on that road.”

“Well don’t worry,” The driver said, reassuringly, although he had an eerie feeling. “We’ll get you help.”

Within another fifteen minutes, they arrived at the driver’s apartment complex. After guiding the Lynch fellow to his own apartment, the driver stared at the doorknob momentarily as he remembered that the night before, he could not distinguish whether or not this was his home. Familiarly, he pulled a single key from his pocket and let the Lynch fellow in. Placing the informal briefcase that hung from his shoulder on the kitchen counter, he once more cleared the pornography from sight, something he had distinctly remembered doing that morning.

“This is where you live?” Daniel Lynch asked as he examined every nook and cranny awkwardly.

“Yes, you were here last night.” The driver replied. “I’m sorry for the mess. I thought that I had cleaned it this morning.”

“It’s quite alright,” Daniel said reassuringly. “You say I was here before?”

The driver paused what he was doing as he looked up at the man who still dripped with rainwater.

“Yes, last night. Can you really not remember?” The driver wondered out loud to which Daniel uneasily responded.

“It all feels so familiar,” the Lynch man’s voice trailed off with a note of rising agitation. “It feels so oddly familiar.”
The driver, looking at the man, couldn’t help but feel as if this weren’t a simple case of amnesia. He himself did not know who he was and the odds of two men finding themselves in this sort of abnormal situation was extremely unlikely. But, shaking himself from these fears, the driver tossed Daniel a cell phone.

“Here,” the driver called out. “You can call whoever you need and then you can be on your way.”

Clumsily catching the device, Daniel thanked the driver and stepped out into the hall of the building’s floor, exiting the apartment so he could contact someone for help. The driver, who had the night before, cleaned a little more to make his housing more presentable to the Lynch fellow as he contacted someone, instead merely stood where he was.

Crossing my legs daintily as I sat on the nappy couch, I looked up at the driver, wondering what he himself was wondering. I’m sure I could make quite a good guess at this, but the human brain is not so easily predicted.

Standing there, the driver shuffled occasionally and scratched his neck. After a few minutes, the Lynch fellow returned with a look of befuddlement on his face.

“Thank you,” Danny said quietly as he handed over the device.

“You’re welcome,” the driver reciprocated the man’s appreciation. “Did you get in contact with someone who can help?”
At first, Danny stumbled in his words. He wasn’t quite sure what to say after such a disheartening phone call. What could he say? The Lynch fellow could honestly not think of any way to which he could relate his confusion.

“Yes,” the Lynch fellow lied, hoping to comfort the driver. “Thank you for your help.”
The driver, knowing in his soul that the Lynch fellow should not leave, that something was going on that was of unnatural origination, said his farewells and let the man out of the apartment.

“Didn’t you learn your lesson the first time?” I whispered quietly, although I knew that neither of the men could hear me.
Nonetheless, the Lynch fellow left and the driver stood there, knowing that he should not have allowed the Lynch fellow to leave.

The driver did not retrieve his favorite pornographic video and the driver did not doze off to sleep easily that night. The driver tossed and turned and when morning came, he had a familiar sense which he could not understand.

The Lynch fellow, who had wandered all night, now found himself in a nice, well-kept area with suburban houses that spotted the area as freckles would spot the face. He continued to walk, although his body had been tired and he continued to wonder, although his mind had been blurred. After some time of walking, he eventually stumbled upon an old but neat cemetery that had trimmed trees and granite benches with names engraved upon them. Letting himself into the gated graveyard, the Lynch fellow tiredly ambled onto one of the nearby benches, hoping to rest his feet in the peace of the quiet graves. Tugging his pants upward as he sat down, the man leaned back onto the hard stone. There were no words to describe his exhaustion. He was simply tired. He had trudged on for hours and hours and his body now felt the consequences. In the distance, I stood there thinking to myself that perhaps he would notice the tombstone that stood erected behind the bench upon which he sat. Maybe he’d turn around and see what the inscription upon it was. By some chance, he would see the name and furthermore see the empty cup that once held fresh flowers. But no, he would not. It was not his fate to understand. It was the driver’s.

Interrupting his work, the driver was halted by an intense rainstorm that caused him to go home early.

“Odd.” The driver thought as he hopped into his vehicle. “This happened yesterday.”

Expertly making his way through the difficult rain for a half an hour or so, the driver saw a figure in the heavy downpour that walked the edge of the road as he rounded a curve. Curiously, the driver pulled to the side in front of the man and stepped out.

“Daniel?” The driver called out expectedly as he exited the vehicle.
The man ceased his walking upon hearing the driver’s voice as he slowly turned around.

“Daniel, what’s happening?” The driver asked in fear.

The Lynch fellow stared forward as if this was the first voice he had heard in what seemed like an eternity of torture.

“Hello.” The soaked man replied.

“Daniel, what is happening?” The driver repeated with a more enthusiastic intensity.

“I’m not sure,” the man replied, fumbling. “I don’t know.”

“You said that last time,” the driver replied instantaneously, not hesitating to draw attention to the oddities of this story. “What’s going on?”

The man stared forward, unanswering. Reluctantly, the driver called Daniel into his vehicle and the two of them sped off towards the city during which the Lynch fellow practically shouted his name in remembrance. At the apartment, the same series of events transpired with the minute difference of the driver being acutely aware of the scenario.

“Hello?” The Lynch fellow spoke into the phone softly as the driver eavesdropped through the cracked apartment door. “Hello, who is this?” The Lynch fellow responded to an unknown voice. “I’m sorry, what? Who is this?” He practically yelled as the driver dodged inside a little further thinking he had been caught. “I don’t understand. No, don’t hang up.” The man squeezed in tightly before the line went dead.

“What the hell…” The driver muttered quietly without being heard by the Lynch fellow. “Who are you talking to?”

Quickly, he stole back to the kitchen counter just as the Lynch fellow reentered the apartment.

“Did you get help?” The driver asked in a broken up voice.

“Yes.” The Lynch fellow lied, hoping to comfort the driver. “Thank you for your help.”

“No, you didn’t.” The driver immediately said. “I heard what you said. Who were you talking to?”
The Lynch fellow stared on for a moment, not knowing what to say. There was an odd sense in the air as if a brick wall had been broken through causing a thick dust to envelop the atmosphere. Swallowing deeply, the Lynch fellow looked at the driver with silent eyes that spoke volumes of pain.

“I know you…” The Lynch fellow breathed out.

There was no end to this darkness. It was deep and cold and shallow and hot. It was noiseless filled with the most painful sounds one could imagine. There was a sense of familiarity as if this place could be called home but there was a driving, thumping, pulsing force that drove the driver towards an edge that rested undivided. There was no way out, and yet the way out was to awake.

He dilated his pupils as his eyes pushed open to see an unnaturally familiar road stretched out before him. The rain poured down just as it had every other night and the Lynch fellow stumbled across the side of the road just as he had unknowingly done all the previous nights. Applying both of his feet to the vehicular breaks forcefully, the driver swerved to the side of the road, barely missing the Lynch fellow. Ejecting himself from the automobile as a chicklet tearing itself from its shell, the driver thrust himself forward preparing to confront this man supposedly stricken by amnesia and its blunt force; this Lynch fellow. Daniel walked unaware of the driver’s presence, but this changed soon enough as the driver practically attacked him.

“Who the hell are you?” The driver roared, grappling with the Lynch fellow’s coat’s collar. “What the hell do you want with me?”

Daniel just hung there, being held up by the driver’s firm grip upon his coat.

“Who are you?” The driver screamed out again.

The Lynch fellow stared coolly into the driver’s eyes, his soul trapped in an oblivion that bordered the far reaches of nothingness. The driver breathed heavily, with anger permeating every hot breath, but the man did nothing but stare, seemingly drilling through the driver’s head, seemingly impaling his heart, seemingly puncturing his lungs and perforating his undying soul. His eyes almost mocking as the driver frantically held onto the man, searching for answers that would appease this utter panic; this utter fear that saturated his every cell. The Lynch fellow, arising from his trance like a snake from its basket, looked forth into the driver’s eyes as he took a breath of air that would push three single words out his mouth.

“I know you…” The Lynch fellow said quietly.

And there it was again. The endless dark. The driver fell and flew through its limitless limits. Soaring through this familiar sense that struck a wrong chord within the driver’s being. A chord that rang, jarring his being and causing his ears to bleed. There was no end, and yet it ended as the driver found himself driving down a road that knew no end of rain.

There the Lynch fellow stood again, but the driver would not stop for him, not this time. He simply drove past as Daniel unnoticingly continued forward. The driver drove, not knowing what this act would entail, not knowing of my presence as I sat in the backseat, racing to understand the fate of this situation.

“Is there no end?” I asked of myself disconcertingly.

Was this the driver’s destiny?  To become a ragged doll tossed to and fro in a series of unexplainable events, all connected by the Lynch fellow? Was this his end? No, there was no end that the eye could see. However, had the driver turned his head to the right as he speedily crossed an intersection, he would have seen an end; an end that landed him in a nearby hospital.

“You’re lucky to be as uninjured as you are,” a pretty nurse was heard saying as the driver opened his eyes painfully to be blinded by the perfect symmetry of a white, medical room. “Had the vehicle hit you from your left, you might have died.”

In one instance, the happening rushed back to him; the car that had hit his own vehicle from the side as he sped through a paved crossroad.

“Lucky?” The driver mumbled, nearly mimicking the confusion of the Lynch fellow, a man he had fearfully fled.

“Yeah,” the doll-faced nurse replied, beginning her repetition. “You’re barely hurt.”

Putting down her clipboard, the doll-faced nurse began checking the driver’s blankets, ensuring that he was warm and comfortable.

“The other guy wasn’t so lucky,” she said, stepping back to eye her work.

“What other guy?” The driver asked through a swollen bottom lip.

The doll-faced nurse, who had just finished inspecting the heart monitor that stood by the driver’s bed, slowly put down the IV tube and solemnly looked over at the opposite side of the room.

The driver, whose neck seemed to be slightly dislocated, achingly turned his head to see that the room was divided by a curtain. Obviously, one was to assume that on the other side of this curtain rested another hospital bed upon which another injured patient lay. But judging by the doll-faced nurse’s disposition, the bed did not contain an injured patient; it contained a dead patient.

But the driver knew otherwise. He could feel it. That bed that stood just on the other side of that curtain had no ordinary dead person upon it. There was no average dumbass who had accidentally crashed into his automobile laying there. He knew better at this point. He knew, in the depths of his perverse heart, that someone else lay on that bed; something else. For what else could the Lynch fellow be? At every turn, the Lynch fellow was there, disconcerted and unaware. Just beyond that curtain, he would be there, mumbling and wondering. The driver just knew that beyond the shadows of his doubts, that he would get up and pull the curtain back violently only to reveal that the patient wasn’t dead, but instead in his place would lay the Lynch fellow, rain-soaked and oblivious to the anguish he inflicted upon the driver. He would be there, and when the driver began to panic in a terror unlike any other, the Lynch fellow would slowly turn his head and mumble those three words that haunted the driver’s mind.

“I know you…” The Lynch fellow would say. “I know you…”

Terrified beyond his wildest beliefs, the driver frantically turned to the nurse.

“You have to get me out of here!” He practically shouted, intent on finally escaping the Lynch fellow. “Please, you don’t understand, you have to get me out of here!”

But the doll-faced nurse didn’t listen. She couldn’t, she wouldn’t. She only stared at the driver, with an eerie look of disconcern covering her beautiful face. Then there it was. A slow going noise that chilled his inward soul. A sound that scraped his sanity from his being and scooped his happiness from his heart. It was that curtain, slowly being pulled back by an unknown force. The driver, begging the nurse, stopped, and began to turn his head in sync with the sound of plastic curtain rings being dragged along the metallic rod that held the curtain in place. Lengthily and prolonged, the curtain opened and finally, after a millennium of horrible, agonizing waiting, the corpse was revealed.

A deafening silence overcoming the atmosphere, the driver’s quick, short breaths echoed through the room. Had he been incorrect? The corpse that lay there was indeed dead, laying on its back with its head turned away from himself.

Realizing that his panic had been ill placed in the situation, the driver returned his sweating head to its former, comfortable position.

“I’m sorry,” he said quietly, apologizing in a polite manner.

“You should be,” the doll-faced nurse was heard responding.

Confusedly, the driver looked up at the pretty nurse and in that moment he was confronted with an expression so vile and hate-filled that his stomach turned in guilt and disgust. No one that beautiful should ever wear an expression that burning with rage and revenge, and yet there the doll-faced nurse stood, fuming with a bitter anger that permeated the air like a poison intoxicating a small, mice filled cage.

“What?” The driver asked out of shock and fear, unbelieving of the horror that emitted from the doll-faced nurse.

“You should be sorry!” She screamed, her voice dripping with the very essence of evil.

Unexpectedly, the doll-faced nurse leaped upon the driver’s lap and clenched his face in her right hand.

“You should be sorry,” she spoke out hatefully, nearing her lips to the driver’s own. Then, as her overpowering beauty coupled with a wrath unspeakable, she turned the driver’s head towards the corpse.

“Look at what you did,” she whispered with a voice that abraded his eardrums.

Looking on with an expected fear, the driver saw as the corpse abruptly nudged its head, turning to make eye contact.

“It is; it is the Lynch fellow!” The driver must have thought in that moment of time for as the head turned while the driver felt a throbbing, emanating rawness impart from the nurse’s thrusting force, he saw that the corpse was indeed the Lynch fellow. But this Lynch fellow was unlike any other fellow he had ever seen. This Lynch fellow was covered in blood. And this was no blood from a mere car crash. This was blood bled as the result of a much darker action. It was a slit that ran down his face, dividing his noise from his face and his mouth into two. It had been a knife, it must have been; that could be the only cause. The bright, fresh blood streamed from his face as a man who urinates in the woods and as the moment quieted, awaiting a greater threat, the Lynch fellow spoke three words, choked by the blood that filled his mouth.

“I know you…”
And there it was again. That pushing, throbbing darkness. The darkness that knew no end, that familiar sense. And here he was again, his hands on the wheel of that vehicle, driving through the thick downfall of city rain. And there the Lynch fellow was, per the usual, walking along the side the road, and the driver, forgetting of all that had just happened, stopped at the side of the road and invited the Lynch fellow into his vehicle, unquestioning of who this Lynch fellow was.

“I want you to make a hit,” a raspy, broken voice had spoken, many, many years earlier.

“No problem, who is it?” The driver, whose name was Jones, asked unblinkingly.

“His name is Danny, Danny Lynch. A hot head who lives downtown. He’s owed us money for long enough,” the raspy mob voice replied.

“So you want me to teach him a lesson?” The driver Jones asked, rubbing his knuckles, preparing to cut down this Danny fellow to his knees.

“No,” the mobster stopped the driver. “I don’t want you to teach him a lesson. I want you to make him into a lesson. I want you to make him a lesson for everyone else to see so that everyone knows to pay up when Mr. White says so.”

“So you want me to kill him, Mr. White?” The driver Jones asked, with a slight nervousness uprising in his voice.

“Is that a problem for you, Mr. Jones?” Mr. White asked pointedly.

“No,” Jones immediately responded. “It’s just…”
“It’s just what?” Mr. White cut in impatiently.

“It’s just that I’ve never killed anyone before,” Jones replied, wondering if he could ever commit murder. The mobster leaned back in his plush leather chair, eyeing the driver Jones with an inspecting look.

“And why not?” Mr. White queried, curious why a bright, young man such as Jones had yet to take another man’s life.

“Well as a general rule, I’ve always avoided murder,” Jones responded, not knowing how this seasoned mobster would react.

“I used to be just like you,” Mr. White said, surprising driver Jones.

“What do you mean?” Driver Jones asked.

“When I was a child, my grandmother would tell me stories. Religious stories, my papa would call them. My papa wasn’t a God-fearing man. He had no care for religion or angels. But he’d let my grandmother tell me her stories nonetheless and every great once in awhile, he’d listen to them himself. I remember in particular this one story. This story of a man who drove through a thick downpour continually and at every curve there would stand this man; a man who haunted his every move but knew not why.” Here, the mobster leaned forward. “Now I don’t remember the specifics of this story, but in the end, I do remember that the driver, finally at his wits ends, raised a gun to his head and blew his brains out. But the driver didn’t die. The bullet went through his noggin but he remained unaffected and very much alive. And my grandma would lean forward and would tell me that the driver couldn’t die because he was already dead.”

The driver Jones began to intently listen at this point.

“The driver, when he was alive, had killed the fellow who now haunted him. He had killed him and when the driver finally died, he was cast into a special hell. A special hell that only killers go to. Because my grandma would say that killing be the worst thing a man could do to another. Now the story was grand and it did indeed strike a godly fear in my heart, but one thing never sat right with me. Something about that story bothered me as if there was a loose end that needed tying off. So one Sunday morning, after my papa had allowed me to attend a church service with my grandmother, I asked her while sitting on the porch of our home. I asked her, I said ‘Grandma, why was the fellow there in hell, too?’ She asked what I meant and I responded by saying ‘I know why the bad man, the driver, went to his own hell, but why did the innocent fellow go to the driver’s hell, too?’ My grandmother, who stopped rocking back and forth in her blue, padded rocking chair, looked at me solemnly and said ‘You remember this boy, and you remember it well. What goes around comes around. So be careful how you treat others. Because you can easily trap other innocent souls in the hell you create.’”

The driver Jones leaned back in his seat, understanding finally how the story went.

“I’ll never forget those words,” the mobster murmured quietly. “I fought for years to forget them. I was just like you; afraid to kill, because maybe, if I dared to take another man’s life, I’d find myself trapped in death with him, forced to experience an eternal damnation.”

And this was the way it was. The mobster instructed the driver where and when to eliminate this Danny Lynch fellow and it was done. The Jones driver slashed the fellow’s face, causing a semi-instant death. He left the body propped up in an alley as a display for others to see. After a day or so, the body was found and the police notified. A forsaken, young New York broad was told quickly and she rushed to see her previous lover dead. She cried. She cried very much. She mourned that this man, who everyone said was no good for her and was a bad man, had died. For in her heart, she believed him to be good, no matter the bad things he had done. Within weeks, the Lynch fellow was buried and for months, the broad paid for those grave stone flowers until one day, she told the grave that she had made a decision. A decision that entailed that she would no longer pay for those flowers and that she was moving on with her life. And she did. She lived a happy life, unlike the driver Jones.

He did not live a happy life. He lived an unhappy life filled with murder and sin. And at the end of his miserable days, he begged for an end to his misery. A misery he did not speak for on the outside, he wore a mask to protect himself from an onslaught of demeaning insults and threats from his fellow mobsters. But in the end, he died just as miserable as when he had first killed. And in the end, as he drove past the barrier of that bridge and into the icy cold water of the looming river, he hoped that the cool liquid would cleanse his dirtied soul as a ketchup stained cloth would be cleansed with soap. But alas, this was not an end. It was a beginning. A beginning to an eternal torment in which he, a revived young man who worked construction and enjoyed pornography, would experience dizzied fear and horrifying circumstances. An eternal torment that would thrust him through a joy ride of unimaginable, bitter fear. An eternal torment that was a jumbled revisitation of the atrocities he had committed in his former life. It was no end. It was endless. And as he drove down that road each night, unaware of who he was or how he came to be there, he would see the Lynch fellow, his first kill. And with each coming night, he’d slowly remember how his actions had caused not only himself to be trapped in this hellish nightmare he’d created with a lifetime of evil deeds, but how it had also trapped a host of innocent souls whom he had unknowingly devoured.

But it would be the Lynch fellow first. It would always be the Lynch fellow by whom he would be tortured first. For the Lynch fellow had been the first to die and the first to enter this nightmarish realm known only as the familiar sense.

Thee End


I'm a writer, filmmaker, and Human. I think...

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