Thankfully there was a mini fridge inside the room with an ice packet. It is best that I don’t list the other… contents of the fridge as it is not relevant nor do I wish to think about where they came from. After lying down and resting on the couch for a good while I feel the pain has died down to the point where I can concentrate again. I resumed where I left off.
Jack slammed the door behind him shut, lightly panting from the short run and clutching the doorknob as he turned the locking mechanism. Suddenly he gritted his teeth and hunched slightly, his body tensing up while his right hand pressed against his forehead. He grunted loudly, pushing himself off the door and stumbling towards the kitchen. With another jolt of pain he fell against the wall leading to the doorway of the kitchen, a growling moan escaping his mouth as he picked himself up and lumbered to the kitchen sink. He clung to the bowl of the sink as he shifted his weight to his arms resting on the edges of the countertop. He huffed and puffed, moaning as he exhaled each breath, and looked to his upper left to see a thin cabinet.
Immediately Jack swung it open, revealing bottles of pills, bandages, and other assorted household medicines. He dug through it, violently knocking over bottles and boxes until his hand gripped onto a bottle of Tylenol. Without a second thought he popped the bottle open and dropped about five pills into his hand and swallowed them. Within a few moments Jack seemed to feel some relief. As his body started to relax he began to straighten his posture, his breathing got slower and quieter. He stood there, his head pointed at the drain in the sink. Once it rose, his eyes were no longer the dark brown they used to be. They were a faded and murky; a glass film looked like it had started to develop over them.
Suddenly though, his eyes widened and his body lurched. He held onto his stomach as he began to heave. A guttural, croaking sound came from his throat as he leaned over the sink. His entire convulsed as the sound became louder and louder. Finally, after one last heave, a chunky, greyish brown liquid flew out of his mouth like he were a fountain and splattered onto the sink. It didn’t so much as form a puddle as it did a pile around the drain, clogging it as Jack panted over it with relief. The murky, glasslike texture on his eyes was gone. In its place, his eyes had become silvery grey. Jack’s breathing slowed as his eyes seemed to grow heavy. His hands slipped off of the countertop as he slid against the counter, collapsing with his face pressed against it, and falling unconscious.
The night passed, sunlight gleamed through the windows as the morning sun crept up above the houses. The sound of chirping birds can be heard as Jack stirred. Slowly waking up, he fell to his back and hit his head against the ceramic tile floor, wincing and groaning in pain. His eyes opened, back to their dark brown color, when a knock at the door echoed from the other room, the noise soft and rhythmic. Rolling over and pushing himself to his feet, Jack instinctively headed for the door, the knocking became louder and more harsh the closer he to the door he got.
It was when he was a few feet away from the door that he starting to become more alert. He stopped, shaking off the dreariness having just waking up, and stared at the door with wary curiosity. The knocking had become violent and erratic. The door shook as Jack back peddled away from it, his eyes locked on it as the hinges seemed to struggle to hold onto the doorframe. He looked to his right to the main hallway and quickly made his way through it, stopping at the last door to the left. A loud series of crackling could be heard from the front door. Immediately, Jack flung the door open and slammed it as he swiftly fled into the room, locking the door. His gaze darted around the room, it seemed to be his bedroom; the bed taking most of the space in the room leaving only a narrow pathway to a computer desk and a clothes cabinet, the closet was blocked by the bed. Wet, heavy, sporadic and dragging footsteps could be heard from the hallway.
Jack crouched, trying to fit his head under the bed, but he can’t even accomplish that as the sound of creaking doors can be heard from the hallway. He lifts one end of the bed up, but it dropped as Jack’s hands slipped up from the frame, hitting the floor with a loud bang. Jack froze in terror, his eyes widening as silence consumed the room. The lumbering noise returned, reverberating through the walls as it travelled from the other room to the hallway. It became louder and louder as Jack’s head followed the sound, until a shadow loomed under the door.
Jack was unable to move, his frightened eyes locked on the door, waiting for a response from the figure outside. There was a painfully long silence; Jack had begun to sweat profusely as it dripped from his face to the floor and his shirt. He kept his breath still, his jaw quivering as he bit his cheek. Finally slightly, ever so slightly, the doorknob began to turn, only to be stopped by the lock. Jack swallowed, eyeing the closet next to the front door, and inched forward. The knob attempted to turn again, jack inching closer. The sound of creaking metal and crackling wood stopped Jack in his tracks as his head darted to the door. The knob was still turning, ever so slowly as the lock resisted it though it was continually failing. Jack didn’t hesitate in scooting back, he had been found, and whatever was on the other side of the door was too tenacious to give up. By the time he made it to the corner of the bed, the lock had given up. With a loud crack the knob jerked suddenly, falling off of the door shortly afterwards.
Jack immediately rounded the corner of the bed, curling into a ball in the farthest corner from the noise. Heavy wheezing could be heard as the door creaked open. The clumsy, heavy, and dragging footsteps could be heard from within the room followed by then a loud thump, the bed obscuring Jack’s vision. Jack had locked up; he could the figure drag itself along the floor as he clutched his shoulders and his wide eyes locked onto the edge of bed, waiting for the figure to rear around the corner.
Instead, however, it slowly rose above the bed. The face was a vague mockery of a human; its eyes were sunken into the bone and faintly glowing as it looked down at Jack. Its mouth opened well beyond what its hinges should allow; stretching the skin like rubber as it gaped. Only a few patches of long, shriveled hair remained on its head drooping over its face. The more it rose, the more unnatural it looked. It was lanky, its arms and legs uncannily long compared to its torso, and looked depraved of any muscle as its bones could be seen through its skin. It let out a raspy, skin crawling moan, calling out Jack’s name. “Jaaaaaaaaaccckk….” Jack shivered in his spot as the thing raised its leg and stepped over the bed, its head lowering towards him as it called out his name once more.
Then suddenly, the figure standing above Jack was an unfamiliar, but far more friendly looking face. It was a man, looking around Jack’s age, with a short face and a small, round nose, his short brown hair sitting on the top of his head while some stubble blemishes an otherwise clean shaven face. He called to jack, “Jack, you okay man?” Jack, confused and wide eyed, hurriedly lifted himself up and observed his surroundings. The room had changed; it was no longer the bedroom, but the kitchen with the familiar sunlight shining through the windows. The chirping of cicadas indicating it is well into the afternoon.
“Uhh… Jack?” the man said to him as Jack quickly responded. “Y-yeah I’m up… what was…” He looked at the man with a scowl, pressing his finger against his chest, “Look if you’re trying to fuck with my head right now I’m not going to have ANY of it!!” The man defensively held up his hands and backed away slightly, “Whoa it’s me Joseph! You called me the other day I know you haven’t forgotten what I looked like!” Jack grunted as he stepped toward him, his upper lip twitching. “Just because you’re using his face doesn’t mean I’m gonna fall for your shit! How did you even get in here anyway?” Joseph’s expression changed to a grimace, his voice reflecting the look on his face, “What the hell are you talking about you already know it’s me! I was just here to tell you about Paul’s-” “Cut the bullshit and stop pretending your Joseph you piece of shit and answer my damn questions!! How did you get in here?!” Joseph responded with venom “Well if you want the “piece of shit” to answer the other guy opened the door for me!!”
Jack expression turned quizzical and shaken, reading Joseph’s face, he asked “I made sure the door was locked, who-” Something caught his attention over Joseph’s shoulder. Mormon was leaning against the wall at the far end of the room, waving at him with a wry smile. Immediately, Jack seemed petrified. Joseph, briefly looking over his shoulder at Mormon gave Jack a confused look, said to Jack, “Yeah he was here before I was, said he knew you. Jack… Are you really alright? Maybe we should get you checked out?” Jack ignored him for a moment, staring distrustfully at Mormon. Without breaking his stare, Jack said to Joseph, “Can we take this somewhere private please?” Joseph, taking another look at Mormon, who kept his smirk as he observed from the opposite end of the kitchen, nodded and gave an indignant “Okay, lead on.”
Jack walked towards the hallway, glimpsing back at Mormon as Joseph followed him to the bedroom. As soon as They both entered the room, Jack closed the door and locked eyes with Joseph, who took the initiated and asked “Jack what’s going on with you? First I thought you were just ignoring us and now you’re fucking yelling at me for being some kind of imposter- just what the fuck is going on?! Who was-” Jack had begun to talk over him as he interrupted with, “Can I just get a second to COLLECT MY THOUGHTS!!?!” Joseph quieted, glaring at Jack as he waited for his explanation.
Jack paced the room for a moment, rubbing his temples as he steamed through his nostrils. He stopped right in front of Joseph. “Okay look… honestly, I don’t know that guy. We met last night and already he’s trying to get me deep into some shit I don’t know anything about. He’s got me by the balls and I can’t do anything I-I can’t call for help or-” Joseph interrupted heatedly, “Let me guess, it’s fucking drugs isn’t it?!” Jack exhaled loudly, “NO!! JUST-… Urgh… just let me explain-” “You know what? I don’t give a shit what your excuse is!! If you’re in this situation now it’s probably your fault anyway!” Jack grimaced at Joseph as his upper lip twitched again.
“You’re still pissed about last month aren’t you?!” “You’re god damn right I am!! We’re all sitting at the hospital fucking chatting it up then some bad news causes you to go fuckin’ haywire!” “Don’t tell me how to cope with-” “No one copes like that Jack!! You just-” “Can we just get back to the subject at hand-” The two go back forth, arguing for a solid until 10 minutes until Joseph finally exclaims, “SHUT THE FUCK UP!!” The room goes quiet as the two glared at each other. Joseph breaks the silence, “This is getting us nowhere. I only came here to tell you about Paul’s funeral.” Jack bit his cheek as his jaw quivered. Joseph continued, “If you still give a shit about him, here’s where it’s going down.” He grabs Jack’s hand and harshly presses a folded piece of paper into his palm, “It didn’t feel right just texting you the address. I’ll consider it an apology for abandoning Paul if you come. It’s in 3 days at 10 am.” Joseph opens the door and walks out of the room without another word.
Shortly afterwards Mormon strolls into the room as the front door can be heard slamming from across the house. “Nice friendship you two have. Oh, and by the way glad to see you still have your wits about you! Glad to see I made the right choice with you!” Jack just gives Mormon a tired glare as he sits onto his bed. Mormon, giving that same smile to Jack, asked, “How was that dream by the way?” Jack gave no response. Mormon chuckled, “Ahh I see, wasn’t very pleasant. Well you get used to, that’s gonna happen to you a loooot.” Jack’s expression changes to a more worrisome one, his tone matching it, “What do you mean…? What did you do to me?” Mormon replies sharply, “I didn’t do anything, just gave you a little test and you passed with flying colors! I took care of your sink by the way.” Jack’s eyes slowly widen as he straightens his posture, “That steak…. What was that steak made of- what did you make me eat?!” Mormon chortles as he shakes his head, “You catch on quick, well you really don’t want to know, and probably won’t care before too long.”
Jack holds head in his hand as he swears under his breath. Mormon pats him on the back as he tells him, “Alright get up. We need to get going.” Jack looked up from his palm, “Didn’t you want to talk about something?” Mormon begins to walk out of the room, “We can do that on the way, we’re very pressed for time right now.” Jack, taking a deep breath, reluctantly rises from the bed and follows Mormon out the door.