Memories

A story about a married man who tries to balancing his two life styles--or was it four? Three? I'm doing--He's doing everything he can to make things right again.

Copyright© Tony Skinner 2017

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1. Memories

 

 

 

1

The rain tumbled from the looming, dark grey sky and hit the increasingly wet street below, the sky had opened up and was realising a bombardment of droplets towards the earth. It was a hazy night with only the sounds of the rain to fill the streets and the tapping of each drop on the windows of the slumbering tenants of a large white apartment building. The darkness was barely counteracted by the street lamps that were dimmed slightly to a darker orange by the heavy down pour from the heavens. The cracks in the road filled with water as the rain drenching the late night lingerers that were either running home from work to escape the weather or heading into the town for some alcohol fuelled fun to end their weekend. As the rain bounced off umbrellas and ceilings it continued to strike the windows of the apartment building in the middle of the street. It tapped and skipped off the window without curtains; it was letting the light from the street flood in and plant itself on the wall opposite, making wonderful shapes that looked like something out of a modern art gallery. The windows were open ajar with the hinges at the top and open from the middle. The sounds of cars zooming past with a hissing sound, as the rain from the road clung to the tires and flicked up and away, stormed into the room and filled the near empty space. The room consisted of only a bed and a chest of drawers with everything else being incredibly plain, as though someone had recently moved in. There was no carpet and no wallpaper, with the walls being a neutral creamy white. The bed filled up a large portion of the room with the chest of drawers placed unevenly at the foot of the bed. The noises from outside stirred a figure from under the covers.

 

2

A man began to wriggle and groan from within the sheets and eventually he emerged with his muscular arm creeping out and his head and upper chest following suit. He began to groan with a deep husk then moistened his lips with a ‘ptuh ptuh’ sound as he slowly turned to face the window. The glowing street lamps, peering in through the bare window, revealed his chiselled face and sculpted jaw line, he had a dark hazelnut goatee wrapped round his mouth and chin. His hair colour matched his facial hair almost completely, but with more of a darker tone, and it dropped to shoulder length. It had been ruffled from sleep. He raised himself so that he sat upright and brushed his hair back, tucking it neatly behind his ears. The covers fell to his lap and showed his bare torso that was just as muscular and chiselled as his arms and jaw line. His body was evenly proportioned and built strappingly. He looked over to the door opposite him then towards the window where he saw a dainty young woman standing with one leg shyly cocked and her eyes fixated on the goings on outside. She had long, flowing hair that draped down to the small of her back and as the light bounced off of her, you could see the streaks of blonde rushing down to a tinted scarlet at the bottom. She was finely sculpted and curved in the right places; her figure was smooth and splendid, from her luscious thighs to her well postured shoulders. She stood in such a way that her buttocks was pushed out and rounded as it peered slightly out from under the long, white shirt she wore. She was wearing tights that reached just above her knees and the long shirt she wore dropped three quarters the way down her butt. Her shirt was unbuttoned slightly from the top and her cleavage was on show. She was holding her left elbow and biting her nails on her left hand as her gaze stayed fixed on the outside world, even when people walked on by and despite having no curtains to conceal her stare, she did not move.

 

The man shuffled across the bed and flung the covers off and away from his body; He wore loose, black jogging bottoms that scrunched up at his feet. He moved towards the woman and slowly reached out and gently caressed the small of her back. Suddenly her gaze was broken and her skin shivered a little, when she turned and saw who was making contact. He pulled her closer and sat upright, looking up at her beautiful blue eyes. His head reached her chest, even when sitting down and he used this to his advantage. He kissed her repeatedly from her upper chest and reaching to her neck. Her hands glided round his back and locked tightly round the back of his neck, her eyes closed and a sigh of relaxation exited her lungs. Unknowingly, they smiled at the same time and he reached his arms round to her back and pulled her closer, holding her with enough force so she didn’t fall from being unbalanced but gentle enough that she didn’t feel suffocated. She lowered her head then kissed the ruffle of his hair at the peak of his head, as she did his lips ceased and he laid his head upon her chest.

“You do that a lot you know.” He said slightly louder than a whisper.

“Do what?” She replied

“Stand at the window and look out. You do it a lot at night, waiting for something?” He chuckled.

“No, I’m just-“. She paused and placed her cheek upon his head and continued “Thinking about things.”

“Like?”

“Don’t you worry about that” She giggled lightly and she pulled back from the man and looked into his deep, sea blue eyes and smiled.

She kissed him lightly and placed her hand on his face, stroked his cheek while she took his lips to hers and passionately kissed him again and again. He rose up slightly and gripped her back a little tighter. She lifted her legs and placed them either side of him, mounting his lap, they stayed locked in a battle of passion and lust and their hands became more ravenous and excited. She disconnected her lips for a second and whispered while catching her breath.

“I love you”

He replied with a smile and suddenly he spun her onto her back and slammed her down onto the mattress that bounced and squeaked under the couple. He climbed on top of her and paused. Their eyes became locked onto each other, they were in that moment without any worry or any fear. They were locked away from the rest of the world and they were together in that loving, heated moment. Without so much as a whisper, he climbed off of her, took her hand and they both got comfortable in the right position of the bed. He took her in his arms and held her close, with her head placed comfortably on his chest and his heart beat slowly calming to a controlled thud. She stationed her hand on his chest and closed her eyes with a gentle kiss to his body. He pulled her closer and wrapped his arms around her and with the smallest whisper, he said.

“I love you too”. As they fell asleep and let the night evolve into day.

 

 

 

3

 

The morning had broken through and the rain had clambered down to only a drip. The clouds were lighter and were scattering away to allow a small tint of blue sky to peer through the gloom and light peoples hopes for a nice and calm day. The gleaming light, now more present than the dimmed orange glow from the street lamps the previous night, was now beaming into the bedroom and showing off its nakedness. The window was covered with drops of water and the street outside was a dark, damp mixture of grey and black. There was a single street lamp left on from some sort of delay and it flickered every few seconds. The man was still fast asleep on his right side, facing the direction his girlfriend should have been and his arm stretched out over her side. He moved his hand and unconsciously felt there was something missing, he began to feel around with his eyes still closed only to realise there was no one there. He opened his eyes abruptly and immediately regretted his decision to do so, as the glaring light from the morning struck his eyes the moment they opened and left him helplessly blind for a few seconds before he regained his composure. He leaned up and saw the empty space in the bed next to him and the sheets ruffled, he flipped himself over and grabbed his mobile phone that sat on the ground. It read ’08:12am’ he then dropped it with a louder thudding noise than he was expecting and flopped back onto his pillow. His eyes were still open but he blinked irrationally in order to get used to the new light settings of his environment. Even though he knew she wasn’t in the room he looked to the window just to check if she was standing there and his eyes didn’t realise because of tired trickery, she wasn’t. He wasn’t panicked and he wasn’t freaked out, he was calm and collected because he knew where she was. He gathered his wits and dragged his half naked body out of the bed and grounded his feet to the bare, brown coloured flooring below. After standing, he grabbed a long sleeved T-shirt that was accompanying his phone on the ground and whipped it over his head, sliding it down his body and ruffling it so it was comfy. He made his way to where he believed she’d be.

 

He made his way down a long dark hallway to the living room that wasn’t quite as bare as the bedroom, with the considerable difference of having a carpet. The room had a sofa placed just to the right of the entrance and directly in front of it, diagonally across the room, stood a TV stand with a small TV atop it. There was a wooden coffee table that lay between the sofa and TV and was full of paper, empty glasses and other things they hadn’t put away the night prior. The living room led straight into a kitchen without a doorway and was conjoined with only a wall separating the two rooms. The door was already open and so he unbalanced himself and fell onto his right side into the door frame, he stood in the doorway and smiled. The woman was sat, with her legs crossed, on the floor near the coffee table with a large note pad in her lap. She didn’t even realise the man was stood just five feet from her because she was wearing some white, dirtied headphones and her eye line was fixed on the page, where she scrawled endlessly while singing quietly to herself. The man’s smile dropped as he looked at his phone, he had received a text from someone but didn’t open it, and instead he locked it again then went back into the bedroom to get changed.

 

He wore a slick black shirt and dark blue jeans with a scaly-like belt. His shoes were red high tops with white lacing and for a coat he wore a long, dark grey overcoat that reached just below his knees. Once he fixed his sleeves and ruffled his hair, tucking it behind his ears again, he picked up a large backpack and walked back down the long hallway to stop at the living room door. He took a second to glance in at the woman sitting on the floor in her own world, she seemingly didn’t realise he was ever there and went about her business. He gave a smile and thought about waving but he knew it would be futile and would only result in him looking like a fool to himself. He kept the smile for a few seconds then it slowly began to dim and with that he said softly.

“Bye Lucy”. Then he walked away.

The woman fell silent and stopped singing, she was still scrawling but it wasn’t a drawing or even words. She was driving her pencil up and down, side to side in a random culmination of scribbles. Coming from her headphones was nothing but silence and as she continued to scribble, a single salty droplet fell to the fragile paper below, marking it will a navy blue hue as it hit the led covering the page. She wept softly and silently as she heard the clang of her front door slamming shut.

 

 

4

 

The clouds of the morning had mostly disappeared and left behind a hazy, light blue sky that nearly dominated the world above. It was nearing early afternoon when the man had been walking down a street very different from the one he had been on earlier that day. He strolled down a long road that looked very clean and well looked after, it had the stains and the smell left behind by the rain but it wasn’t as grey and dark as the morning. He had crossed the town to where he stood now and he had obviously found his destination. He stopped at a large house with a metal, black gate in front. The gate read ‘18’ and was placed sensibly between two other equally large houses. He spotted a panel, with misty sleep ridden eyes, to the left of the gate and proceeded to dial in five numbers, when the final number had been pressed the gate shuddered and started to peel open. The man nonchalantly walking up the gravel path and towards the door of the house but when he reached it he stopped and leaned against the door, he then tiredly leaned down and removed a plant pot that was sat delicately beside the front door. He reached into a small opening within the concrete and pulled out a key then put the pot back in place. With a nudge and a small bang he clambered into the house and slammed the door shut immediately behind him. He flung the key towards a table next to the door and it landed directly in an empty light brown, wooden bowl, he gave a smile and a half assed self celebration at his small achievement before taking his shoes off and continuing straight upstairs. Before he knew it he was upstairs and in a bedroom with curtains and carpet. His backpack was thrown across the room and he body slammed the mattress with a heavy ‘baboom’ sound, as the springs did their job to support his weight he bounced uncomfortably for a few seconds before it came to a halt. The man exhaustingly took off his shirt and jeans, throwing them to the bottom of the bed and flopping himself into a feathered pillow then dragging the covers over himself. He rested there for a moment and gave out a sigh then let himself doze into a comfortable sleep as he closed his eyes and drifted off.

 

The house fell silent and it was as if no one was home. The bedroom where the man had decided to rest his wiry body was a comfortable looking place, unlike where he had spent the night before. The curtains were dark blue and it was wallpapered all over, a simple pattern with a light shade of blue and a green to accommodate it. A record player had its place on a small bedside table at one corner of the room. The bed was placed in the direct centre of the room just left of the door. The room itself was quite big, with it fitting a wardrobe opposite the bed and still having space for anyone to walk freely between the two. There was a large hallway leading to two other rooms, a bathroom and another bedroom. The man’s bedroom was located at one end of the hallway while the other bedroom was on the opposite end with the bathroom between the two. Directly in front of the bathroom was a staircase that made a right angle half way down and led to the entrance area of the house. Beyond that was the living room which was much larger and had an extremely large TV hung up on the wall; a games console was placed within a unit just below the TV and a sofa facing the TV wall.

 

 

5

 

Suddenly there was a bang at the front door and the sound of someone walking in. The loud sound of the closing door didn’t stir the man from his deep sleep and so he continued to dream in blissful ignorance as the person who had entered his house made their way up the stairs slowly.

“Hello?” called out a light, playful toned voice.

This jumped the man out of his slumber and he lifted his head quickly as his dreams stopped abruptly. The person who called out was making their way closer and closer towards his room but he felt no need to panic or feel concerned, instead he just laid his head back onto the soft pillow and sank slowly into it. He saw the door that was closed ajar, open slowly and sat up calmly giving out nothing but a yawn. A woman peeked through the door and smiled at the man; she walked in and dropped her bag on the ground then climbed onto the bed with him. She shuffled herself up to where he was sat and kissed him softly. He turned his head towards her and returned the gesture, with it lasting a little longer. He gave out a smile and exhaled. The woman had a name badge on her blouse that read ‘Katherine, Intelligence Logistics Liaison ’.

 

She had dark auburn hair that curled down below her shoulders and was built slightly bigger than the man’s earlier lady friend. Her figure was more curved and full, her chest pushed out her clothing a lot and was without doubt one of her most dominant features. Her brown eyes were a light hazelnut colour that glistened remarkably. Her lips were luscious and her cheeks lit up rosy red when she blushed. She wore a dark blue blouse, the sleeves of which hung delicately on her wrists and fell slightly above the back of her hands. Her jeans were tight and tucked everything in very nicely, making her behind look slightly bigger than what it was. She had forgotten to take off her black slip on shoes downstairs and so kicked them off towards the door, while she slid closer into the man’s arms. She had a much bubblier personality than Lucy and a much friendlier approach as well.

 

She caressed his torso and curled up close to him while he wrapped his arm round her and kissed her on the head. She took his hand and linked their fingers together in a romantic and passionate gesture. She lowered their hands but something quickly crossed her mind and she slowly lifted them again. Examining his hand, she gave a confused frown and asked.

“Where’s your wedding ring?”

Without hesitation he came back with. “We had to do a bit of ‘hands on’ stuff at work and I took it off because I didn’t want to lose it”.

He then reached in his pocket and pulled out a solid gold wedding ring, he slid it onto his marriage finger and chuckled, kissing Katherine softly to make sure she bought his story. She smiled and scratched at his neck softly. He lifted his head in a gesture for her to continue.

“So, how was work?” She quickly said.

“It was alright, same as usual really. Didn’t finish until about nine this morning, they wanted me to work on some data fragments or something because our servers were playing up. How was the Exeter conference?” His reply wasn’t entirely a lie because he had been at work the previous day but he had finished early and resided at Lucy’s.

“Wow” Katherine started “You must be knackered. The conference was really good, I met so many people there and got a few goody bags in the process as well” She giggled. “Have you eaten?”

“No but I’m going to cook myself something later, just going to rest for now honey.”

Katherine looked up at him and bit her lip in a mischievous way. She sat up and removed her hand from his then sat at the end of the bed. He opened his eyes and looked at her. She had a grin on her face that could rival the Cheshire cat and her hands were moving slowly up her blouse, lifting it as she went. He leaned his head forward for a better look and tilted his gaze.

“What are you doing?” He asked with a teasing confusion in his voice.

“You just ‘rest’ now sweetie”

She unbuttoned her blouse and dropped it to the floor, showing her body and setting free her bare skin. She was wearing a lacy, blue and black bra that she swiftly removed with ease. He sat up immediately and was fixated on her as she teased him. Her breasts dropped slightly and perched sweetly on her chest. She laughed and stood to her feet then went to walk out of the door. He quickly grabbed her by the arm and playfully threw her to the bed and climbed on top of her, placing himself between her legs.

“I love you.” He chuckled.

 

 

6

 

The man awoke to the sound of rain that could be heard all around him, as if he was stuck in a spotlight surrounded by darkness and rain. He sat up and looked around him, he was no longer in the room he had fallen asleep in just minutes before. His wife was gone and his, once luxurious room had been swapped out for some sort of rundown hotel room. He stood to his feet and confusion fell over him extremely quickly as he began looking around the room to see if there was anything he could link to where he was. He opened drawers and started messing with the curtains but the feeling of familiarity dawned on his from nowhere. Everything he touched felt real, it was real to him. Was this a dream? Or was this how he was actually living and he had woken up from some twisted dream? A dream that showed him a life he could have had or has had? He didn’t know what to think, he didn’t remember anything and so he ran straight into the bathroom. He looked into the grimy, dirt drenched mirror and saw he had aged a number of years and his facial hair was now out of control. Still the brown he once knew but now had greyed slightly. His skin was haggard and as he looked down at what he was wearing, he backed up into the room again. A large, navy green overcoat clung onto him and he was wearing torn jogging bottoms with scuffed up boots that looked like they’d had a lot of mileage. He looked into the corner of the room and saw a huge duffle bag, he didn’t know what was inside and he didn’t want to know. The walls around him were seemingly talking, whispering things to him as he freaked out more and more. The horrible wallpaper barely gripped the walls, falling off and rotting before his eyes. He could see things moving in the corner of his eye but when he spun his head round to check, there was nothing there. He couldn’t take this anymore and he wanted to go home to his wife, he wanted to wake up because by this point he was certain he had to be dreaming. He shot to his feet and gripped his straggly, stringy hair so tight that it tore at his scalp. His breathing became erratic and suddenly he felt shortness in breath. His lungs were tightening up and he couldn’t breathe properly. He started to fade, his eyes closed and the twisted world around him darkened and suddenly he felt himself falling to the ground. He crashed to the hard, scummy ground and everything went black.

 

 

7

 

The man shot up fast and immediately woke up. His eyes were not hazy or full of sleep; he was alert and gripping his bed sheets with white knuckle force. His breathing was fast and irate, his chest pounding and puffing in and out like some sort of body popping dance move. He was sweating profusely and could feel his head dripping with his own fear. His hair hung down in front of his face and was greased by the sweat. Sweeping it out of his face he sat on the edge of his bed, a bed he had to grip tighter and examine to make sure it was actually his. The man couldn’t concentrate properly and needed to calm down before he had a heart attack or passed out and so he decided to stand up, his legs trembling and his hands dancing everywhere. He slowed his breathing and began to countdown aloud from eleven with his eyes closed.

“Eleven” he started with a shaky voice. “Nine, Eight, Eight” He stopped and felt a sudden burning feeling within his stomach. He ignored it. “Five, Fi-“ He abruptly stopped; he rushed out of the bedroom and towards the bathroom.

Throwing open the toilet lid, he slammed to his knees over the toilet bowl and the contents of his stomach emptied into the shallow water below. Chunks of everything the man had eaten prior to his nightmare were hurled forward in a light brown storm of pain that burned his throat each time it came around. After a while he had emptied everything he possibly could, inadvertently. The man loosened his grip in the rim and fell to a seated position in a hot, sweaty mess. He sat there for a few minutes before checking his pocket for his phone and hoping he wasn’t late for work or something else important. He pressed the lock button and his screen lit up and read ’12:00pm Friday’. He dropped it and sighed to himself.

“Work, fuck”

 

 

8

 

A few hours later, after cleaning himself up and making himself presentable he made his way to work. He arrived at a hefty building that sat in the centre of town. It was a generic looking office building with the standard kind of feel to it. He rushed in through a set of revolving doors and made light work of the five flights of stairs he had to scale to get to where he needed to be. He ran down a hallway, reaching the room he had to be in and pushed the handle down then threw himself into the room with a commotion. All of a sudden his stomach dropped as he was greeted by eighteen people who all stopped and stared at him the moment he stepped into the room. He was only slightly late but it was a for a big review meeting where all the heads of the company he worked for were to meet and discuss the first quarterly report. He walked to the back of the room while everyone else in the room went back to facing the front, except one. One woman continued to look at the man as he took the walk of shame to the back, she had dark auburn hair and glistening hazelnut eyes. He sat at the very back of the room and tried to calm himself from the panic that had overcome him. A man dressed in a navy blue suit and a white shirt, came bolting towards him holding a laptop in his arms. He looked official and extremely unhappy. He knelt down beside the man and started whispering aggressively.

“Where the hell have you been? I’ve been waiting for half an hour, we were meant to go through our presentation before this started so we’d be able to get them on board with the new plan.”

“I’ve had a rough few days, I’m sorry. Believe me I’m just as mad at myself as you are right now but if we just sit here and go over the papers we can sort something out, right?” He leaned forward in reply.

The official looking man gave a sigh of distain then sat next to him. He opened the laptop and they went though their presentation together.

“You used to be a really nice bloke, you know. On time and ready for anything, what the bloody hell happened to you?” The official said with a harsh whisper.

This made the man stop and think for a moment. He was right, things had been going downhill recently but he couldn’t understand why. He couldn’t even remember how either and he began searching his brain for answers but couldn’t concentrate. He brought his focus back to the task at hand but there was still that nagging feeling at the back of his head that he couldn’t shake.

 

After the presentation was finished the man walked out of the room and stood in the hallway to cool himself off. The official came out looking confused and astonished.

“What was that?” He asked in amazement.

The man didn’t reply and only gave a shrug. The official laughed and walked away to see all the guests off, while his boss was playing nice the man saw this opportunity to get some time alone and so he rushed to the bathroom.

 

With a quick jolt of his hands, water splashed onto his rapidly heating, red cheeked face. It cooled him down just enough for him to feel like he wasn’t going to spontaneously combust. He backed up into a stall and planted himself on the seat of a toilet just to rest his feet. He began to doze off, but jolted up when all of a sudden he caught a flash of that horrible nightmare he’d had before just as he closed his eyes. A shocking vibration coming from his pocket sent shivers up his body and made him jump. The man scrambled for his phone and after a few seconds of struggle he flung it out of his pocket and held it tight, staring at the message on the screen. He frowned and exhaled.

 

We need to talk. Now.

                                      -L

 

 

9

 

The man ran up the stairs as quickly as he could and through a small hallway leading to a solid white door, a golden number eleven was screwed onto the door and before he knocked he composed himself. Taking a deep breath in and out, he quickly knocked the door nine times. There was no response so he tried again only this time there was a muffled voice coming from inside. The man pressed the handle down lightly, unsure of what the voice had said or if it had been Lucy. He entered with caution but when the door was open; his mind was eased when Lucy’s voice came from the living room.

“I did tell you to come in, the door was open.” There was something off about her that day; her voice was layered with distain.

The man stepped into the living room to see Lucy sitting with one leg over the other and both her arms crossed, she was led back on her sofa but when her lover walked in the room she sat up right and stared him down. Before she needed to say anything, he sat next to her and said.

“I am so sorry. It’s been a hectic week, I was late for work today and it was manic. On top of that I’d just woken up from this” He paused, trying to think of a better word to describe his nightmare but couldn’t and continued with “fucked up dream. I woke up feeling sick and threw up all over the place and I rushed over here after work as fast as I could when I’d received your text.”

He was met by silence and the same stern look as before until she exclaimed.

“It’s fine.”

He didn’t know how to respond and therefore couldn’t say anything and instead chose to remain silent. He was still unsure but had to be near her and had to touch her so he reached out his hand and placed it softly on her back while shuffling closer to her. He opened his mouth to say something but before he could mutter a single syllable she interrupted.

“I’m going away for eighteen days. I just need a break from life and I want to get as far away from here as possible for a while.” Her voice was unwavering and strong. Hesitantly replying, the man said.

“With who?”

“Does it matter?” She snapped. “Just a few friends, Jacob, Bruce, Nancy and some others. It’ll be a laugh and that’s what I need right now.” She finished.

He couldn’t help but shake the feeling that this abrupt news was because of him and so he asked.

“And you just came up with this decision out of nowhere? On your own?” He paused. “Is this because of me?”

Out of nowhere she snapped, standing to her feet and letting her arms slam to her sides while he stayed seated and looked on in awe.

“How long have we been together?! Five years! And how long have you been married?! Twelve years! After five years you fell in love with me and I loved you and now you seem to just be choosing her over me!”

“I told you! I-“ He didn’t know how to release the words from his mouth.

“Told me what?!”

He stood to his feet and turned his back to her.

“I love you both! I’m in love with you and I love my wife! That’s the unfortunate, ridiculous truth of it. You can love more than one person okay? It’s not a crime and I can’t control who I fall in love with!” He fell back onto the sofa in a huff. “I don’t want to lose either of you.”

Lucy slid down next to him and held his arm softly, she then placed her head on his shoulders and he gently stroked her hand.

“I’ll be here for you no matter what you choose, I love you and I promise I always will. You know you will always hold a special place in my heart.” She said.

He nodded with reluctance and realisation. He had to make a choice. She could see the pain he was going through and the torment inside of him, his eyes said everything. The silence said even more, he didn’t know what to do or what the right choice would be. She stood up and took his hand, standing him up with her and putting his arms round her. She wrapped her arms round his hard body and squeezed tightly, never wanting to let go. They held each other for a long time before he had to leave. He didn’t want to leave because it meant he’d have to be away from her and not only did he need to be near her, he had a sinking feeling in his stomach when he finally stepped out of the door and made his way home.

 

 

10

 

The rain was still pouring around him as he walked around the dank, dark room. He scratched his grimy hair constantly and would often tick by jolting his shoulder up suddenly. The man was muttering to himself in gibberish and chanting seemingly random numbers.

“Eleven, Nine, Twelve, Twelve. Eight, Five, Eighteen.” He darkly whispered to himself over and over again, constantly repeating it.

It was clear he wasn’t making sense to himself because each time I would say something, a look of confusion drowned him and made him tick more. It was as if he was trying to remember something he didn’t know he knew in the first place; meanwhile he was pacing up and down and making circles. He’d sat on the dirty single bed in the hotel room and bounced lightly for a while. All of a sudden he began biting himself and shouted.

“Wake up!”

The noise of rain pattering around him got louder and louder and he tried drowning it out by burying his head in the thin, cotton pillows he’d been provided with. It didn’t work and so he resorted to drastic measures and started hitting himself in the side of the head.

“Stop! Stop the rain!” he yelled at the top of his lungs.

He repeatedly punched himself in the side of the head and the longer he did it, the louder the sounds got. The louder the sound got, the harder he punched until eventually he punched himself so hard that he passed out. He crashed to the hard, scummy ground and everything went black.

 

 

11

 

A deep, looming voice was heard echoing through his ears.

“Hello? Are you okay? David?” The voice called his name.

Slowly David opened his eyes and revealed his surroundings.

He was led on a leather chair that was placed in the centre of a large, comfortable looking room with wooden structure and a dark brown tint to the room. A man in a tweed jacket sat beside him, leaning forward.

“Are you okay David?” He asked softy.

“David…..” The man exclaimed.

He sat up and rubbed his eyes and found he had been crying at some point. He wiped his tear soaked cheeks and took some deep breaths. The Man in Tweed leaned back and let David collect himself before saying.

“We were talking about your wife, how are you feeling?”

“My wife? She-“ He paused for a long while. “I love my wife, I swear to god I love my wife” He continued as he started to weep again. He looked down at his shaking hand and kissed his wedding band. The Man in Tweed gave a generic, glance-like smile towards David and jotted something down on the note pad he held in his hands. David starts closing his eyes again and suddenly there is a white flash. David quickly opened his eyes again as he saw himself back in that seedy hotel room with the dirty windows and scummy floor. He blinked repeatedly to try and keep himself awake. The Man in Tweed set his note pad down and put his arm around David to comfort him.

 

 

12

 

Katherine and her husband were watching a movie, He had his arms wrapped round her while she was snuggled up to him and her head comfortably placed upon his chest. Her head lifted up and down slowly as his calm and relaxed breath expanded and contracted his chest. She smiled as he chuckled because he knew exactly why she smiled.

“Honey, do you remember when we first started dating?” She happily asked, while playing with his hand.

“How could I forget” He chuckled “we used to sneak off to the docks and not tell anyone and when we saw each other we’d exchange letters” The man smiled at this fond memory of the happier times.

“So you remember the letters?” Katherine happily exclaimed while she sat up and looked him in the eyes.

Her laugh filled him with joy and he joined with the giggle. She sat upright and made herself comfortable. She placed her hand softly on his cheek and kissed him, before skipping off into the kitchen. He watched as she bounced away and grinned to himself. She returned seconds later with a bottle of wine and two glasses then jumping onto the sofa, joining her still grinning husband. They held their glasses as she poured a very expensive looking bottle of wine and held them high in the air then clinked them together.

“Us” She smiled

“Us” He repeated.

They both drank and downed their glasses. Katherine coughed a little as it stung her throat as it went down; he chuckled to himself and exclaimed he couldn’t taste anything. A playful punch landed on his arm and he laughed and returned the attack in much the same way. Giving a stern look, she stared him down and then out of nowhere she jumped on him and began to tickle him. He fell over the arm of the sofa and both of them tumbled onto the soft ground below. They continued to play fight and gain the upper hand on each other and this went on for a while until they heard something strange. They immediately stopped and listened out to see if they could hear the noise again and it came back, a metallic sliding sound.

“Mail!” Katherine jumped up and ran to the door with unusual excitement and rushed to the front door.

The man followed and stood at the end of the small hall near the front door and gave her a look that said ‘Well? What is it?’ In turn was followed by a sarcastic shrug and smile before she waltzed off to the kitchen.

 

She opened most the letters that had come through but left one sealed on the kitchen side that simply read.

 

Katherine

      18

 

It wasn’t signed by signature or name. It didn’t even have an address on, only the house number which he thought was slightly odd. But instead of thinking too much on it he turned his attention back to his wife and scooped her up into his arms, carrying her away to the living room and throwing her onto the sofa. He sat beside her and stroked her hair gently.

“Do you remember how we used to use numbers for letters to talk to each other and write love letters when we were younger?” She giggled “We’d assign a number to a letter of the alphabet. Our saying was ‘It’s as easy as ABC 123’.” She smiled widely and he matched it. “We were dumb kids”

“No, we fell in love” He retorted

She bounced slightly then managed to reach out and grab him by his shirt and drag him down on top of her. Their eyes became locked onto each other, they were in that moment without any worry or any fear. They were locked away from the rest of the world and they were together in that loving, heated moment. He leaned down and kissed her passionately and she returned the favour. That moment came to mean everything to them.

 

 

13

 

Twelve days went by and he went back to Lucy’s apartment to check on her and see if she was back from her get away. He made the same climb he had made for the past five years. The man reached her door and knocked loudly, not a second went by before the door was flung open and Lucy was standing in the door way. She looked different, something about her was off to the man but he couldn’t put his finger on it. She stepped aside and let him walk in and slammed the door behind her. Without even waiting, she immediately said.

“I take it you’re here because you wanna have a go at me, shout and rant about how I betrayed you. Go on then.” She stood in the middle of her living room and he stood opposite her.

A look of confusion and concern fell over him. He wasn’t quite sure what she meant by ‘betrayed’, he thought it might have been referring to her going away for a while and so he started by saying.

“You didn’t betray me, you needed to get away and if it helped then I guess I should be happy. I’m just glad you’re back and that you’re here with me again.”

She froze and looked distraught. She unfolded her arms and sat him down calmly.

“You didn’t get my letters did you?” She asked him.

“No, what letters?”

“We’re done” She blankly exclaimed without remorse.

His mouth dropped slightly and he couldn’t form words. She then made it worse by saying.

“I fucked someone while I was away and it was really nice to have something new, different.” She paused and noticed his expression hadn’t changed but continued anyway. “I mean, we weren’t really anything were we? You were married and we weren’t going to go anywhere”.

His face changed to absolutely distain, anger, sorrow and panic when he repeated what she’d said.

Were married? What does that mean?”

“You didn’t make a choice so I made it for you. But then I got with Jacob and by then it was too late” Her voice had a slight tint of regret behind it but it still stayed strong to its remorseless tone.

“What have you done?!” He shouted.

“Oh god” Lucy had realised. “She hasn’t opened it yet”.

His brain went into overdrive and he started twitching his shoulder a little. Tears ran down his face and he shot up and towards the door. Before he could escape, Lucy stopped him and tried to hug him as some half assed apology. He didn’t know what to do and so he did the very first thing that came to his head. Without hesitation he gripped her arms with white knuckle force, bruising her upper arms. She writhed in pain as he wouldn’t let go then she tried to push him away and as she did she looked into his eyes. She was fixated on his face as her expression of pain seemed to make him smile. She panicked then all of a sudden, with great force, he pushed her away. Sending her smashing into the wall behind her and collapsing to the ground, He relaxed and saw her curled up in fear on the floor. He tried to pick her up but was met by nothing but screams of fear and the crying of a truly terrified woman. He backed off and bolted out of the door then made his way home.

 

 

14

 

He was home and slamming his way through the door with force. The lock had been activated and the chain was on but he made light work of that in his anger fuelled rage. He made his way into the house and found Katherine standing in the living room, shaking with tears streaming down her face. He looked at what she was holding and he sank to his knees, the letter was lightly held in her hands with slightly crumpled edges. She didn’t say a word, she didn’t have to. He slowly stood on his weakened knees; he shook uncontrollably and began to cry excessively.

“Katheri-“ He cried out her name in an attempt to explain his story but it was useless, as he was interrupted immediately.

“Not…a fucking…word!” Rage, anger, sadness, confusion, doubt, disbelief were but a few emotions searing in her voice when she muttered those words.

“I’m sor-“

“Don’t even think about it!!”

He was now blubbering so much that words were nearly unintelligible. “I’m sorry”

“YOU SON OF A BITCH!! How dare you say those words to me, after what you did?” Her voice broke from the sheer force she exhaled when she shouted and her cries increased in volume.

He just stood, speechless, hopeless and entirely to blame for his own downfall. Out of the blue she walked calmly up to him, still shaking but staying as strong as she could. She got feet away from him and stared at him with nothing but a blank expression. Then she aggressively spat in his face and pushed him towards the door. She pushed and pushed, screaming at him the entire way then when they reached the door she raised her fist and struck his jaw, knocking him to the ground. He fell down hard and she slammed the door shut with great force. He tried to stand up but felt himself getting dizzy, with the impact of the punch and his brain going into overdrive, the man felt incredibly helpless. He began pulling on his hair and scratching his face, screaming at the top of his lungs and breaking his voice in the meantime. Before his voice cracked and dissipated his last word that day was.

“Die!”

 

 

15

 

12 years later, Mental Institution for the Criminally Insane

 

“And who were you talking about when you said that?” The Man in Tweed asked.

“I don’t remember.” David said

“Think about it David. Who was it you wanted to see die?” Insisted The Man in Tweed.

David stared blankly at the glossy wooden floor and tried thinking about what he actually meant. But he came up blank. He shook his head and began to cry, as The Man in Tweed sighed and wrote something down in his note pad.

“Have you been taking your medication?”

“Yes, I think that’s why I don’t remember well.” David said solemnly.

“Don’t be so silly; make sure you take them every day.” The Man in Tweed brushed off his remark and carried on with a dead end line of questioning.

 

After a while The Man in Tweed had wrapped up questioning and had set his note pad down, but needed to ask one more question. He leaned in close and asked David.

“Do you remember what happened to Lucy?”

Something inside David triggered, he hadn’t heard that name for many years and he looked up to The Man in Tweed. His expression was that of horror and regret. The Man in Tweed picked up his note pad again and was immediately intrigued.

“Lucy” David exclaimed. “Oh god.”

“Think back to the first story you told me David, really think back. Think about what really happened that night. Do you think you might have gotten things mixed up? Do you remember?” The Man in Tweed tried to prompt and to great success.

David looked up and dead into the eyes of The Man in Tweed and explained what really happened.

 

“The rain tumbled from the looming, dark grey sky and hit the increasingly wet street below, the sky had opened up and was realising a bombardment of droplets towards the earth. It was a hazy night with only the sounds of the rain to fill the streets and the tapping of each drop on the windows of the slumbering tenants of a large white apartment building. The darkness was barely counteracted by the street lamps that were dimmed slightly to a darker orange by the heavy down pour from the heavens. The cracks in the road filled with water and drenching the late night lingerers that were either running home from work to escape the weather or heading into the town for some alcohol fuelled fun to end their weekend. As the rain bounced off umbrellas and ceilings it continued to strike the windows of the apartment building in the middle of the street. It tapped and skipped off the window without curtains; it was letting the light from the street flood in and plant itself on the wall opposite, making wonderful shapes that looked like something out of a modern art gallery. The windows were open ajar with the hinges at the top and open from the middle. The sounds of cars zooming past with a hissing sound, as the rain from the road clung to the tires and flicked up and away, stormed into the room and filled the near empty space. The room consisted of only a bed and a chest of drawers with everything else being incredibly plain, as though someone had recently moved in. There was no carpet and no wallpaper, with the walls being a neutral creamy white. The bed filled up a large portion of the room with the chest of drawers placed unevenly at the foot of the bed. The noises from outside stirred a figure from under the covers.

A man began to wriggle and groan from within the sheets and eventually He emerged with his muscular arm creeping out and his head and upper chest following suit. He began to groan with a deep husk then moistened his lips with a ‘ptuh ptuh’ sound as he slowly turned to face the window. The glowing street lamps, peering in through the bare window, revealed his chiselled face and sculpted jaw line, he had a dark hazelnut goatee wrapped round his mouth and chin. His hair colour matched his facial hair almost completely, but with more of a darker tone, and it dropped to shoulder length was ruffled from sleep. He raised himself so that he sat upright and brushed his hair back, tucking it neatly behind his ears. The covers fells to his lap and showed his bare torso that was just as muscular and chiselled as his arms and jaw line. His body was evenly proportioned and built strappingly. He looked over to the door opposite him then towards the window where he saw a dainty young woman standing with one leg shyly cocked and her eyes fixated on the goings on outside. She stood in such a way that her buttocks was pushed out and rounded as it peered slightly out from under the long, white shirt she wore. She was wearing tights that reached just above her knees and the long shirt she wore dropped three quarters the way down her butt. Her shirt was unbuttoned slightly from the top and her cleavage was on show. She was holding her left elbow and biting her nails on her left hand as her gaze stayed fixed on the outside world, even when people walked on by and despite having no curtains to conceal her stare, she did not move.

 

The man shuffled across the bed and flung the covers off and away from his body; He wore loose, black jogging bottoms that scrunched up at his feet. He moved towards the woman and slowly reached out and gently caressed the small of her back. Suddenly her gaze was broken and she skin shivered a little, when she turned and saw who was making contact. He pulled her closer and sat upright, looking up at her beautiful blue eyes. His head reached her chest, even when sitting down and He used this to his advantage. He kissed her repeatedly from her upper chest and reaching to her neck. Her hands glided round his back and locked tightly round the back of his neck, her eyes closed and a sigh of relaxation exited her lungs. Unknowingly, they smiled at the same time and He reached his arms round to her back and pulled her closer, holding her with enough force so she didn’t fall from being unbalanced but gentle enough that she didn’t feel suffocated. She lowered her head and kissed the top of his head and as she did, his lips ceased and he laid his head upon her chest.

‘You do that a lot you know’. He said slightly louder than a whisper.

‘Do what?’ She replied

‘Stand at the window and look out. You do it a lot at night, waiting for something?’ He chuckled.

‘No, I’m just-‘. She paused and placed her cheek upon his head and continued ‘I have a strange feeling.’

‘Like?’ He said

‘Just a paranoid feeling of being watched that’s all. Just me being silly.’ She giggled lightly and she pulled back from the man and looked into deep, sea blue eyes and smiled.

She kissed him lightly and placed her hand on his face and stroked his cheek while she took in lips to hers and passionately kissed him again and again. He rose up slightly and gripped her back a little tighter. She lifted her legs and placed them either side of him and mounted his lap, they stayed locked in a battle of passion and lust and their hands became more ravenous and excited. She disconnected her lips for a second and whispered while catching her breath.

‘I love you’

He replied with a smile and suddenly he spun her onto her back and slammed her down onto the mattress that bounced and squeaked under the couple. He climbed on top of her and paused. Their eyes became locked onto each other, they were in that moment without any worry or any fear. They were locked away from the rest of the world and they were together in that loving, heated moment. Without so much as a whisper, he climbed off of her, took her hand and they both got comfortable in the right position of the bed. He took her in his arms and held her close, with her head placed comfortably on his chest. She stationed her hand on his chest and closed her eyes with a gentle kiss to his body. He pulled her closer and wrapped his arms around her and with the smallest whisper, he said.

‘I love you too’.

As they fell asleep and let the night evolve into day, I watched them.” David started to grin as he told the real story of what he did that night. His tears still streaming but his grin never faded, he continued.

“She told my wife what we had, she made my life hell! She told me she loved me, she told me for five years that she loved me! She never loved me! And so, because she took my life away from me, it was only fair I take hers too! I crept into her apartment that night, that dark, damp, rainy night. And I saw them, her and the man she had replaced me with. He was disgusting and putrid and muscular! I was certain he had to go as well. So when they fell asleep, I made my way in through the window and-“ He paused for a second to think. “I made her pay, I made them both pay for what they did to me. Now she’s gone and I can be with my wife again. I love my wife; I swear to god I love my wife!”

The Man in Tweed was speechless; he dropped his note pad on the table beside him and asked a question he needed to know the answer to.

“How did you kill Lucy and her partner?”

“I stabbed her eleven times, took nine of her fingers. I stabbed him twelve times, I took twelve toes and fingers, not each of course” He paused to chuckle at his sadistic art work. “I carved eight onto her back and five onto his. Then finally I carved the number eighteen between the two.” His twisted smile peered through his streaming tears.

The Man in Tweed cleared his throat and said very clearly and carefully.

“David, you and Lucy Griffiths were never together. She had never even met you before. She was married to Jacob Jones for five years before you murdered the two in their apartment. You had been following Lucy and an unhealthy obsession grew to the point that you had replaced Jacob with your own self in your memories. All of those stories you told me about your affair with Lucy Griffiths, they never happened David. I’m sorry. You sent a letter, which you wrote yourself, to your wife of twelve years telling her about an affair that never happened. You detailed the marriage of Lucy Griffiths and Jacob Jones over five years and replaced Jacob with yourself. I’m so sorry.”

David didn’t change his expression; instead he just shook in head in denial and said one word.

“Nope.”

 

 

16

 

I woke up this morning on the hard, scummy ground of this hotel room I’ve been hiding out in for months now. I started to remember what I’d done just before I escaped the institute and I’ve been trying to remember everything since. I’ve told myself the story I know to be true in head, a thousand times and it’s only now starting to seem wrong. I didn’t trust anyone at the institute and I felt like I was more of a danger there than anywhere. That fucking medication they’d give me was poison, it had to be. No one get’s that psychotic and yet feel this much remorse. I’ve been pacing my room all day trying to remember and it worked, I took myself off the meds about two months ago and things are starting to come back to me as they really happened. I even forget and remember things that happened days ago, right here in this hotel room. Every time I fall asleep or pass out it’s like I become my dream self and I live out everything I think happened. I wake up here and automatically think I’m in a nightmare and so I’d force myself back into a dream. Just the other day, I punched myself over and over again because I wanted to ‘wake up’. I remembered what actually happened because I remembered the time I told The Man in Tweed about what I’d done. It was never fully pieced together until now. It’s strange the things you forget, I forgot my own name at one point.

 

I murdered Lucy Griffiths and her husband Jacob Jones out of an unhealthy obsession with Lucy. I am still unclear as to how the obsession grew to begin with but I know none of what I think happened between me and Lucy ever did. It was a fabrication made up from my own dilutions. I know it doesn’t mean anything now but I would like to apologise to Lucy’s family for the pain and grief I have caused you, I understand it was wrong and I deserve all the bad things that come my way.

 

I want to give the biggest apology to my wife, Katherine. I’m so sorry for what I put you through. I wish things could have been different between us and I wish I had never hurt you like I did. You will always hold a special place in my heart. I love you.

 

I should have figured things out sooner I admit. I had a memory of when I went to work to give a presentation but it didn’t fit. I did that presentation on the day I met Katherine, that’s how we met. She was one of the eighteen people sitting in that room I busted into. I had moved jobs since then as well. It’s funny how memories can crop up in the most random places.

 

I can see flashing red and blue lights outside. I knew they’d find me. This time they won’t take me alive, I’m dangerous and they won’t take any risks. I haven’t got much time. If you find this please do me one favour. Forgive me; I knew not what I did.

 

I still don’t know what the numbers mean. I scrawled them, unconsciously, all over this journal and I still don’t understand them although there are a few numbers I do understand and I think its fate or some sort of fucked up karma. If you figure out what the numbers mean, I’m sure you’ll understand. 11, 9, 12, 12 / 13, 5.

 

They’re outside now and they’re not going to wait long. For the person who finds this and understands it then just know that I never meant for any of this to happen.

 

I better not keep them waiting; they have more fire power than me.

 

I’m sorry.

 

Understand the numbers.

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