Saturday, January 29, 2011

Flash Fiction Friday (Cycle 16) Repossession

 (Author's note: The kind folks over at Flash Fiction Friday came up with a prompt that broke through my mental log jam, hope they don't mind I jumped in. I'll admit I went over the 1500 word limit just a tiny bit.)

 I stepped out into the frigged cold, instinctively I cowered into the depth of my heavy coat, shoving bare hands deep into its pockets. Walking along Liberty Avenue in the blowing snow, I did my best to keep my head down to avoid eye contact with any other fool unlucky enough to be outside in this weather. I did not want them to see the guilt and insanity in my eyes. Even worse, I did not want the blood of another innocent person spilled because I could not control the rage inside me.

As I walked down the sidewalk, I could feel my toes becoming numb as the snow seeped into my shoes giving me something to focus on other than the note my right hand gripped inside the coat pocket with a surreal desperation. On the note, the address to yet another psychiatrist who I hoped would believe me as I described the nightmares that terrorized me at night and how during the day I could feel something growing inside me, slowly enveloping my soul. I deserved to be put down like some rabid dog because of the things I have done, or at least locked in some cell for the rest of my life but I couldn’t get any of the doctors to believe me. To them I was just another statistic, a number they would throw a bottle of pills at and send away. If I weren’t such a coward, I would turn myself over to the police, or even better, jump off the nearby Roberto Clemente Bridge and into the icy river below.

After what seemed like hours of walking through the freezing cold, I arrived in front of the downtown Pittsburgh office building where Dr. Benjamin Knox had his office. As my last refuge of hope it wasn’t much to look at outside, it was a typical steel and glass skyscraper, the dark gray color of the building a depressing match to the cold sky. Stepping inside the lobby I found it as Spartan as the outside with only an empty reception desk situated between two sets of elevators to offer any evidence of human occupancy. Echoes of my footsteps bounced off the walls giving the impression of a haunted tomb. Looking around I noticed the lobby was even missing a directory listing the offices and what floors they were located, something that only added to the ghostly feel of the place. Luckily, my note told me where to go and I scrambled inside the opening elevator to get away from the engulfing emptiness.

As the elevator doors opened, I saw directly inside Dr. Knox’s office. It was everything the rest of the building was not, fancy wood paneling with an ungodly amount of books lined shelves that stretched upward beyond my sight. Walking across the hall and standing in the doorway it was then I noticed Dr. Knox sitting behind his desk framed by a huge tinted window looking out at the city.

“Please come in Jacob, I’ve been waiting for you.” He said with a saintly smile. It was then I finally felt some small ray of hope. The deep shadows where Knox’s eyes should have unsettled me but I went inside and closed the door figuring it was just a trick of the light.


Dr. Knox made me feel comfortable and as I opened up to him I began to think he really cared about my condition. I said nothing about of the blood I spilled but I told him everything about my nightmares and of the thing I felt crawling around inside me. My appointment was only supposed to last for one hour but as time slipped by the doctor gave no indication he wanted me to stop talking when our meeting was scheduled to end.

Even with the relief at finding someone who seemed to care about my situation, I eventually ran out of things to say but Knox gave no hint that he wanted me to leave. “Dear Jacob,” he purred in a deep voice, “what are you leaving out? I know more is bothering you but for me to help you understand your condition you have to be truthful to me.”

“I have no idea what you mean doctor.” I said looking up at the ceiling in his office in an attempt to hide the truth.

“Don’t be coy with me boy,” he said with a suggestion of malevolence. “I have seen your kind countless times before. You have done nothing with your life except choosing to wallow in self-pity and hopelessness. Your parents, siblings, and the minor acquaintances that you wishfully call friends have all given up trying to reach you. Instead of building a life and making your own accomplishments you’ve settled for a useless and timid existence.”

His words drove deep to my core, it was true my entire life was a series of nonevents I had willingly accepted without trying to change anything. I tried to think of a friend or family member I could call for help but I came up with nothing. They had given up trying to reach me long ago. I was slightly surprised to realize this sparked the rage I struggled and failed to contain.

Knox sat in his chair smiling. “That is why I pick people like you Jacob, your common loneliness is the clay I can mold making you and others effective vessels for my works. More importantly, society churns out others like you regularly making my job all the easier. Please son, get up and walk over to the mirror, I need to show you your true self.”

The large ornate mirror hung close to the door to his office next the coat rack and umbrella container. I stood there for several seconds looking at myself and seeing nothing. I was an empty vessel devoid of any real life or friends. As Knox came up beside me it was then the thing that had taken hold of my body became visible. Black spider-like veins stretched across my face and hands forcing me to claw my shirt open to see the network spreading across my chest.

“Never fear son,” Knox said as he moved away and back behind his desk, “no one but me and others like you can see your true self. It keeps the mortals from scurrying away in fear, we don’t want to go and upset the sheep do we?”

“How did you do this to me?” I asked turning away from the mirror but keeping my arms extended as if I was dripping with filth.

“Now son,” Knox said, “you’re still early in the process and you don’t need to know the ugly details, yet. I have plans for you Jacob, I’m moving you uptown fast. I saw what you did to the young lady in the alleyway, that was talent. Believe me I know, your potential is unlimited.

The memory of that young girl came flooding back. Several weeks ago, I was leaving a theater when she called from across the parking lot. The hood of her car was raised and I could tell she would want to borrow my jumper cables and help start her car.

By the time my car was pulled over and facing hers with the cables connected, I could feel the rage building. Her smile as I saw her start her car triggered it causing me to black out. The next thing I know we are in an alley and she is covered with an incredible amount of blood.

“Why did you do this?” She whispered at me with a curious look on her face.

“I don’t know, something is inside me and makes me do bad things.” I answered back knowing how ridiculous it sounded to the dying woman.

“Just know I forgive you, but you must fight it.”

“I’ll try,” I said looking away from her.

Suddenly she gripped my arm with her bloody hand, I so surprised at the strength that I turned to look at her again. “I have faith in you,” she whispered one last time then went limp.

Her last words hung in my mind as I looked at Knox who was moving back toward me saying something about my growing talent. Something inside me refused to let go of that dying girl, her words of forgiveness and faith warred against the thing growing inside my body. My rage grew again but this time I had something to direct it towards. Fully in control of my body I ran towards Knox, charging into him and after taking a few extra steps crashing into the window behind his desk.  The force of my rage was so strong that the window shattered and we began our fall to the ground. I caught a glimpse of Knox as gravity superseded whatever powers he possessed, I was very pleased to see he looked shocked and scared.

As I fell, the bitter cold was exhilarating and I felt alive for the first time.

(Author's note: As usual excuse the typos, its quiet at the house right now and I want to get this out before everything goes crazy again. Miss Wiggles is having a sleep over and a pizza dude is on the way. A school of piranhas ain't got nothing on six little girls.)


Windsmoke. said...

Wow!, fantastic story of a demented killer that has psycho voices in his head, just my kind of bizarre story, well done :-).

Oso said...

Really good Beach, good scene in front of the mirror. My anger at what he'd done to the girl was somewhat mollified by him taking out the doc!

Beach Bum said...

Windsmoke and Oso: It would be interesting to debate the guilt of a person who was "legitimately" demon possessed. Not trying to get all serious or even take myself seriously but given how I setup the story I don't believe Jacob to be guilty, in fact I sort of find his resistance to what is controlling him heroic in a way.

The minor villain in all this is society who produces people like Jacob like a car assembly line. Given the 1500 word limit I could not get as detailed as I would usually.

Ranch Chimp said...

Interesting story, and thanx for sharing ... at the start when I seen Liberty Ave. ... I thought "Pittsburgh" ... spent some time in that town (Stayed on top of a mountain neighborhood called Mt. Washington) ... but anywayz ... quite a short story, I very rarely ever read any fiction for that matter to be truthful.

Later Bum

David Barber said...

Typos shmypos!! That was great, Beach. Had me from start to finish! Great write, mate!

Suzan said...

You've gotta get more rest, B.



Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

"I did not want them to see the guilt and insanity in my eyes."

Been just like that for weeks now... and like Oso, mirror scene is a goodie.

as always, such good stuff. Ty for the break.

Beach Bum said...

Ranch: Thanks! The prompt had it in a cold place forcing me to scramble for a location.

David: Thanks, been wanting to write fiction since I got back but was suffering from a huge block. This was the first thing that made any sense.

Suzan: Hell, Its all I can do not to haul ass back to Grand Cayman.

Gwen: Appreciate your kind words, even with the sudden motivation I had six little girls scurrying around demanding anything and everything. Plus a 15 year-old boy about to go crazy with them harassing him in his room.

TRUTH 101 said...

What's cool is we get BB's stories here for free.

I still can't figure out why you don't have more followers Beach Bum. I usually read your stories twice and given my attention span that's as big a compliment as I can give.

Beach Bum said...

Truth: I just got around to displaying the followers on my blog. In fact I wonder how many of them found the thing.

Going to get over to Tao's place, been busy around my house with my wife and now me sick. Throw in the kids and I want to head back to the Caribbean now.

Akelamalu said...

Ah but did the DR perish???? You should do a follow up. :)

Sue H said...

Oh, well done, sir!

I loved this and who cares if it was over the word limit (was it?) - I didn't notice, I was far too involved in the story!!

Beach Bum said...

Akelamalu: Thanks! In my mind Knox is chunky road salsa but Old Scratch inside him moved on. May expand this one and fill Jacob out giving reasons why his life was a failure and what allowed him to be possessed.

Sue H. Thanks! My word processor says I went over six words.

Flannery Alden said...

Interesting idea for this prompt. I was hoping someone would pick up the possessed by demon's angle.

I particularly liked the mirror that showed your real self. I think that mirror could appear in many different stories.

Kentucky Rain said...

I LOVED this Beach!

Beach Bum said...

Flannery: Thanks! I might actually use the mirror again, and dig a little deeper into what it shows of peoples true self.

Kentucy: Thank you, thank you very much. [Elvis type] I'm leaving the building now.

Cloudia said...


molto bene!

Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral



Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

Nice piece, Beach! Watch your email...

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Stephen King meets Kafka.....meets.....?

MRMacrum said...

Well done. Good buildup of tension and just enough background to tell the story, but not so much that the mysteriuos evil was fully explained. Good stories should often leave something left to the imagination.

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

Beach, with respect to your email, am I on your spam list?

Liberality said...

You got talent kid :)

Beach Bum said...

Cloudia: Thanks!

Doc: Got it and thanks a bunch! Will correct once I get organized again, things have gotten hectic again.

Will: Meets? Beats the Hell out of me, I'm playing this shit by ear and the seat of my pants.

Mike: That was my intention, beside being limited by the word count.

Liberality: Thanks a bunch!

Mother Theresa said...

Wow, great story! So, now we need to know what happens next. Did the doctor die? What about the demon, does the guy defeat it, or does it completely obliterate him? Do we get that 2nd part?

Beach Bum said...

Mother Theresa: I figure Scratch will find another body and as for Jacob I have enough faith since he regained control of his life to think he got a one-way ticket upstairs.

Joyce said...

This was amazing, and a completely different take on the prompt. Was he truly possessed by the spirit of evil or caught up in a delusion possibly caused by a religious upbringing(?) that became reality when fed by someone with an I-am-Satan complex? That's what makes this so frightening. The truth is never revealed in that respect. But whatever the source of his rage, he had a stronger will than even he realized and I was so happy when he took the doctor down. I'm only sorry he didn't get a second chance, but maybe in those few seconds before impact, perhaps he did. Really enjoyed this.

Beach Bum said...

Joyce: Yeah, in my mind Jacob was possessed. I envisaged him as some sort of willing loser or unmotivated slacker who never really cared about anyone and was happy to slide through life on the path of least resistance.

Old Scratch was able to take control because he was essentially an empty shell. His awaking, while it came too late, showed him he was far stronger than he ever believed.

John Myste said...

Ok, I don't know how I keep ending up on your site. I can speculate about the possibilities, though:

1. Oso, commented here. I stalk him.

2. I love fiction. Maybe I follow you from a fiction site.

3. God puts me here for a purpose. I don't believe in God, but I do keep ending up here.

Anyway, how would one go about obtaining your email address for their rolodex? I do not currently want to speak to you, but I have an idea brewing that would require a joint effort from fiction writers like you and creative non fiction writers like Oso could be, so I want your contact data.

Beach Bum said...

John: You are always welcome here. Although Oso and I are plotting world domination and if we told you our plans we would then be forced to kill you.