Lucid Blood9 mins 82 9 mins 82
Here it was again. The Starbucks on the right, with the delicious aroma of ground cocoa, my favorite indulgence sneaking through the open door. But my legs had a mind of their own, as if they were metal being led away by a magnet. Away past the street sign of 49th Boulevard, into the industrial area, with steel factories on either side of me. I’d driven here before, but I couldn’t hear the industrial churners as well as I could now. Loud Led Zeppelin music was responsible for that, and the state of the art speaker system on my new Tesla. It was strange. So much noise, yet the place felt so empty. The occasional workers with their helmets and uniform were like the undead, each with the same robotic walk. There was something ominous, about this place. Maybe it was the toxic gases rising out of the chimneys, but I didn’t like it.
Only then, I stopped dead in my tracks. I had a knife in my back pocket, poking a hole in my track pants. I don’t wear track pants. Taking a second, I pressed my muscles, and they nearly tore my shirt apart. Before my mind could catch up, I broke into a jog, taking long, powerful strides that were alien to me. Soon enough, I got out of the industrial complex to a skateboarding park. At first, it seemed quiet, but then the unmistakable screech between wheels and concrete cut through the air. Though it was dark, the nightlights, and the moonlight shone on a lone skateboarder, wearing a hoodie. I licked my lips begrudgingly, and tilted my head 90 degrees to the side. I approached my prey carefully. I’d done this a hundred times before. No I haven’t. I instructed every sinew of my body to stop moving in, but a voice egged me on. ‘You haven’t even seen anything yet’, it said, and I moved in, feline like.
I’d gotten close enough now, that I could feel my heart in my mouth. I was so close. So close. So close. So close.
“Aaaargh!!.”, the woman screamed as I pressed the sweet cold metal against her, and cupped her mouth with my glove. She was in my grasp. I could feel her pulse on her neck, going as fast as my heart. It made me feel alive, as my right arm shook uncontrollably. There was no joy going fast. Her skin was warm, and I treated her kindly. A gentle lover, I was. Well, killer, lover, it didn’t matter. I turned her around to see the last look on her face, frozen in time. So beautiful. So young. At the end, she smiled with her rosy lips. At that moment, I decided I would paint her. The lips, the petite nose, the green forest eyes, everything.
Not a minute later, a voice called to me from the dark, as the ghost of a deer beckoned. I followed it to a maple tree, where the girl’s face was painted, every detail captured in bark.
And then I was back. There was blood on my hands, the girl in front of me walked out of the tree, and grabbed me around the throat, with glowing green eyes.
“Jayden?” I looked around. I was in my house, except I was strewn out on my teakwood flooring. Stood above me, in her blue nightgown was my shrink. I grabbed her around the waist, and buried my head on her shoulder, as I cried with all my might.
“It’s me, Kayla. It’s me. All these people. It’s always been me. Help me, please!!” Kayla rubbed my back, consolingly.
"Don’t be ridiculous Jayden!!” She said.
“It’s me Kayla. I had a knife in my back pocket. I felt that girl’s throat, and all that blood….” I broke into renewed sobs. I broke away from Kayla, and hid behind the sofa. No. This wasn’t right. I had to turn myself in.
“I’m going to a police station K. I’m done with this crap”, I said.
“You’re being paranoid Jayden. These visions that you’re seeing. These people that are dying. They might not even be real people.” Kayla approached me tenderly. Her coils were disheveled at tis time of night. I regretted calling her over now. What if I felt that impulse again. That impulse to...No.. I backed away some more. Kayla raised her hand cautiously.
“I know you Jayden. You wouldn’t hurt a fly. Anyways, you haven’t proved that these people are dead. That’s what I’m trying to say.”
“It doesn’t matter Kayla. If you felt what I’m feeling, you’d friek out too. No, I’m done with this crap!” I struck the flower vase in frustration. Everything was fine just a week back. The first day I’d come out of the nightmare thinking it was a one off, even as his colleagues to whom I recounted my night kept a comfortable distance from me, from then. After day two, I couldn’t sleep alone, and went to my friends, sister’s, and finally my parents’ place. When all was lost, Kayla heard about me, and decided to come over to my place. She was my longtime friend, once romantic interest, and world-class psychiatrist.
I started considering insomnia, but Kayla convinced me that the problem could be worked around, and that I should try to resist, and maybe look for clues in my dreams.
“What did you see, Jaylen?” She asked me. I was still trembling, but I recounted it to her, in painstaking detail, each second increasing the agony.
“She said save me?” Kayla questioned. It was curious. Though the girl was dead, her tree portrait had tried to choke me, and then screamed “save me”, in a demonic voice.
“I guess she did.” I said. I stroked my chin. “Wait, I’ve driven there before. Do you think….” I held on to Kayla. “Maybe she’s still alive.” Kayla rolled her eyes at me, but nodded nonetheless.
There was nothing more to be said, as I revved up my Tesla, with Kayla bobbing uncomfortably in shotgun. I might’ve crossed three reds, and almost crashed into a pickup truck, but I was on track. The Starbucks, the industrial area. Then it was the park. I jerked open the door, and ran faster than my legs had ever carried me before. The moonlight showed me the way, as I retraced my footsteps.
And then there it was. The sound of wheels on concrete again. My legs wobbled like lead, as I felt like I was falling into quicksand. My vision started failing me, and my eyes started to droop. But I could see the skateboarder now. Except her green eyes were facing me now. The very samee….
I was back in my house, except I couldn’t see anything. There was this strange dusty smell, and raised my head suddenly. Whack!! A cut in my forehead opened, as it met with a nail. Where am I? Then my eyes started to adjust. I was under the floorboards in my attic. Footsteps sounded beneath me, and I waited with bated breath. This was my moment. I raised my elbows up slightly, and loaded them with all the momentum I could muster. I thought of all the people that’d wronged me. The way their blood smelled, tasted, ohhh yessss.
I crashed through the floorboards as I pressed down with my elbows. Feeling flesh beneath me, I knew I found my mark. There she was. She was me. The last victim. It would all be over now. Her coils shivered around her shapely, brown face. I touched myself, and her, my supple cheeks, and pressed my index finger into them, burying my long nails deep into my, and her flesh. Ohhh Kaylaa...
“Nooooooooooo!!!!!” I screamed, looking up dazedly. I looked around, my eyes adjusting to the moonlight. But there was no girl. No tree. Just a quiet park, my Tesla parked on the side. I couldn’t tell how, but I knew exactly what to do.
I drove like Judgement Day all the way back to my house. My visions were right. They had to be. I rummaged for the keys in my backpocket, except I cut myself. When I took it out, there it was, the cursed blade of my nightmares. Nooo. Nooo. It couldn’t be right. I rushed to the door, and unlocked it gingerly. I tread carefully on the teakwood, not daring to make a peep. There she was. In the middle of the hall, with the attic collapsed around her, but her eyes bloodshot.
Her brown eyes looked at me as if in some trance. Though the eyes weren’t hers, they were apologetic. She brandished a knife in her right hand, staring at it affectionately.
“I’m sorry.” She said. “I put you through all of this.” I daren’t approach, but I had no inkling of what to say. What was happening?
“Kayla. Put the knife down. You’re frieking me out.” She threw her head back laughing at that.
“Hah, would you look at that. Now I’m frieking you out. Well, look at the painting.” She pointed towards the wall. I almost fainted dead, collapsing against the wall. The skateboarder girl was hanging from the wall, on the far side of the hall. No.
“It was you?” he asked her. She didn’t say anything, and simply nodded.
“All those visions that you were having. They’re glimpses of my life. All the people who’ve made me miserable. Ones who made me wanna take my life. But, before I could do that, they had to leave too.” She giggled like a little girl. “And now, you’re going to kill me. I deserve it. C’mon”
I stared at the scene. Kayla. The calm, clever head on her shoulders Kayla, the one I’d….slept with. I shuddered at the thought. I racked my head, and I realised that she’d always had a string of failed relationships with people in her life. She left me because she was leaving town suddenly one day, and I was glad now that I hadn’t wronged her then.
But now she was asking me to kill her. I knew I could never look at her the same. I never walked on the wrong side of the tracks. Just like Kayla said, I wouldn’t even hurt a fly. But I couldn’t kill her, even if she’d killed all those people. I looked at the girl hanging from the wall. What had she done to deserve this. What had any of those people done. The banker in Illinois, the pimp on 3rd St., the fisherman in Florida.
The knife felt heavy in my back pocket. Kayla, just as deranged as she was a few seconds back, eyed her knife greedily, but she didn’t look brave enough to do it. She turned her eyes towards me, and locked them with mine. Fear was what I saw, and I knew what to do. I pulled my sleeve back, exposing the nerve in my forearm. After all, I was a doctor, I knew how to do this. I grabbed the knife from my pocket, and positioned it sideways. It had to be accurate, but then Kayla bundled towards me like a rabid dog, just as I lowered my right arm.