Dead or Alive

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Chapter 4: BLACK BLOOD

Waking up at the beach, with the smell of fresh coffee brewing, is the way to live your life. I had no more issues with my contract and its rules, and now, it was time to be alive. I took my shower, as I always do in the morning, finishing, drying my body and still a bit paranoid about changes in my features. The mirror on the wall was my one and only true friend that would always tell me how I looked and show me any deficiencies I might have, or will have.

I wondered, at times, if my meeting others, was in the dream world or the real world. I haven’t been able yet, to discern the difference, nor the effect both worlds may have on me.

I grabbed my coffee cup, filled it to the brim, and took my first sip of the morning. Putting the piping hot cup to my lips, I was expecting the black, sugarless liquid to flow down my throat. The Cup was empty. Why? I just filled it. Down the hallway, the door to the bedroom on the right opened, allowing Sandy to enter the hallway and greet me with a good morning kiss.

“Hey San, when did you get here?” I asked her.

“Jon, I have been here the whole night. Are you mad at me for being here?”

“No, not at all, I just need to wipe the sleep off my eyes, and finish my coffee. Grab a cup, and help yourself.” I directed Sandy. “You Hungry Babe?”

I turned around to hear Sandys answer, but, there was no Sandy. I was talking to the air. Sandy wasn’t here with me in the kitchen, but the cup full of coffee I gave her, was empty. She must have walked to the bathroom or bedroom.

“Sandy, you want an omelet with your coffee?” I yelled to her. I could hear the water running in the bathroom. I filled my cup, and walked down the hallway to the bathroom at the end of the hallway. The door was closed, and the water had stopped running.

“Sandy, can I come in?” I asked. There was no answer. Then the toilet flushed. I tried the door. The light was on, the toilet was filling with water, but the room was empty.

“All right Sandy, cut the crap, where are you hiding?” I said angrily.

“Jon, I’m in the kitchen, why did you walk away from me?” She said, with confusion in her voice.

I returned to the kitchen, confused and now worried. The kitchen was empty, again. The front door bell rang, and I found myself in bed. The bell, woke me, evidently, from dreaming about Sandy. The whole incident this morning, was just a dream, but it was so real to me.

On my night stand was a note, from Sandy. It read, “Jon, had to go to work, Hamburger Bob’s, come over when you wake up. Coffee on me. Kisses and hugs.”

I don’t remember bringing Sandy home with me. I do remember dropping her and her friend off at their apartment and coming home alone. To many things were conflicting my mind. I wasn’t even sure, at this moment, if I was dreaming or awake.

I find myself living normally, consciously, in the reality of my dreams. Mixing circumstances, people, locations floating around in my head. Am I Dead, or Alive? Back to the mirror for some answers.

I got dressed, putting the note from Sandy in my shirt pocket and began walking to Hamburger Bob’s, to have coffee with Sandy, but more so, to get her reaction to the note she left me. Hamburger Bob’s was closed, closed for the winter. Why wouldn’t Sandy know this.

I knocked on the flip up door to Hamburger Bob’s, thinking Sandy might be inside. The flip door opened and a grouchy old man, 50 years old or so, asked me if I couldn’t read the sign on the door? It was Hamburger Bob, in the flesh.

“Yes, I saw the sign, but Sandy left me a note to come here for coffee, with her.” I frowned.

“Sandy who,” the old man looked at me with disdain. “Sandy who, fella?”

“Sandy, my girlfriend.” I said smugly.

“This place has been closed for 5 years, no business. Want to buy it from me, Mister?” The old man said sadly. “Never had a Sandy working here, never.”

“No thanks on the business, and sorry to bother you. Good luck, Bob.” I left, feeling woozy again, eyes blurred, and faint. My head throbbing. I needed to lay down, rest, think about what happened this morning. Sandy was my Girlfriend, but Hamburger Bob said he didn’t know a Sandy and his business had been closed for the better part of 5 years. Was the Sandy thing just a dream, too?

I opened the door to my house, headed for the bedroom to lay down. Walking unsure of myself, I scratched my arm on the door plate to the bedroom.

My arm was cut and bleeding. I held pressure on the cut, waited about a minute and removed my hand. My blood was black, and had dried instantly around the cut. I’ve seen dried blood before, but never knew blood could dry that fast.

I washed the cut on my arm and opened the medicine cabinet for a bandage. I started to apply the bandage to the cut, but the cut began enlarging, engulfing my whole arm. Black Blood was spewing on the floor of the bathroom, the walls and me. I felt dizzy and fell to the floor, unconscious.

Awakening, the two girls from the Hospital in my dream world, and the Door Man, were standing over me. “What happened?” I asked them. “Evidently, you passed out, fell to the floor, and cut your arm.” The Door Man explained.

“No, I cut my arm on the door plate to my bedroom.” I whispered.

“You are not in your bedroom, nor your house.” One of the girls told me.

“Where am I then?” I looked confused at the three of them.

“You are in a dream now, don’t you remember?” The other girl asked me.

“How do I know what is real and what is not?” I stuttered.

“Every person has to find a way to test the moment of reality to that of the Dream world. In time, you will figure out what is or is not what you think it to be.” The Door Man said.

“It is time for you to wake up, Jon.” A voice called me, shaking my arm. “Where am I?” I asked a strange man, standing over me.

“You must have passed out in front of Hamburger Bob’s.” The man said worriedly. “Are you okay?”

“Who are you, and how do you know my name?” I asked him.

“I am Sandy’s Father.” The man smiled. “And you are my little girls dream come true, so I am told.” He said. “Let me help you up, and I will take you home, Okay?”

“Yeah, sure, thanks,” I answered him.

“Where is your walker, Jon?” the man asked me.

“I don’t have a walker.” I said angrily.

“You are wearing braces on your legs, Jon.” He said. “Can you walk alone, on your own?”

I looked down to my legs, no braces, who is this guy? When I got up off the ground, the man was gone, I was alone. Too many things are hitting me all at once. I need to erase the dreams, the dream world, from my life and get back to reality.

I walked home, sat down on my couch, and starred at the beach front through my sliding glass doors. The peace of the ocean and watching people walking past my house gave me some solace that everything will return to normal, shortly. But I was wrong. I can’t sustain my life in this manner. I had to find a method of control, to control my mind.

If I don’t sleep for a while, then the dream cannot enter my mind and take control of my thoughts. This was my plan. No sleep, no dreams.

The first day was the worst. I drank more coffee than my body could assimilate, and my nerves were raw and exposed, but I did not sleep. There were moments when I could feel the haze trying to control my mind, but I focused on the ocean, the people, and the moment I was living.

The second day came and went, bags under my eyes, and now I was using pep pills to keep me awake. So far, so good. 48 hours under my belt and no dreams. The third day was approaching. I needed to stay strong. I will maintain control.

The third day was here. A knock on my door kept me awake and alerted me that I was losing control of my reality. The dream world was trying to enter the house. Not again. Sandy was calling me to open the door.

Hamburger Bob was standing outside my sliding glass door, facing the ocean. The girl friend of Sandy was calling me from the back bedroom. Sandy’s Father was sitting next to me, on the couch, smiling at me. I had to hold on to my sanity. They will not break me.

I made it through the third day. The fourth day had arrived and with it the Door Man, Doctor and two nurses. They all sat on the couch next to me, where I have sat for the past three days. Everyone was talking at me.

So many voices. I felt a floating sensation coming over me. The Dream world was ready to control me once again, but I will fight it to end this misery. I will win, they will lose.

More pills to stay awake, no food, just water and crackers for four days. The fifth day brought with it a barrage of creatures, big and small, hairless, and animalistic. They came up to my face, smelling me, licking my arms and legs, growling, and watching, watching, watching.

Biting at the heels of my feet, the pain running up my legs. The chewing of my flesh brought the others from the Door, the Door I passed through, the Door of the Dream world, back to my couch to secure their prey. More coffee, more pills, when will this stop?

The sixth day was here. Something has changed. I had to squint my eyes to see clearly, that I was alone, in my house, on my couch, alone. Had I won the battle. Did the creatures give up? What next?

Squinting, my eyes began to close. I couldn’t control the darkness entering my mind. Sleep was ravaging my thoughts. Every creature and more, came swirling into the fog of reality. Sleep and with it, the dream world returned. I had lost the battle.

When I awoke, my ex-girl- friend forty years ago, was sitting on my bed side. The one love that I lost to jealousy and distrust. She was my everything before my medical condition worsened, and I lost the use of my legs. She bought me a wheel chair, which, because of my ego, I told her to leave me alone, and never come back.

“Ann, is that really you, or am I dreaming again?” I asked her.

“Hi Jon. You have destroyed my life, leaving me alone, waiting for your return, but you never came, and now, we are both old, tired and gray.” She cried. “I have stayed faithful to you, all these past years, and finally we are together again. I will not leave you alone, like you did me.”

“Ann, I’m sorry, but who wants to be with a cripple? My legs gone, my bones disintegrating and you, watching me fade away into the grave.” Tears in my eyes.

I still didn’t know if I was dreaming again, or if Ann was here, at my bedside. She was truly, the only girl I had ever loved, and lost. But now, she had come back for me. But she had changed. She wasn’t young again, like me. Ann was in her twilight years while I reversed thirty years off my life.

She bent over to tell me she loved me, and tried to kiss me. Her face was wrinkled and spotted with old age marks. Her breath was stagnant and had the smell of old age. I wanted my young lover, Sandy to return and be with me until the end comes for both of us. But again, my dream world had returned, and with it, Ann.

I knew, deep down, that Ann wasn’t with me. I waited for her to disappear like the others did. And finally, she did disappear. The sadness of losing control of my conscious mind and blending fantasy with realty, was too much for me. I had to void the Contract with the Doctor. I cannot continue not knowing what is real and what is not.

Ann gone, the others returned, watching me, whispering among themselves, just watching. I have learned to allow them their space, and they needed to do the same for me. Schizophrenic or just dreams created a comradery between us.

Maybe I could learn to live with them, still enjoy the thirty- year regression in my age, and control my visions, my dreams my schizophrenic mental state. It was worth a try, before voiding the contract, which may not even exist, either.

I showered, changed my clothes, and got ready to take a walk on the beach. I looked at the others sitting in my living room, not moving, faces sad. “You all coming with me or not?” I asked them. They broke out with the smiles and we all left together, our first walk on the Beach.

I found them asking me so many questions about myself, what I believed in and who healed my body and gave me thirty years of life back. They asked questions but already knew the answers. It was kind of fun having them with me now. I wasn’t alone anymore. They were irritating, but they were all mine.

We all had so much in common. They knew everything about me, and I knew everything about them too. This was a welcome change until a few of them decided that doing bad things was the direction we all needed to go. I told them no way, but two of them, insisted.

If I can’t control these two new partners of mine, the contract of reversing my age, would be voided. The main codicil in the contract, was not to hurt anyone, don’t tell anyone, that this contract existed. If the others can help me, we can keep the two bad ones from controlling our actions.

“Why are you worrying about a contract that doesn’t exist?” Parker asked me. Parker was a brute of a man, thirty plus years in age, engaged with his girlfriend, Mona. These were the two new friends that are part of our secret group, that wanted to raise havoc and possibly destruction of other people, that are not part of our group.

The others whispered to one another that Parker and Mona needed to leave our group. They only wanted to hurt and kill people. We all agreed that Parker and Mona had to leave. They shook their heads in disgust and told all of us that we were losers, being led by a cripple.

The rest of my new friends told Parker and Mona to leave, and they did. The rest of us decided to take a walk on the beach, enjoy the sunshine and maybe even enter the ocean. It was going to be a good day for all, or so I thought.

This new circle of friends, whether from a Dream World or Schizoid World, which ever one is real, funny thing to say, needed to be controlled. With the two trouble makers gone, today could end up being the first day since my infusion of Element 55.738AB, that happiness came to all of us in this new circle.

Feeling the sand between our toes, Sandy and some of the others, ran into the water, yelling, and hollering for me to come into the water with them. I was alone on the beach watching them play, until Sandy came running back to me, grabbing my arm, and pulling me into the water.

Looking back to the sandy beach, Parker, and Mona sad, just watching us play in the water together. We all waved for them to join us. That was a mistake, a big mistake.

Three men, in their twenties, were in the water next to me. They began hassling me, pushing me under the water. My invisible friends were angry and Parker emerged and held two of them underwater until they went limp, and almost drowned. I carried the two men back to the sand, the third followed us, I told him to buzz off, leave us alone.

The two- idiot bully’s, looked at one another, confused. There was no they, just me. They watched me talking to myself, when I was talking to my new friends, my secret friends. This new program with my friends was going to work out just fine. Possibly, Parker and Mona would work well with the others.

The day finished with us going to the pier, eating lunch for six, which confused the waiter, but he served all of us, without causing problems. Six plates of spaghetti and five new, best friends to help me eat.

Heading back to the house, Parker and Mona wanted to rent some skates and cruise the Prominade. There was also a mini 6-flags magic mountain, which we all decided to buy tickets to ride the roll-coaster, and other events. The day turned into night.

Parker and Mona wanted to attack the clown, that was waving the persons to enter the cars and prepare for the ride. I decided that we should go home and not get ourselves into trouble.

Parker was angry and wanted to hurt the clown. We couldn’t stop him. Parker entered my mind and began the attack the clown, ripping his hat and fake hair off his head, taking his big, oversized shoes and throwing them into the trash, and striking him in the face with “my fist.”

“Help me,” the Clown yelled. “Help, Police.”

All of us took off running and heading to the house. Safe again. We all yelled at Parker and warned him not to hurt anyone again. Parker just laughed and told all the circle, to watch what they say.

Some of the people on the Pier told the police what I looked like, and that I was acting like a crazy man, talking to myself and then attacking the Clown. The Police came to my door, knocking. “Open up,” the Police yelled. “Open the door, now.”

Parker was outraged and asked me if he could deal with these two Coppers. We all agreed to let Parker stand up for us. Parker opened the front door and told the Cops to meet him outside the sliding door to the beach. When the Cops came to the door, Parker stepped outside to confront them.

“Did you guys see that crazy Clown. He tried to put us on the roll-coaster, with no safety belts. We told him to let us use another car, and he told us to leave the park and don’t make trouble. Then he tried to hit me. The Police told Parker, “Me”?, to relax and they will handle the problem with the Clown. Many times, before, “the Cops continued,” he has caused lots of other problems for the customers. “Not to worry.” Parker returned to the living room, and the two Cops left, a bit concerned about the nervousness of me, or I should say, Parker.

Long day, and time to sip some coffee and hit the bed. Tomorrow would be a better day, and possibly, no more problems with Parker and Mona.

Laying in my bed, Sandy and her girl- friend entered the covers with me and told me that I have a problem with my hand. The hand that I hit the Clown with, or Parker hit the Clown with, was bleeding black blood. The same black blood as before. Sandy told me I was possessed with evil and needed to cut my hand off.

“Look, the blood is because of the element infused in my body by the Doctor. It will pass. Let’s go to sleep.” All eyes closed. The Black Blood will not pass, but rise to create fear in all who see it.

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