Chapter 10 "Seed"
I arrive at your door and a feeling I get immediately spikes infuriation in me. Deep in me. You’re... not here...
And there’s a dark, smothering feeling coming from your apartment.
I press the side of my head against your door, sliding my hand down it. “How could you... How could you leave so soon...?” I stand quietly for a moment, then I use my mist to unlock the door.
As I push it open, I look around your kitchen. I feel him... but can’t see him. I breathe in deeply, then crack my neck and walk into the living room. He’s everywhere—giving a suffocating feeling of impending doom. He’s been here before. I trace the source of the darkness to your room. Your bed isn’t made. You always make it. Your curtains are shut. You never shut them.
I look over at the mirror and see a small crack in it. You’re very careful about your stuff and if you ever broke something, you wouldn’t want to look at it for long out of feeling guilty. You would hide it away so Jeffery wouldn’t see. I walk over to the mirror and trace my fingers over the crack. It looks more like a cut—feels like it too. Why is this familiar to me? I think back on the other night when I stood in my bathroom with your blood on my face and how the lights darkened for only a second. It was very unordinary. This mirror was not hit by anything on the outside...
I pause while running my fingers over the glass.
“...You... bastard...” I remove my hand slowly, lowering my head with a glower. This is how he got in. He came in through a mirror. But which one? Anger starts building up in me again. He couldn’t have taken you from me. Not yet. This is too easy! It has to be too easy.
“Excuse me, mister.... What are you doing in Miss Addison’s apartment?” I hear a little girl’s voice behind me, breaking my train of thought. What is a child doing here? I look out of the corner of my eye and then I turn around to her. “Well... hello there...” She backs up, holding a stuffed doll. “You don’t look too good.” I stare down at her without saying another word. It unsettles her a great deal. She backs up a little more. “I don’t think you belong here...” My gaze falls over her beautiful curly brown hair and then rises to her big bright green eyes again. So much life and innocence. Oh... it’s been a long time since I enjoyed a small, small girl...
I blink softly and finally loosen up with a gradual smile. But I can’t have her... now. I kneel in front of her and take her chin in two fingers, “I’m an old friend of Addison’s... And you’re right sweetheart; in fact, I don’t feel too good. Could you, maybe... help me feel better? Tell me, sweetie... what is your name?” There’s suddenly the sounds of heavy footfalls coming in and then a loud, “LUCY!” A woman gasps. I look past the girl’s shoulder, and she glances back. “Mommy!”
Her mother glares at me and snatches her hand, “I told you not to talk to strangers! You can’t walk in a stranger’s apartment! Come on!” She pulls her away. Frowning, Lucy waves me a goodbye. I do the same, now standing up again. Well this is unfortunate... Don’t worry sweetie. There is always next time. Hearing me telepathically completely throws her off. Her little mouth opens in such surprise. How adorable...
As Lucy and her mother leave the apartment, I cross my arms over my chest and begin pacing the room. Then I go and sit down on your bed, staring at your bathroom door. It couldn’t have been long before the diner that Reuben came back into this world. Have I been led here only to find out he’s taken you away from me and pulled you into another dimension? I don’t understand how that could work. That asylum—you’ve been there twice. Is that an image or does it truly exist? I don’t understand how he could snatch you away like this. You’re human. Humans cannot go to a nonphysical place! I don’t see how. He couldn’t have killed you and taken you away. Why would he do that? I don’t understand!
I hear the front door handle jiggle and then a key slide into the lock. The fragile, uneasy heartbeat and breath of the person on the other side sounds just like you. Instant relief washes over me. I’m amused; I’m wrong, and I questioned so much about your situation. I stand and plod to the front door. When you open it, you jump and I snatch you by the waist and yank you inside. “Come here!” I shut the door and pull you over to the couch and throw you down. “Addison, where is Reuben?” You shake your head quickly. “I don’t know!” I breathe you in and kneel beside you, grabbing your arm and looking deep into your eyes. Looking into your thoughts, I see everything you experienced last night. The man with the bright light as a face, the patient in the stairwell writing on the door window at the mental asylum, the sights, sounds and smells of your surroundings—I see, hear and smell everything. Your eyes are getting watery again. I blink emotionlessly for a few seconds until I put these images together in my mind. “Was that man Reuben?” Your face fills with pain and suffering at that... but you’re just as confused as me. You truly don’t know anything. You’re not even sure if you were actually there or not. I start to grin, “I see... No Addison... you’re not crazy.” But now I have much more to ponder over. Why were you there again, why didn’t you stay, what was that patient talking about and who was that dark figure?
When we were at the diner, Reuben sat beside you. There was nothing I could do to stop him. In the middle of you staring out the window, lost and afraid in the asylum, and while I was talking to him, he spoke of the things I’ve done throughout the last century. He mentioned how my wife and kids left me and I was never able to find them; and because I couldn’t find them, I’ve taken it out on many people by killing them in certain ways it’s like gaining a sense of completeness—some sort of fulfillment. He said because of what I am and what I’ve done, ‘whatever goes around comes around’. Then your breath suddenly hitched and you squirmed, and he tilted his head at me with a darkening smile. I knew something was wrong right then. I jumped up and punched him in the face and then yanked him down to the floor.
“Stop- Gabriel, let go,” you squint at my tight grasp on your arm. I trail my eyes down to your stomach as I hear it gurgle and growl. It doesn’t sound natural. “...Why are you home so early?” I look at you again. Your face contorts with that same painful grimace and nervousness. Are you afraid? Why are you in pain? I shake you, “Why did you leave so early!” You let out a breathy “Gabriel, I-” Your stomach grumbles and you tighten it with a soft moan. I put my hand on it. There’s a sudden jolt, making you belt out a cry. I quickly pull your shirt up. It’s moving. My eyes enlarge in shock. “What has he done...” It’s moving like something in there wants to get out. That’s impossible! You squeeze your stomach and curl up into a ball. “Oh god, it hurts! Something’s wrong! Something’s wrong! I feel like I’m going to explode!” The door busts down and I hear a high-pitched siren in my head. I fall to the floor, holding my head and yelling. Blood starts pouring down from my eyes. What is happening!!! The siren in my head is getting louder. It’s so loud I can’t take it anymore! I fall on the floor, writhing and screaming. All the walls are closing in on me. Everything is getting dark. I struggle to look ahead and I see a tall figure with a bright light come up and kick me in the face.
I hear a low pulsing around me and then it stops; the floor is cold, the room is cold, the pain is gone, and my stomach feels numb. I hear footsteps now on tile in a long, wide hall. Opening my eyes, I see I’m lying on the floor of that hospital. My arms and legs are weak. I slowly, carefully push myself up, looking around for other people. Why am I back here...? Why do I keep coming back?
I crawl to the wall and use it to help me stand. When I take my hands off it, I see dark brownish yellow liquid ooze from a crack. I cough on my arm at the sight and smell. Why does this place look like this...! I see I’m in the patient gown again. How does this keep happening to me?
Cautiously, I follow the hall. I can’t find the exit sign anywhere. Everything is different on this floor. I don’t know where I am. I see all the doors on both sides are open. The patients are in their rooms staring out their windows, and their clothes are stained in that disgusting substance. They sound like they’re struggling to breathe, they’re grunting and some are moaning. Why is everything so horrible and unruly here? Joe’s explanation of what happens to people here comes back to me, making me feel even sicker. I hold my stomach, remembering what happened at the apartment. Something is inside of me. Something unnatural. But it’s not moving now. What is it? How did this happen? The one at the diner... Reuben... Did he do this to me? ...No... that’s impossible! Am I going mad? Is everything an illusion? Is this all one big nightmare? Has something happened to me that put me in a coma and this is what I’m seeing?
I find an empty nurses’ station and see a flashlight in an open drawer. The lights are working but this would be a good weapon in case I’m attacked by someone... or something. I take it and quietly walk on. Why isn’t there any medical staff around? The patients are left to roam free? Nothing in this place makes sense.
There’s a stairwell ahead of me. I go and open the door and start hurrying downstairs. On every floor, there’s a nurse or doctor blocking the stairwell door. There they are. It’s already a challenge going down these steps. I feel drained.
I get to the third floor and see it’s the darkest of all the others I’ve seen. The elevator is to the right in the hall, open and lit up. That’s a great, but terrible sign. Should I take it or keep using the stairs? I need to hurry before they find me. Please god, please let this end. End it now. Wake up Addison—you have to wake up!