MR. PATTRICK HATHAWAY
When the twilight fades to blackness, it lights a fire inside my guts. It burns away the drabness of the day, the clock in and the clock out, the mechanized life, robotic and cold. But today was ecstatic, not like my usual tedious days. I hat-tip my old friend, also neighbor, Cade Rook. The only person who can turn a me, bank manager into a clown, literally, just for her daughter’s birthday. Casey turned 10 today. Ah! The look in her face when she knew I was coming at her party. Yet, she can be the devil sometimes. And the irony is that she was born on the day of Halloween...
31 October 2018-Halloween night
At night you can be anybody and no-one cares who you really are. But then again, I was out, late at night, tired from work and you can’t even deny the lovely wife who asked you to go to the grocery store for her. I know it’s just 5 minutes of driving but then again, it’s JUST 5 MINUTES of driving...
I nodded while shrugging as I giggled and whispered to myself- Maybe Cuz you’re the man Pattrick!
The road laid before me was like a tarmac ribbon; albeit, one that had been worn over time. A white line ran down the center, relatively unbroken compared to the scarred and potholed concrete. In my area, it’s just Cade’s house who would be decorated. Since no one really celebrate Halloween after last year’s events, Cade brings Casey out of town for the trick-r-treats.
Did you know,the only thing more terrifying than being alone is realizing that you are not? I could hear a breathing, behind my shoulders. Next second, the breathing was so loud that it felt as if I was listening to my own breath using a stethoscope, placed on my chest. I took a quick glance. It was a man. I waited for another second and then I lunged at him. It was an old man. He had a fringe of grey-white hair around his balding, mottled scalp. He had a wizened face and a back slightly hunched. I took some steps back.
“Hey are you lost?”
“What are you doing out here all alone?”
He said none and moved steadily towards me. With each movement, there was this... creak of old bones.He had the resigned look of one who knows that at his age, life has stopped giving and only takes away. He straightened his eyes which was rolling on the street few moments ago and stared at me with his huge blue eyes which gave him a more startled look.
I’ve seen him before. But Not like this. Not old. But I’ve seen ... those eyes. But where?
Though his face was in the dark,his eyes and his body trait seemed familiar, almost like someone I just met...
He leaned his hands forward, forming a bowl with his palms;
“Oh wait, let me see what I have”
I reached my wallet and gave him $10-ish. He watched the note for a second but then grabbed my hand. I panicked as I struggled to get off of him but he had a tight grip. A person who could barely even walk, having this much strength... I know am 40 but I am not that rusty. He suddenly then bit my hand and in my defense, I reluctantly kick him. I could see a car coming from far front. I sensed a change on the road as the car kept moving forward at high speed, brightening the surroundings. I finally got a good look at him; his torn pants, his white shirt covered in blood and his deformed face...
“Sir, sir, sir, can you move your trolley aside please”, a random woman from behind said.
“Oh yeah! Sorry”
I could see her laying her eyes over the bite mark on my hand. It amplified a little.
I just needed to get my vegetables and get back home. Vegetables? What guy on earth would come to Walmart after such a direful experience? I was not even able to think anymore. All that kept coming to my mind was the old man sprinting off the road and within a split of a second, he completely disappeared. Running? He looked like a bag of rusty bones... The Police? Going go the hospital to check out for infection? Heading straight home? No! I needed to get to Walmart. Why? I don’t know... Maybe because of that strange smell which drew me towards it?
Carrots, broccoli, Green leaf lettuces, spinach, cucumber... Everything I needed right? That’s my dinner-ish. Yet, I was feeling that it was not going to be enough for tonight. Maybe I should put on some more? As I was absorbed in my thoughts, I did not see him and I just ran onto a random guy. I could not help but staring at him. Maybe it was the bright red T-shirt he was wearing. I was sweating, I was sweating profusely. I had a sudden urge. An urge to jump on him.
I had an abrupt feeling; anger.
“Watch out where you’re going pal”
Did he just say that to me? He wants to pick a fight with me? Should I fight him?
I strengthened my fists. I felt like I was buffed for some reason. I felt like I was in full control. All sweaty, I felt like I could just destroy anything in my way. But was I really in full control?
I need to fight him. I must fight him.
“What did you just say to me YOU FUCK?”
“YOU THINK YOU WILL CHEAT ON MY WIFE AND I WILL NEVER KNOW?”
He turned back and faced me.
A small crowd gathered around us.
“YOU WANT TO BITE ME BITCH? YOU OLD CREEP FUCK”
“Ok pal, you need to calm the fuck down. I don’t even know who you are”
Whoa! What just happened to me? Why did I scream like that? What the hell?
“I’m I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s.. um I’m sorry”
Everyone looked at me with their glaring eyes. I strode away from there as fast as I could.
I should act normal and strut my way to the cashier and get back home.
I could see the cashier. But there was this smell, this strange smell. Maybe the same that drew me here? It’s a smell I know of but.. there was something different about it. I walked towards it. I found myself at the centre of the mall. The source of the smell which dragged me here was right in front of me.
Steak, Bacon, lamb carcasses, chicken wings, mince meat, all the red stuffs.
I took a glance of my trolley. Everything was gone. Just some leaves left of the lettuces. Half eaten carrots and a small piece of cucumber. My thoughts were again disturbed by the “things” that were in front of me. I’ve kept these away from me from my whole life. Yet, today I was craving to... I could hear my stomach growl. Suddenly many flashy images boarded my mind; the ads of KFC, watching Helen and Janice eating those turkeys on thanksgivings. Then I saw her head, neck ripped off while I was going after Janice, my mouth filled with blood...
I felt like I could rip apart that pack of mince meat right now and devour it.I want to sink my teeth in a lobster tail, have a decent bite out of the white, tender, succulent and flavorful meat, give it a nice chew to allow its aroma to interplay with my tongue and then let it glide down my throat.I want to grab hold of a roasted lamb leg, slice a chunk of brown,chewy, juicy and seasoned meat off the bone, give it a powerful chew to allow its fragrance to collide against my tongue and then swallow it with dreamy satisfaction.
“Sir, sir, you’re next”, said the lady at the cashier.
“Oh yeah I’m sorry”, I said while shaking my head.
I then saw my empty trolley and I had no idea what to say and how to explain why I had an empty trolley. Maybe I ate them? Maybe? I just couldn’t remember. The lady oddly looked at me. I looked around, turning right and left, grabbed a bunch of chocolates from the nearby shelves and gave a quick smile. She awkwardly smiled back.
Jeez that was painfully awkward!
I strolled till I reached my car, whistling. The road ahead was pitch dark.
What did the government run out of budget? This is 2018 for fuck sake...
I sat, put my seat belts on, started the engine, exited the parking lot and I was off to go.
Why do I have the full flash on?
On the right side of the street, I saw a man, old and twitchy. His face was in the dark but then I noticed his clothes,pants were torn but there was something about his shirt. It seemed like it had blood on it. Or maybe it was just a taint. Perhaps I was overthinking. He could’ve probably been a beggar. I then noticed a bite mark on my hand.
What the... When did that happened? And where the hell am I going this late night? Home? Probably home. Shit, did I have one of those cheap liquor again? That’s why I can’t remember shit?? Helen will kill me... Or perhaps I can explain her, maybe? Pff, well only one way to find out, let’s go home!