the strange stranger
After finishing breakfast and throwing away the trash, Cedric hurried to the bus-stop, not far from his apartment, to await the five o’clock bus. The morning wasn’t particularly cold, neither was it particularly warm either. It was more of a serene mix between the two. The perfect day to start way, Cedric joked to himself.
He was the first one at the bus stop, and was grateful for that. The day before he arrived late at the bus stop and was welcomed by a long queue, which resulted in him having to stand most of the hour long bus ride.
Just as dawn broke a few other passengers joined him. It was only his second day at his new job, and his stomach was still filled with anxious butterflies like it was his first.
He got fired from his previous job because he was too emotionally distressed to work, his boss was kind and very patient with him for six months, but then fired him, suddenly, seemingly on a whim. He was lucky enough to get another job, working as a security guard at a government facility.
“Hey, Cedric, ready for your second day at work?” came a voice from behind. Cedric turned around and saw an older gentleman come stand next him. He didn’t know him but he was also wearing a security guard uniform. “I see your uniform’s nicely ironed. Your wife do your ironing?”
“No, I do it myself.” Cedric said staring the man up and down.
“Oh, I see. Good for you. My wife does everything for me, she even reminds me to take myself to work.” the man snickered.
“I’m sorry, but do I know you.” Cedric asked, trying his best not to sound rude. The man stared at Cedric for a moment, seemingly to judge whether he was joking, or not.
“I’m Joseph, remember?” Joseph said, slightly confused. “I showed you around the work site, yesterday... we went out for a beer after work?” Cedric thought hard, and scrutinized the man’s face. He shook his head.
“No, sorry. I don’t recall,” Cedric said. Both were confused. Cedric was bewildered as to why he couldn’t remember the man who apparently showed him around the workplace the day before.
“Are you serious?” Joseph asked. “You really don’t remember me?”
“I... No. I don’t know what to tell you.” Cedric said and shrugged.
There was a bit of an awkward silence, until they heard an ambulance siren far off in the distance. The siren got louder as the ambulance got closer. The ambulance zoomed passed them, veered left and went crashing into a building. The crash was violent, and it was hard to see that anyone could survive the crash. There were few people on the street, but those around, including, Joseph ran towards the ambulance to try and help.
A piece of paper flew towards Cedric, and blew against his leg. He took hold of the paper, and read out the word written in big and bold letters.
When Cedric looked up he saw all the people around him go limp and fall to the ground, where they laid motionless. Literally dozens of people suddenly lost consciousness and was now laying around like corpses. Cedric observed their shocked faces and saw no pupils in their eyes.
Too scared to touch any of the bodies, Cedric threw the paper away and took off as fast as he could. He didn’t know what happened, and was not going to stick around to find out.
Cedric found himself running towards the police station. However, he was intercepted on the way by a little girl in a white night gown. The girl had dark eyes and had an eerie expression. Her soaking wet hair covered most of her face.
“Why are you running, Cedric?” the little girl asked. Cedric was shocked when the mysterious little girl called him by his name. Then he saw other cars crash against buildings and each other. The cars soon burst into flames. Cedric was so disturbed by this scene he turned on his heels and started running the other direction, towards his apartment building.
Cedric ran up to his apartment and locked the door behind him. His heart raced as he went to check on Rosetta. He entered her room, but found her room empty and her bed made up. There was a suitcase laying on the bed. When Cedric opened it he saw that it was full of Rosetta’s clothes. He became deeply worried, he frantically called out to Rosetta as he ran around his apartment, but there was no answer.
“You still have work to do, Cedric.” the little girl said again. Cedric jumped when he saw the little girl standing in the middle of his living room. He ran to the kitchen area, and grabbed a large butcher knife. He stared at the little girl as she gazed at him.
“Who are you? What have you done with my daughter!” Cedric asked, as he pointed the knife at her.
“You know who I am, Cedric.” the girl said, with an expressionless face. She then looked and pointed out the window.
“Brace yourself, the meteor is coming.” Cedric looked out the window and became mortified when he indeed saw a meteor off in the distance, and it was approaching fast, he felt immense heat as the fireball came near. Suddenly, everything around him started to combust, his furniture, his clothes, himself.
He started to scream as his skin began to singe. He tried to get away from the fire, but there was no escaping it. Cedric looked at the little girl who seemed to be unaffected by the inferno around them.
“Why are you doing this?!” Cedric called out to the little girl. The girl didn’t respond, but had a sullen expression on her face. Cedric noticed a tall figure standing at his front door. The tall figure also seemed to be immune to the scorching blaze of the inferno, and was coming straight towards him.
“Demons, get out!” Cedric said as he lunged at the figure and stabbed it multiple times with the butcher knife.
He was soon overcome by the flames and lost consciousness.