The Nefarious Mr. X

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Chapter 2

2

October 7th, 2003

The smell of ammonia was strong.

The acrid scent dug deep under the skin of his nostrils, providing a vicious sting that permeated to his forehead.

And darkness.

A cold black grip which never let go.

Then a sliver of light on the horizon. A crack forming in the enveloping midnight shroud that held him so tight. Brightness which almost burned his eyes, as he opened them for what felt like a very long time.

The man awoke from his sleep and stared about the room.

It was barren, white and industrial. Moving his eyes, he attempted to take in his surroundings. There were plain tiles running along the ceiling, white and charcoal square panels divided by thin grey lines of cheap metal, spaced equally with absolutely no flare, so like those found in any classroom of any public school system. There was a small wooden cabinet consisting of two drawers, both closed, with equally drab handles to his right. A mirror bolted to the wall and florescent lighting tracks outfitted down the length of the room.

A huge rectangular window on the left stared out across a lush landscape. Trees flushed with greens, yellows and reds.

’Fall? Most trees don’t find themselves painted by God’s palette in these colours until the end of a summer season.’

High in the branches he observed an empty birds nest. Above it, two birds, robins he guessed, dancing amongst themselves in the air.

‘Lovely around here.’ He pictured. He would feel inspired except for the fact the man had no recollection of where here was.

Or for that matter, how he got here… Or yet, who he was.

He raised his hand to his head. It ached.

A deep rooted pain that moved slowly through the body, past bone and flesh with no more ease than molasses over a block of ice. Trepidation and forbearance gave him the impression there was more pain to come.

He stared down at his bed. The pristine white sheets and a single blanket were tightly pressed around his body. An IV drip extended down from a metal rack positioned to the side. He glanced over and realized it had no wheels. Obviously they felt he was a person who wasn’t planning to move about much.

Or patient?’ It suddenly dawned on him.

This was a hospital room.

Fear flooded his heart.

He raised his hands and examined them.

Five fingers, no missing flanges or parts. No running tracks of scars nor blotches of black bruises trailing up his limbs.

His arms were tired and heavy, but the terror of the worst was funneling through his mind. He tore the sheets from the bed and he looked down at his feet.

Both feet, ten toes, long legs with no metal braces holding him together.

He could only presume, if the IV had no wheels, he was not missing any body parts, nor bruised in any way, he simply never moved from this bed.

And the only reason hospitals put an IV drip on you with no mobility was you were in that bed for a long time.

Since he had no memory of it, the logical assumption was, Coma.

He opened his mouth to speak.

A dry rasp spewed forth from his throat like a dry breeze rustling through skeletal tree branches in a blazing desert.

No voice came out.

He coughed.

Even his cough sounded whispered.

He resumed his examination of the room.

Besides being immaculately clean and white, there was nothing inviting at all, least of all, anything... personal.

No pitcher of water, cups, television or chairs for visitors.

Nothing.

How long had I been here?

He groaned as he tried to sit up. He felt a sharp pain in his penis. It felt like a thousand needles ripping through his lower intestine struggling to find escape through his genitals. Tears formed in his eyes. He reached down and gently pulled the catheter, deeply imbedded in his manhood, out. It came out easily, obviously changed often, with a trickle of piss.

A wave of pleasure rumbled through his body as his groin felt freed.

A flood of exhaustion overwhelmed him. He leaned back and rested. It seemed like only a minute, but it could have been hours.

He couldn’t move fast.

His arms and legs felt like they had been tethered down, one for every appendage, making movement hard and arduous. But when he looked, no straps were there.

He sat up and draped his legs over the bedside.

However long he was comatose, he must have a regular physiotherapy nurse attending to him, moving his arms and legs whilst he was unconscious, to prevent atrophy. The muscles were tight, but they were still limber.

He started to rise from the bed.

He felt the cold breeze under his nightgown as the nakedness of his body came back at him in a shock.

The room started to spin, but he knew he wasn’t turning.

Seconds before he hit the floor, a huge arm looped under his shoulders and helped lower him gently back into the bed.

The man looked up to see a huge behemoth of a human being standing before him.

The nurse was male, dressed completely in white, from the top of his six four frame to the base of his size twelve feet. Like a mountain of muscle, but covered in polyester instead of snow. His presence was easily felt in any room he occupied. The clothes seemed to stretch around him like a parachute recently opened at twenty thousand feet, holding tight not to let go. The nurse had a bald head and deep blue eyes which penetrated the bedridden man. The nurse softly raised the blanket up and over his patient.

The nurse’s demeanor carried forth an almost ‘gentle giant’ like feeling. This man could likely crush bricks between his toes, but the essence of his personality could no more harm a butterfly in flight than endanger one under his charge.

“Sorry about that old friend.” The nurse smiled. “I wasn’t expecting you to wake up yet. Your bracelet alerted me the moment you regained consciousness.”

Old friend? The man thought. How long have I been here?

The man looked down at his wrist. A complicated digital monitor was strapped expertly to his forearm with leather straps belted around a small handheld console. It had five computerized readouts, one monitoring his heart rate, one for blood pressure, one his breathing and others he did not recognize.

Except for the flashing red light, flickering frantically as the nurse made the man more comfortable, had he noticed.

The man got agitated. ‘Who am I? Where am I? What’s going on?’

The nurse leaned forward, with experience in caring for others, tried to allay the man’s fears speaking in a low monotone voice, filled with a kindness very few could imitate. “I know what you’re looking for. You won’t find one. No clock. No calendar. Nothing like that. Doc says stuff like that will only confuse you.”

The man knew for certain he had been there for some time.

“The Doc will be in tomorrow to talk to you.” The nurse neatened the bed, puffed the pillows and reached for the catheter. “Guess you won’t need that anymore?”

The man watched in silence.

The nursed rose from his crouched position. “My name is Charles.”

The man opened his mouth to speak. “Charl…” The words dissipated into a scratch-like hiss.

Charles raised his open palm. “Careful friend. You don’t want to strain those vocal chords. Your voice will come back to you. It’s like throwing a boomerang. It might be in the air for a while, but it always comes back.”

The man leaned back in his bed, never once letting his eyes stray from the huge Charles.

“I’ll come back in a few minutes with a bed pan and some juice. I love the juice here. Its freshly squeezed right from the fruit. Not like those regular hospitals.”

Regular hospitals? The man mused. Where else could I be?

The man raised his hand to his forehead and let his fingers caress his hair.

“Feels good to get those bandages off huh?” Charles chuckled, “But then again, you probably don’t remember them being on in the first place?”

The man ran his fingers down his cheeks searching.

“Don’t worry none. Your face is still as handsome as ever. No scarring or bruising.”

The man was not relieved.

Charles gave him a nod, ’Don’t try to get up right yet. You’re not allowed to be wandering yet. So stay put. I’ll be happy to take you on the grand tour, once the Doc sees you.”

Allowed? This was so overwhelming.

Charles left the room, abandoning the man to his thoughts.

I guess I have no choice but to wait for the doctor.

And for the strangest reason, he was annoyed by this.

He did not know why, but he could tell this was not something he normally felt, but right now he was more than annoyed.

In fact, he felt angry.

He squeezed his fists tightly, very angry.

**********************

The next morning came slowly.

Especially when you didn’t know the time of day.

The anger seemed to have subsided in the night, somewhat.

The room door opened and Charles came in with a tray of the most delectable foods one could imagine. He brought a chair with him which he sat in to serve. He set the platter out before the man. It was a feast. Freshly sliced peaches, apples, kiwi, grapes and berries displayed in a delicate porcelain bowl. To the side, several small blocks of cheese, brie, blue and cheddar. A toasted croissant, a buttered muffin with real butter, crackers and a boiled egg, all expertly positioned around the tray. And finally, a glass of orange juice and a cappuccino, poured into one of those crafted bowls with a handle, steaming and frothed.

He knew this was not your standard hospital.

The man took a sip of the cappuccino.

It felt wonderful. The bittersweet taste of the coffee with the warm milky feeling of the cream brought a solace to his taste-buds.

After indulging on some food and drink, the happy nurse watching with pleasure, the man ravaged his meal.

Once done, the man looked to Charles. After having several cups of water the night before, and practicing, he asked the question he needed answered. “Who am I?”

Charles offered a sad tilt to his head as he stood up at the bedside. “Sorry friend. We have rules about stuff like that. Doc’s orders. He’ll explain once he comes in.”

The man felt the anger boiling up within him again. For several seconds, he imagined thrusting his breakfast fork into Charles’ throat, nicking the artery…

Charles caught the mood shift in the man’s eye. Not the thoughts, but the change. He moved his full form into the man’s personal space, putting his gigantic paws for hands on the man’s knees, gently pressing upon him, clearly advertising, if Charles wanted to, he could crumple the man into a ball and toss him into a basket to score a hoop.

“Got to control that.” Charles said; his voice firm. “Some people, when they get a hit on the noggin like you did, tend to have a lot less control of their emotions. Doc warned me about that with you.”

“With me?” The man whispered.

“This wasn’t the first time you woke up. It was a few months back. You were still delirious you understand, and the staff never took it personally, but I heard you stabbed him.”

The man offered nothing.

Charles pulled back; his eyes, originally warm and inviting, were firm and committed. “You tore a good chunk out of him, but he’s okay now.”

The man felt sickened by this, but worse, a tingle of pleasure flickered from this forgotten victory.

“Which is how I got assigned to you.” Charles got friendlier. “They imagined you’d be less likely to try that again around my pleasant self.”

For some unknown reason, the man felt angry again. Having no memory of this incident, but the humiliation of being treated like a prisoner as a result sent cold rivers of fury through his blood.

Charles read the man like a book. “Remember. If you want to get better, you won’t get there if you keep picking fights with people for no reason.’

The rage started to subside.

He mused, he was wasting his energy, for now.

He shoved another mouthful of fruit into his palette and swallowed hard.

“Where’s the doctor?” the man whispered.

“On his way. He wanted you to have some food in you before he came in.”

The man finished his breakfast, leaving barely a scrap on his plate.

As the tray was being removed, an elegant looking man walked in.

Obviously the doctor. From his ramrod posture to his perfectly manicured nails, from his silver grey hair, small bi-focals to his crisp white medical coat and his recently polished penny loafers, he was sophistication personified. His dark brown skin seemed to be in contrast to the entire room, but behind those bright blue eyes, there was no way of hiding it, the man’s intelligence was like a force. It filled the room with his arrival.

He stood before the bed, like a warden over his inmate. He had a warm smile on his clean shaven face, but it was definitely filled with superiority. The wrinkles in his skin seemed more like a generals stripes than cracks in an old painting.

The man felt it. And of course, it made him angry.

“Good morning friend.”

Friend again? The man fumed, When are they going to get to his name?

“I’m Doctor Lopes.” The doctor pronounced. He didn’t open the chart in his hands. He obviously had it memorized. “I hope we’re making you comfortable.”

The man nodded. “Yes. Charles has been very helpful.”

“Excellent. He’s one of our best.” The doctor motioned for Charles to leave.

The doctor never wavered from his spot. He kept his focus and sharp blue eyes locked on the man.

“Where am I?” The man asked.

Doctor Lopes looked on in amusement. “It’s always one of two questions you know.”

“Pardon?”

“When a patient wakes up from a coma? They either ask ‘Where am I’ or “How long was I out?’” The doctor moved around the bed, facing the window. “It’s uncanny, no matter how many times I attend a waking patient, it’s never ‘Who won the world series?’ or ‘How did I get here?’ which I admit, I’m surprised that one’s not the first.”

The man stared in confusion.

“I apologize. Simply the musings of a neurosurgeon who attends to coma patients for a greater part of his life.” The doctor turned back to the man. “Don’t worry. I’m also a clinical psychiatrist.”

The man felt sick. “Am I… crazy?”

The doctor laughed. It was an empty laugh. The coldness of it made the man feel heat resume course through his veins.

“Far from it.” The doctor placed the chart on the bed, near the feet, but out of reach of the patient. “You have amnesia. Post traumatic amnesia to be exact.”

“Post traumatic?”

“Post-traumatic amnesia is generally due to a head injury. In your case, a car accident.”

The man focused his thoughts, trying to recollect. When? Where? How?

The memories did not come to him

“If it was meant to return now, it would. It may still. But don’t overdo it.” The doctor rested his hand on the man’s shoulder. “Think of your memories as the top of a mountain. Amnesia is the giant boulder in your path. It’s too heavy to push back up, so you need to find either ways around it or a means to chip away at it until it falls apart letting you through. All shoving and screaming will do is tire you out and won’t get you back to the top.”

The man sagged in frustration.

The doctor could see his patient’s mood slipping. “But we’ll work on it. You’re in the best facility in the world. Alberta is known for its peaceful rivers, forests and countryside. What better a place to recover?”

“Who am I?” The man asked

The doctor took his hand back. “You’re not ready for that yet.”

**********************

Each day passed with an almost undeniable slowness.

Made harder by the fact no one would give him his name.

The man fumed. ’You can’t imagine how valuable your name is until you lose it.’

Each patient, nurse and doctor he greeted, all gave him waives, nods, pats on the back, claps, he liked the applause for some reason, but always addressing him in the same way. ‘Hey Friend.’

Like someone wanted to be named Friend.

This was further burdened by being forced to get up with a physiotherapist every morning and walk past these same people.

The man did learn, even with keeping his muscles from atrophying, it did nothing for losing basic motor skills. He needed to reorient himself with the simple tasks of walking without staggering, taking a piss without shooting all over the wall or being able to stand at the window for a few minutes without becoming exhausted.

Charles, forever the optimist, always there, ready to help, serve or clean up.

Like a personal maid, to help him with his every need.

He knew in his heart this was not normal treatment.

But he knew he could not solve that riddle until they answered his primary question. ’Who am I?

Days passed.

Weeks blended into months.

Breakfast, physiotherapy, lunch, exercise, dinner, sessions with Doctor Lopes.

As each day passed, the man was getting angrier. Several times, he lost control of his rages and twice nearly pummeled another patient, envisioning their slit throats pooling under his bare feet.

But there was Charles, ready to intervene, reminding the man to get control. Never using any violence, only his sheer size. The pressure of gravity he seemed to give off was swift enough to take the wind out of any fight’s sails.

Yet each day, the man asked the same question. “Who am I? Why won’t anyone tell me my name?!”

Each time, it was met with same shrug of the shoulders, same wave of the hands, and that infuriating answer. “It’s up to the Doc.”

How precious one’s identity was, when it was someone else’s to give.’

Over the weeks, the man would race up the halls, his nightgown fluttering behind him like a cape in the open skies. He was no longer embarrassed by his nudeness under the material. If this was all they gave him, what choice did he have?

But the staff let him do what he wanted.

Never once chastising him.

Always calling Charles to take him back to his room.

Until that day.

When something happened.

Something unexpected.

Clipboard in hand, always in hand, Doctor Lopes entered the man’s room.

The lights had been dimmed. The man could smell the thick wave of the doctor’s finely polished shoes as he stood before him.

It always annoyed the man. That semi-sweet leather hint flushed with a dry chemical he could not identify which nauseated him.

He could tell the Doctor polished those shoes daily.

A deep mahogany brown that caused the shoes to shimmer under the fluorescent lights. The glaze, expertly polished, defined a dryness to give the appearance of new, but still appearing worn.

It wafted into the man’s brain like a pepper snorted off a mirror.

Not his drug of choice.

The doctor stopped at the end of the bed. “Good day friend.”

Damn friend again.

“You’re doing remarkable at rebuilding your physical body.” The Doctor gave a curt little nod of approval. “But your mind is still very behind.”

Without a name?.’ The man seethed, ’Where do I begin? You ask me over and over if I remember the accident. I tell you no. And you move on to memory games. What do you expect? The man cleared his throat. “I’m trying.”

The doctor looked down at the man like he was talking to a petulant child. “But not hard enough.”

The man was furious.

“Now there’s no point in getting angry at yourself.”

It’s not me I’m angry with.’ The man kept to himself.

“We’ll keep trying until you do it.”

The man spoke up, truly wondering. “And if I don’t?”

The doctor shrugged his shoulders, with no more care than if he’d been asked. ‘What if the world ended tomorrow?’ He replied. “Well we’ll just have to keep you until it does. Money is no object.”

The man was suddenly thunderstuck by the prospect of living his life out in this hospital.

The Doctor turned to leave. “We have an appointment for tomorrow then?”

And then it happened.

It happened so quickly, the man didn’t realize it until he did it.

Charles was entering the room as the man did it.

The man repeated back what the doctor said, word for word. “We have an appointment for tomorrow then?” But in the exact same voice as the doctor.

The same moderate baritone of superiority, the same pitch of sound, the same breath of motion with the passing of each word as it left his lips.

The Doctor spun in shock, his hand nearly dropping his tightly held clipboard.

Charles on the other hand was thoroughly amused.

In fact, Charles actually clapped. “Well I’ll be damned. He’s as good as they say.”

The man enjoyed the feeling of the applause.

The Doctor on the other hand, was not impressed. Not in the least. It was an eerie feeling to have your voice spoken back at you, from someone who had no memory of who they were, where they came from or how they came to be here.

And to have it done so easily and perfectly frightened the Doctor for the first time in a long time.

The man bid the Doctor goodnight, using the Doctor’s voice.

The Doctor kept his calm when he left the room.

But halfway down the hall, the Doctor’s gait widened, as he ran for his office.

*************************

The following weeks were long and arduous, filled with exercise and rehabilitation.

But for entertainment, for the man, life had become a great deal more interesting. He started getting a knack for repeating back peoples voices, men and women alike. His throat muscles, once dry and limp from overuse, were now a cacophony of tones and sounds. Nurses lauded in amusement. Some patients, though obviously very ill, never once missed an opportunity to try and test the man’s mettle.

Each time, the man succeeded, mimicking each voice like a tape recorder. Even saying new things, streams of sentences that the patients never uttered.

Charles was so thrilled with the man’s impression of him, he had the man call his home number and tell his wife he was going to be home later than expected. His wife said she loved him and told him to drive carefully. Never once suspecting she wasn’t talking to her husband.

Doctor Lopes seemed to soften up to the voice tricks after a while. He still seemed chilled in the man’s presence and continually asked if the man would stop speaking in the Doctor’s voice, but with very little success.

The man truly enjoyed this talent.

The man knew, whoever he was, he was more than your average man.

He seemed he could become everyone if he wanted.

Until that fateful night….

The man was wandering the halls, analyzing windows, doors, locks, exits, security cameras, key card passes, and the works.

He still had not been outside to that luscious garden. Those cool breezy hills. That wonderful Alberta town the Doctor chimed on about.

He passed the Doctor’s open office door and stopped.

The room was empty. He had never been in this room.

Sure he had seen it several times when he passed on his way to the doctor’s therapy sessions, but he had never actually been inside the Doctor’s sanctuary.

The man entered, closing the door gently behind him.

It was smaller than he imagined. And crowded. There was a cherry wood desk with a black executive leather chair crunched in behind it. Shelves were lined with books, from Grays Anatomy, to the tomes on the make-up of the human brain. Large gold embossed textbooks on psychology to magazines on modern medicine.

The Doctor’s desk was littered with papers, folders, binders and more, all arranged haphazardly, but tightly compressed.

The one overhead light on the ceiling barely kept the room illuminated. With the exception of an antique desk lamp, brass along the edge with a walnut base, positioned near the chair for late night reading.

Compared to the orderliness of the room, the desk was in disarray.

The Doctor had obviously gotten up in a hurry.

‘So much the better for me.’ The man thought, ’Maybe I can finally get my name.’

He moved to the filing cabinets and with a quick tug, ascertained they were locked. He did not have the time or patience to pick a lock at this moment.

He moved around the desk and laid out on the floor was a brand new pair of penny loafers.

Deep brown, the smell of newness flowing off them.

The man sat down in the Doctor’s chair and ran his hands over the drawers.

Each one locked tight.

All the files on the desk were not about him.

The man felt the coldness running through his veins again.

‘So close to having my identity back.’

Once he had it, he would show everyone how valuable their identity was.

He continued to look around the office.

He found some notations on a pad. Not a standard legal pad, but a chart one for musings and thoughts. The kind you would give to a stenographer to transpose into text for later. No name again. It was infuriating. But as he scrolled down, he suddenly knew, the notes were about him.

The man started to read.

“The subject has regained many of his former abilities, from his ability to mimic to his outright persona shifts. But none of his original memories or identity. Fascinating. I’ll have to bring this up in the Nature versus Nurture debate with Doctor Hourston in the coming symposium. A subject with all their natural skills returning before the memory. Astonishing.” There was a pause in the notes. Several scratches filled the margins as though the writer was lost in how to continue. “The subject has displayed many markers of a sociopathic nature. Left on his own, I suspect he is capable of killing.”

The man froze, but knew this to be true. He continued.

“I don’t believe the subject will ever regain his memories. The damage to the memory centre of his brain is widespread and devastating. Even with his skills returning, he’ll likely never have his identity return. And being some of the frontal lobe is damaged as well, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to hold onto or retain an identity for any length of time even if we were to manufacture one for him. My diagnosis at this time is permanent institutionalization as I consider him a danger to himself and society.”

The man stood in horror. Permanent institutionalization? Studied for symposiums like a lab rat?. Manufacture an identity for him? Who does this Doctor think he is?

The fury burned through his veins like fire. His vision almost clouded with bloodlust. He threw the papers across the office.

This Doctor had no intention of helping him.

The Doctor wanted an experiment. ’Money is no object.’

The man needed to escape.

On the coat rack at the door, the Doctor’s long woolen overcoat sat peacefully. His Fedora, angled to the right was dusty. His woolen gloves were folded ever so carefully at the end table near the filing cabinet. And the Doctor had stopped at the dry cleaners this morning. He had three dark grey suits, finely tailored, and four neatly ironed white coats.

And his car keys hung gently at the edge of the desk.

The man started to leave when a sudden dark thought materialized in his mind. The man picked up the phone and dialed the front desk.

The nurse answered amicably. “Yes Doctor Lopes?” Obviously seeing the digital display.

With a tightening of his vocal chords, his voice dropping every so slightly, the man spoke into the phone in the doctor’s voice. “I need Charles to leave early this evening. Tell him I need him tomorrow morning and for four a.m.”

“Of course Doctor.” She confirmed. “Anything else?”

“No thank you.” The man hung up. Feeling championed by the fact he knew as good natured as Charles was, he was not a morning person. And Charles around tonight would only hinder his escape.

After waiting a half hour, he watched through the window as Charles got into his Jeep and departed.

Phase one complete. He may not have his identity, but he did have cunning and planning down to an art.

The man started to rise when he felt a metal object clatter at his feet. Reaching under the desk, the man pulled up a worn wooden box. In it, an old beat up horse brush, a strip of leather and a small tin of the foulest smelling brown paste he could ever imagine.

The shoe polish.

Could I have one night not to smell that shit?

He threw the box across the room in a rage, the contents spilling about.

The man looked down at his hand to see a huge blob of shoe polish on the back of his wrist. Cold and clammy, not pleasant.

Wiping it off onto his sleeve, he could see the deep brown had already absorbed into some of his skin.

As he stared at his hand, the man suddenly had a revelation. Not the kind where one sees himself as a child and he relives the climbing of the family tree in the backyard and basking in the branches at defeating that old arbour once and for all.

No. This revelation was something more.

Something different.

Something malicious.

The man rubbed the polish into his hand more. And more. How beautifully honed this brown colour seemed to come out.

The man raced to the rear of the office and picked up the small can of polish. Using his fingers, he ran the polish down his cheeks.

‘Oh yes.’ The man laughed, ’Maybe I have a name after all.

The man stared into the mirror hanging behind the office door and massaged the polish in.

He did not know how he knew how to apply it, but some part of him did.

Yes. The man was elated.

If they won’t give me a name… Then I’ll TAKE one!

************

The Doctor exited the restroom.

He staggered forward, barely able to stand.

His stomach turning both inside and out from the bad eggs he had eaten that afternoon. He was going to ask his wife for some nausea pills when he got home.

He spent an hour in the restroom, seated on a toilet, praying to vacate his bowels quickly and mercifully.

The attending nurse at the desk saw him and did a double take. “Doctor Lopes?”

The doctor paused in his stride, looking toward the young lady at the reception desk. “Yes?”

The nurse came around the station, clearly shaken by what she was seeing.

She wandered up to the elder doctor and reached out for him, to touch him, to see if he was real.

“May I help you?” the doctor appeared visibly troubled by the nurse’s demeanor.

The nurse looked back at the security door, then back to the doctor.

She explained. “You were here a minute ago. You said you’d lost your pass key. I opened the door for you. I even helped you out with carrying your dry-cleaning.”

The doctor felt a cold chill run up his spine.

The nurse was shaking now. “You laughed at a joke you always told. I always remembered you repeating it.” The nurse leaned up against the wall and started to slide down it, drifting into a sitting position. She muttered the same thing again. “It was you. But you’re right here. But it was YOU!”

Ignoring the rambling nurse, Doctor Lopes ran to the barred window and stared into the night strewn parking lot.

The sky was twilight in colour with a hazy mist in the air preceding a possible storm.

Then he saw it, his car was gone.

And so was Jonathon Weathers.

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