The atmosphere is one so warm and friendly, a place perfect for people to come and relax and socialize the smell of freshly brewed coffee in the air. I’m sitting in this nice and cozy coffee shop just having a moment to myself, a moment to escape the madness and rush of life. But as I look up I notice this beautiful young lady with piercing blue eyes, the type you get lost in instantly.
Perfect blond hair shoulder length but besides her outward appearance I noticed sadness deep within her. A bitterness that no human being should feel in their lives. Time goes by and due to my curious nature I sit and try to unravel the mystery that had now been placed before me.
The whole time she sits there all alone with her coffee and then eventually gets up and leaves. I have articles and work to do but I just can’t get her out of my head. I’m supposed to be Jim Burton the famous investigative journalist but things have been slow lately.
Maybe, or Maybe I have just lost my knack or passion for the thing that now consumed my life, now lead me to this place where I sit drinking coffee patiently. Suddenly my phone rings, it’s my editor, doubting whether to answer I let it ring a few times before I eventually answering and to my amazement it’s about my latest story. Clearly he’s not impressed that I’ve been dodging him and my deadline.
I need to get it out. Two hours later I have completed a perfect yet intriguing article about this smuggling ring. I have been doing this so long that it’s become my second nature just to pour out boring facts onto paper so much that’s it’s just become repetition.
My phone rings again, it’s Jenny, the infamous ex,probably calling to nag my head off, one thing you should understand about Jenny is she’s the most clingy and overbearing person I have lived to know. We were together since my second year in University.
She was an accounting major. Don’t get me wrong, we had an amazing relationship, and, for a moment, she was the love of my life but like all real life stories it wasn’t meant to be and so we split.
Occasionally she calls to check up on me but in my own opinion it’s mainly to see if I’m seeing someone new. Finally the twenty two minute conversation is over and my ears can now stop ringing. Maybe it’s not that bad but that’s just my opinion.
As I enter the office it feels like I’m entering a cage with hungry hyenas. Everybody is on the go and looking for stories. News makes these people’s lives turn. It’s all about putting your name on that one brilliant article.
I remember how I started as an intern and worked myself up to the place I am now in. Five years here and I have made it as one of the most successful journalists. As a young man I was so driven and motivated to make an impact on the world.
To have the one headline but eventually it all just became another headline and another story. I have considered resigning and doing something different but what can I do? This is what I’ve been doing for the last five years; it’s all I ever wanted to be. I reach my desk and greet all my colleagues. The guy sitting opposite me, I don’t even remember his name, is a sports fanatic. Anything ranging from football to baseball he knows and watches. The lady on my left has been into finance her whole life. I think that’s the one thing that bothers me, the way these people allow their work to consume them, but then again, so do I.
Walks to the editors office and knocks on the door
“Hi there Jeremy can I have a moment of your time?”
“Anything for you Jim”, he replies.
Jeremy has been the editor for twenty years.
News is in his blood, he’s a friend and my mentor.
I sit in the chair and in his office I see all the awards he had acquired in his career.
I remembered when those things mattered to me, now they are just empty meaningless objects.
“Jeremy I want to resign, I know its sudden but, I have been thinking about doing this for a while now.”
“I will work out the month until you find someone new to replace me.”
“Jim are you sure you want to do this? You are one of the best investigative journalists and you have a very successful career at this paper.
“I always considered you to be the next editor; you have always had that drive to go above and beyond to complete your assignments. I have noticed you were lacking lately but I thought it was just a minor slump you were in. I tell you what, take a month’s paid leave, go away to an island or something, spend some time with family or friends don’t make any hasty decisions.”
I sit there hearing the words but I’m lost in my own world. I end up agreeing to take the leave. He has a point. The day finally comes to an end, I’m on my way home and I still can’t get this lady out of my head from the coffee shop. She looked so lost.
I enter my apartment, a cosy little one bedroom flat. It has all the basics I need on my desk. There are different criminal novels and books. The thrill those characters had in the stories. The hours I spent reading and investigating using them. The dozens of journalism awards I acquired over the years that just stands there collecting dust. A reminder of the excitement I had once found in my job, and there was the reason I became a journalist seems like a cliché, but clearly life is not some fairy tale. I tried writing stories on university. I had a knack for it but lost interest because it takes something special out of you to form a novel or so I thought. Maybe I had just made it seem like such a huge effort, or maybe I was afraid I’d actually be good at it, but the idea of writing from scratch is a real creative journey, it’s something I might consider pursuing later in my life.
I wake up every day hoping and praying for something new to begin. It’s like I have a set destiny that has yet to begin, like an adventure just made for me and this life is just a dream, an illusion, fabricated in my mind and eventually one day I will wake up, rise and that day, when I rise my real life will begin.
These are all thoughts, ideas and different forms of noise rushing through my mind as I sleep. A new day breaks and I’ve decided to take that month’s leave but not now later.
On my way to work I stop at the same coffee shop I always do and order a large hot cappuccino and to my amazement the same girl I saw the day before sits there on the same place at the same table.
I come here regularly, so she’s definitely new, I wonder who she is.
Without realizing it I have been staring at her for at least two minutes.
We make eye contact and she gives me shy subtle smiles.
I sit there contemplating two obvious choices either go to her and make a complete fool of myself or do nothing and forever regret not capitalizing on an opportunity.
I get up walk towards her table,
“Good morning I’ve noticed you have been sitting alone. I was just wondering if you would like some company”
At least those are the words I thought I had said; instead, I just froze and said the first thing that came out of my mouth.
“Those are very beautiful eyes you have”
She actually just smiled and said “Thank you” politely, thirty seconds later the awkward silence kicks in and before I mess this up further I introduce myself “My name is Jim” “I’m Carly”, she replies before she continues,” I was here yesterday and saw you sitting here and something about you intrigued me.”
“What do you mean Jim?”
She asks surprised, but she thinks I’m flirting with her which isn’t a bad idea so I’m thinking let’s go with it.
“What’s the most beautiful girl in the world doing in a coffee shop all alone?”
Her reply is, “well actually I’m a secret agent hiding from the government.”
I laugh and reply
“Wow beautiful and a killer sense of humor”
She smiles and we spend an hour talking about what we each do for a living and the usual basic nonsense.
She’s funny and sweet, not the type of person I would expect to find in a place like this all alone.
“So it was nice talking to you Carly.”
She slips her card into my pocket and we go our separate ways. This made a very interesting start to my day. That was the day I met Carly James a twenty seven year old aspiring painter, beautiful, kind and warm-hearted. I spent the rest of the day at work thinking about her, looking at her card and number, not sure what to do. The very next day I call her up for coffee again and we meet up at the same place and we do this for a week. Just as it seems to be getting serious, at an old bus stop in the dark of night she hugs me and whispers something in my ear. “I have to leave you for a few months,” she explains that she always wanted to travel the world and paint the most beautiful landscapes and land marks and she’s leaving in two days’ time, but she will be back. Being the person I am I encourage her to pursue her hopes and dreams as I have.
It has been a week since I’ve seen Carly and I really miss her. She sent me an email telling me how wonderful her journey is in Rome and how beautiful it is and it ends saying if you were with me this would be perfect. Like a crazy love sick fool I book a flight to Rome. I call my editor to tell him I’m taking that holiday. On the plane I sit with my laptop thinking about Carly and an idea pops into my head to try and write what I saw in her eyes that day I first met her at the coffee shop. Suddenly the flow of words in perfect harmony flows through me like I was meant to do this. When it was done I had no idea how this piece had come to form but it seemed brilliant, the title was, “When I Look into Your Eyes.” Some hours later I reach the airport. I hop into a taxi and go to the hotel she’s staying in. I enter this grand hotel, the architecture and design was just amazingly beautiful.
I get the room number from reception and explain that I want to surprise her so I go up to a fancy suite room twenty four. She doesn’t seem to be there. I find this room incredibly huge with a magnificent view. I leave her the note on the desk that I wrote on the plane. I go down to the buffet area to get something to eat and everything looks so delicious. As I look for somewhere to sit I see this person that looks exactly like Carly but she’s holding hands with this other guy. As she gets closer I realize it is her and the guy is her ex Max that she mentioned vaguely.
I sit down a few tables away so they don’t see me and watch the way he holds her, touches her and kisses her. Just that moment it felt like all time and the world stood still. She seemed so happy, then she made eye contact with me and her face, overwhelmed with guilt. She got up and came towards me and hugged me. I was shocked by her response. I got up and turned around. She says, “It’s not what it looks like.” I stop and look at her and all I see is guilt, her words are “I’m sorry.” So I look down and these words flowed from my lips “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. “The words of Abraham Lincoln flowed through me as I turned my back and walked away.
Hours later I sit here in a coffee shop in Rome far from my home all alone. I see someone that looks like Carly but it’s just some random stranger. I don’t know what to do now, but as I stare into my coffee somebody sits down in front of me and starts to read the note I wrote for Carly. The note I left in her room.
“I see it in your eyes you think you can hide it but I know your pain. I see your suffering hidden behind all the fake smiles. It screams out like a violent murmur. There’s a slight shimmer of tears which you hold back when you put up a front to maintain control but I can see you are on the verge of losing it; it’s only a matter of time before it all comes apart and you completely lose control or will you allow me into your heart? Will you give me a chance to save you from yourself, from your own destruction waiting patiently for you? As you come closer to me I whisper in your ear I know your secret at first you try to brush it off politely and I understand why you would be ashamed, how can a stranger know what goes on behind these eyes and know your pain. But I myself too have a secret. I also hid behind the same smile. I have carried it for years, it made me bitter and pushed me to the brink of destruction and it almost destroyed me. The burden of going through this alone is unbearable but I will be there for you no matter what it takes”
I slowly look up I pause and hear her gentle voice caress the words I had written for her and deep into her blue eyes I stare and get lost all over again and for that moment I am weakened by the blonde haired goddess in front of me. She then clutches my hands and whispers to me, “You are the most amazing person I had ever met. I came back to Rome and bumped into Max by accident. I didn’t mean to rekindle what I ended with him and for a moment I thought he had changed. I felt so bad when I saw you look at me with such disgust that I went straight to my room and found this letter you wrote and in that moment I felt the way you edged every word from within your heart and penned it onto that piece of paper. For me to ignore that would be for me to ignore your love.”
I was completely speechless and a bit chuffed with myself for having this effect on her over Max. You see Max was a very wealthy successful business man raised to be a true leader. Bold, charming and very handsome he had his pick of women. Who doesn’t like a good old fashion billionaire playboy/philanthropist? I really didn’t think he would be her type but apparently they made it work, they were engaged for two years and would have had a wedding of royals with all the elite class people ranging from singers, actors and politicians attending but just a month before the wedding she decided to cancel without any reason and just left him.
I suspect it must have been something really serious for her to just leave.
Carly and I sat there completely in love and had coffee that afternoon; somehow there still lurked so many unanswered questions I had about this woman in front of me. We went back to the hotel room together and there we fell asleep, in each other’s arms.
We were so in love that we seemed to even be with each other in our dreams. Early the morning I woke up and made up my mind to find out more about Carly. It seemed as if all the curiosity overwhelmed me in my dreams and I also had a crazy imagination. What if she was a spy or some kind of secret agent? What if she had children or even worse she had been through some sort of tragic episode in her life which altered her personality dramatically and had a family out there?
It seems Jim had gone way over board with his imagination but as he sat down and thought carefully about it all rationality settled in and he was able to think clearly again. He picked up the phone, called some contacts, gave them her full name and identity number and asked them to run it through some data bases to see what comes up.
Jim again looks at her laying there on the bed peacefully sleeping and in that moment when the sun rose and as she laid there her beautiful blonde hair glowed golden blonde and when she opened her eyes those piercing blue eyes envisioned that of the sea. Yes, he had fallen madly in love with this creation before him. If I had to lose her now it would be of epic tragic proportion and the chances of a rugged looking fellow like I finding another lady like this would be astronomical.
My contact would only be able to get back to me in twenty four hours. We went out did peculiar things that seemed very interesting for her which involved old paintings and museums to my despair it was the most boring thing to do but when I watched her and how passionate she was about these silly old oil painted pictures with odd looking frames I felt happy and intrigued by her passion. She knew what she loved and wanted and was very specific and headstrong and a complete perfectionist which was pretty ironic because I was nothing like that. I like simpler things. When I was overseas doing my stories I was everything except fearless but those are the type of things we do in our youth, to be able to tell a good story you would have to live one and I lived through some good ones.
You would have to be able to write something remarkable that would fool the whole world into wanting to believe that it is real and that is how one would make a statement in this world. We went back to the hotel and she nagged me to pose for her to sketch me and to paint it. She wanted to immortalize me onto her canvas. It felt completely awkward but I could not deny those deeply soft intriguing eyes. I’m a sucker for a pretty girl or well at least this one.
The phone rings while she’s busy sketching and as it rings I have this weird gut like instinct like something was about to change as I answered it. Time stood still for those five minutes as I was listening to my contact on the phone. I could not believe in my wildest dreams what this guy had just told me and in that very moment when it felt like the whole world stood still and I saw her smile everything just changed.
I walked up to her looked deep into those eyes and all I could see was lies and deceit, a type of treachery that my heart could no longer bare but how do I part from this amazing person when I’m so deeply overwhelmed by the love we share and in a fit of rage, anger and confusion I utter out the disgust. “You’re married.” The crushing yet crippling blow of these words immediately annihilates the whole atmosphere and the room is filled with silence and the look on her face one of shame and vulnerability shocks me more than the lies as she tries to explain. She just loses all composure and bursts out crying and just then my instinct tells me there’s got to be more to this.
Things had now started to make sense. The guy she was with, Max, wasn’t just an old fling, he was her husband who in fact had been trying to repair his marriage with his wife and it seemed that I was now in the middle of a dangerous but classic love triangle. It seems like the pretty Miss Carly was in actual fact a pathological liar and had been spinning me a story about not being married.
She explains and I wonder to myself are you coming clean because you had now been forced into a corner and were you crying because you are ashamed of your past or are you crying to put on a show to deceive me further. I just couldn’t help but over think the situation but I had now sufficient reason to doubt her character significantly and logically and on the other hand I had these feelings I cannot contain for her but I needed space I needed to get away from her even just for a moment so I left and walked around in the streets of Rome and the moment of lies played in my head over and over again, suddenly something catches my eye in a window and it’s this old couple and how happy they are and I realize you don’t get to be that old together without obstacles and challenges and right there I make up my mind and race back to the room where I find her staring out the window lost.
She then suddenly got up reached for the drawer and showed me the final signed divorce papers, “He has been prolonging this for months now Jim, and I told him finally that it was over but he refuses to accept it. ”She clutches my hand tightly and right then and there I utter the words.” I believe you Carly.”
Six months later myself and Carly went back home and she had now moved in with me and her divorce was now final. As I am on my way home I start playing with the little box in my pocket, it was a wedding ring but that I had been keeping on me for the last month waiting for the perfect moment to propose and today would seem like the right time to do it, a way to celebrate the start of a new life with me.
I open the door and she jumps into my arms and showers me with kisses and I realize how lucky I am to have her in my life. Reservations were made at this beautiful restaurant and on our way there we pass the beach and she insists that we pull over and I stop. She jumps out of the car and runs toward the water and literally starts to dance on the beach under the beautiful starlight and just there I take out the little box and out pops this beautiful fifteen carat diamond ring. “Will you Carly James make me the happiest guy in the world by marrying me?” Without hesitation she shouts “yes!” Like two naughty kids we play dance in the water on the beach. That was the start of life for me. That was the moment when everything was perfect. Her smile under the night light, it was the stuff from fairy tales and this was my mine and nobody could take it from me.
Weeks had now gone by and Carly was planning the wedding of the year. I think that there was a thousand people on that guest list and just as I’m watching Carly taste wedding cakes my phone rings the Id says blocked number and I answer. “Good Afternoon Mr. Burton you have no idea who I am but I know who you are and I have information about your beautiful bride to be. Though she might appear to be innocent she is not, she is cheating on you and if you don’t believe me follow her tonight at 11pm and see where she goes and don’t forget to bring a camera along, you might not believe what you see.
”The mysterious voice just hangs up. We finish the cake tasting and on our way home there’s an awkward silence in the car and I put on the radio and suddenly Carly starts singing with the tune on the radio. It sounds worse than nails on a chalk board and in this moment my mind now starts to wonder about the call I had just received. As a journalist I’m used to prank calls and threats but this was very specific and the voice seemed to be sure about his information so now I’m torn between my curiosity and between the faithfulness of my future wife. We arrive at our apartment, get inside and I lay down and I fall asleep and wake up exactly 10:45pm and I hear the door close I peek out of the window and I see Carly get into her car. I get into my car and follow her; she stops at an abandoned warehouse in an unfamiliar area.
She gets out and walks inside. I hear three shots fired and rush inside only to find a man lying on the ground drenched in blood and I look up and see Carly pointing a gun at me in tears and deranged with anxiety. I try to calm her down and she looks at me with those beautiful eyes and whispers to me. “Jim remember I will always love you.” I look at her and carefully approach to take the gun out of her hand, but she turns it onto herself and the shot is fired I looked at my hands and I’m covered in blood.
The sound of the gun shot rings in my ear as I pick Carly up and carry to my car and drive to the nearest hospital speeding through traffic the memories flash before me how we had met and how it had led to this moment and remember thinking no, this is not how it will end. Suddenly I see bright lights and a loud bang and crush as the car folds and spins I try to gain control and that’s all I remember as I fade in and out of consciousness. I thought I was most certainly going to die all these people around me and all I do is whisper her name.
Nine months had now passed and my memory slowly returned to me but when I initially regained consciousness I had total amnesia. The accident had injured a part of my brain that stored memory. The doctors said it might return or might never and for that reason I had pleaded guilty to killing Carly James and Maxwell Le Roux.
The court had me assessed and due to my loss of memory I became angry and violent and was sent to a mental institution thanks to my fancy lawyer’s argument for insanity. I tried looking at pictures and talking to colleagues and friends but nothing helped it was just one big blank in my life. Every day that goes by the laughter of the victims of these poor souls here gets to me a little more and more not because I know that I am sane but because I know that their madness might just be justified by this place.
Three months later something finally happened to me it was a simple dream and in this dream I saw Carly and the pictures does not do her justice, so I decided to keep a journal of what I dreamt. Nine months later this is what I had come up with, it seems Carly had been having an affair with her ex Max and he had set me up to catch them in the act but this all seems so unlikely but now I had enough information to appeal. My lawyer was busy with the whole process. Meanwhile I’m living my life one day at a time the foods not bad in this asylum and they haven’t tried any shock therapy or hydro therapy on me they assume I’m broken and I need to be fixed but what happens when you try to fix something that’s not broken but merely misunderstood?.
There are moments I hear her voice and laugh then I have to remind myself that she’s no longer here. One nurse came to check on me and for a few seconds I saw her again. I think it must have been her blonde hair. I just smiled because it meant I haven’t lost all memory of her or was I now also becoming mad. Will it only be a matter of time before I snap and become one more lunatic added to the list that had been added to this asylum.
The hardest thing to do in an asylum is to prove your sanity cause your version might not be equivalent to what the doctors expect, especially since I have had some episodes where I had blacked out and had no recollection of what happened around me. The worst was when I tried to drown myself in a basin of water and I almost succeeded if the nurse hadn’t stopped me. It felt as if death was playing a trick on me and I was the fool in his story. Sometimes as I sit in the corner I see a shadow pass me by and it whispers to me. “I’m not done with you yet Jim Burton,” but I’m optimistic that those will pass.
My lawyer came to see me and told me that my appeal has been processed and I will be appearing in court in two months and if all goes well I could be released due to a mistrial, apparently there was insufficient evidence and the fact that Carly’s belongings were found but nobody was on the scene. She might still be alive. This news was severely overwhelming and shocking. I had now more questions than answers if she was alive where is she? That night I sat up trying to figure out what could have happened but nothing made any sense.
The next morning I woke up I looked in the mirror and stared into the reflection before me and I swear for a moment I saw it smile back at me. Was I now really going insane? Had this place now finally got to me? The longer I stay here the more I feel my sanity fading daily. I had become obsessed with books and read all I could but my mind just drifted. I hoped and sometimes dreamed we were back together, the medication seemed to do that to you here.
One day I walked down the passage and there sat someone in a wheelchair busy painting. I walked closer and somehow it seemed familiar, the brush strokes it was similar to the way Carly painted and when I finally reached the person and saw her eyes it was Carly. She had been here all the time but her face was scared, she gave me a complete blank stare and seemed confused by my presence. The nurse told me to keep my distance and this made me more violent and aggravated me and I shouted Carly it’s me Jim but no response. They were trying to restrain me in my own puddle of tears as my moment of joy had now become a disaster and for that few minutes I thought I had been reunited with the love of my life but instead she seemed completely oblivious to the fact that I even exist.
The next day I explained to the doctor who she was and apparently my story could correspond with the little information they knew about her, all that they knew for sure was that she had suffered a nearly fatal shot to the head and that the bullet was still lodged there and she would never be able to recall any of her memories of her life.
I was allowed to see her only if I behaved so I did just that and I sat there and watched her paint daily for at least a month and to my amazement when it was finished it was a final painting of the sketch she had made of me in Rome. She looked at me and said, “Your name is Jim but how do I know you, why do I paint you when I don’t ever remember you in my life.” That was when I had showed her my journal and had her read it for herself she was shocked and in a complete state. I tried to comfort her but she pushed me away and started to have a seizure it destroyed me to see her in such a state, all I could do was leave.
What is harder never loving or actually having found someone to love and having them not being able to ever recall the love you had and that day I experienced the latter and it was like a part of my soul had died. I see the vessel before me but the essence had left long ago so to me that night Carly Jane had died and no matter what I do I might not ever get her back but I was determined to try to win her heart again and so I did what I did when we first met I wrote her something.
I left the page with the nurse to hand to her that was the day the court released me. I was a free man we later went on to sue for malicious prosecution or something along those lines and I was awarded a settlement for my pain and suffering. It was close to five million dollars but the money didn’t matter I would trade it all just to have things the way they were with Carly in our small apartment.
A month later I received a letter from Carly she says “I still have no idea who you are but your words moved me to such a point that I had to respond. I want to try to remember even if nothing happens I think I at least owe you that much. I will be out in a month and I don’t know anybody so I need someone to stay with.”
The letter to Carly:
When you were born the heavens lost their most precious angel
And on that night of pure bliss in the calm of the still night
You were born so precious and small and in those little sparkling eyes
God saw that twinkle of an angel he could never ignore
And watched you because he knew this precious baby girl’s destiny
Would be so much more and when you had become the vibrant sweet woman
I met on that odd bizarre day in a small coffee shop
This sophisticated lady had now learned to be tough through all life’s trials.
But God still smiled for God knew He had the plan for you
And was proud to see you endure and He saw that it was all good
And entrusted you with the responsibility with me to make the rest of your life perfect.
A week went by and we adjusted well to each other but something was off she seemed sinister and I could tell she didn’t trust me at all. She always kept her room locked and we barely spoke we weren’t even friends at this moment I would give anything just to see what was going on behind those eyes. Sometimes I think she sneaks up on me deliberately just to watch me. One day I asked her to get some groceries at the local supermarket and I snuck into her room I was beside myself with fear when I saw what she had been painting, it was all dark creatures with bizarre shapes and color filled with a sinister and ominous presence.
That night while I lay in my bed I have this odd feeling that something was wrong. My sleep was disturbed. I tossed and turned and burst out in a sweat and out of nowhere I hear someone screaming at the top of the lungs that it shatters the mirror in my room and when I looked up Carly was standing over me with a gun. She shouts uncontrollably.” I remember what happened that night it was you it was you who killed my love Max why Jim? Were you so jealous of us that you had to destroy my happiness?” Dazed and confused I calmly whisper. “Carly please lower the weapon I’m not sure what you are speaking about why would I do that to you I love you.”
“Jim if you really love me you will let me die, don’t try and stop me, I can’t live like this.” She points the pistol to her temple and it goes off she drops to the floor. I call an ambulance immediately and I hold her lifeless body now once again, and then in that moment something happened inside of me like a glass breaking, my soul had split into a million pieces and right there and then I had lost my sanity.
All I held dear was gone, the hope I had was finally destroyed I was distraught and once again death had beaten me and as I sat there with her lifeless body watching the blood rolling through my fingers and with a loud rumble and thunderous sound the window burst open and in came a beast like man. This creature growled at me and for a moment I thought one of deaths reapers had come for me but instead he said “rise up Jim Burton your new destiny waits, this distraction is over, do what you were born to do Triumph, like no man could and take revenge, all will be revealed in time I will be watching over you and this will be your legacy, this is your destiny” Then like a gentle whisper in the wind the man beast was gone.
When the paramedics got their I was rambling so much they had to sedate me and by some bizarre act of fate I had been sent back to the place I thought I’d never again see. I found myself in the asylum once again where the madness had all started. I have no idea if what I had experienced was real but it was definitely a call to arms even if I had imagined it.
The laughter of other patients welcomed me as I was escorted to my room I grinned because I was back home and it was like I had never left again.
I didn’t speak for a month as I was distraught with grief I overheard the doctors speaking about me and how I had been doing so well until I had spiraled down the rabbit hole again but this time there was no reason for me to get out of this hole.
Just over a year had passed and I was sitting on this particular day enjoying the sunset when the nurse came to me and told me I had a visitor. Now all this time my mind had been functioning but I was in a catatonic state, for the last year not speaking to anybody but when I looked up and saw who it was I could not believe it. It was Max. He’s alive! I wanted to grab him but I couldn’t move. He looked at me with that smug face and whispered to me you thought you could kill me but you were mistaken I had taken your girl now I had finally taken your life that is what happens when you take me on. I had engineered this plan the moment I saw you and now you will suffer as an invalid and live out the rest of your life knowing you are weak and pathetic.
He then revealed to me his true form and his eyes were bloody red and a dark presence surrounded him. He took the form of a treacherous beast different to the one I had seen. Darker and more evil and when that happened all the madness in the asylum stopped and was drawn to him. Even the shadows fled in his presence but strangely enough I wasn’t scared. Instead, I was filled with revenge. I didn’t care what he was, man or beast, I will have my revenge. I will crush him.
Now I knew I had not hallucinated what I saw in my apartment. I didn’t know what this meant but I knew it was time for me to rise. It was time for me to take my stand against this vile beast that had destroyed my life for mere petty sport.
I snapped myself out of the catatonic state and right then and there I vowed to get revenge for Carly and for me. Max had taken all I held dear and destroyed it.
I started getting myself out of the slump and started moving and speaking again and rehabilitating myself. My motivation was revenge. I got myself back in shape and in a year I was discharged again and with the rest of the money I had I invested in major companies and made a name for myself.
I became CEO of a major corporation and left the news life behind. The words of the man beast still echoes within me,” Rise Jim Burton” and from those words I gained strength and courage. One night in my house the man beast returns to me. This time I wasn’t afraid. He said come Jim Burton it is time for me to prepare you for the challenge you have before you if you want revenge I will have to show you something and then you can decide if you want my help.
“I am Aaron Hall from the alternate future I was one of Maxwell’s generals we were tasked to silently invade this world and then destroy it and we succeeded but in the future you killed him but at the cost of the annihilation of the whole world so I know you have what it takes. Close your eyes and watch the visions of my existence and understand my pain and build from it.” I gained strength and courage, and in that moment it was confirmed everything he said and I saw the good in Aaron that had been twisted into this beast before me but still he was good.
“I see all you have shown me but I don’t understand why you would turn against your own kind.” “The answer is quite ironic, he kills my wife in the future who happens to be the alternate worlds Carly James your late girlfriend, and it was brutal and vile. Fortunately for me I found a scientist who could send me back but only to this alternative future.”
I left with him and we trained on a secluded location off the grid for five years. I learned things ranging from martial arts to weapons skills and most importantly how to kill Maxwell. Their species has a weakness for titanium you need to stab him through the heart and cut off his head and burn the body to completely destroy him so I had my instructions and skills and a team lead by Aaron and me.
On a cold wet rainy day my team and Aaron broke into his villa killed all his body guards and tortured and killed everybody in the house slowly. He had hidden in a cellar.
Myself and Aaron went down I felt his dark presence getting stronger and I knew this would not be an easy fight. He had evolved into a great beast and Aaron attacked him head on and weakened him for a moment but was overpowered by Maxwell’s darkness.
I couldn’t get a perfect shot with my titanium gun because he was powerful and fast. The fight shook heaven and earth. It was furious and in a moment of desperation to protect me, Aaron shouted “do not let me die in vain destroy him I believe in you Jim.” And then when Maxwell thought he won I shot him down and stabbed him in his heart with my titanium blade I gave the signal to blow up the villa and I just barely escaped with my life and the monster was dead but I knew the world was filled with more of them that would soon come for me so I derived a contingency plan.
I still have no real recollection of what happened that night in the warehouse. All I have is a version that will never give me the closure but I need to move on. I knew now I would never be able to love anyone the way I loved Carly. I had finally become a monster, a murderer, was it justice what I did? From journalist to businessman to conqueror who knew that my life would now turn out this way.
I went back home drank more alcohol than I ever consumed. I didn’t want to live any longer and in my drunken state I passed out alone in my own vomit and urine and started to dream and saw her as she was when we first met. Beautiful and innocent completely wholesome.
Three years had now passed.
I was rich and successful.
My revenge was complete but there was still a hole in my life.
The shadows don’t bother me anymore.
I’m feared by the hidden creatures.
I had created this legacy I never wanted but it was needed to destroy the evil and to protect the world at least that’s what I tell myself, but the real reason will always be revenge, and out of nostalgia I go back to the coffee shop.
It didn’t feel the same.
I don’t understand why I wasted my time here and how I could ever meet the love of my life in that place.
That was the last day I went back there again after that I pushed myself to forget and on a simple rainy day as I walk down the street a couple of guys corners me one holds a gun to my temple and the other grabs my wallet, as I grab the one he shoots me down. I fall down onto the wet street as the rain water my body I see the blood flowing down the gutters and right there I close my eyes and slip away I see her holding out her hand and I run towards her but it’s just not meant to be you see.
“What Jim didn’t realize was that when he killed Maxwell he had taken control of the darkness and had become a beast himself. Inwardly twisted and treacherous a sacrifice the noble Aaron failed to mention and with this came immortality. He woke up later in his mansion with no bullet wound only a small scar. It was brushed off as a miracle but Jim knew he had a second chance at life and made a promise to himself to find love and so he did numerous times but none like the infamous Carly James.
Finally at age forty nine Jim Burton died according states records.
Jim Burton was given a huge funeral all mourned the businessman, journalist and philanthropist little did they know of the secret demons that had tormented him for the last few years.
Jim had donated all of his wealth to a foundation set up in Carly Jane’s name which was a multimillion dollar empire. He had built simply to seek revenge no one knew this of course and he was praised as a humanitarian and philanthropist and brilliant entrepreneur.
Fifty years later a man walks with his family in the park and laugh like they had never known any kind of pain only happiness and the son runs ahead and sees the descendants of Jim Burton commemorating their ancestor’s life. As they reach the crowd they see this giant statue everyone cheers and the man a forty nine year old with his wife, son and daughter watches. The man’s expression changes and suddenly seems sad and the wife asks “what’s the matter?”
He whispers I just have something in my eye and without any warning nostalgia had forced some dormant feelings to come forth for this man. They stayed for the speeches and the great grandson named Aaron Burton gives a beautiful speech acknowledging the work and life of Jim Burton.
“I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Jim but the story of how he had lost everything and overcame all odds teaches us today not to give up but to fight with our very last breath. It’s a story of strength courage and triumph. One that will stand the ages and will be used as an example for future generations. He didn’t let anything get him down. There were rumors that he was a great warrior. I don’t know if that was true but to me he is my inspiration I am proud today. Let’s have a toast to the late Jim Burton.”
The man just stands there smiling and his family doesn’t understand why he had lost control of his emotions and he blurted out to his beautiful wife, daughter and son, he was my mentor.
The next evening the man came to this huge statue alone and whispered, “Wow we were once great old friend.” He reads the engraved plate in honor of a great hero Jim Burton the man replaced the plate with another title and labelled it The Rise of Jim Burton nobody bothered to change it back and so it remained and the stranger was never seen again.