Echoes of Tomorrow's Past - Part 13 (An Original Novella)

in #steemit2 years ago

It was the fifth call he had received in the last hour alone. The undying persistence of Dr. Grey. Even switching it to “Mute” would not stop the flashing display from throwing garish shapes upon the walls of the darkened room. That and the fuzzy glow from the television set blaring in the background. It was approximately six hours since they both made a swift exit from the office of Dr. Grey to this precise moment. Apart from the empty void of silence encapsulating them during the long drive home, there were no other unexpected surprises. No hallucinations, no strange voices, no problems. He glanced over at the digital alarm clock over on the stand. 11pm already. How time seems to fly when you’re fast running out of it, he thought.

He pictured Dolores whilst scratching out any lingering negativity from his mind. However, they were only replaced by brand new ones. The way she could be so loving and devoted one minute, then turn into a rampaging banshee the next. Though time had indeed played a part in helping the two of them acclimate to each other’s habitual disorders. He regarded himself no better and had a veritable host of raging inner demons himself. Ready to manifest in a heartbeat given the right set of variables. Perhaps those personality quirks were a legacy born out of life with his mother, he pondered. She would often stress out at the slightest of disturbances to her otherwise regimented routine of daily life.

He pinched at his flesh, sending a sharp pain coursing through his forearm. ”No you don’t, damn you.” He growled under his breath. ”You’re not gonna get me this time.” The flickering television adjusted back into focus as he diverted his attentions toward it. Opening his eyes wider than usual, he concentrated hard to set his mind on the over-blown action sequences displayed. Another rerun of an old heist action classic. A set of four souped-up convertibles attempted to outrun an endless supply of squad cars in a frantic chase upon the Streets of Rio de Janiero. ”They don’t make them like they used to. I’m loving this.” He kept telling himself with a grin.

The rattle of the door handle broke any trace of focus he had mustered up until then. That recognizable feeling of overbearing dread returned. James scrabbled for the remote, his eyes never leaving the small, curved brass grip. ”Dolores… Dolores, is that you?” He whispered, within an inch of not making any sound at all. It continued to shake within it’s wooden frame. James moved from the top of his bed sheets over to the solace of a vacant corner of the room. He shrank into himself in horror as the handle groaned under the pressure. Black shadows seem to contort upon the walls. He scanned the area in a manic frenzy to locate it’s source. Then it revealed itself. A writhing silhouette seemed to emerge from the far side of the room. Hysterical fear consumed him once more. The twisted, hunched figure appeared to glide toward him in the darkness. Only the florescent luminosity of the television screen was cast a glare upon it. He could just make out what resembled a tattered apron string flapping loose by it’s side. A reminder of the garment his mother used to wear whilst preparing dinner for him as a young child. James pressed the insides of his palms deep into both eyes. ”Goddamn it! What the hell do you want from me? Leave me alone!”

The door swung open and someone hit the switch. Light poured through the gaps in his fingers though he kept his eyes shut tight. James found two hands clasp around his head before he burst into tears. ”James! James, it’s me! Dolores!” She shrieked. He trembled in her arms, rocking back and forth.

”Listen to me, James. Hear my voice and focus in on it. It’s me, Dolores. OK? Clear your mind of everything before opening your eyes again. Shake it all out. Just concentrate on thinking of me.”

He allowed the sound of her voice to absorb into his mind. Her breath against his hair. The touch of her smooth skin upon his. The thought of her doting over him as only she could. The images of them together in happier times filled his senses. James placed his hands upon her face and caressed it's subtle contours and soft lines. He imagined her within his mind. He remembered her.

”Dolores, it’s you. I know it is.” He muttered.

”Yes, of course it’s me. Just let that understanding flow through you. Know it fully and then open your eyes.”

James willed himself to imagine how Dolores might be staring at him at that very moment. He inhaled several deep breaths before brushing apart his fingers and looking straight at her. A distraught expression of concern and worry met his. It was that of his wife. He embraced her with enthused relief and joy. At the foot of the bedroom door, James noticed a small shard of wood he had shoved under it before retiring to bed. The concealed object indirectly responsible for the latest trauma in a series of escalating episodes. As James clung to Dolores in his arms, he contemplated his state of mind if and when the breaking point would ever arrive.


”It’s plain and simple. You just can’t go on like this.”

The weather had also taken a turn for the worse. Ironically, adding to the permeating ambience of gloom all around them. Rain battered against the window in rhythmic sheets as Dolores sipped on a hot brew in the kitchen area. She stood, resting up against the wall opposite him, gazing out into the pitch black and deep in thought.

”I’m scared, you know.” She continued, bearing a mask like face. ”Does that register with you at all? Scared of where we’re heading. Of what’s going to become of you. How many more turns do you have to experience before you realize you need help?”

He watched her settle back into the simmering boil of a few hours ago, though still remaining transfixed on the storm outside. It began to unnerve him somewhat. She snapped out of it and reached for the cordless handset on the counter. ”That’s it. I’m calling Dr. Grey. This has gone far enough.”

”No!” Shouted James, jumping out of the wooden chair he was sitting in. ”Don’t call anyone. Please. I need some time to think things through.”

”Time?” Dolores exclaimed. ”That ran out like last week already. You’re in serious trouble right now. What part of that statement can’t you see? I leave you alone for a little while and you’re barricading the door, going hysterical when I find you and you reckon things are OK?”

”I never said they were.” He muttered in response. ”But put yourself in my shoes for a moment. Once they perform this procedure or whatever on me… I mean… There’s a chance I may never wake up again. I’d be alive but dead all at the same time. It'd be the same as a mental lobotomy. So if you’re scared, I don’t think there exists a category for how I’m feeling right now.” He sat back down and sunk his chin into folding arms upon the kitchen table. ”I’m sorry, hun. I don’t know how to deal with this.”

”Then trust in your wife for once.” She said, reverting back to a passive tone. ”When have I ever let you down. I understand this must be unbearable but a possible solution has been offered up by a skilled and kind-hearted physician. Of course, that downside he mentioned is very daunting. I get that. But as he repeated a few times, the chances are minuscule. Any operation out there, even a simple appendectomy, carries with it a small risk. Hell, stepping out of the house and going about your day. Anything can happen to us at any time. Do you see where I'm going with this, James?”

”Of course, I do. And appreciate your support no end. But I’d be the first to receive such a procedure, ever. I’d be the benchmark test guinea pig for all those who would suffer the same side effects after me. But what if those risks are much higher? How can the doctor know with any certainty that the procedure will be a success at all?”

Dolores approached him but stopped short by the table’s edge. ”There is no way to be certain, James. I’m just telling you like it is. Until you decide to go ahead with it, we’ll be fumbling in unknown territory. But one thing I do know. Without treatment, you will end up a whole lot worse and that I can promise you. But go along with Dr. Grey? At least, we have a fighting chance.”

She reached into her back pocket and produced a small, plastic bottle of pills. ”Here.” She said, holding them up in front of him. ”Sedative pills Dr. Grey gave me whilst you were fuming outside. He told me these provide a slightly heavier dosage so that you’ll have a dreamless sleep. It other words, no nightmares. I recommend you take them before we turn in. You look a mess and need the rest desperately. And I'd also consider coming back with me to the clinic tomorrow, if I was you.”

He grabbed the pill bottle from her and set it on the table. ”I’ll think about taking them for now. But I’m sorry, Dolores. I believe I can control this. I can just feel it. Give me one last shot at this. So much is at stake for our future. Let’s leave a visit to Dr. Grey as a last resort for now.”

She huffed, before backing off towards the hallway. ”Stubborn-headed as ever, I see. Well, it’s been twice you’ve suddenly up and disappeared from his premises. Causing such a ruckus each time too. So let’s see if he’ll even consider seeing us again.”

”I haven’t got the patience for playing these childish games with you, James.” She asserted. ”But at the same time, I can’t drag you back there either. If you’re so confident, I’m giving you one last chance but only because I want to believe you. Another episode like the last and I’ll be straight on the phone like a shot, booking you in for the procedure. Whether you like it or not.”

(To Be Continued)


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Hope you enjoyed this story, please look out for more on the way... (author: @ezzy)

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