There Is No Story
This story actually sits somewhere in between A Few Short Days and Time Has Forgotten My Neighborhood- but it has references to SEVERAL of my stories... can you find them all?
There is no story here- there is no crazy tale, glitchy experience, creepy encounter or paranormal haunt for you to dig your teeth into. Not this time at least. No, this is a confession, a confession that I am willing to give to you, to deliver from the stage of my design; a confession that I feel you all should hear. I need, more than anything in this world, to let these words escape my lungs and to get these thoughts outside the walls of my skull. I hope more than anything that I can say them, and that, when I do, they will be enough to stop the absolute nightmare that has become my life. Maybe, once I confess, once I declare myself regretful of the actions I have taken… Maybe then I will be able to close my eyes, and relax my body. If not, then I fear for what I will do when this admission of guilt has concluded.
This may feel confusing to you- you’re used to me coming in here to tell you scary stories. You’re used to hearing my cheerful and uniquely toned voice echo through your eardrums to deliver your weary mind unto a world that you can visualize. You expect stories about ghosts, strange people, breaks in reality, the horrors of the dark web. I know what you expect, and I have to apologize to you for today… Well, today will not be one of those. No, today’s story breaks from the confines of those true tales that I tell you frequently, and holds a truth of its own. Once more, today’s story is a confession…
If I am to confess, to you all, the things I have done and how I’ve come to be the shriveled mess that is currently speaking to you… then I suppose I should start from the beginning- the first day when things started to change. To be honest, at the risk of almost sounding cliché, it started like literally every other day of my thirty year life. I actually remember the morning quite clearly- I woke up late. I needed to be up around six, so that my wife would be awake and able to get ready for work in time. I remember the light of the morning breaking through the window and waking me up, only for my eyes to drop down onto the bedside clock- it was a quarter to seven. I remember that sense of panic that hit me, that immediate sense that this was going to be an awful day from the minute I opened my eyes. I woke my wife with my panicked statement of the time, she sighed heavily and leapt out of bed before rushing to the bathroom and getting ready for work. I threw myself out of bed and pressed the button on my phone, there was no indication that I had turned off my alarm, nothing that seemed like it had been changed. It was as if fate had simply decided to challenge us that morning.
I hated those kinds of mornings. I’ve always been one to be awake at five for an event at eight. You know the type- the kind of person that gets dressed and has over an hour before they even have to leave the house, so they sit on the couch and practically count the seconds. The type that sets an alarm to tell them when to leave the house, when to go back from lunch, when their break is over and when they should be going to bed. Hell, I had reminders on my phone telling me when I should be drinking water every hour. I was always on top of the time, and I always have been- that day was unique, which, looking back, makes more sense now than it should.
She got ready in record time- I swear she was dressed and out the door within five minutes. I walked her out the door and told her to drive careful, and to have a good day. I remember that I stood there and watched her drive away, simply staring at her small white car as it took off up the road, ran through a yellow light, and as she turned left, exiting my line of sight. I think that was the first moment that something felt off- something felt like it had changed. It wasn’t until that moment that I felt… you know what, I’m not really sure what it is that I felt. My skin almost felt like it was starting to freeze over- like the water in the air had clung to the hair on my arm and started to form ice crystals. On top of this, it nearly felt like my heart had stopped beating- I’ve had palpitations in the past, but this felt like a palpitation that never let up. It was almost like my heart had decided to simply stop keeping time with my body- like my internal clock had decided to simply quit existing. I’ve never had a heart attack, or anything close to one, but I think that this is what it would feel like. I felt like I was dead, at that moment, I had simply stopped living- my head was spinning, my breathing felt labored, and my vision went blurry and faded.
This one moment in time felt like an instant and an eternity all at once- yes, I know that’s incredibly contradictory, but it’s the truth. I felt as though I existed at both the beginning and end of time, all at once. When it finally passed, I realized I was still waving to my wife as she got in her car- my mouth expelling the phrase “Have a great day”, and a smile on my face. I watched as she pulled out of the driveway, and onto the road, disappearing into the foggy morning. That’s when it clicked that something had happened to me- or, something had happened to everyone but me. I’m not really sure how to phrase that. It was as if everything around me had reset, but I was completely and fully aware of it…
I was unsure of what to do with this knowledge that something had changed- but I decided that it was nothing to fret over. After all, how is one supposed to deal with a lapse in time? I went inside and simply continued my morning; coffee, shower, and then back to the grind trying to find a job that could fill the empty space in my life. I’m not one for self-pity, but I will mention that the grind that follows being let go from your job of several years is… tiring. So tiring that I managed to actually doze off at my desk in the middle of an application. I was awoken by the feeling of my phone vibrating next to my arm; the screen lit up with a large banner that displayed my wife’s name. At first I thought she was just calling me to tell me she made it to work OK, or to tell me to take something out of the freezer for dinner… but the voice on the other end when I answered wasn’t my wife’s and the message it delivered was not one I wished to ever hear.
Something had happened to her on the way to her office- she had some sort of attack while driving and had wrecked her car into an oncoming vehicle, one much larger than the small hatchback that she drove. From what I was told she died on impact, she never stood a chance in this collision- but she also didn’t feel any pain. I think that was important to me at the time, just knowing that she didn’t suffer, that she didn’t feel a thing when she went. I won’t put you through the emotional trauma that came with this situation; losing a loved one is a nearly impossible thing to deal with honestly- especially when that someone is your whole world. Life can be a fickle thing. One moment everything can glow in the warmth and comfort of a settled and mundane life, the next can be overcast with a thick fog that clouds your mind and every thought as you go through the motions and conversations with those that you normally only see on holidays. As the thread of our lives spins from the skein of our future, and is slowly woven into the tapestry that becomes our history, we can rarely anticipate where the snags will be. Even less can we anticipate what may cause the thread to become frayed, or god forbid, cut prematurely.
Metaphors aside, there are things in this life that you can anticipate could happen; sudden death from an accident, becoming a widower, possibly losing a child, but you can never truly expect them. Losing the love of my life was one of those things. That day I was numb, the next day I was lost, and the remainder of that week I was so confused and angry- how could she leave me behind after so many years, and so many plans? It was as if that fog fell over our town to take away everything that we had worked for, every aspiration that we ever dared to chase.
I’m getting off track here- this isn’t supposed to be a love letter, or a letter proclaiming my sorrow. No, this is a confession, my attempt to atone for a few sins- sins I never intended to commit and wanted painted on my soul. The first sin I committed was refusing to accept that she was gone. I was so stricken with grief and pain that I begged for her to come back. About a month after she was gone, after I bowed my head over that cold pine box and listened to her father give her eulogy, I was lying in bed, staring at the ceiling fan spin, and listening to the cold wind as it assaulted the side of the house. I stared and just kept thinking of all the times she and I were supposed to share, and I begged whoever was listening to let me have her back, to let her come home again.
After staring at the fan spinning, and listening to the sound of rain as it seemed to drown my small town, I must have fallen asleep. That night I had a dream that was...strange- it started with us at a park of some sort. I remember it was basically a clearing, a small field, with a concrete walkway and an old wooden bench randomly situated in the middle. I remember I opened my eyes and there I was, surrounded by this thick fog, and the only part of this dream that was fully visible was her. She sat there on the bench staring away from me, staring out into the fog. I slowly approached the bench, but as I got closer, I started to hear what sounded like screaming inside my head. It started out faint and curious at first, but every step closer it got louder and louder, until I realized I wasn’t supposed to get close to her . The screaming was in my head to stop me from approaching- I felt like it was my inner voice telling me that I was not supposed to be near whatever it was that was in front of me.
And yet… I did. I knew I shouldn’t have, I knew that something was telling me to stop, telling me to turn around and walk away… the problem is, when you’re dreaming, you don’t exactly have full control over your actions. Despite the screaming that was causing my head to feel like it was about to explode, I pressed on, and I reached out, placing my hand on her shoulder. What met with my hand was not her soft skin, it was that same cold feeling I’d had the day that everything changed- my hand began to feel like it was frozen, and the feeling of being dead crawled from my fingertips all the way up to my heart, and then to my head. I remember I woke up drenched in sweat and gasping for air. In retrospect, that dream was the next step into the reality that came to be- although it makes no sense for a dream to have any bearing on reality.
The next day is when things… Well… I’m not sure how to put it. I could say they got strange, I could say they started to go wrong, but those words would simply downgrade the truth of the situation. I walked through the next day as I had every day since she passed; dizzily, hastily and with no goal or path to actually take. I simply woke up, went back to looking for a job, and stared at the wall for a few hours. I know, it’s an incredibly sad existence, but I had no drive to do anything.
Then, at around four in the afternoon, as I was drowning my sorrow in something from the cabinet, I heard the front door open. I spun my office chair around to see who the hell it was that was breaking into my home, when I saw… well… her. She walked in the door like nothing had ever happened. She placed her purse on the entryway table, she hung her keys on the hook, and glanced over toward me.
This is the exact moment that the butterflies in my stomach quickly turned to bile and I felt like I wanted to vomit. Her face was pale, and her eyes were hazed over. The smile on her face fell from beautiful to horrifying as I realized how plastic the smile actually felt. Something about the way she looked at me felt unnatural. Something about it felt like it was haunting me- it made me feel like it was peeling the soul away from my flesh with every single second that she held her gaze on me.
I knew at that moment that, whatever it was that came through that door… that wasn’t my wife. That was not the sweet woman that I had fallen in love with so long ago. No, this figure had a similar appearance to my wife, but this was what the screaming had been warning me about. This was what I was not supposed to see, this was what I was not supposed to wish for. This was the result of my being unwilling to accept that she was gone. And it was this that brings me to my next sin.
When faced with a scenario such as this, there’s no way to know how your brain will react. I can imagine that some people will get violently ill, some people will feel a grip of horror as it clings to their brains, and some people will begin to panic. Myself? I managed all three. I tried to smile back at her, but failed. As soon as my mouth opened, I ran to the kitchen and vomited in the sink. I felt this sense of existential dread; that somehow this was my doing, and I had to fix the situation. Of course I could feel the panic attack as it settled into my lungs- my breathing in short and quick bursts.
As I stood there and stared at the sink and ran the water in an attempt to clean up the sick mess, I heard her taking steps from the living room and into the kitchen. I reached my trembling hand over and grabbed the handle of one of my chef’s knives that I had sitting in the block on the counter. Out of pure instinct and self-preservation, I turned and lunged for the horrifying monster with as much force and aggression as I could possibly muster; the blade meeting its mark. It pierced the flesh of this being without much resistance. As it did, for just the single moment when the metal met the pale skin, I swore that I could see her for her true beauty. That exact moment, it was as if her pale and ashen skin had shifted back to its original hue; her grey and dull eyes were once again the beautiful hazel I had fallen in love with. She fell into me as the blood drained from her body, and the life was once again lost.
Obviously, or at least obvious for me… this is the most painful part of my confession- I murdered my wife. Or I at least murdered something that resembled her. This is where my mental conflict really started to tear me apart at the seams. That thing was not her, and yet part of me felt like it was. Part of me felt remorse, but the rest of me felt like it was what needed to be done. I held her tightly for a moment, taking in the feeling of her hair against my face, breathing in the familiar fragrance of the one I once loved, before my brain kicked back into action. The kitchen was now covered in blood, and this thing’s body was lying motionless on my floor. I feel I did as any person would if they were in this position- I picked her up and took her to the back yard, then grabbed a shovel and dug a hole. It took me most of the night, but I eventually made a grave large enough for her body, and I gently placed her in it. I spent the rest of the night reburying the hole, and making it appear as thought I was simply gardening and planting some shrubs that we had. I made it look like nothing had happened- and I knew that I would be able to just move on from this horrible nightmare. Yes, it may seem harsh to say that I murdered someone, or something, and then buried it and was ready to just move on without a second thought… but I think the shock and pure adrenaline had done a number on me, as I literally passed out the minute I got back inside, and my body hit the comfort of the mattress.
The next morning, I opened my eyes to the light of the morning as it slowly crept into the room- the blinds of the window were opened slightly and the rising sun pulled at my eyelids. As I slowly shifted from completely unconscious to slightly conscious, the fact that the blinds were open caught my attention- I pulled my eyes open all the way and looked over to the window. The window itself was all the way open, the screen torn out, and the blinds were destroyed completely. This revelation was followed by another- I turned to face the other half of my bed and there lay that monster once more. I let out a tired scream as I fell out of the bed and onto the floor- I landed in what appeared to be dirt and detritus from the hole that I had dug the night before. My focus slipped from the corpse in my bed, to looking out the window and, sure enough, she had escaped from the grave that I had so carefully dug and designed.
This was quite the situation that I had been placed in, and I was unsure of how to continue. My wife, or the clone of my wife, or whatever the hell this cursed being was, had been murdered by my hands just the night before. And yet, there she was, lying next to me in my bed and staring at me with that absolutely blood-boiling smile that seemed to be glued to her face, her grey eyes keeping their unwavering focus on me. It had seemed that, with this creature, I had run the gamut of emotions- it started with terror, then fell to remorse, and now… well now I just hated her. She was a mockery of the things I loved, she was a living mannequin that had taken the appearance of my wife and was staring at me in an attempt to drive me mad- and she may have succeeded.
As I continue my confession, I must tell you that I attempted to kill her several more times in a number of different ways. I attempted the knife again, I tried to burn her, I tried power tools and dismemberment- not a single attempt was successful beyond the day that I tried it. By that I mean, even when she had been left in literal pieces on the basement floor, she still ended up lying next to me by morning, none the worse for wear. It was as if nothing had happened, like I had never attempted to kill her- well, beyond the bloody mess and literal crime scene that is left behind.
No matter what I do, she never stops staring at me- she never stops watching me with those cold and dead eyes. I wish I had never asked for her to return home, I wish I had never stared at the ceiling and wished for her to be back in my arms, because whatever cruel god was listening to me that day… well… they did their worst. I’m unsure of what to say beyond all this.
I’ve committed so many sins at this point and my mental health has deteriorated to the point of no return. Every morning, I wake up next to this monster, and the first thing I’m greeted with as soon as my eyes open is the cold and dead stare that has come to haunt my life. My home is a disgusting mess, my life is in shambles, and in just a few short days, I feel like I went from grieving widower to absolute madman. I would rather be alone than stuck with whatever hell has been wrought upon me. I do apologize that there was no story for you all to enjoy- and I think at this point, there never will be again, at least not here. This was my confession to you all, a confession that something happened that morning a little while back, and none of you noticed it. That day, that painful day that, for whatever reason, decided to start over from the point where she left, was a catalyst- the beginning to my end. After wanting nothing but to have the love of my life back, I now want nothing more than to be alone. I thought that, as I wrote this confession, I would start to feel better about things, but no- I think I’ve made it worse. I think I simply highlighted that this will not end- this situation will not cease until I do.
I am sorry for what I have done, and what I will do- I’ve been left with no alternatives. Hopefully the mistakes of my past can be erased, hopefully I can undo the atrocities I have committed by taking my own life- and hopefully, just hopefully, I can finally rest and never have to see that face, ever again.