I cannot tell if I am awake or not. If this is reality or a waking nightmare.
I tried. If anyone ever asks, I did try.
It is the sixth day since my first failed attempt. Since I understood normal. In this time I have failed to die twenty seven times. Been killed once. Had my one love killed. Our mutual murderer has appeared in not only my dreams but in one of my cousin’s as well. She took over my microwave and echo. Ruined my mirror. My life. Called me on a shut off phone. I was hit by my food delivery guy of whom She intimated killing.
Fuck. Wong. I never even gave him a second thought. Not like we were friends or anything. And he did hit me with his car. And still got a tip.
I googled the restaurant and looked for any news. Nothing. Then checked the police ledger. I found the report of the accident. His name was not Wong. Oh shit. Inadvertent racism rears it’s ugly head. It was Henry. Henry Nguyen. I swear he introduced himself to me as Wong.
How the fuck did I get Wong?
Not the point here.
He was admitted to the hospital after the accident. Police assumed he hit a large animal and suffered a concussion.
It was a human sized animal officer. Human shaped as well.
I looked in the obituaries but could find nothing on Henry Nguyen. Nothing at all.
I needed to know if he was dead. I called the restaurant.
“Got Rice, phone number?”
“Oh! Mr Mikhail, apologies on your order. Why you haven’t call since then? Wong was in accident on way to deliver.”
Wong! Racism averted! The lady on the line spoke broken English but I knew his name was Wong.
“Um. I fell asleep and forgot I ordered. Is Wong okay?”
“No. He got to the hospital and died in his sleep. Very quick.”
“From the accident? What happened?”
Silence. Small talk about a dead driver didn’t seem to be high on her list today.
“Not from accident. Drown. They said he drown. Passed out in shower and water fill his lungs. You want pork fried rice and dumplings?”
Drowned in the shower? Fuck.
“No. I think I will pass today. Look I am sorry about Wong.”
“It is fine. We owe you food, you good customer. On the house. Throw in spring rolls. Be there in twenty minutes.”
“Make it shrimp fried rice then. Thank you.”
“Okay. Twenty minute. Apartment one three two. Wong’s brother bring it. His name Wong too.”
Oh fuck. They must assume we are all racist so they call all the delivery guys Wong. Who is the racist now Got Rice?
She hung up. I hate shrimp but since my sense of taste is pretty much shot why not. I checked the obituaries for the town over. My stomach grumbled in response to the idea of free food as I read through the names.
There he was. Henry Nguyen. No cause of death. No mention of family. The whole Wong thing through me off still. We’re they even related? Nguyen isn’t even Chinese. It is Vietnamese. Was everything I thought I knew a lie?
I wanted more information on his death. But how? I didn’t want to call the hospital. The police maybe? I would need a good excuse. I needed to think. Maybe he did pass out in the shower. He had passed out when I popped up from the dead. Maybe he was like one of those goats.
Don’t speak ill of the dead. Especially with all of the death around you dumbass.
I am not a detective. I am a defective. I just need answers. I am not going to launch into a harebrained scheme like in a story. Though disguises would be cool. I know who the murderer is. There isn’t a crime to solve. And I don’t care about Henry, or Wong. Not really. We never said anything bacl and forth, there was no real connection between us. I didn’t even know his real fucking name. Or ethnicity for that matter. He hit me with his car for Christ’s sake.
I wanted to alleviate my guilt. He died because he hit me with his car. Even if it did nothing but some bruises and spoiled reverie. He passed out in the shower and drowned. Case closed Ms. Fletcher. It was a case of accidental drowning.
I am looking for hidden meanings in shadows. Trying to apply fiction rules to all too shitty reality.
One that just so happens to be have some kind of death proof curse and a a crazy lady that drowns people. Wong was just another stain on my soul next to Beth. Next to Timmy. And those three were probably not the darkest ones. I stared down into my cup of coffee, trying to find meaning in the liquid. Desperate for any meaning in anything. For one thing to make sense. The frustration of the last week like a boulder on my mind. I needed release, this pressure of uncertainty to just fucking leave my body.
The mug exploded and shards of frozen coffee stuck out of the walls around me like dark brown darts. My hands cut from the ceramic remains of the mug.
My second, and by default new favorite mug gone.
Did I do that? The pressure inside of me was gone. The sorrow remained, the bleak darkness filling me was just as toxic and all consuming. I ran into the kitchen and filled a plastic bowl with water. I sat down at the table and concentrated on the Water.
I focused on the feelings of loss and rage. The anguish and pain. My hatred for Her, my love for Beth. I tried to harness them and pour them into the water in the bowl. All of it. Tears poured down my face as I accepted she was gone. As I accepted she loved me and I would never be able to tell her again. Or hear it from her.
There was no change in the water. I dipped my finger in and it didn’t even feel slightly cooler. I closed my eyes and tried again.
A knock on the door caused me to nearly jump out of skin.
I forgot about Wong Two and my free food. I looked through the peephole, lately I have had trust issues. It was him. Thank God, I was starving. I opened the door and gave him a bug grin. He just stood there. Staring at me. I tried speaking again. Blank Stare. I waved my hand in from of his face. No reaction. I touched his hand.
It was ice cold. I gently placed a hand on his neck. A faint pulse through the chill that seemed to permeate him. I saw a slight flicker in his eyes. A twinge.
“Can you hear me?” I whispered to him. The twinge again. “Can you move?” Eye twitch. I reached down and grabbed the food, steam coming from the bag. “Wait right there.”
I set the food on the table and called 911.
“911, what is your emergency?”
“There is a delivery man frozen outside my door.”
“Pardon me sir?”
“Wong Two is frozen in place outside my door. I opened the door and found him like this. Just standing there and not moving.”
“I have dispatched an ambulance to your location. What apartment number?”
“One Three Two. Please hurry. His eye sort of twitches. He seems alive, just frozen in place.”
“Help is on the way. Do you need to remain on the line at this time?”
“No. Please have them hurry.”
“Yes sir, that is typically the response when one calls 911.”
“They are coming man.”
Slightly more motion in his eyes, which I took as a good sign. I heard sirens growing near. By the time the ambulance arrived he could move a couple of his fingers.
“What happened to you? Do you remember anything?”
He shook his head slightly in a negative fashion.
“Did you see a woman? Beautiful with long black hair and blue eyes?”
No again. Now the paramedics were there. I backed into my doorway to let them do their work. They set Wong carefully on the stretcher. He looked at me, his mouth working. I rushed to his side.
“Did you see her?” I frantically asked him.
He shook his head slightly no again. I leaned in as he seemed intent on giving me a message. I could not understand him. Finally he tried again, I got right next to him to hear his message. It had to be important.
“Take good care of him guys.”
As I was headed in I was stopped by a police officer who had pulled up while I was trying to decipher that last message.
“Excuse me sir, I have a couple questions.”
“This is the second time this week there has been an incident with a delivery driver in this area. It is beginning to appear suspicious. Can you explain exactly what happened and how you found the victim?”
I ran through the events. Minus the crazy shit of course.
“And how often do you order from this particular restaurant?”
“Every few weeks, sometimes every other month depending on money.”
“Have you ever seen anyone threaten the delivery guys?”
Except the one that hit me with his car. He wasn’t so much threatened as it was hinted he would be dealt with.
“And have you ever seen this driver before?”
“No sir. The lady on the phone said he was a new driver. The brother of the old driver that passed away.”
“And it seems the driver that passed away was headed here as well.”
“I just got off the phone with the restaurant. They said you never received your order and waited until today to call. Why was that? It seems you would have been calling sooner about your order.”
“Been a rough week officer. A former girlfriend died and I had an accident with my ceiling.”
I was struggling to think of a good excuse.
“And how did your former girlfriend die?”
“Her car spun off the road and went over a bridge.”
“My condolences. Where did this occur?”
I never asked. Shit.
“On the way from Texas to here.”
“Why was she headed here?”
“She was on her way to see me.”
Shit. Shit shit.
“Your ex girlfriend was on her way to see you?”
“Apparently. I didn’t know until my cousin called and told me she had died.”
“You hadn’t spoke to her?”
“Aren’t you cold? It is twenty degrees out and you have been in your t-shirt and shorts the last half an hour.”
“Yes sir. But I was more concerned about Wong. Never gave it a thought.”
I wasn’t cold at all. Should be. Huh.
“Well head back in. Take my card and if you hear or see anything let me know. Again my condolences.”
“Thank you officer. I will.”
This mother fucker was suspicious as hell. And has every right to be. My story has more holes in it then a block of Swiss. I am glad I held my tongue and didn’t ask the hundred questions I had about Wong One.
Heh. Wong One. I need to learn to respect the dead better.
Instead I tore into some dumplings and rice. And of course my sense of taste came back as I bit a shrimp.
I am fate’s fucking whipping boy.
Did I freeze Wong Two? Or the coffee? Or was She messing with my head again?
As I inhaled the food I tried to recreate my feelings as the mug had exploded. It wasn’t hard to bring up the feelings. It would have been impossible to not bring them up. I harnessed all of it and tried to direct it at the bowl of water.
Nothing happened. No freezing, not even a noticeable change in temperature. It had to have been her trying to keep me off balance.
Cue phone ring. Again I jumped and nearly shit myself.
Hand shaking I hit the screen to accept.
“How many more people need to die my love? How many before you accept you are mine?”
“No more. Please. You have taken enough. Please just leave me alone. Please.”
“What do you want from me?”
“Every thing. Every piece of you. And I will kill every person that stands in my way to get you. You still don’t remember do you? You have no idea what you are swept up in. What you are. My love you are special. So very special. And have been mine since the day you were born.”
“Tell me then. At least give me that much.”
“Begging? Good. You are nearly ready. Soon my love. We will talk again soon. That police officer has questions. He suspects you. Should I remove him from the equation?”
“No. No More killing. Just tell me what you want. Please tell me so it can end. Please.”
“It will never end my sweetest. The world will burn and you will be by my side. Until time itself stops we shall be together. You. Are. Mine.”
The call disconnected and I felt a surge of pain through my skull. I staggered down the hall and saw my nose had started bleeding. A torrent rushed down my face. I became dizzy and the world spun like a carnival ride around me. The floor seemed to grow larger and I realized it was just growing closer. I was falling. Then mercifully it all went black.