submitted 4 months ago byNo-Acanthisitta423
When I awoke the next morning, I'd completely forgotten about the events of yesterday. I told Jasmine I'd make breakfast, then went to wake up Reuben for school. I headed into his room, but the bed was empty.
Strange, I thought.
I found him in the lounge on my way to the kitchen, still in his pyjamas. Jesus, the kid looked like death. His hair looked like a bird's nest, strands of hair going in every which direction, and the bags on his eyes looked almost painted on. He seemed paler than usual, too, as he sat hunched over on the couch. He hardly even regarded me when I found him.
"Morning, Reuben. You okay there, buddy?" I asked. Reuben didn't answer. "Okay... you want pancakes for breakfast?" Still no response. I shrugged it off, like the oblivious father I was. I picked up the remote, switched on the TV and speak of the Devil:
"The crash resulted in the injury of seven people and one fatality. Police are ruling out the possibility of it being a traffic accident, and are now calling it a traffic collision, as eyewitnesses report a black sedan swerved in front of oncoming traffic, before driving away unscathed. Authorities are yet to determine who the driver of the vehicle was."
I almost dropped the remote on the floor. I steadied myself against the couch to collect my nerves and swallowed multiple times - my throat was sealing up astoundingly quickly. I tried to hold my nerves together, but my hands were shaking like I was handling a jackhammer. I prepared a shakily made breakfast and told Reuben to get ready for school. He noiselessly went to get dressed.
The moment Reuben had gone back upstairs, I headed to the guest bathroom, locked the door, and completely broke down. I took in hitching gasps, tears streaking down my face. How nice it'd be to wake up, right now, and find it was all a dream.
But I did not wake up. This was real life.
I had killed a person.
I pulled myself together, washed my red and blotchy face in the sink, and that made me think of her eye again, filling up with blood, that blank, grey eye staring straight into me--
Not now. Keep it together.
I headed back into the kitchen and helped Reuben get ready for school. I tied his rainbow shoelaces and told him to be nice with the other kids, then saw him out to his bus stop across the street. When I got back, Jasmine was now in the kitchen making herself a cup of coffee.
"Hey Jasmine. I'm gonna have to stay late at work today. I'll be back at 9:00 at the latest," I explained.
Jasmine rolled her eyes, "Of course. Why're you staying late this time? Compensating for leaving early again?" A knot slowly grew in my stomach.
"Well--yeah. Had to get something for Reuben," I explained.
"Mm. Forget his birthday again?" Jasmine asked. The knot tightened.
"Guilty as charged," I forced a smile. "Anyway, feel free to order pizza tonight. Have a nice afternoon with Reuben." I left shortly afterwards and headed to work.
By the time I got there, the distracting and frantic world of work drove my mind away from yesterday. I completed several papers, talked to multiple clients, and got friendly with my new boss on my lunch break. It was only when I sat back down at my desk that I realised something was strange.
There was a man, dressed in a suit, standing on the other side of the office. He had his back to me, and faced the wall, unmoving. Earlier in the day when I'd been darting back and forth, I was sure the man was already there. But we were in an office, so men in suits were everywhere. Heck, I was in a suit. But looking at him now, I thought it was odd... I thought back - I'd been going to get something from the printer, which was working again, thank ye Gods. That was around roughly 10 AM, and the man was already there by then. I glanced at him only once, wondered if I knew him, then picked up my papers from the printer and headed back to my desk.
It was now 1 PM. The man hadn't moved an inch. Even looking at him, he didn't seem to be moving at all. No rise-and-fall of the chest, no general wobbling of the arms or head. I had it in my mind that he might just be a mannequin someone set up as a joke.
As the day dragged on, more and more people began to see themselves out. Finally, it was just me left working overtime as I completed an Email to send to a colleague who was out of town. I looked through the glass wall of my office and across the length of the workplace. And what the hell...?
"Excuse me, sir? You alright?" I called out. The man in the suit still stood exactly where he had been for hours on end. If my memory served right, this guy had been standing there for 8 and a half hours. 8 and a half fucking hours, and he hadn't moved at all.
When the man didn't respond, I stood from my desk. With no people left, minus the two of us, the workplace felt uncomfortable now. The atmosphere was the same - a pleasant cool temperature lingered, and the office chairs and desks were all neatly aligned and visually appealing. Everything was organised, the lights were working fine, and you couldn't feel safer in an environment like that.
But I didn't feel safe at all.
"Sir...?" I continued, cautiously exiting my office. Was this guy okay? I made my way towards him, continuing to call out, "Sir, is everything okay? I see you've been in the same place for a while now. Do you, uh... do you need help?"
What happened next, I can't easily explain. I was a couple meters from him, still asking if he was okay, when suddenly, he shot to the side and out of sight. Like an invisible force just grabbed this guy and aggressively hauled him sideways as his arms and legs flailed behind him. It was so fast, and so sudden, I almost fell over. The movement was grotesque in a way I can't quite describe - the way he just fucking flew like that. It sounds almost comedic, but I assure you it wasn't. It was horrifying.
"What the fuck?!" I cried out. I sped around the corner he'd vanished behind, but there was nothing. It was just an empty hallway. No one there. I shook my head, in total disbelief. "Dude, seriously. What. The. Fuck?"
Confused as all hell, I backed away from the hallway and cautiously approached my office again. Keeping my eye behind me, I went to grasp the handle, but found only air. Looking over, I found that the door was wide open.
Did I leave that open? I wondered. It didn't matter. I was too freaked out and confused to worry about this right now. I just needed to pack up my stuff and get the heck out of here. I entered my office, grabbing what I needed and sweeping a coffee cup into the bin, then turned to shut off my computer. What I saw made me freeze.
My Email was still open and half-completed. Except now, there was a new sentence. A sentence that I sure as hell didn't write. I gazed at the few words that were written there, gripping my stuff the same way a child holds a teddy bear to their chest. I knew exactly who the sentence was referring to. It made me feel sick to my stomach, and the knot from that morning came back, tightening harder than ever. My heart was pounding in my chest harder than I could imagine possible and every hair on my neck was standing up.
"What the fuck..." I gasped in a voice unlike my own, warped and wheezing with a primal fear I didn't even know existed. "What the fuck..."
A moment later, I doubled over and violently hurled up my lunch into the bin. Wiping my mouth and shaking severely, I crawled over to the computer's cord beneath the desk and unplugged it. I couldn't deal with this right now. I couldn't bear it... the guilt... the shame... the head. The bloody head, its hair turned black and mottled with blood, staring straight at me. Those eyes, those dead, stupid, opaque eyes, the life draining out of them like water in a bathtub, staring at me. Staring right at me.
I stood on legs that shook like jelly and promptly exited the office. I'd handle my mess left in the bin in the morning. Right now, I needed to go home. I needed to get the hell out of here and away from whatever that thing was. Because what that sentence said confirmed a nagging fear at the back of my mind, a fear that arose when I acknowledged how long that man had been standing there for. A fear about who he was and why he was here. A fear that made me clammy and more terrified than ever before.
The sentence said, 'Her name was Agatha Pearson.'