Chapter Eight

Since Benjamin’s departure as host, over the next three months Chris had developed certain coping mechanisms to help him deal with the dying faces that visited him each day. He tried not to get too personal with them, tried not to care.

After emotionally draining himself over Benjamin and failing to save the boy’s life, he had convinced himself that he couldn’t have made a difference anyway. He knew trouble and grief lay ahead for the healthy looking visitors of his nightmare, but he had no way of knowing what that trouble could possibly be. He could start asking them for their phone numbers as common practice, but he would never know what to be warning them of. He figured he would just end up needlessly scaring them, making their last days on earth more miserable than they may already be. He didn’t see how telling someone there was a pretty good chance they were going to die in the next few days could be considered help…even if they did believe him.

He didn’t blame himself for not coming through for Benjamin the way he did when failing to inform the doctor of Sherry’s news from the other side of consciousness. But the loss was still something that had to be dealt with. It wasn’t like the loss when someone close to you dies. Chris cared for Benjamin, had genuinely liked the boy, but had really only known him for a little over two weeks. He was now just another of the many, many names in the obituaries he spent an hour or two reading every day.

While still not willing to give in to the concept of fate, he had decided that changing the outcome of the premonitions he had been cursed with was simply beyond his ability. Or at least, as of yet, beyond his understanding. There was still so much he didn’t understand.

Originally, he wanted to know things like: Why was he having this dream? Who was making the connection possible? Why can he remember the dreams but the others in his dreams cannot? And of course: Can he alter the predicted outcome? Anymore, however, Chris really only wanted to know the answer to two questions, and even one of those he would concede for the answer to the other.

One, he wanted to know if the Priest in his dream had a bigger role in what was going on than simply being a prop. If that were possible, Chris suspected he did. And two, he wanted more than anything just to know when and if this nightmare was ever going to stop. The first question he would gladly forget about as best he could if he had a satisfactory answer to the latter one.

But the dreams neither stopped, nor did he ask the Priest when, or even if, they ever would stop. Instead he met Martha, a 54-year-old, never-married grade school teacher who was teaching her final classes. And John, who had been born just fifteen years earlier with a spinal disease that was now calling in its hand. He met Perry the plumber and Robert the bank executive whose hearts were simply getting tired of beating. And there were others, more than he tried to recall anymore. Most appeared in his dream with a certain degree of fading already present and their eyes almost white where color had once been prominent. But a few arrived as William and Benjamin had, looking pretty good for a week or two before the fading began.

Now, six months since the dreams had begun, Chris’ life had been turned upside down. He worked by night instead of by light and avoided contact with the world outside his own lonely routine. His friends no longer called or checked in, not because of what had happened to Sherry, but because Chris had moved on himself, in a way, and left his friends behind. He had returned not one of their concerned calls, and their concerns eventually shifted to other things in their own busy lives.

His hair had gone uncut. He had shaved, but only occasionally, currently sporting a ten day growth. He had visible bags under his dark eyes, making them look sunken and sad. And the first few strands of premature gray lay amidst his thick black hair. He didn’t own a bathroom scale, but guessed he had lost at least twenty pounds. He was using a tighter notch on his belt.

The only thing that had improved over the last six months was that his house was a lot cleaner than it had ever been before. To help pass the time, to keep his mind occupied, usually in the last couple of hours before going out to deliver his routes, he dusted and vacuumed and picked up and wiped down. Chris’ appearance had certainly seen better days before the accident, but his house had never been cleaner.

Although he tried not to think about it, the same questions he had no answers to continued to threaten his grasp on reality. During most of his waking hours, surfing the net, cleaning house, working, he was able to keep his mind on the tasks at hand--not completely, but sufficiently to push back the question that truly haunted him. But every morning as he laid himself down to bed, these same questions would fight their way back to the front of his brain and go to work on him as he tried to fall asleep. Because he always felt in such need of sleep, the questions running amok in his head didn’t keep him awake each morning as they otherwise might have, but they didn’t dissipate as he drifted off, either. Often times, people with hectic, trying or emotionally draining lives find sanctuary in their sleep. For Chris it had become his own personal Hell.

* * * * *

Chapter Nine


Front Desk

Return to Author's Page

As Fate Would Have It

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two
Chapter Twenty-Three
Chapter Tweny-Four
Chapter Twenty-Five
Chapter Twenty-Six
Chapter Twenty-Seven
Chapter Twenty-Eight
Chapter Twenty-Nine
Chapter Thirty
Chapter Thirty-One
Chapter Thirty-Two
Chapter Thirty-Three
Chapter Thirty-Four
Chapter Thirty-Five
Chapter Thirty-Six
Chapter Thirty-Seven