Direction Chapter Nine
Jeff could hear voices incoherently echoing from the black. Though his eyes were closed, he could see things in the outstretched darkness, small bits of light and colors moving about; he tried to open them but the pounding in his head kept them shut. “What is this, where am I?” he tried to ask, but his words were lost. He looked down at himself, his clothing was odd. It was hard to make out, it looked to be a very old red garment – like something from medieval times.
A bitter rush hit his face and traveled down his spine causing him to shoot up, alert. His eyes were open now, a cool mid-day breeze chilling his swelling skin. He was drenched with water, and his vision was slowly adjusting to the sunlight. Riley stood over him with a half full bottle of water.
“Jeff, who is the person?” Riley asked. “Why did he hit you, how does he know who I am? He said he knows you, that’d you explain. What the hell is going on?” Her voice was shaking, like she’d been crying.
His sight was clear enough now to see Chris sitting on the mossy stump a few feet to his left.
“Yeah, Jeff. Please explain what the fuck happened? Because I sure as hell can’t. Why doesn’t anyone know who the fuck I am?” Chris asked sternly, his low, steady voice laced with rage.
Jeff stood, still dizzy. His head was thumping, pushing his brain outward as if his head might explode. “I…um…just let me explain…” he began. “How…how are you even here?” he asked Chris, rubbing his hand on the side of his face where he was hit.
“What the fuck does that even matter?” Chris snapped. “Just answer the fucking question! What the fuck did you do to me? Who are you, you piece of shit? You have no idea what the fuck I’ve been through in the last twenty-four hours.”
“Look, I don’t really know what’s going on myself. All of the sudden I can do all of this crazy shit. And things just got a little…out of hand.”
“What the hell does that mean?” Chris yelled.
“Jeff, you need to explain what the hell is going on here, right now,” Riley cut in.
Chris stood up from the stump. “Riley.” Her head snapped in his direction, still getting used to hearing her name so casually from a stranger. “Someone came with me, someone that might be able to give us some answers.”
Riley quickly moved between Chris and Jeff. “You’re not going to hurt him. Haven’t you already done enough?”
“He’s not going to beat the shit out of him.” Chris paused. “Actually, I never asked, so I don’t honestly know that. But he said he needs to talk to you, Jeff. Look, I don’t give a fuck what the hell is going on with you, I just want things to be like they were, I want my life back.”
Riley looked incredibly confused, she went to speak but before saying anything Chris turned and yelled into the trees. “Hey, Mr. H, come on out.”
A tall athletic looking man emerged from the trees. Chris knew him as Mr. H, that’s the only name he gave him back by the dark water. He was still wearing the same pajamas Chris had on, materializing from the shade of the trees.
Jeff chuckled lowly for a moment then caught himself. “What…why the hell…who is this? Why is he dressed like that?”
“Look…Jeff…you may not remember me, but we’re acquainted. We’ve been friends for quite a long time, if you just come with me I can explain everything.” Mr. H slowly raised his hand and began moving toward Jeff.
“You stay the hell away from him!” Riley yelled, stepping forward. “I don’t know what’s going on here, but whatever you think he did you’re wrong.”
“Riley, please, don’t,” Jeff said lowly. He could see her back raising and dropping, her breaths quick and heavy – then looked up at Mr. H. “You’re right, I have no fucking idea who you are, how about you just explain now, right here.”
“As if you’re owed any sort of fucking explanation you piece of shit,” Chris said, pointing at Jeff.
“Just, everybody calm down a minute,” Mr. H said, continuing to close the gap between him and Jeff.
“Please, don’t come any closer,” Jeff said, his voice slowly getting shakier.
Riley began sobbing. “Please, whoever you people are, just leave us alone.”
Jeff could see Chris’ eyes begin to moisten, and their eyes met just then. “How could you do this, Jeff? Why doesn’t anyone know who I am, what the fuck did you do, man?”
“I should’ve never done what I did. I was just…jealous. You know, I saw the way you guys were together. Relaxed and happy. I just really wanted that.”
“What are you talking about?” Riley said, turning now to face Jeff. Her face was red and tear soaked.
“Jeff, we’re not like everyone else. We’re…special. And there’s more of us, too.” Mr. H said, raising his hand. “We possess certain abilities, some are unique. Like the ability to say, go backward and forward in time. And these abilities manifest themselves in different ways, in our minds.”
“What, what do you mean special?” Jeff replied, curious now.
“Just come with me, I can explain everything.” Mr. H said, beginning to move forward again. He was almost within arms reach of Riley and Jeff spoke up again. “I said stop coming closer, right now,” he shouted.
Just then Jeff reached out and grabbed Riley’s arm, squeezing his eyes shut. Mr. H leaped forward but was too late, Jeff and Riley disappeared, leaving Mr. H stumble through the empty air.
Chris also moved forward out of reflex, then screamed in frustration. “What the fuck are we doing! Why can’t you just tell me what the fuck is going on, what the hell were you talking about just then?”
Mr. H turned toward Chris and ran his hands through his hair, giving off an air of frustration. “I have no idea why Jeff did what he did to you. But you’re here now, you’re not dead. Just go on living your life, I’ll take care of Jeff. I have some friends that can help.”
“What fucking life! My own parents don’t even know who the fuck I am. Please, just tell me something, help me understand.”
“Please, quit your incessant whining. Jeff and I are Cardinal Beings,” Mr. H snapped. “We’re part of a group of beings that first inhabited the Earth. He just doesn’t remember who he is, or what he’s doing.” He reached down and picked up Jeff’s bag that he dropped when Chris knocked him down, searching through it for clues as to where he might have gone.
“That sounds fucking crazy,” Chris said shaking his head. “How is any of this even possible? I have to be sleeping right now, this can’t be real.”
“Oh, unbelievable is it?” Mr. H replied, now laughing sarcastically. “Well, why don’t you go and ask your parents about it, I’m sure they can clear things right up for you.” Then he was gone. Chris stood there, in the small wooded clearing next to the park path, mouth now hanging open.
“Fuck!” he yelled into the air. “FUCK!”
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