Copyright is held by the author.
OH, SO you think because you can’t see us we aren’t there? That we aren’t important? OK, let me show you then what can happen when you ignore us. I can blow, like this: Pffhhhew. Just a little puff of air and there, yes — you just shivered; for no reason at all didn’t you. Ha — you touched your neck — exactly where I aimed the air. Yes, my friend, I have you in my sights.
You are putting too much butter on that slice of bread my friend. It’s not good for you, you know. But then neither was what you did last fall was it? I know you think about it, because I keep throwing it back to you in your dreams. Even your waking ones. Pffhhhew. Yes, go get your sweater and turn on the fire, finish making your sandwich — lets spend the night together shall we? It’s been awhile.
So, it’s the news up first is it? OK, let me do a bit of my own channeling; perhaps some stories about riots and hurricanes, oil spills and government overspends. And then, maybe someone killed by a hit and run driver. Completely irresponsible. Cruel. Evil. Probably drunk or stoned. Were you — drunk or stoned my evil friend?
You dripped mayonnaise on your shirt, here let me get it for you. Hah — shocked you with that didn’t I? Yes, that was me you felt, feels weird huh? A painless pop, you felt it, but you’re not really sure are you? Because you couldn’t see it. Not at all like having a car mount you from behind as you take your dog for his last walk of the night. Make that his last walk ever. But I heard you my friend. Heard the unmistakeable hum and purr of your car.
Do I notice your hands shaking a little as you swig your milk? Perhaps you probably should have something stronger, but I notice you haven’t indulged much since that night. Here let me help you with that . . . oh no . . . you’ve spilled it — you look so funny wondering how the heck you managed to do that! I helped you — you idiot. Pffhhhew, yessiree that’s all it takes, a little blow — no pun intended.
Isn’t it about now we switch over to Wheel of Fortune, a nice safe show with lots of noise — oh yes — a real brain teaser for you. Did I say we? Yes, I did, you and me and my Loki. We like to keep watch on you. See how long it takes you to solve the puzzles. You’re not good at puzzles are you. It’s as though your concentration is primarily focused on avoiding thought isn’t it? Yes, some memories can be persistent can’t they.
I noticed you brought home some cupcakes from the office today. Not sure what you were celebrating, but coincidentally, do you recall that this is the anniversary of our last night together? The one where you had maybe a slightly different kind of party at the office? Driving home late, waiving to your neighbour who was out with their beloved dog on the curb of a quiet residential street? Didn’t quite go as planned did it though; that damned cell phone rang and you had to look — the light glowing in your hand as you swerved up and over the curb and then . . .
What did you think of then? “Shit — did this just happen? Oh Lord . . . what have I . . . do I pull forward, backward?” And you made a decision. Backed up, continued your prayers and left us. You left us there. Loki, dying in my arms.
Hey, guess what else I can do? We can do, Loki and me. Move things — it takes more of our energy but we can harness it when we’re motivated. You know it too — I know you know when we are here. It shows in your eyes — the way you slap at the air when we blow at you. It’s so obvious the way you keep so much noise in the house — constant telly or radio — even when you sleep. If, I let you sleep as I sit watch from the creaky old rocking chair you think catches a mysterious breeze now and then.
It would be easy to hurt you, but we like the small tortures. Like hey, here’s an easy one. Let’s change the channel to something more fitting. Oh look, here’s Christine — a movie about a possessed car — how’s that? Now where’s that bloody remote you say? Bloody you say? Don’t you tempt me.
Well, now I do feel tempted. We have always known that it would be just a matter of time until you would break down; when a slow dawning of our horror would become yours. It takes time my evil little friend, but we will break you completely and Loki’s revenge will be mine.
Off to bed then, oh listen — that neighbour’s dog is barking again. Drives you crazy, I bet. Like when they have their late night parties in the backyard — music blaring until the wee hours of the night. I bet sometimes you miss your old neighbours huh? Quiet old man and his dog. But you don’t think on that much do you? You just suck up all the noise of these new annoyances as your well deserved punishment.
Sometimes Loki and I stand at the fence and make that dog bark and bark. I usually save that until I know you have some important meeting the next day. I like watching you wrap your head in your pillow trying to shut out all the noise. Why don’t I just hold that pillow down and end it all for you? I’ll tell you why — because I much prefer the joy of seeing you stumble around the next morning all bleary and black-eyed and incoherent as you prepare to run down the street to catch the first of the buses for your two-hour commute. Used to be much easier when you could drive your fancy white car with the roof down wasn’t it? Poor thing hasn’t left the garage in over a year. I wonder what you told your co-workers? That you had a DUI? How else to explain the bus when you could easily afford another car.
So what to do tonight? Dreams? Yes, I can invade your dreams. And what shall I haunt them with; memories of things going thud in the night? Yes, that will do fine. Enjoy, my guilty friend.
It’s a dark stormy morning, isn’t it Loki? Miserable day to be alive. And look, here comes our friend. He’s looking a bit rough this morning — here let me get that chair for you — oh careful you don’t trip. Hah! Too late. What’s this now? Tears? Wow, outright sobbing! I’m very impressed. Look at that coffee cup shake. Loki, I think we have him! He’s beside himself. Look at this. He’s looking up the local police station. He’s grabbing his car keys. Loki — it looks like the white beast is going to hit the road again, so to speak. Thinks he’s just going to turn himself in does he? We’ll see, won’t we Loki my love.
We will see.
Bob’s hands were shaking as he stood up and dropped his still full coffee cup into the sink, jumping at the clatter as it smashed and spilled onto last night’s dirty dishes. He was done. Last night, after the neighbour’s dog had finally stopped yapping, he had that dream. About that night. The one so real he knows, that it probably, somehow, is. He recalls dreaming of the warmth of Lucinda’s lips on his ear whispering for him to meet her in his office at nine, after the cleaners leave the building. He remembers vividly the sensations of coupling furiously on his desk — another tick off the bucket list — but as he’s about to explode he hears it.
And all his joy is gone. All sound is gone. He is back in his car, on his street that night, moving ever so slowly through the pea-soup haze. There are shapes moving on the boulevard, probably Smithy and his dog. A ting and he is smiling at the message on his phone. Lucinda, sexting him. Then, Thud.
A pathetic whimper. Stillness. He is alone in the dark, the streetlights so dimmed that even the white of his car blends with the fog. He wants to get out, but he cannot see anything — did he imagine it? Should he get out and look? The shapes, something whispers in his mind, where are they? He knows, and yet he doesn’t know for sure. He throws courage out the window, backs up hitting a bump — the curb maybe — and drives away.
Stumbling into that car now, he is overcome with nausea and vomits into the garbage bag that has been there since that night. His heart is racing to levels he hasn’t experienced since the high from the bumps he snorted that night and he worries he won’t be able to drive. That he might . . . what? What could be worse than this? He tosses the puke filled garbage out the window and presses the garage door opener on the visor, wondering if it will still work. It does and as it opens it reveals damp darkness and something else. They are there, the old man holding his white cane in one hand and his dog’s harness in other. The old man’s eyes are burning now. Burning a hole in him. But Bob wants to end this once and for all. He guns the engine, expecting them to jump aside and knowing that was crazy. Knowing he was crazy. His heart escalates, keeping time with the car — screeching in his ears.
Ha — no thud! There was no thud this time, he thinks as hysterical laughter overcomes him. He throws back his head, howling — even as his car speeds through the two-way stop sign — even as the cop car switches on its lights and takes chase — even as he misses the turn and takes flight into the wooden fence, crashing into the field. His eyes roll forward and he feels the blood gush and welcomes it. He sees the startled cows in the distance and hears the sirens. He sees the old man and his dog nodding at him. “Good boy,” the old man says, “now come along Loki.”