Friday, November 2, 2012

Say Goodbye to Normal - Part 2

Title: Gate of Shadows
Chapter: Say Goodbye to Normal - Part 2            
Author: Jon Harrison & Alanna Cormier
Copyright: 2012

If you missed part 1, read it here!

It was one o'clock in the morning and Jim found himself wandering the now quiet streets.  The totem was in his coat pocket.  Although it was only a few ounces it weighed him down.  He could feel it hitting his thigh with every step; constantly reminding him of its presence and what was about to happen.  Jim thought of his last conversation with his wife.

"Hi hun," Sara had picked up after the first ring.

"Hey babe.  I'm glad you called.  I wanted to tell you that I'm ordering Mongolian Beef and pot stickers tonight...your favorite!" knowing he wouldn’t be coming home, Jim was unsure how to respond.  "Jim? Are you there?"

"Yeah, sorry.  That sounds great, but I have to work late tonight."

"Really?  I thought you were going to be home early."

Jim hated lying to his wife.  It was the worst part of the oath he had taken, but the less he said the better chance her life would be spared so he took a deep breath and said, "I just got this new project assigned to me and a preliminary scope of work needs to be presented to my boss first thing in the morning."

"Oh that stinks!  I'll tell you what, I'll place the order anyway and put it in the fridge.  You can have it when you get home."

"Thank you," he replied, "I'd appreciate that."

"No problem.  See you soon.  Love you."

"I Love you too."

Jim wished he could see her again and say more, but there was no chance of that.  Music and loud noise distracted him from his thoughts and he found himself in front of a bar.  "Oh...why the hell not."  Jim hadn't had a drink in months.  It was part of a new diet he was trying.  He thought it would be an easy way to cut out some extra calories.

The bar was old, full of smoke and had the smell of stale beer.  He sat down on an empty stool covered in black vinyl that was ripped down the middle.  "What’ll it be mister?" Jim looked up to see a burly bartender who must have been over six feet tall with tattoos up and down his arms.  "Scotch, neat." The bartender walked away to get him his drink, "Make that two," Jim called after him as he took the totem out of his pocket and started spinning it over and over in his hand.  Eventually, he placed it on the bar and just stared at it.  How could three simple symbols mean so much?  He hadn't noticed that the bartender had walked back over.  "What's that?" he asked.

"A message," Jim replied while drinking his first scotch in one gulp.

"Strange lookin' message."  The bartender said as he moved away to help another customer. Jim picked up the totem once again and rolled it between his thumb and index finger as he ignored the burning sensation in his throat, but the fire hadn't subsided before he swallowed the second and placed the glass back on the table.  Shoving the totem back into his pocket, Jim stalked out the door.  "Alright let's get this over with," he called out into the air.  Jim looked around as if he expected someone to jump out at him, but nothing happened.  Hesitantly, he continued to walk, constantly looking around and listening for any unusual sounds but all he heard was the echoing sound of his shoes clapping on the uneven pavement.  As he passed an alley on his left he heard a noise, paused briefly to listen and then quickly picked up his pace.  That’s when he heard it, a second set of footfalls, but when he turned around there was nothing there.  Jim wiped the sweat from his forehead, his heart racing, and then he felt the cold breath next to his ear and froze.  "Nothing personal," said a deep, faint voice.  Jim felt a sudden rush of cold envelope his body and then there was darkness.

Click here to read part 3


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