Free Extreme Fiction


    And this time, when someone went to wake me up, they had to work at it for awhile, because I was out, friend. I mean, I was way down past REM sleep. I was, like, on the coma level. It was like I was deep within the Earth, and way above me on the surface there was some kind of quake, and I thought, leave me alone. I am so very, very tired. Then, more quakes, stronger quakes, and way, way off in the distance, like from across Lake Roosevelt and up a tree, I heard, "Jimmy? Jimmy?" and I used my arms to fight off whoever tried to wake me because they really did have to leave me alone. I slept at the base of a slick, slate mountain, and I had no energy whatsoever, and climbing that slick slate to full consciousness just seemed impossible so...leave me alone. Let me sleep. But...
    "Jimmy? Jimmy?"
    I opened my eyes, and there was the bedroom again with the fishbowl and the draped window, and Helen Rabinsky  stood over me with a worried look on her face, and it all kind of refused to stay still. It was like, in a weird way, I was seeing everything from beneath a swiftly moving stream. It was like, one moment everything was like it was supposed to be in actual reality. Then, next second, it all kind of slid away from me. I'd blink, and, for a heartbeat, my real world returned, but then, oh my, away it would slide again, leaving me queasy. Which meant...whoa. I was in some real bad shape.
    I looked down at myself to see that I was still nude and lying on my back. Naked in front of Helen Rabinsky. She was dressed. She wore a sky-blue gown with silver bracelets and a pearl necklace. Her hair still had that beehive look. She looked beautiful, really. Just by wearing clothes, she looked a lot more attractive than she had back at Seaclear House. She looked about ten years younger, for one thing, and about twenty pounds lighter. There was something to be said about wearing clothes, after all. I caught just the slightest whiff of those exotic oils Susan had rubbed me down with, but I didn't feel oily. I didn't feel the urge to dash to the shower to wash those oils off. I went to rise up off the bed, and, yeow, things really started swimming then. Not only that, but my body reacting to my mind was about a half a beat off. Like, in my mind, I'd already sat up, while it took my body a half second to actually do so. I'd never felt anything like that before. That felt very strange. It intimidated me, that sensation.
    "How are you feeling, Jimmy?" Helen asked.
    "I'm fine. I've a little...a little bit...a little..." I flopped back down on the bed. "Just give me a second to recoup. I'll be fine."
    "You look beautiful, by the way."
    "Why thank you."
    "You should wear clothes more often."
    "I'll take that under consideration. It's late in the day, Jimmy." Helen's voice sounded cloudy and indistinct. "You've been asleep for three hours."
    "The game's on."
    "What?" That got me out of bed. I leaped to my feet, but then had to grab the bedstand to keep from falling over. I looked around for my clothes. "What time is it? What in the..."
    "It's quarter to four, Jimmy," Helen replied. She went over to the dresser to turn on a portable TV I hadn't seen before. Football players appeared on the screen.
    "How we doing?" I asked. "How are the Starkillers doing?"
    "They're behind. The game's only been on for a couple of minutes, though. Anything can happen."
    "So where are my clothes?" The last I remembered, I'd let them fall to the floor, one by one, as we played our little game, but where were they now? If they got stolen I'd...
    The glass table where Susan and I had been spolt dating was now clear of cards and all of that and had been replaced by my clothes, now cleaned and folded. 
    "Could you turn that up for me, please?" I asked Helen. "I can't hear what's going on."
    Helen did as I asked, but not with a lot of enthusiasm. She was married to one of the richest men in the Pacific Northwest, after all. She was used to giving instructions, not taking them. Out of the speaker of the television came the voice of the sports announcer, which is to say a voice that was an exact cross between a news reader and an ad pitcher. "It's third down with four yards on the thirty-yard line. We expect Althera to pass the ball off to Matthew Pelcher, who has had an amazing season, running four yards a carry on the average. Althera takes the snap, it's a fake. Althera fades back to pass. He's getting some heat. He's rolling out of the pocket. He guns it down the middle of the field and...ouch! His favorite receiver, Kevin Whatiker could not come up with the ball. It was just about intercepted by Blaster defender, David Souther. It's fourth down.  Stark kicker, Cecil 'Strike' Daily, is coming out onto the field." 
    "What's the score again?" I asked. 
    "Ten to nothing, I believe," Helen replied. "But, like I say, it's still very early in the game."
    "The Blasters are ahead by ten already?" I got a look at my jeans before I put them on. The rip around the knee had been repaired. Someone was definitely looking out for me. I felt my wallet inside the leather coat, which hadn't been cleaned. It was stuffed with hundred dollar bills, the eleven-thousand bucks I'd won and what money I had left over from what I'd taken from Earl. I could barely get the wallet closed again it was so stuffed with money.
    "Where's Susan?" I asked. "Where'd she go?"
    "She's preparing for this evening's festivities," Helen replied. "I'm on my way to the party, Jimmy. Can you hear me? Can you understand what I'm saying to you?"
    "Of course."
    "Then listen very carefully. Georges is out on an errand. When he's done, he's going to come back and pick you up."
    "Pick me up? To take me where? Where's he taking me?"
    "Wherever you want to go. Somewhere to watch the game."
    "Why can't I watch it here?"
    "On that TV? It's a little small, wouldn't you agree?"
    "There's got to be a bigger TV is this house somewhere."
    "Jimmy, you've got to listen to me. Susan...did something to you. She helped you with your back, but she also...well, you haven't noticed it yet because you're still not fully conscious."
    "She...did something to...what'd she do? What'd she do, Helen? Drug me?"
    "No! No, it's..." She closed her eyes tight as a sort of stress move. "It's more...we've all been altered, all of us who are a part of Susan's..." Helen held each of her forefingers in front of me, then wiggled the forefinger of her right hand and said, "This is reality, the reality you were born in and have lived in all your life, okay? You with me so far?"
    "Your finger's reality. Fine."
    "Yes. Now this finger..." She wiggled her left forefinger. "This finger's the true reality, which is to say reality squared, which is to say the reality Susan and her followers live in, a much fuller reality than what you're used to, a reality that can be sensed but that is beyond what can be sensed." She put her two forefingers within one inch of each other. "Now you, right now, because of how Susan changed you, are between these two realities."
    She'd completely lost me. "So you're all on drugs. Is that what you're..."
    "No! What I'm...Jimmy, what I'm trying to say is that you are altered. Your soul, your spirit, your true self, will be giving you signals that your altered senses won't be able to properly access, and, as a result, you'll...well, you'll be hallucinating, Jimmy."
Just subtly, but it's something you should be aware of. That's why I can't allow you to you to join the party downstairs."
    "Well, in..."
    "Jimmy, please...I have to go, okay? I have to leave you now. Georges was supposed to be here when you woke up, but an emergency...just stay here, okay Jimmy? Just stay here in the bedroom until Georges gets back. Then you can watch the game and you can relax."
    "Helen, I'm as relaxed as I'm ever...where'd the food go?"
    "We had it removed. We didn't think..."
    "I'm starving. No, I'm ravenous."
    "I'll have something brought up. You've got to promise me, Jimmy. It's very important that you stay right here and not go downstairs. Are you with me?"
    "I'm with you."
    "You promise?"
    "I'm thirsty. Where'd the bottled water go?"
    "I'll have some...Jimmy. Please. You've got to promise me."
    "Okay, I promise," I replied, and then I thought, okay, what did I just promise to do? My mind's a little...altered? Although, actually it was more of a...a shifting kind of...
    "I'm leaving, then. Okay, so what did you just promise me?" 
    "Smoke. I promised I wouldn't smoke in your home."
    "You promised me you wouldn't leave this bedroom until Georges gets here. Do you remember that? I don't have a lock for this door or I'd...just let me trust you, Jimmy. Just let me trust that you won't leave this room. Can you do that?"
    "I promise."
    "Fine." She kissed me on the forehead. "I have to go," and out the door she went.
    Once again, I was alone.