Don't Call Me Jack

Don’t Call Me Jack Concept_edited.png

Chapter 1: I am who I am (Unedited)

The sky above me had turned black at some point when I hadn’t been looking. Admittedly, I had spent a little longer in the pub than I had been planning on, though when the drinks had started flowing and the conversation that would’ve been otherwise difficult became a non-issue, I’d lost track of the time.

I mean it wasn’t like I really cared. I had left my flat after an argument with my on-again off-again girlfriend who had recently moved back in. Truth be told, I think that living together just made everything so much worse for us; she would get some stupid idea in her head and I would take the bait. It was toxic… but God did I miss the sex when she wasn’t around.

Our flat was one road down from the pub that I would spend nights like these in, so walking home was never an issue. There were streetlights covering the whole place and other than the parked cars on the roads having their colours changed by the odd orange glow of the bulbs, it was as normal as it was in the daytime to be walking home alone in this part of Southeast England.

Again, I didn’t care. I was just bracing myself for the question of where I had been, who I was with and the like. Fuck it. I needed the space right now anyway.

I was just thinking about how I would try my best to ignore her once I arrived home and not get into an argument that could mean another short break apart, when I got the distinct feeling that I was being watched. You know, where the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end and your human spidey-sense start tapping the back of your mind.

Something was different. I could smell danger I was sure of it.

I picked up my pace as my heart rate increased slightly. I made that walk you did when your body and mind urged you to run but simultaneously whilst there was no immediate and apparent danger, you didn’t want to look like a fool – though with nobody about to see it I couldn’t really give a good explanation as to who I wanted to not look a fool for.

Then I definitely felt something. It wasn’t just paranoia anymore: someone was following me. I had seen their shadow dart behind a parked car as I looked about myself. My legs kept moving, though now they shook a little. As I walked I kept looking back to see if the figure would present itself to me, though I didn’t see it again as I turned the last corner onto my road.

I waited around the corner just out of sight, ducked down between two parked cars. If I really was being followed, then my pursuer would have had no choice but to reveal themselves to me if they rounded the corner. There was nowhere to hide and nothing to sneak behind.

I inwardly berated myself for my stupidity when nothing happened and nobody appeared.

‘Get yourself together’ I thought inwardly. I had made this very journey on more than a few occasions and I’d never felt this way before. Maybe I’d had a few too many beers this evening, or maybe I was just bristling for the fight that I knew was coming when I returned home.‘Get yourself together Dan,’ I said to myself in my mind.

I had made this journey so many times though I had never felt this way. Perhaps I had drank a few too many beers… I didn’t know but something was off.

I straightened my back and took a deep breath. There was nobody following me, I didn’t know why I was being so stupid, but recognition of that fact just seemed to bring me back to reality. I retook to the pavement and finished my walk, entering the main door to the block of flats that housed my own.

Number one forty two. If I had been paying just a little more attention to my surroundings, or perhaps if I hadn’t been in such a rush to get inside I may have noticed the pair of men’s trainers propped up against the wall right next to the door to my flat.

I could hear the grunt of a man’s excited labouring and the returning agreement from who I immediately recognised as my girlfriend.

I wished I had stopped right there, but in my distracted state, I simply hadn’t thought about what any of this had meant yet and I turned the corner into my bedroom that was adjacent to the front door. Again. I wished I hadn’t.

I immediately closed my eyes once my gaze fell upon my girlfriend entangled with another man, right there on my bed. I felt immediately sick to my stomach and I backed out the door before I had to see anything else.

“What the fuck are you doing home?” She called as though all of this was my fault. Her words seemed to bring me back to my senses and anger flushed away the feeling of sickness inside of me.

“No please!” I growled back, “you’re right, I am early, why don’t you finish up and we’ll talk later?” My tongue was dripping with sarcasm and adrenaline coursed through my body as I fought to unclench my fists. I didn’t know how long it was going to take for that image to be wiped from the rear of my retinas, but it was too long, however long that was.

I was stuck between going back into the bedroom again or simply leaving the flat, though I knew that my gym bag and all of my clothes were in there with them, and that would mean running the gauntlet.

I know that this was one of those situations sent to test the mettle of a man, one of those times where your friend down the pub would tell you he would’ve killed them both… but I simply didn’t care enough. Sure, I was mad, but the relationship had been over for a while and truth be told, I was a little relieved that there was a sense of closure now though.

What pissed me off, and I mean made me mad to the point of ripping my own hair out in a fit of rage, was the fact that all of this had happened right there in my bed. I bet they laughed about me behind my back too.

The sense that I was being watched returned again and it gave me goosebumps. I looked about myself though of course there was nobody there.

“Dan?” My now ex-girlfriend called from the bedroom. She still sounded stern, as though this was all somehow my fault.

The sound of her voice was like sandpaper being rubbed against my skin. I didn’t want to look at her let alone hear her voice.

“Fuck you,” I managed to call back, though I still didn’t move. Then a wave of anger washed over me, encompassing my entire being and I could see nothing but red. One of my feet moved in front of the other and before I knew it I was back in the room.

 

Neither my ex-girlfriend nor the guy that I didn’t recognise had bothered to dress themselves, they simply held the duvet at chest-level and that somehow made me even angrier.

I felt my fists clenching to the point where my knuckles were white and I imagined how good it would feel to just take my aggression out on the guy, but before I could think about what was going to happen next, I noticed something in the corner of the room.

I had a large old-fashioned TV in the bedroom. It was so large that it was placed at an angle facing the bed, though when I looked at the screen I could see in the dark reflection of the glass, a figure standing in the room with us. My entire body went cold.

I looked to the corner of the room where the dark figure had been reflected and now I could see. It was the shape of a man, though through the darkness that constituted its form, it stared straight back at me with two glowing grey eyes of light.

“Kill them,” an almost whispered voice rasped as though it came from all around me. “Now is the time…”

“The fuck are you looking at Dan?” a female voice brought me back to the room but this was too fucking much.

By the side of my bedroom door, I always kept a baseball bat propped up in case any nasties came to the front door. I’d used it to threaten a few times but never actually hit anyone with it. It was the closest thing to hand and so I grabbed for it.

My ex screamed.

I leapt onto the bed as the pair tried to hide under the covers, though they weren’t my target even though a part of me felt it would be nice to have taught them a lesson. As it was though, I simply didn’t have that in me. I jumped off the bed and brought the bat down with both hands into the spectre, who in the surprise of my attack had missed its chance to disappear or otherwise escape.

My bat made contact with the thing and it fell to the ground, but I didn’t stop. I vented my anger onto the figure that seemed so ethereal to look at, though when my baseball bat contacted it, it felt like I was hitting a sack of meat. I pounded the creature over and over, my anger feeding my strikes though eventually I stopped, panting.

The creature let out a low groan and I could see now that it was indeed a human form.

I turned it over and onto its back, though as I did so I saw the glow in its eyes fade to nothing. I looked for a face in the darkness, though something was shrouding it as though the figure was made of smoke and ash.

Then I saw a terrible maw open before me and release a glowing orb of pure, brilliant white. I tried to shout, though before I could make any noise, the orb entered my own mouth and I was forced to swallow it without any chance to object. This was bad, really, really bad I was positive, but I didn’t know why.

The pair on the bed had apparently got over their fear of being bludgeoned to death by me and my baseball bat and had seen the whole thing. I didn’t hear their screams or shouts though from my unconscious positioning on the bedroom floor. I was of this world no longer and frankly, I didn’t care that much.