Fiction Suspense Contemporary

That night on the way home from work, she was attacked. She worked an office job, and after an hour of overwork, she got into her car at midnight. She wanted to tell her husband and apologize for coming home late, but her phone had run out of battery. Her husband was a writer and he worked from home and would even cook dinner for her, and she would come home, tired, to the delight of seeing him and the dinner ready to be served. But that night, they came and attacked her.

She and her husband live in a more rural part, a little further from the city and the office she worked at. The path home was mostly trees and forests, and paddy fields glimmering with the moonlight, everything dark and unlit, and there was scarcely ever a streetlight lighting the way; it would just be her, her car, and the moon, her headlights beaming the way. But that night, she felt tired and exhausted, sleepy to a dangerous extent. And so she pulled up and shut the engine on the side of the road, beside her the forest and its dark woods. There, she tried shaking herself awake, closing her eyes and resting them, counting to twenty, slapping herself; everything she could think of. But then— they came.

From the silence, the car rocked. Gently, first. But then it rocked again, this time to the other side. Then again, and again, more roughly now. Until— they rocked hard and unrelenting. She screamed in the car, looking and darting everywhere in fear and confusion— and there, on both sides, left and right, two shadows of men shook her car. Left, right, left, right, they shook hard. She couldn’t see who they were, but at the same time, she would’ve even doubted they were anyone. They were dark, like shadows, without features, all dark and pitch black like a void. And yet they shook her car with such force that one could even say was an earthquake. She tried starting the car— the keys fell from her hand— but she couldn’t; the keys jumped around the car and her head rocked violently left and right— until she hit the glass and blacked out…

It was only later that she woke up, at one a.m. She woke to a jolt, remembering the shaking and the men, but they were all gone; the men out of sight. She checked the car, but the car doesn’t have anything different, nothing was cracked or dented— it was as if nothing had happened. And so she thought it a dream or some wicked nightmare. Now that she was awake, she started the car and drove home— even thanking the nightmare somewhere in her heart. But from that night on, she could no longer sleep, no matter how hard she tried.

This night passed, and she couldn’t sleep. The next night after work, she couldn’t sleep either. She tried sleeping again the next night, and the next, and then the next, but to no avail. She tried sleeping pills, she consulted a doctor, and she even asked her husband for advice— but she simply couldn’t sleep. It alarmed her at first, but then she realized how nice it was to be able to just not sleep. She could get work done faster, she could read, she could drive and go through town and the city abandoned in the night without her husband knowing. She could do anything this way, but that feeling of triumph disappeared just as fast as it appeared— and she began stirring and spinning into despair again, into fear, and anxiety. And before long, her dead son returned to her once more— haunting her again after such a long time.

She remembered seeing him at the couch watching television, watching those English shows where she hoped for him to get a sort of grasp of the language. She remembered those days where he would return to her with news of his exams. And how he would help her in the kitchen, and how he was such a nice boy— but then, every single time she thought of her son and every other memory, she would end the train of thoughts with his death, as if it were a warning in a way to her. She tried to stop thinking about him, but no matter what, she ended up thinking of him in those empty, dark nights, those sleepless night, and every time, she would end up scarred and broken remembering his death every single time.

She would be reading a book, the night quiet and soundless, without even the chirping of the insects to be heard anywhere around the house. A complete and utter silence where she finished her work and would read a book or two, a novel and a nonfiction book. Maybe even go through her husband’s newspapers and read them just to get some news into her. With the night cold and just right, the fan spinning silently over her head, cooling her further, and the strain from work and overwork disappearing from her limbs and body— she felt at peace, as the clock ticked calmly through the night, simply marking the hours to the next time she would have to go to work or even to the next day where she could join her husband and simply spend time with him; he would be sleeping upstairs right now, and she would be here, reading, and even thinking what to do the next day. But every time, those memories would come in and haunt her once more— setting the cold night to a chilling air.

She would remember that night she and her husband did it, where she wasn’t in the mood while washing the dishes and how he held her from behind and suggested they do it tonight, comforting her saying how she had been through enough stress at work. And then she would go through everything else— his toddler years, his school, all to the time he was diagnosed with a terminal illness she couldn’t remember— all while reading a book, the words being read and yet never registering in her head. She would smile at those happy memories and she would remember how much she made her life happier and how he was the best thing that ever happened to her, but then she’d crumble and break into tears upon remembering his illness and the days leading up to his death, the bald head and the smell of disinfectants and medicine, and at last they day she lost him while beside his bed.

There, she would feel as if the darkness around had become like a ghost, a physical representation of her fears, of death, and how it closed in on her. She learnt from that moment that death was inevitable and that death wasn’t another realm after life, but in fact a part of life itself, that emptiness a part of every single thing in this world. And she cowered at the thought of it, despite knowing how death would soon come for her as well, just the way they did with her dear son. But she didn’t know when…

That night, while washing the dishes, she remembered all this again. Her husband was eating at the table, and she had finished hers since she didn’t take seconds’ this time— her husband must’ve noticed how odd this was, she could see the look on his face. But now, all she could think of was their son’s death and it wouldn’t leave her. But then, her husband came up to her and held her from behind, causing her to stop her hands’ movements. Then, in both a concerned and caring voice, he said,

“Dear Yoko, you’ve been going through a lot at work recently,” then touching her breast just slightly, he continued, “why don’t we do it, tonight?”

She couldn’t believe this man— thinking so, she snapped and turned around at him.

“Ren!!” she cried. “How could you say that after our son’s death?!? We’ve lost our own son and you could just say it that way?? Have you no heart?!? Of course, I know it’s been a year, but I can’t accept that he’s gone, okay??” She realized what she had said, “I’m sorry, dear…”

Apologizing, she realized her error and clasped her wet hands before herself— feeling the weight of her words…

“What do you mean? We’ve never had a son…”

And just then, it snapped together for her…

She was confused at first, but then, immediately, she remembered that night and the men that shook her car, the very incident that caused her to lose the ability to sleep. She realized it now, she didn’t know how, but at the very mention of that statement, something clicked so hard in her head that she could almost hear it…

What she was seeing weren’t memories of her son, but the future… She realized it now, after so long— she realized it. This night was that very night she thought she ‘remembered’ every time. And this night, if she decided to do it— her son would be born; but that would mean that he will die no matter what at the age of sixteen… but if she didn’t do it, then that happiness would never exist… and she would never truly feel nor embrace her son…

“Are you okay? Yoko?”

So at that moment, she made the decision.

“I’m sorry… I must be out of my mind right now. I’m too stressed,” she said. “Okay, let’s do it. Raw this time,” saying so, she had a smile playing around her lips, and she could see the smile her husband reacted with. But in truth, it was a sad smile, yet a happy one at the same time— it was her choice…

And so they headed upstairs, and conceived the son that never was— at last, her son was born, but the things were still to come…

Still, at times, she wondered of that night. What was that? What happened? Her sleeping problem soon disappeared, along with all those ‘memories’ of her son. But still, what happened? Aliens…?

October 04, 2020 13:54

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