Shared Consciousness

Submitted into Contest #54 in response to: Write a story about someone looking to make amends for a mistake.... view prompt

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Science Fiction Drama Thriller

Alan Lincoln was born on the 18th of May 1963 but his life was inconsequential until 1999, on the day his body was hijacked. Only a few days earlier, Alan had been watching the news about convicted killer Elliot Mulhearn who had been convicted for life for the murder of Tina Bradshaw. 

 Alan had been watching the news in disgust when he fell asleep. He was no longer a young man and it was getting quite late. He awoke the next morning, still in his armchair but at an angle that no man should sleep at. If he had slept on a bed of nails he may have been slightly more comfortable. The crick in his neck was unbearable but that wasn't the worst of it. Alan had become accustomed to pain at his age so this was not a new scenario but that did not make it any more pleasant. He missed his youth, he would have loved to have been one of these crazy young men riding skateboards up ludicrous ramps, but he knew that was impossible. He shrugged off the thought and made himself a cup of tea. That was as interesting as his life would ever get, or so he thought. 


 Three days later the eyes of Alan Lincoln opened but Alan wasn't home. The man behind those eyes was Phil Stockley, he was a broken man, a man consumed by guilt but also confused by his current situation. He remembered the guilt becoming unbearable, so unbearable in fact that he had jumped off the roof of the highest building he could find. There was no way he could have survived that fall, and he knew he hadn't, yet here he was. The feeling of being confused was intensified soon after when Phil took a look in the mirror and realised he wasn't Phil at all. He didn't know who he was, but he wondered if he could make things right. 

 Phil just wanted to let go. He needed to let go of his guilt, he needed to confess and maybe then he would actually die. His life was over anyway, he just wanted to be at rest. Phil had been holding onto the bombshell that he knew for a fact that Elliot Mulhearn (who you may recall was the man convicted for Tina’s murder) was innocent, and he knew this because Phil himself was the man who was responsible for Tina’s untimely demise. It was self-defence. Phil had been taking a walk in the park when Tina came at him from behind and attacked him in a violent rage and when he pushed her off, her head impacted the brick wall. That was the end of her story. Phil's story however was only just unraveling. 


 Tina had been Phil's ex-girlfriend, and they hadn't parted on the best of terms, but he hadn't expected to see her again. It had been a year since the breakup and the angry messages and vicious phone calls had faded long ago and now this. Now she was dead. Phil was looking directly at Tina's body but he wasn't seeing it at all. Have you ever heard someone say that their whole life flashed before their eyes? Well Phil was experiencing Tina's life as he knew it flashing right before him, the good and the bad times. Eventually he snapped out of it and took a look around. There was nobody around at all. He saw Tina's body and he heard nothing, not a sound. He ran. 


 Elliot was walking his dog in the park at the same time he always did. It was Three in the afternoon when he left his house and only a few minutes later he discovered the body of a deceased female to which he did not know the identity but he would later find out was Tina Bradshaw. Several choices Elliot made in the following moments did not bode well for him in the eyes of the law, not at all. Firstly, upon discovering the body for reasons unknown he neglected to call the police, instead he was overcome with a morbid curiosity which lead to another poor decision, he ran his fingers through the blood puddle underneath her head and then touched her face with his bloody fingers. Without thinking he had stamped the word guilty on his forehead in capital letters. He had told the truth throughout the trial but he just didn't have a convincing story in the eyes of the law and so he was found guilty. 


 It was day Seven of his conviction and Elliot was a broken man, he was a timid man and timid men in prison do not have a pleasant time. If he had ever had any confidence at all it was certainly depleted now. He thought of his dog for a moment for a second and felt a tear trickle from his eye. He loved that dog, she really was his best friend in the whole world. He knew she would be OK, his sister was taking care of her now and she would have a good life but he still missed her and he had never felt so miserable. 

 Two hours later Elliot received a letter. Mail call was what the guards called it. The letter was already open, of course it was, prison protocol. Nobody sends anything to convicted criminals without it being checked over. The guards must have decided that letter was OK though because if there had been any issues it never would have made it into Elliot's hands. He was surprised by the letter and couldn't think who would be writing to him, certainly not his sister. She had agreed to take in his dog but had made it clear she would not stay in touch with him at all. Who else could have written to him, he didn't know. He opened the letter. 


Elliot, please forgive me for not speaking to you in person but I’m not really myself right now. I can’t go into details but let’s just say that I have somebody else to think about. You do not know me but I know that you are innocent, I know you are innocent because I am guilty. I killed her. It wasn’t intentional but I panicked and ran. I’m sorry you became my fall guy and if I could think of any way to clear you I would but it’s just not that easy anymore. The truth is at this time I’m unsure whether I’m living or dead, and so I don’t know if I could really make a difference. This must sound crazy but please do believe me when I say I’m sorry, and I really hope the truth will out. I know you are innocent, I hope that others will know that too. 


P.S.


The letter ended there. It was very bizarre. Letters don’t just end P.S. there is usually an afterthought. Post Scriptum. 

Elliot read it again and again and thought many things, the first being shock that this letter wasn’t taken more seriously by the guards. Someone confessed to a murder and nobody bats an eye? The writer did also say they weren’t sure if they were alive or not though so it’s hard to take someone seriously who says things like that. He also wondered who wrote the letter and his eyes hovered over that P.S. again and wondered if the letter was accidentally posted unfinished. Finally, Elliot smiled. Someone knew he was innocent, that someone may be a little bit crazy but it was something. He felt more alive than he had done in quite some time. 


The next morning Elliot awoke with a smile whilst just a few miles away Alan Lincoln awoke in a state of confusion and with the worst migraine he had ever experienced. He later described it as feeling as if his head was in a blender and a hurricane at the same time. Alan wasn’t just in pain though, he had a gap in his memory, he couldn’t recall the previous day at all. Not one single thing. Did he have breakfast? Did he get dressed? Did he watch Television? He honestly didn’t have a clue, but he did have fragmented memories pop up in his consciousness from time to time, but you know what’s strange? They weren’t his memories at all, they belonged to Phil Stockley.

Elliot never did find out what P.S. stood for but Phil Stockley knew all too well, and do you know what? Alan thought he might know about that a little bit too. 

August 14, 2020 21:29

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