The headache came crashing down on his head like a brickbat. So many things had finally snapped in the last half an hour like the cable of a airborne trolley. Now he sat there in distracted silence wondering what the next move would be and who would make it? The stinging smell of cheap dope wafting through his nostrils like freshly ignited cordite. When would the attack come. Now there was a good excuse. It was war. Not something he looked forward to at all. Or had even started. But he would ride its epicenter sure enough. There was no way around it. He might as well have been welded unwittingly into the armored box of an old German tank. Maybe if he had been less prone to wander into the world of the fantastic the situation might never have arisen? His ears peaked up for a moment to analyze the surrounding soundscape. That electric buzz emanating uncomfortably from the stove. An aircraft engine whir of the range hood fan on low. The delicate tic for every tock of a downsized grandfather wall clock. And, oh yes, the muffled slamming of a door from the hallway just outside. Opening and closing periodically as if someone was moving something in small sections or boxes. Like trying to move to safer quarters before the bombers came? Was it? Could it be? A voice was becoming apparent now. A young woman’s voice?
Was that why he sat alone bathed in the silence at his end of the woods? Or was it really that young woman that was attached to the errant voice. So sweet and persuasive and ever willing to survive her own misfortunes brought on in great part by the foolishness of youth and to few sufficient years to be aware of what one lie after another would end up getting her into? He figured that she must know someone. Someone any nice girl like her should have never been acquainted with all along. Should not ever have known. Whatever she thought this other he would do, in her heart of hearts, she secretly counted on him to do oh so much more. Unfortunately the headache was there for a reason. It could sense those footsteps in the dead of night however well-timed they might be in sync with the clock and the fan and the refrigerator. This he feared would be this other him. And even more unfortunately he would be ready! And then both would really suffer on account of it. The police would come to take away the bodies and everything would be settled for him once and for all.
It was meaningless to loudly lament that life was unfair at his age. So many times along the way earlier in life he himself had been guilty of pretty much the same sorts of things. He hadn’t bumped anybody off. Though occasionally in his dreams events were sometimes hard to separate from the reality. His failing memory had been pretty good in the past. Everything properly files and attached and in sharp focus so as to simply pull the right string and then follow it down along its the tributaries to what it was attached to. Now too many he had known in the past had fallen away into the grave. Been lost irrevocably into a dark empty space that he no longer chose to know. Along with it securely attached like an anchor chain was most of the rest of his past. God only knew what was down there at this point! The present was now the only thing that he could be assured of. Future? The tick tock had somehow become faster. More amplified! Is this what Poe that old author was talking about? Was there something buried in his past deep within all the stored moment. A indelicate situation from before that had really been arranged in a completely different way? He could hear the door outside his own being shoved open a bit once again and his heart jumped. Was it fear? Or worse yet was it something even worse than that? Was it attraction?
The greatest apprehension that he could imagine was all to obvious to young girls like her. Too many times in her part of the planet she had sidestepped the underhanded play of a weird uncle. She had handled the haphazard bluster of a street bully with the bludgeon of a dismissive smile. She had learned her lessons well from every corner of the worst parts of society. The ones demonstrated nightly by corrupt politicians poorly disguised as guardians on behalf of her kind of people. From a broken educational system that boosted her up as something that she or her kind never were for the sake of an ongoing socially correct agenda. Learn to low dribble then suddenly crossover with as hand subsequently halfway to the open basket. She could cry, she could curse and then save a little victorious laugh for when her opponents allies had gone far away. Then she could move in for the kill! He couldn’t think of her as evil so much a smart. And who was he really? Someone at the end of his rope. Written off by the great parade of modern humanity in their incessant march to nowhere. No one had time to listen to him anymore. He thought he caught a whiff of dope rolling past once again. his nostrils stung with the sharp dryness of formalin tainted tobacco. He knew that she had figured out a plan. It was going to be a very very long night.