Friday, January 7, 2011
Story-A-Day #57: Toxin
He knew that it was nighttime. It was dark and the streets glistened in the rain. He did not know what the date or time was, or even where he was. Something had happened, something bad. The more he tried to remember, the more his memories slipped away.
It was the same with his eyes. He was pretty sure he didn’t wear glasses, but he was having trouble focusing. It was almost like being underwater, everything was murky and rippled and the harder he tried to clear his vision, the more darkness encroached from the edges.
“Where’s my shoe?” he mumbled to himself, before realizing he was holding it in his hand.
There was an acidic vomit-like taste in his mouth. Something bad had definitely happened. A ghostly hint of a memory skirted through his mind. He was in an office, stumbling down a cubicle-lined corridor. He had to support himself against the wall. There was a woman in one of the cubicles and she shrank away from him as he passed.
“I’m not drunk,” he slurred, and stumbled along the corridor.
Where had that been? If it was his own office, or one where he frequently did business, he would have remembered the woman, or at the very least, the gaudy aspirational posters on the walls.
He needed to find his briefcase. There were…papers in it, important ones. Top secret ones?
Am I a spy? He wondered. Maybe that was it. He was a spy and had been drugged by someone so they could steal his briefcase. It was the toxin that was affecting him this way. The question now was when was he at that office building and who was he there to see?
He wandered along the rain soaked boulevard, edgy and nervous. Fragmented pieces of his life were flitting through his mind and the result of knowing those pieces without context was even scarier than not knowing anything at all. He saw a handsome woman with neat blonde hair and two beautiful raven-haired twenty-something girls at a dining room table. His family? He saw a stern man in a highly decorated military uniform, his brow furrowed up to the close cropped grey hair on his head. His superior? He saw a sheaf of papers in a leather briefcase. They were labeled CONFIDENTIAL in bold red letters.
A loud screech filled the street behind him and swaying, he turned to see a black SUV rapidly approaching, its tires roaring on the wet pavement.
He stumbled into a nearby parking garage, tripping over his uncooperative leaden feet as a sudden feeling of dread washed over him. They had found him.
He shuffled down to the lower level, bouncing off the walls of the ramp, before finally collapsing against the cold cement wall between two cars. He could hear the engine purring as the SUV slowly prowled the garage like a shark circling its prey. He knew it was only a matter of time and when the headlights washed across the wall above him and his vision faded out again, he knew it was done. He could feel a string of drool dangling from his chin.
The car pulled to a stop in front of him, idling for an interminable period of time. Finally, the automatic window slid down smoothly and the cold metal barrel of a gun appeared out of the darkness to finish the job the toxin had started.