DARKNESS, a short story by actung. Date added: 2011-04-21. Times viewed: 929.
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Brett Richards wouldn’t know for sure but he reckons that he would not be the kind of guy who would go see a shrink for anything but if it helps then he would try anything once. He is not even sure if Brett Richards is actually his name. From his recent activities it seems that maybe it is.
On the door to the office to which Brett entered is the name of Dr. Frederick Jameson followed by groups of letters to which Brett didn’t pay any attention too. The two men shake hands just as Brett thanks the doctor for seeing him.
‘Thank you for seeing me so quickly doctor.’
‘Not a problem, if there is anything I can do to help you I will.’
‘So how does this work?’ asks Brett.
‘Well we both just sit and chat and see where it takes us, you told me when you contacted me that you had no memory prior to just recently so why not start by telling me what you do remember from the beginning, along with whatever you may have noticed, as well as how you felt and so on.’
Brett begins to tell of what he does remember.
It is cold and dark. The road I am on is a long and winding one. I don’t know where I am, but this road seems vaguely familiar. The only light I have is that being given from the moon and the stars. It is a cool dry night, not a cloud to be seen in the sky well from what I can see of the sky anyway. The moon light reflects across the lake to my left and the water comes lapping up on to the road. A strong wind is picking up, sweeping in from across the lake. A nearby sign reads ‘this road is susceptible to flooding’ but I can only read this when I am up close to it.
To my right there is a steep hill with trees and shrubbery. It is too dark to see how high the hill actually goes. There is no sign of life anywhere. There is no traffic either anywhere near me or off in the distance. I don’t know how I got here. In fact I don’t remember very much at all, and at this point that even includes my name. Who am I? Where am I? How did I get here? And what the hell is going on?
I am wearing a back pack. I take it off and look through it. Inside there is a flask containing a hot drink though I don’t try it. There are also a couple of cold drinks, some sandwiches, fruit and a tape recorder with a cassette inside. The earphones go on and I press play. The voice I hear is that of my own, I know that straight away but unfortunately like everything else I do not remember recording it. The voice tells me to make my way along the road going slightly uphill, keep going until I reach a diner called ‘Ted’s Diner’, go in, sit at the counter and order a coffee. Upon hearing this I search my pockets for cash, to see if I can pay for this coffee. Strangely enough the voice on the cassette continues by informing me not to worry about paying for the coffee. The recording comes to an end. I make sure that anything that came out of my bag goes right back inside it, and put it on my back, and then begin to make my way as the tape requested.
Almost two hours into walking along this long winding dark road, I finally reach Ted’s Diner. I go in, sit on a stool at the counter and ask for a coffee just like what was asked of me on the tape. A man and a woman behind the counter look at me as if they were perplexed. The woman fixes the coffee and the man heads into the kitchen. The cook comes out, stands next to the woman while glancing over at me. As the cook turns the woman says quietly to him ‘the resemblance is uncanny’. She brings me the coffee.
‘Excuse me, what was that?’ I ask referring to the comment she had just made.
‘What was what?’ she asks.
Being so tired I rub my hands over my yawning face before saying ‘never mind’.
The woman goes about her business and only when she is no longer in my line of sight is when I notice the serviette she left next to my coffee has writing on it. It was the name of a hotel and directions on how to get to it. The man behind the counter approaches and asks if everything is ok.
‘Yeah’ I reply as I search my jeans for some change, even though I know that I don’t have any money.
‘Coffee is on the house Brett’ he says, and it took a moment or two to realize there was a name in that sentence.
I am already up off my stood when I look at the man and ask him ‘what did you call me?’
‘Just a moment ago, when you told me that the coffee was on the house, you said a name’,
‘You must be mistaken friend’.
I begin to make my way out of the diner and say ‘thank you for the coffee anyway.’
Outside the diner I can’t help but think if those who work in that diner know me somehow. I am sure that man called me Brett. Is Brett my name? I am so confused. I should go back in and confront those people, find out what they know. Maybe they don’t know anything. My mind may just be thinking too much into things. Maybe I might just need to have a good night’s sleep. I have no injuries. Physically, as far as I can tell, there should be no reason why I cannot remember anything from before I found myself on that road. I don’t understand why I can’t remember anything from before being on that road.
Twenty minutes is what it took me to get to the hotel. Before I can say anything, I am greeted by a man who seems to work there.
‘Welcome back Mr. Richards’ he says as he reaches for my right hand.
I shake his hand and without thinking too much into what is happening.
‘I see you cut your hair’ continues the man.
I notice that he is wearing a name badge which also says manager on it. The name on the badge is Steven. I don’t know why but for some reason I play along as if I know who this Steven person is. He seems sure that he knows me. So my name is Brett Richards? For the moment I will assume that it is. I tell Steven that I needed the hair cut. He moves behind the reception desk and gets me a card for one of the rooms and also hands me an envelope. I thank him and head up to this room. The envelope contains money. Maybe I had left this envelope for myself. I don’t know. It is late so I head to bed and manage to fall asleep quite easily.
My eyes are open but I cannot see a thing. I am surrounded by darkness. I close my eyes, rub them and open them again. I’m no longer surrounded by darkness. It is bright but my sight is blurred. My sight soon clears. I am a child. Maybe nine years old, no I am ten. I am playing in the snow. There is another child playing too. I know this boy, we are playing together. He is my younger brother. His name is ….. His name …. I can’t think, why can’t I remember. Playing like brothers do, we tussle with each other. He falls and crashes into a wall. The snow around by where his head lays is turning red.
I wake up feeling sure that what I had just experienced was a memory, maybe one I’d rather not remember. I had a younger brother and apparently he has been dead for quite some time. I really hope that it wasn’t some kind of guilt that brought that memory back to me or even be why I am struggling to remember at all. Surely it’s not my fault that the boy, my brother died.
‘And this brings you up to this moment in time?’
‘Yes, not long after I awoke this morning I told the manager that I wasn’t quite feeling myself and asked him as to if there was someone I could talk to and he gave me your name.’
‘Well for the moment, do not worry about the death of that boy, if and when you do find out that he is indeed your younger brother then we will deal with that at such a time when that becomes clear, for the moment how are you coping? Financially, physically, how are you feeling?’ asks the doctor.
Thinking for a moment Brett answers ‘well right now I don’t know how I am going to pay you’.
‘Again don’t worry about that, right now the main agenda is to get you the answers you need’.
‘The hotel room I am in is apparently paid for, for the next ten days anyway and I do not know by whom, not me anyway. I have some money, enough to get through those ten days; I am also entering an amateur boxing contest this weekend. There is prize money on offer to the finalists. I have no idea if I am capable of getting to the final but it is worth a go’.
‘Go for it, if you think it is worth a shot, and if you are still in one piece come Monday I will meet with you again’.
The two men stood up stood up and shook hands. The doctor wished Brett luck as Brett left.
As Brett left, another man entered the doctor’s office asking ‘what does he know?’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Yes but he is beginning to remember, he remembers the death of your brother’.
Three days passed and the weekend came. Eight entrants with the tournament taking place over two days. Four three minute round quarter final fights to be followed by two five round semi final matches on the Saturday with a possible twelve round final taking place on the Sunday. Brett was up first. He is tall, strong and well built. Even though there were no weight restrictions or categories in the competition, Brett would be considered a heavy weight.
Brett’s opponent was of equal physical stature. First of three rounds began tentatively. Neither man willing to go on the attack. With only the three rounds, losing the first round leaves either man at a severe disadvantage. Quarter final and semi final matches are determined on points with points awarded for hits scoring with the marked part of the gloves to the head or body above the waist. At the end of round one it was all square at two points each. Round two got a little more aggressive but was still level when it ended. Brett took an uppercut early in round three and that set him off. It took him a couple of seconds to gather himself and then he went on the rampage winning the round comfortably and therefore winning the fight. It seemed clear from that third round that maybe boxing was something Brett was proficient at.
Staying around to watch the rest of the first round matches which were also quarter final matches, one man caught Brett’s attention and that man was Shawn Hannigan. Another large well built heavyweight. Shawn won his first match with ease while paying particular to Brett before the bell rang starting his own fight, while also throwing him glances during and after the match for if these two men were to meet, it would be in the final.
After a two hour break, the five round semi-finals began, and once again Brett was first up and just as in his first fight Brett was slow to start. However he did win the fight handily enough. The second semi final was a one way cruise right from the start and right when the moment the bell brought the fifth round to an end Shawn delivered a devastating punch to his opponent before telling Brett that he was next.
With time to rest before the final, Brett tried to do just that, rest, but that wasn’t so easy. He dreamt about that boy falling in the snow again, only this time he wasn’t watching as the boy fell, he was the boy that was falling. His dream was so vivid that he could actually feel the chill of the snow as he lay in it. He awoke in a cold sweat to the sight of the alarm clock in his room. Time was 8.45 am.
Brett got himself up and ready. He went for breakfast and was surprised about how calm he felt in the run up to this boxing final that was awaiting him. This calmness stayed with him right up to when he entered the ring and also while his rather large Bruce Lee looking opponent entered the ring going all Ivan Drago on him. It actually made Brett smile to think of his opponent saying ‘I will break you’ in a Chinese accent.
Once again Brett was able to keep round one at a slow pace, a pace that this Shawn Hannigan did not like. So round two was Shawn going all out and attack. Brett went into defence mode for the whole of that round. Brett was caught cleanly on a couple of occasions, each time bringing the thoughts and visions of being a young boy falling in the snow to his mind.
Something else Brett discovered about himself at the end of that round was the fact that he had a bit of a temper, and having been caught those couple of times made him look forward to round three where he surprised everyone watching by dominating that round. Rounds four and five were both vicious round. Both men catching the other with neither man falling.
Even though this was a full length fight it didn’t need more than the sixth round. Even though Brett had taken quite a pounding he kept coming back for more until he finally had enough. He went on the attack and kept it up until Shawn could take no more. Brett won with a sixth round knockout. At the end of the fight someone in the crowd briefly caught his attention.
Brett now couldn’t wait for his appointment with Dr. Jameson. Upon entering the office Brett straight away asked ‘right, where is he?’
‘Where is who mister Richards?’
‘You know who I am talking about’.
The doctor did know who Bret was referring too so he called out to reception to send him in. The resemblance was uncanny. The man who walked into the office looked just like Brett, except he was slightly taller, bearded and had long hair. This man had been watching the boxing and Brett had taken notice. It had made him feel as if he was being tested.
‘What the hell is going on here?’
It was explained to Brett that things were not quite what he thought they actually may be. The man who had just walked into the office was in one way his older brother Ray. The boy in Brett’s dream was actually Brett when he was a young boy. He had in fact died at that moment in time, and what was now standing before Ray and Dr. Jameson was a clone created from DNA from the actual Brett. Ray had been obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back. He had blamed himself for the death of his brother. Ray financed the cloning. Brett had been incubated so an aging process could bring him to manhood quickly.
Brett had been brought somewhat out of stasis and his journey was one to see if he could survive. When he had been left in the middle of nowhere, it was almost like activating a computer for the first time only using a real live clone. The voice on the cassette was Ray’s not Brett’s. They were so alike that Brett presumed it had been his own. The man and woman back at the diner are Ray’s parents and technically Brett’s parents too. Brett was left shell shocked with so many questions he wanted answered but all that would come in time for he had come right out of darkness and into the light. What could the future hold for him? Only time could answer that ....
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