Hello. This is a story I've been working on for a few months now. I'm hoping to finish it and then possible get it published. Thanks for reading.
I woke up. I don’t remember falling asleep but I was awake now. I was wet, like I’d been caught in the rain. But why would it be raining in my bedroom? I heard a bird chirping. That’s really weird. It sounds like its singing right here in the room with me. I must have left the window open again. That would explain the water as well. I have to remember to shut the windows before I go to bed at night. But if I do that then I’ll get hot and sweat like a pig on a spit.
“Hey mister, you alright?”
Why am I hearing a kid’s voice? I must have left the TV on.
“Dad, dad. I think he needs help. I asked him if he was ok but he didn’t say anything.”
It was that kid again. I don’t know what the hell was on but I should get up and shut it off.
I rolled on to my side and that’s when I knew something was wrong. My mattress was really freaking hard. I opened my eyes and realized I was in big trouble.
I was surrounded by trees. The leaves had started to change on some of them. I sat up quick and looked to see if I was dressed. Please God just let me have my pants on. The last thing I wanted was some kid and his dad finding me naked in the woods.
God was with me. I was fully clothed. I had my jeans, sneakers, and light weight coat on. I didn’t know where I was or how I got there but at least I was fully clothed. I reached into my jeans pockets and found my car keys and my wallet. Ok cool but what did I do last night and where the hell was I?
“He’s over here dad.”
The kid’s voice was getting closer again. I breathed a sigh of relief because I was at least fully clothed. Admittedly sleep outside with no tent or sleeping bag wasn’t a great idea either but at least I did it fully clothed.
“Hey are you ok mister? Is there someone I could call for you?”
The speaker was a large gentleman wearing orange camouflage and carrying a hunting rifle. His son was in a matching outfit. Made me think of Mini-me and Dr. Evil.
“I’m good thanks.” I replied as I stood up.
I took a quick look around to see if I where I was. I noticed some mushrooms on the ground, looked like they were in a ring. I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms so I don’t think I was out here to pick some.
“You sure you ok? Is there anything broken? You feel faint or dizzy?”
“No, I’m good. I really think I just had too much to drink last night.”
“Really? Cause the nearest town is about an hour away on foot. And seeing as my truck is the only one in the parking lot I gotta wonder how you got here. You got a camp site around here?”
“I don’t believe so. You said the nearest town was an hour away, where are we?”
“Well, we’re at North Lake Park. You sure you’re ok?”
How the hell did I end up in North Lake Park, especially without my car?
I felt around to see if I had my cell phone. Luck was with me again. I pulled it out of my jacket and tried to turn it on. The battery was dead.
“Excuse me sir, could I borrow your cell phone? My battery is dead.”
“Sure, by the way my name is Bob and this is my son here, Sean.”
“Thanks, I’m TK by the way.”
He handed of his phone with a confused look on his face. Was he thinking what I was? That this was right out of the Twilight zone. I mean it was like I just fell out of the sky. I dialed Gideon’s number. If anyone knew what the hell I did last night it would be him. We’ve been best friends since we were in diapers. If anyone could tell me what I was up to last night it was Gideon. The only thing I could think of was that Gid and I had gone out drinking. But that wasn’t like us. Go to a Star Trek convention sure. Midnight showing of Lord of the Rings, oh hell yeah. Hit a bar and drink to get drunk, not likely.
“Gid, its TK. What the hell did we do last night? I just woke up in the woods with no idea how I got here.”
“I don’t know who you are but I think its sick that you would call and pretend to be a missing person.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
I don’t think he heard me because the line when dead before I finished speaking. I didn’t know what the hell was going on but I was damn sure gonna find out.
“Gid, I don’t know what joke you’re playing but I’m not laughing.” “Boss?” Gideon sounded confused.
“Yeah Gid it’s me. Now could you please tell me what the hell is going on?”
“TK, is it really you? Please Lord in heaven let it be you.”
“Gid I swear by all the books in my library that it’s me. Now we you please tell me how I ended up in North Lake Park.”
I had to pull the phone away from my ear. He’s voice jumped up a couple of pitches.
“North Lake Park. Seriously Gid what the hell is going on?”
“TK, are sitting down? Because I don’t think you gonna like what I tell you.”
“Yeah Gid I’m sitting down.” I was getting a little annoyed with him at this point.
"You’ve been gone for over a year. Nobody knew where you were . It was like the earth opened up and swallowed you. Your sister and I tried everything we could think of to find you and failed at ever turn.”
I should have taking Gid’s advice sooner. My head started spinning. A year. I lost a year of my life and had nothing to show for it. I couldn’t remember a damn thing after the last time Gideon and I hung out together. I think I was doing research for a new story.
“Hey boss, you still there?”
“Yeah I’m still here.”
“On a different note your books are selling at an awesome rate. You publisher thought you were dead and started using that as a sales pitch.”
“Well in Lou’s defense, we all thought you were dead.”
“Great. Just freaking awesome. I disappear and Lou starts cashing in. Wait till I get a hold of him. I’m gonna make him wish I were still missing.”
“Boss don’t worry about it. He was just doing what he thought was right. He’ll be almost as happy to see you as I am. Did you need me to come get you?”
“Yeah could you. I seemed have misplaced my car. Quick question do you know why I would have come up here?”
“Well the day before you disappeared you said you were gonna start researching a new book. One that had your hero getting involve with the Fair Folk. We were all set to get together with the guys and game that weekend. I started getting nervous when you didn’t appear online or answer your phone. Look I can be up there in thirty if you want.”
“Thanks. I owe you one.”
By the time Gideon arrived I was ready to run back to town. Bob had told me story after story about his trips into the woods. One was more ridiculous then the one following it. He hopped out of the car and gave me a hug. Which kind of brother me but considering that he thought I was dead I let it go that and I was really glad to get away from Bob and his stories.
“Boss it’s great to see you again. I seriously thought you were gone forever.” He said with a few tears in his eyes.
I knew he thought I was dead but come on, I was very much alive and kicking. There wasn’t a need to get that emotional was there.
“It’s ok Gid. I understand.” I said as I patted him on the back. Gideon was always the younger brother I never had.
“You want to get something to eat. I imagine being gone for a year has got to give you one hell of an appetite.”
“Surprisingly enough I could eat.”
We hopped into Gideon’s car and drove back into Brookfield. Home sweet home. Problem was I didn’t recognize half of it. The streets were that same as well as some of the landmarks but way too many were different. Like the high school Gideon and I graduated from. It had been torn down. One of the grocery stores I use to shop at had moved and the icing on the cake, one of the Ultra-Marts had opened up. My home town of Brookfield had changed so much that it didn’t feel like home anymore.
Gideon pulled into the restaurant and started to lose my appetite. How the hell did this happen? One day I’m out doing research and then wham I wake up in the woods and a year as shot by me.
“Come on, this ones on me. It’ll give us a chance to catch up.”
Catch up, I wondered if I could. It seemed like I was pretty far behind everyone else.
“Thanks. Considering that I have about twenty dollars to my name.”
“Don’t worry about. Anything you need I’m willing to get for you.”
“Thanks Gid. I’d hate having to hit you up for money. As soon as I can get to the bank and prove to them I’m still alive I should be able to get some money out.”
“I’m not worried about the money boss. I’m just glad you’re alive.”
“You and me both. So other then out old school getting torn down and some stores closing what else did I miss?”
“Well your sister is six months pregnant. The father is in jail. Sorry.”
“It’s ok. I don’t know why she keeps hooking up with losers. How are my parents taking it?”
Gideon’s eyes stopped looking at me and hit the floor. This was bad. Gideon always looked at the floor when it was bad news. Like the time he lost our tickets to the midnight showing of X-Men. He stared at the floor for a good ten minutes before he confessed he lost them.
“Gid? What is it? Did my parents disown her again? Did Marie threaten to keep Mikey away from them?”
Gideon eyes were still staring at the floor. This was really bad. I was about to question him again when the waitress walked up to take our orders.
I ordered quickly so I could find out what Gid was keeping from me.
“Gid what is it? Come on I need to know.”
“Boss I don’t know how to tell you this. Your parents…”
“They’re dead. They died in a car crash.”
“What?!” My voice went from a whisper to a shout in a heartbeat. Everyone in the restaurant looked over to see what was going on.
“Boss, calm down. I didn’t want to tell you this way but the more I thought about how I was gonna tell you the more I decided not to.”
I fought the tears back the best I could. I just couldn’t believe it. I was waiting to wake up and find out this was all a nightmare.
“You said a car accident. Tell me everything.”
“Your parents were driving home one night. They were on their way back from the movies. A drunk driver hit them head on. They died instantly. I’m so sorry. When I talked to your sister this morning she asked me to tell you. She figured you would take it better from me then from her.”
“She’s kind of pissed at you. You appear out of thin air and say you don’t know where you were.”
“Oh yeah I do that all the time. You know like that time when I was in college and blew off six months to go drinking in Mexico.”
I was freaking pissed. How could she think that I was lying or trying to pull a fast one? They’re my parents just as much as they’re hers. If I knew they had died I would have come running back. There’s no way I won’t have come back. I admit I hate funerals just as much as everyone else but there’s no way I would have left her to deal with all of that on her own.
“Boss I wish there was more I could do. If you need anything, anything at all, just say it. I’ll do everything I can to help.”
“Thanks Gid but right now I just want to know where the waitress is with our order. Suddenly I feel like I could eat the table.”
The waitress showed up a minute later with our food. True to my word I ate everything on my plate and started taking food off of Gid’s plate.
“So what should I do first? Call my sister? Call Lou? Or go see my parents.”
It was a rhetorical question. Gideon and I both knew what I was gonna do first.
“Well Boss, I know what you want to do but I think you should see a doctor first. Maybe they can find something on an x-ray or something.”
I hadn’t thought of that. Maybe a doctor could help me figure out what happened to me.
“That’s a good idea but I don’t want to wait all day for a doctor to tell me I’m fine.”
“No problem. I’ll take you to my company’s doctor. I called him on the way up to get you. He said he as some time available today. He can give you the full battery of tests.”
“Ok doctor first then I want to see my parents.”
I was sitting on the table wearing that ridiculous gown. Gideon was sitting in the room with me trying not to laugh. Also I think to keep me from putting my clothes back on and walking out the door. I mean really what the hell is the point of these gowns. To embarrass the poor person even more? Seriously.
As I was getting undressed I noticed something disturbing. I had dozens of scars on my body. They were all over my arms, legs, my chest and even my back. Which, for me was really scary. I wasn’t a fighter. I mean I got into a couple of fist fights when I was a kid. Little playground stuff but this was taking to a whole new level. My body looked like I had been in several knife fights.
After waiting what felt like hours, the doctor walked into the exam room.
“Good morning Mr. Logan. What can I do for you today?”
“Doctor Roberts TK has been missing for over a year. We were both hoping that you could run some and provide us with some information. Maybe help us find out where he was and what he was doing.”
“Ok then. Let’s start with some blood work and then we’ll move on to some x-rays, possibly a cat scan.”
“Whoa. I don’t think so doc. I don’t know if my insurance is gonna cover any of this.”
“Don’t worry about it boss. I’ve got this covered.”
“Gid, no. There is no way in hell that I’m gonna let you pay my medical bills.”
“Seriously boss. I got this covered. Doctor, can I talk to you out in the hallway.”
So I got poked and prodded and x-rayed over the next several hours hoping that this was going to be worth while. Finally the moment of truth came. Which worked great for me because was really tired of sitting in that stupid sheet.
“Mr. Logan, congratulations, you have the body of an eighteen year old athlete.”
I was a little surprised by this statement. One, I was twenty seven, two my idea of excising was walking for an hour every day.
“Well to put it bluntly, it appears that wherever you were, they have a fountain of youth. Your body is in incredible shape. For example you have quite a bit of scar tissue but it doesn’t seem to have affected your mobility at all. Your blood pressure is 110 over 70, your blood came back and the results couldn’t have been better. I don’t know what your secret is but if you ever want to sell it I’ll be more then happy to purchase it. It’s truly amazing.”
“That’s great doc. But I have to tell you I’d only break your heart. I’m married to my job.”
What can I say I was starting to feel a little weird about all of this so I figured I break the tension with a joke. I think I was the only one who thought it was funny because the doctor looked over at Gid and then said “Well I’m sorry I couldn’t be more help. Good luck finding the information you’re after.”
I started getting dressed and Gideon offered a suggestion.
“Boss, Sentry Inc. has a therapist that works at the office. I could find out if she has some time available for you.”
“What the hell. Go for it Gid. I don’t think it’s gonna hurt me any.” I said sounding defeated. I was hoping that all that poking and prodding was going to get me something but all it got me was a waste of time. At least that’s what I thought at the time.
After Gid and I got to the car, I ask Gid if he would take me to see my parents now.
“Sure boss, if that’s what you want then I’ll drive you there right now.”
It’s not something I really wanted to do. I mean who wants to see their parent’s graves but it was something I had to do. I had to say good bye.