After life altering events, a man takes to the road in an effort to figure out what to do with what life he has left.
His mind couldn’t quite grasp what had just happened. Not that he didn’t understand what the doctor just said: he said he was sorry. Of course he was – only sociopaths would be apathetic towards a father whose children and wife had just died unexpectedly. His brain processed all this information, but none of it made any sense.
“Mr. Charles?” He heard the physician’s voice but it was just noise. It continued for a little while until the noise, which was barely noticeable at first, quickly turned to annoying and then felt like his brain was being humped by a jackhammer. So without a word he walked out of the room, out of the hospital, and in a matter of days, walked out of his life.
It was pouring rain outside, which Carl Charles felt fitting. He vowed never to set foot in a hospital ever gain. Or speak to a physician. Or any type of doctor for that matter. He spent most of the night in the park across the road from the hospital, sitting on the ground leaning against a tree. His brother had called him at work to let him know there had been an accident and to rush to the emergency. Before the sun came up he had decided never to speak to his brother or use a phone again.
As the first rays chased the rain away, he got into his car, his clothes soaked and heavy, and he drove away. He knew people would be upset he left while the bodies of his family were still warm, but Carl didn’t care. He didn’t feel anything. Not paying attention to where he was driving to, he tried to put words to what was going on within him.
He decided it to be false that he didn’t feel anything. Yet, he wasn’t sad. Maybe he was in shock; he was lucid enough to know it was a possibility. He knew what he wasn’t, and it took him a full tank of gas to figure out what he was. He was empty. Before this day, he wouldn’t have believed that “empty” was a feeling.
Empty, Carl decided, is a black hole inside a man’s soul. It’s a storm that sucks into every feeling and emotion into its void and leaves behind a deep, black cold that covers the heart and mind with a shimmering layer of frost. Inside that growing darkness lives a monster, one that spawned from the void and that no barrier can hold back. Carl can feel the monster moving inside his body, feeding at his soul.
While he was filling up his car, his mobile phone rang. He took it out and threw it in the garbage without checking who was calling. He paid with his credit card directly at the pump and got back into his vehicle. He was starting to get hungry, but he didn’t want to stop. The sun at his back, he kept driving with no direction.
He couldn’t keep from thinking about the monster, afraid of what might happen if it got out. He considered talking to it, but dared not to for fear of what it would say. He named it though. He called it Pain.