The water in the bathtub was finally becoming clear. It had gotten so dirty that Taylor had to refill the tub, twice, to keep it clean. After the third time the water was clear, so Taylor drained it and dried himself off.
New clothes were quite welcoming to him and Taylor changed in a flash. Sitting on the counter by the sink was a toothbrush, still in the packaging, and a tube of toothpaste. Greedily he snatched them up and began to use him.
His teeth became white after brushing them tree times, and he finally considered himself presentable. As he turned the handle on the door the lock clicked open and Taylor shuddered.
It reminded him of Jack’s gun. The noise it made when he pulled the hammer back, right before he would shoot Taylor.
A gunshot pierced the air and Taylor screamed in shock. He turned and behind him, Jack, the culprit, stood.
“Come on Taylor, we’re all waiting for you! You do want to see your dad again don’t you? Well now I have something more to offer! You can see your mom again too kiddo! She’s dead, Taylor.”
“No! She’s not dead! How would she have died anyway? She never leaves the house alone!”
“And once again, you’re wrong, sport! Your mom’s as dead as a doornail, ka-put! She’s kicked the bucket, she’s croaked! She’s gone!”
“Prove it then! If you know everything about her, then prove it!”
Jack lifted his arm and pointed a long, bony finger at the mirror above the sink. “Watch,” he told Taylor.
Jennifer’s face came up in the mirror. She was driving, and was definitely going more than the speed limit. Taylor watched in horror as another car pulled out in front of his mom’s.
The sound of screeching brakes soared through the mirror into the bathroom, but there was still more to be seen. Taylor, awestruck, looked as the car spun and tumbled. He saw the suitcase fall out of the trunk as money flew out of the car.
Even after this Taylor was forced to watch more of the terrible scene. Blood stained what remained of the windows and his mom’s head rested on the air bag emitted from the steering wheel. Horrified, Taylor looked on as the helpless woman opened her eyes and mouth simultaneously. A high piercing scream called out, hurting Taylor’s ears, chilling his blood.
As the image in the mirror began to fade Taylor saw what his mom was screaming at. Standing just outside her car, now mutilated and covered with grass and blood, drenched in rain, was a main in a suit. The lips of the suited man curled into a sneer that was a victorious smile at the same time. Both the Jack in the mirror, and the Jack in the bathroom, laughed the same dark laugh.
“No! You didn’t kill her! You’re not real! My mom’s not dead! You and I both know she’s not dead!” Taylor screamed, but he knew he was lying to himself. His mom was dead, he felt it, and he had seen her die. Somehow Jack was becoming real, an actual part of Taylor’s world. “How then? You aren’t real! You’re just in my mind! So then, how did you kill my mom?” Tears were streaming down his cheeks, and Taylor could barely ask his question because his voice was strangled by sobs.
“Stop crying! We’re becoming part of each other! As you become more real to me, I become more real to you. Everyday I’m becoming part of your reality. Soon, I’ll be able to hurt you, and someday finish you off!”
Jack’s laughter once again surrounded Taylor filling his mind with images. The security guard. His dad’s body in a puddle of blood. His mom screaming in pain and fright. Jack himself, holding his gun up, ready to shoot.
Taylor’s sobs mixed with newly formed screams and this new, awful sound, combined with the laughter already in the room. The sound the three made together was horrible, and Taylor had no way to describe it.
Dan heard only Taylor’s screams, and ran up the stairs. As he slammed against the door though, he thought he faintly heard laughter. Not laughter at him, laughter at something only a demented person could find funny, laughter at death.
The door smashed open, slamming into the wall right where Jack was standing. In an instant the horrible person disappeared, replaced by Dan. Taylor, curled into a ball, saw this, and slowly stood up, still crying.
“Taylor, calm down. It’s alright, nobody’s here. It’s just you and me, you’re alright.”
“She’s dead isn’t she?”
“My mom. She’s dead!”
“Taylor, what are you talking about? Your mom’s fine! I’ll let you call her tomorrow so you can tell her you got here safely.”
“No! It won’t work! She won’t answer! She’s dead, she’s not coming back!”
“Taylor, that was all fake, she’s fine, I promise. We’ll call her tomorrow.”
“It’s not going to work. She’s dead! He killed her! Calling her is useless!” As Taylor said this, tears once again began to fall down his face.
“Taylor she’s fine. Calm down. You need some rest. I’ll bring you up to your bed room.”
Taylor allowed Dan to lead him to his room, and when he got there he slipped under the covers.
“See you when you wake up. We’ll call your mom tomorrow,” Dan said as he left.
Taylor knew that when they called his mom tomorrow, she wouldn’t answer. She was dead, but Dan would have to find that out the hard way.
As Dan began his way down the stairs he pulled out his phone. He flipped it open and pressed the speed dial button for Jennifer’s house.
“Hey there! It’s Jennifer. I’m not here right now, so leave me a message, and I’ll get right back to you!” the answering machine said.
“Jennifer, it’s Dan. Taylor got here an hour or two ago and he went upstairs to get cleaned up. While he was in the bathroom he had one of his visions, and by what I saw, and heard, it was really bad. He swears you’re dead, so could you call tomorrow, and talk to him? If you don’t call before five tomorrow, I’ll call you, OK? Bye.”
She’s not dead. She can’t be. But, why didn’t she answer her phone then? It’s seven-thirty, she should be home, but not in bed. No. She’s not dead.
But, did he really believe that? Hadn’t he in his studies seen cases like this? Taylor wasn’t one of those cases though.
He doesn’t show any of the signs. Most of the time they were insane when people started to die. Taylor’s fine. Jennifer’s fine. Everything’s fine.
Still though, Dan had a sinking feeling in his stomach. The home phone rang, startling him. Thinking it was Jennifer he quickly and eagerly answered.
“Hello is this Daniel Williams?” a deep voice spoke through the earpiece.
“Yes, I am him. Who is this?”
“I’m Officer Nicholas Wilson from the Diamond City Police Department. Now, Mr. Williams, did by any chance happen to know a Jennifer Erickson?”
“Yes sir. I’m her dad. What’s wrong?”
“I’ll get to that later. Do you know how she came to be in possession of over $1000 in small bills?”
“That’s something her mother used to do. She’s done it for years. At the end of every month she took on and five dollar bills out of her wallet and hid them somewhere in her house, and when she needed money the most, she would use it. It piles up pretty quickly.”
“You said that you are the father of Jennifer, correct?”
“Yes, I am her dad.”
“Well sir, I’m sorry to tell you this, but Jennifer Erickson is dead.”
“She was speeding down the street. A car pulled in front of her and she hit it. Her car spun and flipped of the road. Everybody at the intersection that we could interview thought she was dead at impact, but apparently she screamed before she did. Witnesses report seeing a man rush from the car to check on Jennifer, the problem is nobody can identify him. Everyone we ask describes him quite differently and not even the traffic cameras got a quality picture. He was gone by the time we got there, but her money was spread out everywhere, some even out of her car. We got your number from Jennifer’s phone in her In Case of Emergency contacts.”
“Well, thanks for calling, even though you had to give such terrible news. Have a good night Officer Wilson.”
“You too Mr. Williams,” the officer replied, and Dan heard a soft click as the policeman hung up the phone. He too put the phone back on the receiver and, standing alone in the hallway, began to cry.
What was the point? Dan thought All my research, trying to find a reliable, safe cure for her, wasted! Everything I did was for her, and now she’s gone.