Fading into Nothingness

Gina Boyce, Author

From behind I heard a voice. I felt a presence behind me and I turned to see nothing but the fast paced streets I was walking along. Everyone was in their own bubble, talking to their friend beside them or buzzing on their phones. I assumed that I wasn’t the one being addressed. I continued on my stride back home. I began climbing the old wooden steps of my apartment building; about halfway up the stairs from behind I heard a voice. I froze mid-step. His words were indistinguishably low and raspy. It was almost as if he had been weeping for hours. The only thing that I was sure of was that it was a man’s voice, or maybe a boy. I almost didn’t turn around. I felt it in my gut whoever he was, he was following me. I finally mustered the courage to turn around and when I did I was greeted by the empty parking lot. There was no one walking down the path or sitting in the grass. I looked in between the cracks to the steps now positive that I was alone. I explained it to myself as a creaky step. Maybe that’s why I thought the voice was crying; the step was whining. Part of me didn’t believe myself. Part of me foresaw the events that later transpired, yet I calmed myself and hurried into my apartment locking not only the door but also the deadbolt.

(One hour later)

I was halfway into a Leonardo DiCaprio movie when I heard a knock at my front door. I looked at the door slightly surprised since I wasn’t expecting a visitor. I got up and looked through my peephole. Nothing. That’s strange. Maybe someone knocked on my neighbor’s door after all, the walls of my building were very thin. Immediately after turning from my closed door there was a bang. Almost like someone was trying to remove it from its hinges with one blow. When I peeked through the peephole again, what I saw was horrific. There was a young boy no older than 10 outside. He was wearing a green t-shirt and blue jeans. He had kneepads and a bicycle helmet on and he was covered in blood. His green eyes wide from fear as he pounder furiously on my apartment door. I threw my door open to try and help the boy but he was gone. I stepped out of the threshold and looked to my left, nothing. And then my right, nothing. I closed my door. I sat with my back against the door and my head in my hands. I am crazy? I heard whispering coming from my bedroom. I suddenly missed the voice from behind. I longed for ability to pass it off as a creaky step. I ran into my room and looked at the little boy in astonishment. How did he get in here? He was sitting on my bed and I could see bits of glass sparkling on one side of his bloodied face.

He hadn’t noticed me yet he was crying quietly and whispering to himself, “Momma… help me.. it hurts..”

“Where’s your momma? Let me help you find her.” I asked the boy in an attempt to console him. He looked at me through wide eyes, it was almost as though he had seen death in my face.

He became frantic; he was screaming and pounding his fists into the bed, “Mamma please!!

Help me Momma! P-please help me! Help!”

I was at a loss my heart broke for him, “Just calm down, and let me help you.” I stepped towards him and he quickly crawled away pressing his back to the wall.

“NO! You’re a bad lady! It was all you! I need Momma!”

I heard a crash coming from my living room now. I snapped my head in the direction of the noise for a brief moment and when my gaze returned to the boy- He was gone. I went into my living room and I saw a young man about my age in a suit and tie. His skin was grey and his eyes were green with large dark bags beneath them. His gaze was cold and absent of all emotion.

“Look at me. Look at what you destroyed. I never even got into high school, no first car or first kiss.” He said advancing on me his voice getting progressively louder, “worst of all, no wedding day no wife or kids! Nothing! You took everything! You took my life!”

His voice was so loud my walls shook, and my power cut out for a moment. When my TV rebooted I wasn’t greeted by the devilish good looks of Leonardo DiCaprio but an older couple holding each other and crying. The boy’s face softened. He walked to my TV as he wiped a tear from his eye.

“My parents suffer every day without me. As I do without them and you’re to blame!”

“I didn’t do anything to you! Who are you?” I said desperately wanting to be awakened from this nightmare. He laughed.

“Nothing? Look me in the face and say nothing! You’re a murderer and an alcoholic. I’m dead because of you.” My look of confusion only made him angrier, “fine, you don’t believe me? Look at your car.” He raised his arm and gestured to my window.

I looked out the window facing the parking lot. The once white hood of my car was covered in blood. Oh my god this couldn’t be happening, surely I’d remember- I didn’t even drive today. Someone must have stolen my car and hit someone. My mind began to flood with excuses. I couldn’t have killed him and have no memory of it. I would stop and get help for that child. No amount of alcohol could destroy a woman’s instinct to protect a child. I feel like I’m going to throw up. He threw a newspaper at me the boy was on the front page in a baseball uniform. The caption read:

Tommy Smith, 8, was killed last evening in a drunk driving incident. The driver, 19, is alive and has suffered serious heads injuries. Her family doctor stated she will most likely have no recollection of the accident due to extreme short term memory loss therefore she is not fit to stand trial. 9.8.2019.

I did it. He presented all of the facts to me I was so ashamed I didn’t want to lift my head to meet his glare. My head became light and my body weighted down to the floor. I crumbled a sobbing screaming mess.

I once I gained the courage to lift my head the boy- man had vanished. In fact, I wasn’t in my apartment at all. I was sitting in what looked like a common room in a hospital. There were women sitting and talking some to each other and others to themselves. There was one woman smacking her head on a wall and muttering about aliens. It hit me. This isn’t any hospital. I’m institutionalized like some sort of mentally incapable burden to my family. I did kill him and in a sense I killed myself that night. I stole his childhood and when that boy left this earth he took my mind with him. Hell, I gave it to him. I had such high hopes for my future and now I belong to the state.

“What day is it?” I asked the first woman that I saw who resembled a nurse.

“February 19th, 2034.” She said as she passed by. This can’t be yesterday was September 7th, 2019.

I hurried down the hall until I saw a bathroom. I approached the sink and I gazed in the mirror at myself. My skin was aged and weathered. My hair was becoming thin and dull. I had a large scar running from one side of my head to the other. This is not the woman I know. Yesterday I was 19 and youthful, or so I believed, and today I’m 34 this has been my life for the past 15 years? The lines between truth and fantasy blurred. I’m a murderer. An incompetent killer. I began to shake with a mixture of fear, anger and disbelief. I punched my reflection and the glass shattered pressing into my knuckles. Almost as quickly as the mirror had broken the door to the bathroom swung open and I was sedated.