Simon Say's
 

The very first time he felt the “attack” as he called it, he was eleven years young. It had happened about twenty minutes after he saw a man sawed in half in an auto accident.

He was going to the store, walking with his dog “Itchy” and had run into the man as he turned a corner.

Itchy began to bark furiously at the man, though he had done nothing more than been walking on the same sidewalk.

Simon began to shout at his dog, telling him to be quiet and sit, though the dog didn’t respond, which was unusual in itself, they were devoted to each other and spent every waking moment together.

For his part, the poor stranger told him patiently, “Don’t be angry with your dog! He is just doing his job and protecting you!” then he smiled and waited for that to sink in.

Simon mumbled a quiet “thank you” to the man before the stranger stepped past him and went on his way. Simon noticed right off that though the man was obviously living on the streets and had nothing but the clothes on his back, he was very gentle and understanding. He meant to buy something at the store to express his gratitude to this stranger when he heard the squeal of brakes the people beginning to shout.

Itchy began to bark again, this time louder than before and when Simon turned he saw that the car had begun to try and reverse itself, as if the driver realized he had hit something and wanted to back up and see what it was, rather than get out to investigate.

In the process, because the tires were right next to the poor stranger, they began to spin and ripped him in two as he screamed and tried to stop the car with his hands.

All Simon could do was to watch, he couldn’t take his eyes off the poor man’s face, and for some reason, possibly because he had been touched by this man, it was almost as if he himself was under the wheels, feeling the excruciating pain this poor man felt. He dropped to his knees and crossed himself, praying for this stranger that he would ever forget.

Oh, I’m forgetting the reason he called them “attacks” and lost focus for a moment. Or maybe it’s because I never understood what drove my best friend to the things he did, sometimes they seemed so random that they lacked reason or definition, but when you later had the time to step back and really look at his life, it made sense. Of course that’s why they say “hind sight is twenty twenty,” I suppose.

Ok, back to the attacks, which came without warning and left without so much as a goodbye or thank you kindly. Maybe the worst form of “wham bam thank you Ma’am that you could imagine, and I only know because I saw him after he had been dealing with this for a few years, though he never told anyone about it, I was just there and saw it myself.

Maybe it was some sort of dementia, or psychotic disorder which might fall under “obsessive behavior” but it would take a better mind than mine to explain or understand it, all I know is my best friend went coo-coo in front of everyone and no one saw it or did anything to stop it, even me, and we had been best friends since the age of three, and I am the one that gave him that damn dog.

Out of no where he would fall to the ground or just stop whatever he was doing and sit down, taking out a notebook he kept in his back pack and start writing furiously, sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for far longer, but you could have set his ass on fire and he would not lift a finger to help or save himself, he would even shift his weight to get out of your way but he would not answer nor acknowledge your presence beyond that, he would never take his eyes off the page he was working on.

But that was when he started to deal with it, before that he thought it was ghosts or something that he couldn’t see, but he surely could hear them, he told me they were insistent voices that came at him out of nowhere, that the things they told him or they would never stop, he HAD to write them down and every single word or phrase had to be right or they would hound him until he did.

The first time it happened, he had been trying to deal with that accident and they thought it was a stress disorder, like a combat veteran coming home from the war, he was thought to be in shock because when the ambulance arrived he was on his back, sweating profusely and mumbling incoherent things that no one thought to write down or make some sort of record of, they just tried to bandage the symptom as they were trained to do.

The doctors weren’t much better, they didn’t even call any kind of specialist, they simply treated him for shock and then sent him home a few days later. They had wanted to send him home that night, but it was late and his mother insisted that a real doctor see him, not just these “hacks” as she called them.

“Damn rookies would just as soon glue your arm off if it fell off and say you were cured!” she said with disgust. They relented and kept him there, running a battery of tests that they billed her insurance for and did no good for the poor boy or his mother’s nerves.

The second time was when he had been trying out for the high school football team.

He was in a drill they called “meat grinder” because if you were slow or didn’t know how to move you were hit by a team mate, hard, and then they made you run thru a line of all your team mates, in two lines to your left and right, all were told to hit you as hard as they could or they were next, so it was no fun at all.

The trick was to hit the ground and roll left or right, depending on who was coming at you next and he was doing the same, hitting and rolling when Simon was “attacked” in his mind again.

He was trying to run the drill as he was told, and actually went thru his turn twice before he faltered, but then it wasn’t his fault.

He hit the ground and remembered he was supposed to roll right, but his thoughts became distorted at that moment and he didn’t move, the other two players ran into his now prone body. Hard.

They thought they had knocked him out, because he wasn’t moving but the coach rushed in shouting to “get the hell out of the way” and shoving aside those that didn’t hear.

He dropped to one knee and told one of the players to call the nurse just to make sure he did this right, and then he saw Simon’s eyes fluttering open and closed rapidly.

“Hurry up! Move your ass! He shouted then, suddenly scared of this, mostly because he had never seen it before except in those creepy movies his wife loved to watch.

When they got him to the hospital, they didn’t see anything except unusual brain activity, meaning no swelling or unusual bruising in the x rays they took, the cat scan they ran came out clean and though his eyes never stopped moving and his breath would quicken at intervals, he seemed fine enough.

They kept him for observation and in the morning he woke with one of the worst non-alcoholic hangovers in history.

They let him go home then, thinking he was having a migraine because the light hurt him, they turned him over to his mother in a wheel chair with a mild sedative to calm his nerves.

“But it’s not him!” his mother shouted to them, and she caused such a fuss they almost gave her a stronger shot before she finally left.

Simon told me about them when he had no choice, I saw what happened and though I was ignorant as the next man as to what to do, I just watched to make sure he didn’t harm himself.

We had been going out to the woods behind our houses, not doing anything malicious, we didn’t have the imagination for that, but it was the one place we felt we were in charge, far enough from the house that we couldn’t see it, so too far for mom to stand on the back porch and call for us to come in before we were ready.

He had decided to try smoking, and though I never understood why, he begged me to stay with him, in case he did anything crazy.

We had built a tree house in one of the taller trees in the woods and sat there now, basking in the sun and talking about girls we wished we knew.

He stole a cigarette from his mother’s purse and put it to his lips with a sly smile on his face.

“I’m telling you, those things are gonna make you puke and then you won’t have normal children!” I tried to warn him.

“You don’t know what your talking about!” he scoffed. “You never smoked. Your mother doesn’t smoke and you don’t even know WHO your daddy is!” he said and started laughing.

Though my father had left, it was a joke we shared between us, at first he thought it was morbid, but I kept it going till he was comfortable with it.

“Yeah, well I bet he knew your mother!” I shot back. He paused for a minute to think about that, it had almost crossed the line but he laughed anyway, knowing I was grasping at straws.

He took the match and lit it, holding the cigarette in his teeth and then took a deep drag on it, drawing the smoke deep into his lungs.

Then he racked his body with a series of coughing fits, eventually turning to the other side of the tree house and lost his breakfast over the side.

The sound of his retching almost made me join him, but I held fast, refusing to give in to it.

“I told you! Damned if I didn’t try and warn you off those!” I shouted at him, both disgusted at the smell and sounds he was treating me to, and sickened by the acidy taste in my mouth now.

Suddenly he leaned forward and pitched over the side, hitting two thick branches before he landed, which is probably what saved his life.

He landed with a hard thud, flat on his back and didn’t move for what seemed an eternity.

I scrambled down the tree as fast as I could, all the while keeping my eye on him, hoping for some movement or sign he was alive.

When I got close, he had started to move his eyes, his hands were opening and closing slowly, as if he was reaching for something and couldn’t quite grasp it or it was just out of his reach, he began to mouth some words too, but I couldn’t understand what it was, it just sounded foreign or something to me.

What scared me was when he started using his hands in some kind of sign language, and knowing Simon as I did, he hah a hard enough time with English and didn’t know sign language from a stop sign, yet there he was, gesturing and impatiently stamping certain fingers into his heart, his head, and bringing both hands together for emphasis. I had seen one of the language teachers do this with kids that couldn’t hear, but it made no sense to me.

I looked a t my friends eyes and he was crying, his eyes red and tears flowing down the side of his face.

“Can’t you understand me?” he cried, “Help me!” he shouted then, grabbing my shirt and pulling me as close as he dared.

Then his body stiffened again, the sound of his words choked off and he began to shout at me in that language, until he suddenly turned over on his face, and rising to his knees he starts writing in the dirt below him.

He’s working in a feverish pitch, yet he stops every now and then, as if to make certain he heard something right, or he was stuck for a moment and then moved on.

I noticed two things right off, first, that the more he wrote, and he wrote a lot that day, the calmer he became, and that I still didn’t understand what the hell he was trying to say. I only thought that since it was calming him, that I didn’t care if he was talking to Mars and writing his journals as told by an alien being as long as he calmed down enough to be his normal self.

He would write a little and then move on, sometimes going from right to left, sometimes backwards, and sometimes he would seem furious with himself and erase something while he shouted at me and then start again.

I was hoping that I could somehow hear his mom or mine call us for dinner or something when he finally stopped and lay down, crying and pounding his fists into the ground in frustration.

I turned away, both embarrassed for him and for seeing it happen, and I pretended everything was normal, as though nothing had happened.

“I never wanted you to see that!” he said suddenly, and I didn’t even know he had stopped crying or that he knew I was there.

“See what?” I didn’t see anything but you falling out that tree like a dumb jackass, I TOLD you not to smoke that crap!” I said, suddenly feeling like a mother hen or something.

“Yeah, yeah, pretending you didn’t see it doesn’t mean I don’t know you did, now help me up a little, get me out of the sun!” he said impatiently.

I did as I was told, and then he told me what it was, at least how he saw it and what little he understood of it.

I tried to keep him at the base of the tree but he insisted on going back up there and I finally relented.

But the funny thing is, had we not gone up there I never would have seen any sense in what he wrote, but the last part was clear from up there, and though I had no idea he wrote poetry that’s exactly what it was. He had written:

We’re all insane

You can see it in our eyes

Though we’re crazy we’re only playing

But you can hear it when we cry

Now I have to kill you

Because you have seen my face

Not something meant to thrill you

But then I get to take your place

The last part of that trailed off to nothing and must have been where he woke up, but I wasn’t looking so I couldn’t be sure.

“Don’t read that shit!” He told me, suddenly jumping towards me with a great sense of urgency.

I jumped back, thinking I had gone too close to the edge or something when he told me what it was.

It’s like a thousand voices, shouting over at least twice that many all at once, all trying to get into my head, to make me see things, to write them down as I did there!” he said, pointing to the ground below us.

I noticed that he was embarrassed to say that, but also that he was trying to detach himself from it, as if to put space between what he was and what he was compelled to do.

“But Simon, I bet there’s a lot of writer’s that feel the way you do, that feel as though the words they are famous for came from somewhere else!” I said, though I didn’t know if it was true or not, it made sense to me.

He looked at me for a minute and then laughed, a quiet nervous laugh, but it was the Simon I knew and that was a good sign.

He told me to help him down, he was getting hungry and the sun was going down but I think it was more because he didn’t want to face me as he told me what he felt.

As we walked away from the tree house, he looked back as if he knew it was the last time he would ever see it, even pausing long enough to turn completely around before he spoke again.

“I don’t know if that was true, but if it is, I feel for those guys!” he said sadly.

“Why? They get a lot of stuff for things they make up! What could be better than that?” I asked him.

“Because if they go thru this, they pay a high price for those things!” he said to me, serious and quiet, I didn’t know what else to say.

“It scares the hell out of me” he said, as if that wasn’t already clear.

The things they say, things they show me, that they make me see is driving me insane and I know it!” he said.

I stopped and looked at him then, wondering how he got such things in his head, how he knew what he was losing it and trying so hard to hold on.

“Don’t even try telling me to get help!” he said with distain, “I tried that and got nothing for it!” he said.

I didn’t have to be told to know what he was talking about, he had been an altar boy in church, and we had grown to trust one of the priests there, he was new to the church and had good ideas, energy and a smile that made him endearing to everyone.

I was guessing that Simon had asked him for help and didn’t get the answers he wanted or needed.

“Did he tell you to pray harder?” I asked him, though I wished I hadn’t as soon as it was out.

“Yeah, he told me to get on my knees and pray! As if I had done something wrong, that some of my sins had caught up to me! That God was giving me a chance to make it right in this world!” he said with that nervous laugh again.

“He said I have to admit my sin and then we could both pray over it!” he said again, this time with some anger in his voice. “He couldn’t believe that I didn’t have a sin to confess! He even told me what he thought it was but he was wrong. He wanted the nuns to beat it out of me! I had to leave, you understand that right? That I couldn’t confess to something I hadn’t done!” he said, pleading with me as if he had committed a sin now and needed forgiveness.

“You didn’t do anything wrong!” I said, “He was wrong and he will see that someday!” I promised, as if I had a say in this.

We got to his house and he grabbed me by the arm again, turning me towards him he said, “Promise me that you will never tell anyone about this!” he said quietly, “Promise me now, at least as long as I am alive, promise me! Swear!” he said, and I knew he wouldn’t let go until I did.

“I promise!” I said slowly, though he didn’t seem to believe me, or hear me, he waited a few moments, looking deep into my eyes before he let me go.

Had I know that was the last time I would see him alive, I might have said more, thought of something to say, but I didn’t know.

For the next several weeks, he was the talk of the town, the secret was out but no one knew what it was, how to deal with or what to say when it happened so most went about their business as if nothing had happened at all.

I didn’t see him because things were changing in my life too, my mother had met a new guy and he was trying to win me over, his sorry attempts only making me laugh.

I wanted her to be happy though, so I was nice to him, but I never trusted him, never let him know what I was thinking or what was going on in my life.

Though they would talk about things Simon had done after he had left, and all of them declaring that he was crazy, but none thought to do anything about it. None stopped to realize that crazy had nothing to do with it, that he might have been saner than any of us combined.

He was walking down the main street, wandering as if he had nowhere to go and nothing to do, he suddenly fell to the ground, writhing and crying out in pain, some of the people that were nearby began to notice, some of them walked over quickly and soon a large crowd gathered, making a circle around him and watching with morbid fascination.

Simon was fighting hard this time, trying to keep the demons out and yet he had no chance, there were too many and the harder he fought the quicker they found a weakness and attacked him there, he was soon over whelmed.

As the crowd inched closer because he had suddenly gone still, he began to shout again, reaching for some of them and snapping at them as if he would bite their limbs off, they began to move back as the sirens approached.

Then he began to howl too, matching the sound of the sirens as they got closer, he then looked up at the moan and began to bark furiously at it, as if he saw the dancers on the moon and couldn’t stand their happiness.

The police moved in with guns drawn and then seeing what was going on, they relaxed a bit and put their guns away when Simon turned on one of them suddenly, his eyes wild, saliva flew from his lips as he snapped his jaws at the officer.

As he tensed himself, ready to spring on the officer, his partner took out his night stick and brought it down hard on Simon’s neck, knocking him out and ending the fight, they kicked at his prone body a few times to make sure, then cuffed him and put him in the car.

The crowd moved back to let the officer’s pass, mumbling that they thought it would be more exciting than that, they expected a show. Other’s complained about the officer’s kicking my friend while he was on the floor and unconscious, but again, no one did anything about it except to go home and look for themselves on the television when the news cameras showed up.

Thru the ride to the station and the booking process, which took two hours, Simon never stirred, never seemed to waken, though he did move his feet when they moved him. He was processed and in his cell by 1:30 in the morning, and everything was quiet when he finally woke, about an hour later.

The deputy on watch that night, a lanky, mean spirited southern boy that didn’t like California at all but the pay was good and the girls wore bikini’s here so he stayed, but he had a habit of making the prisoner’s feel as though it was their fault he was there and didn’t like it.

He was watching a rerun of the Tonight Show and Jay Leno was especially funny this night, sometimes laughing himself and not being able to say his lines.

Suddenly Simon screamed at the top of his lungs, a loud, piercing and horrible scream that seemed to take forever before he stopped to catch his breath, waking everyone in that cell block, causing all kinds of havoc from the other prisoners.

Having no choice but to respond, the deputy raises himself off the chair with both hands on the desk and mutters, “Someone’s going to pay for this!” before hitching his pants and stepping out of his office.

Simon was still shouting, and though a lot of the other prisoner’s were shouting now, enraged that this was happening when they should be asleep, you could clearly hear Simon above the others, and that scared the deputy, making him stop in his tracks as a chill ran up his spine.

Some of the other prisoner’s had stopped too, some of them sat back in the dark parts of their cells, as if they knew the devil was coming tonight and were hoping not to catch his eye.

Finally the deputy got his nerve back, it was colder out here and he was angry now that he forgot his jacket, he took out his baton and began to pound the bars as he got closer to where Simon was. Usually that got their attention and they would stop fighting or whatever they were doing and he established control that way, but not tonight, Simon shouted louder than ever and then some of the prisoner’s started again.

When he got to the cell, Simon was at the bars, crying and pleading with the deputy, and he thought that someone had gotten into the cell somehow and was trying to break in the new fish, but he realized that Simon was alone as he had left him.

“What the hell’s wrong with you boy?” He shouted thru the bars, “Quiet your ass down or I’ll do it for you!” He said, shaking his night stick at Simon for emphasis.

Simon had dropped to his knees then, as if he knew he wasn’t going to get any sympathy or help from this man, he tearfully pleaded for “something to write with” as he kept saying over and over again, “something to write with” until the deputy thought he had calmed enough and had fallen asleep.

“I ain’t stupid!” the deputy declared, “I ain’t going to give you something you can stab yourself with and then sue me for!” he laughed as he turned away.

“But I’ll tell you what, you keep on making that noise and I’ll find one of your friends here to shut you up! Now you just think about that!” he said as he turned away.

The other prisoner’s had started to go back to bed too, feeling the excitement was over, they would find out what the hell was going on in the morning, they would make him pay for taking their sleep like this.

About and hour later he started again, and again all he asked for was “Something to write with” when he saw the deputy, but this time he got the night stick in the throat out of frustration.

As he fell back, choking and fighting for air the deputy told him, “Last warning! Next time you’ll scream in real pain!” and then left.

The deputy went back to his office and knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep now, he was too keyed up and didn’t think this was the last of it, so instead of running the errands he was scheduled to do, making the rounds, he went back to the television, watching some comedian making everyone laugh now. Eventually he did fall asleep as everything was quiet after that, except for one more scream. This was short and quick, and as he was about to rise it stopped and there was nothing. He looked at the clock and knew that the next shift would be here soon, so he began to make his rounds, skipping a few things here and there to make it look as if he had done his job.

Lastly he would file a report about Simon and they could deal with it, hopefully they would transfer him somewhere else and he would never see him again.

It took him an hour to get done, and as he was coming back towards the office, he could see the next shift punching the clock coming towards the office.

He skipped the last part, where he was supposed to check the cells and went in to greet them, he was always happy to see them as it meant he could go home and sleep, but today he was especially happy to see them, though he couldn’t explain why, he felt as though he was leaving for a long vacation and couldn’t wait to get started.

He walked in one door as they came thru the other and they started talking about the Lakers game that was on earlier, and the new car one of them bought, about who was dating the doughnut girl in the coffee shop down the street, everything but the job.

Though minutes ago he couldn’t wait to get out of there, the deputy was still standing there and hadn’t even given his report to the next shift, he couldn’t get a word in because they were all talking to each other as if he wasn’t there and he couldn’t leave until they heard it.

He waited as long as he could stand it and then took the sleeve of the officer next to him, before they finally stopped long enough to hear him.

He went into the boring details, some of which he made up so they would think he hadn’t spent most of his shift in the office before he finally told them about Simon.

“What do you mean, he caused a stir?” They asked. They actually had to ask him a few times before he finally heard them.

“What? A stir, a commotion, he got everybody up in the middle of the night!” He couldn’t understand why they couldn’t see it as he saw it and let him go.

“Well what did you do about it?” They asked, and the first thing he thought of was that Simon would have a nasty bruise on his neck and they would know where it came from.

“I waited it out” he said weakly, knowing they didn’t believe him, “I told him I was going to put someone there with him if he didn’t shut the hell up and he did!” he told them, then turned and walked out of the office as if that was the end of it.

He was thinking that the locker room was twenty feet on his left, the exit door fifteen feet beyond that and he could get to his car in five minutes if they just let him alone when he heard the alarm.

The warden had installed this new system, when anything went wrong you pushed this panic button and all the gates would be locked down, all the prisoner’s returned to their cells immediately and whatever the problem was had to be fixed. It was meant to prevent prisoner escapes, but this time it was different, and to the deputy it even sounded different, it was shouting his name.

When they got to Simon’s cell, they knew why he had gone quiet this time, and probably even why he screamed that last time.

They found him slumped over on the far side of his cell, he was still trying to write something, and most of one wall was covered, and maybe the rest of it would have been covered too but he either got too weak or ran out of ink, the end of the last letter he wrote ran off the wall and down to his arm.

They opened the cell and tried to roust him, prodding him and shouting his name until he fell back.

Then they saw the blood that had run out of his wrist and out of him, hidden by the position of his body, it appeared as though he kept dipping his hand into the puddle to write on the walls.

None of the writing made any sense to anyone, even the experts in Latin and other languages tried to read it, but none of it made sense to anyone except for the ending which said:

“Then I get to take your place!”

 

 

 


Comments:
 
Bluez   Bluez wrote
on 2/17/2009 9:20:53 AM
Thank you so much for that, I have since rewritten this at least two more times and added it to a collection of short stories I am about finished with, and although this is the first of the stories for that book, the last one is the one that's going to open some eyes I think. Thank you so much for your thoguhts and taking the time to read my work, I looked over some of your work but have not had the time to really read it, but I did send a freind request cause I liked the work I did get to see.

jordii   jordii wrote
on 4/19/2008 1:28:00 AM
omg this is amazing!

Bluez
Short Story
Suspense
writing Bluez
wanna be writer
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Synopsis
Another story I was going to enter, but it is now becoming a full story, that isn't finished but this was the "base" for the story, where it started I mean.
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