The Tempest

Not Exactly Shooting For \”Miss Congeniality\”

Beginnings’ End – Part One – Josh

Posted by Daniel on Friday, April 14, 2006

“Winter sucks!”, Josh mumbled to himself as he wrapped his arms more tightly around himself. “Should have grabbed the down-filled coat, instead.” As he plodded on towards the curb, he couldn't help but notice the people passing him were obviously caught off guard with the sudden cold snap just as he had been. “Good.” he thought. “Now I don't feel like the only dork.” Though he could have sworn they were predicting warmer temperatures for the morning.

Standing there on the corner he was joined by throngs of others waiting for the light to change. The scene made him wonder if they were really waiting for the cross-walk signal or just gathering to share in the radiant heat of so many people packed together. He didn't care, really, as he was now smack-dab in the center of the waiting herd.

On the outer rim of the pack stood a girl in her mid-to-late twenties. She was attractive, but not too attractive. Her long straw-blonde hair whipped gracefully in the bitterly cold winds and the outfit she was wearing was both smart and casual. Drawing a lock of hair back behind an ear, she noticed Josh looking at her. She smiled cautiously and then turned to look forward again. Even such a small thing as the turn of her head seemed relaxed, yet deliberate, like the way a dove does it. Did she just giggle?

Josh couldn't help but notice the odd thing about her: She was dressed – and behaving – as if she couldn't feel the biting chill around her. It must be nice to live in oblivion, he thought. But even her coloring was perfect…like there was a summer sun shining down on her. Yet he and the gathering crowd around him were drawing closer together, obviously for the warmth. “She must be a freak,” he thought. “And some of these people need to go easy on the Avon fragrances!”

At that moment the light changed and the 'WALK' signal flashed. Josh was patiently waiting for the herd to thin out so he could step across the street. He walked up to where the girl had been – and still was – standing. Was it just him, or was there a warm air around her? Maybe she's standing over a vent of steam from the subway system. He glanced down and noticed the blanched pavement beneath her feet. He saw her face as he came around in front of her and could feel a warm air that he couldn't explain. Curious, he turned to her and stopped. She looked like she was in some kind of trance, as if held up only by gossamer strings. Something was terribly wrong with this woman and no one else seemed able – or willing – to take notice.

He felt cold again and through his watery eyes, he thought he saw something around her. It was dark yet somewhat transparent. He quickly grabbed a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his eyes. His vision clear, or so he thought, he saw him. A somewhat ruddy, yet handsome man was standing aside the girl with one arm around her waist, as if to hold her upright. The other arm was behind her, the hand of which appeared to be cradling the back of her head. The man was facing forward just like the girl. They could easily have been a couple looking at a store window across the street. He was talking to her, Josh thought, but the words were almost silent and foreign. The eyes of this couple seemed to stare blankly ahead. Hers seemed glazed and…well…at peace. But the eyes of her companion were strange. Josh was almost knocked down with terror as he really focused on those eyes.

Those eyes. Josh had never seen eyes that color before. What color were they, anyway? Was it yellow? And why did they look like the 'color' was moving…no, churning, like a yellow-ish whirlpool. And are they getting brighter? The 'couple' seemed completely oblivious to Josh's glances. The whole thing was very 'Twilight-Zone'-ish. For an instant, reality clicked back on in his head and he wondered how much time had passed since he stepped out of the coffee shop towards the intersection. This dream seemed to have spanned an hour so far. What Josh saw next made him wish he really was dreaming.

The girl fell onto the pavement in a heap and was as blue as a newborn. “Hey, Lady, are you okay?” Josh stepped over and kneeled down to render aid, but as he looked up for someone to assist him, he saw – walking away from him – that same girl being gently ushered away by the man with the creepy eyes. What was happening? The girl, or her identical twin, lying on the ground was clearly dead and her 'twin' was walking slowly away with the dragon-eyed man.

“I know this is Neww Yawk”, Josh yelled, “but could any of you people take a second and help me with this woman by calling 911? And what's up with you two?!”, he threw at the freaky couple walking slowly away. The girl disappeared.

At that moment, the handsome man with the creepy eyes turned and stared right at Josh. He gave Josh a look of irritation, then child-like confusion and, finally, horror. A quick sweep of his hand, and Josh was out cold. As Josh's eyes were shutting, he could have sworn he saw the walking couple vanish in a bluish-purple haze.

(to be continued…)

 

– – A short series by "The Tempest"

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