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Insanity (1.01)

Short story By: Gerry Fedele
Horror



Famous bestselling author Albert Howells makes a suden return to the shelves but only this time something is different, and what lurks in the drakness that threatens to destroy the very sanity within.


Submitted:May 5, 2013    Reads: 44    Comments: 9    Likes: 3   


Chapter 1 Nightmares

If you listen real close, you can hear the wind calling your name. It whispers a cold true and is the last thing you really dare to admire. The wind during a cold winter's night usually introduces the opening to a long and ruthless nightmare which tears at our weakness. It exposes our weakness during our most vulnerable time. The inevitability of these nightmares does indeed drive us to the point of Insanity. They plague our minds like an infection which slowly spreads to the body. It waits patiently in our minds waiting for the precise moment to take control, and when it does it crushes our sanity.

For all you who haven't heard about me, my name is Albert Howells. I was once a bestselling author who published many international bestsellers. Then the nightmares started. They tore away at my very mind ripping it into pieces and scarring it with black memories from my unspeakable past. My story is solely my struggle against the will of a guilty soul, which begins to scream inside the walls of my mind. It hurts every time it tries to kill me. The escapes have been followed by many attempts to lose the pursuing figures. They don't sleep and they don't give up, they just push and push and push until the life has escaped your body. It's a dangerous world when guilt is in control.

These nightmares I speak of are not like any nightmares one would begin to picture in their own infected minds. No, the nightmares are more dangerous when fuelled by the guilt which accumulates in one's soul. I cling to the light of day for the darkness of night is when I lose control.

Chapter2 The New Bestseller

Three years in the making and the day was finally here. Today was the much anticipated day which young Albert Howells would release his first novel in twelve years. His last known novel titled "Dead ends" was heavily criticised as his worst book to date. This hit Albert hard; his life had been spent creating worlds which he saw beyond his own. But today was different. Today Albert had surprised the public with the release of his new book "Insanity."

"How's my tie?" Albert adjusted the neck of his tie to the slightest inch possible. His hand trembled as he wiped his forehead clearing the build-up of sweat which had nested on his hairline. "Its fine Albert, listen to me. Those people out there did not turn up to destroy your novel. Ok, so go out there and enjoy your day in the spotlight." Alison Howells released her grip on her husband and gave him a slight push towards the door. With one deep breath Mr Albert pushed open the wooden doors to be ambushed by the bright lights of the convention centre followed by the increased clicking sound of photographers.

Albert took to the stage and began to feel his heartbeat rising rapidly. He felt like he had just run a marathon, but he knew his race was yet to commence. Albert cleared his throat and gulped in a mouthful of air just to be released seconds later. "Ladies and gentlemen…" The crowd froze in place and turned to Albert, so many eyes gleaming up at him, just waiting to tear into the recovering author. Albert carefully unfolded his prepared speech as he tried to stop his hands from shaking. "I would like to personally thank each and every one of you for showing up today." Albert struggled to make eye contact with his audience as the sweat had returned to his forehead. "Mr Albert, why have you created another novel after your shocking attempt at the previous one?" The suited man slowly retreated back down into his chair as the audiences gaze has once again returned to him. "Well mister an author must first be inspired to write a novel and I believe I received some very intense inspiration a couple of years back which inspired me to create this book." Albert was pleased with the response he summoned to answer the suited man who appeared to be noting down his response, word for word. "Mr Albert, what inspired you, to create this story?" Silence pierced the room as Albert left the world and searched the back of his mind for the answer to the man's question. "Mr Albert? What inspired you?" The man's repeated question acted as a blow to Alberts head as his mind once again returned to the world. "A vacation trip…" Albert stuttered.

Three painful hours later Albert returned to his hotel room which stank of alcohol from the previous night. Alison was curled up in the chair; her steady breathing began to intensify as he ripped the cap of the bottle of a cold beer. Since his trip to Lake Town, Albert had taken up drinking; it was his medicine to forget his problems momentarily. The ripping sound of thunder followed by a bolt of lightning sent shivers up his spine. Shadows filled the room and the darkness crept forward reaching out towards him. Albert closed his eyes forgetting about the conference, just waiting, wishing the darkness would retreat backwards towards the windows. But as Albert had discovered many years ago, the darkness doesn't retreat, it just bleeds forward gracefully until the person is consumed in darkness. Like Albert the dark had gotten to him many years ago.

Albert woke the next day with the putrid stench of alcohol, His bloodshot eyes indicating another sleepless night for the newly introduced author. Alison dared not to convince her husband to stop his drinking, her last attempt ended in the unforgettable argument which she saw coming from her husband who she guessed was controlled by the booze. For a split moment the terrified wife drifted off into a daydream which she appeared in their holiday cabin. "Albert, I really need you to stop this drinking. It's destroying you." In this vision of a past memory, Alison remembers starring into the eyes of her intoxicated husband as he flung the piles of paper from his workstation. "God dam it Alison, just leave me the fuck alone ok! I'm on fucking vacation and I do not want to put…" A groan emerged from Albert's mouth which brought Alison back into the reality of her own world. Albert staggered up from the sofa and rubbed his bloodshot eyes. Alison continued to prepare the breakfast meal as she listened to the movements of her drunken husband. "ALISON!" the bellowing voice of Albert pierced the silence as she slowly made her way to her husband's aid. "What is it dear?" Alison avoided eye contact but couldn't understand why her husband was swiping at the air above his head. "Get him away from me Alison. He wants to kill me, get him the fuck away." Alison stood there wondering if this was a dream or was here husband merely still suffering from the side effects of being drunk.

That day the public release of "Insanity" hit number one bestseller, the novel attracted many fans of Albert who he hated. Albert always believed that fans became too much of a hassle during his daily lifestyle. Always Mr Albert this can I have an autograph that, really scratched at the author's nerves. He hated them with an absolute passion. "Albert, are you insane? Fans are what make you rich big boy! Without them an author is shit, an author is useless without suckers clinging on to their every word, you have them whipped my friend, and you have to learn to accept that." Steven wells is a small time agent, he was always there for Albert during his earlier conferences. Steven enjoyed the responsibility. The rather nerdy looking agent had a taste for the famous lifestyle. He treated Albert Howells as a God. Years after Alberts career was shut down, Steven attempted to motivate the author by providing him and his wife with a family trip down to Lake Town. He really wanted to revive the young author's career by giving him a chance to work in a different environment. But Albert never really returned from Lake Town, his body did but his soul was still hostage to the darkness which lay concealed in the town, hidden by the dark black waters which engulfed the small environment.

"Hey Albert, Steven rang, he said he wanted to see you for some public book signing seminar or something." Alison always wanted to be a doctor, she enjoyed helping others in there time of need. Alison usually could determine if a person was suffering an illness but she could never quite understand why Albert suffered all these nightmares. Alison usually believed that nightmares were the result of an overclocked mind. But it was the frequency of which her husband suffered these nightmares which scared her. Alison waited for a response from Albert but was only greeted with the sound of the wind seeping in through the gap left in the window. The door to the study was closed which was unusual for Albert. Being scared of the dark always drove him to keep the light entering the room. She planted her hand on the handle to discover the handle was freezing. "Jesus Albert what the hell is with the handle?" Again the sound of her own breathing greeted her voice as she pushed the creaking door open with almost fear to welcome the image on the other side of that room. The darkness engulfed her immediately as she opened the door, a cool chill passed through her as she searched around for Albert. A lone desk lamp displayed a bright focused beam of light which illuminated a pile of photos stacked on the desk. Alison carefully examined the photos and gave a slight scream as a freezing hand came crashing down on her shoulder.

"Jesus Christ Albert, pick up the god dam phone." The message tone sounded and Steven punched the hang up button on his phone. The evening sky was fast approaching and the darkness began to overtake the light. It snuffed the light like water on an open flame. Steven Wells retreated home with the idea that Albert will answer the phone in the morning after all; he had produced the number one bestseller. Steven adjusted his spectacles and began to make his way down the deserted streets of New York. "Funny, I wonder why it's so quiet this evening." Steven never saw himself as an assistant; he had dreams of touching the stars. The astronaut profession was on his palate. But life changes like the seasons, dreams get renewed and hopes corrode as life throws its usual curveballs. This lead Steven to become an agent, Albert Howells was Stevens' first and only client. Albert never really liked the way Steven chooses to care for him. Steven took his job seriously, this is what Albert admired about the agent, but his methods etched itself at the back of Alberts mind. This irritated him.

Chapter3 Surprise

A loud thumping knock at the door woke Albert from his passed out state. He glanced down the room and came to the conclusion that he was passed out on the dining room floor. The headache in his head launched an assault on his brain as it collided continually against the walls of his bruised head. A small insignificant puddle of blood dripped with a rhythmic echo from his designer kitchen table splashing down onto the kitchen floor. Albert staggered to his feet and made his way over to the kitchen. His eyes were the usual bloodshot red as he flicked the switch on the coffee machine. Another loud thumping knock at the door made Alberts skin crawl as the noise went straight through his head. "Argh I'm coming keep your pants on!" Albert reached out to grab the doorhandle but misjudged the stretched hitting his palm on the oak wooden door. Albert released the lock and swung the door inwards to come face to face with a very angry Steven Wells holding a stack of papers in his left hand, or was it his right Albert couldn't tell, the blurred vision he suffered driven by the amount of alcohol consumed the previous night.

Steven pushed his way into the room and slammed the papers down on the living room table. The sound of the papers almost blew Alberts head right off. "Jesus Albert, what's going on man? Are you losing it?" Stevens' eyes were focused on the shaking hands of Albert Howells. Albert did not reply but the stench of his clothes was enough to provide Steven with the answer he requested. He felt like he was talking to a brick wall with Albert. "Hey champ, snap out of it. Where is Alison? She home today?" Steven itched his way closer to Alberts face hoping to come of intimidating towards Albert. The words Alison seemed to snap back Albert into the reality of the real world and his head raised itself to face Steven. "Alison? She should be home, I don't know probably sleeping." Albert tried to clear his head with a few painkillers stored above his bathroom cupboard. He popped two pills into his mouth and attempted to swallow them without a mouthful of water. Steven broke away from Albert and paced towards the study where the door was slightly open, his hand made contact with the door but the chill raced up his arm, past his chest and up into his head. "Jesus Christ Albert, what the hell is with your door?" The study door was Albert's favourite door in the house. It consisted of unique markings which he understood were part of an ancient culture. He didn't care as much of the meaning of the words; he liked the fact that he owned it and nobody else did. Albert hade to have the best of everything, He forgot about the world which was inhabited by normal classed citizens who aspire to be great people and not seek personal wealth. No Albert had the best and would not settle for anything else.

Steven was consumed in darkness when he entered the study room. The Curtin's were pulled shut and a chilling breeze occupied the room. The desktop lamp was flickering in the dark, beneath the beam of light lay a single object which caught Stevens' attention. His hand had found the light switch but the clicking sound did not banish the darkness from the room. The light was busted and Steven let out a disappointed sigh as he began to cross the room. Albert had found his way to the couch and turned on the TV, the sound soothed Albert, and he felt in control, it eased his mind. Albert glared at the TV as his mind began to wander off into a separate universe, the problem with being an author is that the mind is constantly running, they always interpret situations and twist the reality to create a sub universe driven entirely by the "what if?" questions which keep authors up at night. Albert jumped when he heard the knocking sound at the door. "Steven, can you get that please?" The sound grew louder as silence crept from the study which Steven entered some time ago. The knocking sound made its presence noticed as Albert staggered up from the couch. He knew Steven wouldn't get the door so he would do it himself. Walking towards the door appeared more challenging than expected; Albert forced his legs to work in rhythm with each other as he turned the bronze handle of the apartment door. The new setting depicted two rather large police officers holding their caps in their crossed hands. "Mr Howells?" The officer shot the question at Albert even before he began to imagine the business they had been assigned to carry out. "Yes, come in." Albert swung his hand towards his chest signalling the officers into his house. "Rough night Mr Howells it seems." The officer raised his eyebrow as he examined the eyes of Albert Howells. "Yeah actually, just celebrating the release of my new book, why do you ask?" Albert's sentence presented itself broken and incorrect. The officer snapped his head backwards as he addressed Albert with a more suspicious tone. "Your wife, Mr Albert was found dead in Bridge town. Where were you last night?" The officer's question sent needles down his body. His legs gave way to his body's weight as he collapsed down to the floor. He grinded his teeth as he cried with absolute agony. He could feel the darkness around him. "It wasn't me, it wasn't me I swear, and you have to believe me." Albert slowly opened his eyes to confront the officers but the tears made it impossible to make them out. He brushed his shaking hand across his soaking forehead. A sudden chill brought Albert to his feet. The water dripped down his clothes as he glared across the ground at Bridgetown River. The darkness of the night surrounded Albert as his breathing dramatically increased. The icy water of Bridge Town had stained his clothes. They stuck to his shaking body as he crawled away from the river screaming without sound. A lifeless figure gracefully drifted down the river. The hair spread out over the water and the figure appeared face down. "Alison! Oh my god, Alison" Albert was shaking uncontrollably as he raced up the bank of the river to the sleeping town. The street lights provided Albert with a path drawn to him by the world around. A trail of water left behind glistened in the moonlight as the breeze began to howl. The sound of their screams pierced Albert's eardrum as he tried to push out the image of his dead wife floating down the river. Two lights appeared in the distance and grew larger as they approached Albert. He wiped his eyes to embrace the light. The oncoming car didn't see Albert lying on the road, it kept creeping closer no change in speed. Albert raised his head to hear one more final sound, "thump".

"Albert, come on buddy, Albert, wake up man its ok, its ok, it's me Steven, it's me remember?" Steven had grabbed Albert from both shoulders and pulled him up from the living room floor. The screams of Albert had alerted Steven and he raced into the living room where he found the author sprawled out on the floor, shielding himself from nothing. Steven pulled Albert over to the chair and starred into the lifeless eyes of the author. They were filled with darkness as the static on the TV caught Stevens' attention. He pressed the power button and tossed the remote over to the nearest couch. "Come on Albert wake up." Steven brushed his hand passed Alberts head to realise the author had a rather high temperature. Steven raced into the kitchen knocking over the vase which decorated the living room table. The sound of vase smashing into the floor brought Albert back into the reality of the world. He sat frozen in the chair and glared into the static on the TV. Steven returned to the room and placed a glass of water on the table in front of Albert. Steven picked up the remote again and flicked the power button removing the static from the TV. "I could have sworn I turned that off before." The suspicious activity flung itself straight over Stevens head as he inspected the now conscious Author. "Albert what happened? Are you ok?" Steven restrained himself from asking any more questions as he knew Albert had just suffered another one of his nightmares. "It happened again Steve; I don't want to put up with this anymore." The absence of Alison triggered a nerve in Albert's brain. He was a complicated writer; everything he wrote was the collection of countless nightmares which plagued his sleep. During the nightmares he would notice the most smallest and insignificant details which gnawed away at his sanity. He was always happy to greet the light of day, the nightmares retreated during the day, and this was one luxury that Albert admired more than any other person in the world.

Steven returned to the living room with two large plates crowded with bread and an assortment of salads. "Here you go champ, my own recipe, just for you." Albert carefully exchanged the plate of food for a smile which didn't appear very convincing. "You know what it's like Steven?" Albert returned the fork back to the plate as he raised his head to Steven who was half way through a sandwich. "No Albert, I don't, and it's not going to be any better if you keep thinking about them. You know what you have to do." Steven swallowed the clump of food in his mouth and placed his plate down on the table before leaning in closer to Albert who was yet to try the food. "You need to stop thinking so hard; you need to unwind man, take a bloody vacation, get away from here and don't think about work." Albert admired Stevens' concern for his wellbeing but a vacation was not on his to do list at the moment. "Look Steven, I know you try to help me but I don't need a vacation right now, I'm fine, just been a little busy lately, that's all." Albert knew Steven was right but he always had a problem admitting he was wrong, he starred Steven in the eyes and gave a similar smile to the one before. Steven threw his arms into the air and let out a laugh. "Ok big writer, whatever you say but don't be surprised when you start going crazy." Steven grabbed his plate and made his way into the kitchen, he wasn't convinced but he knew better than to stand out of line. Waving goodbye Steven left the apartment at sunset. He walked down the quiet street turning back towards Alberts' apartment. His flat was well lit which forced a smile to Stevens face. Steven turned away and didn't look back.

The morning sun came as a relief to Albert who slowly lifted the lids of his eyes, the warm glow filled the room driving out the darkness and providing a sense of security for Albert. However Alison had not returned, her side of the bed was cold, Albert didn't like this, but he knew his wife was responsible, not once did the previous nightmare cross his curious mind. The only image stuck at the back of his mind was the book signing he had missed. Steven always scolded him for his alcohol abuse, he kept stressing that Albert would eventually drink himself to death. Albert had brought that idea into the back of his mind, it didn't sound as bad as it appeared. Albert Howells was a tired man; he needed to escape the world. All of a sudden that vacation didn't sound like a bad idea. Albert threw himself into the study chair. The flashing light from the desktop computer pounded against his mind, the headache didn't help. Albert had forgotten what it felt like to wake up normally. He had grown into the habit of ignoring the headache or suppressing it with prescription painkillers. Three years back Dr Krill warned Albert that he was heading for disaster. Dr Krill was a shadowy old man who had worked the local pharmacy for seventeen years. He knew the frequency of Albert's headaches and nightmares. Yet three years on, that warning seemed to work its way into existence, it was only the current day that Albert had reflected on this warning as he drove his distracted mind back to the flashing light of the desktop computer. Albert hated the computer, technology wasn't his forte, Steven had purchased him a laptop computer for his twentieth birthday but it got misplaced according to Albert. True was it became an acquaintance with the recycling bin stumped at the front of his yard. Deep down lodged somewhere in Stevens mind he knew it was gone but decided to humour Albert. He valued his job and wouldn't do anything remotely unusual to jeopardize this career. Albert battled to keep himself focused on the task. Albert was that kind of guy who would drift off into a parallel universe at the minute he lost his concentration. He had to escape the pressures of commercial life, he typed in the word "Holidays" into the search engine and slammed the enter button.

"I'm so sorry Mr Howells; we are fully booked out for the weekend. Can I put you and Alison down for next weekend?" Albert slammed his fist down on the wooden desk, the pain shot up through his arm but he didn't react, the rejection from the phone already struck him as a blow to the head. "No, it's fine, never mind about the booking, and thanks for your time." Albert dropped the phone and forced his body back into the chair. The veins popped out the side of his head as if they were ready to explode. The phone jumped to life producing an ear piercing tone, Albert imagined the hotel lady on the other end confirming that another couple had cancelled their reservations leaving the spot vacant for him and Alison. "Hello?" Albert listened closely praying for the ladies voice. "Albert my man, how are we feeling this morning? You know what don't tell me, get yourself down to the café now, I got a little surprise for you." Steven ended the call with a small laugh; a smile had planted itself to his face as he sipped his coffee and clutched the yellow envelope with his life. Albert still had the phone to his ear well after Steven had ended the call. He was trapped in his own thought. A terrible wave of emotion swept him as he remembered that Alison was still missing or yet to return according to Steven. Albert broke free from the thought and threw on his cotton jacket before slamming his apartment door shut behind him. For the first time in a couple of days Albert left his sanctuary and walked down the stairs into the foggy landscape. Although Steven didn't actually mention the name of the café he was present at, Albert knew the directions to take. Steven always admired one particular café; Café Roma was a small Italian café which thrived with life. It was the place to be on dark moonless nights, the candles and the lights fortified the area from darkness. According to Steven it was untouchable. Albert did enjoy the coffee, it was smooth and creamy with a strong flavour hit, but since his last vacation he never enjoyed going out any more, too much hassle according to Albert. When Albert finally pushed open the café door he peered around the room for Steven who was not normally in his special booth. A hand shot up from the crowd followed by a long bellowing voice. "Hey Albert, over here," Albert squeezed his way past the chirpy patrons and pulled up the chair where Steven was sitting. "Well?" Albert rested his face on top of his knuckles as his eyes were focused on the smile glued to Stevens face. Steven flung the envelope across the table at Albert who lowered his eyes to the spinning yellow blur set down in front of him. Albert raised his eyebrow at Steven who urged him with hand movements to open the tightly packed envelope. "What is it?" Albert questioned Steven as though it was an interrogation for a murder case. "If I told you that it would not be a surprise, would it?" Steven knew he had trapped Albert with his crafty sentence. Albert knew better then to question Stevens' arguments. With a heavy sigh, Albert tore away the strip of yellow paper from the top of the envelope; his eyes were fixed to the emerald tip of paper which hibernated below the envelope. The envelope was titled "Getaway Adventure" and was an advertisement flyer for a luxurious cabin, it looked perfect, even the emerald paper was decorated with confetti and screaming with colours. Alberts' eyes zipped back and forth reading the lines the paper had presented him. Steven lounged back into his chair; he had a grin which rested upon his face. Albert began tearing the paper in neat little strips. The tearing sound of the paper also tore through Stevens' heart. "Hey Albert, what the hell do you think you're doing?" Steven could clearly see what Albert Howells had done but the fact that he destroyed the page right there in front Steven crushed him heavier than a boulder. "I paid good money for that." Albert raised his head and stared into Stevens angry eyes. Albert actually got excited about the advertisement; it staged itself to be perfect, a blessing sent down from the heavens. It was the last phrase that churned deep within his stomach. The catch phrase which he had heard many times before, it was a sense of disappointment which drove Albert to tear up the piece of paper. "Come on Albert, Everything is better in Bridge Town." Steven split his sides with laughter, the phrase which he found humorous appeared immature to Albert who had already fallen into the trap of believing everything he saw.

At that particular moment in time Alberts' mind had separated itself from his body. Visions of his past slowly began to regurgitate, each revealing a suppressed memory locked away in the darkness of Alberts' soul. Albert was standing in a quiet street. The sign above read North Bridge Town, he had been here before, but his memory had brought him back to this exact moment in time. It was cold outside, the breeze smacked against his skin. Albert struggled to locate his position; the environment around him was hidden in the darkness of night. The moon reflected off the ground allowing him to squint a short distance into the darkness. It was the sound of the car which directed his attention towards the road. The headlights in the distance pierced the darkness illuminating Albert in the artificial light source. Alberts' heart rate increased as he began to wave his arms back and forth, his signal directed towards the driver of the vehicle. Albert began creating an excuse for the driver as to why he was standing in the middle of the road. He lowered his arms but was suspicious when the car continued to approach at a rather fast pace, Albert began to question the drivers motives, did he or she see him in the darkness? Were they drunk? Albert took a small step backwards as the car roared forwards towards him. His heart rate was now incredibly fast; he felt it thumping against his rib cage, as he took another step back. The last feeling he felt was the connection of the cars' bumper against his knee. From that second he made contact with the car his feet left the ground. The screeching sound of the car's breaks slowly faded from his mind as his began to fall back down towards the ground. His head violently hit the ground shaking his neck back and forth as Albert's body rolled along the street painting a trail of dark blood behind him. His heart rate was now significantly slower. The feeling in his fingers had gone numb, and the blood slowly dripped from the tear in his head where he had hit the ground. Albert saw a man emerge from the vehicle in his blurred vision. He thought he could make out the figure running towards him. Albert could see the stars in the night, they glistened as he lay there dying in the middle of the road. He summoned his remaining strength to turn towards the driver. The driver had blood dripping from his own face as he knelt in front of Albert. Pieces of skin hung from his bones as if he was from a horror film. His mouth was torn and twisted and blood ran from the spaces between his cracked or missing teeth. Albert starred with horror but his face beared a blank expression as his sight began to darken. The figure moved up towards Alberts face, the grin displayed remains of the man's skull which Albert knew was shattered. The man's abnormal breathing pattern made itself noticed as he breathed into Albert's bloody ear. "Hey Al, well isn't this familiar?" The man ran his hand down Alberts face wiping the layer of blood from his eyes. Albert closed his eyes but the smell from the rotting man didn't hide him from the terror. The man leaned in closer towards Albert's ear. "Remember me?" The man pulled himself back from Alberts' body as his breathing began to slow. Alberts' eyes slid closed as the world around him began to close up in the grasp of the dark presence which had surrounded him. The man stood up and starred down towards Albert. "See you soon Albert, real soon mate." The light startled Albert, it was getting closer, the pain had gone and Albert began to walk towards the warm glowing presence of the light.

Chapter4 The Writer

Steven clicked off the torch, Albert's pupils had seemed to adjust to the change in environment, they darkness in his eyes retreated as the light entered his eyes helping Albert back to the real world of that little Italian café. "Come on Albert, wake up mate! Jesus Christ Albert what's the matter with you?" Alberts' eyelids clicked to life as his eyes ran back and forth around his eyeball. Albert had hit his head on the floor, a red thickening liquid oozed carefully from the tear in his head. He felt a warm hand reach down and grab his jacket sleeve; Steven pulled Albert back to his feet and aided him into the chair. "Steven, what happened to me?" Albert had applied a cloth to his head which Steven had handed him, moments before he was once again seated in his chair. Steven rubbed his eyes and thought of a way to explain what he just witnessed, the fact that the man in front of him had smacked his own head down into the table didn't really seem like a good idea to tell Albert. "Listen mate, you just blacked out for a minute, that's all, you're just worried about Alison so it's time for me to come clean." Albert had stopped checking his head and his focus directed him towards Steven who was scared Albert would attack him when he heard the news. "Um ok, how can I say this? Alison is fine Al, she is not missing." Alberts' emotionless face suddenly erupted as his face burst into rage. "What are you talking about Steven? You got less than a minute to explain to me what the fuck is going on here." The customers seated next to Albert had seen the entire display and began to stand up, clearly scarred by the mental man who had thrown himself down on the floor. Steven glanced upwards towards the elderly man, "Don't worry mate, this is my friend." Albert threw a laugh which brought the entire café to the sound of silence. He also glanced up at the elderly man, "He is not my friend for very fucking long unless I get some fucking answers." The elderly man knew who Albert was, now he saw him as the writer who lost his mind in the realm of his own imagination. "Albert calm down mate, it was Alison's idea, she bought the tickets to Bridge Town, and she is there now waiting for you to arrive." Albert had entered a state of relief, but this did not put his mind at rest. He had suddenly remembered his dream of Alison's body drifting down the river. "Go and get her Steven, then bring her back home, now Steven." Albert had raised his voice again; he threw his coat over his back and stood up from the table. "No Albert, you're going on that holiday, you want your wife back? Go get her." Albert threw his fist down on the table before storming out into the rain.





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