Chapter Twenty Two
Markus Anderson stepped outside of his home, a bandage on his hand and a cigarette in-between his lips. Putting the lighter back in his pocket, he relished the smoke filling his lungs, especially how it felt to breathe it all out. Already, he was beginning to feel a little calmer, more relaxed. Grinning, he took it from his mouth, breathing out more smoke.
Surrounding him was the Albertan countryside as it was stepping into winter's cold, icy embrace. The endless fields around his home were a dull yellow and orange, while a few tractors were driving through the crops, as harvest came to an end.
A dirt road cut through the fields, stopping by at his house, before leading to the Trans Canada Highway. Only a few other houses dotted the green, yellow rolling hills and fields. Their house, chosen for seclusion from prying family members and friends, was a simple, light blue bungalow.
He thought it was a more dull white, then blue.
Leaning against its wall, he put the cigarette back in his mouth, breathing in the smoke. His eyes followed the setting sun on its journey from the crisp blue sky to the dark, tree-filled horizon. Rays of light illuminated the field, while casting shadows all around the house.
"I thought I would find you here," Dr. Liven, wearing a simple dress shirt and jeans, was standing at the doorway. Staring at Markus, he grinned friendly. "Smoking is bad for your health."
"Living is bad for your health," he retorted with a cynical grin, "can I help you with something? Or are you going to keep me here like a prisoner?" Markus not so subtly hinted at how his mother and the good doctor had refused him leave of the house. They contacted no one about his reemergence; instead, they planned and talked about how they would break the news.
Markus was growing tired of waiting.
"It's not like that, Markus. It's very complicated, but you're not a prisoner."
"It's an expression doctor." He took the smoke from his mouth, let it fall to the ground and stomped out the flame. "So can I go?"
"Why? Just tell them the truth, already. Let the whole world know that Julia Ryte trapped me in this dream world, putting me in a coma. Just tell them. The world's heard crazier stories and believed in them."
The doctor just stared at Markus, a grimace on his face while his brow furrowed. "I don't even know if I believe that, Markus. I can't very well convince the medical and scientific community of something I'm not convinced of myself. The only reason I kept quiet was because your mother was adamant on keeping you a secret."
"Because she knew-Julia warned me when I began to hallucinate about what was to come. I told her, she was doubtful, but when it came she knew what happened. I told her to keep quiet, I didn't want to involve Julia or start anything against her.
"Then I had a change of heart when I was forced to waste away four years of my life. Now I want the world to know-and for her to experience as much pain as possible. If you won't do it, then you'll force my hand."
The doctor scratched his head, staring skeptically at the young man. "What do you mean?"
Markus smiled, "A lot changed inside of me, doctor. In that dream, I found a darkness I could not extinguish. The light was so far away, all I could feel was darkness. I dreamed of what I would do if I was released." He came closer to the doctor, his eyes on the man's chest.
Dr. Liven blinked, reaching behind him for the doorknob.
Markus walked up the small concrete step, only inches away from the doctor. Staring right into his face, he smirked. "You're a coward, doctor, because you think there is still something left in this life to hold on to. You hope and pray for what you cannot see, living because you're told to." He reached into his pocket, wrapping his fingers around a wooden handle.
"What?" He squinted at Markus, his lips twisting into a scowl. "Did you call me a 'coward'?"
"A fool more like it. I learned something in that dream: We're all trapped, purposeless and aimless. All we hope for is a far away light, praying to a god we don't exactly believe in. We never reach it, we always swim forward, hoping to go somewhere better. It's what I liked so much about the dream world with Julia: it was better."
He took a knife from his pocket, keeping eye contact with the doctor.
"But we all wake up, despite our delusions, life is purposeless and fanciful." He stuck the blade quickly into the doctor's abdomen, grimacing as the blood gushed out onto his hand. Removing it, he stabbed into the doctor several more times. "But I will find her, doctor, and I will kill her. That is my purpose-revenge. Sweet, delicious revenge. Nothing will stop me." He left the blade sticking out of the doctor's gut.
The man stumbled backwards, blood staining the front of his shirt and dripping onto the concrete. Without saying a word, he crashed against the door, sliding down onto the steps. His head drooped to the side, blood gathering at the corner of his lips.
Markus felt nothing inside as he took the keys from the doctor's jean pocket. Only a slight, pinprick of remorse stung his conscience.
He thought of Julia, reigniting the rage and bitterness inside his twisted heart.
Striding over to the doctor's Jeep, he inserted the key and unlocked it. "Who locks a car door in the country? Idiot." He muttered as he stepped inside the vehicle, turning it on before his mother realized what happened. He couldn't look at the house or the dying doctor when he drove down the driveway and towards the dirt road.
"I'm coming, Julia. Hold on. I'm going to make sure you never dream again."