Awake

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
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Every day that Rowdy woke up, things were just a bit off. Finally, he finds out why.

Submitted: May 29, 2017

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Content

Submitted: May 29, 2017

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Awake

Rowdy woke from one of the strangest dreams he could recall having. Everything was being destroyed, which was terrifying, but it felt almost familiar. He sat at the edge of his bed, trying to shake it, when he remembered that he had things to do today.

He got up, took time to survey his surroundings, and got his day started. He had to look over his home because things seemed to be a little different each day. Nothing he could put his finger on, just a feeling. When he brought it up to Michelle, she never seemed to know what he was talking about. At first, he thought she was messing with his head, and moving things while he slept, but over time he decided that she wouldn’t be that cruel.

He chose to accept the oddity and live his life. After all, his life changed so much, day to day, that holding on to the mysteries of the past would take away from the pleasure of the present. And when it came to the future, he’d see it when it got here. No reason for him to spent the present worrying about it.

For the time being, he was working on bikes to pass the time. He enjoyed the work, and felt he was pretty handy with a wrench. If there was something he didn’t know, he would take the time to find out. Or he’d make it up on the fly. Either way. It always worked out, and Rowdy felt that for some reason, it always would.

He worked until lunch, and was given the rest of the day off. It was a beautiful day, so he decided to take his latest project out for a spin. He had spent so long restoring the motorcycle that he could no longer remember where he had purchased it. Another mystery, but he knew that he had a bill of sale if he ever needed to locate the previous owner. He let his mind wander as he drove down the streets of his city.

He thought of it as his city because, unlike almost everyone else he knew, he had felt no desire to leave. Even Michelle had talked about leaving, once upon a time. But not him. He was happy here. He had friends, family, and entertainment here. What more could a man want?

If he wanted excitement, he had his bikes. That was all the excitement that he needed. There were plenty of concert venues, book stores, music shops, auto parts dealers, and even an antique car museum. He couldn’t figure out why anyone would want to leave, but that was their choice. It wasn’t his fault if people didn’t know what they were missing when they left.

Because people did leave. They seemed to be leaving daily, lately. There had been a rapid influx of people, but they slowly went back to wherever they came from, as well. Rowdy thought that this had happened before, several times in fact, but he couldn’t seem to remember what happened afterwards. Something big, he could remember that. But he couldn’t get a sense as to if it had been a good thing or bad. Just… big.

He shook his head to clear all the useless worrying, and tried to focus on his day. Since he was out riding, he may as well go to his favorite hot dog place, which happened to have outdoor seating. He was in the mood for a dog and a float, so he made his way towards lunch. The place was just down the road, so he fully expected to be sitting in the sun, enjoying his lunch within a matter of minutes. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.

As soon as Rowdy made his way through the last turn before the restaurant, he brought his bike to rest in a vacant lot. The lot hadn’t been vacant yesterday, he was sure of it. There had been a restaurant here, complete with parking lot, picnic tables, and of course a building. None of that was here now. In fact, id didn’t look like anything had been here in years. There was no building, no tables, nor a parking lot.

Rowdy sat on his bike in the grassy lot for ten minutes trying to reconcile what was in front of his eyes with what he thought he had known. It just wasn’t happening. His denial of the proof in front of him was so strong that he could swear he heard one of the wait staff ask him what he would like. He turned to look for the owner of the voice, but there was no one there. He continued to look around, hoping that he had gotten turned around, but all the buildings around the lot were the same as they’d always been.

Thinking that this was somehow tied to the feeling that everything was always a bit off at home, Rowdy looked around for someone to ask about the lot. Finally, he spotted an old friend, Ann, coming out of one of the buildings. He called her over and asked where the restaurant had gone, but she looked at him as thought he was trying to have fun at her expense. She said that he knew that project had fallen through before ground had even been broken. She continued that it was a shame, too, since a hot dog place would have went perfect there. She looked wistfully at the lot for a minute before checking her watch and saying that she had to get going. She was catching a bus out of town.

He was shocked. Not only had he imagined one of his favorite places, but one of his oldest friends was leaving, as well. As she walked off, she called over her shoulder for him to say goodbye to Michelle for her. He said that he would, then she disappeared around the corner. He realized that he hadn’t asked where she was going, so he rushed around the corner to catch her, but she was already gone. She must have been late if she ran off so quickly to catch that bus.

Rowdy went back to his bike, and decided to skip lunch. He’d just have an early dinner at home. He drove around for the rest of the day, but something was bothering him. Of course, the incident with the restaurant was on his mind, but there was something else, as well. Something that he really should be paying attention to, but his mind was stuck on that lot.

On his drive, he saw an unusually large number of people he knew, and stopped to talk with a few of them. He brought the lot up with a few of them, and they all told him the same thing that Ann had said. Also mirroring Ann, they all seemed to be heading out of town. Some were taking the bus, and others didn’t seem to have plans, but they knew that they were leaving. Now he was beginning to worry. So many of his friends were leaving, but he had no idea why. None of them cited a desire for something more, for better opportunities, or even a wish to avoid certain things in the city. They just said that they were leaving.

Rowdy still had no desire to leave, but he wondered if that would change with all of his friends leaving. He decided that he needed to talk with Michelle about this. He turned his bike towards home and made haste to get there. All the while, that feeling of something being wrong kept nagging at him. He pushed it away, because he had enough on his plate at the moment. He pulled into the driveway, and was relieved to see Michelle in her customary place by the front window. Looked like she was busy with one of her books, and the normalcy of that act made him feel so much better about the world.

That lasted until he walked in the front door. She was in her customary spot, but the only chair in the room was his. She had pulled it over to where her chair had been, and was sitting there like nothing was wrong. She looked up from her book and smiled when she saw it was him. She then asked why they had never got more furniture for the house. It was so empty feeling, with only his stuff in it.

At first, he had no idea what to say, given the strangeness of the situation. Then he said that they had furnished the house. He told her about all the pieces that had been there just that morning. She said that all of it sounded great, but she was pretty sure she would have noticed if they had had furniture that had magically disappeared. He replied, saying that obviously she didn’t, or else this was her best joke yet. She didn’t think his response was particularly funny, and he had to be the one playing games. From her tone, Rowdy could tell that she was starting to get a bit frightened. To ease the tension, he passed on Ann’s message, and told her about the events of the day.

When he was finished, Michelle had a confused look on her face. When he asked what was wrong, she said that she knew the lot he was talking about, but she had no clue who Ann was. He had no response for this. Of course she had to know who Ann was, because they use to play cards together. The more Rowdy tried to remind Michelle of Ann, the more frustrated she appeared to get. Finally she said that he must be confusing her with one of his ex-girlfriends, because none of those things ever happened with them. She got out of the chair and went into the bedroom, slamming the door as she went. He watched her go, dumbfounded, then turned back to the chair to have a seat, but found that he was now standing in an empty room.

Rowdy finally let his mind go back to that day’s ride. He knew what was wrong, but had refused to think about it. Things were disappearing. He had a feeling that if he brought up the things that were gone to Michelle, she’d say that she had no memories of them. This was no game. Something big was happening, and he now knew what it was. The end was coming for them.

He went to the bedroom door, and knocked to ask if he could come in. Michelle started to tell him to go away, but was cut off mid-sentence. Hearing this, Rowdy opened the door and found the bedroom just as empty as the living room. No bed, no dresser, and no Michelle. He didn’t bother checking the closets or out the windows, because there were neither. It didn’t matter that they had been there mere hours ago, for there was no sign of them now.

He left the house, no bothering to lock, or even close the door. Why bother, because it was empty and there probably wouldn’t be people to go into it soon, anyway. He was happy to find his motorcycle was still where he had parked it, so he jumped on and brought it to life. As he pulled out of the driveway, he looked over his shoulder to find that his house was gone. He was not surprised.

Rowdy couldn’t think of where to go. Places and people were disappearing. Where could he hide from that? What could he do against a force that could erase reality from existence? He surely couldn’t fight it, so that let two options. He could either accept it, letting it overtake him, or he could help it. He smiled as he came to his decision. He had always been good about choosing the winning side.

Now that he knew which side he’d be taking, he knew exactly where he had to go. The streets were deserted as he made his way to the center of town, and that made things easier. Not only could he make the best possible time to his destination, but he also wouldn’t have to explain his coming actions to anyone. If they were what he thought they all were, it wouldn’t matter, but it still saved time.

As Rowdy parked his bike by the square, he was surprised to find that he could hear another vehicle in the distance. As it drew closer, he thought it sounded like a bus, and thought that it must be the last one heading out of the city. It came into view as it started to cross the bridge, but the bridge simply ceased to exist. He called out for the bus, out of habit, but the bus had vanished with the bridge.

He was alone. He had no idea how much of the city was still there, but he had to assume that the city square was still at the center of things. Otherwise, he was just wasting his time. He didn’t bother trying to figure out why he was the only one experiencing these things, because he had the feeling that he wouldn’t like those answers. He made his way to the bandstand where he saw the device that he knew he would find there. This was another thing that he didn’t waste time thinking about.

Before he brought the device to his lips, he said the names of Michelle, Ann, and all of the other people that he had known in the city. That that was the last time they would probably be thought about struck him, and Rowdy almost broke down. But his resolve held, and he lifted the device to his mouth.

Rowdy stood on the bandstand, in the center of a city that was disappearing a block at a time, bullhorn to his mouth, when he pressed the trigger and yelled, “WAKE UP!”

~~~

Jeff woke with a start. He looked around, wondering who had told him to wake up, when he saw that he was still alone. Everyone else was still out to lunch. He must have dozed off. Probably dreamt about that city again. The more he thought about it, the more he wanted to explore it and probably set a few stories there. He even had a main character in mind. But right now, he had to focus on this piece for the evening edition.

Why had he agreed to work on a story about why people choose to leave big cities? There were too many reasons, and none of them really worked for him. He had his doubts about anyone that didn’t want to live in all the excitement of the city.

After all, he never wanted to leave.

The End



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