An Open Mind

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
An open minded woman makes a shocking discovery that changes her view of the world around her.

Submitted: September 04, 2013

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Submitted: September 04, 2013

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What is reality? Is it events as viewed by all? Or is it more then that? Does everyone perceive this reality the same? If not, then which reality is the real one? Is there such thing as reality if everyone views the world differently?
***
Ella Johnson was a cashier at a fast food restaurant, though she felt the stress of it at times she thoroughly enjoyed her time there; in fact she preferred to be there then doing nothing at home. Ella was an open spoken woman, who tried to befriend everyone she worked with, well, everyone who was able to handle her free-spoken spirit.
Jacob Vilcas worked with Ella every day, he had become quite the friend to Ella; the two were practically siblings. Not many people got along with Jacob because of his random outbursts of laughter and the strange noises he made. His voice could be heard loud and clear for most of his shift, despite the constant urging of his superiors to be quiet.
Nobody quite knew why Ella had become such good friends with someone so odd; then again, nobody could understand why she had married a 34-year-old man at the age of 22. The age gap wasn’t the main problem though; it was the fact that she had married a black man despite living in a racist town.
Ella wasn’t a person who let others’ opinions get under her skin; she could care less what they thought of her, which is why it was usually easy to get along with her.
She went to work every day, knowing that Jacob would be there, and that they would discuss matters of depth that no other could grasp. They had that in common, an obsession with knowledge. They would dive into large topics knowing full well that hours could pass before even scratching its surface.
They would continue the conversation the next day until thoroughly satisfied, then move on to another hot topic. On occasion, they would meet after work for coffee and delve into the topic of the mind; a favourite of both of them that constantly was revisited. Psychology and sociology often found their way into their many discussions.
Due to the amount of conversation between the two, they also knew more then a few things about each other’s personal life. They knew each other’s secrets. Secrets about their past, their present; and dark secrets that no other would ever hear.
Jacob was one of the few people that knew why Ella chose to walk everywhere she went. Why she refused to get behind the wheel. Why she let her license expire. She was terrified of repeating a past event.
Ella’s mind was filled to the brim with discussion material as she signed in at the beginning of her shift. She had read an article about the latest studies of the human mind and was itching to see Jacob’s view on it. From what she could tell though, it was going to be a busy night; which meant little discussion unfortunately.
She tried not to let this depress her as she did her duties, with her usually efficiency. The sight of an odd look on Jacob’s face that she rarely saw grabbed her attention; her curiosity spiked. She waited until she had a few moments of free time before confronting him about it.
However, before she could actually say anything she had a customer to attend to, so she headed back to the counter. From behind her, Jacob approached and whispered something in her ear; he continued to walk, his goal accomplished.
She froze. Her body stood still as a cold chill ran up and down her spine. Her mind raced uncontrollably.
‘How could he know that?’ She thought, ‘I haven’t told him about it yet.’
He had stated, word for word, the title of the article she had read and wanted to discuss.
‘Maybe he read it as well’ she thought as she took the customer’s order.
A few minutes later, after she finished serving the customer, she looked to her left to find Jacob smiling at her from a few meters away. There was something different about him today, but she couldn’t put her finger on it.
When she went to ask him about it, he simply told her not to worry about it. It drove her crazy her entire shift.
Near the end of the busy night, she finally found some time to talk to him, and discussed some of the article she had wanted to tell him about. She quickly discovered that he knew more about it then she did; he always knew more. Something at the back of her mind was telling her that she should be worried about that, but she ignored it like usual.
Just before she headed home for the night, she saw Jacob come upstairs in his casual attire and took a long look. He was wearing a new jacket; as usual, it was black, much like most of the clothing Jacob wore. It was a black trench coat that went almost to his feet. She secretly thought he looked amazing in black, but she would never tell him that, it would be too awkward.
“I know I do” a voice whispered from behind her.
She quickly turned around to find nobody there. She felt the chill again; it had been Jacob’s voice.
She looked towards where Jacob had been standing to find him no longer there. Fear struck her; she went around the corner to see where he had gone. He wasn’t there. Her head suddenly turned to her right as she heard footsteps coming from downstairs. Jacob emerged from the stairwell, but he was not wearing the same coat, he was wearing the one he usually wore.
“Change your coat?” she asked in a joking tone.
 
“No, this is my only coat” he said, “why do you ask?”
He smiled slightly and his gaze pierced into her. She locked onto his eyes as an epiphany struck her; she remembered what was different about him earlier. His eyes were the wrong colour, they were black; they were supposed to be brown. A slight difference that was hard to notice unless you looked closely, as she was doing now.
“Oh, no reason” she said as she pulled away from the gaze. “I should probably head home and get some sleep, good night Jacob.”
She headed for the door. Just as she was walking through it, Jacob whispered into her ear once again.
“Don’t go.”
She continued to walk; she wasn’t in the mood for any more frights tonight.
She arrived home and found that her husband was already asleep; she had been hoping he would walk with her to the bank, it was a cold night, and she hated walking alone.
She had been putting off going to the bank to take out some money since payday, three days ago. She couldn’t wait any longer. She would go alone.
 
With her scarf wrapped tightly and an extra shirt under her coat, she was ready for the journey. She trudged off into the cold weather with purpose and hummed a familiar tune that was in her head since the walk to work that day. The roads were snow covered; there was no life, no traffic, nothing. She was alone. The wind picked up as she moved within eyeshot of her destination. She saw a black figure standing in front of the bank and stopped at the crosswalk that would lead her to the warmth of her bank.
“I told you not to go,” said the man. He was wearing all black, from his boots, to his mask, to his hooded trench coat that reached nearly to his feet.
“Do I know you?” she replied as she started to cross the road, eyes fixated on this man.
“I wouldn’t do that,” he said, standing as still as stone in the gusting wind.
“Do what?” she said, still walking. The road around her lit up almost as bright as day. She heard a loud screeching.
She looked to her left to see the headlights of a massive transport bearing down on her. She had no time to think, no time to react, no time to do anything. Her world went dark.
***
She opened her eyes; she was in a hospital bed. Something was wrong though, terribly wrong. She was in a room with only her bed. The scene looked very familiar. There was a calendar on the wall, she sat up and squinted to see it; her heart skipped a beat. The year was wrong. It was way too early, it was impossible. It was 4 years before it should be. She hoped the calendar was wrong as she tore her eyes away from it.
A nurse entered the room and suddenly memories flooded back to her. Oncoming headlights. Screeching tires, breaking glass, twisting metal, the screams, the terrifying screams. She gasped for breath as more memories raced though her head. Her hands on the wheel, snow, ice, three of her friends laughing and joking. In the passenger seat was one of her closest friends, holding a bottle of wine. She heard herself yell at one of the friends sticking her arm and head out the window.
She looked back at the road; headlights, screams, silence.
The memories stopped. Tears were running down her face. The nurse quickly went to her side to comfort her.
‘It’s happening again’ she thought, ‘I went through this already’.
A doctor was fetched. After he entered into the room she heard him saying something about a coma. She was still trying to get a grip on reality.
‘A coma?’ she thought suddenly, ‘I was in a coma?’
She looked at the doctor, he looked right back. She had been in a coma. She had dreamed four years of her life.
She was in shock. She was speechless; she couldn’t believe it had all been a dream. A vivid dream.
***
Four years later
Ella loved her work, she was good at it, and she loved the company of her workmates. She loved coming to work every day, she never knew what excitement the day would bring. The memories of her dream were faded and she had gotten on with her life.
Her mood was better this particular day because she had plans to go take out some money after work, and maybe treat herself to something. After all, payday had been a few days ago.
At the end of her shift, she bundled up, wrapped herself in a scarf, and headed to the bank. Just as she was about to cross the street to reach her target something caught her attention. A piece of paper blowing in the wind from her right. She stepped on it to stop it and bent over to pick it up.
With mittens covering her hands, she uncrumpled the white unlined paper. The paper contained one word, in black ink: Jacob.
She felt a chill unrelated to the cold outside. She looked up half expecting to see a dark figure standing in front of the bank; there was nobody. She was alone on the streets, just like her dream. She took a step forward, but then paused. She stepped back and looked left. A transport truck flew through on the road where she was just about to walk.
As it passed, she thought ‘Why didn’t I hear it?’
She crossed the street without incident and withdrew the money she had come for. She quickly made her way home. The next day she made a doctor’s appointment.
The week following she was informed that she was going deaf in her left ear. The cause of the deafness dated back to her car crash. A small amount of damage to her inner ear had gone unnoticed by the physicians who had focused on her more serious injuries after the crash. It had gotten worse over the years, but because she had never noticed it, she never got it treated. Now she was going deaf.
That’s why she hadn’t heard the transport coming. Despite the fact that she was losing her hearing, she was happy; happy to be alive. She could have just as easily been struck by that truck and died, like her three friends in the accident. She preferred this though; she preferred life. She had been saved by a dream, and a piece of paper with a name on it; she had been saved, by Jacob.
***
What is reality?
Reality is your perception of the world as recorded by your memories. Not everyone can catch everything that happens, or remember every moment. Nobody has the same reality. Everyone remembers differently. Everyone is unique. No one reality is right. Therefore, it is safe to say, no reality is wrong either.

 


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