Thursday, August 13, 2009

Without Me

Tom stared at the couple. “It’s not that I don’t like weddings,” he said to the man to his left, not taking his eyes off the bride. “In fact, I used to really like weddings. I mean, I was planning on getting married myself.”

He looked to his left; the man was staring at the couple attentively. “Of course,” Tom added, “you aren’t listening to a word I say. That’s okay, though. I’m used to that now.”

He turned his attention back to the bride and groom, who gazed into each others’ eyes with a look of longing and what appeared to be true love. Tom felt his eyes water up; he choked back sobs and took off his glasses, wiping his eyes. He looked back at the man to his left, “I-I don’t even know why I’m wiping my eyes; it’s not like anyone will notice anyway.”

He regained his composure and put his glasses back on. Making sure not to look back at the couple, he managed to continue speaking to the man to his left, “Since I know you’re so interested in everything I say…”

He trailed off, waiting for any response. The man to his left scratched his nose, shifted his weight a bit, and then returned to the position he was sitting in. “…I’ll continue. You know how I said that I was planning on getting married myself? Well, you know who was supposed to be my bride?” He returned his gaze to the bride, motioning in that direction, “It was her.”

* * *

Amy sits in the small, cluttered office. She shakily reaches for a package of cigarettes on the desk. She had quit smoking almost four years ago, but she really needed one right now. She manages to pull one out and puts the pack back on the desk. She picks up the lighter that is sitting next to the pack and attempts to light the cigarette. Her hand shakes so badly that she drops the cigarette on the floor in between her legs; frustrated, she throws the lighter to the floor and drops her face into her hands, her whole body convulsing as she sobs heavy sobs.

The door opens; in walks Detective Lonnegan. He sees the condition she’s in, so he closes the door and moves over to her quickly. “Hey, hey,” he says in a quiet voice as he approaches her. “I know how hard this is, and I know how…horrible something like that would have been to…experience.”

He sees the cigarette and lighter on the floor, crouches down and picks them up. He stands in front of her, offering the cigarette in silence. She looks up after a few minutes, tears running down her face, and she accepted his offer, placing the cigarette in her mouth. He lights it then pushes over some papers; he sits on his desk in the space he cleared.

They sit without speaking for a moment, silence save for the occasional sob. He finally gets the nerve and says, “Like I said, I know how hard this is for you, but I just need to ask you a few questions about…him.”

In between sobs, she manages to say his name, “Thomas.”

“Yeah,” Detective Lonnegan adds. “Thomas. I understand that you and he had…a past.”

“We were going to get married, if that’s what you mean,” Amy answers quickly.


She looks up at him through her tears, “And what?”

He clarifies his question, “And what happened? Why didn’t you get married? Why were you getting married to this other guy?”

She pauses, looking away from him toward his bulletin board covered with all sorts of clippings and pictures and phone numbers that mean nothing to her. “Thomas went missing.”

“He went missing?” He looks surprised with her answer. “Just like that?” He adds with a snap of his fingers.

“Yes, just like that,” she continues. “I had no idea what happened…I thought he was dead. Everyone thought he was dead.”

She starts sobbing again. They say nothing for a few minutes, Lonnegan looking around the room. “But you’re sure it was him,” he adds.

She looks back up at him and shouts, “Of course I’m sure it was him.” Quietly, she adds, “B-but I don’t remember seeing him come in, and neither does anyone else. All I remember is the noise…and then seeing him…”

She breaks down again, crossing her arms and sobbing into them on his lap. He puts his hand on her back and rubs it slowly.

* * *

“Yeah, it’s true,” Tom added with a slight sob. “Amy and I were engaged.” He paused, looking away from her and back at the man to his left again, “I was engaged to the most wonderful, beautiful…intelligent person in the world…”

He looked back at Amy, tears starting to stream from his eyes. He took his glasses off once again, wiping his eyes. Without putting them back on, he turned his attention back to the man to his left, yelling, “But then this happened! I-I can do this and you won’t even notice!”

With that, Tom shoved the man to his left into the woman beside him. She immediately looked at the man to his left with disgust; he apologized immediately, trying to draw attention away from the scene he created, then returned to his original position, paying attention to the ceremony once again.

As soon as everyone settled, Tom continued yelling at the man to his left, “You see? I-I don’t know what happened, but no one can see me or hear me or anything! Hell, I can’t even see myself when I look into a mirror!”

He paused. He faced Amy again, quietly adding, “But I’m still here. I’m like a…ghost. Of course, I can still do things, but everyone seems to ignore them…or think that it’s someone else’s fault.”

Tom sighed. He continued, still looking at Amy, “But that’s what went wrong. Amy saw that I was missing and she tried to find me, but no one could. I tried to communicate with her, but that didn’t work at all.”

He turned back to the man to his left, chuckling to himself, “I actually wrote her a message, but that just scared her silly. She really thought that someone was messing with her. After about a month, she thought that I was…dead.”

He paused, looking back at the Amy; he could see how happy she was. A tear fell down his cheek. He looked back at the man to his left, “Of course, who could blame her? There was no sign of me for that long; it was a logical conclusion. They held me a sort of funeral service of sorts, but without any earthly remains.

“Then life just sort of…went on. Slowly, everyone stopped thinking about me. No one wanted to talk about me, especially her. She had a hard time living her life, but it slowly happened.

“Months passed, and she found another man to spend her life with,” Tom motioned up at the groom. “Yes, she found another man who gets to spend the rest of his life with the…sweetest woman to ever roam this earth.”

Tears came back to his eyes. He started sobbing, but continued talking, “And here I am, spilling my guts to some guy I’ve never met before…who can’t even hear me right now.”

He sat there sobbing quietly for a moment before saying, “I’m going to miss you, Amy.”

* * *

The minister looks at Amy and pauses, smiling. He returns his gaze to the groom, saying, “Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?”

“I do.”

The minister pauses once more then turns to Amy, “Amy…do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

Amy looks into the eyes of her husband-to-be and back at the minister, “I do.”

The minister smiles and looks from one to the other. In a loud, booming voice, he says, “By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you–”

His statement is interrupted by a gunshot coming from the crowd. Everyone looks in the direction of the sound; to their horror, a man is sitting in a pew a few rows back, clutching a gun. His brains, no longer in his head, were blown out the back of his skull onto the guests who were sitting behind him.

The man to his left sports a shocked expression, one that can be made out despite the blood covering the right side of his face. He looks up to the couple and the minister, muttering, “H-he…N-no one was th-there…H-he j-just appeared…”

Amy looks down the aisle into the lifeless eyes; there is no mistake in her mind of who it was. Her heart nearly sinks into her stomach as she whispers, “Thomas.”


Shauna said...


Here's what I thought through the whole story (I kept track as I went along on notepad):
1st part was good. A bit unexpected how it ended (i was expecting him to say something about his fiance killing him cause it seems like he's a ghost).
The 2nd part really brought the suspense up. What DID happen to Thomas?
Wow, part 3 made me so sad!!!!
And finally, the last part was very unexpected. I didn't see that coming at all!!!!!

Another awesome story, Alex!!!

Dust said...

Okay, that was awesome. Got me thinking of Neverwhere (my favorite book) at the end. And yeah, I thought he was dead at first too.

Richard the Caffeinated said...

The ghost thing was well played. Very M. Night Shyamalanesque

Although this completely invalidated my original idea for a disembodied head lost in time and space in more or less similar circumstances...