I was always quiet. Never really went out of my way to talk to anyone. Did my job like everyone else during the week and went home and stayed in on the weekends. To me it was the most fulfilling thing that i could do. Just knowing that I am normal. Never going off the beaten path. Just doing what I have to do till the end of time.
I may be being a little dishonest. Something in me always wanted to see what it was like on the "wild side" so to speak. I am sure that we all have had that feeling. This is when I started doing something that I would never do. I started trying to talk to people. That is when I met Tony. I was on my way to the gym after work for the first time in a long time and he was new in town. Asked me if I could help him out and get him used to the area and in return he would help me out with my workout and break me out of my shell.
I accepted his offer. Mistake number one. I was sitting at work and got a phone call. It was Tony.
"Hey Jake. What are you doing?" he asked me.
"Sitting at work as usual." I responded.
"Well skip out on that man and lets get some food." he said.
"Dude. I can't just leave." I said before the boss walked over.
"Jake, who are you talking to?" he asked
"No one too important sir." I replied.
"Good. Then you have no problem getting back to work."
"Yes sir." I said as I quickly hung up the phone.
I started to get that eerie feeling. That feeling you get when you think you are being watched but you know you can't be. I tried to shake it off but it wasn't going to happen. I couldn't stop feeling like I was being followed. It stayed with me even when I got home. I walked in the door and thought maybe a drink would help me. Poured me a glass of some cheap vodka I had on ice and relaxed. Started to fall asleep on the couch.
Made myself get up and walk to my room. There was a piece of paper hanging on my door.
"No one too important. -Tony"
My heart stopped.
How did he know my address? He has never been here. How did he get in.
I slept restlessly that night.
I woke up early that morning to a phone call. It was Tony. He wanted to meet up and even out what had happened on the phone. We met a restaurant and he greeted me as if nothing happened.
"Whats up man?" He asked as he went in for a handshake.
"Nothing." I said as I half heartedly shook his hand.
"Whats this about?" he said. Referring to the hand shake. His expression changed.
"I know you were in my house last night Tony. I don't care that you want to hang out but you crossed the line." I said angrily.
I handed him the note. He chuckled nervously.
"You are getting paranoid bro. I didn't do this."
"Oh? So out of the two of us who heard our conversation on the phone, who put the note on my door so I could find it AFTER I got home." I said through my teeth.
"Whatever man." Tony said. "Believe what you want." He walked away.
I walked out of the restaurant and started heading back to my car. As I was putting my keys in the door to unlock it, I heard someone backing up and turned around just in time to dodge a car hitting mine.
My first instinct was that Tony had just tried to kill me over our little argument. Then it hit me. He doesn't even drive. He had been walking everywhere till I had met him and been giving him a lift here and there.
"What an asshole." Said the man standing next to me when I got over to my car.
I chuckled nervously, "Yeah. People all around anywhere you go can be assholes."
"My name is James." The strange man said while reaching toward me looking for a handshake.
"Jake." I said shaking his hand.
"Listen, I know a guy who owns a body shop. We can get that dent there fixed for you today." He said.
"I don't know. It just seems like it would take a while and I have things to do." I lied while trying to just go home and forget today had happened so far. I wanted to go back to my quiet self and stay in my shell.
"No. I insist. At least get an estimate. 15 minutes. Max." James said reassuring and trying to sell me.
"Alright." I said annoyed. What's the worst that could happen. Not like I am trying to buddy up with the guy. He just wants to be a good guy and help me out.
We got to his friends body shop and he told me the damamge was barely in the triple digits and it would take a couple days to take care of whenever I am ready to bring the car to him. Great. More expenses and time wasted on things that shouldn't have happened.
"Let me get you a drink." James said standing on the driver side of his car.
"Definitely." I said. I know I didn't want to hang out with him but at this point I just want a cold drink and a warm bed to crawl in.
After getting a few drinks and having some laughs me and James shared a cab and after we reached my place, I had a change of heart. I gave him my number and said told him to hit me up if he decides he is looking to do something some time. I slept easy. No weird notes and I didn't have that "being watched" feeling tonight.
I was off work the next day. I woke up and startd to walk outside. I needed to get some sunshine in my life and try to shake this string of bad luck that I had come in contact with. I got outside and started to walk down the stairs to the sidewalk then turned around realizing I forgot to lock my door. I locked it and started to go down the stairs when I heard a voice from behind me.
"Hey man." Tony said from behind. "We need to talk dude."
"What do you want?" I asked. Still irritated from the other day.
"I guess I expected that. Look, I didn't go into your apartment."
"I want to believe you, I truly do." I said sarcastically.
Just then I looked down at phone to see that I was getting a call from James. I answered and he said he is on his way to my place. He wanted to go do something. I agreed and waited in silence awkwardly while Tony was standing on my porch. James showed up not too long after.
"Hey Jake. Who's this?" He said making a gesture to Tony.
"Tony, James, James, Tony." I said introducing them.
“Actually, we already know each other.” Tony said with a grin.
“Yeah. Long time no see Tony.” James said going in for a handshake and getting a hug.
This confused me but I shrugged it off as mere coincidence.
“Small world.” I said shrugging my shoulders and laughing nervously.
We all went out that day and just hung out. For the first time in a long time I was starting to feel like a human. Interacting with people and going to see what social life really was without a computer monitor. Thats when I saw her. Her name was Samantha. She was beautiful and my friends noticed I was staring.
“Go talk to her bro.” Tony said nudging my shoulder.
“Worst she can say is go away.” James muttered.
“You are right. Ok. I am just going to ask for her number” I said confidently.
I approached her. She started to smile.
“Hi. My name is Jake. I couldn't help but notice you were sitting alone. Care if I join you?” I said thinking I was being charming.
“Sure. My names Samantha.” She said smiling as I sat down. I bought her a drink and we continued our little routine of small talk till I finally worked up some courage.
“Can I have your number?” I asked.
“Yeah. Here.” She gave me her phone number on a piece of paper and grinned.
“I will call you sometime.” I said as I was getting ready to leave.
We went back to my place in a shared cab and I got out and wished them all a good night and went inside to go to bed. I felt something strange though. Like someone was there with me. I chalked up to me being tipsy from a good night out and thought nothing more on it. As I lay in bed all I could do was smile and think that I was improving my life. About a month ago I would not be doing anything that I am doing now. I would still be a loner. No friends and now a potential girlfriend. I slept pretty well. I woke up the next day and went into the office. I was trying to work through a hangover and I am pretty sure my boss could tell.
“Jake. Is everything ok?” he asked.
“Yeah. Fine sir.” I said. I was flat out lying.
“You know you have some unused vacation hours.” He said taking a sip of his coffee. I am pretty sure he was hinting at me taking some time off.
“I will take next week. I know its Friday but Monday I will take my vacation for a week.”
“Not a problem. I will write up the paperwork.” He said walking away.
I went home a couple of hours later and not a moment too soon. I was feeling terrible. Headache, stomach ache and all the other good stuff that comes with a hang over. I walked in my house and sat down and turned on some tv after grabbing a glass of water. First world problems took over. Hundreds of channels and nothing on. I felt my phone vibrate. It was James. He wanted to come hang out. I said sure and awaited his arrival. He was at my door in about 20 minutes.
“Hey Jake. How you feeling.” James said grinning.
“Like trash. How much did I drink last night?” I said
“Not too much but apparently enough for you to get hungover.”
I suddenly remembered. Samantha. I had her number.
“Too soon to call?” I asked James.
“Go for it bro. I have faith in you.” He said giving my a sarcastic thumbs up.
I called Samantha. After about the third ring she answered.
“Hey Samantha. Its Jake.” I said
“Hey whats up? I was wondering if you would call.” She said.
“I was wondering if you want to do something later.” I said chuckling nervously.
“Sure. When?” She said.
I have to admit I was surprised. Didn't think it would be that easy.
I took Samantha out to the bar and we had a pretty good time. We talked and laughed. Things got a little weird though.
“I can't believe I actually asked my friend if I should call you.” I said laughing.
“Who's your friend?” She said taking a drink.
“James. He was at the bar the night we met. He talked me into walking over to you.” I said .
“You were here alone though.” She said generally confused.
“What? No. He was sitting down the bar from us.” I said defending my point.
“I may have overlooked him.” She said.
The rest of the night went off without and hitch and we paid our tab and went home. I walked in my house after wishing her a good night from the cab and laid on my couch just letting the night I had kind of start to sink in. She thought I was alone? I mean sure James isn't anything real special but not that easily overlooked. Oh well. Maybe I am thinking too much into it. I started to feel my eyes close and I drifted off.
I woke up the next day. I still smelled like alcohol from the night before because I slept in my clothes and forgot to shower. I got cleaned up and ate something and started reading. I loved reading sci-fi. Edgar Allan Poe was my absolute favorite author though. Even if he wasn't sci-fi his horror stories were great. I can almost recite the raven word for word. Tony called shortly after.
“Hey bro. Heard you took Samantha out?” He asked.
“Yeah. It was so much fun. Strange though.” I said.
“What happened?” He asked.
“She said you guys weren't at the bar with me.” I said.
Phone went quiet for a second.
“She must have been seeing things or something.” He said. “You know we were there.”
“Yeah. I know. It just seemed a little odd that she didn't see you guys there.” I said.
Toward the end of the call Tony asked if he could come over and I said sure and he and James both showed up. We all sat down and had some laughs and drank a few beers. I checked my phone after I felt it vibrating. It was Samantha. She had text me and asked if she can come over. I said sure and told the guys to not act up. They promised they would behave and within 30 minutes or so she was at my doorstep. I let her in and offered her a drink. She sat down on the couch and we started talking.
“How are you?” I asked.
“I'm fine. Listen we need to talk.” She said looking concerned.
“Oh?” I said confused. “What's wrong?”
“Are you sure you want to talk about this?” She said. “I mean here?”
“Well, sure. If you can say it to me you can say it in front of James and Tony.” I said pointing toward them at the back of the room.
“Thats just it Jake. There is no one here. You are here alone. You were at the bar alone. I know I'm not crazy. I'm not so sure about you.” She said.
“Is this some sort of joke?” James said.
“They are right there.” I said pointing toward them again. This time I was acutally getting kind of scared and angry.
Was I going crazy?
“I have to go.” Samantha stood up and got ready to leave in a hurry.
“Wait. Please. I don't know what you are getting at but you are scaring me.” I said. She scoffed at me.
“I'm scaring YOU?” She said getting defensive.
I grabbed her arm.
“Just listen to me.” I said.
“Let go of me!” She screamed.
This only enraged me and before I could do anything Tony grabbed her and put her on the ground.
“Don't hurt her!” I shouted.
“Why not? She thinks we don't exist anyway. She said it right in front of us.” Tony said angrily.
“I am out of this.” James said putting his hands up and backing away.
I froze in fear as Tony strattled samantha and started to choke her.
“Jake. Stop this.” She said gurgling.
I screamed and ran over to her. I was too late. The deed was done. She lay on my living room floor not moving. Not breathing. Sirens shrieked in the distance. Neighbors must've heard the commotion and called the cops. Sirens did something and made everything more clear. Reality had kicked in. It all made sense now. Now as the cops break down my door and yell at me to get down I look down at Samanthas corpse. My hands around her throat. James and Tony were no where to be found. They were never around in the first place. They were in my head. They were the parts of my mind that I never used manifested in a perfect form. James being my more social side and Tony being my more outgoing and interactive side.
Oh my god.
I killed her.
I mean Tony killed her. I mean we killed her. Tony is me in the end.
“Funny.” I chuckled as the cops hauled me away. “I think she would've liked James.”