Saving Grace

By
Clustered whispers broke the silence of a once tranquil New York residence. The voices crescendoed as a man was startled from his sleep. As he looked around the whispers became inaudible as if realizing they had been discovered. The man, Felix Bradshaw felt cold and fear ensued him. He sat up and pulled his blankets to his chin. This gave him a sense of security. For a minute Felix thought maybe it was all in his imagination, but in that minute he noticed a swirling cloud at the foot of his bed. Puzzlement stricken he crawled forward to touch the foggy apparition which to his surprise was freezing cold. As he retracted his entire body from the cloud the whispering started again, this time louder than before. Uneasy about this event, Felix returned to his childish safe haven.

He always thought that hiding under the covers was a stupid way to feel safe, but in that moment he was a hypocrite and that didn’t bother him at all. Unable to see anything but darkness he relied on his other senses. The whispers grew much louder now as if approaching him and he began to hear footsteps. Just as he thought he was about to be attacked all was silent. He listened for a moment and heard nothing. Slowly he pulled the covers from over his head and surveyed the room before him. All seemed normal. Feeling stupid, Felix got up from his bed and walked down the hall to the kitchen. He needed something to drink, but just didn’t know what.

Very alert now he walked into the kitchen to find a rather odd sight, the refrigerator door hung wide open. Felix could not see into the fridge because the door blocked his line of sight, but he heard a clatter from inside it. As he began to approach it the cabinet to his left slammed shut. Beneath it a woman stood with her back to him. She appeared to be crying. Felix was very confused by all of the activity. Forgetting the fridge he walked over to the woman and put his hand on her shoulder. She was freezing cold. Startled, the woman turned and looked at Felix and he could not believe his eyes. She had no face. He let out a loud scream and the woman put a hushing finger to where her mouth should have been. Felix felt like he couldn’t move, but something soon motivated him to. At that moment a grotesque demon stood up from where it had been crouched in the refrigerator door.

The demon fit every stereotype of a demon in Felix’s mind. It had two large horns that sat curving wildly on top of its head. Its eyes were a vibrant yellow and matched its razor sharp teeth. Where its nose should have been there were only two breathing holes. It wreaked of pure evil and towered several feet taller than Felix. It said something that sounded foreign to Felix as it shut the fridge door and began to approach him. Felix backed up slowly now more afraid than ever, but the demon stopped by the woman and grasped her by the throat. Held in its tight grip she thrashed about wildly. Nothing she did bettered her situation and she soon gave up. In one swift motion the demon broke the woman’s neck and her body quickly became lifeless.

Now the demon looked to Felix, his eyes piercing and his rage fueling. Felix did not know what to do, but he did know that he wanted to live. As he turned to run he could feel the demon pursuing him closely. His heart raced and his mind flooded with thoughts of his future. Not paying attention, Felix tripped over a chair and fell to the floor. The demon gave an ugly smirk of satisfaction and crouched over Felix’s immobile body. As the demon moved to hit him, Felix threw his arms up to block it and shut his eyes hoping it would all go away. A burning pain shot through his arm as it was scratched by the demon’s claws. And then all was gone.

Felix woke up gasping for air in the same spot he fell down in his dream. The darkness brought on a creepy feeling and he looked around to make sure he was really awake. Fearing it may not have all been a dream he curled up into a ball on the floor. When he did so, he noticed his arm was warm and slippery. He looked down to see blood and three large gashes where he had been mauled. At this sight he passed out.



*****

When Felix awoke it was to the gentle touch of Grace Davis, his girlfriend. On her face she wore a shocked expression and she lowered herself to his level. Repeatedly she asked him what happened, but he could not answer. Grace left the room for a moment and returned with a first aid kit and some peroxide. She untwisted the cap of the peroxide and elevated Felix’s arm in the air. She began to pour the effervescent liquid while Felix winced in pain, but she reassured him he was fine. She doctored his arm as best as she could and wrapped it with an ace bandage. Felix gave her a thankful look, brought his arm to his chest, and held it there.

For a moment they just stared at each other, but Grace could not take the silence anymore and began questioning him again. However, he still did not speak and Grace became flustered. She began speaking of things Felix was tired of hearing. She talked about how ignored she felt and how he didn’t care about anything but himself. All he was looking to do was make his current life better when the one he had was already good enough. She told him how it makes her feel like she does nothing for him when all he does is work and sleep. The only word Felix really listened to in her speech was ‘work.’ He quickly got up and looked at the clock, it was five o’clock in the afternoon. His work shift ended at four-thirty.

He was an intern at a major advertisement agency and he was competing against ten other people. He was certain none of them missed the entire day which made him the weakest link. The blinking light of the answering machine caught his eye and indicated that he had a new message. He pushed the button and listened to the message intently. It was one of his work partners asking him where he was and telling him the boss was not happy. Meanwhile Grace stood in disbelief. Not only had he ignored her, but he was doing everything she had just complained about minutes ago.

“Felix,” she exclaimed as she picked up her things, “you’re doing it now! All I ask for is a little attention. Can you at least give me that?” Silence. “You need to get your priorities straightened out and when you do that, call me, but until then I do not want to hear from you!” She quickly walked to the door and left with a loud slam. That was not what Felix wanted to happen.

“Grace, Wait!” he yelled as he ran to the door. He opened it and called for her a few times but she was already long gone. Angry with himself, he went back in the house and locked the door. He sat down on his dingy couch and stared at the water stained ceiling and rusty pipes. This only reminded him of how badly he wanted to get out. He was torn between a better future alone or his current situation with Grace. It shouldn’t have been a hard choice, but it was. He didn’t even know what was going to come about with work. He could have called but no one would have been in the office. Surprisingly his eyes were growing heavy. He could not believe that after all the rest he had gotten the night before that he was still tired. Knowing that there was nothing to do in the little day he had left, he went to his bed and quickly fell asleep.



*****

When Felix awoke it was to the same clustered whispers he heard the night before in his dream. In fact, the events he was experiencing now were in the same sequence as those the night before. He was having the same dream and he didn’t like it. He heard a clatter from the kitchen but did not go to investigate it. He knew what it was and frantically thought about what to do. Suddenly he heard a shrill scream and remembered the woman. She hadn’t screamed the night before because she didn’t have the mouth to do it. Something was different. Felix got up from his bed and hurriedly but quietly walked to the kitchen. He peaked around the corner to see the demon looking straight at him with the lifeless woman in its hold. However it was not the same woman as the night before. It was Grace.

Felix screamed in horror and disbelief, but had no time to waste as the demon targeted him as it had done the night before. Felix ran back to his room and slammed the door behind him. He locked it and quickly moved away from it. He looked for a large object and as he moved toward his dresser the demon began slamming against the door. Felix frantically pushed the dresser in front of it and felt hopeless because he had nothing else in which to barricade himself. He got into his bed and tried to sleep hoping that he would wake up in the real world like he had accidentally done the night before. It was so hard to concentrate with the noise coming from outside the room. The wood of the door began to crack and Felix began to panic. He squeezed his eyes shut as tight as he could, and just as the demon’s fist came through the door he woke up.

Oddly yet not shockingly, everything was how it had ended in the dream. His dresser blocked the door which had a large fist size hole above the doorknob, and he was breathless. One oddity however, was the light outside. There wasn’t any. It was about eight o’clock in the evening and Felix had gone to bed at six. If felt like he had slept longer than two hours, but he no longer seemed to have a good sense of time. He got up, moved the dresser, and opened the door. Moving down the hallway he still felt tired. He had not the slightest idea of what was wrong with him, but he knew something wasn’t right.

As he walked by the answering machine his heart almost stopped and his hair stood on end. The new message alert was flashing and there were three new messages. Felix reached down slowly and pressed play. The first message was from the same friend that called him yesterday. He seemed worried as he told Felix about their boss’ anger. Had Felix missed another day of work? The next message confirmed that. His boss’ voice was loud, angry, and full of disappointment. He explained to Felix that he saw a lot of potential in him, but he couldn’t risk hiring a person who was okay with missing two days of work unexcused and without calling or notice. Felix was crushed and in awe. He couldn’t believe he had slept through another day, but the third message was the most astonishing of all. It was Grace’s mother.

“Felix,” her voice quivered through the machine, “I am afraid there has been an accident. Grace was attacked earlier today.” After a long pause she took a deep breath and began to speak again. “Felix, she is comatose. I would have called you earlier but this was the first time I have been near a phone all day.” Felix felt dizzy like he had the night before when he saw the blood on his arm. He heard the message clearly, but everything became slow, and his surroundings began to fade. Before Felix could do a thing about it, he passed out.



*****

When he awoke it was to the same chorus of whispers he had heard twice before. He was in his bed and realized it was all happening again. This time he did not wait to hear a scream, but just ran to the kitchen finding that the fridge was left ajar again. This was only half of what he wanted to see. Where was Grace? He felt worthless. In his one attempt to be a hero and save Grace he couldn’t even find her. However, when he stepped forward to look in the fridge she appeared out of nowhere.

Felix ran to her side and started explaining how they needed to escape, but it was as if Grace didn’t hear him. She didn’t respond. That was when Felix heard a familiar clatter from the fridge. He turned to look as a familiar face rose from behind the fridge door, but it was not the demon. He was staring at himself. Feeling somewhat relieved he slightly backed away from Grace, but the version of himself that he was looking at seemed to be possessed. His doppelganger was repeating the actions of the demon and was now moving towards Grace. Felix’s only reaction was to tackle it to the floor. He ran and lunged at it, but only went through it and fell to the floor alone.

His evil clone picked Grace up by the throat, and she let out the same scream he had heard the night before. Felix panicked and screamed to Grace hoping that she would hear him .
“Grace,” he cried, his voice full of sorrow. “I love you! I just realized how important you are to me and I am sorry. Please forgive me!” This caused his clone to look at him and drop Grace to the ground. She cried and backed into a corner balling herself up into a helpless heap. Evil Felix sneered and moved closer to his new target. A stare off occurred between the two men as they just stood there. Evil Felix made the first move. He reached forward and put his hand through Good Felix’s stomach and moved closer as if trying to crawl inside of him. Felix tried to fight him off but could not do so because his enemy was incorporeal. Just when the bad version of himself was almost completely inside of him he had an epiphany. He would kill himself and all would be undone. That seemed to be the only way of hurting the imposter. However, once he was completely combined with himself the task was not as easy.

The bad part of him tried to possess him completely and override his brain. Felix was not going to let this happen. He put up a fight but was feeling both weak and emotionally drained. He collapsed to the floor and crawled towards the counter where he kept his chefs knife. He pulled himself up growing weaker by the minute and grabbed the large, sharp knife. In one swift thrust he impaled himself in the heart. As he did a bright white light shot from the wound and the clustered whispers emitted from it. Felix’s eyes grew heavy as if he were dying and everything became dark.



*****

Felix woke up in a hospital bed hooked to machines, IVs, and an oxygen tank. He could not move and his chest was sore. He looked out the window to see a beautiful day before him and heard footsteps in the hall. They were coming towards his room. In seconds he saw the first person he wanted to see. It was Grace standing in the doorway with a tray of hospital food. He never thought she looked more beautiful. She let out a gasp and ran to his side. He was confused and asked her about her attack. Grace looked just as confused as he did.

“Felix, I wasn’t attacked,” she reassured him. “You were. Don’t you remember?”

“No, no I don’t,” Felix replied. He did remember what happened, but nothing really made sense at the moment. He didn’t want to add to the situation.

“Someone broke into your apartment last night,” Grace informed him. “When I found you this morning you were cold on the kitchen floor with a knife in your heart. Oh Felix, I was terrified!” She began to cry. “I don’t know what I would have done if you would’ve-“

”Shhhh,” Felix interrupted, “I am here, and I am fine. Everything is going to be fine.” Grace gave a weak smile and hugged him. It hurt a little but he didn’t say anything. In that moment he was where he wanted to be, with his saving Grace.





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