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Waking Up in the Dark

His eyes stuck together like glue. His right hand was clasped into something cold and hard. As he slowly twisted his wrist, he felt the round object creep around. He hesitated as a sharp, sickening pain entered his stomach, and cold chills set the hair on his arms standing. He knew exactly what was around his wrist. A handcuff. He swallowed back cold saliva and shivered as it entered the back of his throat. “What happened to me?” he said to himself, but no words formed, only dry coughs that left him even more out of breath. He made an attempt to open his eyes, but quickly shut them when a bright sting of light caused him pain. He was groggy and nauseous and the sharp light had created a dull throbbing on his temporal lobe, and the pain was sure to grow. Slowly, he raised his left hand to his head, and gently rubbed his temples in concentric circles. He groaned in response.

“Am I dead?” he asked himself; his voice was raspy and smelled of the distinct scent of alcohol. The slight taste of bile was reminiscent in the back of his throat, provoking his gag reflex. Then he heard the deep chuckle of a man in front of him. The voice was hoarse, worn from work, meaningless conversation, and smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. Slowly he took his left hand and placed it above his eyes to shield him from the blazing light. He gradually opened his eyes; they felt like they were peeling away his eyelashes; in front of him was the slightly blurry figure of a man. The man had light brown hair that was delicately brushed across the top of his balding head. He had a full dark mustache on the top of his lips, which moved upwards as he licked his dry chapped upper lip. He wore a deep blue police uniform. And his belt was secured so tightly around his waist that his pot belly rolled over. “No, but you probably wish you were right now.” He let out another chuckle and his stomach moved with him, as if it was amused too. “This is the police station, Mark, not heaven; and contradictory to what our latest victims seem to think, it’s not he**, either.” He gave yet another chuckle, and moved his sausage-like hands to his belt buckle. He stood over Mark with a great confidence, a superiority that reined over Mark’s low self esteem. Mark looked down at his cuffed hands in disdain, and let out a huff. “What am I doing here? How did you know my name-“-But before he could continue his tempered and exasperated list of questions, a woman called across the station in a heavy Boston accent, “Sergeant Harris, the detective needs to speak with you.”

The officer who had been speaking to Mark, presumably Sergeant Harris, quickly turned his head to answer the women. “Okay, Cherie, tell the detective I’ll be there in a minute…” He let out a sigh. “Sorry, kid, but I have to go deal with this detective fellow. Your folks should be here soon.” He grinned, his lips crooked and devilish, and then proceeded to the other side of the station, leaving Mark alone and helpless. “But, wait!” He yelled. “You never answered me! What’s going on? Why am I here?” He was close to screams; wet tears began to slowly stream down his hot cheeks. “I didn’t do anything wrong,” he whispered to himself. He proceeded to weep. Even though he was surrounded by people, he felt completely isolated. He felt trapped. There was no way out. He was stuck on the wooden bench until his parents arrived. His wrist began to cramp up, which only aggravated his tears more. His eyes were swollen and his mouth was dry. “What have I done?” he gently whispered.

Mark practically jumped out of bed. He was hyperventilating, and his pillow was damp from his tears. His legs were knotted in his cotton sheets and he hastily kicked them away. His eyes burned with a fiery intensity and he rubbed at them furiously. “It was just a dream.” He whispered to himself, both relieved yet frightened. “It was just a dream,” he repeated, as he wrapped his arms around his slender shoulders for comfort.



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