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Just Like Parker and Me
Can’t you feel his hot breath that smells like peppermint on the back of your neck? Don’t you feel his smoking hazel eyes watching you? Can’t you hear his deep haunting voice whispering your name over and over and over? Don’t you see his tall, broad shouldered, muscular silhouette haunting you, hiding behind buildings’ corners and walls?
I hear his deep, masculine, caring voice whispering my name over and over. It echoes in my brain, the desolate train whistle, the chirping of the birds. It is low and comforting, yet pained and angry at the same time. The monotone voice drones my name over and over and then – in the same melodramatic tone – he asks for help. It replays in mind, over and over.
I see him. I see his short tousled blond locks; his hazel eyes wide open, watching my every move. I see his muscular arms hanging by his side or in his pockets. The same ripped up blue jeans every time, the same hairless, bare, tan, ripped chest every time, the same calloused hands. The same sneakers with the worn and beat up with laces that are too short to stay tied. I see him in shadows, in empty alcoves.
I smell the Old Spice Shampoo that sometimes leaves the scent in the roots of his hair. I smell the Abercrombie cologne and the deodorant that clings to his smooth, clean, peachy skin. I smell the faint scent of wood shavings – he likes fiddling with wood and he works at Lowes when his command is not called up.
I feel his strong, muscular, tanned arms wrapping around my waist and pulling me close. I feel his short blond locks that are still growing out of the Navy buzz cut under my fingertips. His hair is silky and soft on the top, the wave is growing back in on the top, but his hair is still short and stiff on the sides. I feel his rigid abs under my hands and his rough palm holding mine. I feel his soft lips on mine.
I taste the soft flavor of lip balm on his lips. I taste a hint of coffee and peppermint on his breath and on his tongue. Sometimes I taste a hint of white chocolate; he hates milk and dark chocolate. I taste sweat and sugar.
I walk down the street, seeing him on the bill boards, buildings, in windows, on the street. I see his eyes reflected in car windows and unlit street lamps. I hear his voice in the conversations I only hear a catch of. I taste his lip balm in my cup of coffee. I feel his breath in the cold air. I smell his Abercrombie cologne in the whiffs of scent I sniff as I walk by the stores.
I find a crowd of people all crying, standing around yellow police crime scene tape. Suddenly all of the normally faceless strangers have faces – expressions – lives. The woman next to me is blond, green eyed, small, freckled, and cold. I see it in the way she shivers at the slightest wind. “Sad about the girl,” she murmurs.
The man in front of me is bold, careless, rude, incompetent, red headed, and tired. I see it in the way his shoulders sag. “Poor girl,” he mutters.
The small girl beside me is young, incoherent, brown haired, blue eyed, and deaf. I see it in the way she doesn’t turn at the siren that is cutting through the dead air the way the rest of us are.
I push my way to the front of the crowd behind the detectives who flash their fancy badges at any person who dares to question them. Finally I reach the edge of the yellow crime tape, the black writing big and bold on it. The scene lies in front of me, but still I strain to see what it is that is so depressing, but holds everyone’s attention so raptly. Suddenly the police officer who is holding the yellow evidence markers moves.
He lies there.
Blond, his hair is growing out of a Navy crew cut. Hazel eyes, they’re wide open and still smoky. Bare chested, he is obviously muscular. Blue jeans, they’re ripped and fit him just right. His hand, it lies outstretched in front of him, his palm calloused and splintered. Sneakers, the laces are beat up and short, they are a dingy white.
I catch a whiff of Old Spice Shampoo mixed with Abercrombie cologne and deodorant. I see the spilled cup of coffee near his body. I touch the peppermint that must have fallen from his pocket that is outside the tape. I taste the smooth taste of white chocolate in my mouth.
The only difference from the ghost of this man, who has haunted me, is that his phantom did not have a small knife wound straight through his skin to his gut.
Suddenly I push through the crowd trying to get away from him. Because – as I stared at the broken frame of what used to be a Navy Lieutenant – I knew I had never met him, never seen him before in my life. I don’t know this boy’s name. I don’t know where he came from. But I knew him in a heartbeat when I saw the blue lips, the open lifeless eyes, the mouth half parted open, the blond hair.
I tripped and fell. I smacked my head against the cement and my psychology book with my name written on the cover tumbled out of my hands and onto the street.
A detective picks up a piece of paper that the boy has trapped under his side. On the crumped piece of lined notebook paper is written: Samantha Odessa Sabala.
The detective murmurs the name. With the last ounce of my strength I groan. The detective sees me and runs over. She sees the text book. The name written on the cover. My name written on the cover: Samantha Odessa Sabala. And now I know his name, though no one has said it. It is Lt. Parker Knight. I know his age. He is twenty-six.
I run. The pain in my head is pulsating. I keep pushing. I have to get out of there - away from Parker, the boy who is hunting me to the ground. I trip but get up. I have to get away. I turn a corner to see him. But he’s dead. I stop and stare at him. He’s dead. He has to be.
“Hello, Samantha,” he whispers in the same voice I’ve come to live with.
He laughs a warm, friendly laugh that should not send chills up my spine but does anyway. For some reason this one boy will be the end of me.
I walk towards him, those blue jeans, the blond hair, hazel eyes, the sneakers with worn beat up laces. I want to talk to him, but for some reason I can’t form the words. Not today. I want to touch him, to see if he’s made of air or flesh and bones, but my arm won’t move. Not today. I want to smell him, to make sure that it is the boy whose spirit has haunted me, but I can’t get close enough to him. Not today.
He gives me a sad sympathetic smile, but I see through it. “Who are you talking to?”
I jump out of my skin and in my haste to turn around; I trip over my too long shoelaces and smack my head against the brick wall next to me. I lie on the cement of the ally, the coffee that had been in my right hand, spilled next to me, the lid knocked off of it. My hand lies outstretched in front of me, the tight tan spaghetti strap tank top I wear now looks like my skin. The blue jeans I wear are suddenly ripped. My black Nikes are now dingy white sneakers, with short, beat up laces. My long blond hair is now growing out of a Navy buzz cut. My eyes are hazel. At least that is what I see when I stare at what had been my broken frame but is now his. And now I know why I knew him. He had been so familiar in an instant. Everyone knows about the face of death. That’s what he was. Now that’s what I am. So now it is my turn to haunt and hunt another human to the ground. I stood staring at the Lt. who lay there where I had been; I see the crime scene tape that had already been plastered around the crime scene that I had seen, before I died.
I look at my hands, they are my own, as is, yet my corpse is not. But I instantly understand. My corpse will be my own after harassing someone else into death. Only then do I deserve peace. And now I have to choose my victim. Someone young, who knows what I’ve gone through. Ha ha, maybe --- you.