Something was wrong. It was like being in two places at once. She felt doubled inside of her own head.
A cold wind hit her first, which was terribly strange and unwelcome because she wasn’t outside. She was in her house.
No, she was outside, and as her eyes adjusted to the streetlights, she saw what appeared to be an open bus shelter around her. That couldn’t be right. She was in bed with her husband. They were in the middle of having a great time.
No. She was clearly outside. She was fully clothed and wrapped up in layers. She knew she had just been wearing a t-shirt and nothing else a moment ago. She sat up quickly, traffic buzzing on the street beside her. Again she felt disorientation when her ears slipped from blissful silence to chaotic noise and the two sensations met each other at a crossroad in her head. She was suddenly nauseous as everything became clear.
She sat up gingerly. The aroma of oils and sweat were getting pushed aside by a foul scent of unfamiliar body odor and urine.
A horn honked and she stood, alarmed. These weren’t her clothes.
It was then that she saw the face of the old man outside the shelter. He looked dirty through her eyes, or at least what she could see through the haze of confusion.
His face just stared at her, amazed and horrified. Something was so wrong with what was happening (apparently to both of them) that it seemed unreal. “M… Mary?” he asked, scared and unsure. “Mary?”
Was he talking to her? Her name wasn’t Mary. “I’m sorry?” she asked, but the sound of her voice terrified him. He jumped to his feet and began looking around in a daze, shouting “Mary! Mary! Where are you, Mary?” as he ran away from the shelter, leaving a grocery bag full of miscellany behind him.
With her head still swimming from all of the conflicting information, she left the shelter and tried to get an idea of where she was. It didn’t take long to realize she knew. She was downtown, and not far from her work. But how? Why?
She began walking to the office, not sure what to do when she got there, but desperate for some kind of familiarity to help sort out this mess. Was she sleepwalking? Did she have some form of seizure or stroke? She never had before but she couldn’t rule it out. She certainly hadn’t been drinking. One moment she was in bed with her husband having a great time, and the next she was here, downtown, far from her suburban home.
The office was understandably dark, and although she couldn’t find her key (Not my clothes she reminded herself) it wasn’t an obstacle. They had a pass-code and retina scanner installed after her manager forgot her key one day and was angry at the lock company for not making it easier to get in without it. With a 6-digit code and a bright green light to the eye, she was in.
She went to her office at the back of the small complex, with the lights turning on and following her as she moved. She grabbed her phone and dialed home as easily as she could with her hand shaking; marveling in confusion at the clothes she was wearing and the contrast between their filthiness and her soft, pale hands.
As the phone rang, she noticed the clock on her desk. The red numbers glowed uneasily, and the next level of panic took over. 12:20? That couldn’t be right. She had to have been with her husband at 12:20. If this was some kind of episode, she never could have made it downtown that fast, and she clearly remembered the clock beside her bed reading 12:13 just before this had happened.
Then her own voice answered the phone with a tone of tired confusion, and her suppressed scream hit as the unnatural situation reached a level she could no longer control, and her mind tore itself apart.
Marc Watson is an author of genre fiction of all lengths and styles. He began writing at the age of 15 and continues to be a part-time writing student at Athabasca University. He has been published on flash fiction site www.101words.org (find his stories here) as well as comedy site www.thecorrectness.com.
Marc lives in Calgary, Alberta. He is a husband and proud father of two. He is an avid outdoors-man, martial artist, baseball player, and lover of all Mexican foods. He can be found at online www.marcwatson.ca, as well as on Facebook and on twitter at @writewatson
We are proud to announce that Marc Watson has entrusted us with publishing his debut novel Death Dresses Poorly! The tentative release is December, 2017. We at Fluky Fiction are humbled to give this black comedy a home.
Want to learn more about Marc? Check out this interview . Bonus: it includes an excerpt from his fantasy novel Catching Hell, Prt. 1 which will be released March 2018 by Double Dragon Publishing.