Short Story: Dejavu – Part Four

Everyday more people arrived to James’s door, the word of what had happened in the apartment spreading across town in the few weeks. They wanted to see him: the man who could tell when people would die. They wanted to know if he could see other things, like affairs, lies, or the future. James tried to shake them away, tried to get them to leave, but they wouldn’t go, but on one condition. They would only leave if they got to see him perform his gifts.

So, that became his daily mission. He’d pick five random people out of the crowd which filled the hallway to the brim. His neighbors always watched from their opened apartment doors.

“My daughter, what is her name?” The woman asked James, her eyes squinted in suspicion.
“Jackie,” James said after a few moments.
The woman gasped in shock, the crowd murmured that he had guessed right again. He had guessed right every time in the last two weeks.
“Did she steal from me? Did she take the wedding ring her dead daddy gave me and pawn it off for drugs?”

James’s mind opened further to a vision of a young woman, with the same flaxen hair and brown eyes as the woman sitting before him. Her slim, shaking fingers gently opened the dresser drawer in front of her in the dark bedroom. She pulled out a key. The young woman’s addled body shook so much from dope sickness she actually dropped the key in the bedroom and spent a good five minutes fumbling around, asking herself whether this was a sign from God to get her “shit together”. She found the key under the bed, buried in a dust bunny. The key to her mother’s jewelry case.

“Yes,” James said, his hands covering his eyes as a headache radiated in his brain. She was only the first person this day, would he be able to continue with his head pounding again?

Never before had he used his gifts so frequently. The woman, shaking her head in disbelief and anger, left a few loose bills on the table in front of the occult man. The rest of the crowd parted for her to exit, and waited with baited breath for him to call his next contestant.

“That’s it for today, I can’t do this any longer,” James said, unable to move his hands from his eyes. His headache had become the strongest migraine he had experienced in a long time; it brought him to his knees, sent his head to the linoleum.

Some people cried out as they left, unable to stand the sight of what they were doing to him. “We have to go, he’s not feeling well! He can’t keep doing this to himself!”

Others spit fury into the air.
“I’ve waited here for days! Missed days of work to find out when I’m going to die!”
“He’s going to fucking tell me, I’M NOT LEAVING THIS HALL UNTIL HE TELLS US!”
The crowd roared with anger, pushed themselves all at once to his doorway. They had become creatures to James, all squirming and fighting one another to enter his apartment.

Their shouts drove the nail in his head even deeper, and he began to cry, to beg them to stop and leave him alone. They heard nothing of it, the shouts of their rage against one another overshadowed his anguish, and finally James could not take it longer. He lifted himself upon his knees and screamed with all his might.

James expected the people to just gawk at him, he had no real faith that they would leave him and go off to their own lives. What James didn’t expect was for his front door to slam shut on its own, crushing against the people trying to enter his home. The darkness and silence finally set in, as James collapsed to an unconscious heap on the floor.

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