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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Short Story: Dejavu – Part Three

Hello! I hope you are enjoying this short story, and if you are please leave a like! I will be publishing more periodic short stories once this one is completed, eventually turning them into compilations.

The knocking on James Sanderson’s door was heavy and quick, and made him dart out of his bed to grab a baseball bat before approaching the door. He looked out of the peephole. A man he had never seen before was shaking and stammering on the other side of the door, choking back tears and sobs. A folder of papers was grasped tightly in his left hand.

“Come out here now! I need to talk to you about her! Answer this door right now!”

“Who are you?!” James yelled, holding the bat intensely as he peered through the small window.

“My name is Brian!” The man howled. “My wife… Bethany Myers. She’s dead!”

Brian heard the small clicks and grinds of multiple locks being undone, and finally he saw the man whom his wife had told him about. He saw James’s half face leer through the door gap, a security chain keeping the door from opening further. The dark apartment behind James seemed to engulf the man; the windows were all taped over with papers, no light was permitted to enter the man’s home.

“I’m sorry,” James said.

“You knew! We were crossing the street after the show we had tickets for, she looked down at something shining on the ground. A car ran a red light, sent her body flying.” Brian convulsed into sobs again, losing his composure as he relived the moment in his mind.

James felt that memory ripple through the man, felt the heavy sorrow of grief wash over him. James shook his head violently, covering his eyes with his hands. The bat fell, smacking against the hard linoleum flooring. “I only see it, I can’t do anything!”

Brian’s face twisted in anguish and pain. “She’s gone! She’s gone and you saw it! How?! HOW?!” The incomprehensible truth, he cried in the apartment hallway with no shame, his anguished howls echoed through the hall.

The sounds of doors opening, neighbors peeping. James’s anxiety flooded into a panic.

“You knew she was going to die! You saw it! YOU SAW IT!” Brian was a sobbing heap on the floor, his hands crumpling the notes written just the day before.

“I’m sorry, sir, goodbye!” James’s voice was soft and stunned. He looked above the man to see his neighbors gathering around, looking in at him. James slammed the door shut, his heart racing. He heard the man sob at his door for another fifteen minutes before he finally left, his footsteps heavy. James’s thin frame fell back on to his bed, his eyes filled with tears.

Another fortune told with no way of changing the future.

Short Story: Dejavu – Part One

This is the first episode of a short story that will be posted every ***week starting from when I came back, sorry guys! Catch this every Wednesday, my goal is pump out some periodic short stories going forward!

“So, tell me what you’re feeling,” the woman said, a pair of cat eye spectacles across the strong bridge of her nose, a warm smile across her lips. The man sitting across from her shifted uncomfortably, his legs crossed, his foot shaking in an anxious rhythm. He had been sitting in total silence in her office for approximately ten minutes, mulling over his choice of words carefully, withstanding her gentle prodding.

“I-” he started, stopping, for a moment. His eyes looking down at the carpeted floor of the psychiatry office, scanning as his brain searched for words that escaped him in effort to explain circumstances and inner turmoil which he felt escaped every other person around him. The pause sank with a palpable weight into the room, wedging between the luxury furniture which both sat, blaring the deafening silence.

“Please,” she interrupted, “don’t be afraid, I’m not here to judge you, I’m here to listen and help.”

He swallowed, reached a hand out to the complimentary bottle of water and took a drink. He grappled with the question, mulled over whether he wanted to rehash the same generic information about his childhood and family life, but felt more compelled to just cut to the point. “I feel I suffer from something that you’ve… that maybe no one has ever tried to help someone with.”

“It’s very easy to feel that way,” she said, nodding, “but believe me, people are very empathetic, and we all share experiences which can help us understand the feelings of others.”

The man gave a harsh, breathy snark, shook his head, burying his eyes into his palms. The psychiatrist observed, and reconsidered her strategy.

“Really,” she said, a light, prodding tease in her tone, feeding off of his sarcastic energy. “Try me, I’ve heard a lot of things from a lot of people, I’ve been in this practice for over a decade, I assure you, whatever you tell me, I’ll have heard the same, or something very similar, before in a different person, with a different life, and a different voice.”

He gave a more sincere laugh, chipped off a corner of his proverbial wall, and tossed her a few pebbles. “Fine,” he said, a heavy exhale deflated his chest, he leaned forward again, but only to push his face closer to hers, to gain a deeper sense of intimacy for the confession he was to bare. “You ever get dejavu, doctor?”

She thought for a moment, analyzed where this might be going and thought back to his diagnosis, a high functioning, highly intelligent, cripplingly anxious man with obsessive compulsive tendencies. “I think so,” she began. “I’ve felt the strange feeling of living a memory, seeing an object or scene, normally while simultaneously hearing a noise or word, and even though it was an innocuous, even meaningless moment of time, the strange sensation of this has happened before sets in?”

“More than that,” he said, looking away, the shake in his foot returning, his face falling into a pang of disappointment.

“What do you mean? What’s more than that?”

“I know it’s not always me, myself, when I see these things.”

“It’s not you? Like, you’re someone else sometimes?”

“Exactly, like I can see through someone else’s eyes, I can experience what they will soon.”

The woman narrowed her eyes slightly, but caught herself from her moment of judgmental skepticism, and returned to a more stoic, yet warm expression. “When did this start? You said that you’ve always had difficulty managing jobs, have these premonitions been to blame?”

“Yes, every time,” the man said. “I had experienced them randomly as a child, but as I got older, grew up, they began to bombard me, tear down any opportunity which came my way. Grappling with them and the anxiety they cause, is ultimately what cost me my job.”

“Tell me about the ones you’d experience as a child.”

“I would see my dad cutting the grass in the outfit he was going to wear the next day, I would see my mom drop stuff, my brother break things, before they happened. Sometimes weeks before they happened. The bowl, the utensil, the way the pancake batter whips and splatters across the floor, all of it I saw before it happened. As I got older though, I saw more, like the affairs between our neighbors, the affair my mother eventually had with her coworker.”

“When do you have these… visions?”

“They only used to come at night, but as I grew up they began to come at any and all times. Anytime I’m alone, if I’m sleeping, I’ll definitely get visions. If people are around me, I can’t really see them, the visions, that is, but if I’m alone, if I allow myself to wander around inside my mind, they come to me.”

“What are they like? Are they like dreams or–”

“Yes, when I’m dreaming they’re like dreams, and when I’m awake and I receive one it is like a daydream, a movie playing in my mind’s eye. Not a movie though, not my imagination, far too many times what I’ve seen has come true. They always come true.”

“Well, surely they don’t all come true…” the woman said, read his expression of mild annoyance at the assertion, and continued. “When you said these visions cost you your jobs, can you tell me more about that?”

A sardonic laugh fell from the man again, he shook his head and gripped his hands angrily. “It got to the point that I couldn’t concentrate, I would try to work but all I could think of were the dreams I had the night before, and any new visions I would get throughout the day. Being around those people all the time, being around anybody for a long period of time… I start to see everything about them. I’d come home and it was like my brain was downloading everything it could about them. Random images, words, voices, sounds, kids laughing, dogs barking, other times kids crying, glass breaking, parents screaming.”

“Everything about them?” The psychiatrist asked, a skeptical look on her face.

“Probably not everything,” the man said, a soft shrug lifting his shoulders, “but I see a lot. I see them playing with their kids, having dinner with their families, drinking after work, but other things too, like cheating on their spouses, drug use by people you’d never expect. Eventually I knew so much about everyone around me, all the interpersonal relationships, I couldn’t work there any longer. At that point it’s impossible for me to concentrate on anything, it’s just so much information coming through to me.”

The woman, finishing jotting her synopsis of his words, underlined: delusions of grandeur and obsessive attention on others around him. Circled her last entry: possible schizophrenia. When she pulled her gaze back to the man his face was frozen in a shock, the color drained, his bottom lip quivering, his eyes glazed over in a trance. Finally, he tore his eyes back from whatever vision he saw, and met hers with bleak terror.

“You…” he murmured.

The woman felt a shock of fear from the man’s gaze, a hard swallow audible from her throat. “James…”

“I saw…”

“James. It’s okay. Just–”

His face contorted in anguish, his hands fell into his hands. “Why, why, why did I think this was a good idea, why did I come to anyone?! Anyone?!

The woman leaned forward to him with apprehension, she watched his every minute movement as the words parted her lips.

“Please, it’s okay James, I’m here to help you, remember, you can tell me anything.”

The man struggled, shifting himself back and forth, back and forth on the chair, almost writhing in pain from the sight that flashed in his mind’s eye.

“I saw you… I saw you get hit by a car. Leaning down, looking at a key on the ground.” Tears broke from his eyes, his body shook from the intensity of the vision. He ripped himself from the chair, and before she could stop him he ran out the door, his feet patting against the floor as he descended through the office.