The Morning After the Night Before.

I know I said I was going to draw all these but this picture was perfect and I couldn’t do it justice with my useless clown fingers.

This is a continuation of one of my stories from last year which you can find here: FEAR IS MOSTLY IN YOUR HEAD. MOSTLY. 

‘Time is on my side, yes it is’

Jamie started awake to a blackness so deep that it took him several seconds to realise he had his eyes open. It pressed in on every side. He felt it crawling down his throat with each shallow, panicked breath. It was forcing out the air, smothering him, he was drowning in darkness.

‘Time is on my side, yes it is’

The sweet, soulful voice of Irma Thomas came again, a lifeline in the all-consuming black. Jaime struggled to sit up his head swivelling from side to side trying to locate the source of the music. He felt weak as a day-old kitten, his arms and legs heavy and his thoughts muddied and slow. The music was muffled like it was playing in the next room.

‘Now you all were saying that you want to be free’

Carefully Jamie reached out with his hands he felt rough cloth underneath him, damp in places, soft and springy to the touch; some kind of bed? He turned slowly to his right and dangled a leg off the side and felt the cold stone floor under his bare foot. After a few moments when he felt his strength begin to return Jamie got up off the bed and shuffled forward waving his hands around in front of him. After a few steps, he met a wall of undressed stone.

‘But you’ll come runnin’ back (I said you would baby)’

Jamie wasn’t sure if his hearing was getting sharper to make up for his lack of sight, but the music sounded closer. His breath came in short gasps, and it took all of his will to not let the claustrophobia overwhelm him as he felt his way to the left along the wall. After a few feet, Jamie found another wall, and he followed it until it vanished leaving him standing in an open doorway.

‘You’ll come runnin’ back (like I told you so many times before)’

The sound was coming from somewhere to his right. Jamie cautiously stepped out of the doorway and turned in that direction. As soon as he turned the corner, the smell hit him like a tidal wave of filth. It was the choking stench of death and shit overlaid with the burning chemical smell of bleach. Jamie wavered for a second. He really didn’t want to go into the room but what choice did he have? He needed to get out.

‘You’ll come runnin’ back to me, yeah’

After a long minute building his courage Jamie started forward one hand out in front waving from side to side, one arm bent masking his face in the crook of his arm. The oily darkness pressed in on all sides leaving a film of filth on every inch of him, but he pressed on regardless. Jamie was a dozen shuffling paces into the room when his shin crashed painfully into something hard. He tipped forwards reaching for his bruised shin, spots dancing before his eyes, but his hands stopped short pressing down on something soft, spongy and wet.

‘Time is on my side, yes it is’

It was a bed like the one he’d woken up on, all rough, cloth and protruding springs, only something was different there was something soft and wet. He ran his fingers over the bed trying to puzzle out what it was he was feeling. Soft but with an undercurrent of firmness, then something hard and metallic, a loop then… With a yell, he snatched his hand back like he’d thrust it into a fire the bile rising in his throat. Beneath the loop of steel was the cold, wet foot of a decomposing corpse.

‘Time is on my side, yes it is’

Jamie’ heart pounded, and he heard his blood rushing in his ears. He lowered himself to a crouch and feeling his way around the bed, careful not to touch its gory contents, he crept further into the room. He encountered three more beds but kept low and moved around them quickly. For the first time, he was glad of the darkness because judging by the smell those beds too were occupied. When his hands eventually hit upon the rough stone of the far wall he collapsed in a heap, curling up in a ball and sobbing like a child.

‘You’re searching for good times but just wait and see
You’ll come runnin’ back (I said you would darling)
You’ll come runnin back (spend the rest of life with ya baby)
You’ll come runnin’ back to me’

As the chorus wound down Jaime’s sobs became less frequent and wiping his face on his sleeve, he forced himself back to his feet. “You can do this Jamie,” he whispered into the darkness. “You got in here so there must be a way out. Just take it one step at a time, one step at a time.”

‘Go ahead baby, go ahead, go ahead and light up the town’

Jamie reached out and found the wall, he moved to his right his soft hands bloodied by a myriad of cuts from the rough stone. He came across no way out before he hit the corner of the room. With increasing urgency he retraced his steps moving back left using both hands now sliding up and down. “There has to be something there has to…” He stopped dead as his hand his something long and hard. Hope flared in his chest and he explored the anomaly with both hands it was tall and made of wood covered in flaking paint. It was his salvation, a way out of this hell-hole, a door. He tugged on the handle, but the door remained closed. It was locked.

‘And baby, do anything your heart desires’

Jamie tugged uselessly a the handle but it stubbornly refused to budge. He ran his hands over the door again hoping for a window or any way through but he found nothing. Frustrated Jamie took a step back then slammed his shoulder hard into the wood only to bounce back, clattering into the bed behind him which let out a deafening screech as the steel legs scratched across the stone floor.

‘Remember, I’ll always be around’

Jamie reached out to lever himself up using the frame of the bed but as he did the welding gave way and the pole hit the ground with a sharp crack. Jamie spun groping for the pole and when his hands closed on it he braced his feet against the side of the bed and pulled. The bed screeched like a stepped on cat and the pole came loose. Rod in hand Jamie leapt to his feet and jammed it into the frame of the door where it stuck with a crack of splintering wood. Leaning into the makeshift lever Jamie pushed with all his strength and with a groan of protest the door popped open, the lock snapping through the frame.

‘And I know, I know like I told you so many times before’

Jamie felt a rush of air from in front of him and tears of relief sprang into his eyes. He could hear the distant whoosh of traffic and the steady patter of rain on rooftops. He was free. On unsteady legs, he ran towards the sounds only to pull up short only a couple of steps out of the door. His vision flashed white and he was falling as he heard an almighty snap as the jagged teeth of the bear trap sank into his leg so deep they buried themselves in the bone.

‘You’re gonna come back’

Jamie flung his head back to scream but before any sound came out he felt a gloved hand clamp over his mouth and the sharp sting of the needle sliding into his neck.  “Where are you going Jamie?” came the familiar voice, a ghost brushing his cheek. “You’re time isn’t up.”

‘Yeah you’re going to come back baby’

Jamie slumped to the floor the darkness rushing into the hole left by the syringe, filling him, smothering his consciousness. “Why?” He managed to force out the question but the darkness swallowed him before he got an answer.

‘Knockin’, yeah knockin’ right on my door, yeah’

Jamie started awake to complete darkness. He felt familiar rough cloth underneath him, damp in places, soft and springy to the touch. He was back in his bed. He reached out to rub his eyes, but his hand stopped short. He felt the bite of the steel handcuff cutting into his wrist. He screamed, but his voice was smothered by the soulful voice of Irma Thomas.

‘Time, time, time is on my side, yes it is, I said’
Time, time, time is on my side, yes it is, I said
Time, time, time is on my side’


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