“When in doubt, lie.”Klingon Proverb
Sean Diaz was invariably into himself and his line of work. He was living with his parents back in California. Sean was nimble-witted, long legged and wore thick specs, he was well liked and was known to be dexterous. People revealed his company. However, over time Sean became quiet and alert to go around with other people, in short, disassociated from his easygoing social life he had back in California.
Sean not long ago relocated to Seattle, Washington to search for his métier prospects. While he was settling at the new place, Sean rejoiced in driving to Carkeek Park, a secluded beach for fine walking trails where dogs weren’t permitted & a great place to traverse and search for mushrooms. The Park was the only place Sean dropped by singly and for some nous, discerned tranquility and sangfroid in seclusion.
However, Sean took a pause for some time from visiting the beach due to the busy working months. The pause became long- drawn-out & made him on tenterhooks, stray and feeble. On one of the days, Sean took a sudden day off and he immediately got into his car and planned to drive all the way to the beach. Sean started the engine & his journey. He was driving with full attentiveness, the road was straight and a white line ran down the center. Sean, who was yearning to reach the Park , watched closely towards the horizon but was savvy, it was horizonless. He had mindfulness towards the clear road and signposts for a good time till he stared into space. Suddenly the road, destination and present faded and his mind slithered into the sombre memories of an agonizing and dreadful past.
He had the vibrant memory of a man standing next to him. The man appeared to be tall, heavily built and wore black clothes top to toe. His face was well sculpted, his skin looked like a mask made of wax that would have melted if exposed to sunlight. The man had pockmarks on his neck which he didn’t hesitate to carry openly. He had long curly hair which looked shabby, and had beady eyes. Sean felt suffocated and had the reveries of sleeplessness and night terrors he used to have. As he was getting wrapped in his thoughts, he started to drive dangerously fast. His mind fluctuated and later he paid attention to the road and evenly recognised that he was driving fast. He kept a tight rein on himself by turning on some lite jazz on car radio and drank carbonated water. After guzzling water slowly, he looked down to put the lid of the bottle while the other hand was on the wheel. After which he looked briefly at the road and saw the sight of the same man on the side of the road. The man was standing steadily and looking straight at Sean who passed him while driving the car.
Baffled by what he saw, Sean lost the balance of the car and tried to take control and with a lot of struggle he did grasp the nettle and succeeded. Sean didn’t stop the car to see if what he saw was real or not. It was his fear that made him do so. Vexed and appalled by what he stumbled on or thought to see, he tried to restore his consciousness and assured himself in a low voice “ you do not go missing again.”
After the stormy drive, Sean finally reached the beach park and sensed a kind of jittery and kept questioning “ How can he be here ? Did I form a picture of it or was it true after all?” While he was reflecting, he walked towards the beach. While he strolled a bit, he got a text from Dr. Steven who is a known psychiatrist from Oakland. He specified a change in his medication and wished Sean to take care & to meet him soon. Sean took a pause and sat on the bench in the park. The sky was like slate and the icy wind was blowing straight into Sean’s face. As he laid his eyes on the view, his mind swiftly drifted into his past memories again.
Sean traveled back in time and recalled that image of himself as a person who was thriving, blithesome, de rigueur among the people. Back then, Sean was childlike, oblivious of what was coming for him. He remembered a peculiar morning. Sean was getting ready for the office, it was biting and murky, he was standing on the side street. While checking his phone he got interrupted by the cold that had seemed mild at first, now numbed his face and extremities. He turned behind and saw the opposite street where an entity was already staring at him. He felt edgy and looked around. Sean glanced again at that man only to his surprise, he saw the strange man near to him than he was earlier. Sean for a second, analyzed him from head to toe. The strange man without hesitation looked directly into Sean’s eyes almost making Sean assume him to be a fearsome and creepy man. Sean ignored and went away. He thought this to be one unmemorable encounter, little did he know that this wasn’t for once. Sean saw that man again at the streets of his office from the window, staring at him. Though Sean was skeptical whether it was the same man, the doubt didn’t last for long. The other day, Sean was with his friend, Charles. They both met in university and had the same group of friends. They were at the supermarket during the evening hours, when Sean again saw that gnarly man, this time he was in closer proximity than before. Sean panicked by the presence of that man and asked Charles to leave the supermarket immediately, giving Charles no reasons for his sudden change in plans even after continuous questioning by Charles.
Sean for days became wary and had an unresolved feeling of what he saw the past few days. He encountered a dilemma of leaving his house. But his fear got balanced out by continuous questioning of the legitimacy of his fear.
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Nitisha Bhardwaj is a writer, speaker, and researcher. She has an affinity for International Aviation and Corporate Law. She is a creative thinker and seeks for balance