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Jeremy abruptly awoke to his alarm breaking through his deep slumber with its consistent piercing noise. He slowly rubbed his eyes, squinting, as he tried to build up the motivation to walk across his room to shut off the alarm. After about 10 seconds, he slowly turned his body to the floor, and droopily ascended off of his now overly comfortable bed. He briefly walked over to his mirror, noticing his messy hair, disregarded it and stumbled to the alarm, turning it off with a loud slap. Letting out a powerful yawn, he dragged along downstairs for some breakfast.
Flipping on the kitchen light switch, he walked to the pantry to see what cereal he had. Opening the door, he lowered his eyebrows in disbelief. The pantry was empty, with no trace of any object, not even crumbs. His first reaction to this is that someone ought to be tricking him, his dad or older brother. Shaking his head, he then walked to the refrigerator to see if there was any food in there. Again, he saw absolutely nothing. Now he thought he had to be dreaming. There’s no reason for all this food he knew existed yesterday to be gone without any trace.
He pinched his arm and squeezed his eyes tight in hope of waking up, but it led to no avail. Still he stood in his kitchen, dead silence. Baffled, he paced to the front of his parent’s room and knocked on their door.
He whispered loudly, “Mom, Dad?” No response. He knocked harder this time, gradually becoming nervous.
“Mom, Dad? Wake up!” he spoke loudly. Again, no response. He tried opening the door, but it was locked. He stood there silently, thinking about where the door key would be, since he never really had a need for it.
That’s when he noticed something. He had no recollection of anything before he woke up, other than the fact that he had parents and an older brother, and a crazy dream that he could barely remember. He ran to the kitchen pulling out and searching through all the drawers and cabinets looking for the key. All the drawers were empty, as well as the cabinets. He couldn’t find the key. His feeling of worry was overcoming him, and he entered a frantic stage. Blood rushed to his face, and his breath was now short and quick, as tears started to fill his eyes. Then out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a key on the very edge of his kitchen table, with a small note attached to it. He quickly walked forward and read the note.
“Your Parent’s Room” it had printed in a generic Times New Roman font.
He just stood there, eyes locked on that text, contemplating how unusual all this was, which only escalated his uneasy emotions. With a deep breath trying to calm down, he took the key and paced back to his parent’s room’s door.
He fit the key into the lock, turned it clockwise, and the door eerily opened all by itself. Darkness engulfed the room in front of him, with the only light coming from the dim shine of the moon, passing through the only window in the room.
With his heart racing, Jeremy mumbled, “Mom...Dad?” as he stood silent in the room, yearning for a reply. As he expected, he heard no response. With another deep breath, he moved his finger to the light switch next to the door. He wasn’t sure whether or not he wanted to see what was hiding in the black nothingness in front of him, but he had to. Squeezing the light switch between his fingertips, he forcefully closed his eyes, and slowly turned the light switch on.
He put his head down immediately as the light brought vision to the room, scared of what he would have saw if he was staring directly forward. Then he slowly brought his head up, and what he saw only made his situation even stranger. His parent’s king sized bed was perfectly made, as if it was newly bought, but a large note sat on the comforter.
“Another note..”, he muttered under his breath to himself, staring directly at the uncanny note. He then walked closer to the note, to see what was printed on it this time. The note was again in normal Times New Roman font. It read, “You said you could make it. How are you doing so far?”. His eyes wetted up again, and his face became warm. He didn’t understand what the note really meant. What did it mean when it said he could make it? He had no clue at all. He just stood there in the provocative silence of the room.
He had to leave he thought to himself. He had to get out of there and find the nearest help he could find. He bolted to the laundry room to get his shoes, and surprisingly, they were there. An old pair of size 10 grey van’s he’s had since eighth grade.
While tying the laces, he heard a faint footstep behind him, and he instantly froze with chills aggressively running through his body. He heard another step, this time louder. And another, and another, as if they were coming closer to him. The footsteps then stopped and he heard a low exhale through the nose, like that of a grown man.
“Jeremy.”, a voice said, in a somewhat worried tone. The voice was unfamiliar, and sounded old. Jeremy was still in shock, his body shaking, and on the verge of sweating.
“Jeremy this is important, look at me.”, the voice said yet again, growing impatient. It took Jeremy roughly ten seconds to built up the strength to turn and look at whoever this man was. He stood up straight, and slowly turned around.
Before him stood what seemed to be a man in his fifties, in ragged clothes, dirty ripped jeans and no sense of hygiene.
“Who are you and why are you in my house?” Jeremy forced out nervously.
The man ignored him and said, “Ruthless boy you are, or were I should say.” The man put his head down with his hands behind his back, pacing back and forth slowly, scanning the house with his eyes.
“Excuse me?” said Jeremy, confused.
“What exactly do you remember before you woke up? Give me details.” asked the man.
Jeremy was perplexed, not knowing if he should be talking to this man or not. “Umm...I can’t really say much. I guess the only thing I can really think of was seeing a white light, and having a wild dream that I can barely remember, but I knew I had. Then I woke up in my room, as always, and my parents and older brother are gone. So I’m trying to find out what exactly happened.”
The man nodded his head in satisfaction and asked another question, “How do you feel about your parents?”
An odd question to say the least, but Jeremy stood there thinking deeply. He couldn’t remember. “I uhh, don’t really know actually. It seems like my memory has been drained or something.”
The man then showed a picture of Jeremy’s parents to him, and Jeremy froze. “Those are my parents! How did you-”, he was cut off with the man tearing the picture in half, and then fourths, and then until there were tiny little pieces covering the floor beneath his feet.
“They are no more.” The man snapped. He then pulled a leather bound book out of his jacket. Jeremy, wide eyed, stood still, completely shocked. “That’s my-”
“Journal.” the man cut him off yet again, beginning to sound angry. “You use to write in here all the time, saying how much you hated your parents, how they’d never let you do the stuff you wanted, how they were so strict and over reactive. Then you said you wanted to leave them forever and that you could make it out absolutely fine. You said you don’t need their help in any way.”
“...”, Jeremy was silent. The man then said, “Let me show you something.” With really no other choice, Jeremy followed him.
The man stopped in front of the bathroom, the door closed, and motioned Jeremy to open the door. He slowly walked forward and was about to turn the handle but heard sobbing. He turned and looked at the man, worried. The man just nodded. Jeremy then looked back to the door and turned the handle and swung it open. There he sat. Jeremy himself in the corner of the bathroom hunched up on the floor grabbing his knees with pills spilled all around him, softly crying.
“That’s me..” Jeremy said, amazed. “He can’t hear you, or see you. Go take a closer look.” said the man. Jeremy nodded and walked closer, to find out that he had cuts all over his arms. Shocked, he looked back at the man. The man pulled up his sleeves, only to reveal that the scars on his arms were exactly the same.
Realization exploded in Jeremy’s mind. “You’re me?” asked Jeremy to the man.
The man just nodded, and then disappeared. He was now left alone with himself in the bathroom. He sat there, silent, contemplating everything at the moment, trying to accept that this would be reality if he decided he never wanted help from his parents again. The other Jeremy in the room continued to be in a curled up ball, sobbing.
“I can’t do this.” Jeremy muttered to himself. He took a handful of the spilled pills on the ground, stared at them, and then without hesitation put them all in his mouth, and painfully swallowed.
A voice was heard, as if it was coming from a PA system. “Alright that should do it.”
Whiteness engulfed the room, as well as a loud screeching noise, like the noise of ringing in an ear. It grew louder and louder, until everything abruptly silenced and Jeremy’s vision when black.
Jeremy woke up violently, his eyes snapped wide open, harshly gasping for air on a hospital bed.
“Relax for a bit.” he heard a voice said. He then felt a sharp sting in his arm. He turned and saw a doctor pulling an IV needle out of his arm while another pressed a bandage onto the small hole left from the needle. Still frantically confused and panicked, he turned his head quickly around the room, scanning everything. He saw numerous doctors moving all around the room, typing, writing, and grabbing utensils.
“Where am I? I was just in my house.” Jeremy said. None of the doctors replied to him, they just went on with their business. He then faintly heard behind the door to the room someone saying, “Alright you two can come in now.”
The door slowly opened up, Jeremy couldn’t believe it.
“Did you make it?” said Jeremy’s mom, with his dad behind her.