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Guilty Conscience

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Author's note: The names of the people involved have been changed to protect their identities.

I saw that he didn’t seem like himself today. He was usually very energetic and outgoing, even a little hot-headed, but this time he just stood by the pavilion, staring blankly into nothing.

It was a little past noon that day and due to it being our finals week, our block managed to finish passing all our required plates ahead of time. Our usual dismissal was six but since there isn’t anything left to do, our professor just dismissed us early so she can grade our works without worrying too much about the noise. It was when I saw Tyler. He was sitting on the pavilion benches, staring off into the highway which was visible from our university. When he saw me, he immediately approached me.

“Hey Saya, can I talk to you in private? We can talk at the far side of the cafeteria.” His words surprised me. We don’t really get along well and to top it off, he was outside the Fine Arts building I am enrolled at while he was an engineering student. Nevertheless, I accepted.

We sat down on the far side of the cafeteria. The sweat on his forehead and the way his eyes darted around makes it pretty obvious that he felt anxious. Even from the cafeteria, we could see the highway. An ambulance passed us by and there Tyler suddenly looked more uneasy, fidgeting with the utensils and all. I calmed down and that’s when he told me his story.

He was driving down the highway, a little tipsy from a party he had attended. Their finals week finished a little earlier than ours and they thought off celebrating in a well known resort a few miles from our school. It was already 2:30 in the morning and according to him, he was running on I guess, 75-80mph? He doesn’t remember the exact details but he was sure that he was going fast that time considering that there are hardly any vehicles that time of the day. A few more minutes of driving, after he had turned to a narrower lane, he started feeling drowsy. He remembered closing his eyes and heard a loud thud come from his hood. He stopped, feeling a little more sober now. He alighted from the car and checked.

To his horror, he accidentally hit an old man who was crossing the street that time. He wondered what an old man would be doing out on the streets during that time of the night but judging from his clothes, he was probably one of those homeless people, looking for a comfortable alley to spend the night. Not wanting to get caught, he just left the old man there and sped off.

I asked why he told me this story. We’re not best friends or anything, in fact, we usually get on each others' nerves most of the time. But we did belong to the same circle and according to him, I was the only one he knew wouldn’t have the guts to tell the cops. He said that he had to get it off his chest somehow and even asked me for advice.

“Just don’t drive down that area and if you find yourself drunk again, then don’t even bother driving.” I simply shrugged him off and went on my way. At home, I felt bothered. Tyler obviously did something wrong but should I report it to the authorities? I fell asleep, debating on what I should do.

Next morning, I woke up and browsed my Facebook account. There on my notifications was a post from him, insulting me again, posted a day before his hit-and-run. I kind of got annoyed that time so I dialed the police station to report what he has done.

“Hello. I want to report an incident on this lane.” I gave the woman on the phone the name of the place. She told me that if it was about the car crash, there was already a team dispatched there. The lane that Tyler was talking about was an alternate route that I take on my way to school so I went to check things out.

When I arrived there, I saw that the person who crashed was Tyler, the medics taking out his body from his car which had crashed unto a concrete barrier. He was bleeding from a head wound but he was still alive albeit, in a critical condition. I didn’t accompany him to the hospital that day.

I went to visit him the next morning though, since it was a Saturday. In his room, he told me what happened. He said that he kind of got ticked of when he approached me regarding his predicament. The manner I spoke to him got on his nerves so he didn’t follow what I said. He admitted that he drank some alcohol that day and drove again. He even took the same lane, ignoring my warning. But this time, he drove much more slowly and with his lights set to maximum. When he reached the spot where he hit the old man, he saw the same guy again, crossing the street. He passed the old man slowly, sweating while he maneuvered his car to avoid the guy. That moment seemed like hours to him. When he had finally passed without repeating the accident, he felt a little relieved and looked at himself in the rear view mirror. To his shock, he saw the old man there on the back seat mouthing the words: “Why did you kill me?” He screamed out loud while his foot pressed harder on the pedal until his car hit the concrete barrier.

He finished his tale afterwards. He apologized to me and said that he had already admitted everything to the cops afterwards. He mentioned that he hasn’t really thanked me for hearing him out that time. I asked him why he was being so dramatic and he told me that he probably wouldn’t last in this place. We bade our goodbyes after that.

Tyler died two days after his accident due to internal bleeding. After his wake, I walked to that part of the lane where he supposedly hit the old man. In broad daylight though. I saw the traces of blood on the road and wondered: The ghost that Tyler saw when he had the accident that took his life; was it really real? Or was it only a delusion brought about by a guilty conscience?



Written by MonochromeSaya96
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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