Wednesday, May 15, 2019


“Each time I die, I wake up in the body of his next victim. Time is never on my side, and I am running out of lives.”


The squelch of his knife being ripped out of my chest is the last sound I hear in the body of a Mr. Edward T. Wright. I only managed to keep his body safe for four days – I thought I had been improving.
Getting better at avoiding him, at seeing him coming, at surviving, but the body before Mr. Wright had lasted longer. As Ms. Giselle I had managed to stay one step ahead of him for an entire week. 7 days, a new record for me. As the darkness of new death takes hold of Mr. Wright, I feel nothing but shame that my number of survival days has dropped and yet another innocent bystander has suffered.
My eyes open and I find myself staring up at the inside of a tent. This is a first, but not alarming. I take in my surroundings. I am alone, there is a duffel bag at the foot of my sleeping bag that the body I have just taken over had been sleeping in, there is also a lantern hanging above my head and I click the dial one notch to turn it on.
The dim light reveals what I had assumed. The tent is relatively small, made for no more than two people and it looks like whoever I am has made it their home.
I grab the duffel bag and quickly rummage through all the pockets. An extra pair of clothes, a flashlight, and some snacks; all of this gets put off to one side. Then I find something I hadn’t expected, a large hunting knife. It is sheathed, but I can tell it is well taken care of and could do a lot of damage if welded correctly.
For the first time in a long while I feel excitement. Finally I’ve found someone who can survive, but more than that I’ve found someone who can probably kill him.
I extinguish the light in my tent and slowly stick my head out of the zippered opening. The trees are dense, but I can manage to make out some lights off in the distance. I am close to some form of civilization and for that I am grateful.
My eyes instinctively squint trying to make out what the lights in the distance are a part of. They appear to be brighter than normal, a florescent type that one would see at a factory or warehouse. I’m still trying to piece together the mystery of the lights when the soft distant wail of sirens reach me.
“Police?” I say to myself as the flashing red and blue mixes with the bright florescent in the distance. I don’t feel the urge to run towards them, to scream for them to help me. I have done that all before and it cost me that life. Still, their presence has me wondering and then I hear it, the crunch of footsteps trying to approach me silently, but failing.
I fall back into the tent and zip it up. I quickly grab at the pile of items from the duffel bag and toss them carelessly back where I found them. I keep the knife.
In seconds I have crawled back into the sleeping bag, laying on my side and the silence returns. I strain my ears to listen for the sound of crunching again, but there is nothing, nothing but the shaking breaths leaving me.
Then ‘snap.’
Someone has stepped on a stick outside the tent, but it sounds like it is right next to my head. I still my body and hold my breath.
That gruff voice, the one I would know anywhere, the one that haunts me; he is here.
“Tosh? Are you awake? I killed him, I got him good.”
I wonder if I should respond, but I worry that whatever I say will give me away. There’s no time to worry about it as I hear the zipper of the tent. He’s inside.
I don’t move. I’m facing away from him and I feel him rustle something against my back. A few seconds pass and then the warmth of a human body spreads down my back side. He’s made himself comfortable next to this body I’m in, he means to fall asleep there too. I feel my body tense as a dark hairy arm flings itself across my chest.
His fingers fumble around until they find what they are looking for, an opening. He slides his hand into the top of my shirt and I swallow a scream as he cups me. I focus on my breathing, he has to think I’m asleep. My one hand grips the handle of the knife. This will probably be the best chance I get and I can’t mess it up.
I feel my way down the sheath to where knife is bucked. Ever so gently I maneuver my thumb and forefinger until I hear the faint unmistakable click of the buckle unlock. I hold my breath a moment longer hoping that he didn’t hear the click too.
Neither of us move and I let myself breath when his hand that is cupping me tightens its grip and spins me around to face him. I grimace at the jolt of pain, but let the momentum pull my hand that is wielding the knife. I continue the motion letting the blade sink nicely into his fleshy gut.
His eyes widen in shock as he looks at the person I am. A person I assume he trusted and then he doesn’t see that person anymore. He sees me and before he fully realizes what’s happening I use the strength of this body and push to get on top of him. I take the knife out and then plunge it back in multiple times until he stills.
I know I am covered in his blood, but in the darkness I can’t see it. I can feel it though and smell it too, the stench of iron clogs my nose. I climb off him and begin to pull out the extra pair of clothes from the duffel bag when a small notebook falls out of the folds.
I pick it up carefully and open it to the first page. There is writing, but it’s too dark to tell what it reads. I shine the flashlight on it and I feel my heart grow heavy.
Names, it’s a list of names. All the people I was and then I flip the page to see Mr. Edward T. Wright followed by Theresa. That must be who I am now and there are no names after hers.
I try to relax until slowly another name begins to appear. This isn’t over.

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