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The Astral

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The Astral

“The distance from the earth to the moon is irrelevant. What truly matters is that one can see the moon.”

Randall Krekelberg

My high-heeled black boots snapped loudly through the dark, deserted underground car park.  I had arrived at work at approximately nine in the morning.  It was now just past 6 pm, I had to get some time off, and that would be easier if I didn’t love what I do.  Strands of my long brown hair blew violently against my cheek.  I fumbled through my cluttered purse for my keys, surprised by the fear that built on not being able to see.  A whisper flowed from the surrounding walls.  Soft but definitely audible… My hand flew to my mouth as a figure silently emerged holding a thick black-leather book, it turned to face me but I couldn’t see as the darkness engulfed its entire identity, and then, like a wisp of fog, the figure sank back into the dark corner.

With a deep breath I pulled the keys from the bag and frantically pressed the unlock button, grabbing the handle as familiar clicks sounded.  I started the engine and pulled onto the empty street.  Who the hell was that...?  I took another deep breath before deciding it wasn’t worth worrying over, it hadn’t been my first encounter with a weirdo.  I took a left, entering the comfort of a highway, and thankfully pressed my foot against the accelerator.  
The lights of the Bookham Bridge had finally begun to brighten the road as I approached.  I slid a c.d. from an open case and went to put it into the player.  A scream broke free as Evanescence’s “Bleed” echoed hauntingly through the car.  I dropped the disk to the floor and tried to turn the music off.  I went to pull onto the side of the footpath, with the ghostly music still blaring.  Suddenly lifting my head, I caught sight of a man on the side of the bridge.

His limp body slumped heavily on the huge base of the bridge’s arch.  I stopped directly beside the man; his eyes held a despair that seemed to make everything else disappear.  He was middle aged, physically fit, and had short brown curls that flowed across his forehead.  However, it was his eyes that captured my attention, deep green and overcome with immense sorrow.  I felt myself hypnotized; it was as if I was drowning in his distant gaze.  I knew it was rude to stare but I felt somehow connected to him, it was like déjà vu, I knew there was something I had to do for him.  My breath caught as his eyes were suddenly fixed on mine, it was as if he could see though my very being, sort of inspecting my soul.  I knew it was a bad idea to confront a stranger but for some reason I had to know if he was alright.

I fumbled the car door handle hesitantly, finally pulling it out and pushing.  The wind was blowing chaotically and the chill from the water below made me stifle a shudder.

“Are you ok?” I called in embarrassment, what was I doing?

“I’m fine… just needed some air…”

Yeah, I thought sarcastically, and a bridge is the best place to do it.  “Look… I know this may sound a little straightforward and absurd… but I’m just headed toward the Colver Inn, you know just south of here…” and now I was just asking for trouble, “… I could give you a lift… If you want.”

He winced as if I had offended him.  “Thanks for the offer… I am fine. I just needed some air as I said. I really don’t want to waste any more of your time but thanks again for your concern.”

I lowered my head in defeat “alright… Look I’m sorry if I seemed to be prying.”

“Not at all.”  His tone contradicted his perfectly mimicked smile.

“Ok… Goodbye.”

Shaking my head in embarrassment, I turned on my heels and headed back towards my car.
 A bizarre feeling suddenly hit me; panic and pure fear tuned my breath into a sore lump in my throat as I pulled opened the door.  My head whipped back toward the man, who now lent over the rails.  He was going to jump!  Without a second to think, I ran as fast as I could toward the man.  “Hey!” I screamed in desperation, he turned with a terrified expression.  I caught the hood of his jumper in mid-air and threw him to the ground.  A short-lived relieved sigh escaped as I held my shaking knees.  My mouth hung as I realized his body had landed into the oncoming traffic.

Everything seemed to move in slow motion, the headlights blinding my logic, my breath nothing but a horrified whimper.  I  whipped back to the man; there was an alarming malevolence to his newly acquired smile.  “You will kill him Rayjah… and it is you that will perish.”  A new fear surged through my pulse as he leapt into the coming vehicle transforming into a soft dew-like form, then evaporating.

The sound of metal grinding across metal and screeching rubber had captivated my senses.  All I knew now was that I was falling and a bizarre feeling of peace and beauty was present.  The sky was the most gorgeous I had ever seen it, a glowing sliver ball wrapped into a glittering purple sky.  The screams were audible but not important; I could see the ground approaching closer – then darkness.

 

Written by Randall Krekelberg, 2010.