Chapter 28

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The only thing that saved Alex from driving his car straight into the lake was that he felt the headache coming on. It had been a few weeks since he had had an episode, and he had truly hoped that they were over. When he left the school and drove home, his head only had a dull throb from where it had been smashed into the metal door of a locker so many times, but by the time he pulled onto the dirt road leading to his house, the dull throb was being replaced by a much sharper and more intense pain. Starting to panic, Alex pulled his car off the road before he even reached his driveway. He could see his house no more than a few hundred feet away, but he didn’t want to risk passing out and driving straight past it and into the lake.

Alex managed to get the car turned off and door open as his vision filled with a blinding white light and his head fill with an even more intense pain. Barely getting his seatbelt undone Alex rolled out of the car and fell onto the dirt road. The last thing he remembered before he passed out was losing his lunch in the middle of the road as he tried to crawl to his house, then trying to pull himself up to walk using a wooden split rail fence that ran along the driveway. Alex let out a scream he more felt than heard, and fell once again to the ground as the world around him went black.

….

Memories within a dream. To Alex it was like watching a movie, and yet being involved at the same time. Things were less dreamlike than the last time he passed out, they were almost, well, solid was the best way he could describe it compared to the liquid feel things gave off the last few times. The memories from his previous episodes came back to him in a flood of images and feelings, still, he feared somehow he would forget everything again soon after he woke. He didn’t know how he knew, he just knew.

 He could see a young man running through an autumn forest, dressed in a strange green uniform that brought feelings of both pride and fear. The clothes were dirty, torn, the man looked both exhausted and scared, his pale face a mask of sweat and mud, his eyes wide as he continuously looked over his shoulders as he ran. The man running couldn’t have been more than 18 or 19, with a similar height and build to Alex. The man’s slight build enabled him to easily move through the thick trees and shrubs, ducking low hanging branches and jumping thick knots of roots and underbrush.

There was a strange sense of things as Alex watched, he could see the man running, see the whites in his wild eyes as he looked back every now and then like death itself chased him. Yet, although he could see this person running as if alongside him, Alex could also feel the man’s movements, as if every pump of his legs and swerve of his body was not the man’s, but Alex’s own. Alex could feel the trees that brushed against him, feel the weight of his clothes, even the slap of the man’s right boot as the soul, half torn off, sucked into the mud of the forest floor, slapping back up as he ran. The warm breeze had a frosty edge to it, and golden color shining through the leaves did nothing to tame the dread that rose in Alex’s chest as he watched this deadly game play out in front of him.

The man was carrying a strange looking yet familiar rifle; it was very long, nearly as long as the man himself, and looked like nothing Alex had ever seen at the sand pit. The length of the gun made it difficult for the man to move when the forest finally closed in around him, getting caught on a mixture of branches and thick thorns, the man yelled out and nearly threw it to the ground. Alex watched the man’s struggle, felt the burning in the man’s arms as he switched the gun from hand to hand, his terror somehow intensifying beyond the almost unbelievable level it already was. With a quick pull, the man tore the gun free from a thick tangling of branches and thorns, not only snapping branches as he pulled but tearing the tree that held it half out of the ground.

The man turned suddenly, knowing that whatever it was that followed was now nearly on top of him. Alex felt a moment of panic when the man realized he could not get away, that his only options were to fight or die. The dizzying movements in front to Alex stopped as the man lifted his gun and took aim at whatever was pursuing him. The terror Alex felt instantly melted away to the familiar calm he felt when he shot his own gun in his own time at the sand pit. The same feelings of confident concentration swept over him as he watched the man look through a scope that was almost as long as the gun it was mounted on. Then, in the spit second before the runner pulled the trigger, things got stranger still.

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