He wakes up in a nondescript hotel room, the kind you’ll find, cheap, near any major interstate. He doesn’t know where he is. The last thing he remembers is leaving work Friday afternoon, ready to unwind with some laps at the pool.
Bruises bracelet his wrists; there are tears in his jeans. His wallet, with its twenty dollars, is still in his pocket, along with a jingling array of change. His face, in the mirror, shows weeks worth of beard growth.
Taking a breath, he opens the hotel door. The sun spills pale and bright over the trees, the hoods of cars. The air is full of the odor of fall, crisp air, moldering leaves, woodsmoke. His skin prickles with gooseflesh and something sour and hot stirs in his stomach.
There’s a newspaper rack just down the way. He buys one. The date is September 23.
That sour-hot feeling crawls up the back of his throat.
He’s lost three months.
Where did they go?
He wasn’t aware of the woman sitting across the street at the cafe, a book lay in front of her and her head tilted as if reading but her eyes watching him through her dark glasses instead. No smirk adorned her pale lips which, instead, were twisted in slight confusion.
Why is he just standing there?
The man was still staring at the newspaper in his hands, though it was wrinkled now from the clenched fists and threatening to rip down the middle. With a harsh look on his face, he closed the newspaper, managing to finally rip it, though not completely through. He folded it again and tucked it under his arm. With his other hand, shaking though it was, he tried to comb through his hair. It didn’t help make him look less shaken, but it seemed to make him feel better, because he straightened his back and began walking purposefully down the road.
The woman watched him, carefully turning a page and once he was out of side actually looking down at the print in front of her.
A smile graced her lips, one that spoke of nothing but ill for the one it was for.
This is going to be far entertaining than I initially thought.
The first part is the prompt from Chaotically Yours, a prompt that I have only been able to take part in once before. I like these prompts, but they only come during the first Wednesday of each month and I am very forgetful at times. The middle part is my response to the prompt. I hope it was enjoyable.