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Man’s Search For Meaning

“After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips.”

Within darkness there is light.

About the book: This book is about Dr. Viktor’s journey throughout the holocaust. It is divided into two parts, one which he speaks on himself and in that setting and the other is how one should find a purpose in life, to live a happy life. I am speechless. I have the utmost respect for this man, even though he is no longer with us today, he has left a piece of himself that would go on to motivate others. Rest in peace, Dr. Viktor.

My Interpretation: I started off thinking I would write a thorough review on this book, but by the end of it all, I’m in awe. (Seriously though, I’ve got detail notes, page numbers of specific quotes, and all.)

This isn’t a book that requires a review. Honestly, I’m no one to rate such a book. There’s no rating on someone’s journey.

This book is an experience. At first, I was hesitant to read it since it was a “memoir of a holocaust survivor”, (reading is my escape from this chaotic world and I’d rather not put myself in a headspace when 2020 has already been so negative.) but I’ve never been so happy to be wrong.

It took me a while to read this book since I was holding onto every word printed on the script. Just like how people keep saying “glass is half full”, Dr. Viktor proved that in real life. I can’t fathom the misery he went through and still latched onto hope. He lost everyone. His parents. Brother. Wife. Unborn child. And even then, he was hopeful. Kind. Understanding.


I haven’t even endured 0.000000001% of what he has, and I’m bitter. (Slightly exaggeration for effect but you get it.) Maybe this is time I change it around. To constantly remind myself that the world doesn’t revolve around me and my sadness. There’s more to the world than just me. Generosity is nice. Hope is nice. Whatever the world decides to throw at me, I’ll tackle it headfirst. Because I’m my own god damn savior. ✌

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

Featured

Washing Hands – My Battle with Germaphobia


Smooth palms purged,

Wept for help.

Each smidge of soap burnt like hell.


“One last time”

She cooed to them.

A lie to condemn.


Hands wrestled

Immersed into a waterfall.

Drowning.


“How many times more?”

Epidermis ruptured

A touch like sawdust


“I am sorry…

I can’t help it…

Can’t help it..”


Featured

When your life depend’s on other’s happiness.

Hello there, dear readers. I present another Writing Prompt to you. Feel free to read through and share your thoughts! I would VERY much appreciate that. If this prompt inspires you, please go ahead and write a story or poem and let me know when you do! So I can read it!!! This was inspired by u/Fuwo

A stern look of disappointment gushes lots of emotions through the human body – heart palpation increased breathing, which could all surmise into the sense of being in discomfort. But I was among the special ones, for my discomfort seemed beyond the norm. One thunderous look and my body burned like it was on fire, a flash of light phased through me, giving birth to a beam of red indicating -1. 

When it first started, I thought I was hallucinating, for my eyes kept seeing a constant increase and decrease in numbers.

Smile to a stranger +1 green appeared with 7184

Bump into a stranger -1 red, 7183

Looking back, I should’ve tried harder, maybe get a job in something…. less disappointing. Customer Service, a model that Hell should look into. It’s filled with disappointments and anger no matter what route I take.

“Welcome to GG Mart, this is Leslie, how may I help you today?” I tried to sound chirpy from my enclosed booth. It was shielded by glass, giving a sense of security one I knew I didn’t possess. My back ached in discomfort, as my derriere was planted on a wooden stool that had seen better days.

“My ice creamed melted” the voice of a young lady replied after meticulously chewing on her gum. 

“I’m sorry to hear that, are our freezers not working?” I inquired, glancing down at the number staring up at me on a piece of paper that I had written after my previous customer. 429. That is how many days I had left to live.

Down from 7184, in less than 6 months. Having my body go through a series of dramatic changes, I no longer felt like a 21-year-old. 

 Every joint in my body ached like it had too lived its span. My hair has been brittle just like my nails. The skin around my body sagged, my self-esteem was in ruins, but I had to push it through. Every customer mattered. Every feeling was valid. With a wide smile and lack of dentures, I looked up at my customer like a toothless newborn. 

“No. I left it in my car and it melted.” She answered as a matter of fact.

“How long was that?”

“Uh…. Yesterday?”

“It happened yesterday?”

“No” An exasperated sigh followed as if it was such a chore to explain to me her chain of thoughts. “yesterday. I wanted to surprise myself when I got done with work TODAY. So, I left it in my car YESTERDAY! Like ‘OH ICE CREAM!’ Y’know?” She enunciated every word to make a show of her paper-thin patience. 

My gaze on her narrowed, was this a joke? How did she expect the ice cream to NOT melt?

“I see… Ma’am… According to our policy… We can’t…” I swallowed as hard as I could, there it was another disappointment staring at my face. “Do.. anything about that…”

Now her eyes were narrowed on mine as I out a nervous chuckle. “Are you sure?”

“Would a coupon for buy 3 get 1 free for London Dairy do instead?” I reached for the pile of coupons and pushed it through the transactional drawer between us.

“Hmm…” She pondered as my heart was in my throat. “Take the bait! “I thought while mentally trying to vibe with her brain to be happy. “You are happy”

“I’m glad that you gave me this….” She said, the corners of her eyes fluttering upwards as her hand reached in and pulled the coupon out. “Oooh, this is good. Plus one. C’mon baby, plus one!” “…BUT I WANTED MY MONEY BACK, YOU CHEATS!!” She shrieked, taking the coupon anyway, before flicking me off and leaving. I sat there deflated, “She was sort of happy… RIGHT?” then a red beam appeared out of nowhere, with terrifying lightning that pierced through my chest. -1.

428

The effect continued to ripple through me, I grasped tightly onto my chair for support, with every effort to say grounded, my body refused to abide. My vision turned foggy, initially I assumed it was just because of the shock, but even after sipping some water, it remained constant. My eyes. They were no longer what they used to be.

I must make someone happy, I was borderline dying now.

“Excuse me!” A scorned voice broke me free from my encaged thoughts.

“I’m sorry, welcome to GG Mart, how may I help you today?” I answered through a series of panted breaths.

The customer seemed to vary now. Was that a good thing? Maybe I didn’t disappoint them now that I haven’t done anything… Yet.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes, yes, what was the issue, sir?” I answered instead.

“Are the working conditions that bad here?” His question surprised me as I tried to focus on him through my hazy vision. A rectangular figure was grasped on the heel of his hand, a notepad perhaps? Was he some sort of an inspection officer, journalist… or worst…forming a…Union…?

“Oh, no, no, no!” I retorted instead, trying not to make a scandal out of this. “ I forgot my glasses home and had been drinking last night. Hungover.”

I lied through my clenched teeth, hoping for a miracle, “Please make this man believe me. Make him happy!”

But happiness isn’t so easy to attain. In search of happiness is a man who is capable of running through shards of glass on a bed of hot coal with nothing but his naked feet. That sort of dedication is required to attain happiness from self-within.

With that, my ignorance was no longer bliss. I had to make changes, but for myself. Be happy, but for myself.

I had a different ending in mind, but this felt a lot more wholesome. Hopefully the message was passed through. Take care and stay safe!

Burnt

“Mama..? Papa..? What about them..?” I pleaded with tear strained eyes at him. In response, Alex’s clasp tightened around my hand, “It’s going to be okay, Cynthia, I’m here, I’m never leaving..”

The calm in his voice made my whole body shudder, how had such luck befallen on us? It was just this morning, Mama was teaching me how to make flatbread.   

“Use the heel of your hand, Precious. That is the secret to knead the best flatbread.” She had smiled before caressing her hand over my forehead, her motherly love seeped out of her very crooked smile.  “You are going to be of age! Suitors would soon be knocking at our door!”  With a soft chuckle, her arms wrapped around me in a perfect embrace. A lock that would never be broken until…

I missed her so much. Her touch, her fragrance, her love, her…existence. Until now I was oblivious to how much she mattered to me, or even Papa. The reality of never seeing them ever again dawned upon me and all it took was one fire to shatter my world and burn them with it.

I was alone now, all alone.

“Hey..” His voice brought me back, “The fire is getting worse, we must leave..” He said simply before turning over my doll back to me. A sense of safety rushed through me. I hugged my doll and inhaled that familiar scent by burying my nose against it. I want it tattooed in my memory, my last link to my family. 

With the fire roaring alive like a ticking time-bomb, I felt the heat burn my face and char my lungs, each breath getting harder to draw in, but my body refused to move.

What was there to watch? My parents were turning into dust, my house would soon be nonexistent, but I… was frozen in place and cowering, like a panna cotta. 

Remaining firm with my guard, I finally dared to express my horror. “Why..? Why, Alex?”

A smirk cracked on his lips, pouring out all the foulness that he harbored within.“How else would you have acknowledged my love? That I love you!”  

My whole body froze at his confession.

Did he..? No, he couldn’t have…

“What? Are you floored? Shocked? Tongue-tied?” His voice boomed as his hand was back on my wrist, dragging me forward with him. I don’t know if it was his strength that whisked me away from the rubble or my cowardice but I traveled on with him.

“Girls love BIG gestures. How was this?! Now, it’s just you and me against the world!! Forever and always…”

Hello there! I hope you enjoyed this short read, please do tell me of your thoughts! Picture credit goes to the artist, unfortunately, I was unable to find them but if you do! LET ME KNOW SO I CAN TAG THEM, PLEASE! Until next time, take care!

When you’ve managed to piss off the Master of the Universe

Hey guys! I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. Here’s another prompt that I had written down some time ago. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Feel free to write your thoughts in the comment below! I would be happy to read them. Take care!!

Her rocking chair squeaked at each motion, crying for an oil fix as Silvia’s ears couldn’t quite capture the sound.

“Mario.” She hollered, her voice throaty from age.
“Mario!” She called out once again, this time all of her energy knocked out of her chest, her breaths labored with a frown plastered against her lips.

Nearly three decades ago, her husband found his power, the power to transport his soul through time and space, leaving his body behind. A pretense. Silvia thought her husband was taking a pleasant nap with a smile on his face majority of the time, but oh no he wasn’t.


Mario teleported himself to the strip clubs of Vegas. Taking in the bodies of the women before him, he thought of this as the perfect plan, something his wife would never know of… Until one day, their grandson read his mind, forcing Mario to confess his wicked design.


Silvia thought she would be upset at this finding, but she was somewhat relieved. If at 62 that was the power he had attained, Silvia wondered what changes would 97 bring to her.


She held that belief like grasping on sand through her gripping fists; hope that kept her alive for so long, slowly turned her bitter. She was envious of her husband, her children, her grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren that showed remote abilities of magic. Where was her power? Why was she left alone in this world? An outlier.


Liquid fire coursed through her veins as Silvia grabbed a pillow and attempted to slam it against her partner. Old age had taken a toll on her body, her aim miserably missing and he stayed asleep peaceful. “Damn with this universe. I need my powers or I’m going on a suicide mission!” She threatened to no one in particular as her frail body finally took charge.

The creaking came after once again as the woman took off using her walker. Each sound, seconds apart as sweat glistened through her body. “I’m not weak, I’ll show these punks” She cursed with her eyebrows creased.


What would take mere seconds for the rest, took her minutes, but Silvia was finally out on her street. She gazed down at the road before her. “Slow down, children in the vicinity “ it read on a bright yellow street sign.


Silvia adjusted her glasses which framed most of her face, “last chance, Master of the Universe, are you going to exhibit my powers or not?” She yelled with labored breaths and the old woman could hardly catch a breath.


Just as stubborn as the Master of the Universe, Silvia walked into the empty road, trying to browbeat him.


A grin slipped away through his deflated lips and with a click of his finger, a truck appeared out of nowhere, railing itself on the sweet old woman. Its wreck far worse than envisioned.


Almost as if time stood still for seconds and then, everything played in reverse. The truck vanishing. Silvia stood up, her body with no injury, rushed back into the house, her eyes closed down and the squeaking sound once again returned.


“That’s what you get for breaking my heart when we were young and stupid..” his voice lingered around her, but Silvia was sound asleep to acknowledge.

Caffeine: An Addict’s Perspective

Imagine my surprise when I realized that pregnant women CANNOT have a lot of caffeine? I’m a hardcore addict and this was my take on that (imaginary) experience!

Oh, the sweet smell that makes my whole body tingle with excitement. The bitterness that rolls around, my tongue igniting my senses. Dark. Medium. Light. Coffee that doesn’t discriminate. Harvested in countries from around the world that I cannot visit. One cup enough to give me a world tour.

Ugh, a cup of coffee. Now that I dream of, the only suitable pair for a muffin, donut, or cake. “Just once..” whispers the Nespresso. “No one will know..” it tries to seduce.

My eyes dart between the red glowing machine and the cabinet where my husband keeps the pods. ‘A latte… it’s practically milk.. ‘ I console myself, but the guilt weighs far more than that.

My hand reaches for the pod, inserting it directly into the machine. “Oh, sweet Jesus..” a whisper escaped my lips as soon as the machine begins to whirl. The bitter scent filled my nostrils, I inhale deeply just to get high.With my face practically hovering over the machine, I watch the hot liquid fill the cup. Slowly by slowly, drop after drop.

“Dear mother of God..” I moan with my hands holding the cup as if my life depended on it. It’s warmth seeped through to my palms, making my heart race. I was being bad, and that somehow made this whole experience even better. One cup, I remembered the doctor telling me. One cup a day.

I lower my face, inhaling its scent to cherish this moment. A burst of flavor popped on my tongue, knees weak as the flavor of the damn coffee made its way down my throat. One sip. One orgasmic sip of coffee.

Now that you’ve come this far. What is your favorite beverage of the day?

What happens when Jim Halpert’s memory is erased and he is no longer married to Pam? – Extended Version. Toby’s POV

The clamor in the news was deafening, why were humans so stubborn to know everything? Didn’t they realize that curiosity killed the cat? Yes, he was aware of the continuation of the idiom but Toby didn’t care at the point. He wanted to vent.

With a loud exhalation, Toby leaned back against his chair. There was a familiar comfort in the silkiness of his seat. Toby had taken pride in being a calculated man. But the darn hackers had put him in an unprecedented situation. Sure, it took 26 tries to set Jim straight since there was always one loose end, jarring Jim back to Pam. But now, everything was in place. He knew Karen was the right for Jim. Had seen the same love in her eyes, as Toby had for Pam.

Everyone was in place until Anonymous made an appearance.

“National security is at risk!” He had heard his boss breathe down Toby’s neck. No, shit. My whole world seems to be crumbling, he thought with a heavy sigh. Self-righteousness was a virtue some people possessed, but Toby pretended. Maybe Michael was right about Toby all along. Michael probably saw through Toby, the real Toby. The manipulative, deceiving, on the verge for some bloodshed for Pam, Toby.

One might ponder how an HR head ended up being in charge of the most dangerous project the FBI has ever encountered? It wasn’t too hard, 9/11 had done most of the work for him. Toby used that tragedy to his advantage. “Spies! We need to get rid of spies!” Toby argued to his potential employers while still working at Dunder Mifflin.

Standing in the open parking of their office building, Toby looked up to find a glimpse of Pam, his heart fluttered continuously. Being in love was so weird. One moment he wanted to hold her and show her off to the world, the next, he wanted to tie her down so the world couldn’t steal Pam from him. He loved her so much, Pam had no idea. Toby knew that in this race to Pam’s love, he would be the slow and steady turtle but manipulative enough to obstruct the hare from reaching to her.

He met up with Roy for matters regarding his payroll on numerous occasions, slowly planting the seed of self-hate in him. “So… how is everything? Since you work here and she’s up with the corporate?” Toby casually asked Roy. Roy took the question to heart, just as designed.

For the next three years, Toby did everything in his power to break them apart. Dundee Awards was no different, he was sure this year Pam would crumble under pressure and he would be her knight in shining armor. Imagine his surprise when he saw Pam KISS Jim?! He was filled with rage, his plan had to be executed as soon as he humanly could. But perfection took time.

Poison pumped into his veins directly from his heart down to every ounce of his skin when he watched Pam get married to Jim. Even though she looked so beautiful, and he could never keep his eyes off her, Toby would still make her his, by hook or crook.

It wasn’t easy but Toby managed to get into the FBI academy. His missing presence wasn’t noticed by most. At first, he lied about Costa Rica, Toby was worried they’d catch his morphed photos, but his coworkers weren’t as smart as him. Soon he left the job to concentrate on his training. Toby was never physically strong though he wasn’t going to let that stop him. He worked as hard as anyone, his rage was his pure fuel. Nothing kept him on track as the need to be Pam did.

“Project Pamela” his voice echoed around the large conference room, filled with agents of high stature, all fixated on this crazy of a man,“in the past decade we have had many disturbances that have endangered our national security. Human rights activists have been appalled in regards to our methods of acquiring information from spies and terrorists. We can elude it all. How does it matter if someone suspected of being a national threat has had their memory erased altogether? This invention would change everything!! They wouldn’t be our problems anymore. They’d reborn. No longer the taint of terror would occupy them. We will have total control over them.”

His employers were onboard the second they heard of it. This would of course be a national secret, buried under the pile of all the other things the government didn’t do.

And with that, began the story of Toby and Pam.

Heart Bones By Colleen Hoover

“Sometimes I believe personalities are shaped more by damage than kindness. Kindness doesn’t sink as deep into your skin as the damage does. The damage stains your soul so bad, you can’t scrub it off.”

I couldn’t contain my excitement when this book came out! I love her!

It didn’t take me to long to read, two days and I was done! (By now you should know how excited I am/was! Haha)

Blurb: Beyah returns home from work one day, to find her addict mother lifeless on her couch. This turn of events forces her to reunite with her estranged father, making her realize that there’s more to life than just being shielded. Beyah sensed like she had entered a new dimension, suddenly having a family, friends, and a love interest, Samson. There was a magnetic field between the two as if it was their damage that reunited them.

My Review: Read it. There’s a drastic change in Beyah’s character. Starting from a bitter, broken, and damaged teenager, she blooms into an independent and strong woman. Even though Samson’s secrets subdued her down momentarily, Beyah was quick to bounce back on her feet.

As always Colleen delivered what was promised. My heart shattered in pieces while reading this book, maybe I too, grew a heart bone for Beyah and Samson. It was an interesting read. Unlike other romantic books where selflessness and sacrifice are given importance, Heart Bones advocated the other way around. Sometimes it is okay to keep ourselves before others. Being selfish shouldn’t be frowned upon.

“Come at me, world. You can’t damage the impermeable.”

Rating: 4/5. Heartwarming.

My review is based on the assessment of Character Development, Writing Style, Plots, Subplots, and Romance.

What happens when Susan Ross is sent back to Earth in a form of a Guardian Angel?

Susan remembered waking up dehydrated with an undeniable thirst. “Where am I?” She murmured, her eyes unable to focus on things. 

Susan Ross was soon to be married to George Costanza. A stingy man that cherished saving every penny possible. For their wedding invites, George convinced her to buy discounted cards that hadn’t been manufactured in years.

 “What’s the difference you just read it and mail it right back. These we’ll do.” He told her.

She caved and had spent the entire morning licking those envelopes in order to send them out.  

But when her mind started churning again to the present moment, it seemed like a normal office… No, it was HER office. She reassured herself that she had taken a nap in her own office, not at her apartment. 

”Perfect, Miss Ross. I will inform God that you’re awake. Welcome to Heaven INC!” A strange lady chimed in out of nowhere.

Sweat was secreted from her forehead as Susan tried to remain calm. She gripped on the leather of her… no the clone of her chair as she finally assembled the courage to ask, “What? Who? What is going on?”

“Oh dear.. I am sorry..” The voice, much more melancholy now, presented herself into an elegant woman. She looked….angelic with her features and etiquette. 

“Excuse me?”

“Um… You’re dead. Now you’re in heaven.” Susan could almost hear the DUH! in her voice

The lady took a seat in front of Susan as if they just were having a casual conversation. That the news of Susan being dead hadn’t just been broken down to her.

“I am Seraphina. Pleased to meet you!”

“Dead? What do you mean, DEAD? I was just taking a nap! I am in my office! What cruel joke is this? Did Kramer set you up for this? George! Where are you? Eno…ugh..” Susan’s breaths were strained as her body could barely sustain her emotions. 

Seraphina snapped her fingers together and gone were Susan’s sentiments. She was serene and calm, staring at the mysterious woman with doubt. 

“What did you do to me?”

“Just for this time. You must learn to control your emotions. Not everyone gets a second chance. God has seen potential in you and thus, you will live once again. Through others.” Seraphina explained vaguely. 

“What do you mean? How am I supposed to do that?” Susan wanted to command answers out of this woman, but she couldn’t. Susan felt numb on the inside. She felt…Dead.

“With time, you will.”

Time had no value in Heaven INC. All Angels did was meditate and pray. They were such gentle creatures.

Heaven INC was nice, angels even nicer, but God was up to something, and she knew it.

When she was finally in person with God, Susan assumed her lifelong curiosity would be met. That now she would finally acknowledge if God was a man or a woman, but all she saw was a silhouette.

“Welcome,” God’s extremely high pitched resonated through the room, she couldn’t defer if “He” was a woman or a high-pitched man. 

“Thank you?” Susan quibbled instead. 

And there came God’s catch, for Susan was to assumed a role of an Angel. Guardian Angel to be precise.

“Shield someone so they wouldn’t face death the way you did.” God explained to her.

Susan wondered what happened to her guardian angel when she was stupidly licking those envelopes? 

Susan was deemed to go to therapy first, get in touch with her emotions then lock them inside since Angels were supposed to be good and do good blindly, sentiments were regarded as catastrophic in this profession.

And she managed to do so, then progressed to field training and stimulation. Every person that had harmed or troubled her was set in harm’s way and Susan was supposed to save them in any way conceivable.

Everyone on the list, the boy from elementary school who called her ugly to a “Karen” that she had gotten in an argument with, was part of the stimulation except for George. She acquired peace of mind by the lacking of her former fiance, that perhaps George was the one for her.

But Susan forgot that God too loved playing games. Now Susan was staring at the back of her fiancé. The man who murdered her. 

Susan felt resentment towards him but decided to give him an extra opportunity since she was an Angel now. Pure of all worldly sins. George was someone who she had to protect.

She followed him diligently to Jerry’s place, sitting down on the couch as the two discussed some Star Trek quote until George brought Susan back in the conversation

George: Well anyway, the, uh… the stone is up, I paid my respects, guess that’s it.

 Jerry: So it’s over?

 George: I have mourned for three long months! Summer months, too! Anybody could grieve in January! It’s time for George to start being George again.

 Jerry: All right, so uh, let’s do something later. How ’bout a movie?

 George: Yes! Nothing says George like a movie!

As the two gallivanted to the movies, Susan sat quietly with a menacing look staring at an envelope on Jerry’s coffee table. Maybe God was just as sinister after all… 

Five years later.

“You got what you deserved…” The words reverberated from her cords except George was too human to hear them. 

“Help…Me…” George wept in pain. 

Warm blood slowly seeped as the cold glaze of the icicle melted into his chest. His fingers, no longer pale, as it coagulated into crimson red, George caught a glimpse of his dead fiancé. 

“Su…san..” With his voice hoarse, George reached for her with his bloody hand while the other continued to press against his chest. Drops hit the floor, spluttering around as if they too were trying to grasp for life as he was. 

His life force slowly drained out of him, as Susan watched, at first with interest and then with sadness. “Maybe now we can be together… forever…”

What happens when Jim Halpert’s memory is erased and he is no longer married to Pam?

“Babe, I asked you to get the coaster for me, not make one!” Joked Karen as she emerged from their shared bedroom with a glass of wine.

The sight before her eyes was that of horror, her husband, Jim Halpert, was slumped on their couch, his fists tightly clenched around the TV remote.

The TV’s volume seemed over the roof with how loud it was, nonetheless, the tension seemed enough to cut through glass.

Karen’s eyes darted nervously between her husband and the voice beaming from the telly, trying to process the news that he might’ve heard.

“Anonymous has once again managed to win the heart of millions of people while creating tension amongst the governmental agencies. The hacking organization has produced documents that site the names of different individuals who have had their memory altered by the FBI. Among which the names, Jim Halpert has topped the list with being altered at least 26 times. If any of this situation is true, we would be pleased to get in touch with Mr. Halpert. Additionally, the names of the remaining subjects are as followed.”

Karen turned to her husband, who seemed to have aged in years in mere

minutes. “Are you okay?” Her voice soft and filled with worry as she reached for the TV remote, turning it off hastily.

Her husband didn’t blink, his stoic demeanor got her agitated.

“Are you listening to me? What is wrong? Why aren’t you responding? Maybe I should call 911!” She blurted waving her arms around as if she were trying to hold onto an invisible hand for help.

“Don’t…” Finally, the words rolled off his tongue, every piece of his being that was frozen, slowly back to life. A loud exhale left his lips, “I’m sorry… I wasn’t sure what had gotten in me, perhaps it is nothing…” His voice faded just like the seed of doubt that was slowly being planted in his mind.

Could he be the one, the one they were talking about on the news?

This bulletin brought in feelings that he had been ignoring for years. Jim always felt like a part of his life was missing, and he blamed that on the loss of his parents.

But for tonight, enough feelings were evoked and endured. He pulled his beautiful wife in his arms and held Karen closely. His anchor in the toughest of times. “I love you forever.”

When his eyes fluttered open the next morning, yesterday seemed like a distant dream. A dream that he had long forgotten, but the hollow feeling remained, deep inside of his gut.

“Good morning” he forced a smile and gave his wife a soft kiss on her forehead, their every morning tradition.

Karen was draped around her man, like a lioness guarding her cub already sensing danger to her territory. “Good morning, what would you like for breakfast?”

“Anything is good, have you seen my phone anywhere?” He asked, slowly stirring away from her clenches, trying to find his lost phone between their sheets.

“Oh, I switched our phones off, I was thinking of a… detox from all electronic devices, what do you think? We can go out for a walk, maybe to the park, or just stay in bed and spend some quality time?” She suggested cheerfully, to which Jim replied with a frown.

“It’s Tuesday, I’ve got work… Kayaks are really in demand right now.” He smiled, looking away from his wife and staring into an abyss. A habit he had developed. He would look away from the person he was talking to and just shrug as if someone else were there. “And, I’ll need my phone, for the bike ride to work.” He added with a mischievous smile.

The moment Jim switched his phone on, he was bombarded with a myriad of information. Names. List of names. The information he could not fathom. Words that seemed meaningful but worthless to him, for he was to blind to de-crypt them yet.

Names, more names, and even more names but the mention of one stopped him dead in his tracks before he could go any further. Pam Beesly. The name didn’t hold any value but Jim felt the earth move from under his feet.

He grasped his phone tightly and almost fell down to his knees, staring at the name, asking the name to talk back to him. Wishful thinking.

He spent a few minutes to control his breathing before going further down the list.

The list got even more terrifying than earlier. He saw the names of his parents, Gerald and Betsy, and his sister, Larissa with the addition of two other Halperts, Cece and Philip, confirming his suspicions that indeed he was the man on the news.

Was Jim to blame for this? Or did someone else in his family lead them too to this? Who were all these people?

……..

The man in the high chair sat quietly, his gaze fixated on the TV news before him. All his intricate planning and plotting were staring back at his face. The years he spent, trying to separate the two lovers, now seemed to be futile. He couldn’t let ergo. Not now. Not ever.

Could the victims finally understand his big plan?

“Look what you made me do…” he replied monotonous reaching for a picture on his desk.

A picture of his beautiful woman, now aged, her glasses framed her face, hair covering her ears, blonde now from dying.

“Pam… why do you keep testing me…?” He whispered caressing the picture through the cold glass.

“After everything I’ve done for you?” He taunted, anger slowly rising through his veins as he slammed the frame against the wall, its pieces ricocheted around his office.

“Why can you just love me as you loved him?” He exclaimed to no one in particular. His breathing was hitched as the man leaned over his desk, grasping it to hold himself up, trying to think of ways to clear this mess up. For once and for all.

…….

Almost two days had passed from his previous brush with reality, Jim had found himself in various stages of doubt around the people in his life. Jim could no longer remember the details of his previous jobs in the past 17 years. Details of his past were vague. He remembered meeting Karen at a point when she worked at a paper company, but that was it.

His memory was filled with holes that even she couldn’t answer. They had been happily married for almost 7 years, according to the documentation. But other than governmental proof, he couldn’t say much.

Last time a blackout occurred, Jim found himself waking up next to Karen. He was confused and dazzled when he woke up, thinking she was one nightstand until Karen explained everything to him.

That he sometimes suffered from short term memory loss from an accident he had after they were married.

With that, parts of his life seemed gone. She reassured him with proper

documents that she was his wife. they were together. His parents had passed away and his sister lived in another state. Jim felt and was all alone.

All his doubts were resurfacing, was Karen somewhat involved with his blackouts?

He didn’t experience a blackout recently, but did he get too close to the sun last time and that they had to wash his memory away? Did she do this? But she didn’t work for the government. She still worked at a paper company? What did Jim have to do with the FBI? Who could he trust?

Questions poured into his mind with no viable answer. He was lost and defeated. Any time Karen walked into the room; Jim would be terrorized with fear.

He was scared of his anchor, the only person who he had complete faith in all these years and probably even more if the stories of his blackout are true. Nothing made sense anymore.

…….

Unaware of the big blunder occurring, Pam went on with her daily life.

Her husband had made sure to screen all of the news channels and devices to avoid her getting involved. Supposedly that was the big advantage of being in his position, he could get away with almost everything and do things without gaining suspicion.

Pam hadn’t even realized her phones were tapped, every conversation she had, her husband listened on the other side.

He was paranoid to lose her, how long could he keep this charade going on? Perhaps forever, if it was in his power.

Pam knew something was missing in her life, but she kept that feeling aside, blaming it on her husband’s erratic schedule.

He was a soft-spoken man, somehow who always listened to her thoughts and emotions. He also had a daughter from a previous marriage but Pam wasn’t one to discriminate.

She treated all the three kids equally like they were her own. Although she did notice that her husband treated his daughter from the previous marriage quite favorably with that of their kids. The idea irked her but she avoided indulging into that rabbit hole, for now.

For now, she was a stay at home mom, handling the three little monkeys that turned her life around, with kids turning up there was always things to do and get done.

Classes, recitals, events, games, and planning, and boy was she tired of them.

She was tired of trying to fit in with the soccer moms and or being treated like a trophy wife. Pam wanted more, she adored art and hoped one day her husband would be supportive in her career path. For him, art was just recreational.

…….

Jim felt like he had been in a twisted joke, that any moment his wife, Karen, and their daughter Apple, would fly in and declare this as a prank… but it wasn’t.

Jim was living in his purgatory, day in and out, breathing it, feeling it, absorbing through his pores, and burning into his soul.

The emptiness he felt for so long was finally justified.

It had been three days since his life spun before his eyes, and realized he was all alone. Nobody could be trusted. Not even his wife. Or their daughter. Everywhere he looked, his suspicion raised.

Apple didn’t resemble him in any manner. Not the demeanor nor the physical attribute. He imagined his genes being recessive since the idea of his wife being unfaithful was preposterous.

Five years ago, a confused Jim found embrace in a woman’s arms, this woman who called herself his wife. Karen provided him with a few pictures, but the one that really melted his heart and proved herself was them, in Niagara Falls, getting married.

He looked so happy in that picture to have eloped and gotten married that the happiness poured back in. He accepted her as his wife.

In retrospect, he should’ve known something was up regarding how vigilant she had been around him sometimes. He knew she kept tabs on him too. She liked to know everything about him at all times.

“What? No, I just wanted to… uh talk…?” the mysterious man whispered, looking around as he tried to remain calm. This man’s hands were shaking from anxiety, but when Jim stared down at them, he was quick to shove them in the back pocket of his denim jeans.

“Don’t trust anyone… E…Especially Karen…” he warned quickly with slight hesitation.

“What? Why?” Jim retorted.

“Check the marriage registry. Apple… “ The man answered instead then hesitated once again.

“… Help Pam…. The children…” His voice rustled as his body seemed to be stepping backward from Jim. ” Cece..” He added before running away from the aisle as if he were Zorro.

Jim sat slump in his chair, his screen flashed against his pale face. He was scared. Terrified. For the first time in 5 years, he genuinely felt lost.

His eyes stared at the screen aimlessly, trying to fix the pieces.

The marriage registry said he was never legally married to Karen Filippelli.

What about those pictures? Were they morphed?

Instead, Karen was married to someone named Dan until they divorced. Was Dan the man who nudged him in the right direction? Apple wasn’t his daughter after-all…

In another world, Jim could see himself collapsing, breaking down into pieces at his recent discovering, but that wasn’t this Jim.

This Jim was… relieved. He was happy to have faced all the lies that made up his world. He knew now, that the only thing that was missing in his life, was no other than Pam.

Pam, who he was legally married to… up until…. She married Toby.

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