1.12.2010

Later that day, Greg is found dead

Watch dogs in the parking lot. The moon empty and full. Henry stumbles and swears and catches himself against the fence. The dogs come running up and he steps back.

"I'll kill you fuckers," he says.

"No, you won't."

By the time he's turned around there's no one there, and then crack in the air followed by pain. Henry's head is on fire. He's spinning but there's no one, and the dogs are going crazy, they're jumping and drooling and barking against the fence.

"Show yourself," he says. Henry feels someone around him, just out of sight. And then there's another crack, and time skips. "Pass the potatoes." It's dinner. He's sitting with his parents at their house. "Honey, pass the potatoes."

"Here Mom," he says. His head hurts. There's a feeling like something shaking in his heart.

"Oh it looks like it's really coming down out there," his father says, and the three of them look across the table full of turkey and potatoes past the big bay windows to the street. Filling up with snow.

"It's lovely," his mother says and smiles at him.

"I-- I think I'm bleeding."

"Henry...?"

"What's wrong with your head?"

"Henry?"

He hits the floor, the side of his face on the carpet, bleeding, filling up with warm snow.

&

Greg kept calling. "Goddamn it Klein pick up, pick up--"

"Dr. Klein's office," Lauren answers. Greg is silent. For a moment Lauren listens to him on the other end of the line. She hears breathing, but doesn't know whose. Then he hangs up.

The office is quiet. Dr. Klein stepped out and Lauren is on the internet, watching the clock. Once she had a dream she was at work, and all along the perimeter of the floor was a barbed wire fence. Beyond that was the outside. The patients were milling about with her, and she sat on a bench underneath a clock. One of them told her: follow me, I know a way out. He had strange teeth. She watched him slip through a hole in the fence and beckoned her from the outside. But she couldn't do it. He left, and soon Dr. Klein came but he was dressed like a solider, with a pointy hat and red armband with a big black K on it. You are irresponsible Lauren, he said to her. She couldn't speak. You've been playing it fast and loose. Then he took off his belt and she woke up. I could see it still bothered in the morning, when she told me about it.

"A red armband? It sounds like Klein was dressed as a Nazi."

"I don't know, there was just something very -- cruel about him. Ugh, I don't even want to talk about it anymore."

"Remember that dream I had, with the Nazis?"

"Of course. It was epic."

"You're telling me. I still wonder what it meant. It felt so important."

"This one wasn't like it. It just felt -- like something was very, very wrong."

I suddenly felt it too. The kitchen was bright and the coffee smelled good, but there was a moment where something felt cold in my body. And then it was gone.

"Don't go to work today. Just call in."

"No, don't be silly. Plus I want to save those sick days. Take an extra long vacation." She got up.

"But you've got plenty of sick days."

"It was just a dream."

"I know, I know. But come on... if you play hooky, I will too..." She kissed me.

"Not today. Today we go to school."

Lauren thinks about this and then jumps when the phone rings. She picks up and this time there's no breathing, no static -- just a clear connection, and silence.

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