by Laurie Razor
Where, oh where has Allen been?
|A pseudo-sequel to Angus 's "What's Happening To Me?" .
My son Allen's been missing for the past seven years.
At twenty-one years old, it took a while before the police took our case seriously; most of them told us that he had probably just run away and assumed a false identity, a new life somewhere far away from here,
How they thought that a twenty-one year old pizza delivery-driver could afford to pick up and start again elsewhere without touching his savings is beyond me.
This entire affair left my wife Margaret a damaged woman, though thankfully she began to healthily cope with his loss around three years ago.
About a week ago she regressed into a constant state of depression after we received a letter from the coroner's office stating that if he didn't resurface soon, then they would be forced to legally declare him dead in absentia.
We've always known that our son isn't dead; call it a parent's instinct.
This knowledge didn't prepare us however when we found him lying asleep on our couch this morning.
Obviously Margaret was ecstatic; screaming down the house with joy.
Her piercing shriek so loud that I'm surprised that the neighbours didn't alert the authorities, which made it all the more strange that Allen remained unconscious.
It took her shaking him vigorously for around ten minutes or so to finally awaken him from his deep slumber.
He looked at her, then looked at me, before he realised where he was.
"Mom? Dad? Are we home?"
I don't know why but my first thought was that I was so glad that he addressed his mother first; after all that his unexplained absence put her through, I was so glad that he addressed her first.
Margaret clutched that boy in an embrace so tight that I was sure that his head was going to pop off and fly around the room like an inflated balloon left untied.
"Where have you been my boy?"
He didn't respond, just stared blankly ahead as his mother continued squeezing him ever tighter.
"It doesn't matter where he's been John. He is home, and that's all that matters now."
I really can't put my finger on it although after my son's mysterious return, something seems kind of off with Allen; he barely speaks and when he does, it seems as though the boy's mind is straining to get the words out.
For hours we sat around the dinner-table, waxing nostalgic for happier times.
Margaret did most of the talking, catching up Allen on everything that he had missed during his time away.
The day moved quicker than others, at times almost feeling as though slogging through some sort of alien dreamscape.
Darkness fell quickly, the night swallowed the sun as though it had so many times before although the light had never burnt brighter in our household.
Margaret spent a long time making up Allen's room just as it was when he was a child; sitting on his bedside as slumber overtook him once again and a long while afterwards; I'm surprised that she didn't follow him into the bathroom to watch him take a shower.
As happy as it has made me to see my wife happy again and to see that Allen was safe, I couldn't wrap my head around why he had turned back up now and where he had been for all this time.
My wife was near skipping into our bedroom.
"Isn't it simply wonderful John? This day just couldn't get any better. Our baby boy is back and he is never leaving us again."
"Don't take this the wrong way Margaret but shouldn't we try to discern where Allen's been all these years?"
I couldn't take my eyes off of her, her vibrant spirit had come back in full swing.
"In time, I'm certain that he will tell us. Let's not rush him though. We surely don't want to scare him off now would we?"
"No. No, I guess you're right. Although we should most likely alert the authorities to his presence in the morning."
"So that they can finally clear up all that hullabaloo over his neighbour's murder, and so that they can see that he's alright."
Her head bowed although I continued to stare at her gorgeous smile; a smile that had gone missing along with our Allen.
"I suppose you're right. We'll bring it up with Allen in the morning."
Before my eventual descent into Morpheus' realm, I swum through mental images of memory past, stopping right on Allen's old neighbour, Phillip.
Phillip Angus Hamilton was found murdered, horrifically torn asunder in a cheap motel room, barely two weeks after our dear Allen went missing.
It only made sense that investigators thought that Allen was somehow involved (even though his mother and I knew better); I never blamed them. even though my wife at times did.
Trauma is an ugly son-of-a-bitch though, isn't it?
Slumber overtakes me; that dark void where untamed fantasies abound.
On a makeshift, wooden raft, I float alone through an endless aubergine sky.
I am alone but I am not lonely; totally at peace.
Beneath me there is nothing and above me the same.
Sense, logic, reason, these words are all useless to me now.
This is where I belong; this is where I have always belonged.
My raft has large spoked wheels, spinning faster and faster.
I have the wheel in my hand now, a leather steering wheel.
This car handles amazingly.
I am going around the bend now.
Who is that behind me?
Am I being followed?
Oh my god, it's them!
Margaret and Allen, they are right behind me now, nudging my bumper.
I'm not going to make it, I'm going over the ledge.
The car has fallen to pieces around me; I am falling at great speed.
Solid concrete is gaining on me.
I am going to smash right into it and I am absolutely terrified.
Startled I jump awake from this cruel nightmare; Margaret props up beside me.
"Are you alright dear?"
"Just a bad dream I guess."
I stare at her as she reaches a hand over her face, grabs at the bottom of her jaw and peels off her face revealing Allen's face underneath.
Again, I awaken with a fright.
Is this another dream?
I shake my wife, hoping upon hope that it really is her beside me.
"What is it dear?"
"I just had the strangest dream."
"Are you sure that it was a dream?"
I jump out of bed and peer back down as my wife giggles slightly.
"Sorry dear. you must have had a nightmare. I just remembered that we had our Allen back, that's all."
"I, uh, I might go grab a drink of water."
Her dainty little snores prove that she is back asleep.
Quietly I tiptoe to the kitchen to pour a glass of water, as I pass Allen's room however, I notice that his light is on.
I silently nudge open his door and almost collapse from the horrific spectacle which lay inside.
My son is balancing on the headboard of his bed, his old fourteen-inch hunting knife in hand, as dozens of greyed ash-like appendages attached to small violent hands claw from under the covers at him.
"Dad! Help! They want to take me back! I'm home! I am finally home! I am not going back! I'm never going back!"
The closer I edge to the bed, the more vicious the long-armed beings become.
One grabs my night-shirt and tries to pull me under the sheets; thankfully though the old fabric gives way and tears, freeing me from the beast although leading me to park my keister on the carpet just out of the arms reach.
"I'm sorry Allen. Tell me! Tell me what I can do!"
Tears stream down my eyes as they do Allen's.
"I don't know dad! Oh god, I don't know! Tell mom I love her. I can't let them have me again!"
All I can do is watch in terror as my son, the boy that I had helped blossom into manhood, taps at the wall with the butt of his knife.
I catch sight of my wife covering her mouth at the doorway.
"Stay back Margaret! Stay back!"
Allen places the butt of the knife against the wall and turns to face us, for what his eyes tell us will be the last time.
"I'm so glad that I got to see you both again. Remember me not as I am now. Forgive me this blasphemous trespass that you are about to witness. I do it so that my soul can remain here, with you. Even though my body can not. I love you both."
I jump to my feet although I am not fast enough as Allen slams himself heart first into the long blade, gripping the handle with all of his might as he falls backwards into the waiting ashy hands.
All life flutters out of him with his capture.
These inhuman hands waste no time in dragging his limp corpse under the covers and into nothingness.
The lump recedes, my wife runs forward, myself on her heels, she pulls back the sheets, nothing.
An empty bed, nothing but a normal, empty bed.
No reminder except the indents and the small bloodstain left on the wall.
I'll never forget the day my Allen came home.
From where he came?
I can't say.
Although I hope that I never find out.