Barry woke up later than usual the following morning. His mouth tasted like the bottom of the birdcage and his head seemed to be stuffed with cotton. He stumbled to the bathroom mirror only to find his face completed the ensemble.
He threw some water on his face and put on a bathrobe. Heading for the kitchen he was about to put on some water for coffee when he heard sounds in the hallway outside his apartment. He went to the door and put his ear against it. He could hear a faint rustling sound. He got down on his knees and looked under the door. There was someone standing right outside.
Greg shifted the package in his arms and was about to knock when he realized he as on the wrong floor. The delivery was one floor down. He cursed softly under his breath and headed for the stairs.
Barry crawled away from the door and sat staring at it. He had heard whoever was at the door cursing in a soft voice. Damn. Someone really was after him. The whole thing wasn’t a joke after all. They must have tried the door and found it locked.
What the hell was he going to do? He had to call the police. No, he couldn’t. The whole thing wouldn’t make any sense to them. They wouldn’t be able to do anything. He could call Phil. Phil was at work. It wouldn’t do to disturb him there. Maybe he’d call later on.
He crawled to the sofa and lay down. How could this be? His characters couldn’t possibly be real. Was he going out of his mind? The phone calls. He wasn’t imagining them. They knew what he was up to. They knew what he was writing. They kept insisting he had created them.
He found himself considering the possibility of a rewrite. Changing the names of the characters and altering what they did. No, it would completely ruin the story. My god, this is stupid he thought, they couldn’t be real. How was it then that he was getting these calls?
His head was pounding and he couldn’t think straight anymore. He went to the medicine cabinet and took some more codeine. He drank some coffee and sat down to write. Staring at the screen ten minutes later he could tell nothing was going to come. He decided to do some editing instead.
A few hours later he had accomplished little and gave up. He still hadn’t gotten himself dressed. He felt life a slob. He realized the situation was getting to him badly but he didn’t have a clue what he should do about it.
He took a shower and shaved and got dressed. He felt a little better and thought he should run some errands but the thought of going out made him uneasy. He tried to tell himself he was being ridiculous but he stayed in just the same.
By five he had poured himself a large glass of wine and sat down to flip through the channels on the television. The phone rang a few minutes later.
“Barry, it’s Malcolm. Glad you’re still alive. Jeremy is definitely after you Malcolm. Why haven’t you taken steps?”
Barry sat staring into space. He had no idea what to say.
“Barry? Are you there? Snap out of it Barry, you have to do something. He could be there any time? Are you listening to me? Do you have a gun?”
Barry hung up the phone. His head was spinning. He had a sharp pain between his eyes. More codeine. That’s what he needed. He went to the medicine cabinet.
Tommorow, Part 8 – The End