Barry waited half an hour for the pain pills to kick in but his head was still pounding. He switched from wine to scotch in the hopes that would do the trick. He put on some music to try to drown out the thoughts in his head but it wasn’t working. All he could think about was who wanted to kill him and why.
What had he done? He was only writing a novel. He was sitting on the sofa staring into space when the phone rang. He couldn’t stand it anymore. He went over the wall and ripped out the connection. He picked up the answering machine and unplugged it as well.
He poured himself another scotch and considered his options. He had no gun. He didn’t believe in them. Then again, he didn’t believe in getting killed either, not that he had ever given the matter any serious thought.
He supposed that if he never left the apartment again he would be safe, but that wasn’t possible. He had to able to live his life, damn it. He wondered which of the two characters was really out to get him. He took a gulp of his scotch and decided it didn’t really matter.
His head felt lighter now. The pills must have finally kicked in. He got up to go to the toilet and had trouble navigating. He decided it was getting too warm and went to open a couple of windows. He saw a man he didn’t recognize entering the apartment building.
He moved back quickly. Could it be one of them? He heard a roaring in his ears and put his hands over them trying to block it out. He turned to go to the kitchen for more scotch and tripped over the ottoman banging his head the corner of the coffee table as he went down.
He could feel blood dripping down his cheek but he felt no pain. He went to the kitchen and got out some ice, putting a few cubes in his glass and then making a compress for his head.
He felt flushed as anger began to take hold of him. He would not go down without a fight. Let them come for him. He wanted it finished once and for all. He drained his glass and poured himself another. Fortification was the thing. He had to be ready.
He heard the sound of voices in the hallway and moved to the door to listen. There was nothing but silence. He waited a moment more and then jumped when there was a knock on the door right where his ear was.
A surge of anger rose in him and he grabbed the knob and yanked the door open.
“Good evening sir, I wonder if I might – “
Barry stared bug-eyed at the young man before him. It was Jeremy, his character, just as he had imagined him!
He lunged for the man’s throat and began strangling him for all he was worth. The young man struggled to throw him off and screamed. The hallway filled with neighbours wondering what was going on as the two men rolled on the floor locked in mortal combat.
Jeremy hung up the phone. Nothing. No one there for more than two days now. Maybe Barry had decided to get out of town. He picked up the newspaper he had grabbed on impulse went he had gone out for supplies.
Flipping through it his eyes widened when he saw the story on page three. A well-known local author had been arrested a couple days before for assaulting a Jehovah’s Witness who come to the door to spread the glad word.
He put the paper down and rubbed his chin, deep in thought. Perhaps he’d taken his joke a little too far. He made a mental note to lay off the losers for a while and went back to checking his phishing program.