After he hung up the phone Harold needed to sit for a moment and gather his thoughts. He had waited to hear her say it, had worked for it, expected it, but not like this. He would be seeing her again in two days. He had no idea what to do.
He went out to meet his friends but he was distracted the whole time. At last he excused himself saying he didn’t feel well and went home. There was much thinking to do. Feeling tired after awhile he went to bed and fell into a fitful sleep. The demons had returned in force.
In his dream he was back at the high school prom with Karen. She was beautiful beyond imagining. They had only been out twice before the prom but he knew he was head over heels in love with her. As they danced, surrounded by so many others he noticed she was looking everywhere but at him. Still, overcome with feelings of love he couldn’t stop himself from whispering in her ear.
“Karen, I love you.”
She had pulled away from him with a look of first shock and then revulsion. What happened next was forever etched in him mind. She had begun to laugh. Softly at first and then it had built up to point of a massive guffaw. Everyone stopped dancing and turned to see what the commotion was about.
“You what? You love me? Oh my god! I can’t believe how lame you are!”
He had wanted to die. Why was she doing this to him? She pointed at him and addressed the room.
“Hey everybody, Harold is in love!”
Oh how they had laughed. He had gone from being on top of the world to wanting to crawl under a rock. He had ran from the building and refused to return to school. He never made it to his graduation.
He jerked awake and sat up in bed, his heart pounding, his forehead beaded with sweat. He got up and went to kitchen and grabbed a beer. Sitting down on the sofa he knew what he had to do. One more time he would slay the demon. This time it would be all right. Melody. She was the spitting image of Karen. It was meant to be, he just knew it.
He felt the familiar urge and knew it was pointless to resist. He went to the bookcase and pressed the hidden button. Taking out his key and kissing it he moved to the gleaming steel cabinet and unlocked it.
He ran his hand over the glass jars and read the label on each one. Memories flooded over him. He could remember every single detail of each one. He shuddered and pressed his forehead against the cool steel door and closed his eyes, a feeling of reverence overwhelming him. Release was at hand. He just knew it.
He locked up and went back to the sofa and finished his beer. Feeling calm, he went back to bed and lay down and closed his eyes and drifted into a dreamless sleep. Friday. It would all fine after Friday.
Tomorrow, Part 10 – The End