Ethan made an appointment and then went back out to his car. A sense of unease grew with each footstep. Something wasn’t making sense about his session and it added to the tension that was now a constant companion. He got in the car and put in his earplugs and drove away.
Not far from the medical center he came to an intersection where a minor accident had occurred and traffic was at a crawl. He took the time to think over everything that had happened in the session, remembering all the questions and the odd way Andrew had reacted to some of his answers. It wasn’t in his nature to be suspicious but he couldn’t shake the feeling Andrew was holding something back.
As he drew closer to the intersection he saw a traffic officer was directing the cars around the two that had been involved in the accident. As he got closer to being let through he saw a car to his left surge forward, not waiting its turn. The officer reached for the whistle around his neck and blew a shrill note before Ethan could put his hands over his ears.
Even with the earplugs in the sound tore through his skull and made him see double. He leaned over the wheel breathing hard with the pain only to have a chorus of horns behind him cause him further pain and distress. He sat up and lurched forward steering as best he could. The traffic officer gave him a look of dull surprise as he made his way around the blockage and through to the other side.
He made it home without further incident but by the time he got inside he felt as though his head would explode. The feel of the rain on his skin and whistling of the kettle were the background beat to this new sensation ricocheting around his skull. It was all he could do to make it to the bed and pull a pillow over his face. He lay there for the longest time before he could finally find release in sleep.
When he awoke it was pitch black and he was disoriented. It took several minutes for him acclimate and remember everything that had happened. The sensations were still with him but they were muted now and he felt as though he could function. He looked at the clock and saw it was late evening. He had been asleep for more than five hours.
It occurred to him that he hadn’t eaten since morning so he should be hungry but he wasn’t. Too much stress he supposed. He went to the kitchen anyway and made himself a light meal and sat down in front of the television. He kept the volume low and picked at his food, immersing himself in the movie that had just started. He was grateful for the distraction.
The following day he was still feeling everything and as confused as ever, wondering how he would ever get clear of the living nightmare that had become his life. He was disinclined to go out for fear some new sensation would be added to the collection but he knew he needed groceries and a few other things. By midday he felt strong enough to make it to the shopping center to do what needed doing. He put his earplugs in as tight as he could and ventured out.
It went without incident, though the sales clerks he dealt with considered him rude for not responding to their polite chatter. He didn’t notice, so it didn’t matter. He spent the evening considering his appointment the next day. He felt trepidation but resolved to go just the same. He needed help.
Part 6 Tomorrow