I get kidnapped all the time. First happened when I was five, they demanded money, my dad paid it. But this latest incident, it wasn't like the others.
I woke in a dark room, not pitch dark, but dark enough. Light slunk in from under a door, but just a sliver. I didn't know how long I'd been there. Felt like a long time, but I really didn't know, could've been hours, could've been days. I heard voices, muffled sounds that swam through water, but nothing made sense. I tried to remember something, anything, but my head hurt too much to think. Three years since my last abduction, yet there I was, time repeating once again.
I closed my eyes, and saw my wife sitting next to me in the front seat of our car: a memory. I pulled through a parking lot up to the main entrance of a movie theatre. “Enjoy the show,” I said. “I'll be back in two hours.” She got out and walked round to my side, kissed me through the rolled-down window and I drove away. That was something. Not much, but something. The recollections must have worn me out, because I drifted back to sleep.
Some time later, I sat up startled. My eyes adjusted faster than before, and quickly pulled the room from darkness, a room empty except for me. It seemed I'd been kidnapped again--when offered nothing, the mind will bridge to any possibility. I walked to the door, and stood with the sliver of light cutting into my feet. I pounded, but no one came.
And that's when an absurd thought, as all thoughts usually become, invaded my mind. It was about my sister, but it was more than just a thought, far too clear to have been invented…again, I was remembering. She wanted to see me. Could she have been to blame, had she betrayed me? From the theatre, I drove to her house. She'd given a strange tale of troubles, and wanted to talk. Strange, indeed.
Nothing else came, so I returned to where I woke, sat against the wall, and stared at the sliver of light until I remembered more, and a winding road is what I remembered. Dark with sharp curves, I drove it slow, but up ahead a car came towards me not driving slow. I couldn't veer, so I turned my head. The light from beneath the door flashed bright, and I shut my eyes to see lights even brighter, headlights, right in front of me, coming right at me. And then darkness.
Kidnapped? No, I hadn't been kidnapped. I can't recall the impact, but head-on collisions take their toll, and their toll had been taken on me. When offered nothing, the mind will bridge to any possibility. The light from beneath the door brightened again. The underwater voices grew louder, and I understood what was happening. The door opened, and I pressed myself against the wall. Not kidnappers, but my fate awaited. The light engulfed me, and I heard these words: “Somebody come, quick!”
“In other news, in a coma for four months, Jim Thome opened his eyes. His first words were to his wife: “How was the movie?” Then he added, “Mine was pretty good…”
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A version of this story was published in Apocrypha and Abstractions.