A Shock for Terry

“It is you, isn’t it?”

Harris was taken aback by the figure that had stepped out in front of him, seemingly from nowhere.

“I’m sorry?”  Harris frowned against the low winter sun.  The figure was silhouetted, his face in shadow.

“Old Terry Harris! Man alive!”  Evidently, whoever-it-was was pleased to see him.

Harris grimaced and tried to turn it into a smile.  He hoped he’d be allowed to continue on his way without some long drawn-out attempt at conversation.

“You’re looking well!” The stranger seemed surprised.  “How long has it been now?  Ooh, it must be…”

Harris gave a shrug.  The man’s voice was familiar but Harris couldn’t put a name to it.  He tried to sidestep around so that the sunlight wasn’t so blinding.  He expected the stranger to pull him into a handshake, but it never came.

“Are you still with…” The stranger prompted.

“Angela. Yes.”  Harris obliged.

“Angela… She still beautiful?  Always carried herself well, did Angela.  You’re a lucky fellow.”

From this angle, the stranger’s face caught the light.  His skin was pale, translucent almost in that cold, gleaming sunshine.  Harris studied the shape of the cheeks, the jaw, the high forehead…  All seemed familiar but he couldn’t pinpoint –

“Not keeping you, am I?”

“Um, no.”  This was a lie but Harris didn’t want this – this person knowing his business.  This vaguely familiar stranger didn’t need to know Harris was on his way to a psychiatric evaluation.

“Well, it’s good to see you, old boy!”  The stranger’s lips parted in a generous smile.  His teeth glinted and Harris felt as though a lightning bolt had struck his mind.

It all came rushing back, like a river bursting through a dam, inundating Harris’s imagination with pictures and memories.

“You will remember me to Angela, won’t you?  I think we might have made a go of it, you and I, had it not been for you.”

“John!” Harris gasped.  He felt queasy and staggered on the spot.  John made no attempt to steady him.  Harris reached out to the nearest wall.   Sweat drenched his face and his breath caught in his chest.  He panted and sobbed as he remembered.

“Bit of a shock, I imagine,” John pouted, unsympathetically.  “You must feel like you’re losing your grip – all over again.  But I’m not the only shock you’ve had, am I, Terry?  Part and parcel of your treatment, wasn’t it?  Up at the clinic?”

Terry vomited.  He wiped his mouth and shook his head.  He ran down the street as fast as his rubbery legs could take him.

John called after him in a mocking tone.

“Never thought you’d see me again, did you, Terry?  Well, I’m back now.  And no matter how much they zap electricity into that head of yours, I’ll keep coming back.  Do you hear me?  I’ll keep coming back.

“Until you tell them where you hid my body!”

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