Tim stared, mouth agape, at the blurred clock glowing green. Fear pricked all over him. The street was hollow and silent. Nothing disturbed its stillness, save for Tim’s timid footfalls. He searched the street’s length for any movement but found none as far as he could see. Everything in him told him to leave, to run as fast as he could. No answer came when he asked Where the hell do I go?
Without realizing, he was ambling towards the clock, as if caught in its gravitational pull. When he had lumbered his way to the building with the green timekeeper, a window came to life like the beginning of a movie, lights dimming around him, glass shimmering a ghostly grey. A cat’s meow interrupted his racing, confused mind. He jerked his head to the right but didn’t see anything. Another meow, a pitch lower, softer. He snapped his head to the left. No cat in sight. He exhaled through his mouth and clenched his jaw. His feet were burning for him to run, but they were concrete. He thought briefly that he must be dreaming, and whatever this is will be over soon. Just as his frightened mind was about to explode, the window’s scenes began.
They flashed quickly, and he could only catch and make sense of a few of them. A skinny man in brilliant wine-, obsidian-, and gold-accented Roman military uniform, gaunt cheeks lifting his lips into a mad smile. A man in burgundy, medieval Samurai armor, his two swords in ebon sheaths in front of him as he wept into his hands. A striking, young man wearing a faded crimson and charcoal garter on his arm drinking heavily and spitting up blood in some dusty saloon. The images sped by like a bullet train, and Tim was using all his inner will to look away but it was impossible. All he could do was watch this morbid collection of countless, ruined men. Tears quivered at the edges of his vision. The images rushed at Tim, and he pleaded to anyone to make them stop.
And stop they did. All that was left was Tim’s mirrored reflection in his red and black bowler hat. It winked a smile at him. Tim couldn’t speak but his mind roared with seething fear.
The rolling meow brought the lights back to the street. A black cat slinked towards Tim, purring and bumping its head and body into his right leg. Stiff with commanding apprehension, Tim eyed the cat, finding only his dread in its cherry red eyes. Tim exhaled sharply several times. Another cat, with the softer meow, rubbed its head into Tim’s left leg. Its dark, maroon eyes pierced him.
“Don’t be afraid,” a deep, sultry voice said. The woman from his dream, Tim thought. The one who saved his life—the notion seemed so alien now. Tim’s body angled itself drunkenly towards the voice. There she stood, the woman in the cherry red dress with the black band, dangerous and gorgeous.
“Well, what do you think?” she asked, smirking. Stupefied, Tim said nothing.
“I think you look like a goat won in a game of knucklebones,” a soft voice said behind him.
“I wasn’t talking to you,” said the beautiful, deadly woman in front of him.
“It doesn’t matter. We should finish this. We’ve had our fun.”
“Oh, fine,” she said, clearly frustrated. “Well, my little darling. Sweet dreams.” Then she kissed him, deep. Tim felt lighter. She inched away from him letting the last kiss simmer between their lips, her cherry red eyes gazing into his. She wheeled him around, effortlessly. Tim felt like he was floating. The other’s maroon eyes shot through him to his toes. Tim felt weightless and free. The maroon-eyed woman kissed him, soft and sweet, making a gentle ‘mwah’ sound at the last.
Tim’s hat was still secure on his balding head, and he grinned stupidly and lovingly at that comfort. He tilted his head back, closed his eyes, and felt all the hunger and pain and fear and uncontrollable sorrows in his life melt away into nothing.
This is the last in a three-part story. Here are the first two: