Saturday, July 14, 2012

Idea Number Six: Results

Prompt: No one else seemed to see what was really happening on the movie screen.

This entry courtesy of Timothy Forry

I pulled my sweat soaked tee shirt away from my chest.  It snapped back wetly. It was the second shirt I’d gone through in the past three hours. If you’ve never lived on the top floor of a six-floor walk-up in New York City in the summer, without air conditioning; you don’t know what hot is. I peeled the shirt off and tossed it to the floor. I looked out my bedroom window.  The pulsing lights of the Cineplex and  thoughts of a cool, dark movie theater beckoned to me. I had to get out of the apartment.
I picked my green Whirled Peas tee shirt off  the floor. It smelled a little funky, but at least it was dry. I slipped it over my head and opened the bedroom door quietly. I peered out. My dad’s recliner was in sight. His right arm hung lazily off the side, a sure sign that he’d fallen asleep in front of the TV. I tip-toed to the front door and let myself out. As soon as I entered the stairway, I was hit with the strong smell of curry wafting up from a neighbor’s apartment. It made the thick air harder to breathe as it stung the inside of my nose. I used my fingers to pinch my nostrils closed. I descended the stairs, two at a time, racing by the offending neighbor’s door.
In no time at all I made it to the bottom floor. I pushed through the two sets of doors and exited to the busy city sidewalk. I cut through the parade of passersby, narrowly avoiding a direct collision with the drunk homeless guy that had claimed my street as his territory. In the heat, he reeked even worse than usual. He smelled like rotten onions, dried pee and liquor. He should wear a sign that says “Extremely Flammable.” I have nothing against the guy, he even smiles at me sometimes with the few teeth he has left.
I bolted across the street and into the theater lobby. I didn’t have any money, as usual. I hung out just inside theater doors and surveyed the crowd. I saw a group of older girls and guys lining up to hand over their tickets. I casually walked up behind them, then ducked to the side. I’m really small and tend to get overlooked. As the group moved forward, I glanced over my shoulder to make sure no other employees were watching. Fortunately it was a busy night and all the workers were engaged with paying moviegoers.
I ducked the rope and stayed with the group as they headed to their designated theater. I hadn’t looked at the movie times, so I had no idea where we’d end up. We passed by a sci-fi movie I really wanted to see, then an action flick. I cringed as I figured out that the crew was going to see Lost in the Park, a romantic comedy. Not wanting to miss out on a single minute of free cool air, I swallowed my disappointment and filed into the theater. I sat near the back, away from the crowd, and propped my feet up on the seat in front of me. I leaned back with my arms crossed behind my head, waiting for the movie to start.
About forty-five minutes into the movie, I admitted to myself that it was actually funny. It was about a nerdy guy who posted his studly roommate’s profile pic on his own dating site profile. He starts chatting with a girl, who, the audience finds out, did the same thing. They keep making plans to meet in the park, but they’re both looking for the wrong people. They end up talking, not realizing that they are actually both the right people.
As I watched their second meeting, this time at the Bethesda fountain, the woman walked along the rim. Her heel snapped and she toppled into the water. The nerdy guy reached in to help her but fell in, too. That’s when I saw someone, clearly not meant to be in the movie, running up a pathway toward the fountain. Her shirt was torn and face smudged. She looked terrified. Not far behind her, a man chased her. He gained on her. I saw a flash of light glint off of a knife in his hands.
I sat up straight in my seat and gazed around the theater. Everyone was laughing at the couple in the fountain. No one else seemed to see what was really happening on the movie screen.
The terrified woman had fallen down, right next to the happy couple splashing in the fountain. I gripped the arm of my seat. How could no one else see this? A scream caught in my throat as I watched the man with the knife raise his hand in the air. I couldn’t look. I turned my face away.
It can’t be real. It was the heat. Maybe I was dehydrated, and hallucinating?
I turned my gaze back to the screen. My empty stomach heaved as I saw the river of blood flowing from the woman’s chest. The man was still hunched over her. 
I was the only one who saw it.
Then, the murderer looked directly at me and smiled menacingly.
I yelped, slapping a hand over my mouth. I bolted out of the theater, through the lobby and onto the street without stopping. The heat and humidity hit me like a wall. Taking a deep breath took great effort. I managed it, then looked down the street before running to the safety of my apartment building. I fished the key out of my pocket, unlocked the door then flew up the stairs, into my apartment. I didn’t care if I woke my dad. I raced to my room and slammed the door shut behind me. I fell against the back of the door, breathing heavily. I needed to tell somebody about this.  Someone who wouldn’t think I had lost my mind.
I stumbled to my desk and woke up my laptop. I scanned my friends list to see if anyone was online. I scrolled down and sighed, slightly relieved, as I noticed the green light beside ChuckWhiz, aka, my friend Charlie. He knew all sorts of things about weird, paranormal events. I typed:
Dude, you’ll never believe what just happened to me.
My own message stared back at me, the cursor blinked irritatingly.
After a few minutes, Charlie responded.
Hit me later. I’m freaking out. I just saw a woman get stabbed in Central Park.

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