My eyes flicker. I've been sleeping beyond my alarm clock. I've been sleeping for ages. This has happened a few times. I wake up without an alarm, feeling too well rested, and look at the clock that makes me late for everything. Eyes dart open surveying my surroundings. A dark corner. A blinking alarm clock. A velvet painting of a deer with another deer. I survey my position. I am on my side facing what appears to be the back of a rough fabric couch. I am wearing a flannel, jeans, and some boots made of rubber and leather. I open my eyes fully and look around. There is a television with an antenna, a deer bust, and a picture of a guy in a wooden barrel scrubbing himself with a brush.
This isn't my life.
I live on 39th street in New York City. I have a wife and three kids and two dogs. I work at a law firm as a new lawyer. I have impressed my bosses a dozen times and have been insinuated a promotion. I wear a suit and tie to work and take pride in my appearance. I am young and good looking and intelligent. I am what everyone in Harvard University looks like. I work hard at looking the role.
I wake up completely. The way a person wakes up when the smell of coffee has become too strong to resist. There is no coffee here though. Here, as I look around, seems to be nowhere. I am nowhere. I am a man in a flannel laying on an old sofa in a cabin in the woods with no other sound but my own sober breath. Where am I and how did this happen? I remember sitting in my chair with a bottle of whiskey. That's it. That's all.
I lost a big case. The first big case I was assigned to. I had worked on many, but this one was mine: I was in charge of it. A kid went missing and I was sure it was the father who did it and not my client. They found the body in the river miles down stream. The killer? A 15 year old that confessed dumping him there; paralyzed in guilt. They all laughed at me after that. I went home and sat down with a bottle of whiskey and leaned back in my chair.
I am surrounded now by evergreen trees. I don't recognize where I am. I call for my wife. Nothing. I call for my children. Nothing. I roll over and reach my feet, legs feeling 100 years old. I look outside the window after clearing the cobwebs from the sill and see nothing but wilderness. Trees, Just trees. Where were my wife and kids? Why did I feel so old? The refrigerator is empty. There are no tracks in the dirt that surrounds the cabin. There is no phone to call out. One single box of Rice Chex in the cupboard. I realize that no matter how I got here, I am screwed. I know this because this has always how I've pictured hell. Now I am here.
To Be Continued...
Thanks for reading...Z