Jim worked in an engineering company as the head of security. He was young and was very, very muscular. He liked his job, everyone does once they start getting their salary, but then, there are some exceptions, who wander off in different directions.
Life was going smoothly for Jim. He was happy and content with he had. He was a simple man, who was trying to make his presence felt in the society.
“Hey Jim,” said Aaron, one of Jim’s colleagues. Aaron was one of those guys who hired and fired people. He had a good friendship with Jim.
“Hi Aaron, whats up?” asked Jim, with a smile on his face.
“Nothing much,” he replied.
“So, did you need anything?” asked Jim.
“Yeah, um, Ben was calling you.”
“Bald Ben?” Jim asked.
Ben was the owner of the company in which Jim worked. He was like those bosses that you see in the television series. He was one of those kind of bosses, who liked to use their power in a bad way. If you got a call from Bald Ben, it meant some serious trouble. Real serious.
“Okay, I will head there, thanks for telling me,” Jim said, he was becoming more and more tense as each second passed by.
“No problem. Good luck,” Aaron said, who clearly worried for Jim.
There was a knock on Ben’s door, it was none other than Jim.
“Come in!” screamed Ben.
Jim was intimidated by hearing the voice of Ben,
“May I come in, sir?” asked Jim.
“Didn’t I tell you to come in,” replied Ben, who looked really angry.
Jim walked in his office. He was afraid, but he tried his best not show that he was.
“You called me, sir?” asked Jim.
“What do you think?” asked Ben.
“I think you did, sir,” said Jim in a polite manner.
“Of course I did. Or you would not dare to show me your face, you fool,” screamed Ben.
Jim didn’t say anything. He just stood there, praying that nothing bad had happened.
“Well, I got some news for you,” Ben said.
Jim still did not say anything, he felt that it was best to be silent.
“Do you wanna hear it?”
“Yes, I do. Sir.”
“Okay, so you better hear this properly, cause I am gonna say this once. You are fired.”
Jim could not believe what he had heard.”
“Pardon me, sir,” he said.
“I told you that I was gonna say it to you only once, I said it once,” replied Ben.
“But why? Wha…”
“Well, I know what you are going to ask me. So let me tell you why. You see, we have been getting complaints about you and the way you work. We have heard that you use that muscular structure of yours to scare people and get the job done. I’ve heard that all you do is sit in your room and bully others.”
“That’s a lie!” screamed Jim, who was unable to control his anger and his frustration any longer.
“See, now you are using that muscular structure of yours to scare me,” said Ben, who by the looks of it was enjoying.
“I do not want to hear any explanations or anything of that sort, you hear me. You better pack up your things and get out of here,” said Ben with a cynical grin on his face.
Jim did not say anything, because he knew that, no matter what he did he was not going to get his job back.
Jim stared at Ben and then he left his office, packed all his belongings and drove away.
Andrea was worried. She sat in Jim’s apartment. She was watching some movie, but her mind was wandering some where else. She was Jim’s girl friend. They had met each other about two years ago and they got along with each other really well. Well every couple does, until something goes wrong. They supported each other during their worst times.
It was midnight and Jim had still not come home. She was getting all those negative feelings and negative thoughts, like what if he met with an accident, or what if he had an fight. Jim would never get in a fight, because he was too afraid and unsure of himself. He lacked courage, inside all that tough and muscular exterior, he was still just a young boy.
Andrea heard the door open and she saw Jim come in. Her worst fears had come true.
Jim had a Raccoons eye, he had blood stains on his collar and he was totally drunk. He entered the apartment, locked the door, stared at Andrea and fell down.
Andrea rushed to Jim. She helped him stand up, but Jim was so drunk that he failed to recognize her and asked her who she was. But she did not reply.
“Come on, Jim. Come on,” she said.
She helped him walk to a chair and helped him sit down.
“Let me get you a glass of water,” she said.
“I don’t need no water!”Jim screamed, he was really annoyed.
She did not listen to him and got him a glass of water. She handed it over to him.
Jim lost his mind and threw the glass of water on her face. The glass shattered and she started to bleed.
Suddenly, Jim’s heart started beating faster as his mind started to clear up. The woman on whom he threw his glass was none other than Andrea.
“Andrea, is that you? Andrea!” he screamed.
He walked towards her to help her, but she told him to stay away from her.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” Jim said.
“Please, stay away from me,” she said.
Jim did as he was told, he maintained a safe distance from her.
Andrea looked at Jim. He could see that she was afraid of the monster that he had become.
“I’m done!” she said and walked away.
Jim woke up the next day, he was lying on his bed. ‘I just had the worst nightmare’ he thought. He sat up.
Then he realized that he was still wearing the same clothes, which he had worn to his office the day before. He then looked at his knuckles, they had bruises on them, along with some blood. He wasn’t sure if the blood was his own or somebody’s whom he did not know or maybe some one he knew.
He entered his bathroom and looked at the mirror. A man with blood stained shirt and face which was full of wounds looked back at him. He started sweating. He went to the room where he had thrown the glass at Andrea, the night before.
He was shocked to see that there were broken pieces of glass and blood fallen on the floor. He began to realize that he never had a nightmare, but it was what happened the night before. Things began to clear up in his mind and Andrea’s bleeding face suddenly flashed before his eyes. Without thinking anything more, he took the keys to his car and drove to Andrea’s home.
Jim drove as fast as he could. After reaching Andrea’s home, he rushed to her door and thumped it.
“Andrea! Andrea!” he screamed, he was thinking about what had happened the night before. He was trying to remember things.
He kept banging on her door, and then he heard the someone open the latch. It was none other than Andrea.
“Andrea! I am sorry, please forgive me,” he said with a shock on his face.
Andrea had a lot of bandages strapped to her face and her head. He could see the blood stains on them. She gave him a cold look.
“Look at me, this is what you did to me last night,” she said with tears in her eyes.
Jim could not look at her, he was ashamed and afraid of all that he had done.
“I said look at me!” she screamed.
Jim tried to say something, but he couldn’t. He knew that it was best for him to be quiet, best to keep his mouth shut.
“All that I tried to do, was to help you. You were drunk, unable to walk. I helped you to stand up….You did not even recognize me! You threw a glass at me! Look at me!”
No matter how many times she told Jim to look at her, he just could not. He was repenting what he had done to her. The best he could do was listen to what she said.
“You know, how many stitches I had? 7-8! I don’t even remember the numbers properly and its all because of you! You know what, we are done! I don’t want to see your face again!” she said.
Jim looked up at her face. He saw the tears which were rolling down her eyes and being absorbed by the bandages.
“Look, I am sorry. I should not have done that,” Jim apologized.
“Well, you already did what you were not supposed to do,” Andrea said, this time she lowered her voice a little.
“I am sorry….I lost my job, and I hadn’t done anything wrong. Yet I was fired. i am sorry for returning home drunk,” Jim said, he was sweating now.
“I already told you that we are done! Get out of here, I do not wanna see your face again. Listen, one more thing, I did not tell the cops anything about it. But if you do not get outta here, I swear to God, I will,” she said and slammed the door shut.
Jim sat at a bar, he was already drunk, yet he ordered some more alcohol.
“Sir, I think you had enough for today,” the bartender said. He was worried about Jim, he was also worried that Jim might cause him or hos customers some harm.
“Shut up! I’m paying you right? Just fill up the glass,” Jim retorted.
The bartender did as he was told. He did not wanna pick up a fight, not with someone who was so well built.
Jim emptied the glass.
“Hey! Give me the cheapest bottle of alcohol that you have!” Jim said.
Now the other customers had started staring at Jim.
Jim took out his wallet from his pocket and emptied all the cash there was in it. It was way more than what he was actually supposed to pay.
He took the bottle and walked out of the bar.
Jim woke up the next morning, he could feel the warmth of sunshine. He could also smell the alcohol that he had drank. He looked around him, and by the looks of it he was lying on the backseat of his car. Beside him was an empty bottle, the cheapest one that the bar could offer him.
He opened the door and walked out of the car, but he was unable to do so. He fell down. He had a hangover. A really bad one. He saw that he was still in front of the bar that he was in yesterday. He looked up at the sky and cried.
He reached his apartment by the afternoon. He sat on a sofa and turned on the television, he kept staring at it. But his mind was thinking about all those events that happened so quickly. He kept changing the channels.
Soon day turned to night, Jim still sat on the sofa. He had switched off the television. Then he took out his phone from his pocket, he looked that there were about five missed calls from Aaron. He was clearly worried, but it did not matter to Jim.
Jim thought of calling Andrea, but it was of no use. He lacked the courage.
Then he had a shower. He put on his clothes and lay down on his bed. He was trying to sleep.
Three days had passed and Jim failed to get even a single minute of sleep. All he could at night was lie on his bed and stare at the roof and hope that time went fast, so that he could do something in the morning. Jim had developed insomnia and depression.
His Raccoons eye was healing up, but there were dark circles forming below his eyes. He didn’t had a shave or a bath since three days. He smelled of sweat.
He was depressed, he lost his job, had a fight with his girl friend, whom he hurt real bad.
It was the fourth day since Jim had had a sound sleep. He thought of buying some sleeping pills and went to a nearby pharmacy.
He stood in the queue. All the people around him were staring at him. Thinking that he was either a drug addict or a gangster or a homeless man. But homeless men did not drive cars. He knew that all the people were looking at him, he knew that they were disgusted. He knew that they couldn’t stand the smell coming from him. He knew that they wanted him gone as soon as possible.
When Jim’s turn came, he went to the counter and asked,” Some sleeping pills.”
“Do you have a prescription, sir?” asked the lady behind the counter.
“Look, I have not slept since four days, I can’t drive my car properly. You think I can go to doctor? I would die in the middle of the road some where. So please, can you just give me the pills?” Jim said.
The lady behind the counter did not say anything, she did as she was told.
Jim paid her and told her to keep the change.
He went to his car, opened the door and sat in it. Then he ate the pills, three of them. He felt that he really needed some sleep, then he began driving his car.
He reached his apartment. Parked his car and entered the lift. He had started yawning. He felt that the pills were working. He reached his apartment and went inside, then he lay on the bed, staring at the roof above him. Hoping that he would sleep now.
Minutes passed, hours passed but still the pills seemed to have no effect. All that it made him do was yawn. It made him feel tired. Yet he could not sleep. He kept staring and blinking at the roof. Then he closed his eyes once again, thinking that this time he might actually sleep.
Two more days passed and Jim could not sleep, he noticed that he was losing weight. Now all that he could do was order food and purchase sleeping pills until he ran out of money. He decided to have a bath, it was almost a week since he had one. Now he could smell his own dirty smell of sweat.
He went to the bathroom had a bath. Then he stood in front of the mirror. He took a towel for drying his hair. He was shocked to see that there were about a hundred or so strands of hair on his towel, probably more. He was losing his hair. He knew why it was happening. It was because of his insomnia, because of his depression and because of the stress he was in.
He decided that he would go to the pharmacy and buy some hair growth solution, but then he changed his decision and decided to take a walk instead. He felt that it would help him, he felt that the warm sun and the fresh hair might help him.
Jim locked his apartment and started walking towards the pharmacy. He wore goggles, so that the people would not stare at him this time and think that he was a junkie.
He reached the pharmacy. He stood in the queue. When his turn came, he asked for any hair growth solution which the pharmacist would give him.
He bought it and walked out of the pharmacy, on the way he saw a park. He decided to go there and sit for some while.
He sat on a bench looking around at the beauty of nature, even though he did not really appreciate it.
Jim reached his apartment and unlocked the door. He went inside and closed the door. Then he turned around, he saw that a letter had fallen down on the floor. He bent down and picked it up. As he was standing up, he saw a man standing in the corridor. Jim was shocked to see him.
“Who’s there?” Jim asked, with a little fear in his voice.
There was no reply.
Jim looked around and saw that there was a vase on a table beside him. He picked it up and moved forward. He was careful.
He reached the place where the man was standing. He looked around, there was no one there. Then he entered his bedroom, to look around if the man was hiding there. But to his surprise, there was no one there. Then he entered the bathroom, no one was there. He searched his entire apartment, but there was no one to be found.
Then he remembered that he had found a letter. He opened it and saw what was written there.
I wanted to tell you to be careful. Be cautious. Do not let it kill you.
There was no name written on it, maybe it was the man whom he had seen. Jim was afraid, ‘Do not let it kill you,’ what does that mean?
Three more days had passed, Jim was more scared now. He had lost more weight, all his muscular structure was gone now. He was losing more hair. He had an overgrown beard now. His face was now fully healed, but his eyes had become baggy eyes and there were dark circles below it. Wrinkles had started developing on his face.
Jim was lying on his bed, as he tried to sleep. He had eaten about five sleeping pills in the past six or seven hours. He couldn’t remember things properly. He was hoping that he would die. He felt that there was nothing more in his life.
No matter how many sleeping pills he ate they didn’t seem to help him. All that they would make him do was yawn.
He kept thinking about that letter, the letter which told him to be careful. Suddenly Jim realized that there was a video camera in the corridor, surely it would have recorded the man who broke into his house.
Jim walked as fast fast as he could. He reached the head of security’s room, something he was once upon a time.
“Hey, I needed to ask you something,” Jim said.
“Yeah sure, what is it?” asked the man.
“I needed to look at the video camera which you have installed on the third floor,” Jim requested.
“And, why may I ask?”
“A few days ago, I saw a man in my apartment. Then I got this later, which says ‘do not let it kill you, be cautious.’ So please can I watch it?”
The security guard, looked at him. He thought that maybe he was high on some drugs. But since he was living in the apartments, he decided to let him watch the tapes.
“So tell me, when did you see this man?”
“Three days ago,” Jim said, he was feeling really nervous now.
The security guard played the recording of that day, he played at a fast pace.
Both of them watched the tape keenly. Half an hour passed and the recording was coming to an end now, but there was no sign of any ‘man’ entering Jim’s apartment. All that there was in it, was Jim going out and coming back.
“Hey, you okay?” asked the security guard.
“Yeah, I am,” replied Jim. He was feeling uncomfortable now.
“You on drugs?”
“No! Why would I be on drugs.”
“I seriously doubt it, because the way that you look, it seems you are on drugs.”
“Do your job,” Jim said and went back to his place.
It was midnight and Jim was watching all those stupid advertisements, which tell you to buy some products which help you to grow tall or to lose weight. He kept thinking about the video recordings, no one entered his apartment, except himself.
He though that maybe he was imagining things because of the amount of sleeping pills that he was consuming. As he was watching his television, he felt that there was someone looking at him from his bedroom.
“Who’s there?” Jim said with a loud voice.
He picked up the vase, which he had picked up the other day.
He entered his bedroom and searched it, but there was no one there.
A week passed. Jim was now a bald man, he had already lost so much of hair that he decided to shave off what remained. But he had an overgrown beard. He sat on his sofa, the bottle which contained the sleeping pills was in his hand. He had swallowed about four of them that day and only three remained in the bottle. He had no plans of buying more of them, because he knew that they were of no use.
He had also found a letter which read,
‘I told you to be cautious.
Do not let it kill you.
There was no name.
Jim was losing his mind, he did not know who were sending this mysterious letters. He had seen a man in his apartment many times, but whenever he would search for him, there was no one to be found. He had given up hope of searching for that man.
Two more days passed. He was losing his mind, he was having trouble remembering things. He forgot where he had kept his clothes, where he kept his food. He had finished all the sleeping pills.
Then he heard someone knock the door. He was startled by it. He slowly went to the door and looked through the peep hole. It was Andrea. He felt really happy, and really sad at the same time. He felt sad because of the scars that were ruining the beauty of her face. And happy because she had come to meet him.
He opened the door. Andrea was shocked. She stood there, staring at Jim. He had become bald, he had become thin, he had baggy eyes and dark circles around his eyes. He had wrinkles all over his face.
“Hey, Jim,” she said.
“Hello Andrea,” he said, with a smile on his face. It was the first time that he had smiled since a long time.
“What happened to you?”
“Come in, come in, lets talk about it inside,” he said.
Jim ushered her inside and asked her to have a seat.
“So, its been a long time, since you came here,” Jim said.
Andrea felt really bad about the way Jim was looking and about the way that he struggled to tell something.
“Yeah,” she replied.
“Do you want coffee or tea?” asked Jim.
“Yeah, coffee. Thanks.”
Jim walked to the kitchen and opened the shelf, in which he kept his coffee. But there was nothing there.
“I am sorry, I don’t have coffee, would you like to have some tea?” he asked.
Jim searched for tea, but then he remembered that he had drank it all.
Jim came out of his kitchen and looked at her awkwardly.
“I am sorry, but I am out of tea. Would you like water?”
Jim gave her a glass of water. She drank half of it and kept the glass on the table.
“Um, Jim. Can I ask you something?”
“Are you alright?”
“Yeah. Yeah, I am.”
“I don’t think so, you look like your’e in pretty rough shape.”
“I haven’t slept for since the day that I threw the glass at your face, well actually since the day after it,” Jim said in a sad tone.
“Did you go to doctor?” she asked.
“No. I did not. I took some sleeping pills, but they were of no use.”
“Look, Jim. I did not come here because I liked you once upon a time. I came here because your neighbors told me that you are in pretty bad shape. How are you holding up?”
“I am in pretty bad shape,” he said with tears in his eyes. “I haven’t been able to sleep for a long time now. I see a man in my bedroom, my kitchen, in every corner of this apartment. I see him staring at me. But when I go to see who it is, he vanishes into thin air. Then I received these letters, which tell me to be cautious, they tell to not allow something to kill me.”
Andrea was shocked to hear this.
“May I see those letters,” she asked.
Jim handed over the letters to her. She saw them and felt like she had seen them somewhere. She took a picture of them on her phone.
“Why? Why did you take a picture?” Jim said.
“I feel like, I have seen this handwriting somewhere,” she replied.
“Delete them, I don’t want that thing to kill you,” he said.
“You need to see a doctor, and nobody is gonna kill me.”
“Delete those pictures, now!” Jim screamed.
“Okay,” she said.
She acted like as if she had deleted those photos, but she hadn’t.
“Look, its getting late now I have to go,” she said and left before Jim could do anything.
It had been about an hour since Andrea had gone. Jim heard someone knock his door. He walked to it and looked through the peep hole. There was a police man standing outside. He opened the door.
“Are you Jim?” asked the police man.
“Yeah, but why?” asked Jim.
Suddenly Jim felt a sting, before he could realize anything he was out.
Jim woke up the next morning. He looked around and saw that he was in hospital. He tried to sit up, but he couldn’t, he had no energy.
“Lay down,” Andrea said. She was sitting on chair beside his bed.
“What happened?” asked Jim.
“Nothing much. I found out who sent all those letters to you,” she said with a smile on her face.
“You did? Who was it?” he asked eagerly.
“It was none other than you,” she said.
Jim couldn’t believe what she just said.
“Yeah, you heard me. It was you. You see you wrote the letters to yourself, to warn yourself.”
“If I had written them, I would know that!”
“If you had written them with your right hand, you would have known it.”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you remember you had an accident about a year ago?”
“Yeah, I did. I had broken my arm.”
“You had broken your ‘right’ arm.”
“So, I hope that you remember that you wrote letters to me with your left hand. You wrote these letters with your left hand. The letters which tell you to be cautious.”
“Wouldn’t I remember that I wrote them?”
“I don’t think so. You haven’t slept for a long time now, you can’t remember things. You can’t remember if you’ve run out of coffee or tea.”
“Then what about the man, that I used to see?” asked Jim.
“He was your imagination. Look enough questions now. You see you’re in a bad shape, have some rest,” Andrea said with a stern voice.
Jim looked up at the roof, hoping that this time he would sleep. Hoping that the things between Andrea and him would be alright.
Andrea kept looking at him. She saw him go to sleep. She saw him recover. She knew that he wanted answers, but now wasn’t the best time. Now was time for them to be together. Now was the time that he needed her support.
Thank you for reading this story. I hope that you liked it. Please do share your opinions in the comments section below and also do share it on social media. I would like to know if I should have added something more in it. Thank you, once again.