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It was an ordinary night at Randall Patrick's morgue until banging is heard from inside the cold storage.
A fall victim brought in hours earlier has seemingly come back to life. Stranger yet the young man is unable to recall anything from before the fall but maintains the body he now finds himself in is not his own.
Soon Randall forms an unusual bond with the fall victim but as odd events and eerie happenings begin piling up Randy suspects it's not a question of who the stranger was before his "death" but what - a realization sure to change Randall's life forever.
Excerpt for The Falling
The world as he last recalled it consisted of waves of vibrant red, black, and indigo. Pulsing swells of energy both hungry and giving pushed and lashed out at him as he struggled to find some sort of calm within the storm. Everything and nothing made sense as he reached as far into the abyss as a soul could in hopes of finding something – anything – on the other side solid enough to grab onto before he fell in.
He remembered nothing between then and now save for an almost blinding blue-white flash of light shining all around as well as within. He was simply caught in the storm one second and lying flat here on a cold bed hard as cement the next seemingly quick as a blink though he had no way to tell how much time had actually passed.
He couldn’t, in fact, discern much of anything at the moment. The room around him was dark. Still. Quiet. Too quiet, really, allowing him to hear the pounding of his own heart within his ears – hard and swift as though the organ had just undergone some great shock despite the fact he wasn’t the slightest bit out of breath. The air around him felt cold and heavy. Thick. Close. He sensed the surrounding walls were much too close. So much so he could reach right out and touch them if only he dared to try.
Thousands of tiny needles pricked and burned beneath his skin as he willed his left hand to crawl out from under the blanket covering his body. The blanket was thin, little more than a sheet, really, but the fabric rubbed rough against his arm nonetheless as he managed to raise it up to freedom. It was his arm, he knew. It escaped the blanket when he’d told it to, the hand flexed and balled into a fist to chase stiffness from the fingers on command, and yet he couldn’t help but notice a nagging sense of disconnect, numb and heavy, between himself and the limb. Almost as though it was more like some ill-fitting glove than flesh and bone and yet –
He felt with too sharp certainty the smoothness of his skin as he called upon the right hand to lift and land upon his chest beneath the blanket. There were no obvious scars as best he could tell, no apparent reason for the growing uneasiness within his chest other than the fact his body felt like that of a stranger. Not overly toned but fairly fit – he gathered a number of details through touch alone but none called any images of himself to mind.
He ordered the left hand to land upon his cheek and found similarly smooth skin. No heavy wrinkles, no scars, only slight stubble around his mouth. Full lips, a sloped nose, soft brow, messy half-curled waves of hair atop his head – the details were all there beneath his fingertips but they meant nothing to him. His face was as blank as the darkness around him and the air ever heavier with every breath he took.
It occurred to him he ought to do something but what, exactly, was one to do in a situation such as this? He thought to sit up but then, aware of the unnatural closeness of the walls, opted to reach his hands out to either side instead. He reached as he’d reached beyond the storm only this time his hands hit upon walls as cold and hard as the bed beneath him mere seconds into their journey.
Instinct demanded he reach above as well as beyond his head. Both attempts garnered the same cold hard results. This was not a room, he realized, but a box and that caused his heart to quicken for reasons he wasn’t yet entirely sure of. He needed to get out, he supposed, but couldn’t think of how he ought to go about making his escape.
In the end, he pushed against the wall directly behind his head until he felt the entire bed beneath him roll forward. He came to an abrupt stop as metal clanged against metal and winced as the sound echoed loudly all around him. The ringing the clanging evoked within his ears was so great he was only vaguely aware of a muffled voice cursing somewhere just beyond his box. Someone outside. Someone who might free him.
The pain lifting his leg in order to kick at the metal his bed had rammed up against was great – both from the needles of pain which fired from toe to thigh and the second shrill clanging as his kick pushed his bed up against the wall nearest his head – but the effort proved successful. Seconds after a fresh series of muffled curses just barely reached his ringing ears there was a loud metallic click and a flash of light nearly as blinding as that inside the storm flooded every inch of the box around him.
He couldn’t bear to open his eyes against the intensity of the light even when he felt his bed being rolled forward so quickly it almost made him dizzy. A second heartbeat became audible, this one beating far faster than his own, while labored panting breaths sounded directly above him. Soon a sort of shade fell across his face as someone leaned in to take a closer look at him; the shadow made it safe for him to open his eyes.
The scream took him by surprise. Not his, he was certain no sound had passed from his own throat, but he felt it inside himself nonetheless. Fear and horror but there were softer things mixed within the sounds as well. Things like sympathy or maybe remorse. He was still struggling to comprehend the nature of the scream even as he looked to locate the source of it. A heavy-set young man with tan skin and curly dark hair doing all he could to avoid eye contact loomed above, casting the much needed shade over his face until contact was made and the scream somehow managed to climb an octave higher.
He’d only stared the screaming man in the eye for a few seconds before the man turned on his heel and ran away, screaming now for someone named “Randy”. The light attacked his eyes the instant the screamer moved away, forcing him to cover his face with his hand as he processed what to do next. The air here was warmer and less claustrophobic but he still felt odd. Uncomfortable. Cold.
Sitting upright on the hard bed proved more difficult than expected but only because his muscles were stiff and reluctant to do as commanded. Blips of pain stabbed and radiated along nerve endings all over his body but once he was up he found it easy to swing his legs over the side of the bed – or perhaps table was more like it, he thought, squinting at the shiny silver surface directly beneath him.
The light was easier to take now he was no longer facing it directly. Easier still once he turned his gaze to the room around him rather than the metal below. Easier, yes, but still unpleasant as he struggled to focus upon the darkened corner in the distance. Not that there was much to look at, really. Plain white and mint green tiles spanned the walls and floors. Cabinets and odd tables of metal with drains and a desk in the distance were the only furniture to be found. The space he’d been pulled from looked a bit like a cabinet too, he thought – one of many square spaces stacked into rows along the wall.
There were too many cubes, all but his closed up tight with shiny metal doors. He wondered, briefly, if there were others like him inside any of them but the room was silent now the screamer had dashed into the hallway beyond and somehow he doubted screaming was a usual sort of reaction. No, there weren’t others like him in this place. He was alone here.
The sound of hurried footsteps came from the hall beyond. Two sets moving in tandem, one slightly faster than the other. Voices joined the pitter pat as they drew nearer, one breathless and panicked while the other tried to sound calmer than the speaker actually felt.
“I’ve seen bodies do all sorts of crazy things,” the calmer of the two was saying. “It’s freaky until you get used to it, yeah, but it’s just biology in motion.”
“Don’t bullshit me, Randall,” the panicked replied. “I told you there was banging and when I went to check the dude looked right at me. Right. At. Me. It wasn’t any damn muscle spasm.”
“And I’m telling you, Ben, in five years on the job I’ve never seen anybody magically come back to life. You just got a case of the newbie jitters, that’s all. You’re lucky Decker’s not on tonight or she’d have your balls for taking off like you did. You know we’re not supposed to leave ‘em –”
The urge to run and hide kicked hard as he heard Randy (full name Randall) place his hand upon the doorknob. Randall and Ben, the calm and the panicked, would be inside within seconds. Randall would see that Ben was not simply a jittery newbie and then – What would happen then? He wasn’t supposed to be here. He realized now that was the reason he’d felt so odd when he first opened his eyes. He wasn’t supposed to be here in this body. This body wasn’t his to wear.