City Intersection, Chapter Four – Zero Dollars

Well, a little late with this. Whatever.

Speaking of things I’m late with… Here’s Episode Five of the show:

Interesting little note about this chapter. While the main inspiration for this story came to me… wow, only a month ago? Anyway, several aspects of this story have been mulling around in my head for quite a while and I just took the base story as a chance to finally add them into something.

So, a certain part of the story (more or less introduced in this chapter) actually first came to me while I was watching Shawshank Redemption probably like six months ago or something. Great movie.

Speaking of movies, I just watched Eraserhead. What a bizarre, amazing movie. Apparently it was, as is this story, inspired in part by the city of Philadelphia.

Well, well. I’ve rambled on quite a bit here. I’ll sum things up with an awesome song and equally awesome music video:

Alright, finally onto the story.

~

I had forgotten how much I loathed alcohol. I didn’t have a hangover, exactly, but just felt like shit overall. It’s strange, alcohol really does suck all enjoyment out of the following day, doesn’t it. I suppose it’s not that strange, actually; it is a poison, after all.
But that’s what I had ketamine for. Half an hour later, I wouldn’t have been able to tell whether I had alcohol the previous night or not, and not just because I literally couldn’t tell.
It was getting to me. Not the ketamine, not necessarily, just “it”. Something was getting to me in this city. Perhaps it was the city itself. But I just felt off. And the fact that I noticed that I “felt off” showed how strong the feeling must truly be; enough to break through my perpetual state of “off-ness”.
There was something about this city, something I didn’t like. I wanted to get out of there, but didn’t feel that I could until I had done what I came to do.
What had I come to do? Sell ketamine? Who bought ketamine nowadays? Well, plenty of people, but from what I had seen of this town I didn’t think there would be many buyers to be found around here.
I vomited. I never vomited from ketamine. It must have been from the alcohol. God, that stuff was awful. I mean, it certainly tasted good the previous night, but… Wow, it was bad.
Actually, no, it didn’t taste that great the previous night. It was decent beer for sure, great beer even, but there was, even then, something off about it. Some underlying flavor I didn’t notice then and didn’t remember until just now, something that just put me off from it.

I didn’t remember this until just then, but on the ride to the hospital Hannah had mentioned something that had been on the radio when we had driven down to Desmond.
The radio newscaster announced that a serial killer dubbed “the Century Killer” had been released from prison a few days prior. Apparently it was all still fairly confidential, as the information had only just come from an anonymous source that morning and the true identity of the murderer was still unknown to the public, but it rang a bell for Hannah. She said the name “the Century Killer” sounded oddly familiar, like something she had heard in a story from her grandfather at one point.
She said I asked her what she remembered of the story, but she brushed it off as deja vu or something like that. “It’s silly, don’t bother about it,” she said. “Even if there was some connection, I’m sure they just heard the story as well at some point and named themselves after it.”

This little anecdote doesn’t have any current importance, sure. However, it is necessary to give, as are so many things in this story, a bit in advance of where it will come into play; all of the puzzle pieces must be out before you can start putting them together. In fact, have another one.

One of the first structures that Frederick Simmons erected in the town was a monument A small building built around a thirty-foot statue of a faceless man holding up a circle, a snake eating its own tail, with a sword emerging out of the man’s mouth to pierce the side of the snake.
The plaque read “Conquest of Time”.

Wait, where was my briefcase? The one that would land me in prison for a good, oh, thirty or so years if it were discovered? I knew I had it at the hospital, and I had a dose at my room the following morning, so it must have been somewhere in my room…
No, it wasn’t. Don’t get high on your own supply, as I… well, I never said that. But the point was, I always dosed from a small bag that I kept on my person. I rarely opened up the briefcase itself.
So, the hospital. I was pretty sure I had brought it out with me, and I think I had it at the coffeeshop. Hannah would’ve reminded me if I had forgotten it there, so I’m sure I left with it as well. That left the bar.
Yes, I was certain I must have left it there.
I rinsed out my mouth and brushed my teeth to get rid of the lingering vomit taste, then got up shakily and headed out of the hotel.
I stepped out of my door and paused, unsure of where I was. I had some small sense of bearings, I knew that I was in the town of Desmond, MA, but I had completely lost all sense of where I actually was. I couldn’t remember the year, who I was, or what I was doing here.
The feeling faded a moment later but by that time I had slumped against the wall in a cold sweat, my head darting from side to side in paranoia.
I stood up and tried to recover myself, but I felt as though I was separate from myself, in a way, like I was watching myself walk down that hallway.
By the time I made my way out of the hotel the feeling had mostly passed. I squinted my eyes at the bright light of outside and sneezed then, after checking that it was clear, crossed the road towards the bar.

A man named Philip Keaton laid in his bed. Philip Keaton was a nervous man. He thought he heard a creak in his apartment, but then again, that happened every night. He was always hearing things. He tried to brush over it.
He turned to his other side. His room was dark but shafts of light fell through his adjustable shades and onto his bed in a series of parallel lines. He stared out the shades at the gas streetlamp that was throwing the light, and wished they were still candles. He liked the candle lamps more.
He couldn’t sleep.
He turned to his other side again and shut his eyes. He had to sleep. He had work, and he knew from experience that the more sleep deprived he was, the more nervous he got, which was always a bad thing.
He heard that creak in his apartment again and he tried to plug his ears, but was certain that wouldn’t help; it was all in his mind after all, it must be.
A few minutes later he had just barely begun to fall asleep, finally. The knife plunged into his back, then, startled him more than it would otherwise. His eyes widened and for one moment he smiled.
“You see, that won’t do much, since I am…” he said, turning around to face his assailant. As soon as he saw who it was the blood and smile alike drained from his face.
“So this is it, then?” he said instead, his voice already weakening.
The attacker nodded. He waited until Philip Keaton’s body had relaxed – for the first time in his life – and his eyes were opened in a glazed unseeing stare before retracting the knife and leaving the apartment.
He walked to the police office and reported a murder at Philip’s residence, and gave himself in as the murderer. The police were confused at his strange outrightness, but they took him into custody all the same.
He whispered something into the ear of the officer who brought him to his cell. The officer frowned, looked at him, then turned away absorbed in his thoughts.
Thus the Century Killer began his next eight decades in isolation.

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