From The Ashes – Part 7
Jason wasn’t shocked to find Nick’s apartment in disarray. His friend wasn’t known for his housekeeping skills, and if something happened to him inside the apartment, no one would ever know based on how chaotic it always was. The smell didn’t help either. A mix of crusted dishes, dirty laundry, and sweaty man permeated the living area. Jason didn’t flinch, though. This was typical.
“Nick? You here?” he called out as he looked around the room. Nick still had posters of bikini-clad women on his walls and old high school sports trophies. It made Jason sad that his friend never quite got past those years. His best years.
Jason walked toward the back of the apartment where the bedroom was located. He hoped to find Nick passed out on the messy bed, but he wasn’t there. Twisted sheets, old drinking cups, and stacks of past due bills littered the floor and bed. Jason was about to call his friend but noticed Nick’s cell phone sitting on the table near the bed.
Nick never left his phone behind.
His stomach tightened, and fear gripped his insides. Jason approached the phone, knowing not to touch anything. The closer he got to the table on which the cell sat, the more he knew his feelings were valid.
Blood. Just a few drops, but enough to be concerning.
Jason retraced his steps through the apartment and headed outside, pulling out his cell phone and calling his partner.
“Kris, I think Nick is missing and either dead or in a lot of trouble.”
The police were in the building within minutes. Kristen kept Jason outside, and the look in her eyes told Jason she was getting worried about the whole situation. ‘
“Jason, how’d you get in here?” she asked, already knowing the answer.
“It was unlocked.”
Kristen smirked, “Sure it was.”
Jason shrugged, “I have a key.”
Kristen shook her head and sighed.
“Look, Nick wasn’t answering his phone. I got worried. And I was right,” Jason explained in low tones. “Blood in his room. He’s not here, but his cell, which is attached to him 24/7, is here.”
Kristen hissed, “You should have just called it in as a missing person. You shouldn’t be here, Jay, you know this…”
“I know. I know all this,” he interrupted. “I should know better, yes. But dammit, Kris, this is all too weird.”
“Let me handle it, Jay. From now on, stop interfering and breaking into apartments,” Kristen reprimanded before softening and asking, “Any more memories come back?”
“No. I keep seeing more interaction with that girl, but nothing solid.”
“Go home, Jay. Please. If you hear from Nick, call me,” Kristen said, placing her hand gently on his shoulder.
Sleep wasn’t happening that night. Jason reclined on his bed, but he couldn’t relax enough to get any rest. After a few hours of tossing and turning, his body finally started to force him into sleep, but it wasn’t restful, and Jason knew he was in that weird space between awake and dreaming.
That’s when another flash of memory took over his mind. This time, he recalled running and scratching his own arms as if bugs were crawling over him. Tara was running behind him, calling out to him.
“Jason! Slow down.”
“They’re crawling all over me. I have to get them off me!” he shouted as he dug into his skin.
“There are no bugs on you, Jason,” Tara soothed as she caught up to him.
Jason pulled away and asked frantically, “Can’t you see them?”
Jason jolted upright in bed, now fully awake and shaken by what his own brain revealed.
Was he drugged? Is that why he couldn’t remember anything? But the hospital found nothing in his system.
He needed to find Nick, and fast.