The Other Side | By: Dallas Releford | | Category: Short Story - Horror Bookmark and Share

The Other Side

THE OTHER SIDE By: Dallas G. Releford Amos Jackson had looked forward to Saturday all week long but now that it had finally arrived, he was concerned about his health. His family doctor had told him over a year ago that he had diabetes and that he would not be able to drink alcohol anymore but Amos hadn’t listened to him. He had passed out at work last week and it had taken a trip to the emergency room at the local hospital to get his attention. His doctor had prescribed a pill daily, told him to check his blood sugar level twice each day and to go on a low carb diet. That had only been three days ago and Amos figured that he could have one last party and invite a few of his buddies over to watch the football game on his new wide-screen television set. Of course, having a couple of beers wouldn’t hurt him and then his drinking and partying would be over. After that, the only thing he would have left would be the many memories of the good times he had enjoyed in his “wild” past. Were those times really that great, he wondered as he cleaned the apartment in anticipation of the arrival of his friends? Amos was thirty-five and had never been married. What few friends he did have were people that he knew at work. They got together almost every weekend, watched sports and enjoyed the games along with a few beers. Amos had never been in real love, wasn’t very ambitious and didn’t save any money for the future that he didn’t realize that he had. He lived for today and was quite willing to leave tomorrow on its own just like he was. It was ten o’clock in the morning but his friends weren’t due to arrive until two o’clock. As he was busily working cleaning, dusting and finally preparing the food, he thought that he would have a beer before having a snack. He took a sip, set the cold can on the kitchen counter and continued to work. One sip soon led to several gulps until the can was empty. He started back to the refrigerator for another beer but he never made it. His head started to spin round, everything looked like a snowy picture on the television screen as it began to fade away. Then suddenly, everything went blank. When he awakened, the sun was shining and he was outside, standing beneath a huge Maple tree that had its long limbs spread in every direction. Amos didn’t know if what he was seeing was real or if he was just dreaming. He had never seen blue sunlight, blue trees or blue people before. As a matter of fact, everything in his new world was a different shade of blue. He wondered if his diabetes had something to do with it. From what he could figure out, it appeared that he was standing under a huge tree at the edge of a western town. He could look down the wide, dusty street where he saw men, women, children and horses. All were engaged in what Amos figured was normal activity. He was so shocked and scared that he really didn’t know what to do next. He looked down at his shaking hands only to discover that both of his hands were now a pale blue color too. He supposed that his entire body was blue but he wasn’t prepared to confirm that fact. Curious, he reached up and touched the low-hanging tree limb above him and was surprised to find that it was indeed real. Not knowing exactly what else to do, he wandered down the street being careful not to let himself get run over by a horse and buggy or a team of horses pulling a wagon. He passed a hotel where several men were sitting on the front porch talking. They cast a glance in his direction but then resumed their conversation. McCreary’s General Store seemed to be busy so he walked upon the wooden sidewalk and proceeded past the almost empty bar. He was tempted to buy a cold drink but figured that they wouldn’t accept his American dollars and he didn’t have a Traveler’s card handy. As he passed a clothing store, a young lady standing in the window caught his attention. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen even if she was blue. Since he didn’t have anything else to do, he decided to enter the store and maybe get some information from the young woman. There were many questions on his mind and he hoped that she could help him. Foremost on his mind was where was he and how did he get there? “Can I help you find something Sir,” she asked walking over to where he stood looking at several selections of boots. He was aware that she was staring at his attire and thought to himself that he must indeed look strange to her in his shorts and Polo shirt. “No, but thank you just the same though,” he replied,” but I’m just looking.” “Is there something specifically that you had in mind?” “Well, to be truthful miss, I just saw you in the window and came in to tell you how pretty you are. My name is Amos Jackson,” He told her offering to shake her hand. “Glad to meet you Mr. Jackson,” she replied smiling as she took his hand and squeezed it. “I’m Patricia Ballard. My friends call me Pat. Jay, you’re new in town aren’t you?” “Yes,” he said. “You might say that. In fact, I just arrived.” “Where are you from Mr. Jackson?” She asked walking back behind the counter where she started putting some material away that she had been showing a customer before he came in. “A long way from here, a place called Cincinnati, Ohio.” “Oh a friend of mine moved there,” she said, “but I haven’t heard from her in years.” Amos had been wondering since his arrival, exactly where he was. Had he somehow crossed over into another dimension or was he dead? Now that she had revealed a city name that he was familiar with, he thought that he might be in some parallel universe or something. If he were dead then he reasoned that he might even be in heaven or someplace similar to it. His better judgment told him that he was probably in some place in another universe because he couldn’t visualize heaven being like earth. The big question was about where he really was. He knew that it was similar to earth except everything was some shade of blue. He knew that he must be on a planet because he could see a light blue sun. He also realized that the people that he had seen thus far, looked and acted pretty much like the people he had known all his life. “That’s terrible,” Amos said, “have you lived here very long?” “Since I was a little kid,” she explained smiling at him. “Well Pat, I don’t want to be too forward,” he told her, “but I have a lot of questions that I need to get answered. I thought that you might like to go for a walk or something and then we can talk.” Amos knew that he didn’t have any money that he could use to take her out but he thought that she might be able to answer some of his questions. If there was anything that made any sense to him it was the fact that he needed information and to get that information, he needed a contact. “Sure, it’s quiet now and I don’t usually get many customers in the afternoon, especially around the lunch hour, so I can hang out my “Closed” sign and we can take a walk down by the river. It’s always pretty there this time of the year.” As they walked down the sidewalk, their conversation turned from casual to serious. “So Pat, you don’t remember much about your childhood until after you were about twelve years old?” He asked her. “No, but my parents told me a lot about what it was like before that time,” she informed him. “Did your parents remember anything about their early lives?” She looked at Amos as if she was wondering what he was getting at as they neared the bank of the blue river running through the blue landscape. “No, as a matter of fact, nobody here remembers much about what their past was like so we all live for the present and the future.” “That’s weird,” Amos said wondering if he were getting closer to an answer or if he was just raising more questions. “You mean to say that nobody actually remembers anything about anyone else being born?” “Being born? What’s that?” Pat asked confused. “Well, where I come from people are born into the world. That means that a man and a woman, a male and a female, get together and the result is a small human that we call a baby. The baby then grows up to become an adult human.” “Oh you mean the appearance, as we call it,” Patricia said innocently as if physical birth wasn’t something that she knew about. “Why is that so important? We just live for today and let tomorrow come so we have another day to live.” “What about death?” Amos asked. “Do your lives ever end?” “Of course not silly,” Pat told him. “As far as I know, everyone that I know has been here for a very long time. Of course, someday we may just “disappear” like we “appeared” but so far that has never happened.” “So am I correct if I presume that you don’t make love or have sex with each other?” Amos wasn’t sure what kind of world he was in except he was sure that many similarities existed between his own world and hers. “Of course we do,” she said. “Don’t you know where you come from?” “Sure I do,” he informed her, “that’s how we reproduce on my world. As I said, there’s an interaction between the male and female of the species. I can’t believe that none of your people are concerned about their existence or where they actually came from? That seems unnatural.” “It’s true,” she said. “We spend our time trying to make each other happy. Where do you come from Jackson? Is it some place on this world that I’ve never even heard of? You’re telling me such strange things and it disturbs me because I’ve never heard such things before.” “I know you haven’t,” Amos replied trying not to scare her any more than he had to. “I don’t think I’m from this world or that I was meant to be here. The last thing that I can remember is that I was in my apartment and then I’m here looking down the street of a strange town in a very strange place. You see Pat, in my world there are many different colors but in your world everything is just one main color, blue. Of course, there are different shades of blue, but the basic color of everything on this world is still blue. Even I’m blue now that I’m here. In my world, my skin was white and there were hundreds of different colors for me to enjoy.” “Well why worry about it?” Pat asked putting her arms around him. “Let’s just make love here on the bank of the beautiful river and let the rippling waters carry our minds away into ecstasy.” Before he knew it, her lips were on his. He found her soft, moist mouth to be the warmest, softest that he had ever known and her embrace the most pleasurable. The afternoon passed by quickly and darkness came as they still made love relentlessly. “I love you and I don’t want to leave you or for you to leave me Amos,” Pat said caressing his body all over. “I love you too,” Amos told her as they embraced once more and their lips met consistently. “I’ll never leave you Patricia. I’ll just have to make all the adjustments so I can live in your world for as long as I can.” “It won’t be hard,” she assured him, “and we can run the store together. Amos, I’d like to give you something to represent my love for you.” “What is it that you want to give me? You know that you don’t have to give me anything but your love and understanding because I love you and that’s all that matters. What can you give me that you already haven’t given to me?” He said to her smiling. “My necklace that was given to me by my mother,” she informed him placing the stone chain around his neck. “There it is, a symbol of our love that you can wear forever. It will always remind you of this night.” “I’ll always remember this night anyway,” he said, “but I’m glad that you gave me something that belongs to you. Now, here’s my watch. You tell time with it. Every time you look at it, you’ll be reminded of me.” He pulled the watch from his arm and placed it on her arm. She just stood there looking at the gold watch amazed at the strange object that was the connection between her and her lover. “Oh, a clock,” she said. “We have big ones but nothing so small that you can actually put on your arm or hold in your hand.” Before he could respond things started to happen. It got much darker, his eyes got blurry and his body was extremely cold. He reached for her as she reached for him but their hands passed right through each other. “Amos,” she screamed as he faded away into nothingness. “Amos, return to me, please don’t leave me.” Those were the last words that he heard. *** “Amos --- Amos wake up,” another female voice was pleading with him but he knew that the voice didn’t belong to Patricia. She wasn’t the one uttering those words. Everything came to him very slowly as he realized that he was in a hospital and the person calling for him to awaken was a nurse. Where was Patricia? Was it all just a horrible dream? He wondered how any dream could possibly be so real. “You’ve let your sugar get too high, Mr. Jackson,” the nurse said to him patting him on the shoulder. “You’re going to need to watch it closer from now on. You’ll need to see your doctor as soon as possible. I’m sorry but you’ll be in the hospital so we can get everything back in balance again and we want to run a few tests.” “What happened to me?” Amos asked. “I don’t remember much.” “We almost lost you,” she replied. “Some of your friends found you and called 911. You were in a coma for three days. It was probably the alcohol that did it so you shouldn’t drink anything any more, Mr. Jackson.” Jay slept most of that night but he had troubled dreams that just wouldn’t go away. He kept dreaming about Patricia but after awakening several times only to find that he was in the hospital, he convinced himself that he had just been dreaming. The third time that he awakened, he just laid there and thought about her, the meeting, the hundreds of kisses, the necklace she had given him and many other things that were important to him. The necklace. He automatically reached for his chest although he knew it wasn’t there. It wasn’t there just as he expected. Then he felt something under his right arm down near the sheets. After some effort, he was able to pull the object up to where he could see it. At first, he thought it was some kind of an identification plate that the hospital had put around his neck but when he finally got it up to where he could see it, he was astounded and frightened by the truth. His hands trembled as he held the object in his hands just staring at it. His hands trembled even more as he held the blue polished stones in front of his eyes. His heart beat faster as he realized that he had really been to another world and that someone that really loved him was waiting for him there. *** “What’s happening?” Dr. Gray asked the charge nurse as they rushed down the hall toward room 245. “Something about the patient taking all his monitoring and life support systems off and he’s in a deep coma again,” she said. “I don’t know any more than that.” When they arrived in room 245, the room was full of technicians and nurses trying to bring the man back to life again but there wasn’t any activity on the monitoring equipment. “I thought this patient was recovering,” Dr. Gray said to the charge nurse. “What happened?” “He disconnected everything doctor,” she replied. “He drank an entire bottle of pure grain alcohol. That really sent him down --- down for the last time.” As the doctor examined him, Amos’s hand fell over the side of the bed. He still clutched the necklace between his dead fingers. The world of Amos Jackson was blue again but he didn’t care about that. All he did care about was the beautiful girl with three eyes and four breasts and other interesting body parts that now embraced him down by the blue river running through his blue world. The End
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