The Strange Case of Mr. Charles Dumont
Prompt for today on the NaNoWriMo forums was “Ineffable,” so here’s my practice story for the day:
Charles Dumont awoke to the sound of rain, which was confusing, especially in the early-morning numbness of his mind. Charles’ confusion stemmed from the fact that it was not, in fact, raining. His brain registered the fact that something was unusual right away, but his consciousness didn’t figure out what, exactly it was. Charles swung his legs over the side of his bed and sat up. A moment later, he realized the problem. He heard rain outside, but it was not raining. He thought it was odd, and said so. The empty room did not respond. Rationalizing that he must be hearing thing, or that there must be a broken pipe, or someone in the apartment next door was playing one of those nature sound relaxation CDs very loud, Charles tuned out the sound and pushed it from his mind. He had other things to think about. Getting ready for work being chief among them.
He’d awoken a few minutes before his alarm sounded, and he didn’t want it to go off while he showered, so Charles turned off the unit, hoping he’d remember to turn it back on before he went to bed that night. He stood, walked to the bathroom, and began his morning routine. Once the morning ritual was completed, Charles grabbed his coffee & bagel, and left his apartment.
Charles walked down the three flights of stairs to the lobby of the apartment building, and headed for the door. There was a girl at the door, and he wondered where Eddie, the regular doorman was. Eddie rarely took off, but when he did, there was usually a temp called in.
“Good morning, Mr. Dumont,” the girl said, smiling. “No umbrella?”
Charles looked at her quizzically. He’d never seen her before. As he walked by, her comment about an umbrella registered with him. He looked out the glass doors, looked up at the clear blue sky and the bright August sun. He could still hear the rain. He turned back toward the girl, and nearly dropped his coffee.
“You okay, Charlie?” asked Eddie the doorman.
“I . . .” Charles started, but had nothing to say. “Yeah, I’m okay. I think. See you tonight, Ed.”
“Okay, you have a good one.” answered Eddie, and waved Charles off.
Charles walked out of the apartment building, and walked to the curb, and hailed a passing cab. He was most definately not alright. Charles wondered if he was losing his mind. He felt . . . wet. He glanced down at his clothes as the cab pulled up. He was soaked, drenched in fact. And as he thought about it, he could swear he felt raindrops hitting him.
The cab driver looked at Charles as he opened the door.
“Geez, mister, what happened to you? You’re all wet. Aw, hey buddy, here’s a towel to sit on.” The cabby pulled a towel off the front seat, and handed it to Charles. Charles took the towel and laid it on the seat absentmindedly. He was trying to figure out why he was, apparantly, caught in a rainstorm that didn’t exist, or perhaps halucinating it into existence. Neither scenario fit wellinto his worldview.
Charles, almost in a trance, sat down on the towel. The taxi driver turned to ask his destination, but Charles barely heard his words, as a horrible pain shot through his body. Charles screamed in agony, feeling like a brick wall had been throw at his back. He heard his bones shatter, his eyes flashed red, and then the world went black.
The color drained from the cab driver’s face as he watched his passenger fade away. Open-mouthed, he stared at the back seat of his cab, empty save for a towel soaked in water and blood.
Jessie sobbed as she told the police officer what she had seen.
“I-I watched him. I saw the truck, but I couldn’t get him to stop. I tried; I yelled at him to stop, but he didn’t . . . he didn’t stop. I . . .” her voice trailed off.
“It’s al right, take a breath.” the officer reassured her. “Did you know the victim? Can you tell me his name?”
Jessie nodded. “Charles,” she said, “Charles Dumont. He lives here,” she nodded at the building. “I work the door here. He lives … lived … in 4-B. I talk to him every day.” She sobbed again. “He forgot his umbrella…” her voice trailed off as she started crying.
The officer looked down at the body of Charles Dumont, lying in the pouring rain. All the witnesses had seen the same thing. The man had walked out of the front door of the Chestnut Tree Apartments, waited at the curb for a moment, and then just stepped into the middle of the street and sat down. The truck driver hadn’t had a chance to stop in time.
Then the officer cocked his head to the side. It was the oddest thing. He could see the raindrops hitting the body, but he could swear the dead man was completely dry.
“Ineffiable,” the policeman muttered under his breath.
35 minutes, 855 words