Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Tale of Jack Martin - Part 1

As promised, here is the first part to my story. Look for frequent updates in the near future!
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            The alarm clock rang incessantly. Time to get up. It was another day for Jack Martin, age 21, a recent graduate from the University of California. He shambled out of bed, dragging himself towards the shower. Once he was done with his morning preparations, he inspected himself in the bathroom mirror. He was a man of slightly above average height, medium build, close cropped black hair, dark eyes, and olive complexion. After running his hand through his hair to get it looking just right, he sauntered towards the apartment door and walked outside.
                 Living on the first floor, Jack only had to walk a couple of feet to reach his beat up Honda Civic. He got in the car and started the engine.
Ever since graduation, life had been a drag. Finding a job was difficult, and even if you were successful in doing so you most likely received an entry level position that made your College degree seem worthless. Jack himself worked at a local museum making barely above minimum wage, a job he only acquired due to familial connections. He was mainly tasked with menial tasks such as filing papers, and entering data into spreadsheets. Ironically, Jack may have preferred this ho hum existence to the one he was about to assume.
“Jack Martin, on time again. I can always rely on you,” stated a kindly looking older man.
Jack smiled. “Thanks for the compliment Dan. You know I live to serve. What’s on the to-do list for today?”
Dan was Jack’s boss, and had a particular fondness for the recently graduated college student. Though a bit eccentric at times, he genuinely cared for those who worked for him and knew how difficult it was for younger people to enter the job market.
“Just the usual, a bit o’ spreadsheet inputting and all that. I put everything you need to know on your desk.”  Jack nodded, and Dan walked down the dark hallway to the left. Jack turned right, into a more brightly lit passage way, and followed its path until he came upon a small door to his left. Inscribed upon the door was his name. He opened it, and stepped inside.
It was a small office, with seven foot high ceilings and a square footage that couldn’t have been more than the average walk in closet. But for Jack, it was home away from home. He sat down in his chair. It creaked. Looking down at his worn desk, Jack noticed the list that Dan had left for him. Written on it were various tasks that Jack was used to completing by now, so he got to it.
            The day went on without much incident, though something didn’t feel quite right about the museum. Attendance was down, and Jack was sure that he hadn’t seen any of his co-workers who were supposed to be in that day. Something seemed off about Dan as well. Instead of walking about the museum, giving impromptu tours to guests, Jack’s superior had been locked in his office all day, and Jack hadn’t seen him in person since he was greeted this morning.
            I’m just being paranoid…let’s see, its 4pm. Only an hour and then I can head home.
            Time went by slowly. Nevertheless, 5pm eventually came and Jack got up from his chair. Packing his things into a small bag, he walked out his door. He locked his office for the night, and made his way back down the brightly lit hallway. Upon reaching the intersection that led to Dan’s office, Jack began to feel as though he were being followed. He turned around and inspected the path from whence he came. Nothing. Feeling better, he continued through the maze of hallways, eventually reaching the museum’s employee security checkpoint.
            Curiously, there was nobody manning this post. Disturbed, Jack passed the vacant checkpoint and tried to open the doors that led to the Museum parking lot. They wouldn’t budge.
            What the hell?
            His heart raced. His spine tingled.
            “Alright Dan you got me, you can come out now,” he yelled. Hearing no response, Jack took out his cell phone, hoping to call Dan’s office to see what was going on.
            “That won’t be necessary,” a deep voice growled. It came from beyond the security checkpoint, where Jack’s office was, as well as Dan’s. An unrecognizable object flew out from the abyss the voice emanated from. It landed with the sound of shattered bones on the darkened floor in front of Jack. Blood seeped out from the crumpled mass. A ray of light pierced the windows behind Jack and illuminated the figure just well enough that he could make out a face.
            Jack’s boss was dead. Before he could begin to mourn, a cackle erupted from the darkened hallway, and soon after the bass voice began to rumble once more.
            “Yes. I killed your friend. But it was only because he was holding you back. Your menial human existence was limiting your potential. I've given you freedom.”
            What the hell was this monster talking about? Potential? Freedom? He’s insane!
            “I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about! You’re going to pay! Show yourself!” It was then that Jack realized that he was probably acting too bravely for the situation he was in. But he couldn’t help himself. His curiosity had gotten the better of him. His fists compacted themselves into misshapen spheres, ready for a fight. 
            The voice continued. “You cannot hope to defeat me as you are. You are lucky that I found you before the others.” Footsteps emanated from the darkened hallway from whence the voice came. Jack could begin to make out its source.
            “You live such a pathetic life…haven’t you ever thought that there could be more to your existence?” He chuckled at Jack’s inability to respond.
            “It is no matter. Soon you will learn your place.”
            The glow from the windows partially illuminated the face of Dan’s killer. Jack made a quick inspection.
            He looks normal enough…but something is wrong with his eyes. They look…yellow?
            “I can sense your trepidation, Jack. Come with me, and I can answer all of your questions.” He offered a gloved hand. “I won’t ask nicely twice.” Considering his options, Jack felt that he had no choice. He wasn’t a fighter, but he wasn’t going to let someone kidnap him and get away with murder. He lunged at the man, his right fist in front of him, and threw as powerful of a punch as he could manage.
            “You’ll have to do better than that…,” the man cackled. Jack's right fist floated uselessly in the air where the man had been a second before.
            “Behind you.” Jack twisted around in shock as he realized he had been out maneuvered so easily. Before he could get his bearings straight, he felt a bone shattering punch to his ribs. Crippled and gasping on the floor, Jack looked up at his assailant, managing to get a much better view of him than he had before. Despite the yellowish eyes, he looked rather normal. Close cropped auburn hair, tall but not overly so, wearing a leather trench coat, slacks, and dress shoes.           
            “Nice outfit,” mused Jack, blood dripping from the sides of his mouth. He began coughing violently.
            The man looked down upon him with a smirk on his face, flashing two rows of perfect teeth.
            “You see the pitiful state you are in right now? It is pathetic. And to think that he thinks that you have more potential than I do.” Jack didn’t know who exactly the man was referencing, but he didn’t care. He was in tremendous pain, which was only exasperated by having to listen to the man who had just killed his boss and friend.
            “I can tell that you are still angry for what I did to your friend. Ironic really, since you should be thanking me for what I did.” He cleared his throat. “Yes, quite ironic. I can only imagine what your limited mind is making of all this. Wonderful.”
            Jack had had enough. “Just tell me what you want!” The pain was excruciating now. Stars flashed before his eyes. He wouldn’t remain conscious for much longer.
            The man laughed in a jovial manner.
            “Have no fear my very weak friend. Your questions will soon be answered.” The heel of the man’s dress shoe rapidly approached Jack's face.

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About The Author

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Nicholas Garcia (M.A.) is a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Davis. He is also a Co-Founder of the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies. Previously, he contributed to and the Davis Humanities Institute.