You wake up, rub your eyes, and stay in bed for a while longer. Did you get any sleep at all? Yes, you must have. You remember the dream. It was too horrid to be real. You make your way to the bathroom. As you grab your toothbrush and put some paste on it, you stare at your reflection in the mirror. As you brush your teeth, you notice a bright red scratch mark on the left side of your stomach. Has it always been there? It has something pale sticking out of it. A shrapnel of some sort? You gently remove it. Touching the cut, however, makes you flinch so you let it be. You must have unknowingly scratched yourself somehow yesterday. Weird.
You get ready for work and leave the apartment at your usual 8.07 a.m. You reach the subway station at 8.16 and patiently wait for your 8.18 subway to arrive. Once it does, you enter your usual carriage and look around. You spot your seat next to Nathan. He beckons you over with a small nod. After exchanging your usual pleasantries, he hands you his neatly folded morning paper while talking about the highlights of the day. Some rugby tournament, something about the mayor, nothing particularly captivating. As you go through the paper yourself, you notice a small red stain at the lower left corner of the pages. Upon your inquiry about the stain, Nathan explains a bloody broken nail as the cause of the stains. How did he break his nail? He does not know. Weird.
As per routine, Nathan gets off two stops before you. Where he works or what he does isn’t important. All you know is that you won’t be seeing him till the 8.18 a.m. subway the next day; he is simply your subway acquaintance and nothing more.
You get off at your stop and make your way to the 9-to-5 job you’ve never dreamed of. After an exhausting day and then some excruciating overtime, you’re on your way back home. In the subway, your mind wanders to the dream you had last night. You only remember bits and pieces now. You were standing on a bridge of some sort. Where? There was something that made you feel angry. What? There was another man. Who? Don’t know. Weird
The next morning, you wake up, rub your eyes, and let out a small groan. You hands ache. Why? Focusing your gaze on your hands lets you see your now-red knuckles. You try folding your hand into a fist and then stretching it open, but you can’t. It’s too painful. You try to recall any event that could’ve led to these bruised knuckles, but to no avail.
Suddenly, it starts coming back to you. It’s the bridge. The anger. The man. Is it the same dream as the night before? No, there was something different about this one. You are doing something on that bridge this time. What is it? Wait, you’re pushing the man. You’re punching his ribs and shoving him to the ground. Why? Who is this man? Is this why you have these bruises? The memory vanishes.
You get ready slower than usual. You can’t strain your hands too much otherwise your knuckles start aching even more. You grab an ice pack for them from the freezer and leave your apartment slightly annoyed: it’s 8.09 a.m. You’re late. You go through the doors of your 8.18 a.m. subway with seconds to spare as the doors shut close behind you. You head to over to Nathan who looks a bit gloomier than usual. You wonder what’s wrong with him, but you’re in no mood to ask. Luckily enough for you, he tells you himself. He had a rough night. Oh. He fell off his bed. That’s unfortunate. He needs to visit the hospital in the afternoon because he thinks his ribs are bruised. Wait, what?
That’s strange. Could your dream have anything to do with Nathan’s injuries? No, it’s not possible. You barely know Nathan apart from his subway habits. You couldn’t have had any involvement in this. You sympathize with Nathan’s injury and wish him a speedy recovery as his stop arrives. He gets off and you are left bewildered. But it’s just a coincidence, so it doesn’t matter.
After another long day, which seemed even longer because of your restricted hand mobility, you are in the subway on your way home. You’re now wishing for nothing more than the comfort of your bed to put you to sleep.
You wake up the next day expecting newfound pain; but, to your surprise, there’s a sense of satisfaction gushing through your body. Weird.
Your hands still hurt and the cut on your stomach seems redder, but you’ll get over it. You go about your morning the way you usually do; suddenly, you start recollecting. Recollecting what? Some images, a face, a weapon. Is this last night’s dream? There’s a sword of some sort in your hand, there’s blood boiling in your veins and there’s the man standing 4 feet away from you, frozen in time with his hands in a defensive position, on the very same bridge as the one from the nights before. You snap out of the flashback and try to shake that anger away. What has been happening over the last three nights?
You leave your apartment at 8.07 a.m. and reach the subway station by 8.16. In the two minutes that you spend waiting for your 8.18 subway, the recollection begins again. This time, you’re moving towards that man, ready to plunge the sword into his chest, right through his heart. You see no expression on his face, hell, you can’t even see his face. You shake the memory out of your head, although you know what follows next. The 8.18 arrives and you board and make your way to your seat, but Nathan is nowhere to be seen. Weird.
He never misses the subway, he’s too particular. You find today’s paper on the seat next to you, though, so you decide to flip through it. There’s an election coming up, a new insect species has been discovered, a person was stabbed last night. Wait, what?
‘Unidentified man found stabbed through chest on Dwam Bridge this morning. No witnesses, no leads.’
Alongside the title was a photograph of Nathan.