Dual Nature: Chapter 2

Fear the Unknown

Dual Nature: Chapter 2

Valker walks into his house, scoops up ice from the freezer, and gets a glass of water. He squints at the pale light that fills up the darkness of his small kitchen. He opens his freezer, shifting through frozen bagels to find something decent to eat. Then, he hears a muffled noise, like someone is talking, coming from upstairs. Valker drops the glass, which shatters all over the faded wooden floor. Tiny beads of sweat start to form on his brow. His hands start trembling violently.

Not knowing what comes next terrifies many people, especially Valker. Although his neighborhood is not the cleanest and safest part of Pittsburgh, he tries to maintain a neat and tidy house, and a neat and tidy life. He looks around, at his freshly scrubbed counter tops, and his bookshelf in the living room, where his books are organized alphabetically. His heart stops thumping in his chest for a brief moment, until he hears footsteps overhead.

The stairs start creaking. Someone is coming down. Valker tries to run, but his legs will not work. It is as if there is a brick wall blocking the communication between his nerves and his brain. The ice slips out of his hands and slides across the floor.

Valker reaches into the darkness, patting the rugged wall until he touches the distinctly smooth plastic of the light switch. Valker watches the figure round the corner, around of the creaky wooden stairs, and advance toward the kitchen. Valker slowly steps backwards and reaches for his butcher knife, which is laying stray on his counter top, while keeping his eyes locked on the figure. In the dim light from a singular bulb, Valker can see the figure a little more clearly. He is broad and muscular. Valker’s hands are shaking, and he slowly moves forward, behind the knife, until the figure steps into the dim light of the kitchen.

Valker jumps on the figure, and presses his forearm tightly against the intruder’s neck. The figure moves his lips, as if he is trying to say something.

“Calm, down, Jeremy,” Valker’s neighbor, Jerome, manages to say through separate breaths. Jerome’s black sweatshirt is the only thing between Valker’s iron arm and his neck, with makes it doubly hard to breathe.

Valker relaxes his arm and rolls over next to Jerome on the ground, with his hands folded on his stomach ,”Wow, I didn’t even know it was you. Jerome, you almost scared me to death. Next time you do this leave a note on the door or something.”

“C’mon man, you know I need to use your phone sometimes. I can’t afford the luxury of making calls from my house. Besides, we live in a safe neighborhood, no one would come in here and steal your stuff.” The two men laugh at this, and Valker helps Jerome to a small round table in the kitchen. Valker moves a bowl aside and eases into a hard wooden chair.

“Sorry about the glass,” Jerome says, then he notices Valker’s face with a quizzical look and continues,”and what happened to your eye?”

“No big deal,” Valker replies cooly. “Listen Jerome we can talk whenever but I am exhausted right now and-”

“Naw V, don’t sweat it, just come over if you want,” Jerome stands up and leaves. Valker listens to the door slam, which is the only thing that interrupts the silence of being alone. Valker then goes into his living room to check the news on his phone.

He sits on his cream colored sofa and hears a crack. “Dang it!” he says, and he stands up to see one of his old circuit boards, broken in two pieces. Valker looks around his den at the old computers, circuit boards, and even tiny micro-processers that litter the floor. “Why does this night keep getting worse?” he thinks to himself. He picks up one of the broken pieces on his couch and throws it at the wall. It leaves a mark, next to many other scuff marks in the room. He finally decides to try relaxing. He powers up his phone, and scrolls through a lot of news about pop stars and celebrity gossip until he comes across an article that intrigues him. The software company, Proton, is struggling to keep hackers and other types of breaches from getting into their software system.

He would keep that in mind.

Valker furrows his brow and turns off his phone. He yawns and lies down to “rest his eyes.” He falls asleep as soon as his head hits the armrest, ready to live another day in the hell that is his life.


Next week, read Chapter 3: Fear the Call