Jerry’s Story

A Sci-Fi Horror Story by Reddit User /BecauseISaidSoToo

Jerry’s Story

by /BecauseISaidSoToo
* Reddit Profile
* Original Story Post

 

When I was in college I worked part-time at a coffee shop that was frequented by some real characters. Back then, coffeeshops were places people went to when they wanted to talk to someone. When I wasn’t slammed I’d talk to some of our more interesting patrons.

Jerry was one of them. He lived in some sort of halfway-house for people with mental illness. It was a converted hotel around the corner from the coffee shop. He’d had a room there and would spend most of his time sitting outside of the building, smoking and reading paperbacks. When he got tired of doing that he’d come into the coffee shop and drink coffee, chat with the employees – mostly me, and smoke cigarette after cigarette. Back then you could smoke in coffee shops – that seems crazy to me now, almost as crazy as one of Jerry’s stories.

 

I had liked Jerry. He wasn’t as far gone as the other two men from the apartment complex. Both of them would stop by too. One barely spoke at all and would come in with his mother and they’d play chess. The other was a big, slightly menacing, burly guy with a red beard. He claimed to be a time traveler. Maybe he was, he’d pay in unusual coins – silver pennies, coins with odd edges, seemingly from countries I didn’t recognize. He’d carry them around in a large clear ziplock bag and we’d accept the money he’d give us because all he wanted was coffee, so who cares. Looking back on it now I remember how we all thought it was weird – the coins were strange. But no one held on to any of them, no one researched them. There was a lot of strangeness in our lives back then, the coins took a back burner. I wonder about them sometimes. I wish I’d held on to a few of the coins and some of that strangeness.

 

Jerry was my favorite cast member out of the characters in our sick sitcom. He was pretty together on the surface. More then I, a grungy twenty-something, was at the time – that’s for sure. His eyes were a clear electric blue, his mousy brown hair was thinning but combed neatly, his glasses were thick, old fashioned, and repaired liberally with electric tape, but the lenses were clean. His clothes were clean too, everything was always neatly pressed, buttoned up, and tucked in. He was safe, or at least he didn’t set off too many alarms. No one was nervous around him. But he was grouped into the crazy category because of the company he kept, the place he lived, and if you talked to him, you found out pretty quick that he wasn’t sane. Not really. I’m not sure if I am either, but he, unlike me, could no longer fake it.

 

He believe he was a robot for one thing, that aliens had kidnapped him, and before he’d managed to escape from them, they’d transferred his consciousness into this artificial body. A body that looked just like the original, was almost identical in fact – but it was a robot body none the less. One that smoked cigarettes, drank coffee, and apparently used the bathroom too. That was one delusion he shared with all of us. Whispering it confidentially, as though it was a secret, as though he’d not told all of us already.

 

The other delusion he suffered from was that he suspected that some of the high school kids that came into the coffee shops were either aliens, or were possessed by aliens. The same aliens who had abducted him. They were back, they were watching, and waiting for the right moment to steal back the stolen technology that housed his consciousness.

 

This second delusion wasn’t quite as funny. You could sense his fear. It seemed like an unhealthy fixation. The way he’d talk about this delusion, seriously, urgently – was disconcerting, and he was obviously terrified by the sound of teens laughing. His body would go stiff when he’d hear it. I am ashamed to admit that my co-workers and I had thought that was funny. We were all kids in our early 20s back then, practically teens ourselves. We were arrogant and oblivious to how serious of an issue mental illness was. To us, Jerry and his stories were just interesting distractions. This was in the 90s. It was a simpler and crueler time. We didn’t realize how serious everything was. We didn’t know the nature of the thing he was fighting.

 

Until I alone saw, and I alone knew. But by then it was too late. The last time I saw Jerry, I saw him get assaulted and abducted and no one believes me. I’d been closing the coffee shop, and was wiping up the counter by the front windows. I saw him leave – even waved goodbye. I had watched him because he’d jaywalked diagonally across the street, and I guess I was worried he’d get hit. But he had dodged and weaved through the light traffic, and he was about half a block away, when a car pulled up next to him and four teens, two boys, two girls jumped out and attacked him.

 

It happened so fast, one second he was stepping up onto the curb, the next he was flinching away from the thin gangly figures boiling out of the car that had screeched to a halt beside him. One of the teens, a blonde girl with long limbs and a disproportionately large head, had leaped towards him and without even rearing back had sunk a fist deep into his gut. He jackknifed and was unbelievably lifted up off the ground by the force of it and he spewed black vomit from his nose and mouth. Impossibly, the girl seemed to hold him up – suspended in the air by her one thin arm, before she let him drop. He collapsed to the ground at her feet and he didn’t even twitch. As he had fallen his book had skittered across the pavement, as though trying to escape, and it landed in the gutter.

 

The other teens had stood around his body, their faces blank and arms slack, and the girl had thrown her head back and either laughed, or screamed, piercingly. It was a terrible sound, one I somehow felt as much as heard, and in the light of the streetlamp, her teeth – so many teeth, had flashed like metal. Her eyes flashed as well, and I think two black spots within them had rolled in my direction. Then she sunk a clawed hand into Jerry’s thinning hair and effortlessly dragged him singlehandedly into the car’s back seat. She slammed the door behind her on his still protruding ankle. I think I heard the crisp sound of it snapping, and then it was yanked out of sight into the car’s dark interior. The door slammed again, and the car, its passengers, and its captive sped away.

 

As it was happening I had yelled out something, and pushed my hands and face against the cold window. I’m surprised it didn’t break. You think if you see something like that you’d have the presence of mind to help. But you don’t, or I didn’t, and by the time I made it outside he was gone.

 

All that was left, the only sign I hadn’t imagined the whole scene, was his book in the gutter – a manual on small engine repair, and the splatter of his vomit on the pavement. In the streetlight it looked like motor oil, it was shaped like a hand reaching out for help, and it was sprinkled with tiny gears, screws, and bits of circuitry that sparkled in the black liquid like stars in the night sky.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


seventeen − 17 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.