Catch the previous parts here.
The soft touch of the pillow felt nice on his cheek. Joe was comfortable now, in the sanctity of his own home. Casey drove him home and helped him get into bed. She promised him that she would come back and check up on him after work, and insisted that he get some sleep while the medications lasted. Joe drifted off into a light sleep; still under the spell of whatever it was they gave him.
The light appeared dim. A thin, bearded man, wearing rimless spectacles walked into the space; something that looked like a doctor’s office. The bearded man sat down on the couch located at the center of the spacious office. The man looked like he was in his late fifties; gray hair, balding slightly at the top, compensating for the bald patch with his beard. The man had a serious air around him; a sort of man who would analyze a lot. Maybe a shrink. There was a sofa placed at an angle in front of the man, with someone resting on it. It seemed like a woman; a blonde woman. She was wearing a green blouse and a black skirt; her face partially covered by her hair, the dress accenting her beautiful body. The man appeared to be talking to this woman, while periodically checking the clock on the back wall. The rustic clock on the back wall showed a time of three thirty. After some time, the man got up, said something and gestured the woman towards the office door. The woman got up, shook hands with the doctor, and turned around to face the other direction.
Joe woke up in a flash. It was her. The very same woman he’d seen right before the sledgehammer tragedy struck at the street earlier today. He put his hand on his forehead; it felt warm. He glanced up and looked at the clock; it was one in the afternoon. He decided he couldn’t sleep anymore; not with dreams that ended up in death.
Joe got up and headed into the shower. He wanted to wash off everything that happened today; if that was even possible. He turned on the water, icy cold, and let it fall on his body. He tried to cleanse himself, as if trying to shake something off. He was in there for almost thirty minutes, when he realized that his fingers were wrinkling. He wiped himself off and covered up with a towel. He put on a white t-shirt and some casual shorts and walked into the kitchen to make him a sandwich.
His mind was filled with a million questions. What did all of this mean? Who was this woman? What was she trying to tell him? Who was the man he’d seen talking to her? What was going to happen to him? Should he tell someone?
He stuffed himself quickly and walked into the living room. He pulled out his laptop from its cover and switched it on. It took a while to boot, or so it seemed. Every second that passed made him more and more nervous. He pulled up an illustrator software and got busy. He needed to start somewhere. He decided that everything was linked to this woman. And he would need to find her to make sense of whatever was going on. He started adding details to the drawing from memory. He couldn’t forget her face; not even if he tried. He kept drawing and erasing, feature after feature, and finally came up with a flawless likeness of the woman he’d been seeing so frequently in his dreams. He could see those eyes looking back at him on his screen; he could never forget those eyes. Even now it seemed like they were teasing him. He saved his work, and started to work on another sketch; this time of the man who looked like the shrink. He was more than half way into the sketch when the door bell rang.
Joe looked up to check the time; it was five thirty. Must be Casey, he thought. And sure enough, it was.
“How are you feeling?” Casey asked. “I’m fine, thanks. How was your day?” Joe inquired. “Well, as you’d expect, it was chaos down at the office. With everything that happened, most of our reporters were running helter-skelter to catch a news bite. The rumors weren’t helping either; we received news of another man trying to jump off a building a block from Jacob street. Turned out to be a hoax; just a man putting out laundry. Luckily for me, I’ve got an extension for a piece that I was supposed to work on, and I’m taking the day off tomorrow”, Casey beamed. “Nice. So how are you planning to spend your time off?” Joe asked. “I think I’m going to stay here, make sure you’re all right. You’ve been through a lot today and I’d like to spend some time with you”, Casey replied. “I’m fine. Really. Go spend your day off shopping or something. It’s so rare that you take a vacation. You’re such a busy bee”, Joe teased her. “I insist. I’ve been such a busy bee so I’d like to spend some time hanging out with you. And you’re not as boring as you appear to be”, Casey returned the favor. Joe smiled, and gave her a playful nudge.
“What are you working on? Let me see”, Casey looked at the open laptop screen and asked, “that’s Dr. Obermeyer, why are you drawing him up?” “You know this guy?” Joe asked, now fully attentive. “Of course, he’s one of the best shrinks in the country”, Casey replied. “How do you know so much about shrinks? Don’t tell me you’re one of his patients”, Joe remarked, smirking. “Not yet, I’m not”, Casey replied, “I’d interviewed him once for the magazine. He’s a nice guy, and has a lot of stories to tell. But you didn’t answer my question. If you don’t know him, how are you sketching him?” Joe looked at her; now in two minds whether to tell her or not. He decided to tell her everything; he couldn’t keep this inside him for long anyways.
“I think you ought to be his patient”, Casey retorted, starting to break into a laugh but controlling her emotions on spotting Joe’s serious expression. “Tell me you’re kidding”, Casey couldn’t believe what he was telling her. Joe nodded, indicating that he was dead serious. “Do you know her?” Joe asked, now opening up the sketch of the blonde woman. “No, never seen her before. Looks good though. Your girlfriend?” Casey replied, half wanting to take her words back. “Forget it, you’ll never take me seriously”, he pulled the laptop towards him, nursing a frown. Casey decided to leave him be, she would talk about it later. She picked up the remote and turned on the news, drowning herself into it.
Joe pulled up a browser on his computer and ran a search for Dr. Obermeyer. About three minutes of searching yielded him an address, a telephone number and a profile page describing the myriad awards the doctor had won. He decided he was going to get an appointment. If not to find answers, to get help.
To be continued…