Title: John Doe
Date: September 2005
Genre: Short Story / Horror
Explanation: This short story was written in high school as part of an English class assignment. The teacher wanted to see where we were in our writing skills, and after I handed it in, she returned it saying “I have nothing to teach you.”
Eight years later, I think my level of writing is weak compared to what I do now, however I still love the story. I would like to redo it one day.
A leaf fell down from the golden orange maple tree. The small delicate leaf, that once glorified the old gnarled tree with a golden crown, was now lying cold and dead from its home. It lay ignored like so many other things in the world. Children chasing each other passed it without a thought, as did the mothers shouting after them with a toddler in tow or a baby in a stroller. Nothing took notice at all.
The leaf sat there for some time, and if it could it would have been waiting for nothing in particular. Though, if it did have the ability it would have been very surprised at what happened next.
A man happened to be passing by when he noticed the leaf that he had nearly stepped on. He switched his bagged lunch to his right hand and bent down, carefully plucking the golden maple leaf from the park walkway.
Keeping the leaf stem tightly between two fingers, the man walked to the nearest park bench and sat down. He set his lunch beside him and then went back to gazing at the golden beauty of the homeless leaf. ‘This is truly the most beautiful place in the world.’ The man thought to himself.
After a few more moments, he released the fragile captive and watched it be taken up into an invisible train that was the gently blowing wind.
Once the leaf had blown from sight, the man went back to concentrating on his lunch. Everyday the same three items in a brown paper bag; an apple, a sandwich and bottled water.
This man, who seemed as ordinary and boring as one could be, was named John. He resided in a reasonably sized city, in a disorganized apartment on the third floor of a red brick building. He was a doctor, majoring in Psychology. He often came to this park to enjoy his meal outside of the crowded asylum cafeteria.
John came to think as well, he loved to think to himself about Life and Death, Peace and War, Love and Hate, Law and Anarchy; and pretty much anything else that caught hold of his interest one day to the next. John sat quietly, eating his sandwich. He watched the children, their parents and a single butterfly fluttering around an abandoned soda can.
John didn’t like bread crusts, but unfortunately because of that mornings rush, he forgot to cut them off of his sandwich. He peeled the top crust from his sandwich and flung it to the path for some bird to make it a meal. Though he didn’t like what bird took the unspoken offer.
John was just finishing his red apple when he heard it. A caw. The blood chilling caw, that of a malicious crow. In a flurry of coal feathers and ember eyes, the crow leaped upon the gift. John gasped and kept perfectly still, hoping his presence would go unnoticed by the black invader, but that was mere wishful thinking.
The crow turned to him after gulping down the last brown crust. Its eyes burned into him like red hot coal, its shining clack beak seemed to move in slow motion as it opened for another blood freezing call.
At that, John took off. He abandoned what was left of his lunch, nearly tripping over himself as he ran as fast as he could down the park walkway. The crow followed.
John was having difficulty running in his heavy brown suit. He heaved and puffed as he ran. Though were many people in the park, none of them even looked in his direction.
The crow flew after him, screeching and cackling in a demon voice. Its ebony wings were a blur as they ripped through the air. The bird cawed again, stretching out its talons, which were only a hair from the back of John’s neck.
“No, get away! Get away you damned bird!” John begged as he ran. “I don’t want to go back!” Then, he tripped over his own feet, landing hard face first on the pavement.
The crow cawed victoriously, pouncing on the terrified man’s shoulders. It dodged John’s hands, his fruitless attempts to get free.
“I wont’ go back!” John cried, trying to shoo the bird away. “Leave me alone, Crow!”
The crow pecked John sharply on the hand that was protecting the back of his neck. When John drew back his hand because of the sudden pain, the crow’s black beak broke into his skin.
“No!” John wailed. He snapped open his eyes to find the world vanishing around him, turning to white.
A tall, black haired man in a long coat stood up, pocketing a used needle. He patted John on the shoulder and walked to the door where another man stood with a key. He shook his head.
“Poor John Doe. They seem to know him in that world.” He said sympathetically.
The other man nodded. “A doctor that went insane thanks to his own mental patients. Who would have guessed?” They both looked back at John before leaving and closing the door with a cold slam. The sound of the key turning in the lock was louder than it should have seemed.
That left John back in the dark, rocking and shivering torn from his world and strapped back into his white jacket.
This short story was originally posted on Fictionpress on 12/10/2005