He sat there, stunned, feeling numb and detached the way a heavy fog makes the world seem far away and unreal. Faint ghosts of his actions moments before tickled at his memory.
The memories of his sister’s accident so many years ago, vague and full of missing pieces, huddled in the dark corners of his mind, giving him teasing glimpses that he didn’t want to see.
He couldn’t quite remember what happened on that tranquil neighborhood street. The memory was just right there, tantalizing and dreadful, a gossamer veil he could just barely brush with his fingertips. Drawn by the need to see as much as by the revulsion and need to escape it, the man wanted to pull the memory up but didn’t dare. He tried to push it away instead.
The scene, the fantasy he’d replayed in his mind over and over a million times as a child until he’d finally pushed it away and blocked it out, now teased and tormented him, flashing glimpses at him in a blinding fashion, confusing the past with the present.
More confusing were brief flashes of scenes on that street.
The happy smiling face of a little girl looking up at him with eyes full of trust. The terror filled eyes of a woman in a face twisted with determination.
An approaching car.
The pleading look of a child standing on the sidewalk.
The beautiful trusting eyes of a little girl turning to a liquid look of fear.
A little bundle of teeth and hair.
“What did I do?”
He looked down at his hands. He held out his hand, staring at it in wonder. The flesh was punctured, blood still dripping from the wound. He felt a wave of sickness wash over him, reeling with a strength-sapping stomach-churning, dizziness.
“What did I do?” His voice trembled.
A black void now lived where the memories of the moments between watching the house and being awakened by the wail of a police car should have been. It was impenetrable.
He’d blacked out, lost time and memories. Just like that time he’d gotten stupidly drunk as a younger man. Only this time he wasn’t suffering from the after effects of alcohol poisoning. He had no memory of what he had done, but he knew. My God, he knew. And even God would not wash this sin away, would he?
He had tried to kidnap that little girl, that innocent little girl who he would never think of hurting.
He leaned out the open car window and vomited. His whole body convulsed with it, vomiting until there was nothing left to vomit out but his self-disgust.
He would gladly vomit that out too if he could. But no, he needed that self-loathing, that putrid disgust. It reminded him of who he was. What he was. He deserved to suffer. He could kill himself, or turn himself in. But that would be an act of kindness that he didn’t think he deserved.
His stomach continued to clench painfully, heaving long past when he was certain he must have puked his empty stomach out to join its contents on the dirty pavement, his whole body shuddering with each painful spasm.
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