Philip Hartmann Between Exams

He sipped his coffee and watched the people walking by. Some had packages from shopping, which he found mildly amusing. After all, there was no such thing as money here so how can there be shopping? Oh sure, you can browse and pick stuff to get but you can't BUY anything. He sighed for not the last time today. "Arrrggghhhhh!!!" he said as he checked his wrist again for the time. "I wonder if there is a sundial around here?"

"There's one in the park, sir." a waiter overhearing his thoughts advised. Phil was jumpy and was tired of hearing voices when he didn't expect them. "Okay, thanks, I'd give you a tip but you couldn't spend it anyway." he added, "Oh, and do me a favor will you? Next time you see me keep your mind out of my mind, okay?" he hated that the most. It made him feel violated.

"Yes sir."
"I mean it now."
"Yes sir."
"No more mind stuff."
"Yes sir."
Phil eyed him and smiled.
"Now which way was that park you spoke of?"

He grabbed a pastry and his cup of coffee and headed for the park. It was a nice day for a walk, he thought to himself. Then again, there are no bad walking days here, are there? What he wouldn't give for a little bit of rain. Just a sprinkle, nothing major. He tossed his now cold coffee cup into the air and it hit him in the head on the way down, depositing the black ooze all over his shirt. "Ha ha, very funny." he said to no one in particular, "That is NOT rain but at least I am getting my sense of humor back." He headed down the path, miraculously dry now, toward the pretzel stand by the fountain. Suddenly he stopped in his tracks. He sensed something. Something he couldn't quite put his finger on but it was nearby, and he followed his senses like a bloodhound tracking prey. He made it as far as the fountain and then sat down to watch the children playing. Kids. They didn't belong here. It always saddened him to see children in this place. How did they die? Did they hurt very much? Were they afraid? Did they die alone? He wished he could talk to them and learn from them because theirs were the purest souls. They have a lot to teach us all, he thought. He shifted in his seat and placed one hand on the back of the bench. He recoiled as if burned. His hand tingled. He felt familiar vibrations there but he couldn't sort them out. It could have been anybody. He was about to get up and "follow the scent" further when another image slammed into his mind. Someone lying on a bed. Someone dying. He shook his head to try to dispel the picture, but it wouldn't leave. He tried to make it clearer but the person was face down. He looked around the room with his second sight. Night table, clothes draped over a chair, picture in a frame. He concentrated on the picture.

Part 9