Letter #10 (or, A strange turn of events)

Dario,

I am still a bit shaky while writing this. Things got very weird in the last couple of days, and I stumbled upon a ghost from my imagination – I hope.

Background first. You have to know that I have a chronic condition regarding my tonsils – I’ve been dragging sore throats after sore throats for a while, and I’ve been very bad in self-medicating with antibiotics after antibiotics.
You should also know that I’m allergic to Zitromicin, which is commonly found in antibiotics.

In the last days I’ve had a swollen glad the size of a tennis ball on the left side of the throat. I self-medicated again but only made it worse, so I decided to go back to Naples to cure myself properly. The trip is 12 hours long, on one of the worst roads in the world which would make Kerouac’s trips look like a stroll in the park.

But I didn’t make it.

After the first 2 hours of driving, the pain in my throat was unbearable. Feeling like my head was going to explode – only, very slowly – I had to look for an hospital on the way, and stopped in a tiny hospital in Calabria.

The doctor was a middle aged man with strange scars on his hands – like he put them in a grinder but somehow managed to keep them, only horribly disfigured. He checked my basket ball sized throat.
Then he proposed I get a shot of meds. Directly in my veins. I asked, What is this, and he replied, To make you feel better. To make the trip.

I explained my allergies and he assured that I would have been fine with that. Reluctantly, I agreed.

I didn’t feel anything after the shot, and then he gave me some pills to keep taking for some days.

I know it’s a long intro, but I’m telling it because it might very well be the reason of it all.

I got back in the car and after half an hour or so I started sweating. I felt heat coming from my body, and my vision was a bit blurry. So I decided to stop and rest for a moment. I didn’t connect those symptoms to the shot the Scar doctor gave me.

And there in the dim light of the dusk I saw her. Erika. The girl that killed her mother, her little brother.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I rubbed them and looked time and time again, but there she was, filling up the tank of her car. Her long hair were swayed here and there by the wind and I couldn’t be sure that was her face. Until she saw me, gazing upon her – and she smiled.
She smiled!

My heart started racing, I could feel it pumping in the veins on my head, tumptumptump while my throat started closing. She smiled and gave me a cold look from that blue deep eyes, and my heart commanded my arms and they put the car in motion – I only wanted to run away.

Did she recognise me? Is that why she smiled? I scrapped the plan of going to Naples, and made the whole trip back home in Sicily looking in my rearview mirror. When I arrived home, I parked the car far away so no one could notice it from the road, and closed all the blinds, all the doors, I tried to keep that evil thing outside, but she was there, right in my head.

I didn’t sleep but was lost in a haze of fear and despair. Sleep got me around 5 am.
I just woke up.

Did she recognise me? What was she doing in that small, god-forgotten little gas pump in the deep south of Italy?

Maybe it was the meds. Maybe I imagined it. Maybe it was just a normal girl, and my brain on drugs super-imposed Erika’s face on it.

I tried to call the hospital. Ask what did they give me. But they couldn’t find a record of my visit there – that’s how south of Italy is.
I’m not gonna take the pills the doctor told me. Again, maybe it’s all just in my head.

But I cannot shake off that dreadful feeling that you have when you meet the devil.

Looking forward to your thoughts on this,

your scared friend

Alessio

 

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