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“Where am I?  Is anybody there?”

The darkness was so complete that I didn’t dare move.

“Who’s that?” A voice came out of the darkness.  “Here, over here.  Where are you?  Who are you?”

“John, my name is John.”  A tentative step, then another in the direction of the voice.  “What’s your name?” I said.  “Where are we?  What’s going on?”

“Hey, I don’t know.  I just got here. My name is Charles.”  Reaching out, groping, finally touching with arms outstretched.

“There you are.  Be careful,” Charles said.  “I have no idea what’s underneath us, so watch where you step.”

“Well, ok.  I think I have you.  Let me grab your sweater.  You can grab my coat.”

“Ok, I got you,” Charles said.  “So, what’s going on?”

“I have no idea.”  I turned toward his voice.  “You sound familiar, though.  Do I know you?”

“Don’t think so.”  He seemed to hesitate.  “Where are we, anyway?  Any ideas?”

“Well, all I can remember is…..”  I stopped.  A jumble of memories collided in my mind like a train wreck.

“What?”

“Well, I was driving home from work.  The roads were icy.  I can’t remember anything else.”  Something was nagging at me, a persistent thought that, for some reason, I wasn’t too eager to pursue.

“Yeah,” Charles said.  “I seem to remember icy roads too.  And it was dark and some jerk had his brights on and I couldn’t see a damn thing.”

“Maybe we’re in the hospital,” I said.  “Maybe we had an accident and we’re in a coma or something.”  That couldn’t be right.  I felt around my face for bandages.  Nothing.

“That’s a load of crap,” Charles said.  “We aren’t in a hospital.  I don’t feel a thing.  No pain, nothing.  What about you?”

“Me neither.”

“I still have the same clothes on,” Charles said.  “You know, from when I was driving.  I put my coat in the back seat like I always do.”

“Well, I’m not cold so we can’t be outside,” I said.

“Me neither.”

“No pain.  Same clothes.  Think maybe we’re hallucinating or something?”

“How would I know?”  Charles said.  “I ain’t no shrink.”

“I think you were right about the accident thing.” I didn’t like saying it out loud, but it was the only logical explanation.

*****

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Charles Benton.  Neighbor.  by Bert A. Amsing.  Used with permission.
Excerpt from Jesus was an Alien (and Other Stories of Faith) by Bert A. Amsing
Copyright © 2012 by vanKregten Publishers. All rights reserved.
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