This is the continuation of my episodic flash fiction story called The Journal. Be sure to check out parts 1, 2, and 3. Thanks for reading.
The Journal, Part 4
Sara waited until her father was asleep, replaying the events of the past few hours back in her mind.
The journal seemed to be the only remnant of the Faceless Corporation's existence.
Faceless destroyed everything, and now it's as if it never existed.
Except for the journal.
Sara snuck downstairs, ever so quietly. She wanted to believe that the man in her father's bedroom was actually her father, but he had already lied to her about the hallucinations. What more was he keeping from her?
She grabbed her father's car keys off of the kitchen counter and made her way to the door to the garage.
As she opened the door, she felt a sudden stinging sensation on her neck. Suddenly, she felt faint and fell back into the arms of someone she couldn't see.
She woke up in a dark room. Alone, as far as she could tell. Her arms were securely strapped to the chair she was sitting in.
Suddenly, a bright screen lit up in front of her. Images of the world as she remembered it when it was on fire rolled across the screen. Every few images, she saw the blood-red logo of the Faceless Corporation. Finally, a black screen with white wording:
THIS IS ALL A LIE. THIS NEVER HAPPENED.
Sara fought against her restraints, but she couldn't get loose.
"I know what I saw!" she screamed. "I'll find out the truth, even if it kills me."
An ear-piercing scream that mirrored and amplified her own filled the room. The room went black. Words in red appeared on the screen: WE'RE COUNTING ON IT.
Sara felt light-headed, and once again her world went black.
She woke up screaming and thrashing. She could still feel restraints.
"Honey," she heard the voice of her father say. "You're okay."
The restraints were his hands. He was holding her down. Why?
To stop her thrashing?
Or something worse?
"Get away from me!" she screamed.
He pulled his hands away. His eyes were saddened.
"I heard you screaming down the hall," he said. "I rushed in here. You were having a nightmare."
Sara couldn't calm her heartbeat or her labored breathing.
"I didn't have a nightmare," she said. "And you're not my father. My father died. I saw it."
She looked him in the eye.
"You're a part of this. Who are you?"
"Sara, you're confused. We have to get a grip on this."
Sara threw the covers off and hopped quickly out of bed. She walked toward the door.
"I don't know who you are, but I'm leaving."
Just as she reached her bedroom door, she heard a disturbingly familiar voice say, "Hey, Sara."
She turned around. The sight that greeted her made her throat tighten because she had seen it before. She had begged to be able to stop it, but she couldn't.
Here it was again. Or was it?
A man in a black mask behind the man who claimed to be her father had one arm around him and the other was holding a sharp blade to his throat.
"Remember this?" the man said.
She knew this man couldn't be her father. This already happened. She should just run. He meant nothing to her.
"Sara," he said.
The man pulled tighter onto her would-be father. "Shut up!"
She saw that her father was slowly reaching his hand for something on the bed. The journal. Somehow he got it without the masked man noticing.
"Run!" he said as he tossed it to her.
Just then, the scene of her father's death replayed for her in real life as the man sliced the blade across her father's neck. Her father crumpled to the ground.
She wanted to collapse, but she couldn't. Not now. Instead, she ran down the stairs, knowing the man was chasing her.
She grabbed the keys to her father's car and made it through the door to the garage with a thirty second advantage. She'd never be able to get the garage door open and get into the car in time, so she grabbed a softball bat sitting up against the wall.
She waited for him, and as soon as he walked through the doorway, she swung the bat at his head as hard as she could, knocking him to the ground.
She jumped into the car and backed out through the garage door. She drove for miles until she was convinced no one was behind her.
She pulled into a rest stop and parked the car. She sat there, trying to calm her rapidly beating heart and stop the tears from coming. The journal was sitting in the seat next to her, and she noticed a slip of paper sticking out of it.
She grabbed the paper. It had a message hastily written on it.
I don't know how they brought me back, honey.
But I doubt it will last long.
I'm sorry I couldn't tell you.
I needed to protect you until I could find out more.
Everything you saw is real, and everything you see is real.
Their plan is clearly bigger than we imagined.
Please take care of yourself, and know that I love you.
I'll see you on the other side someday.
She couldn't stop the tears anymore. She'd had her father back, and she never even got to enjoy it.
She had to find Jack, and she had to find out who was responsible for this.
If they could bring her dead father back once, maybe they could do it again.
Maybe all of this could be undone. She looked all around her. Maybe most of it already had.
She put the car into drive and drove back toward the city.