IN THE LAST DAYS OF AZRAEL
A House fan-fic
Have you ever wondered what happened to the man who disappeared? Neither did I, I just saw him walk down the road, and then leave; never to turn his head back towards us. Have you ever wondered what happened to the man who smiled at you at the bus stop? Neither did I, I just looked back into my newspaper, ignoring him.
But what if I did pay attention to him? Just once?
I saw a man once, at the bus stop while I was waiting to go to work. Normally, I wouldn't have given the time of day for him, I would have just looked at him and glance back into my newspaper, reading the day's headlines, indulging in the seventy-five cents I paid for the only intellectual sustenance I would receive for the day. I would just read until the bus came to pick me up for work. Except today.
Today was different.
I first saw him about a month ago. He was sitting at the end of the bench on Baker Street, near the old white brick apartment building with the glistening historical plaque. He sat there alone, just staring at the key he fiddled with in his right hand; his left hand held onto a cane that was currently supporting his chin. It was obvious he was deep in thought, but I didn't know about what. Before I realized that I was staring, he looked at me and yelled, "You got a problem?"
I looked away, and at that moment, the bus came. But he did not get on.
I looked back at the bus stop once I was on the bus, and saw him fiddling with the key again in his hand. Part of me wanted to know more, but the bus turned the corner before I could see what it was I was looking for. I sat in my seat and turned my eyes back to my newspaper, reading the headlines for another short while before having to clock in.
When I got off the bus after work at its Baker Street stop, I paused for a moment where the anonymous man had been seated. I slid my hand along the wood of the back of the bench, feeling its rough fibers caress my skin. I continued just to feel and observe the bench, the grain of the wood dancing in front of my eyes. It was like magic. I sat down in the spot where the man had been and looked down at the ground where his eyes would have met beyond the small key earlier. What was he doing there? I vaguely remember seeing him before, maybe around the block, or maybe at the grocer I cashiered at for minimum wage. Either way, something about him caught me off guard and made me stop to think.