Matt was dead. He sat staring blankly at his TV screen as it played the news, his picture long gone from the screen. His heart was racing, and he could feel a cool sheen of sweat covering his body. When he raised his hands, he could see them quivering, and moments earlier he'd crashed to the seat he presently occupied, when his shaking legs couldn't hold him any longer.
Matt was dead, the channel nine news just announced that he'd been shot to death during a robbery at a gas station. They'd put his picture up, said that he was a talented FBI Agent and Crisis Negotiator with a spotless record, and list of commendations. It mentioned a high profile negotiation he'd been primary on the month before that was resolved without bloodshed.
His phone had begun ringing off the hook milliseconds after he'd crashed into the chair, but he ignored it. He couldn't process this, couldn't think, he couldn't even breathe. He just sat staring at the TV, so deep in shock a bomb could have gone off next to him, and he wouldn't have batted an eyelash. Oh god, he was dead. They just said it, the news just said he was dead.
He felt nauseous, and slowly allowed his head to hang between his legs, trying to control his stomach as his mind spun wildly out of control. How could he be dead, he was sitting in his living room? How could he be lying in a morgue with a bullet in him, when he was in his apartment getting ready for work, and looking forward to seeing Emily after she'd been gone for a few days?
Sweet Mary, the news anchors said he was dead. He couldn't be dead, he had to be at work in less than an hour. He had a stack of paperwork Cheryl ordered done by tonight, and a stalking case to consult on. He had to grab Emily as soon as she walked in the door and tell her that he'd missed her. He'd been thinking about it the past few days, realizing things weren't the same without her there, and decided he needed to tell her that. He had to practice shooting with Frank. Well, technically, he didn't really need to, but it was Tuesday, they always practiced on Tuesdays.
Was this some hellish nightmare of a mix-up, or some sadistic Stephen King novel, where everybody knew he was dead, except him? Oh no, oh god, could he actually be dead? He began to feel dizzy at the thought, and grabbed his head with his hands, trying to steady the whirling room. He was dead, he was dead, he was dead. Repeating it sixty times in his head really didn't help any.
He simply could not be dead. He would know if he was dead. He wasn't even at that gas station last night; he'd remember that. Unless, he really was dead, and his ghost was deeply in denial, and blocked out the memories of his death. That couldn't be true, Matt had never been to the gas station they mentioned, why would he have gone last night? More importantly, why would he have woken up in his bed this morning?
He jumped ten feet at the sound of pounding on his door, his pulse racing even faster if that was possible. He looked at the TV, having been broken from his panicked daze. Eight Forty-three. He'd been sitting there twenty-five minutes. The pounding came again, and brought the sounds of ringing phones back to his ears. But, he couldn't quite bring himself to move, he irrationally thought that if he did, he'd try to answer the phone or door, and find he couldn't. He'd find out that he was dead. He knew it couldn't be true, but his limbs just wouldn't cooperate.
The sound of a key twisting in a lock made the point moot. Emily. She'd open the door and see him and tell him that he was acting crazy. The knob turned, and the door swung open, admitting Emily, eyes red, tears trailing down her face. She looked straight at him, he eyes widened a bit, and then the tears began to gush, flowing down her face like a waterfall.
He rose from the couch on his shaky legs, one hand resting on the back of the couch for support. She shut the door, and stood staring at him, ignoring the ringing phone on her belt, but not moving toward him quite yet. She was afraid too, afraid that she was imagining him, that she needed him so badly, her mind manufactured a figment to appease itself. He walked around the couch, still a bit unsteadily, but his steps growing stronger with each one.
Emily couldn't wait a moment longer, she flew toward him, arms wrapping around his neck. She buried her face in his chest, tears soaking through the t-shirt he threw on after his shower. He placed his arms around her, holding her close, feeling her body still shaking against his. Her heart was beating as fast as his, and her phone was still ringing obnoxiously from its holder on her belt.
Bringing her head up, Emily finally picked her ringing phone up, glancing at the display before speaking, "he's alive."
She hung up a moment later, and looked at him, her eyes searching his.
"I needed to tell you, I missed you while you were gone. Really missed you." There, he gotten the chance to tell her that at least.
"Yeah, me too," she answered, meaning the twenty-minutes she thought she'd never see him again.
They continued to embrace as their heartbeats winded down, calmed now that this bizarre ordeal was over. It was a mix up, that's all. They got the wrong FBI agent. His phones began quieting, the ringing stopping for longer and longer durations, and her flood of tears began slowing until it dried up, as the world returned to normal. As quick as the madness descended, it was over just like that.
This idea possessed me as I was eating dinner tonight, and demanded to be written. Thank you for reading, and reviews are always greatly appreciated!