Your feet began to ache, as if every step was adding extra weight to your body, slowing you down, making you cumbersome. Glancing up the road, the man in the suit appeared to be miles ahead, urging you to catch up to him with a smile and a beckoning wave. The task seemed impossible. Dust blew in your eyes, forcing tears to roll down your cheeks and your face to burn. In the corner of your vision, the man in the straitjacket scurried up alongside you, matching your pace. His walk had a tormented bent about it, he walked half hunched over, almost as if he was crouching, with his hands almost touching the floor, but never quite reaching it. His movements were primal, as if he was imitating a primate, but still clearly human. As you stopped to catch your breath, he stopped next to you and looked up with a concerned look in his hollow eyes. As you mirrored his concern, his knife slit mouth formed another chilling smile that forced you to look away.
“You’ll never catch him.” The man in the straitjacket had rasped his first words. “He’ll always be too far away, seeming to be within reach, to be within your grasp… But catching him is an impossible task.”
The shock of the man in the straitjacket talking intensified the sense of dread the sound of his voice had filled you with and froze you to the spot. You wanted to move forwards but couldn’t will yourself to do so. The man in the suit had turned to face you, to see why you had stopped. With a worrisome look on his face and a slouched posture he looked back up the road, turned, and continuing onwards. You forced yourself to look down at the man in the straitjacket. He was playing with the dirt of the road, sweeping it back and forth with his unkempt nails.
“What do you mean?” Uttering the words seemed to drain you of all your strength, like you were trying to crush your lungs with your own hands.
The man in the straitjacket took a couple of sharp breaths, tossed some of the dirt he was holding in front of you both, making an arch appear. “Never mind,” his tone had changed, the fear that had filled you began to leave, “it was nothing, you shouldn’t listen to me, he won’t like it.”
The man in the strait jacket began to move to the apex of the arch. “What? Why won’t ‘he’ like it?! Like what?!” The questions you asked seemed to be so important, as if the answer held the key to everything.
“NOTHING!” The man in the straitjacket had taken a much more serious tone and spat as he spoke. His eyes had somehow grown darker and his stature greater, as if he was almost at eye level. The fear rushed back to you as you felt intimidation in the coarseness of his breath on your face. His black eyes scanned your eyes and lips for a response. He flared his nostrils as his stature appeared to lessen and his face softened. With intrigue, he stroked your face with one long finger that appeared to be almost worn back to bone. “Don’t worry about it, it’s not important.” He murmured.
The man in the straitjacket moved away and began to continue scurrying along the road which appeared to have grown an incline during your confrontation with your ever more mysterious traveling companion. You felt the need to get a grip of the situation. Before he got too far away, you began to follow him, and shouted “what’s your name?”
He stopped. With a sinister smile on his face, he looked over his shoulder and whispered down the wind “Linus.”
Knowing his name made you feel better about him, yet there was unease at the back of your mind in a depth that you could not reach. You longed for the man in the suit. Linus stirred something inside of you that you didn’t want to accept. What was to come could not be determined. You didn’t want to accept what had happened but turning back seemed like madness. Forwards, there was something uncertain but something you felt compelled to be a part of.
Through possibility of understanding, you found hope.