This is the conclusion to Executive Fear, from my book, Go West or Go Weird. For earlier Parts, click on the links below:
Executive Fear (Conclusion)
His bank was just a few blocks away. Now that right there presented an opportunity. He grinned red-faced at the thought. He could walk right in, completely unseen, and just kind of hang around the lobby. Listen to the gossip. Hear what they were saying about him. He could go inside the ladies restroom. Some of those tellers sure were pretty. He could get an earful and an eyeful, he thought as he chuckled.
He thought of robbing his own bank, but that was out of the question. In fact he had already considered and dismissed the idea. It would look too much like an inside job and he, himself, would automatically be one of the suspects.
So it had to be a different financial institution. Well there were hundreds of other banks in the city of Mumblegum, so his choices were pretty widespread.
He figured if his invisibility worked, he would spend the week doing just that. He would walk into banks with open vaults, clean out as much money as he could carry, and take it back to the motel. By night he could transport the money home in his car. It would be dark, so no one would probably notice there was no apparent driver behind the wheel.
It all seemed pretty pat-and-dried perfect. Otis Felp looked at himself in the mirror and smiled smugly. Soon he was going to be a rich, rich man. A multi-millionaire. A man with power and pull. A man to be feared. And a man with no fear.
He had a small bottle of slurry all capped and ready to open and drink. He estimated that it would be enough to definitely make himself invisible.
Now was the moment. Now he would discover. Now he would try it on himself. This would be the experiment that determined everything.
He stood in front of the mirror that hung on the motel wall, and uncapped the bottle. Then he smiled at himself confidently, toasted himself, then put it to his lips.
He tilted the bottle up.
And swallowed the slurry.
It tasted horrible. Like a mixture of ashes, sand and sulfur. But it went down easy enough, and settled in his stomach well.
And it did nothing.
For a few minutes.
Otis barely breathed, as he waited before the mirror with an anticipation that began to melt into a hint of sadness and disappointment.
But then his heart sped up a little.
And his breath quickened.
For as he gazed into the looking glass, he saw his body begin to fade. His face, clothes, body—all of it—was growing transparent right before his wondering eyes.
And within a few minutes it was as if he wasn’t standing there at all. He had completely faded away.
When he searched for his reflection in the mirror, all he could see was the motel room furniture behind him.
Otis Felp had become an invisible man!
He looked down at himself, searching for signs of his body. But there was nothing. Just the floor.
It was amazing. Absolutely amazing. A miracle. That’s what it was. A new miracle of science.
And Otis Felp had discovered it.
And he was the only one who knew.
Now he had the power of invisibility.
It was a fantastic power. It was a super power. He felt exhilarated. Like he was the most powerful man on earth, at this very moment. He could do anything and go anywhere, and nothing could stop him.
Nothing could hurt him.
Nothing at all.
He was Power. He was a great powerful man.
And a man to be feared by all.
And then something weird began to happen. Something completely unexpected. The room he was standing in began to fade. Not as if it was becoming invisible also, but . . .
. . . but as if it was being washed out.
Washed out by the growing glow of a bright white light.
As he looked toward the lamp in the motel room, things became even more washed out. And now the whole room was almost completely cloaked in this white light.
Finally, it became totally white-washed in the glow. And there was nothing in the room that he could see.
That lamp. That lamp had seemed to cause it. Otis stumbled toward the lamp, feeling for it with his hands. He was completely blind. The lamp had somehow blinded him.
He found the lamp and felt for the switch. Then he frantically turned the switch. The blinding light vanished. Now everything suddenly went gray. Just a flat, washed-out gray. It was a featureless gray. A dull, flat, featureless gray, with nothing in it.
Otis was still a blind man.
A convulsion of panic hit him.
Suddenly he no longer considered himself to be a great powerful man. Instead, all he could think of was, he needed help.
He searched in the grayness for the phone, but could not find it. Now what?! Now what?!
He must go outside and yell for help. Someone would come and someone would help him.
A minute or two of panicky groping and he found the door. Fumbled with the knob, then stumbled outside, and instantly the gray turned into the purest white light he had ever seen. It was a beautiful translucent light. The color of white you would see if you gazed directly at the orb of the shining sun.
But he was still blind. Everything was brightly, beautifully washed out in a fog of shiny whiteness.
It must be light rays, he speculated. Too many light rays were getting into his brain, because his skull was invisible. He had no protection from the light rays, and they were washing everything out to the point where his vision could not distinguish objects.
And to be blind was dangerous. Anything could get him.
He yelled for help and stumbled farther out into the blinding daylight.
He yelled again and heard footsteps. Someone was nearby, but seemed confused. He pleaded, “Help me, help me please. I’m blind. Please help me.”
Someone cussed, and then the footsteps ran off. That’s when Otis realized. No one could find him. Not only was he blind, but he was also invisible. And no one could find an invisible man. So no one could help him.
He thought that the best course of action now would be to go back to his room and wait until the invisibility wore off. But by this time he had gotten himself all turned around, and did not know which direction his room was.
He had to guess. So he began walking in the direction his gut instinct thought was correct.
There were step-ups and step-downs. He tripped over the step-ups. Almost fell over the step-downs.
He hit a step-down with back-jarring impact. Blindly and helplessly he kept walking forward, hands in front of him, reaching out and feeling the air. Something traveling very fast brushed past his hands. He took a few more steps forward to find out what it was.
Then he carefully walked a few more steps.
Then something hit him with tremendous violence. He felt his body fly upward. And as it flew he hit something else with great violent force and was tossed upward even higher. He rolled like a spinning top over something hard and metallic, then smashed onto the ground. Then he lost all sense of feeling, and the bright white light faded into heavy black.
The motorist pulled over because he knew he’d hit something. And he had a crack in his windshield to show for it. He hadn’t seen it, but it sure had made a lot of noise, whatever it was.
He looked all around but there was nothing. The only thing peculiar was that the passing cars seemed to be bumping over something on the road. He couldn’t see what it was, but it sure was creating minor havoc for the traffic. He figured it must be some kind of weird bump or ditch in the road that he was looking at from an odd angle. But there was a slight dent in his radiator grill, and a crack in his windshield.
That bothered him, but what could he do?
He could see nothing.
He could find nothing.
There was nothing.
Finally he got into his car and drove off.
Two days later, headlines exclaimed the news. A local bank manager had been found dead in the streets of Mumblegum. It was a grizzly, bloody sight. He had been dead for several days, after having been run over perhaps hundreds of times by passing cars.
But apparently no one had seen the body until just yesterday afternoon.
Bank manager Otis Felp was dead.
No one knew how this bizarre demise could have happened, but some blamed the mafia. Others blamed drugs. Most just shook their heads and wondered.
At least, that’s what most business executives did, who read the newspaper. They just shook their heads. And as they sat behind their big, expansive desks, in their giant leather chairs, they wondered just what it was out there that got him. They wondered just what strange, unknown thing it could have been that had caused the death of Otis Felp.
And they looked out their windows at the streets of Mumblegum and shuddered in fear at the thought of whatever it could have been.
Click to the next story, to read Rule Number Seventeen.
Categories: Series (Stories): Go West Or Go Weird