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Seven Lost Days

Seven days of a life

By Wilkie StewartPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 3 min read
relative time

On Monday his watch stopped. He wasn't sure to start with but during a slow lecture he glanced at it several times and on the third look he realised that the minute hand was stuck at seven. He nudged his neighbour asking in a low voice for the time. The girl had long hair which partly covered her face as she wrote her notes. Use your phone, she whispered without looking up. He felt in his pocket for the mobile he knew wasn't there. He nudged her again. Don't have it. What time is it? She grunted with impatience but showed him her phone. He was right - his watch had stopped.

On Tuesday the bus on his route to college was cancelled. The LCD panel at his bus stop had said seven minutes when he arrived but then the service dropped from the list. The other buses were displayed as normal. He looked at the printed timetable under the scratched plastic panel on the side of the shelter. His bus was listed there and was due any minute according to the clock on the panel. He couldn't check his watch. It was in the rubbish bin. He'd lost his temper trying to sort it last night. A van pulled up beside the stop and a man jumped out and replaced the printed timetable. His bus was not on the new list. What's happened to number 74? he asked. Sorry mate, I'm just maintenance, the man said.

On Wednesday his library card wouldn't work. He was in the library studying and had decided to check out a volume using an automatic checkout machine. He scanned the book and then his card but the screen said invalid. He tried again. The screen said security had been called and he should wait. He left the book on the machine, went to the table where his notebooks were, and gathered his stuff. The lift arrived and two security guards got out as he got in. At the library exit his card also came up invalid. He jumped the barrier and left the building unseen.

On Thursday his mother stopped talking to him. She was in hospital for a minor operation. They had chatted easily enough to start with and then when she was telling him about the woman across the ward shouting at her husband the night before, she suddenly stopped speaking. He asked what happened next. She turned away from him and pressed the buzzer for the nurse. Is she okay? he asked as he was led out of the ward. Patient confidentiality, was all the nurse said, as she firmly closed the door with him excluded on the outside.

On Friday he couldn't remember his name. The woman at the security desk in the college was asking for his details so that she could find out why his card wasn't working. When she asked for his surname his mind was blank. He repeated his first name. It's on the card, he said in exasperation, when she asked again. She put the card into a drawer and told him to leave. I'm sorry, she said. But if I can't verify your details I can't help you.

On Saturday the key to his apartment didn't work. He'd gone out for milk and a loaf of bread but when he got back the key wouldn't fit. He tried forcing it into the lock several times, scratching the paintwork in the process. The door opened and a man peered out. What do you think you are doing? he said. I want into my flat, he replied. The man mumbled something about it being too early for this shit and shut the door. He pressed the buzzer several times and began hammering on the door. When the police came he explained that his apartment had been stolen. The man, with his wife, children and dog crowded in the doorway, told the police they had lived here for five years and had no idea who this man was. He was taken to the police station and put in a cell when he wouldn't give his name or any of his details. I'm not lying, he said. This key is mine. They took that away too before releasing him on no charge.

On Sunday his face was not the same. His hair was different. He once had curly-black hair but the head in the doss-house bathroom mirror was grey haired and almost bald. He had beautiful teeth but these teeth were stained and there were uneven gaps on both sides. The nose was blotchy and greasy. The eyes were puffy and lined. It wasn't him at all. He touched his face with his hands. Those were different too. Dirty fingernails and rough skin. Where had he gone? Who was this? There was a box of pills on the shelf that wasn't his either.

On Monday. Well. That day didn't happen.

Short StoryMystery

About the Creator

Wilkie Stewart

Writer of strange little tales living in Glasgow, Scotland. A former IT professional who loves literary fiction, poetry, Eurovision, art-house film, post-crossing, and comics. Walks daily with his camera when he can. @werewegian1 on Twitter

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Comments (3)

  • Mackenzie Davis12 months ago

    This is the kind of story I gravitate toward. The experimental form, the slow, almost supernatural loss of identity. The unresolved ending. Such a thought-provoking, yet disturbing way to play with time and all the societal rules for living life with ease, and how if one thing goes wrong, we feel like we don't even exist in the larger scope anymore. Well done! I enjoyed this very much.

  • Katya Kovalabout a year ago

    Great post! I felt the tension and confusion building throughout the week.

  • Andrei Z.about a year ago

    Liked it! Gave me the vibes of Kafka's Metamorphosis. Dreary (and somewhat dreamy) despair.

Wilkie StewartWritten by Wilkie Stewart

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