“Hey, sorry to wake you up, but I kind of got into a little accident, could I trouble you for-”
“Oh my! Of course, come in.”
Mark stepped back and pulled the door open.
“God, you’re bleeding, let me call you an ambulance,” Mark said as he looked at the man more carefully.
“No, my name is Daniel. Daniel Davidson.”
He fingered the cut on his forehead and winced.
“Seriously though, it’s not too deep; just get me a first-aid kit.”
“Are you sure? I really think you should see a doctor,” Mark insisted.
“Get me a mirror too, then,” the man replied.
“No, nothing, never mind. I meant, , I’m a doctor myself.”
“Mark,” he said, directing his visitor to the sofa.
He hurried back to his bedroom and pulled out a pair of sweatpants, a loose shirt and a towel.
“You’re soaking, here you go,” he said, tossing the clothes at Daniel. “You dry yourself off; I’ll go get the first-aid kit from my car.”
It was pouring outside, and the few steps he had to run down from his door to the garage and back proved enough for him to taste the fury of the monsoon.
Daniel disappeared into the bathroom and re-emerged with a cotton pad covering the wound, secured with a bandage.
“I don’t even need stitches,” he announced.
“Coffee? Or something stronger?” Mark offered.
“A bit of scotch, if you have it. Neat. I’m a bit shaken.”
Mark poured him the drink.
“Aren’t you the least bit nervous?” Daniel asked him, a small smile playing on his lips.
“The setting is perfect for a horror story. You know, the badly edited collection of supposedly real incidents you find in the market? It’s usually raining like hell, past midnight, stranger knocks on the door, is lost or been in a car-crash, like me. It usually turns out to be some kind of ghost.”
“I don’t think I subscribe to that genre. I hope you don’t mean that you’re a ghost.”
“Most certainly not,” Daniel said defiantly, his tone suggesting that the mere doubt of his being anything but fully alive was a huge insult. “Feel my pulse if you will, probably not too steady, which is why I need that drink, Mark, but it’s there all the same. ”
“No, I believe you,” Mark said, handing him his drink. “So, what happened?”
“Ah, I was driving too fast, and probably wasn’t too alert either. I got this call from some god-forsaken place, way out in the middle of nowhere. Wife thought the old man was having a heart-attack. Well, he’s fine now. He’d just a little too much of the spicy stuff. Tacos, I suspect. Anyway, I was in a bit of a hurry to get back home and the roads were clear, so I hit the gas. I was doing fine, until suddenly, the road wasn’t empty anymore.”
“What was it?” Mark prodded.
Daniel leant forward.
“A child, Mark, right in the middle of the road. Looking right at me. But I’m telling you, this kid, he wasn’t normal, man. Pale as death. I can still see him staring at me, hollow, dark eye-sockets, without a shred of life in them,” he whispered.
Mark shifted uncomfortably.
“I’m kidding man. God, you should have seen the look on your face.”
He downed the rest of the alcohol and set the glass down.
“That’s what you’d read in one of those stories. It was a dog, though. At-least, I think it was, it didn’t register much. I tried to go around it, lost control, what with the wet roads and all, spun around for a while and hit a light-pole. Car’s pretty much smashed up.”
Mark shook his head sympathetically.
“Imagine if I’d died! Jesus, that would have sucked,” Daniel exclaimed.
“Yes, that would have, because you’d be dead,” Mark said uncertainly.
He wasn’t sure if he liked this man. He certainly had a…unique perspective.
“Yeah, that too, but eh, a lot of people die, you get used to it after a while, don’t you? But dying like this? No! I told you, it would have been too much like those stories. Driving alone at night in the rain, see something on the road, and boom I’m dead. Who knows, they might even have made me into one of those stories. People would talk about how they saw me walking along the road, knocking on doors, even though I died right in the car the instant I crashed. They’d write about me in their cheap horror books. “The Death of Daniel Davidson”, they’d call it. It’s even perfect alliteration, for crying out loud! Total cliché.”
“Yeah, that would have been the worst thing about all of it,” Mark said dryly, reaching for the bottle of scotch. The sarcasm eluded the doctor. “Do you want to call somebody to pick you up, or should I give you a lift to town?”
“Ah, I don’t know any numbers. When you’ve spent half your life studying, there’s not much room in your head for anything else. Say, here’s what we’ll do, we’ll go back to my car and see if we can’t salvage my cell-phone from it. Then I’ll be out of your hair.”
“Hold on, I’ll get us umbrellas.”
They walked out of Mark’s house, holding tightly onto their umbrellas, as Mother Nature tried its best to whip their feeble protection against the downpour out of their hands and into the darkness of two am.
“It’s just over here,” Daniel said, leading them down the street.
“Holy mother of-!” Mark stopped when he caught sight of the wreck of what used to be a perfectly drivable Ford. Now, it was a barely-recognizable tangle of metal and rubber, coiled around a light-pole that was now bent at a dangerous angle. One sole rear-light shone brightly through the wreckage, determined to do its duty even when the automobile it served barely existed anymore.
“Yeah, I told you it was smashed up, didn’t I? Hopefully, insurance will save me from going bankrupt,” Daniel said cheerfully.
“How on earth did you not die?”
Daniel gave that faint playful smile again, a smile that suggested that there were things that Mark would never know.
Whatever those things were, Mark was sure that he was better off not knowing.
“I told you, I’m not letting anybody ever write a ghost story about Doctor Daniel Davidson.”
I don’t really know what genre this is, I’m sorry. It might be humor, satire, anti-horror a thriller… Or just crap, I don’t know, what do you think?