He couldn’t stop the vertigo from happening. He’d tried Dramamine, he’d tried all his grandmother’s old folk remedies, he’d even been to the doctor. But nothing helped. Especially since no one could figure out what triggered the motion-sickness and feeling of falling that came over him two or three times every day.

The doctor had sent him for tests. Then more tests, then specialists who ordered even more diagnostic processes. They all told him there was nothing to find. He was perfectly healthy and normal, they insisted.

But every day, as Lyle went through his normal routines, a wave of nausea would hit him, square in the midsection. Then his body would tumble over a Himalayan cliff, hurtling him downward, to the depths of the Marianas.

At least, that’s what it felt like.

When Lyle would regain his stability, he would find himself elsewhere. Usually no where close to where the vertigo had started.

The first time, the dizziness had come on while he was getting ready for work, still in his boxers with a toothbrush in his hand. When he’d come out of it, he’d been at work, and a close look at his sales numbers showed that he was on top of the daily bonus contest.

The last time, the spell had hit while he was driving home to visit his family for his grandmother’s 90th birthday. He remembered being in his little Toyota, in the middle of the freeway at noon, travelling along happily at seventy miles per hour, thinking about the party, then all of a sudden, sickness in his belly and darkness in his sights. When he came around, Lyle was standing under an ancient oak tree at dusk, in some random person’s backyard, looking into the brightly lit yellow two-story.

He’d called his family, to let them know he wasn’t going to be there, but his brother insisted that he had been. The party was awesome, but grandmother, being 90, wasn’t up to a long visit, so they’d wrapped things up early.

Lyle had made it to his car, with a bit of help from his dying cell-phone. He’d found visitors at his home, when he finally wandered back there. Three uniformed officers and two detectives.

The police had confronted him about a set of times, all when he’d been in the midst of vertigo. He couldn’t help them. They couldn’t help him. They’d booked him into the county lockup.

Last night.

Now, as Lyle looked around, he found himself somewhere else. Not downtown, where he should’ve been. Not in the jail, booked for murder.

Right now, Lyle was covered, head to toe, in sticky crimson while a tall, thin shadow of a man smirked at him from across the writhing body on the lavender carpeted floor. The shadow bowed, then faded away as sirens blasted through the fog in Lyle’s mind.


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