December 05, 2012

No. 261

“You won’t remember for seven days,” was the last thing Henry remembered the hypnotist saying. At the time, Harry had told his wife that taking part in the show was a bad plan, but she’d insisted that they were on vacation and that “it would be fun.”
According to the newspaper that had been slid under his hotel door, it was indeed seven days later. Henry didn’t know where his wife was, but it didn’t seem like anybody had slept on her side of the bed. He pulled back the curtains of the large window in the tiny room, and saw something that worried him greatly.
Instead of the bright lights of Las Vegas, all that filled the view were scrubby cacti and sand.
Then he found the package in the bathroom.
Wrapped in plain brown paper and twine, it was heavy when Henry picked it up. He pulled the covering off carefully. Inside was a single solid-gold brick. The side facing Henry did not have any markings, so he turned it over. It was stamped “1862”. Underneath that inscription was another date, carved much more recently with some crude tool. That date was last week, the day after they hypnotizing.
Henry composed himself and left the room. He found his way to the front desk and asked the girl on duty where he was. She looked at him oddly. “Mr. Peterson, you’re in Arizona. You were quite specific about confirming that yesterday when you checked in.”
Henry stumbled back into a chair in the middle of the lobby.
“Mr. Peterson, are you alright?” asked the girl.
“Yes. Yes, thank you. I’m fine,” murmured Henry Cobb. “I just forgot something, that’s all.”

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