Chapter One: Two Worlds
All I remember is hands were reaching from everywhere. I was running endlessly through a kaleidoscope of screaming, blood, an orgy of splayed bodies. Cold marble fingers started with my clothing ripping it shred by shred and, naked, they tore me apart while a small person, almost a child, in the distance points and laughs.
An entire week of the same nightmare. Night after night. It always ends just before my alarm goes off. I woke unfazed from the violence, too early in the morning, and went to kitchen to start the coffee. I opened my laptop, pissed, and returned to my tiny kitchen to scavenge through the cabinet for a cup representative of my state of mind. None of them really screamed dark void. Who am I kidding? I use the same cup everyday. Sit at my computer and check the same empty inbox everyday.
No connection. Strange. I paid the bill. That’s the first thing I always think when these things happen. Trained to boil everything down to money. What am I supposed to do without the internet? Go out and drink I guess–that’s what I thought I’d do anyway.
I walked across the room to reset my router. Normally these issues are a simple matter of unplugging the device, and plugging it back in–science! But there was no green light, nor a red. I checked the plug, and nothing. Then the kitchen light died, and the laptop screen went blank. No power. I opened my junk drawer and pulled out a couple of melty ivory pillar candles–haven’t used them since the wake.
Doesn’t matter by the time I’m out of the shower it’ll be light out. Bathing in the dark gives some people the creeps, but I don’t mind it. Halfway though the shower the water turned ice cold. As I dried myself off I noticed it was still dark out. Maybe it was just cloudy. I put my clothes on, ignoring the fact that I felt like I was a thousand miles under the ocean. I peeled the curtains open and peered between the blinds. There she was, hidden behind a thick layer of dark grey clouds. Didn’t know it was supposed to rain. I must be worked up over the nightmares, or the depressing hue of my apartment.
I figured breakfast would turn today around. I grabbed my keys and jacket, opened my front door to an empty black space. As if my apartment had been suddenly and silently thrust into the deepest reaches of the universe. I reached out for a second and quickly withdrew–nothing. What was this? I shut and locked the door, and fell into my old recliner. I had to check the window eventually, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it–I didn’t need to know yet if the world was just washed away.
I sneaked to the door and looked through the peephole–nothing. I grabbed a Miller, and paced around the kitchen, trying to figure out what the hell was happening. What did I do? As I pondered an impossible four story climb down I spotted my phone on the coffee table.
No signal. No nothing. I flipped through hoping I’d downloaded an app that could get me out of here. Then a bar appeared, and with it an incoming call. “Hello…” I said to the soft static on the other side, then the call dropped. I opened the voice recorder, and here we are.
It was time to have a look out the window–it was raining like hell out there–thank Christ. I caught a dot in the distance growing into a small boy riding his bike toward me. I threw the window open and yelled out, “Hey! Heeey!” He didn’t seem to hear me through the sound of the storm, “Heeeeeeey, kid!” He slowed down, and set a foot down while he peered around. “Heeeeey! Up here!” He put his hands over his eyes to shield them, and looked right up at me. I leaned out the window and waved my arms and he held out his hand. A passing car suddenly veered sharply into the boy, throwing him near the road, and his bike in the opposite yard, then came to a halt, its tires half buried in the muddy lawn.
An unusually tall thin man unfolded from the car, opened the trunk, and stood over the boy a few moments before taking his arm and dragging him over. After throwing him in the trunk he stepped into the opened door, and looked up at me. I couldn’t see his face, but I felt his stare. Then he was gone.