Too many dreams, and they’re a lot cooler and weirder in reality. Was going to finish this but couldn’t be bothered.
She had to find him.
He’d disappeared last night, just vanished, quite literally. And she had to find him. She couldn’t get through to his mobile; it kept saying the number is wrong. His things were gone. The spare toothbrush he’s taken to keeping in her bathroom, the sweatpants that were thrown over the chair in her room, the button-down shirt he’d brought over the previous day, asking her to saw back a button. She was planning to do it today. But everything was gone. Vanished, just like he did. Little things that he couldn’t have taken with him, things he didn’t even know she’d kept – that post-it note on which he wrote down books she should read, when they just met. The sketch she’d made of him in her sketchbook was gone – there was just a blank page in the middle.
For a few minutes, after discovering just how vanished he really was, Olivia sat, staring, wondering whether he even existed to begin with. He had to, she told herself. She didn’t just spend the last two months hallucinating. She wasn’t that far gone, surely. Besides, she thought, if she were to hallucinate, she’d come up with a less complicated relationship to work with.
Putting her hands through the sleeves of her blouse she froze, catching glimpse of her reflection in the mirror. She stopped, walked closer, looking herself over, and trying to figure out what made her freeze. Then she noticed it – the light red marks on her shoulder. Fading teeth marks. From last night. When he bit her. Because he was real. Because he’d been there, in her room, in her bed, just a few hours ago. And then he vanished.
She had to find him.
She dressed quickly, buttoning up her blouse, pulling on her jeans, sliding into her boots. She grabbed her coat almost as an afterthought as she left the apartment, pocketing her keys and making sure her cell phone was in place in the same motion.
The cold wind hit Olivia as she stepped out of the protection of her apartment building, but she was too preoccupied to give it any thought. She started in the direction of his building. She didn’t have a plan, had no idea how to go about finding him, but it seemed that his apartment was as good a place to start as any. She walked, jogging part of the way, walking again when she was out of air. She reached the building in a record speed of just over ten minutes, her lungs burning, her cheeks red.
It was wrong. The whole building, it looked wrong. Something was off about it, but she couldn’t tell what. Olivia stood for a moment, staring at the structure – it was an old building, the exterior was made of red brick, the rooftop decorated with small gargoyles on each corner. They always scared her a little, but it seemed even worse today. A pigeon flew out of a window, catching her attention. She followed the bird with her eyes, flying up until it sat on one of the gargoyles’ heads, then turned her gaze back to the window the bird came out of. It was broken. The one next to it was broken, as well, the glass completely gone. A different window was boarded up from the inside.
Olivia started walking towards the building, but she already knew what she’d find inside. She opened the door and stepped onto a layer of dust. The interior was dim, but she could see that the building was unused for years. Except she’d been there just yesterday, and it was perfectly clean and used. She walked up the stairs and it was the same on every floor – as if no one had lived there for years. Except they did, she knew they did. She’d seen them, occasionally, the people who lived there. Walking down the corridor to his apartment door, she glanced into the open doorway of a different apartment, not surprised to see it in the same state as everything else. It was Amy’s apartment. Amy was a student at the university; although Olivia couldn’t remember what it was she studied. She used to drop by a lot, smiling, offering food and often staying for dinner. She was one of the best cooks Olivia’s ever met. Gone, as if she’d never existed.
She knew, while she was opening the door to his apartment, that it’s not going to be any different than the rest of the building. That it’s going to be empty, dirty, as if he weren’t there just yesterday. She tried to prepare for the pain, but nothing could’ve prepared her for the bed still being there, in the corner of the room, just the way it always had been. The mattress was dirty, dusty, the headboard was broken, but it was the same bed. Olivia swallowed her tears, forced herself to go in. There was nothing there except for the bed, and she had no idea what to do now. Defeated, she sat on the edge of the mattress.
“Where did you go, Jack?” She asked the empty room. Her voice echoed, making her heart ache. It wasn’t right. There should be a closet against that wall, and a couch over there, and a curtain over the window. There shouldn’t be broken glass and pieces of plaster from the wall all over the floor. It shouldn’t be so empty. He should be there. She blinked, and tears rolled down her cheeks. He should fucking be there, goddamn him. He was real. He existed. Where did he go?
She had to find him.