He's not here
, she realized, feeling her pulse quicken. Why isn't he here?
Her boyfriend and housemate was always home by this hour.
Her blood pumped loudly in her ears as the ominous silence lengthened and horrible scenarios floated unbidden to the forefront of her mind. Something wasn't right here, somehow she new this situation was wrong, could taste it in the air as if tragedy had a flavor. A flavor she knew.
She didn't want to move. While she stood there, Candice imagined there was still a chance for the moment to pass, revealed to be nothing as her boyfriend stepped out of the room and yawned, and confided that he'd uncharacteristically fallen asleep early, waiting for her. But no such thing happened, there was no change in the silence of the apartment, and the only way to know whether her fears were truth or paranoia was to check that bedroom and face whatever she found there.
She crossed the living room in a daze, her head swimming in a sense of unreality as she reached her bedroom door and pushed it open.
“Bale.” The name came to her without understanding as she stood in the doorway, frozen at the sight of a figure at her open window, cloaked in the shadow of the bedroom and backed by the neon glare of the liquor store across the street.
Like war drums pounding on her mind, fear swelled and built inside her from some place she couldn't understand, the same place that had known something was wrong. The place that somehow knew that this had been inevitable, that urged her to keep changing residences, to be wary of new people, to keep quite and stay low and never
let her guard down. The same place that knew the flavor of tragedy.
“Alice,” the figure said softly in the night, turning slowly, silently from the window to look at her, face still indiscernible in the shadow. “You remember me.”
“No,” she answered, hoping it was true, but knowing, on some level, that it wasn't.
“I can't believe you actually opened up enough to move in with a man,” he said, voice softly intellectual. It seemed so warm, but it chilled her to the bone. “You used to be so wary. If you hadn't strayed from that pattern he'd still be here.”
A tear rolled down her cheek. “Where is he? Where's Eric?” It was pointless to ask, because she knew. She didn't know how she did, but she knew.
The figure, Bale, ignored her question. Almost kindly, sweetly, the man whispered, “It's time to wake up, Alice. You've been living a pleasant dream here...but the time for dreaming is over.”
edited 4th Dec '11 2:19:24 AM by NoirGrimoir
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