I am making a departure from the norm with this post. I hope you don't mind that I step out of myself, out of character, and venture into a darker side.
Michael Greene had been looking for a decent downtown apartment for several weeks. He could scarcely believe his good fortune to have found a first-floor flat so close to the waterfront. After four days of sleeping in his car, a week at the Y, and two weeks on his mother's living room couch, he was looking forward to his own bed.
He turned the key and allowed the door to the apartment swing open. To his left was a clean-looking galley kitchen, barely wide enough to accommodate a small table and chair. On the right was a large bedroom next to the closed door of the bathroom. He walked straight ahead into a large spacious living room. Resting his elbow on the mantle of the brick fireplace, he surveyed his new home.
...."Welcome, Michael." He jumped, startled by the unexpected voice.
...."Who's there?" he called out as he moved about the rooms. There was no one to be seen. He walked over to the door and peered outside. There was no one in sight. Closing the door, he shrugged his shoulders.
...."Hello, Michael," said the same voice.
....Greene twisted his head first to the left and then to the right, "Who's there?" he called out again. He moved furtively from room to room to confirm that he was indeed alone in the apartment. For good measure he opened every closet. He didn't relax until he threw open the shower curtain in the bathroom.
...."I must be hearing things," he said aloud.
It had taken him all of fifteen minutes to bring in the bags and boxes from his car around the corner. All of his wordly possessions had been stuffed into them. He stood over the pile he'd dropped on the floor in the center of the room, and mused that everthing that was him, was there in plastic and cardboard.
...."Pathetic isn't it, Michael?"
....He spun around and shouted, "Who are you? Where are you?" He clinched his fists and shouted into space, "What are you doing in my apartment?"
....He began to pace in a circle around the hillock of his belongings. Barely perceptible he muttered, "Great! Just great! Now I'm talking to the walls!"
....He moved into the bedroom and sitting down on the edge of the mattress, he removed his shoes. He sat in silence for a few minutes, listening. The only sounds were those his own nervous breathing. Glancing at his watch, he noted it was six pm. Satisfied that the voice had stopped, he lay back. A nap of two hours or so would do him a world of good he thought.
It was a restless sleep. Thoughts of his recent travails crept into his dreams. Like images in a slide show, the events of the last two months played out on the screen of his mind's eye. The lifeless body of his ex-wife appeared as real as it had on that fateful day.
....He had the eerie sensation of being outside of his own body. He watched himself as he carefully planted evidence and carefully removed any trace of his fingerprints. He saw the smug look on his own face as the police handcuffed the man who had lived next door to his estranged wife of five years.
....He knew that she had been seeing that asshole. Even in his sleep his face was contorted in a menacing sneer. Greene had felt that if he couldn't have his wife, then no one else could. He smiled with satisfaction as he looked upon himself as he sat in that courtroom. His countenance was that of a grieving man still in love with his ex-wife as the jury found the man guilty of murder in the first degree.
The images faded and the memories ceased. He found himself staring at a strange ceiling. It took him but a few moments to regain his bearings. It was the present and he was in a new apartment in a new city. He looked at his watch in surprise, for it displayed six o'clock. He bolted upright and turned to look out the window. Leaning forward and burying his face in his hands, he realized that he had slept for twelve hours.
...."Good morning, Michael."
....So unexpected was the voice, he was sent sliding onto the floor. "You again! Where are you, you son of a bitch?" He pulled himself to his feet and shook his fist at the unseen intruder.
...."I'm here, MIchael. I'm here with you."
....Greene grabbed his jacket and headed for the door. "This is too much for me! Not only am I hearing voices, now I'm talking back to them!" Yanking the door open, he shouted back into the apartment, "I'm outta here!"
...."Michael, wait!" the voice said.
...."What? What!" Greene said in response.
...."Michael, do you think it wise to go out in your stocking feet?"
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