March 26, 2013 by misterblank22
A strange emotion took control of me, I felt alone and frightened. The only reasonable action I felt I could take was to run to my neighbor. I pulled on my coat, stuck a piece of gum in my mouth and left my apartment.
I hoped that she was not entertaining one of her many lovers but I truly did not care. I knocked on the dark door and stood waiting for a face to emerge. The door pulled open allowing my first glimpse into the world of a strange woman. She was pretty in the same way that Sasha was, she did not glow of elegance but did radiate something that comforted me.
“Hey, I’m your neighbor, could I come in for a second?” I said.
“From left or right?”
“Right.” I did not know where she was going; I felt I may have gotten myself into a mess.
“I thought that room was vacant or something, you are either never there or are as quiet as a mouse. So you’re the one who’s making all that noise, you could buy a computer man, typewriters are kind of out.” I was stunned.
“I don’t have a typewriter.”
“That lying ass, I complained about a week ago about the noise, I thought it was my other neighbor. The old bag said that she didn’t own one. Well I know she’s lying, man people, you can’t figure ‘em out. Come on in, you have a nice coat so I’ll trust you.”
“You may want to work on what makes you trust someone.” I said with a grin.
“Hey it hasn’t failed me yet, plus I have a comb in here, your hair could use it.” I followed her in.
Her place was nice, the walls were tall unlike mine and she had a great view of the city. She walked over to her table where a bottle of wine stood. She began to drink from the tall clear bottle.
“So when did you move in?” she asked between gulps.
“A year or so ago, you?” I scratched my head which caused her to throw a comb my way. I began the choir of digging those prongs through the mess on my head.
“I think three.”
“Yeah I’ve been here long enough to forget time, once you’ve stood on the same floor for more than a year time forgets you. So you’ve been there a year, I’ve never run into you or even heard a toilet flush.” She took a big chug of her wine.
“Nice to know you’ve been listening.” I said as I forced the comb through a tangle in my hair.
“No you idiot, you just hear things.” She said laughing.
“Ok, I’ll believe you.” She laughed as she finished off her bottle of wine.
“So what brings you around? It couldn’t be because of the comb.”
“No, I-what’s your name?” I said as I finished with my hair.
“No-no, this is my place I’ll ask the first question, then you’ll ask one and so forth.”
“Ok go right ahead.” We both laughed.
“What do you do? I can’t talk to someone if I don’t know what they do?”
“I’m between jobs.”
“Total bull, when you say you’re between jobs it means you are just unemployed, speak the truth man. So what did you do?” She said as she lit a cigarette.
“Technically that was two questions in a row but I’ll allow it.” She smiled and shook her head before I began to answer. “I wrote the obituaries for the paper.” She looked stunned.
“Damn, that’s a strange writing gig; you were surrounded by death day in and day out. We live on through those little photos, you gave the dead their 15 minutes of fame. Good job!” She put her thumb up with a smile.
“My turn, what’s your name?”
“Alice.” A quick burst of distress took me over, could that be a coincidence?
“Alice?” I said.
“Yeah, what man? You’re acting like I just took you to wonderland.”
“No-no, I’m fine, it’s just-never mind.” I scratched my head which disheveled my hair.
“You’ve messed it all up again.” Alice put her cigarette in her mouth as she tried to mend my hair once again with her bright pink comb. “There, you need a person around you 24/7 to keep that mess presentable.” She set her comb on the table.
“What do you do?” I felt that I had fallen into a strange world.
“I’m in sales, let’s leave it at that. By the way that was two in a row.”
“Have you been getting any strange mail, or notes?” I could not believe I had blurted that out. Alice frowned in wonder.
“I feel like I’m being watched Alice.” I nervously said.
“Like a stalker or something?” She seemed interested.
“I don’t know, maybe. But I don’t have any reason to be stalked.”
“You’d be surprised at why people get stalked. You could have made a cashier break a 20 once and sent him off into a rage, you never know.” I leaned up against the wall trying to process everything that had been going on. Nothing made sense, if I was being stalked how could they toy with me in my sleep? Could BB know the stalker? No, what was happening could not be explained in such a simple way.
“I’m not sure Alice.” I scratched my head which caused Alice to walk over once again to fix my messy hair.
“Tell you what strange man, sleep on my couch tonight. If nothing weird happens here then that’s your answer, it’s a stalker and he couldn’t find you.” I looked at her dumbfounded.
“You really need to work on your trusting skills Alice, you don’t even know me.”
“Well I sleep with a pistol so if you do try anything I’ll just use it.”
Throughout the day Alice played records. She tended to skip through the songs, scratching the record carelessly to get to her favorite parts. She’d mimic guitar solos and hoped onto her furniture to dance. Then a childhood excitement took over her when she came across a record with Les Champs-Elysees on it.
“You’ve got to hear this, listen, listen!” Alice turned the volume up to max, the French song screamed, she knew every word. She put me on repeat duty, every time the song was about to end I was to move the needle to the beginning. She danced around the apartment; she threw pillows and laughed when they smacked me. She fell to the ground flicking cigarette butts onto the floor.
“White or red?” She brought me two bottles of wine; her hair was a mess from her activities.
“Red.” I said with a smile. She cheered before pouring two large glasses. The liquid spilled onto the wood floor but Alice did not care.
“Have you ever heard a better song” She asked as she fell onto the couch next to me.
“It is something else.” I said with a grin.
“It makes you forget that you’re lonely, it makes you smile and dance, it makes you sing even if every note you hit is flat. I think of warm weather and car lights, not this winter and cold.” She looked up at me inquisitively.
“It is a good escape.” I said as I took a gulp of the red wine.
“Yeah, oh yeah, hey do your job it’s about over.” I quickly moved the needle to the beginning of the record to start the song again.
“I love it!” Then a quick bang echoed from the door, Alice looked up and screamed “What!?”
“The music is too loud.” An older woman said from behind the door.
“Well you said you didn’t have a typewriter!” Alice started to laugh loudly and I joined in. I could hear the old woman’s footsteps echo down the hallway back to her apartment.
“I wish I could fly!” She exclaimed.
“How about we keep our feet on the ground?” I said in an attempt to keep her from running for the window.
“After I die and I come back I’m gonna be a bird, you be one too. But if you’re a worm I’ll eat you so be a bird, we’ll eat worms together!” I started to laugh uncontrollably which made Alice do the same.
Soon Alice fell asleep on my shoulder, her heavy breathing made me want to join her in the void of sleep but I feared what might happen if I did. Her analysis of what had been happening to me was too simple. It was also rooted in reality, something I feared this was far from.
I slid out from under her; I gently laid her head on the arm of the couch and stood. My vision swirled from the wine I had been drinking. I had noticed a stack of papers on her kitchen table earlier in the evening and had an urge to see what was written on them.
The first page said “The Abattoir Requiem”, it was clearly written on a typewriter the words were overlapped and missing letters much like “A New Morning” was.
The Abattoir Requiem
I sit in this apartment messing with the idea of leaving. I have seen the same sights too many times. My neighbor’s name is Alice, she seems so elusive to me. She hides well within the night as if she’d been consumed by it years ago. I feel I know a way out.
Alice these papers are for you, I’ll come by soon, don’t hide behind that fear anymore. You’ll know who I am; I’ll be in that coat.
“So why did you write it?” Alice mumbled from behind me, she seemed jittery as if she was scared.
“I didn’t Alice, I swear.”
“Bull, that was slid under my door last night and tons more last week. I’d like to know why.”
“Alice I’ve been getting these strange notes too with your name on them. I woke up with a story called ‘A New Morning’ on my chest.” I didn’t want to tell her how it had gotten there.
“If this is some joke-”
“It’s not Alice, I came over here, I couldn’t be alone, something is not right.”
“Why here, we don’t even know each other?” Alice was confused.
“I can’t answer that it was just a feeling that I acted on.”
“I let you in because I thought you had an answer. I thought you wrote that.” She leaned up against the wall with her arms crossed.
“Let’s get out of here for the night.” I said as if that would help.
“A place where we can’t sleep.” Alice looked down in deep thought; she was laying out every possibility in her head. I had a feeling that she was experiencing the same things I was.
The café was dimly lit; shadows climbed the walls and cupped the lights. The place had several people talking and drinking at tables even at such a late hour.
We set in the corner which allowed us to see everyone in the café. I ordered us two cups of coffee which were quickly brought to us by a young girl who awkwardly carried them.
“Can I get you two anything else?” she asked. Alice did not look up at her when she snapped back.
“We’re good.” Alice rudely said. We both looked like we hadn’t slept in years; her hair was just as disheveled as mine.
“Why don’t you want to sleep?” Alice asked me.
“What?” I had forgotten that I had mentioned it.
“You said you wanted to go to a place that wouldn’t let you sleep. Why?”
“I originally thought that sleep would help me, I even got pills for that, but sleep made all of this worse. ‘A New Morning’ was put on my chest by someone as I slept. I saw what put it there, it was just a shadow.” Alice hid her surprise well.
“Something physically gave you those papers?”
“Maybe that typing really is coming from your room.”
“I’m not sure.”
“Wait, what pills did you take, the sleeping kind?”
“I tried them but they didn’t work. A friend gave me an address to a BB. I bought something he said would work. I thought the lack of sleep was causing hallucinations, but I was wrong.”
“Don’t trust people like BB, I’ve met too many duplicates of his type, it never ended well.” Alice drank some of her coffee but seemed displeased.
“There were papers there too, in BB’s apartment; they had your name on them much like mine do.” Alice shook her head, she wanted to logically explain everything. She, like me, knew that nothing was right anymore, there was no logical way to explain our experiences .