Making life

It was just another Saturday night. There was probably nothing obviously unusual or even special in the air. Some late fall leaves were making their way through the streets with just a little help from the wind. They loved being loose and careless although they had little life left in them, separated from the awkward-looking branches. The wind stole them from their mother, robbed them from a slim chance to continue their existence, and was now creating its pre-winter choreography.

The city lights were already beginning to light up. It was still early, but there was less and less light left from any natural sources. David was looking through the less than clean window onto the streets. He was following the leaves’ dance. He wanted to dance with them. He craved the momentary freedom. He held it in the highest regard. While it was certainly naive to believe into the concept of freedom in one’s life, he believed in incorporating the very notion of freedom into life’s many moments. It was a lie. A shortcut at best. But it did not matter. It meant something only in the grand context of the moment itself. The street was getting darker by the minute, and while already missing the light of day, David was anxiously anticipating the night time. What and who will it bring to him today? How will it fill his life for tonight? How will he cheat himself at night fall? What other wonderful prey will the night bring? Will it be just the night’s air? Will it be a beautiful stranger? Perhaps a dream fulfilled? Will there be something new? Something truly wonderful? Or will it be just another lonely night? Meeting people but never connecting? That seemed to be the usual set of expectations. Still he always tried…

It was only 6:30 pm. Too early to break open the thrill of the hunt. The prey needs to be ready, same as the hunter.

He brushed over the remote. Part of the wall lit up in blue. The TV. What a way to spend your empty segments of time without having to dig into the imagination. David did not have cable. Somehow he viewed it as a rather evil activity. Was it indeed? They were showing the “Cops” at 7:30. “America’s funniest” right after that. Now they were involved in some sort of a report on the people far away from the rest of the society. Those who either do not comply with the rules or are deemed as the non-compliers. How they are dealt with by those, who fit into the norm a bit better. Those who manage to hide their abnormalities. Those who have medical coverage. Any program will provide at least 30 visits a year to a shrink’s chair. The show was about mental institutions. David never liked extremities as a rule. Now he was feeling just too indifferent about it, so he did not switch the channel. On and on the stories unfolded. One was convinced that he was an eagle, soaring up high, ignoring all others. The modern medicine convinced him, that he is just a number. Another wanted to cross the globe, touch the earth with his bare skin, make love to nature, and what not. The modern medicine convinced him, that he is just a number too. There was a father, a husband, a son, a nephew, even an uncle. But there were no mothers. Nieces, aunts, sisters, and even the pretty girls next door were all absent. David was amused with that discovery. Aren’t there more women in the world? Don’t they go crazy too? He watched on, even waiting for the commercials to end, hoping there’d be a girl. And there she was. He really shouldn’t have waited. She was so young and innocent. Perhaps 22, or so. She had straight blondish hair and the corners of her mouth were looking up, despite the white walls surrounding her. David accidentally pressed the remote and the channel went away. What channel was it? He didn’t know. After desperately browsing through only a few channels of public access, he came across that program once again. But he only caught another glimpse at the disturbed girl. The stories went on. This next one thought that HE was normal too. The modern medicine had convinced him otherwise. Now he just didn’t care.

But David all of a sudden did. He wanted to know more about the girl. He wanted to know if she was just as unusual as him, even if in a different way. He wanted to know, why she was smiling. He also wanted to empty his bowel. As he walked out of the bathroom, the choice had been already made. It was still only 7 pm and his east side apartment was so close to the magic building. Grey outside, white inside. There, just like in a magic castle SOMETHING was locked in a misunderstood innocence. He will help her, understand her and comfort her. He will also make her fall in love with him. Then he’ll be satisfied. He’ll go home feeling guilty of the torture he offered. He’ll also be proud of the last moment of real life, he had offered that being. He let her fall in love once more. He broke up her routine. Most probably it was just another way to lie to himself. Causing real emotions in others is almost as good as having them yourself, only much safer. There was no need to really suffer or spend the life’s energy on all those raw moments. As absurd as it may have been he felt like this would be the right thing to do for the moment. He could barely understand, what possessed him. He was drawn somewhere and he didn’t care why. He only hoped it would be open that late on a Saturday.

He found it unusually easy to get in there. They listened to his story attentively, immediately identified the girl, and had shown him to a large white room, where he would meet her. David’s heart was pounding. It was something in between crossing the road on the red light, despite the parents’ disapproval and taming a wild beast. He was uncomfortable in this big room all by himself, but also proud of himself for doing something ridiculously cool.

The wait lasted longer than he expected. It gave him just enough time to get excited and nervous and then bored and frustrated. What was he doing here? He suddenly realized how late it was. Thinking of his normal Saturday night he now missed it, waiting for this moment to pass. Still, he was too embarrassed to walk out as he changed his mind. What if it will be the moment they are walking her to the room? He even wondered how easy it was getting some alone time with a person, the society deemed as crazy. Was she really just that? He no longer cared. He was bored, lonely and somehow a bit paranoid in this white room with no windows and plenty of gates on the way out. How soon is she coming? He was truly determined to try it all in his search of the ultimate release. Did he go just a bit too far this time? Is it so wrong that he was looking to screw as many girls as his head could handle (which is a lot more than his body could handle). He liked that first thrust into a new woman, catching that first moan and silencing it with his mouth. That’s why he liked being on top, he liked feeling her nails on his back and pulling her hands back as if she didn’t want it. He liked that he usually came before her no matter how hard he tried. He liked being able to be selfish with women while giving more than he usually would. He liked that it is all about him!!!

These thoughts took him away for a little while, made him forget where he was, and even got him aroused. The lights deemed in his head, the walls were no longer that scary/lonely white color, and he almost heard a faint melody coming from the other side of the hall. It was fun right behind that wall, he knew it. He was almost ready to get up and join this party, which only existed in his head now. Then the sounds of music were suddenly interrupted by different, far less attractive sounds. Those were the sounds of doors opening and then people walking. They were getting closer and closer and he realized, that his crazy surreal dream was about to become the reality of the night. What was he doing here? He should be out there experiencing life, not here, hiding away from what he THOUGHT he already knew far too well. He imagined how she was far less interesting and mysterious than he thought she was. After all, he only saw her for less than a minute. What if she was truly disturbed? His mind filled with fear and doubt. Yet he was here. All the curiosity, anticipation and absurdity of the situation made his heart pound. Then the door begun to crack open and the pounding stopped. He was no longer flying or excited or confused. He was like a soccer goalie during a penalty shot. He knew what was about to happen. He knew what to do. He also knew that he had very little control over the situation. So he just sat there frozen, waiting for the moment to pass. He was waiting for the door to open completely and reveal all that was, but only bigger. It was far more mysterious and yet obviously predictable, than a woman taking her clothes off. It was living on the brink and receiving nothing expected and he loved it.

Then the door came to a stop at its full swing. Did he see people and faces walking in or were these only images his mind created? Was he simply mentally recreating so many other days and not such new moments? It didn’t truly matter. After all the doubts and fears he was so incredibly relieved. He wanted this more than anything. It all seemed so great.

Then she walked in. Her head was down, hair totally straight and dull, and her shirt completely failed to highlight any of her features. It was a long white robe-like covering. It suited the surroundings very well. He felt suddenly lighter and better. He did it. She is just a mental institution’s patient and nothing more. She was a figment of his imagination. She was boring. At least she looked boring. He was done with this game and now couldn’t wait for an excuse to revert back to his weekend life. He was hoping for the workers to say something to him. He wouldn’t like it and would just leave. The story would end in the most trivial fashion. It happened to him so many times before. He would really like someone. He would build the most elaborate castles of dreams, which were never fulfilled. Then she would appear far duller in a certain light and the fantasy was over. He would never look for an excuse to leave. He would just abandon his prey. He would be thoroughly satisfied with the experience and would be ready for a new one. This happened so often to him and the reality of this very moment reminded him so much of all those before. He even didn’t hold a victorious smile back. He played this absurd game and it fit oh so well into his scope of days.

The workers sat her down in front of him and left without saying a word. He was now sitting all alone with her. He didn’t know what to do. Should he had been uncomfortable? ‘OK,’ he thought. “I’ll play.” Only a moment passed and she looked up.

‘Who are you?’

Despite the very absurdity of the moment, that question seemed quite normal.

‘Does it matter?’ He thought.

‘I can’t quite explain it’ he said, ‘this just came to me. My life tends to repeat itself so much, I wanted…’

He stopped himself, suddenly realizing that he may be talking to a completely disturbed individual. He would generally get other people involved in his life, try to get them to understand his problems, views, and issues. That was his self-defense. By getting people involved in his life so very quickly he’d make them drop their guards. He’d make them accept his diluted or just ‘utterly original’ standpoint. He would occupy their mind instantly; make them accept him for whatever he wanted to be that very moment. Most found that practice so fascinating, that he had a fairly easy time seducing people. But why was he trying to do it with her? So he stopped talking.

‘Go on’ she said in a calm voice.

Go on? And tell this crazy person about his life? Even he knew it was not a good idea to share his personal details with her. Then again, it was just a game to him. A very strange very new game. Probably one of a kind. He was less concerned with whether it would be cruel to include this disturbed person into his game. He only thought ‘Does that make me just as crazy?’

‘It’s OK, go on’ she repeated.

It’s OK? Nothing is OK in this situation. ‘How do I explain that to her? What logical reason is there for my being here? Is there anything logical here now? Should I even try to explain it? Why spoil this ‘one of a kind’ moment anyway?

‘OK’ he said again ‘I’ll play.’

‘Why don’t you go on? After all I’m here to meet you’

‘How certain are you of that?’ She seemed so very serious asking that.

‘Should I give up control that easily?’ he thought. ‘Then again, there seems to be so little danger in this game…’ It seemed so seductive in a strange sort of way. He was certain now, that this was a better weekend night. He only feared that the workers would come take her away, and it would end. He barely understood how he even gained access to this place. Then he was left alone with her. Then he began this conversation. He was never this accepting of life just dictating its rules. One other thing he knew so well was that he also always knew what to expect of every situation. He liked this new setting. He barely risked anything. He could always walk out and she couldn’t. It wasn’t unfair. These were the rules of a game he didn’t invent. That’s just how it was at the moment.

‘I’m pretty certain.’ he responded. ‘Didn’t I just come here?’ He had to push back just a little. He didn’t want her to forget, that he was in control here.

‘Yes, you did.’

Now he just felt bad for making that previous statement. Why would he make a caged person feel even more caged?

‘I’m sorry,’ he said with a clearly guilty grimace on his face. He wanted to make her feel better and the only way he knew of doing that was treating her as an equal, while displaying some weakness.

‘My life’ he began, ‘is filled with a lot of expected moments. Even the surprises are generally predictable. I thought this was perfectly acceptable to come here and meet you. I saw you on TV. There was a program, you were there, and you seemed like someone, who would be interesting to meet. I didn’t mean to say that.’

‘No, thank you. You actually made me feel normal for a moment. No one argues with me here or shows off, or tries to impress me in some way. Everyone treats me as an object. You’ve made me feel like a person with that comment.’

‘What is wrong with you? I mean, why are you here?’

‘Perhaps the same reason as you are.’

‘Well, you gave permission to disagree with you and I will. I made a conscious choice to be here. I’ll admit, it was an unorthodox one, but a choice I’ve thought through to one extend or another. So, why are you really here?’

‘I’ll tell you a story,’ she said. ‘No doubt you know about Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty or any of the other similar characters.’

‘Are you a victim of a spell then?’

She ignored that almost sarcastic comment and went on.

‘I led a perfectly normal life, probably awfully similar to yours. Then I found a script one day. It seemed very unusual to encounter hardened papyrus just lying on an edge of a table in an empty coffee shop. I always considered myself an intellectual and loved history, so I picked it up and without turning it to the only person in the place, a bored coffee shop attendant, unrolled it with a curious and gentle motion. It spoke of prophecies and various characters. It made perfect sense and seemed like a very well written tale. I was even surprised at how modern the script read. I was certain, that it was written rather recently. It looked old, but I knew, that it wasn’t. I read of spirits and spells, ugly and beautiful things. The roll of that papyrus was small, but I read it for a long time. It was shocking and intriguing. It was surreal and yet very easy to comprehend and relate to my life. I couldn’t wait to see my friends and tell them about it. I was no longer thinking of finding the rightful owner; I only wanted to have it. So I took it home.’

The story was so amusing and enticing despite its simplicity that David listened on without any questions or interruptions.

‘That was the end of my boring normal life. Everything I read happened to me in one shape or form or another. It was so beautiful and unexpected. The greatest thing about it was the fact that every time I would go back to reading that papyrus it had more written there. There was always more for me to read. First I started coming to work late and leaving early. Then I took some days off. Before I knew it, my vacation days were gone and I was slowly saying ‘Good bye’ to everything, which I considered normal not too long ago. Soon I just stopped showing up for work, without even quitting. I lost weight, as eating only took me away from reading. I didn’t sleep, didn’t rest, I would simply pass out from exhaustion and the moment I’d awake I’d just go back to reading.  At first I felt, like I was expanding my mind. Then I was just burning through it. I was dying from the lack of sleep and food, I didn’t leave my apartment for two whole weeks and I felt more alive, than I ever felt in my entire life. My baby cousin was supposed to come visit me from Chicago. That’s a very confusing, contradicting, cold, windy city. She finally arrived and spent several hours knocking on my door. I must have knocked something over and made her realize, that I was in fact home. After another 20-30 minutes of knocking, she called the police and they knocked the door down. I ignored them and my cousin. I just kept on reading. After a few minutes they tried to take the script away. I fought hard but there were so many of them and I was so incredibly weak. I tried to beg, plead and just explain, but they didn’t care. They tried to ‘save’ me. Or at least that’s what they said. They tried to return me to what I was. Why? I was only alive when I had my script. It didn’t take them long after that day to send me here. I guess I owe my life to them. Unfortunately I am stuck here now. I don’t even try to convince them, that I am normal anymore. If I am cured I will go straight to jail.’

‘Why?’ He felt his voice scratching his throat.

‘In all this mess and my cousin’s attempts to revive me the papyrus disappeared. I was sure my cousin hid it to stop all what she called ‘the madness.’ I couldn’t go on without it. The first night I waited for her to fall asleep. Then I went to the kitchen, took a very sharp Swedish knife and walked to her. I pressed it to her throat. She awoke but wouldn’t admit to taking it away from me. I was mad, confused, needy. I pressed too hard… The blood covered the white sheets, my clothing, my hands. It spilled and my cousin never told me where it was. She was still alive for a few more moments. She blinked a few times. She tried to say something, but I think I cut her vocal cords too. I knew that I would never find it now. In a few hours the police came. Apparently my cries and screams finally got to my neighbors. I don’t think I ever let my hand off of the knife. It was still bared in her throat when the police knocked the door down for the second time in 2 days.’

Suddenly he became scared. ‘She is homicidal!’ He realized that it was just the two of them.

‘Don’t worry,’ she said, ‘I’m stuck here now. I could never be allowed to read it now. I stopped searching a long time ago.’

‘What do I say? What do I do?’

‘So what were those stories about?’ He imagined Sodom and Gomorra. Then he realized that reminding her of those stories was not the best thing. He instantly regretted asking that question.

‘What do you mean? Did those stories appear different to you?’

He felt ill. ‘What should I say? What will she say next?’

‘I never read those stories. I’ve never even seen that script’

His eyes searched the room as if to make sure that there was no Swedish knife around. He wanted to run away.

The silence was just too much to bear so he whispered quietly:

‘What do you mean?’

‘What if I just run out? I’ll never see her again. I hope…’ His knees were to weak and the head too heavy to get up.

‘So why are you here then?’ she asked visibly shocked.

What an impossible question.

‘Why am I really here?’ He no longer had thoughts, he only had instincts.

‘Why?’ she repeated.

He grasped for air and felt no air coming into his lungs.

‘I don’t know,’ he finally squeezed out.

‘So you really don’t know?’

‘No, I don’t.’ His voice broke into a cry.

‘It’s really not so bad here, you know.’

‘What do I care? What do I care? What do I care?’

She slowly got up and leaned over him.

‘Should I be even more scared now?’ he thought. The feeling of inevitability calmed him down a bit.

She brushed his hair with her left hand. She started at the very tip of his head, and slowly worked her way down. Her hand stopped at his neck and she pulled his head forward. Her face began to get closer. Her lips were slightly cracked, but red and full of life. Her eyes were focused on his. Then she got very close and their lips locked. It was a mad kiss and it tasted of fear and relieve. She bit his lip a little. Then she began to pull back with his lip still in her mouth. His eyes were wide open and hers were sealed shot. She finally let go of his lip. Another half a second and she let go of his neck too. She looked at him with very normal eyes. They were full of regret and… loss. Then he finally took his eyes off of her face. She was dressed in a sharp grey suit, her short hair neatly tucked away behind her ears. She glanced at him once more and began to move toward the door.

‘Am I loosing my mind? Am I hallucinating?’ His thoughts felt scrambled and chaotic.

She opened the unlocked door, turned toward him and gave him an almost motherly look. He was happy she was leaving even under these absurd circumstances.

The door finally shut closed. He looked down trying to gather his thoughts.

‘What is on me?’ He was wearing a white shirt, which was so long it was more like a robe.

The door opened again and those workers came in again.

‘Time to go, buddy. The nurse is making her rounds and you should be ready for your pill.’ One of them grabbed his arm gently, yet firmly, in an attempt to help him get up.

It didn’t feel strange.

He got up. He knew that it didn’t make sense to try and explain the situation. He wasn’t at all hesitant. Yet the absurdity of the situation was so extreme, that he felt that it would end any moment now, just like a dream. Only this was more like a nightmare with a bizarre twist of the very ridicule of his presence here. ‘This is going to end very soon now,’ he thought. He was almost curious to see how this would play out. Still he also felt like this was pretty much a deserved punishment for all those wonderful careless days of things going his way. ‘It’s good that I don’t have a cat at home. I might be here for a while… ‘Should I feel scared?’ he asked himself that question and was really not certain about the answer. “After all I did come here looking for an eccentric and twisted adventure. I think I just got it. Let’s ride this wave for a while.’ He didn’t seem to have a choice. He was coming along for the ride and there were oh so many people with him. Loonies, crazies, retarded, and just lost people presented the biggest support group he’s ever had. Their very existence made them accomplices. This was a truly strange support group thou. No one seemed to care about the others or even themselves for that matter. There were human breathing living ghosts walking around. Everyone was somehow drawn to a center of a white room. They all walked up there one at a time and disbarred back into the white nothingness of this perfectly squared four-wall zone. Then one of the workers came up to him and began leading him to the center by his arm. It felt like some sort of worship. ‘Will they make me kneel down? Will I recite a text of some sort? Is this an initiation or an every day chore?’ He was still feeling very perplexed and baffled, but was getting uncomfortable with this set up. It wasn’t fear. It was just the ultimate loss of control. Being called a control freak by his friends many times David truly held being in control in the highest regard. He didn’t even like when a woman was on top because that took control away from him. This situation was far bigger than anything he’s ever experienced before thou. It was his choice to come here, but now that choice was being taken away from him. He felt conflicted about giving up control. He enjoyed it as something new in his life but almost expected whips, handcuffs and leather to appear soon. He was just about ready for this odd game to end and yet couldn’t wait to see what happens next. ‘I’ll just see what’s there,’ he thought. Then he did.

He swallowed the pill wondering how it would affect him. Would he loose control or become too indifferent? Perhaps he would begin to believe, that it’s not so bad here? He never did drugs and was strangely fascinated and at the same time scared of the effects they produced. He was afraid to get into a drawn-out conversation now. The pill would no doubt incapacitate him very soon. So he waited. He went over to the wall and decided to sit it out for a bit. He tried to find some sort of a time reference, but there were no clocks on the walls. ‘How long will it take for me to start feeling the effects of this medicine?,’ he wondered. He decided to start counting in his mind. He got to somewhere around twelve thousand, when they opened the door and everyone began to walk out. ‘I’m still not feeling anything!’ he thought. “Maybe I need to be on this for a while before it kicks in to its full extend. Days will replace the hours. It’s inevitable.’ He began to feel that months and years of a big white room might replace his very life. He was still waiting for some sort of guidance in this place. Yet the only guidance he was getting was a seemingly concerned worker leading him by his arm whenever he fell behind. He stepped into a small room with a bed. By his calculations Saturday night was just about ending.

 

He woke up in the middle of the night. It was very dark in the room. The medicine didn’t have any reaction on him. Moreover, instead of feeling nothing, he couldn’t sleep and awoke straight into a powerful thought stream. He was feeling strangely calm. It surprised him how little he cared about all the events of the night before. It seemed even more unusual since the medicine did not have an effect on him. It was as if he simply accepted this new existence as the next logical step in the chain of his life. It was like Ying and Yang. He enjoyed his ‘freedom’ for a very long time. He had a terrific job, beautiful apartment, plenty of money to spend, and most importantly there was no one to tell him what to do. He developed his own taste in clothing, music, idle activities and all those suited him very well. He took pleasure in oh so many things without any repercussions. He knew he would miss ‘his’ women the most. All of the women in the city were ‘his’ women. He felt no obligations to any of them or to himself for indulging in their lives and their bodies. Those women were tall or short, happy or sad, dark haired or even blonde. Some of them looked like models and others had no idea why he even noticed them. He certainly had some preferences. He liked brunettes who didn’t complain about their life much and could carry on a conversation. Yet they were all beautiful to him. They scared boredom away and gave nothing back. Perhaps the latter was mostly important to him because it meant no complications. Those seemingly happy faces stayed happy in his mind. They didn’t begin to change to change their expressions with time. He never gave them enough time to do so.   Meeting them was better than watching movies or rollerblading, or even listening to music. He never knew what he’ll get with them. Even though it seemed pretty obvious, they were all so different, so new. When would he stop? He knew it would inevitably come to an end. Still he did not envision it, anticipate or in any shape or form plan it. When should he stop? When should he stop being free? That question did not excite him and never produced any reasonable answers in his mind. Still he knew that just as Caligula or just like Rubens he would halt his hunt. He was hoping to make that decision himself and not have his death or just an old age stop him. Nothing could prevent him from remembering the past. The white room of the psychiatric hospital or the darkness of the windowless accommodation, his new home, could not restrain him from remembering. He almost never dreamt of what he couldn’t get. He got just about everything he wanted. All he had to do was act or just remember, if he was too lazy to act. Perhaps that was the reason he did not feel absurdly uncomfortable there. He couldn’t act, but he could just pretend to be tired, or just lazy, or that he was on some sort of a bizarre vacation. Plus the situation itself was so incredibly extraordinary, that he was just waiting for it to end by itself at some point. It would be like waking up from a dream or completing a game. So he just remembered in the mean time. He remembered all those wonderful moments and didn’t even wish he could write it down. There were so many of them. Now that he was no longer distracted by the outside world it gave him time to reflect on the days and adventures and women of so many yesterdays. Those days mixed into one great mesh of unparalleled pleasant memories. They carried breathtaking and fantastic stories of momentary fame and glamour, they took his own breath away and at times made him feel dizzy just remembering the details. It was a pleasant daze of superiority and being carried away. Even the most trivial parts of those memories carried him away and made the corners of his mouth go up. He only felt careless and completely free during and as a result of these conquests. Oh, he was very forward and honest with them all. That even inspired him more. They expected nothing and were fully prepared to give nothing back. He loved them that one time as they loved him. It was a great game of pretense. They had all the things people are supposed to have in a perfect relationship. There was always honesty, but there was also trust and a sense of comfort, and a genuine excitement to see each other, and a strangely experienced natural flow of a conversation and there was always passion. He missed them as soon as they were gone yet only long enough to feel all those things again. He never revisited them in his mind, he only thought of the way they made him feel. That was always wonderful, but almost never the same. He always picked the setting, the topics, the drinks. Even the emotions experienced by them were mostly picked by him. It was a quest to fill in time in the most elaborate and yet calculated and predetermined ways possible. He simply ensured that he would be satisfied with his encounters. He admitted to himself that he lost a lot of adventure and magic in these calculations. Then again he was never truly adventurous. He never went backpacking through the woods, or camped out far from civilization, or traveled throughout the world on a student pass and his last pennies. He certainly never jumped out of an airplane or went bungee jumping. He never even doubled the speed limit. He enjoyed his comfort and took advantage of plenty of the life’s conveniences.

He loved those women but he didn’t miss them now. They brought back some memories. Those were nothing but a cluster of pleasant flashbacks of the times past. Those experiences came to him so very easily and were almost just as easy to cast aside. He cleansed his mind and soul of the need for those women now. Meeting them and spending time with them were like little getaways. There were mini-vacations for him. Mini-vacations from the boring world and the simple realities of the everyday life. But now he was anything but bored, nor was he in a trivial setting. This may have been the most wild and out of the ordinary twist his life has ever taken. He was no longer bored or apathetic. He was no longer in need of those self-manufactured adventures. He actually was fairly excited. He wanted to live this mad story all the way and to the very end. He only didn’t want to take too long to get there. Still if he ever felt committed it was now. He felt almost obliged to himself to play it through. After all, the odds of anything similar ever happening again were rather slim.

Somehow he was not afraid of getting stuck there. He was more than certain, that the story would end and he would get back to his reality of the day before. If nothing else worked he would just explain himself. Although it would probably be rather difficult, still he was too convinced that he was just absurdly normal not to prove his sanity. Plus he had the whole outside world of business and personal contacts to back him up. No Saturday night would ever feel the same, but it was only for the better. Regardless of that feeling he was still thinking of possible ways to get back to the life outside of this place. It made it more of an adventure. It was a very elaborate labyrinth but at the same time it was not much more than any other maze. ‘What did she do to make this happen? Did she pass that ability to him as well as this residence? Could he do it too?’ He was certain of his ability to do just about anything another person can. He knew that pretty soon he would begin to feel trapped.

 

He fell back asleep for a few moments and saw himself in this very room, sitting in the middle of it on the floor. He felt hungry. He was starved but not for food. It was something else. He felt lonely but it wasn’t a company of men that he craved. The night was ending and he already saw first glimpses of the sun through the muddy window. He began to feel nervous. His eyes were searching all over the room, his senses awake as never before. He felt the uneasy expectation of something horrible about to happen. He pressed his teeth against each other and felt something unusual. His hand traveled to his face and he felt fangs coming out of his mouth. He was a vampire and the sun was about to burn him alive! He jumped up and pressed himself against a wall still covered in darkness. Yet the sun continued its path along the walls catching up to him. He already felt his skin heating up. Could it be? He actually wished he was a vampire sometimes. The supremacy of being, the special powers, being able to see and feel what others can’t all appealed to him. Now, finally a vampire he was about to die because his dreams materialized. Then the dream went away. He opened his eyes and found himself still on the bed with only darkness around him. Although that was definitely a nightmare his heart did not beat faster as he awoke. He liked explaining his dreams to himself. This one was just too easy.  He felt less than like a caged animal in this room and more like a vampire deprived of his very existence and the ability to hunt, just sitting in a room with guarded windows waiting for the sun to come up and take him away. Nonetheless there was no need for panic. He knew his way out. All he had to do was find someone else to kiss. While the place provided limited options, seducing someone was his specialty. Then again he decided to continue being an active participant of this contest some more. Time will resolve all and bring more enjoyment and excitement. Those thoughts comforted him further and he fell back to sleep.

 

As it was so very often in any other part of life, when one stage ends another immediately begins. That’s one of the beautiful parts of being alive. There’s never an empty moment. Even as we sleep and supposedly exist on a different level, the same rules apply. We work through our issues with our eyes closed. As a mater of fact, the wider our eyes are open, the more difficult it is to see the most trivial things. The obvious answers escape us as we think we are extraordinary prepared to face the gravest of dangers or are tackling the toughest issues.

As simple or childishly complicated as that view may be, it applied in this grotesque situation as well. He fell asleep with those sane and logical thoughts and it made him feel unusually calm. Much time did not pas at all and he woke up with some of the most disturbing emotions he ever experienced. He was on the very edge of loosing control, but something kept him in check. That awkward control mechanism was a purpose. He felt like he was slipping into an incredible, highly undesirable emotional rollercoaster. The fact that it came with a purpose only made it frightening. Yet, when he realized the nature of that purpose he became even more terrified. He awoke to realize that there was only one thing truly missing from his life. It wasn’t the freedom he lost less than half a day ago. It wasn’t the raw seductive smell of the streets on a Saturday night. He felt a gigantic void. He felt it. Somehow he always knew it. Only now it finally materialized. That was the real reason he came here in this absurd fashion. That was the reason he didn’t truly panic or try to break free in an attempt to get back to his regular life. He was here to find that papyrus. He wished he spoke to that girl a bit more and asked some details. Then again, she was clearly mad. After all she committed a murder to get that papyrus back. What was normal about that? Did she really expect to get it back then? He was normal thou. Somewhat unfortunate to be confined by these walls, but that was his only issue. Plus, no doubt, it was a small price to pay for the information he received. He couldn’t even imagine the positive repercussions of reading that papyrus. Still he knew that it would change his super ordinary life into something wonderful. All those others, who have read it before, could not regain control of it. It only confused them and messed up their lives. There’ve even been casualties. It was because it didn’t belong to them. He knew his life was meant for something truly great and significant. He just didn’t know what it was until he encountered that girl and her story. All he had to do now was find those minor obstructions. True greatness is never easily achieved. He finally knew what he needed to find. He knew that it was somewhere out there behind those walls. He just had to leave now. How would he do that? Perhaps he should just ask. Many strange things have already transpired. One more was due.

 

Much time didn’t pass and he, still filled with a slew of the most absurd and incredible thoughts, heard the first sound in the night. Those were the sounds of someone walking. They were getting closer with every second, and David’s heart was racing faster and faster with anticipation. Finally the steps stopped immediately outside his room. The knob turned, door opened, and a person walked in. The bit of light shining from the hallway through the opened door revealed a rather tall and thin person. This stranger was wearing a long robe with a hood, making his features near impossible to detect. He greeted David by raising his hand and took a long step into the room. The door remained open, still bringing some light into the tiny space, David’s new home. The strange costume on this person and complete disregard for caution from a rather lightweight person led David to believe that this stranger was not part of the local staff.

‘Do you know why I am here?’ His voice was deep and very clear.

David nodded. He had no idea what the man’s purpose was, but saw him as the next logical step in the chain of all recent events.

‘What do you need?’

Such a strange question. David hesitated a moment and squeezed out ‘I need to go.’

‘Of course you do. What do you need to make sure you do not fail?’

The answer seemed so clear.

‘I need to see her again.’

‘That is not possible. She failed. Now you must not make the same mistakes.’ He paused for a moment and repeated again ‘What do you need?’

It still made sense. As a matter of fact it all made more sense now than before the man appeared.

‘Can I see your face?’

‘You don’t need to see my face.’ The man was getting impatient. ‘What do you need not to fail?’

‘Everything.’

‘Than everything you will have.’

The man walked out, closed the door, leaving David in complete darkness and departed with far less noise, than he produced when he arrived. David’s eyes were trying to get used to the darkness once again, while his head felt like it was about to explode.

‘Did I say something wrong?’ he wondered. ‘I always do.’

Steps sounded off again. They were bouncing off the hallway walls louder and louder by the moment. Only this time there were several people walking. The knob turned once again. Full light went on in the room this time and David closed his eyes for a moment. Still squinting, he finally let some light in and saw two large men in white robes and one other man in a suit.

‘We are so sorry, sir. Please follow us.’ Having no other more interesting activities engaging his brain, David followed without a single question. He was walked down the hall, through a few doors and downstairs.

‘Again, we are so sorry, sir.’ The man in a suit swung the front door open.

‘I’m leaving then…’ it sounded almost like a question, coming from David.

‘Of course you are, sir.’

David walked the asphalted area right up to the front gate and right through it. He looked back. There was no one looking at him. Those men were gone. He smelled the air. Is smelled good. It smelled real. It smelled like his regular life. He turned his back to the building and faced the street, ready to catch a cab. A stretch limo was parked right in front of him. An older gentleman with grey hair was holding the passenger door open, looking at David.

‘Sir?’

‘Yes.’

‘Where should I take you?’

There were many strange things which transpired over the last few hours. Still David was trying to make sense of it all.

‘I’m sorry?..’

‘You have many things to do. I shall be your driver and your guide.’

That seemed clear and somewhat sinister. Still David did not care. He only wanted to go home.

‘Perhaps I shall take you home, sir?’

Perhaps he will do just that, David thought and climbed into the comfort of the seat. He did not feel like asking questions. He felt tired, confused, and certainly relieved that he did not need to look for a taxi.

Was he a part of some sort of a conspiracy? Was this a blessing in disguise? Was he in a kind of grave danger? He had no answers. Still he had no questions either. He only wanted to get home, stretch out on his bed and salvage whatever he had left of the night’s sleep. The sun was already coming up. The new day was beginning. There was less than 24 hours before he had to be in the office. He knew he was to spend the entire Sunday thinking of nothing but these events. Still, right this moment he did not care.

The limo finally came to a stop. Someone opened the door almost immediately and David walked out of the car. He found himself standing in front of an entrance to a luxurious residential skyscraper.

‘This is not my home.’ He thought.

The man with gray hair walked out of the car and stood right in front of David.

‘Let me take you upstairs, sir.’

‘But…’

‘You live here, sir. I shall take you to your flat.’

The adventure continued. Something was telling David he was not about to get any sleep.

 

Golden plated fireplace shield. 17 century chandeliers. Gothic wooden table covered with hand quilted tablecloth. Library filled with clearly very old books, just built into the wall. Paintings by Monet and Chagall all over the apartment. They seemed original, to no surprise. The surprising part was that David was apparently home. All the clothes he always wanted seemed clearly fitted to him. Even the endless CD collection, hidden in on of the cabinets, did not contain a single album David did not approve. Was it really heaven? He no doubt had a multitude of platinum credit cards in his name and a very solid savings account, complimented by numerous mutual funds. The price for everything seemed quite low. He had to look for that wicked papyrus. Being out of that established for mentally ill people, David no longer felt the same urge to embark on that crazy quest. Plus all of these wonderful possessions could be gone the moment the goal is reached. David had a good life before. He was very financially comfortable. His job was very fitting to him and he appeared to like it a lot. Still, he realized, in none of his realities would he ever be able to attain this apartment by any normal means. Well, if all fails, he still had his old apartment. Plus he could just pretend to look for the mighty papyrus for a very long time.

A quite, yet very annoying sound disturbed the silence and David’s thought process. It was coming from a telephone attached to the wall by the front door. David picked it up.

‘It’s quite a wonderful flat you have there, sir.’

David recognized the driver’s voice.

‘No doubt everything’s to your liking.’ A short moment of silence was broken once again by that same voice.

‘You should understand thou, this is a true replacement for your old place, sir.’

‘My old place?’

‘It is no longer yours, sir. Now this is your place. I hope you will love it. A lot of thought went into it, sir.’

‘Who did the thinking then?’

‘A lot of thought indeed.’

‘Who are you?’ David just gave up. He could no longer play this game, acting as if everything was normal. Plus a moment ago he realized, that not only did he forget his home number, but he also forgot his old address.

‘What is my old address?’

‘Why am I calling it ‘old’?’ David thought. ‘I lived there only a few hours ago.’

‘I do not matter, sir. Your old address does not matter. Only you matter, sir.’

‘Mother?!’ he thought. David almost cracked a smile. He always amused himself.

‘No, sir’ the voice was consistently calm.

‘He reads my thoughts!’ David panicked for a second.

‘I’m your chauffer, your guide, and your servant sir. I am only here for you. Would you like me to bring you anything?’

‘A gorgeous woman would be nice’ David could not help himself and let the thought slip out.

‘Good night, sir.’ The telephone went dead.

‘Did this British servant with gray hair and bizarre mind-reading skills get offended?’

The door bell rang. It was creepy enough to have that man talk to him via the phone. David definitely didn’t want him at the door. What choice did he have thou? Was this apartment really his?

He twisted the knob and the door opened. A gorgeous brunette with a tiny waste and large behind stood at the door. She had a smile on her face.

‘This is just too good to be true.’ David completely gave up. He loved his apartment. He loved his power. He definitely loved this incredible woman.

‘Please come in.’ She didn’t say a word and continuing to radiate the same impeccable look and carrying the same smile, walked through the door and headed to another room.

‘I see. That’s where I sleep.’

Unexpected sex with a beautiful woman will always make your night. David did whatever he wanted. He tried all the positions he knew and then some. He was feeling unusually lucky. He knew he was just about invincible with that gray-haired guy nearby. He was getting the most wonderful thing ever. He was in his own apartment, which was too good to be true. He was protected by a guy he didn’t know 5 hours ago. He was having sex with a girl who fulfilled his every fantasy and helped his discover many new ones. He came so many times he actually lost count and still wanted more. His bed was the size of his old bedroom. His pillows were as soft as that beauty’s lips. His mattress was as gentle and yet firm as her ass.

‘Who are you?’ He finally asked.

She just took him in her mouth. It made it sort of impossible for her to talk and he was OK with that.

Once he came again he resumed: ‘You are just too good to be true. How did I get you again?’

He knew the answer to that question, but wanted to hear it from her.

‘You are just such a great lover.’

That may have been a lie or not, but she made him into a much better lover indeed.

‘What’s your name?’ he asked.

‘Amanda’

She must have known that. She is lying. The gray hair told her.

‘That’s my mother’s name.’

‘How incredible’ she replied.

‘No, no, no! This is all wrong. This is just too much! Please stop!’

‘Do you want me to do that? Are you sure? Do you want me to leave?’

‘You are the devil himself!’ he exclaimed.

‘You flatter me…’ she smiled.

‘That’s what I’m doing? Devil’s work? You praise devil? You, you…’

She suddenly became very frightened. Smile left her face and she only had an ugly grimace on.

‘What?!’ he exclaimed as his voice trembled.

He wanted to tell her all the things building up in his mind, but suddenly the foyer phone rang again. David rushed there hoping to bring some clarity to the situation, with mind filled with questions. The same voice spoke to him.

‘I am very sorry, sir. But you must be quite tired.’

David suddenly felt exhausted. All the energy was sucked out of him. He was no longer feeling like a hero. He felt like a man, who got two hours of sleep in a mental institution, followed by crazy endless sex in the middle of a totally new life.

‘Yes, I am. I am.’

‘I thought so, sir. She is gone now. Go to sleep. We have a busy time ahead of you.’

‘Can I see her again?’

‘We’ll take care of it, sir. Just rest.’

He walked back into the bedroom hoping he would not have to explain himself to her. Explain how tired he felt and how he did not really know her. His bedroom was empty, sheets neatly tucked, and lights dimmed.

‘I will regret it all at some point, I just know it’ he thought falling asleep.

He slept like a baby. Waking up was easy, inspiring and troublesome. It felt like a true weekend awakening. No worries, no rushing, no attempts to catch a few more moments of the warm asylum of blanket. Just a peaceful rested feeling. He turned over on his back and opened his eyes. He always did that. He’d keep his eyes closed until the latest moment possible and then suddenly opened them wide. He’d always see a little dot on the ceiling. That dot symbolized stability to him. No matter how many Saturday and Sundays he opened his eyes, the dot was still there. So once again he faced the day and found the dot right on the same place where it always was.

‘Good morning’ he whispered to himself and smiled. Life was good that very moment. He took a deep breath and stretched out on the bed. His sight caught an unexpected unfamiliarity of the thick suede drapes.

‘How funny…’

His recent memories began to come back.

‘I might as well take advantage of this. What was that weird guy’s name? How do I reach him?’

The telephone by his bed rang.

‘Oh ye, he reads my mind, I forgot.’ At that instant all sorts of totally inappropriate thought began to wonder into his mind. He didn’t even try to control them. Still, it didn’t quite last and the curiosity took over, so he picked up the receiver.

‘Hello’

‘Good morning, sir.’

He suddenly realized that he must have slept well into the afternoon.

‘What time is it?’

‘It’s just past 9, sir.’

He was not surprised. Things far more strange than those occurred only hours ago.

‘Good morning to you too.’ He replied.

‘What’s your pleasure this very minute, sir?’

‘This is just too much fun’ he thought.

‘Strawberries, whipped cream and Bloody Merry’s.’

It just sort of rolled off of his tong. He wasn’t sure why.

‘Straight away, sir.’ The ‘voice’ replied and the doors to his bedroom swung open.

A short man in a black tux rolled a cart into the room with a bowl of strawberries, a cup of whipped cream and a glass of blood.

‘Must be the Bloody Marry.’ He thought.

He took a sip and it was just absolutely divine.

‘This may be the best Bloody Marry I’ve ever tasted!’

He exclaimed not being able to hold back.

‘Listen’ he spoke into the receiver ‘once I’m done with this, can I keep any of these privileges?’

‘You have much to do still, sir.’

‘OK. But once I’m done with this, can I still enjoy it?’

‘Have you ever, sir?’

That was so true. It was almost depressing. But today was not a day of depressions. Today will be a busy day, full of awkwardness and amazement. He was so ready!

‘What are we waiting for then? Let’s go!’

He was a bit acting, a bit afraid to loose this strange moment, a bit still confused. The shower cured it all. He turned toward the shower wreck and saw no towels.

‘Where are the towels? He thought.

At that very moment a beautiful naked Amazonian beauty entered his shower room with a large piece of white cloth in her hands.

About half an hour later he left the bath.

‘That was one divine drying process!’ he couldn’t help but exclaim.

His clothes were laid out on his neatly tucked in bed. Although they all fit him very well, none of those pieces were actually his before this morning.

He picked up the telephone again.

‘So what time is it now?’ he was curious how long he spent in the shower and getting ready.

‘Just past 9, sir.’

‘Still?!’

‘Well you’ve made very little progress, sir. If I may.’

‘This day was going to last forever, isn’t it?’

‘It will always be remembered, sir.’

That cryptic answer seemed quite normal.

Although the entire shower experience was utterly refreshing, he felt like a nap. He felt like the fear of what the day will bring might have produced that effect. Plus he was curious whether the time would still stay still. So he leaned on the crispy white sheets just for a moment and fell into a coma-like experience instantly.

He awoke with a disturbing feeling. Rarely did he see dreams, which managed to distract him once they were gone. This was different thou. He remembered every detail of this dream, as if it was a movie. He remembered the characters in it. He clearly recalled the colors, the shadows from objects, even the smells and the weather. Still he felt like he was forgetting something very important. Things were so abundantly memorable and obviously clear in that dream. Yet the very essence of it was escaping him. That shocked him and bothered him a great deal. Generally he was very good at translating the meanings of his nightly rendezvous.

‘Let’s see if I can use my new connections’ he whispered right under his nose and smirked.

He picked up the telephone. Strangely the already familiar voice of his mystical server was not instantly at his disposal.

‘The old man must be slipping’ He thought ‘Well, he is an old man after all.’

‘Hello’ a moment passed.

“Hello’ another few seconds went by with the same result.

‘You are slipping, old man,’ he said almost angrily into the receiver ‘You should really be more accommodating as a servant, you know?’

There was still no answer.

‘Well that didn’t work.’

He began recalling his dream to analyze it better on his own.

There was an older house in the middle of a very large field. The field had the tall dark trees of the surrounding forest all around it. The house was built very simply. It was entirely made of wood with no signs of bricks or any other necessary construction pieces. The wood was deeply darkened by the numerous seasons of rain and wind gushing through the open arena of the field. That and the very dark color of the house made it look nearly centuries old. The strange thing was that the grass all around the house appeared to be very neatly trimmed.

Only two steps led to the door. He opened it and expected to hear a creaking sound from an old door. There was none. He stepped into that house and found himself in a large room. There were no other rooms. It was just one large room with very neatly arranged pieces of wood next to a large old fireplace. The room was completely empty. The light from the outside did not shine into this strange hall-like presence. The fire did not burn. There was obviously no electricity either. Still, despite the darkness he noticed that the floor was wet all over. He swung the door completely open to let the nature’s light shine inside. It shone and that’s when the dream became shockingly memorable. The room was still empty as before. But it was not the contents of the house, which scared him. It was the color of the wetness on the floor. It was red. Not only the color, but also the characteristic smell made him realize that it was blood. The whole floor was covered by it. There were some patches clean of it. Still most of the wooden base was covered with blood spilled. The smell was so strong that he had no choice but to close his nose and mouth with his left hand and take a step back, outside the house. Inevitably the door swung closed. Again it made no sound, just like before. He stood in front of the house, afraid to enter it again. Somehow he just knew that the blood was human. There was only a single thought on his mind.

‘Who were those people?’

Then he awoke. The dream was so absurd and frankly scary, that he didn’t really feel like analyzing it on his own.

He picked up the phone again, held the receiver in his hand for a few moments and put it back down.

‘Was this a sign? A warning of some sort? Was it the future or the past, I saw?’

He suddenly realized he was speaking aloud instead of just thinking it. The sharp cutting pitch of the telephone cut through the uncomfortable silence. He picked it up.

‘What’s your disturbance, sir?’

A moment passed before he realized to answer.

‘Nothing. Nothing at all. ’He paused and added ‘So what’s the next move?’

He had a purpose in this story. That much was clear. What was the purpose exactly? He didn’t know but something told him it would become obvious very soon. He opened the closet and found a bunch of neatly hung cloths. He knew those were all his size. He picked the first dark pair of pants and a shirt. They felt very comfortable on his body. He opened the front door and walked to the elevator. There was no one there to direct him. First floor had to be visited. It would bring answers without a doubt. He walked through a large hallway from the elevator to the exit. In front of the building was a man with grey hair holding an open door to a limousine car.

 

David hated how little control he had and yet was comforted with how little he had to worry about the next move. Like it or not, but it was predestined, thus making David relax, almost defusing the situation. He sat in the car, the driver closed the door and David leaned into the comfort of the velvet seat. The partition slid down and the driver asked:

‘Where to, sir?’

‘Don’t you know?’

‘Pardon me, sir, please be a bit more clear.’

‘Take me the nearest dance club, perhaps’ David almost smiled saying that.

‘There is undoubtedly work for you to do, sir. Maybe later you’d receive a greater satisfaction from a night of fun after a day of work, sir.’

‘Well’ David was really uncertain ‘her old apartment then.’

‘Yes, sir’

The road was empty of other cars and they got there very quickly. He kept on thinking what he was to find there. He looked upon the buildings and stores as the car moved toward its goal and it all seemed so very strange to him.

‘Will I see these things again? Will my life ever go back to normal? Will I remember all these events with regret? Fear? Will I miss it all?’

‘Excuse me.’

‘Yes, sir’

‘Is no one living there now? I assume it’s been some time since she’s paid her rent.’

‘It’s not been long at all, sir. It’s all still there, believe me.’

The car stopped and the driver swung the door open.

‘Well, at least it feels phenomenal being courted like this’ David thought.

The building door was right in front of the car and David walked in there. He was a bit scared of what might await for him to be discovered. It was one of those old buildings with no elevator. A typical city walk up. The vestibule was dark and quite, making David feel a bit more comfortable. It all seemed normal. He used to live in a building like this some time back. He began to walk up the stairs. He was stopping on every floor wondering if this was the right one. By the time he got to the top floor he saw a door slightly open. Through the crack a light shone onto the stairs.

‘Well, that’s just spooky’ David said out loud. ‘Could this adventure be a bit more classic, without the unnecessary thrill of scary moments?’

Still he felt safe.

He pushed the door wide open and the bright white light just swallowed him whole. Suddenly there was a moment of drifting away. David was back in his dream. He was standing in front of that house once again. Only this time he knew what was inside. He could almost smell the blood through the door. He knew it was just a dream and he just had to know more. He’s never seen that much blood. He walked up the short set of stairs and forced the door open. As it was opening David felt a weakness in his knees.

‘Are my knees supposed to feel weak when I’m dreaming?’ he thought. David squinted.

The door finally opened fully and David saw the street with the grayed-haired man holding the door to the limousine open. He walked through and up to the car.

‘What was all that?’

‘Sir?’

‘Forget it. Whose blood was it?’

‘Fallen soldiers bleed a lot.’ There was a pause. Then he added ‘Sir.’

‘Why couldn’t I get in her place thou?’

‘I suppose you were not ready yet, sir.’

Time passed quickly and still it didn’t move at all. David was enjoying the soft glide of the stretch. Strangely there was no radio in the car.

‘Well, I guess I’ll just sit here bored’ he thought.

Boredom brought memories. He was receiving them in still images. There were roses. A pretty girl’s face laughing. He recognized the girl. He was in love with her. It was very long ago, so David was surprised it came to his mind. It was cold and the girl was wearing a coat. It was a light winter coat. It was burgundy and made her look very pretty. She was also wearing a head band, but not for warmth. It just made her face look prettier. She was smiling and laughing and running down the street. Then she stopped and looked back at David. There was so much love and excitement there.

‘Why did I break up with her?’ he thought.

Then suddenly she stopped smiling. The corners of her mouth went down a bit, her hair got quite a bit longer and her coat disappeared. Instead she was wearing a strange gown. David looked at her again and involuntarily jumped deeper into the seat. His entire body was shaking, his hands felt weak and sweaty and his eyes were caught in a crazy dance. That was the girl from the hospital! How did he not recognize her before? He saw her on the TV and then in person and they both failed to recognize each other. David jumped forward and started banging on the divider in the car. The limo stopped and the divider went down. David could not control himself. He was yelling.

‘Is that why she kissed me? Is it?’

The driver’s face didn’t move, only his eyebrows went up expressing a confusion of a sort.

‘You know what I mean! Is that why she kissed me? Is this all a sick game or just some form of punishment? What did I do?’

The driver’s voice was calm and smooth. His words just rolled out of his mouth.

‘Calm down, sir. It will be all right.’

‘So why all the dead bodies then? I never hurt anyone!’

‘Really?’ the driver wondered. ‘Even yourself?’

‘Stop it. Stop it right this moment. Where is she?’

David felt deeply disturbed and yet his energy was leaving him. What could he do here? There were clearly forces at work here he did not understand.

The partition went back up and the car continued it’s movement.

‘Was that just a clue or the answer?’ David whispered weakly.

Suppose it couldn’t have been the answer, as David was still going some place.

‘Did she pick me on purpose? Did they? Who are they?’

Then a revelation came to David. He found the button to buzz the driver. The partition went down once again.

‘If I ask you to do something, you will do just that. Is that right?’

‘If it brings us closer to discovery, sir’

‘Then I have some ideas. Go to Brooklyn.’

‘Brooklyn, sir?’

‘Yes, 18th avenue and 78th street.’

‘Yes, sir.’

David watched the metal bars of Brooklyn bridge slide past the car, as they crossed over and left the island. Soon they pulled up to a long forgotten block in Bensonhurst.

‘That house right there,’ David pointed.

‘You have suddenly taken a keen interest in this mission, sir.’

‘Well, I’ve become interested. Plus I am anxious to see what the next step will bring.’

‘Oh, it is quite heartwarming, sir. I am glad to see you taking action. Where do you think you are going thou?’

‘If you truly don’t know, it won’t be long until you discover it. By the way, while I am doing my thing, or our thing rather, could you do something about the music in the car? Get us a stereo or something.’

‘Music influences our judgment, sir. You should really have a clear head.’

‘So I suppose Nas or even Depeche Mode would not be conducive to our mission then?’

‘Those sounds will bring back memories, no doubt. Memories, which would only distort your perception, sir. You will respond differently to life as a result of those memories, sir.’

‘Well, what about books back home then? Won’t they also influence my opinions.’

‘The flat is filled with a wide variety of things. They are all for decoration only.’

‘And the woman you’ve sent up earlier?’

‘Just to clear your mind, sir, and let you sleep well.’

‘So this adventure’s fully loaded then, ah?’ David could not hold back the sarcasm as he cracked a smile.

‘Yes, sir. Anything to get us closer to the goal, sir.’

‘Well, a memory is what has brought us here!’ David exclaimed.

‘A memory, sir?..’

‘Never mind.’ David forgot that he was trying to plan a surprise.

‘Very well then, sir.’

David was a bit nervous walking up to that door. After all the last time her parents saw him, they didn’t like their daughter dating a 19 year old unemployed student. She was 25 back then and working for a major investment bank.

He remembered the last time he saw her mother. She was screaming at his girlfriend disapproving of their relationship.

‘He doesn’t have a job or even an apartment. Where are you going with that? You should date someone of your age and status, or even older. Wake up and think of the future!’ her voice was angry and loud, spreading the sounds of the foreign language throughout the house. David just stood there, not knowing what to do. How do you explain love and the beauty of all things pure to a woman going through a menopause? She’s probably never even had love herself, but had a hardworking patriarchal husband who’s put food on the table and roof over their head every day.

‘There goes nothing’ David muttered and rang the bell.

After about half a minute an older woman opened the door and squinted at him. Her hair was messy and mostly grey. Her posture was of a woman, who’s become tired of being strong for everyone in the family. Her clothing was clean and neat but definitely older.

‘You don’t remember me, I‘m sure,’ David said. ‘My name is David. I used to date your daughter a while back.’

Foreign words rolled off of David’s tongue and he stopped talking for a second to see the woman’s reaction.

‘Who are you?’ she said weakly, looking visibly too tired to speak.

‘I used to date your daughter a long time ago.’

David said the girl’s name.

‘She is your daughter, isn’t she?’

‘My daughter? I have no daughter. I only have pain left.’

‘I understand it is difficult for you to perceive me just this way, but I really would like to find her. I am not trying to date her again, don’t worry. There is something important I need to discuss with her.’

‘My daughter is no longer here.’

‘Yes, I understand. I just need to know where she is now.’

‘I used to get upset at people like you. I no longer do. Just let me be and keep my memories.’

‘My memory is what brought me here.’

‘Who are you again?’ the woman lifted her head and finally looked David straight in the eyes.

‘My name is David. I us to date your daughter. I am looking for her now.’ David started to repeat himself.

‘David?’ she interrupted.

‘Yes.’

‘David…’

She repeated softly, as if reminding herself.

‘I don’t remember you, David.’

‘Remember I was 19 and your daughter 25. She was working for a bank and I was a student. You didn’t like us dating. You even got upset once in front of me because of that.’

‘Yes, now I remember you. What do you want?’ she said rather friendly.

‘I am looking for…’ David repeated her name.

‘Come in, come in,’ the woman said and stepped away from the door.

David came in and looked around. He didn’t remember this place so it may have been all new or totally the same. The woman closed the door, slowly walked to the kitchen and turned fire under the teakettle.

‘I am making you tea,’ she announced.

‘Thank you.’ David agreed.

‘Sit down. Tell me about yourself’

‘I am fine, thank you’ David answered as he sat on a chair in front of the table.

‘Where could I find her thou? I understand she moved out a while back, but what has actually become of her?’

‘My daughter…’ the woman’s voice broke. ‘My little baby…’ her mind visibly drifted away.

‘What happened to her?’ frankly David was concerned himself.

‘I only know that… I know that… Some things went wrong…’

‘What things?’

The teakettle went off with a whistle and the woman got up.

‘Sugar? Honey? Some milk maybe? Oh, no, I have no milk… Sugar?’

‘No, thank you.’

She filed the cups with loose tea and poured the hot water over them. She placed cups on the tabletop and got an apple. As she was washing it, David looked visibly anxious to hear the end of the story. Finally she was done. The woman dried her hands with a kitchen towel, picked up a small plate and a knife and sat down.

‘So what went wrong with your daughter?’ David tried to get back to the conversation.

The woman started to cut small slices of the apple off and dump them into her tea cup.

‘She went away to a crazy place.’ The woman finally shared.

‘You mean a mental institution?’

David was beginning to connect the dots.

‘Yes, that also. But first she married and things seemed to go so well. She got pregnant almost right away, but she lost it. She left her husband and went off to live by herself. Soon, she stopped calling me and stopped returning my calls. I have a sister in Chicago. Her kid was always friends with my baby. I was simply worried about my daughter…’

The woman’s eyes began to darken again and she became silent.

‘So what happened next?’ David broke the silence.

‘I asked her kid to come check up on my little girl. I was just hoping she would help me reconnect with my baby. She came to visit her…’

She stopped talking again. At that point there was no need to continue thou.

‘I know what happened next!’ David exclaimed. ‘She cut her thro… well, she killed her and ended up in a mental institution, right?’

‘Are you with them?’

The woman looked at David angrily.

‘With whom?’

‘You know with whom!’ the woman’s voice began to rise. ‘You are lying to me! I was hoping they would stop.’

‘I’m not with them. I am trying to figure out what THEY want from me. But it definitely has something to do with your child. I’m sorry.’

‘They used to come and visit all the time, you know?’ she shared, her voice significantly lowered. ‘They were asking me about some… some… I don’t know, some paper or something.’

‘Yes, I know. At least I think I do.’

I never had anything of hers, I told them that. They still broke into my house several times looking for something.’

‘They broke into your house?’

David was surprised. While it was normal for them to look for it, if they were what David thought they were, they didn’t need to ‘break in’ anywhere.

‘So what happened to your daughter after that place? You know, she’s no longer there…’

‘Yes, I know, she is with G-d now.’

‘She died?’

‘It was good that she did. She did things she would never normally do. She was punished for things she did not deserve. I know that she is happier now.’

David was stumped. This visit brought him some clarity, but no results. He couldn’t just ask this woman for any information now. She has already told him how displeased she was with these memories. There was only one option left.

‘I know this will sound crazy’, he began, ‘but I think I am in serious danger of being next. I mean, I sort of got her problem. Her mission. Well, her story. I really don’t know how to explain it. Is there anything you can do to help?’

The woman starred David directly into his eyes. Her eyes lit up and were trying to find something on his face. David became even more confused and looked down.

‘I suppose I know your answer,’ he sighed.

The woman stopped staring at him and got up. She walked out of the kitchen leaving David alone, feeling very uncomfortable.

‘So she is dead…’ a voice said in his head. ‘It’s been a long time, but I really did love her. And I didn’t leave her’, he remembered. ‘She left me.’

Suddenly like an alarm another thought entered his mind.

‘So if she is dead and I got her mission, then I am next? When I’m finished I will die? No, there’s got to be another way. Plus she was mad and went on this mission by choice. I was chosen. I didn’t go crazy over the papyrus. She did. Also, she failed and I won’t! Well, at least I will try very hard. So there is a hope.’

The woman returned into the kitchenette holding something in her hand. David became excited and sat up in the chair.

‘Here you go.’ She handed him a small stuffed brown bear. ‘If you see her again, give it to her, I’m sure she’ll remember. She’s always loved the little bear. As a kid, she’d never sleep without him.’

David looked at the woman as if she was mad.

‘If I see her?’ He asked.

‘Just take it!’

The woman’s eyes looked clear for the first time since David’s arrived.

Instinctively he accepted the toy. The woman didn’t let it go right away. She held on to it for another couple of seconds starring at David. Then she’s finally let him have it and started walking toward the door.

‘Good luck to you,’ she said while walking and her back faced to David.

She got to the entrance, opened the door and looked back at David.

There seemed to be no choice but to get up and leave. David did just that.

‘Thank you and… I’m sorry for your…’

She cut him off.

‘Don’t be. Just go.’

‘OK. Good bye then.’

David walked out and the door slowly shut behind him. The car was parked up front and the old man was holding the door open.

 

‘I see you’ve acquired a toy, sir. Something else to entertain yourself then?

David ignored that question and began to get into the car. Then he stopped.

‘Why did you break into that woman’s house? A man like you certainly don’t need to be doing things like that.’

‘I’m just a servant, sir. It’s not up to me to make discoveries. As you already know there were others before you. They didn’t quite have the finesse that you’ve exhibited.’

‘I see. Well, my loyal servant, thank you for the compliment and do me a favor then.’

‘What can I do, sir?’

‘Next time I need to talk to you, pick up the phone. Don’t get in my way and I will do just fine. And by the way: my memories are important to me. They help me, make me a better person and a better hunter. Take me to my apartment and while I wait at home go get me a stereo. I need my music and I need my way!’

‘You have become quite confident all of a sudden, sir. You must have made some progress, which gives you this boost. I’m glad to se that you must be holding more than just a toy in your hands then. Very well, have it your way, sir. There is a stereo waiting for you in your car already. Of course there is also a wide variety of music at your home also.’

‘Good!’

David couldn’t hold back a smile of satisfaction. This illusion of control was marvelous! He fell onto the car seat and the door closed behind him.

He threw the little bear down on the seat across from him and it fell rather heavily for a stuffed toy. David instantly picked it up, rushing before the old man notices him. He pushed his fingers hard into the plush body of the toy, searching for something inside. He found something there. It was long, thin and hard. David began pushing it to the top of the bear, toward its head. There was a small opening at the toy’s mouth area. He pushed the object through the opening and got it out. It was a long old-style darkened metal key.

The car was gliding softly toward David’s apartment.

‘So, what am I to open now?’ David thought.

The limo docked softly right in front of David’s apartment. He felt a bit uneasy, twitching and looking around randomly. It is true that he has made a great discovery in the process. What does it mean for him thou? Does he go back to his previous life once the mission is accomplished? Does he get to keep his toys? Is he doing something bad? Perhaps working for some bad cause and there will be a price to pay. He certainly knew that some sort of a pure spiritual association would not have supplied him with lavish and expensive accommodations, send him mystical hookers and keep the goal of his search a secret from him. He wasn’t upset. He was simply curious and a bit scared. It was clear that he could not just stop the search. Moreover, this new discovery made him feel great. He felt a rush; he really wanted to figure this out himself. Was it pride? Gluttony? Was there lust involved? What other deadly sins was he to commit or has already committed on the way to his discovery? Living his life before all of these events he had certainly done plenty of unholy things. But there was not a dark superpower over him glooming as obviously as it was now. He knew there would be consequences. But he was just a man. He was brought up to think creatively and competitively without deliberately hurting people. He liked that approach. For now he was just choosing to believe that his discovery would not hurt a soul but was rather some strange and innocent game.

He stepped out of the car and walked through the doors of his building and a spacious beautiful lobby, straight to an elevator to go to his suit. He closed his apartment door behind and leaned against it closing his eyes. He let out a sigh. He felt that he needed his strength and he was mentally preparing for the things ahead.

 

He opened his eyes, loosened up his shirt and straightened out his posture. He was a bit squinting but looked directly forward and knew exactly what he needed. He walked through his numerous rooms. He opened every closet door, every cabinet in the kitchen, he searched and searched and it was just in vain. Helplessly he sat on an edge of a chair. His head was tilted down, he was nervously rubbing his fingers. Then he walked up to the nearest opened window. The beauty of a great day was lost on him. He was getting restless. Then he ran for the door. Moments later he was in front of his building. He ran so anxiously out of the front door, that the old man almost jumped out of the car.

‘Is everything alright, sir?’

‘Never been better. Cap the chit-chat and take me to that house again.’

The old man raised his eyebrows.

‘Her old apartment’

‘Right away, sir.’

He remembered walking up those stairs, getting to her door, opening it and finding nothing. Then he backed up his steps a few seconds and remembered the door. It had a regular keyhole there. It also had another hole on it. It was an old style keyhole. Sort of like a keyhole that would accommodate the key he had.

Finally there. How many steps up? Who cares? Run! Tripping on the old stairs and grabbing the rails he finally got there. Pulling a key out of his pocket he looked at it again. Slowly he extended his hand and put the key in the hole. One twist and it was done.

‘Twist the handle!’ his mind was telling him.

So he did. The door swung open and there was no light like the last time. Instead there was a look of an old dark apartment.

‘I hope the electricity is on’ David thought.

Finding the switch, he brought light to the little lobby/corridor of the place. There was a doorless passage to the kitchen in one direction. In another direction there was a closed door. He opened it. He saw an empty bed. It had white sheets heavily stained with red.

‘Her cousin’s blood’ he thought. ‘Noone has cleaned it up…’

He looked carefully around the room. There were dirty used plates on the floor. There were also food wrappers all over. Clearly the person living here previously did not leave the room much. There was nothing very remarkable in the entire room, so David moved to the kitchen.

‘This kitchen was not frequently used’ he thought.

There were no dishes in the sink, no food stains on the stove and no packaged food around.

He began looking through the cupboards. Some dusty dishes and glasses failed to catch his attention. Looking under the sink he ignored the regular cleaning supplies and the old rusted water pipe. Something finally caught his attention thou. The back wall of the cabinet was the kitchen wall. One of the tiles on that wall seemed cracked. He touched it and it moved rather easily to the side.

‘Well, this is better’ he muttered.

He opened the cabinet door a bit wider to get more light in there. There was definitely something in that wall opening. David reached in and pulled it out. It was some object wrapped in a piece of clothe with a clear plastic bag over it. Carefully and slowly moving he unrolled the plastic and took the object out of the bag. Unwrapping the cloth his hands were shaking. There was a small box inside. He opened it and saw a ring. There was nothing else there. David took the ring out and touched the bottom and the walls of the box just to make sure. Finally it was certain. The box was otherwise empty. The ring was the key.

‘Why hide the ring so carefully? It doesn’t look expensive at all.’

It was a medium size silver ring with no stone in it. It had no images or any characters on it or any signs at all. It didn’t look especially old either. David twisted it around, brought it closer to his eyes, hoping he would notice something, he even bounced it in his hand to see how much it weighs. There was nothing unusual about it. He slowly got up from the kitchen floor, still curiously looking at the ring. It gave him no clues. He had put it in his pocket to take it with him and then he changed his mind. David took it out of the pocket and placed it on a left hand finger. It wasn’t the perfect size, so he had to try several fingers. It finally slipped near perfectly on his ring finger.

Next moment David found himself standing outside in a large field. It felt completely real. Looking around he saw nothing of interest. Then he turned around. He was again in front of that house in his dreams.

‘OK, I’m pretty sure I am not dreaming now. So the house is real!’

The recent chain of events was beginning to make sense. David’s face lit up in excitement. The hidden ring and the house of his dreams were somehow connected. Was the connection there all along or was it just established thou? Was he the true culprit of these events or just a pawn? The answer was simple. Keep on moving forward with events and see where they take you.

David walked into the house quickly, almost swinging the front door open. The inside of it looked almost exactly as in his dream. There was one difference thou. The table and chairs were placed directly in the center of the main room as he expected. Only in this version there was someone sitting at the table. Fear began to spread. Finally there was just too much mystique and it was manifesting into a real person.

‘Hello’

David’s voice was like a whisper. He realized that he is more scared than he even expected.

‘Hello’

He made sure he sounded more confident this time. The person began to turn and it became evident that it was a woman.  David couldn’t even see her face yet but he could tell that she was very beautiful, very-well groomed, almost like a model and very-well dressed. He began walking toward the table to see the woman better and as the light from a candle on that table fell on her face and their eyes met he stepped back in shock. There was no confusion. This woman was very nicely and neatly dressed in expensive clothes and looked after herself but it was the same woman. Her hair was no longer long and dull. It was slightly curled and had a bit of a shine to them. She wore an old fashioned hat with a veil, but the veil was very easy to see through. She moved her hand to lift it up and stopped half-way, realizing how unnecessary it was.

‘We meet again.’

She spoke with in a low, almost quiet voice. Her lips opened just enough to say the words and present a tiny disturbing smile.

‘You?!’

David felt lost and uncomfortable.

‘What happened?’

‘Hello, husband.’

She kept on speaking softly through her veil. She lifted her hand and stuck out her ring finger. She had a familiar-looking ring on it. It wasn’t exactly the same, but it was that same type small size silver ring with no stone in it. David nervously lifted up his own hand and there was no confusion. The ring on his hand was just like it.

‘Sorry didn’t have a chance to pick a better ring, darling. I was sort of short on time.’

She sounded almost sad saying it.

‘We do everything backwards, don’t we? First we kiss, then we put on the rings. Well, times have changed out there. I suppose this was to expect.’

‘What happened thou?!’

‘Well, silly, can’t you figure it out? It was destined. You found me on your TV and you came to me. You took the interest where nobody else has. Then you traveled some of my path. Embraced my life. Didn’t get distracted. And I threw quite a few distractions your way.’

She laughed at it whole-heartedly.

‘It’s not like I faked a pregnancy. You’ve been through that too many times by now. It had to be something unique to get you going. It had to be more original, more exciting. Plus it had to come through your own free will. This way it was harder to doubt. You were just a mess at that hospital, completely unable to function when your will was taken from you. So I gave it back. I gave you a beautiful house. A servant. A car to drive you. You could do anything, go anywhere. But you came to me. You searched for me and now you found it. Now I feel like this was meant to be.’

She turned to him completely and looking straight in his face, with a harsh voice, added:

‘Kind of spooky, ah?’

‘That’s not true.’

David felt like he was loosing ground. His voice sounded shattered and uncertain. He tried to speak up but his mouth felt dry.

‘Your servant, he… he insisted on this search. I almost had no choice.’

‘We always have a choice, sugar. You never follow orders. You hate it. Yet, with him you embraced whatever he said. You were up to the challenge. You were the right one for it. The right one for me.’

Her voice sounded calm and relaxed. She was not trying to convince David. She was merely narrating.

‘Now, stop your doubts. I gave you plenty of chances to mess up. But you didn’t. You got it right. You truly belong here.’

She paused for a moment. Her eyes sized him up, just gliding down his body. Then she bit her lower lip and added:

‘You should really be happy. It took me a long time to find the right one. What do you think happened to the ones who got lost along the way? Whose blood do you think you’ve been seeing in your dreams? I care not for your or anyone else’s body. It’s your mind, your actions, your sense, your passion and your love that keeps your body alive. I let it function to let that function.’

She sharply nodded toward his head.

‘I know this is just a temporary solution. You won’t stay with me forever. You’ll get old and wither. Then you’ll die. Still, for a few decades you will keep me company and I am very excited about that. You really are special.’

Her face turned away in a grimace.

‘Just to think of the next search. That alone is scary.’

She forced a small laugh. Then her voice hardened.

‘Worry not. I am old enough to look less than stunning and dazzling. Still I keep this appearance up for you. I want this to be a 2-way street. You’ll make me happy, I’m certain of it. The least I’ll be able to do in return is take care of you, keep you in high spirits as well. You did like how I’ve arranged this trip for you, didn’t you?’

David felt like finally, at the end of the road, as it seemed, things began to make less sense than ever. A million questions were on his mind and still he couldn’t ask anything. He just kept standing there looking at her perplexed and bewildered.

‘Say something, you.’

The tones of her voice almost begged for him to relax.

‘David…’

She said his name for the first time gently and softly, as to make him feel better. It had the right effect. He finally squeezed out:

‘What was on that scroll then?’

‘It was a story about you. It was a beautiful adventure that ended up with it becoming a story about us.’

‘Wasn’t I supposed to find it?’

‘You were but it no longer mattered. You were to find it, read it and it would have led you to that ring. See, it led me to my ring many years ago. Since I founded it first, the second ring never stays with its owner for very long. I stay like this forever thou. When you’re old you’ll have a young and beautiful wife.’

She smiled at her own absurd joke.

‘On the plus side I get to choose that person thou. Or at least point the one I like in the right direction. You didn’t even need the pointing. You found the ring yourself or it found you, I don’t know. I just know that you weren’t supposed to find it without reading the scroll first, but you still did it. Like I said, you were the one.’

‘And what about the other, failed attempts?’

‘Well, at times you just find yourself confused. You think it’s the right one and he turns out being the wrong choice.’

‘So you just kill them?’

‘I prefer to think of it as a ‘game over’ sort of a thing. Killing is such a crude word. I release them from this game but they can never return to their previous lives. Not my rules, I just play by them.’

‘Isn’t it kind of cruel? That makes you less than… nice, doesn’t it?’

David’s voice broke at the end of the sentence. He had no idea what was going on but he knew that this woman had some control over this whole set up and over him. He was somewhat afraid.

‘Did I anger her with this question?’

He thought to himself as he almost instinctively took a step back.

‘Don’t do that.’

She sounded sincere and caring.

‘Don’t second-guess yourself. I am not angry. I like you taking interest. Yes, I suppose it is a bit inhumane to just chap them down like that, but it’s not like it was so unusual. My actions are the physical manifestation of the effect of your actions on their psyche. Or you think that it is OK when you give them a $20 to get home from your house? You also call it ‘game over’ or something like that, don’t you? Plus go ahead and try spending the next 50 to 60 years with a wrong person. Your actions will also differ the next time around. Who do you pity more, yourself or them?’

‘How do I know you won’t change your mind about me then?

‘Like I said, it was almost as if the ring chose you itself. I don’t even think I could change it if I wanted to.’

‘So… we get to live here then?’

David acted as if he was apathetic but he was terrified beyond belief and it showed.

‘Oh, G-d, no! Who wants to live here? I think the penthouse you left behind is much better. Now that your choice has been confirmed those shelves will fill with real books and all of your desires will truly be fulfilled. That lovely lady and plenty more like them will become just a part of your life too. After all, I care almost none for that body of yours or its actions. Trust me, whenever you thought that your ex’s were a hard nut to crack?.. Try giving an orgasm to someone my age.’

Her wild laughter filled the small room.

‘The happier your body is the happier that mind of yours will be. You do the math.’

She stopped talking and silence took over for a few seconds.

‘Still unsure?’

She almost laughed as she asked that question.

‘OK, that’s enough. I’ve said all I had to say, now go and I’ll see you at home, baby.’

‘Go?’

David still stood there overwhelmed with this new information, fear and another new emotion. He realized that he lusted for this woman now.

‘Go, where?’

‘There.’

She pointed to the door with her head. David stood there for another moment confused and then began stepping toward the door.

‘I… will… go… then…’

 

He stepped almost sideways to that door and opened it. On the other side of it he saw the dark master bedroom of his apartment. He remembered a night switch by his bed. As he stepped to it she blew out the candle light behind him. Now the only light he could see was under the door of his bedroom’s bath. He stepped in completely and closed the door between these two worlds behind him. His fingers found the light. As David switched it on the bedroom lit up with a soft electric light of a night lamp. He could see now. He saw the shelves filled with books, paintings on the walls, CDs in a storage cabinet and his bed, still messed up from last night.

‘Why is it messed up? I thought it was made up for me.’

His thoughts were those of a confused person, but they were easier. Now he was back in his city, back to what he knew.

All of a sudden the huge comforter on his bed moved. A side of it opened up and from under the covers he saw the now very familiar face. She lifted her head a bit and turned toward him. Her sleepy eyes with no make up spoke for themselves. She just woke up.

‘Come back to bed, baby. It’s still night time.’

She put her head back down.

‘Come back to bed.’

She paused.

‘Husband…’

David didn’t even respond to that. He walked toward the door. Closing it slowly and quietly he walked into another one of the enormous rooms in this apartment. He walked to a window and opened it. The sounds and the smells of night stormed into the room carried by the night wind, playing with the window curtains and David’s hair. The servant already placed the new day’s paper on a table by the window. David looked at the date on it. He looked back out of the window.

It was just another Sunday morning. There was probably nothing obviously unusual or even special in the air. Some late fall leaves were making their way through the streets with just a little help from the wind. They loved being loose and careless although they had little life left in them, separated from the awkward-looking branches. The wind stole them from their mother, robbed them from a slim chance to continue their existence, and was now creating its pre-winter choreography.

David closed the window. The city lights were already beginning to turn off as the dawn fell on the city and the clarity of day light was inevitable. It was still rather dark for a few more minutes, but there was more and more light coming from natural sources. David was looking through the spotless clean, almost transparent window onto the streets. He was following the leaves’ dance with his eyes for a few seconds. He no longer wanted to dance with them. He craved comfort and needed rest badly.  Even if for a short while, sleep seemed like a great idea. He loved to sleep. While it was certainly naive to believe into the concept of genuine untouched rest and calm in one’s life, he believed in incorporating the very notion of those values into life’s many moments. It was a lie. A shortcut at best. But it did not matter. Right at this minute it meant something only in the grand context of the moment itself. The street was getting lighter by the minute and while already missing the dark of night, David was anxiously anticipating the day time. What and who will it bring to him today? How will it fill his life for today? What truth will he discover as the light of the brand new day shines upon his life?

Just not yet. First he had to rest. It was already 6:30 am. Too early to break open the thrill of the hunt. The prey needs to be ready, same as the hunter.

He strolled back to the bedroom. Casually walking up to the bed he couldn’t stop yawning. He took his clothes off and looked through the open door of the bathroom. The toothbrush was calling his name but he was just too tired. He lifted up the other side of the comforter and slipped under it. His head peacefully rested on a pillow. He was beginning to give way to the dreams of the night.

‘Game over…’

He chuckled to himself.

‘The game is never over. As soon as one ends another begins.’

He only had one conscious thought left in him before falling tight asleep.

‘What a night!’