They talked while they signed the last documents, which explained
that the rent would be deferred for the months he worked, but there
would be rules he had to abide by while in the apartment. No drinking
or parties and no one could live with him. No one can be on the
fourth floor, except Adam of course. And, by signing and shaking her
thin hand, he became the sole tenant of the fourth floor. He felt
like a prince that day. He had an entire floor to himself. Sure the
place was a mess, but so were most the castles in Europe.
He thought of all this while he ate in silence. With no television
or radio, the feeling of loneliness had a tendency grew out of hand,
and he found himself thinking of Caroline. He’d never felt so alone
in his life, not even when his mother died. Since after high school,
he always lived on his own and loved the solitude he had when he
wanted or needed it. But since Caroline’s overdose, he’d found a
real need for companionship and love. He hated himself for getting
her hooked on pain killers and showing her how to shoot up. Her death
was his fault; there was no doubt of that. It was as if he killed her
the day he met her.
An hour later, having eaten what he could of the cold pasta, he
was laying on the old couch, which looked as if it had been here
through the thirty years of abandonment, half asleep thinking of
Caroline and what his life would be like if she hadn’t died,
whether or not he would have gone to rehab. It was her death that
brought the police and the reality of drug use to his life. The more
he thought about Caroline and what he did to her, the more he thought
about whether death did for him. She never got a second chance like
he did; she never got to learn a lesson. All she got was death, and
he gave it to her in a needle.
He dozed and dozed…then he dreamed.
A high pitched, hollow voice filled the room. It seemed to shake
his entire being. He opened his eyes, completely sitting up, and felt
for his phone. He’d set it on vibrate days ago and hadn’t changed
it. He looked around the room, knowing he’d heard something.
No… someone, he told himself. It was a voice. He listened
harder, trying to hear his neighbors below. He listened for footsteps
in the hallway. Maybe it was someone in the stairwell and their voice
had traveled. His eyes stopped on the locked door. He looked away,
but somehow he could keep them from going back. The door was actually
pulling his eyes to it. He felt panic beginning to set up in his
muscles and chest. It would become hard to breathe, but he had to
“Dude, calm down,” he said aloud. “It was only a dream.”
Copyright Thadd Presley — All Rights Reserved
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.