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Monday, May 18, 2015

A Terrible Way to End a Life-Part 2

A wet wind whistles through pines and between concrete monoliths as Lizzie stumbles through the storm.

Each step slaps unintentionally sharp against the holey metal stairs as she makes her way to the fifth floor.  The sky trickles now, spent.  Apartment number 576 pulses in tune to the latest house music, soothingly festive but not to her ears.  Three knocks rap.  One knock heard.  A shuffling within and a sticky pop as the door strains against its rusted chain.  "Oh heyyyy, Liz.  Why are you back?  I thought you were supposed to be at the library with Jack until midnight for that test tomorrow."
Two blank blinks given.  "He didn't show.  I suppose that your boyfriend doesn't have the same respect for my time as you do."  The subtly disheveled woman peeking through the door shakes her head.  "Well I'm sorry about that, sweetie, but, you see, I made plans for tonight since you said you'd be out.  Can't you just find something else to do for a little while until we're done?"  Lizzie leans against the entryway, in part to catch her breath, but mostly to see who else is in their apartment.  Something flickers on the edge of her vision, something that chills what the storm left dry, but it remains only a vision as the woman in the door leans out.  Nothing and no one of importance is seen.
Realizing that no more can be accomplished with her fast fading willpower, Lizzie sighs.  "Alright, Carol.  I'll be back by nine.  Make sure he is gone by then.  And for goodness' sake, turn the coffee pot off or you will burn the place down, again."  Carol rushes forward, embracing her soggy friend.  "You're the best, Liz!  I'll see you at midnight."
One lightning retreat.
One heavy wooden squish.
One million regrets, boiling beneath a murky but serene ocean of self-doubt.    

Breathing the clean earth from atop a picnic table near the western parking garage, Lizzie recalls the card from Ms. Holloway.  Written within are a series of numbers connected by dashes, two groups of three, one four,  and a single word: NEMSES.  

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