Book I, Part I: Obsession.
Jon was getting dressed for work, as purple sunlight lazily drifted through the open blinds, painting his tiny apartment in stripes of shadows.
His empty cereal bowl sat beside his cell phone on his only table, and he quickly changed clothes. His navy blue uniform was less wrinkled than usual, and he leisurely ran his fingers through his long brown hair a couple of times to keep it out of his face.
He absent-mindedly grabbed his wallet, keys, and security ID keycard, from the previous day’s pants, and clipped his ID badge to his belt.
As he turned away, his heart dropped as he suddenly heard a high-pitched whine behind him. He jerked around, in time to see his badge snagged on the table leg and his bowl crashing to the floor. He winced as the spoon flew across the room with a clang, but luckily the bowl didn’t break.
He bent over, grabbed the bowl, and freed his badge. After stacking the bowl on top of the identical ones already in the sink, he stepped outside.
The stars were already out, and the streetlights were beginning to blink on at the end of the street by the time he made it to his car.
He whistled as he drove, but frowned and sat in silence as he tried to remember the day.
“Was it Thursday?”, he thought.
She worked Thursday through Sunday.
It felt late in the week to him. It also felt like he hadn’t seen her for a month.
He thought of texting her, and nearly ran a red light. Wasn’t any point to being so hung up, he mused.
She’d offered her number easily enough, but never really responded to his messages other than occasionally sending a one-word greeting back.
He focused on the drive the rest of the way.
He was only a few minutes late.
He cursed to himself when he noticed her empty space.
It was Wednesday.
Suddenly defeated, he sluggishly made his way to the door, swiped his card, and pulled the door.
It was still locked tight. He suddenly realized that the lights in the whole building were off. The whole building was dark, except for a single emergency light at the end of the main corridor over the security desk. It was almost creepy, the way the dark hallway beckoned him. If he couldn’t clock in.. He was already late. He couldn’t get to the circuit breaker without getting inside.
He looked around for something to smash the window.
What was he thinking?
That was insanity. All he had to do was call his supervisor.
He reached for his coat pocket.
His other coat pocket.
“Fuck!”, he exclaimed, as he remembered it was on the table.. Well, probably the floor, he figured.
He looked around. As he walked to his car, he suddenly stopped. Why was his first impulse to break a window?
That’s not normal. Why did he think it?
It was her fault. She had him crazy. Was it the kiss? Yes. That was definitely the most recent event. Even though it wasn’t a kiss as much as… touching lips. On accident? Maybe?
She loved torturing him. The way her body language urged him to embrace her, and would lean against his body when he did.. Would lean in as if to kiss, and hesitate an inch, even closer to his lips, and pull away before he noticed he was leaning forward.
Except the one time she got too close, and she leaned forward instead. Their lips touched for a second. Their lips touched a second, and she didn’t immediately pull away. A second that seemed to last forever and yet was over in an instant, and he didn’t even react. Her lips were on his, and he was dumbfounded. Stunned, maybe even in shock.
He blinked, and noticed he was leaning against his car. She was obviously a torturous individual, but he’d never been so caught up on a girl before. He was obsessed.
There was a house nearby, and he had his supervisor’s business card. It would be easy to call him, have him bring the mechanical key, and get the power back on. That was normal a normal thought, he reasoned.
Just use their phone.
He ignored the parking lines as he drove across the empty parking lot, then turned onto the well-maintained driveway in the opposite direction of the interstate. He’d often seen a car parked in front of the house before, and always figured it was an employee’s place. There wasn’t much else out here other than a truck stop, and it was a bit too nice for a gas station attendant.
As he pulled up, he realised he had never seen it at night. The rusted streetlight that leaned over the parking space was out, but the moon provided plenty of light to see by. The eerie shadows made it almost surreal, and movement continually drew his eye to slightly overgrown shrubbery that surrounded the lot. As he approached the door, he sniffed the air. There was a sickly sweet scent that he could almost taste. Definitely floral, but there was something else almost sterile, metallic.
He knocked loudly, and listened. There was a shuffling sound, but he couldn’t tell whether it was inside or outside, with him.
That smell. Disinfectant?
It was familiar, yet different. Reminded him of Her.
But then again, everything seemed to.
He knocked again, louder.
After a moment, his mind began to race. He wandered how late he was now, and once again reached for his absent phone.
Surely, whoever lived here was his coworker. Everyone there knew him, so surely they wouldn’t mind..
He reached for the knob, and tentatively turned it. The old brass fixture resisted him only briefly, before a loud click was heard and the heavy door lurched inward of its own accord.
The sickly-sweet smell wafted through the door, and seemed to hook into his flesh. He again thought of her, and mindlessly swung the door open further. He barely hesitated stepping through the threshold, enveloping himself in darkness and inhaling the scent as deeply as he could. Somehow he hungered for it. His soul wanted more and nothing else mattered.