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2011-2012 Fiction

By Alex Widdowson

Liam Myers lived in a studio apartment with a dark wooden floor and high ceilings.  The old glass windows were tall and skewed, probably from the days where they pressed glass to make window panes.  Steam fogged up the outside world from the city streets and left a smell of musty damp mold.  An oversized red door separated him from a five flights of stairs.  The elevator had been broken for months and Liam's Landlord didn't even have money for his own rent. 

Liam's occupation was inventing, an entrepreneur of sorts.  He spent hours around a crowded desk, pencils and paper everywhere.  The smell of old coffee and newspaper broke through the cigarette smoke only enough to distract the smell of the city below.  Besides the constant sounds of the street below the only distraction was his neighbors.  Always complaining about how the elevator still isn't fixed and how they can't find anyone to sell their weed to after being busted twice.

But this didn't bother Liam too much because they left him alone most of the time.  Only knocking on his door occasionally with a six pack in hand seeing if they could borrow his old black and white ten inch TV to watch football.  Liam didn't care, he never watched TV anyway.  He'd been thinking about giving to them next Christmas.  That'll probably keep them from shouting for about five minutes.  But for the most part he had his peace.

It was mid fall and the cold slipped through the cracks.  One of the reasons Liam got the place so cheap was that it didn't have insulation or heat for that matter.  He kept an old empty barrel drum next to the window to burn newspaper in.  It kept a chalky burnt smell in the air but most of the smoke left through the giant window panes.  Besides, he'd never gotten a complaint or received a visit from the Fire Marshal yet and he'd been there for four years.

Despite the conditions, Liam didn't mind the cold too much, it didn't distract him from his work.  Rather, his apartment inspired him.  He thought of it as a living entity.  The wood floors creaked and groaned even without footsteps to awaken them.  The walls swelled with plaster and cinderblock from the weather's grip on the building.  The roof was tin and spoke aloud from even the smallest raindrop or pidgin bomb.  It was a life he'd become accustomed to and kept him well enough to work.

Night was setting in,  he could tell with his eyes closed.  The best part of his apartment that he kept a secret to anyone was the incredible view of the sunset.  The apartment faced the perfect direction that no matter what time of year it was, the sun could be seen going down.  It was beautiful, he stood there with his arms raised outward and nose up in the air.  It came through the windows so pure and distinct he could feel the heat like a warm summer beach breeze.  Liam breathed a deep breath, "the highlight of my day," he said.  "If I didn't have this moment every day, I wouldn't have the will to do more than sit around with those potheads across the hall and drink myself to death every night, wondering what the hell happened."

Glancing down at his feet he captured an idea.  "Damn brilliant!," he said.  The idea struck him so suddenly he tripped on the corner of his makeshift fireplace trying to grab a pen and paper.  But before he could write anything down something happened.  He felt fear like he'd never felt before.  It overwhelmed his body and took his breath away.  Blank minded, stunned, he trembled.  "What the hell," he thought.  Falling to his knees, Liam grabbed his heart and gasped.  Was he having a heart attack?  His vision started to blur into a black fuzz and he lost the ability to focus and collapsed on the floor.

Liam woke with a headache, dripping sweat.  He squinted at the bright glow of the alarm clock to check the time.  "4:00 am?  Why am I on the floor?" he said.  He felt a stinging pain in his knee and looked down to find a splinter of pencil he must have fallen on.  With a groan he sat up and grabbed his robe off the chair behind him and put it around his shoulders.  Wondering what happened to him last night he climbed up on his bed and closed his eyes.  The pain was intense but starting to subside, and even feel kind of good.  Feeling confused and tired he popped a painkiller he'd saved from when he had his wisdom teeth taken out and passed back out.

Liam awoke to a voice.  It sounded like it was coming from the hall.  He wouldn't think much of it but it wasn't a voice he recognized.  The voice was getting louder but he couldn't make it out.  It was just one person though.  He grabbed his bat from the corner and crept up to his door, stepping in an odd manner, as he knew all the silent spots on the floor.  Peeking through the observer hole in the door he looked around.  Feeling slightly more unconcerned he started walking back to his bed.  He got into bed and stared at the ceiling.  "I can't remember anything, nothing, not one thing from last night," he said to himself.  "Man, if those pothead junkies next door slipped me something, I'm going to flip shit.  But wait, they're out of town."  Remembering this he then pondered again about the voice he'd heard.

Feeling like he should investigate he again walked over to his door and slowly turned the knob.  He pushed open the door as if it were the most delicate door in the world.  There wasn't anyone there.  A fresh layer of dust was coated down the hallway to the stairs.  Liam hadn't left the house for a few days and his neighbors have been gone for longer.  "No footprints?  Nothing?  Something's really odd," he said aloud to himself.  The walls may have been thin but the floors were nearly impossible to penetrate with noise.  He closed and locked his door and went to sit down at the coffee table to play around with some sketches, a part of his usual morning .

No longer than a minute did he hear it again, this time sounding like it was in the corner across the room.  "Who's there?  Don't mess around, I do have a gun," he said, lying.  No response.  Liam scooted the table across the wood floor in an act of intimidation.  No response.  Picking up the nearest heavy object, his desk lamp, he threw it into the corner.  The cord waved through the air as the lamp led it into a crashing halt.   Liam was breathing heavy and had his eyes wide open.  He grabbed a knife off the counter and approached the shadowed corner, his feet crunching broken glass.  Nothing but a lamp that didn't need to be broken.  He proceeded to turn on all the lights he had, even though it was daylight, and made sure someone couldn’t be hiding.  It was a fairly shady neighborhood but he'd never had any problems with intruders.

Feeling distressed and distant from the world, even with the living city below his window, he sat down and thought.  He thought about what happened last night, what was this voice, why was this happening.  All of a sudden a voice from behind said, "Please, don't be alarmed."  Fear crept up his back as he slowly turned around.  "Where are you?   I don't see anyone," said Liam.  The rather soothing voice replied, "I am you."  "What in the hell do you mean, you're me!?," said Liam.  Silence fell in the room.  "HELLO!?," shouted Liam with a tone of fear and anger in equal measures.  "I am you, Liam, I really am.  I used to be nobody, but now I'm you.," said the voice.  Liam, thinking he'd gone completely crazy started to tremor.  He then had a slight flashback memory of last night when his vision started to go as it was again.  Liam fainted onto the floor in slow motion, his body folding up like a t-shirt.

He awoke standing up in the kitchen making tea.  Shaking his head while coming back to realization.  "I made us some tea, you seemed pale," he said aloud, as if this voice in his head was speaking through him.  "What? What's going on? What's wrong with me?  I can't live like this, what am I going to do?" said Liam.  "You'll be fine, relax and drink your tea," said his new other half.  "I'm going to help you.  I'm going to help us reach further then we thought we ever could."

At this very moment things started to shift and change color like oil in a puddle.  The world was going in and out of reality.  It was changing.  The middle of the floor melted downward into a vortex and pulled the ceiling into a similar cone shape with the ceiling fan in the middle.  Liam's world was alive and transcending.  His thoughts gained momentum and accelerated around the room.  He could see what he felt, smelled, tasted, past, present, future.  Papers were flying around the room like a scene straight out of a movie.  Liam gripped the counter and braced himself as best he could.  The overwhelming situation was growing dark the more he thought about it.  The more he thought fear, the more poured into this world.  Unable to cope he lost control of his sanity and ran across the room stumbling over anything in his way in a slow motion sickly fashion.  He leapt toward the window pane and crashed through the window tumbling down five stories of fate to the pavement.

Silence.  Darkness.  Space. 

The only remnant of Liam's mind was unreachable, shut down by some sort of unexplainable force.  In a crazy world where anything is possible Liam had broken through to a dimension not of humankind.  Time fused with reality and dreams can be a complicated reality.  Only the right mind can except the responsibility of the strange and come out in one piece. 

Space. Darkness. Silence.

Liam awoke in a terrible sweat.  He looked around franticly touching his chest and face to make sure it was real, it was there.  He climbed out of bed and walked to the window.  The city was still there, behind his old but intact windows.  Liam let out a sigh of relief.  "What a nasty dream." He stood there for a moment just looking across the building tops, not thinking about anything, just looking.  A creak on the floor made him jump.  Looking around he laughed and sat down on the floor in the sunlight coming through the window. 

"You see Liam, I am you," a voice spoke.   


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