(Mature for sexual situations in the first chapter, guns and mention of drugs later. Just a warning up front.)
So, today I actually wrote something. I broke one of my cardinal rules in doing it though-- namely #3: never try to write anything based on a dream.
This is, in fact, based on a dream I had last night. Loosely. Any gaps in continuity can be conveniently blamed on that.
Also, this is a first draft. Thoughts and edits more than welcome.
It's late when I finally find the address I'm looking for. Unfamiliar city streets all look the same through a sheet of gray drizzle strung between the streetlights, and I'm punch drunk with exhaustion after a long day of traveling. No, it's more than the traveling that's worn me out, it's this life. Days have stretched into weeks, into months of monotony, of too much sleep, not enough sleep, alcohol, caffeine, cycle, repeat.
I close my eyes for too long and I'm somewhere else.
Like here, on the doorstep of a girl I haven't seen in years. Why? I can't remember. I can string possibilities together into a logical explanation—maybe she got in touch with me, out of the blue, like they always seem to. I would have tired my best to seem content, successful, but it would have been all too tempting to crack that mask with self-deprecation, the admission of boredom, misery. “Well, if you ever need a place to stay,” she would have said.
It would have been all too easy to take her up on that, to check out of my life and into a new one. Here I am. I ring the doorbell. Wait. Remember. She's a redhead—she's always a redhead, isn't she? On the annoying side of quirky, glasses, a laugh that's too loud. Younger than I'd thought. The previous, purely logistical “why am I here?” is replaced with a deeper, headache-inducing “why am I here?”
The door opens. She's changed. No glasses. Two piercings in her lip—snakebites, I think they call them. She smiles and welcomes me in. Words are exchanged and instantly lost, small talk trailing behind us. The apartment is strange. It smells warm and lived in. The living area is large, but crowded with couches, bunk beds strung with white Christmas lights, futons, mattresses. I wonder how many people live here.
We sit on the futon. The TV is on, sounds come to me distantly. Sitcom laughter. Then we're fooling around, clothes disappearing as if we'd never worn them, unconcerned that one of her roommates is there, a brown haired girl, watching TV next to us. Watching us. Stranger things have happened. The redhead's neck is soft and pale. We never kiss. “It's always like this, isn't it?” she says.
“It wasn't the last time.” No bitterness, just observation. I slip out of my briefs. She makes me wear her panties. She's behind me.
Keys in the door. More housemates coming home. We dress causally. Introductions. Drinks, cigarettes. The apartment keeps filling up. I don't know who lives here and who doesn't.
I talk to a guy in a black button-down shirt. Tall, with skin like he's worked hard, rough facial hair. A good smile that shows lots of teeth. The sort of man I'd be if I had the height and a few more years, fewer insecurities and a better grip on reality. He asks questions. Am I going to be in town a while? I don't know, probably. He's offering me work. It seems shady. I don't care.
I like shady.
A handshake. I excuse myself, ask my host where the bathroom is. “Downstairs. The door at the end of the hall. Not the door on the left.” Emphasis on that last. An important detail.
Downstairs, I pause in front of the door on the left. I've always been too curious for my own good. I grip the door knob, cold metal, and turn.
The room is small, a bed room. Probably a girl's room. Easter pastels are faded to grayscale in the wash of moonlight. The curtains flutter. The window is broken. Dead leaves shudder on the carpet.
I shut the door, enter the bathroom, take a piss. Back upstairs, the night goes on.