Elise’s disappearance was not something that happened all at once, like a sudden lightning bolt on a summer day. No, her disappearance came on gradually, like fault lines hiding beneath the earth's surface, biding their time. The first sign came on her 30th birthday. She decided to stop by the grocery store on the way home from work to pick up a bottle of wine and a few other sundries for the party she was having at her apartment later that night, and as she walked towards the entrance, it was only to realize that the doors weren’t opening, despite the fact that the store was obviously open, with shoppers walking around inside. She stood for a second, puzzled, then tried pushing the doors open. Nothing.
“What, they can’t be closed!” came a querulous voice behind her. Elise turned and saw an elderly man standing there. He walked closer to the doors and they suddenly opened, the doors whooshing open like normal. Elise shrugged and followed in after him, putting the entire incident out of mind as she pulled her shopping list out of her purse.
The second sign was a little harder to ignore.
Two weeks after Elise’s birthday, her friend sent her pictures from the party. She sat at her computer clicking through them, smiling as she remembered that night. But then she stopped cold at one picture, the one of her blowing out her birthday candles. In the picture, she was seated at the head of the table, the cake with its profusion of candles lit up before her. The wall behind her visible through her slightly transparent form.