I couldn't think of a logical explanation as to why I was in a duller version of my home town, with nobody else around. The first thing I could think of doing was going back up into my apartment building and knocking on the doors of any people I knew didn't hate me. I ran up two flights of stairs, taking them two steps at a time, and soon reached apartment 14. I sighed, listening to my heart throbbing in my ears and steeled myself, knocking three times on the solid door.
I waited anxiously for about 2 minutes, coming up with excuses in my head as to why my friend could have been held up with answering the door.
'She could be...In the bathroom? Feeding the cat? Wait, no she doesn't have a cat...' After I'd been through several excuses I tried the door handle. It clicked down with barely any effort and swung open.
Cautiously I stepped inside, looking around the dim and quiet apartment identical to mine, save decoration and furniture choice. The first room on my left was the kitchen and the door was sitting ajar. I warily pushed on the wood of the door by the handle and peered into the dim room, lit only by what little sunlight was shining through the kitchen blinds. I don't know what I was expecting as I pushed the door open, but the room was empty and immaculately clean as per usual. I cursed under my breath and stepped back from the door, turning to walk further into the apartment.
The next room I came to was the living room. I didn't have to go into the room to know that nobody was in there, however there was a camera on the coffee table, pointed at the doorway I was standing in. I frowned to myself and decided to ignore it. When it made a whirring noise like it was trying to zoom, I decided I couldn't ignore it any more and walked into the living room and immediately grabbed the little camera from the coffee table.
I must have imagined the noise because the camera wasn't even on. When I tried to turn it on I found out that the battery must have been dead, so there was no way I hadn't imagined the noise it made. I turned it back around in my hands so that the lens was facing me and frowned, thinking hard about what could possibly be going on. The camera whirred again and this time I saw the lens rotate. I flinched and accidentally dropped the camera onto the laminate flooring. I watched as the lens cracked and separated from the camera's body. I looked around me, making sure that nobody was watching and kicked it under the coffee table with a guilty expression on my face.
“Not my problem...” I bit my lip and ran my shaky hands through my hair.
I didn't know what was going on but I knew I needed to get out of that apartment and look somewhere else for signs of life other than just me. I couldn't be alone wherever I was.
Once I was back out on the street I stopped walking and leaned against the wall of the apartment complex. I pulled the packet of cigarettes out of my pocket and stuck one in my mouth, sighing. I needed to find out what the hell was going on here. I pulled out my lighter and tried to get a spark of life out of it, but it had run out of gas. I sighed again – a habit I could see myself picking up – and dumped the cigarette back in its box.
I frowned slightly as I thought I could hear someone inside. Sure enough, a short girl – or young woman – stepped out of the building and looked around aimlessly. I felt my eyes widen in surprise at her sudden appearance. Especially when I thought I was alone in this weird copycat town.
“Hello?” I called out, my voice a little shaky. It made her jump and, had the situation been lighter, I would have laughed. However my face kept its look of surprise.
“Who're you?” She barked at me, obviously not at all intimidated by my appearance, or who I might be and what I might be capable of.
“Who're you?” I retorted warily, still checking out my surroundings. She crossed her arms over her chest, though I couldn't tell if it was in defence or if it was just because she seemed so angry with me.
“I'm Autumn Summers and I want to know where the hell I am, and what sort of sick prank this is.” She practically yelled at me. Her voice was very loud for someone who couldn't be taller than 5 and a half feet tall. Her attitude was quite overwhelming.
“I don't know where we are, I just came outside for some fresh air after waking up, and it was all... lifeless." I pulled my beanie out of my back pocket and started fiddling with it. She seemed to relax a little after my explanation, her arms uncrossing.
After a few minutes of silence, a deliberating look on Autumn's face, She looked back up at me.
“Okay then,” She leaned against the wall next to me. “What do we do now?” I looked at her for a moment, then drew my eyes back to the empty street. “I'm not sure... I'm Conner, by the way. Conner Anwell.” I sighed, deciding this girl had nothing to do with whoever was playing this trick on us.
"Hello, Conner," She replied glumly. "Sorry we had to meet under these circumstances."
I nodded. I was curious as to how she had turned up here, as I only got here after waking up. “So how did you get here?” She gestured with her chin towards the building we were leaning against. "I just. I fell in the shower and hit my head against the sink, and fainted. I got this huge cut on my temple." I couldn't see any marks on her at all. "You don't seem to have any cuts on you."
"I know. It's gone. I was wet as well, but now I'm pretty dry." She looked around at our surroundings again, her face held a small amount of hope that everything was going to go back to normal at any second. "Do you know the time?"
I shook my head but remembered I had picked up my phone on the way out. I pulled it out of my pocket and flipped it open. "Okay, this is seriously fucked up."
"What?" She asked, leaning closer to me to see the time on my dim phone screen. Her eyes widened in confusion and shock when she realised that it was frozen at 11:59pm.
"Okay, that is actually really creepy," She said quietly. We both looked around again, our hope fading as grey as the city.
I shrugged hopelessly. "Should we just walk around?"
She seemed hesitant but soon agreed with my idea. I pushed myself away from the wall and pulled my hat on. We started walking towards the east, I knew the way towards the rich district pretty well as that's where my usual club is.
Not a lot was said while we walked, both of us looked in house or shop windows as we passed by, unsurprised when we found nobody. I had a vague plan, but nothing solid. Once we were in the rich district of town, Autumn turned to me and frowned.
“What are we doing here?” She didn't stop walking, but her pace slowed a little.
“W-Well... I figured that it'd be faster for us to get around if we found a car. And since nobody is around, I thought... why not steal one from here?” I smiled as we turned the corner. The first car we came to was a red Ferrari. Admittedly, the colour was a lot duller than it should have been, but I wasn't bothered. I'd be driving a Ferrari. Autumn's eyes lit up. I smiled and tried the driver's side door. Of course it was unlocked, stupid rich idiots. Thinking they're all safe from thieves just because they live in the nice part of town.
I sighed and got in, pulling the cables down from under the steering wheel and hot-wiring the car. Autumn got in just after me and I smiled at her when the car jumped to life. I didn't bother putting my seatbelt on, as I'm sure Autumn didn't either, and put my foot down on the acceleration, taking us back west.
After we have been driving around aimlessly – I say aimlessly because I honestly feel that we won't find anyone else in this weird parody of our home world – for about an hour, Autumn points at a street corner.
“There! I saw someone!” She seems excited but I didn't know if I could trust her judgement. Nonetheless, I drive us round the corner and hit something. Hard. “Shit!” I immediately stop the car and jump out, running to the hood of the Ferrari to find out exactly what – or who – I had just run over with a very expensive car. Which now has a very large dent in it. I frown. Autumn had jumped out of the car not long after I had and is currently standing on the other side of the hood. She looks up at me, her expression one of shock.
“You hit a person, Conner!” She screamed at me, fury and fear rolled into her voice, too loud for such a small girl. I wince. I can see the body of a man, half crushed underneath one of the car's tyres. I gulp and push the car – putting all my effort into it – and manage to roll it off the man's mangled body. I groan as I realise I probably just killed someone, because if he isn't dead already he will be by the time we inevitably discover there's nobody at the hospital.
I hadn't noticed before but there's another girl standing in the street, staring at me with complete shock on her face. She doesn't say a word, but I know that she knew this man to a certain degree. I look down and gasp when I hear a crack and a groan. The man is readjusting his body and standing up.
“How the fuck is that even possible?!” I yell, taking cautious steps back and finding myself pressed against the cool brick wall of a bakery. He seems to be in a lot of pain, but he clicks his neck, flexes his fingers and moans as he does so. Autumn and the other girl have both taken several steps back as well, which makes me feel slightly better as now I know that I'm not the only one seeing this happen. I was wondering if I was having a bad trip from the drugs that probably haven't left my system yet.
The man straightens his back – I hear a few more clicks as his spine aligns – and turns until he looks at me, deciding that I was obviously the one driving the car. Of course, he's not wrong. I gulp again and shrink under his scrutinising gaze.