I could watch this skyline forever. A million, broken pieces of forever whisp over the distressed buildings; the weak sun rising colours them black. Thousands of fireflies lick the scene, tease into something magical. Very beautiful.
He sits on a chair behind a desk, his hands in front of him. He is muscular, lean, and he digs a groove into the hollow by his thumb. Over and over. I don't think he realises he's doing it. His face is soft, confused, and unhappy. Anxious.
A hand lands on my waist. I caught his scent from a way off. I shove my elbow back into his side, then let my arm spring back and punch him in the face. I twist, kick him in the nuts, then punch him again round the face. I pull a knife out of my boot and the tarmac is a dark grey. Has it been raining? The guy is yelling abuse at me, arms outstretched. I lunge, hitting his grey jumper. The knife's in. I stab him again and again. I want to make sure he's gone. He disgusts me.
"Ashley?" He looks at me. He can see me, but I don't think he's noticed the guards on either side of him. One to protect me, one to protect him.
"It's Cera. I think." Not on the file it isn't.
"I see. Cera." I sit down. I doubt he'd invite me to. He looks at his thumb, digging into his skin without breaking it.
"Cera. How are you feeling?"
"It's too white. I don't like it. Can we go somewhere less white?" His voice is cracking. He looks like a little boy.
"I'm afraid not. Hospitals tend to be very white." He's in a grey top and leather jacket. Black jeans. He could've been a heartthrob, one of those men who render me speachless. If he weren't so dangerous.
"Do you know why you're here?"
It's dark in my flat. I like it. Very warm mauves and greys, very plush cushions. Hannah runs up to me and flings her arms around me.
"Hi, sweetie. I missed you." I carry her in my arms, kissing her neck. She's crying. I've been away too long again. "I'm sorry." I whisper.
She has such pretty hair. It's so dark, and so curly. I slowly lift off her nightie. It's a nice rose colour. It feels so good against my skin, and so does she. Soft kisses I lay all over her. She deserves them. I hear her whisper.
"No." He says. It seems genuine. I was right to ask to see him. I pull my coat around me.
"You jumped off a building, Cera."
"Did I?" What did he remember? What has happened to warp his reality so? It looks like it's distressing him. He doesn't know why he'd jump off a building.
"You don't remember it. That's okay. We'll talk about it later, and maybe you'll remember something. Right now I want to talk about the girl."
"Your..." Oh God, how would he think of her? "Girlfriend."
"Oh." He gets this big goofy grin on his face. So genuine. "I love her. I could talk about her for days." How? She's so vapid.
"Why do you love her?"
"She's strong. She's smart. She's funny. And she's beautiful. More beautiful than anyone I've seen."
"And does she love you?"
"Of course she does. Why wouldn't she?" He's panicking now. I'm scared he'll get violent. Throw a tantrum.
"She does, doesn't she?" He looks right at me. Big brown eyes. "She hasn't told you she doesn't. Has she?"
"She hasn't told me anything. But the police have."
I guess I've killed a lot of people. Maybe that's bad. But the world I'm in, I have to. I kill evil people. Serial killers. Rapists. Paedophiles. I hunt them down, and I eliminate them. I'm making the world a better place. I swear. They all deserved it.
"What did they say? The police?"
"They say your girlfriend, Hannah?"
"They say she's not your girlfriend. They say you picked her up in a pub, that she was interested in you at first. Then she said that you went crazy the morning after. That when she tried to leave, you asked her to stay. Forced her to stay. Forced her to play happy families for weeks. She hasn't been outside in 2 months, has she?"
"She didn't want to go outside. She wasn't well, and then... Then she... She didn't want to. She didn't want to leave me." He honestly believes it. He's living in make-belief.
"She said that when she tried to run out you'd catch her, take her to the bedroom and rape her. Do you remember any of that, Cera?"
"No! No, she never.... I thought she wanted me."
Hannah went out. I'm trying to find her; she's been gone so long. But the sun is very bright today. It dapples through the trees. Very pretty. But too bright.
Where is she? I've looked everywhere. I'm on the bridge right now, overlooking the river. It's a very big river. There's a church right by it. Pastor John knows me. He'll let me on the roof, then I'll be able to look around for Hannah.
On the roof, the sun is even brighter. There's nothing even to dapple it. I think I might burn.
She can't hear me. Who's that man? Why is he so close to her? Why is she crying? He's too close and she doesn't like it. I have to save her. I have to jump.
He's been sitting a long time. Never raised his voice. He's weeping. Not crying, crying is too loud. It's a soft wash of tears over his face. I've been explaining what I think has happened to him. The 2 realities. One real. One he made up, to cope with something bad. And then the made-up one too over, and the murders started.
"How many of them were real? The people I thought were evil? How many were real people?"
"All of them."
"Were any of them bad?"
"How many are dead?"
"You've killed 47. I think that's around how many bad people you thought you killed, judging by your diary."
There was a pause.
"Please tell Hannah I'm sorry. Tell her that the darkness made me think she loved me, and that now I can see properly and I'm sorry."
If I lived in an alternate reality, I would love him. And I think I do. But now I have to watch him pick up his reality, and suffer the consequences of seeing things as they've really been.