Part 1: Abduction
Everything starts with tears. I had promised to myself that I would never cry again, I really did. I tried and tried, but no matter how hard I pushed myself, here I go again, standing in front of my mirror, tears running down my face. They make everything look blurry; they burn my face as they take a leap of faith down to the floor, and yet, here I am reaching for their solace and sorrow.
I stare at myself crying and I can’t believe that this is me, that this is Greg, the man that thought that he had everything. The perfect job, the perfect boyfriend, the perfect friends. Everything that I could have possible asked for and more…and here they go again. Tears…
My sobs become uncontrollable and all I can do is let go, give up on the utter feeling of vain that engulfs me. I cross my hands and squeeze tightly, feeling my muscles tense throughout my whole body. I can’t stand; standing takes too much focus and drives my attention away from my pain. Kneeling works better. Yes, the hard floor seems like the best place to be right now.
Thus, I kneel on the floor. Amidst shortly lived breaths, I push my body to stop, to squeeze out all the sadness forcibly and emerge out of this sea of darkness, up and out to the open skies again.
That’s when the thoughts arrive.
I want my friends back; I want back the perfect nights we spent together laughing with Jillian and Nick and George and Elena…
I want the feeling of purpose back; I want back the sense of accomplishment when you finish something that you are truly passionate about.
I want him back…
I want him…
My crying becomes more intense. It feels like my head will explode from all the thoughts swirling in there. I look at myself in the mirror and see a grown man breaking up under his own tears, his face red from the intense exertion of his pain. His brown hair a mess from the anguish of his suffering, his dark brown eyes eerily clear from all the tears he has dropped, his mouth twisted and frozen in a mask of pain.
“It’s your fault…” I mumble to the mirror. “He left because of you…he left because of you and he took everything with him. Everything!”
My hand jerks at the mirror but my instincts kick in before I break it. Instincts…what a crude word. It was more the thought of him getting mad at me for being too dramatic, too intense, too not his type. Through the sadness, anger and rage and the thoughts of revenge appear. He isn’t here anymore, right? Why should I care if he gets mad if I break the mirror? Why should I care how do I look at him?
Still…I do. Because he might come back. Like he always does. And I have to be ready for his return.
Somehow, that thought calms me down. His smile when he returns after one of our fights appears in my mind. His big, brown eyes adoring every cell of me – of us; his heart beating like crazy when we kiss. Slowly, I am able to breath again. I can see clearly, maybe clearer than before. Somehow, I know that he will come back any minute now. I feel it in my bones, in the back of my mind. It’s like deja vu, like something that has happened before and will happen again.
Me on the floor after another tearful episode, him knocking on the door with the perfect timing of an angel, and us getting to the bed together soon after to forget everything. I listen to the silence and wait, sure that I can predict the future.
But he doesn’t come. Why doesn’t he come?
Is these his steps on the hallway? Are those his keys ringing outside my door? Did I hear a message on my phone? What time is it? Is it too late for him to come? Where is he now? What is he doing? Is he thinking about me? And if he is thinking about me, does he know that I’m in pain and I am waiting for him here, on the floor?
Before I know it, an hour has passed. An hour of barely enough breathing and dried up tears on my face. Everything starts with tears. Everything starts with my tears. I close my eyes and hear, still waiting even in the middle of the night. The floor is hard and my back is in pain. Physical pain brings another thought in my mind.
“Look how stupid you look,” I make myself say. My voice is hoarse and mostly broken. I don’t like the sound of it. And yet, I continue. “A twenty six years old man crying on the floor…and for what? For a man that has never loved him as much as he did. It’s not like I didn’t know it, right?”
And here comes the guilt…the same guilt that lead me to now in the first place. I don’t know why I did it to be honest. I don’t know why I allowed myself to think that everything would be okay this time. I mean, he is simply a man, trying to figure out his own feelings. He can’t possibly handle the weight of all these problems that I carry with me. And why should he? It’s not like I deserve it after all. It’s not like I am anyone important to start with.
Maybe, if I were better…if I were better he would have stayed. Isn’t that what he said in the end? “Call me when you get your shit together”. If I were better, he would have loved me. And now, no one does.
A bang on the door startles me. It sounded like someone punched the wooden frame from the outside with force, or like the wind blew in and pushed it. Yeah, it must have been the wind…the wind.
“But…I didn’t leave the window open…”
Still, it was only a bang. One bang…
“Snap out of it, Greg. No one knocks only once.”
That sudden vaccine of reality manages to bring me back on my feet. I search for my phone. No messages. A slight pinch of pain later, I stare at the time. I didn’t realize that it was 2 am. Last time I looked at the time, it was 10 pm. I had been at it for four hours straight. That must be a record or something, or maybe I am over reacting again, as usual.
Still, I find myself smiling at the irony. A minute ago I was one with the floor, waiting for him to appear on the door and now I act like the person that did all these wasn’t even me. He was simply someone I knew. And oh God, I will never become that someone again. I mean, who would spend their entire night on the floor crying over an ex four days in a row?
Certainly not me. I finally got my shit together. Four days of intense crying ought to do it, right?
Still, it’s Friday night. I have the whole weekend to figure this out. Maybe he will come back tomorrow. He always seems like he is better when the weekends arrive, after he has finished his work and has time to think over our fight and forgive me.
“Yeah…yes! That probably is. He didn’t have time to think things over during the week, with his job on the line and all. Now that’s Friday night, though, I am sure he will return. I am certain that he will come back tomorrow morning.”
I still haven’t moved a step from my previous position when suddenly, a second bang comes from the door.
“What the hell?” My body tenses and I hurry towards the light switch.
My heart is skipping. I get one time being an accident, but two times? Two times is intentional. And was the second time louder? I am sure it was louder.
“Damn, where is the light?”
It takes me another couple seconds to find the light switch only to realize that I am almost naked, wearing only my underwear. Somewhere between me sobbing and losing my conscious self in my pain, I remember undressing myself. I feel kinda ashamed now for doing that, mostly because I don’t remember why that made sense to me in the first place. Still, I catch a glimpse of my naked body from the mirror as I put on my sweatpants hastily.
By then, a couple minutes have passed, more than enough time to ensure that the second time is a play of the luck (and my very bad mood) as well. Probably the wooden floor is creaking and expanding and some shit about these house sounds that everyone talks about when scary things like this happen. Half-naked now, I head towards the entrance to check on the hallway from the spy hole.
I walk there on the tip of my feet like an overgrown, with significantly more hair, ballerina. After four hours on the floor, my muscle complain a tad for overworking them, but adrenaline is rushing through my veins now. This is me trying to act brave, almost falling on my face a couple times.
When I finally reach the door, I hold my breath (since we all know that breathing can be heard even through walls…) and lean closer to the spy hole. After I finally manage to align my right eye to the tiny hole, I can almost hear drums playing in the background. I expect someone to grab me by the shoulder and pull me back now, laughing.
And that certain someone to be him…and that certain him to kiss me deeply…
It’s only after I see no one on the other side of the door that my heart sinks again.
“As if…” I say through my teeth.
I relax my muscles and slowly descend so that my whole foot touches the floor when a third bang comes from the door.
Only this time, I realize that it isn’t coming from the entrance.
“What…in the holy fuck…is going on?” My whole body is shaking in fear.
Everything was good and exciting while I thought that the bang was coming from outside, but now…shit, now what I am going to do?
Call him. The first thing that pops in my mind.
I am sure that he will put our differences aside and come and rescue me. And then, when he will ensure that there was never anything to be afraid of but a rather loud half-open window that I had forgotten to close or a quirky tube that was acting up, we would sit down laughing and have a drink. And we would start talking with each other and we would finally get to bed and seal the deal.
I find my mobile phone on the floor next to where I used to lie and start to move towards it when a fourth bang comes. Only this time, there were two bangs, one after the other.
“Fuck! Shit! What the hell? 9-1-1. I should call 9-1-1,” I say and almost jump towards the phone.
I push the numbers and wait. A woman replies to my call.
“9-1-1, what’s your emergency?” she says at once, her tone calm and structured. I wonder, do they train them to be this composed or is it a personality trait that comes with the job listing?
Damn! This isn’t what matters now, Greg. “Hi…hello. This is Greg (last name). I am calling from…” and then, the door opens. “Oh shit!” I say out loud.
I quickly cover my mouth and hide behind my sofa. The emergency woman replies to me once. “Sir? Sir? Can you hear me? Please, stay calm sir and let us know what is going on.”
I…I am not sure what I should say. A man has just walked into my apartment whistling while holding a broom in his hands. How am I supposed to remain calm at this situation? Does this advice every work? Do people hear “don’t panic” and their fear disappears in thin air like magic? Well, if it’s working for other people, it isn’t working for me. Through my fervorous excitement, my brain is working at light speed. It’s too dark in the hallway to observe any particular characteristics about the burglar. In the back of my mind I keep replaying these scenes of the TV police dramas, asking the victim for as much details of the culprit as possible and them always telling that they couldn’t notice anything particular about them. I remember how furious it makes me.
How can you forget something so important, lady?
“Sir? Sir, can you hear me? Sir?” she says again and again. “Sir, we have dispatched a police car to your location. Help will be there really soon. If you can’t speak, please keep your line open and try to hide while waiting for the police officers to arrive.”
She figured out that I couldn’t speak and they tracked my address and they are already sending help. They are professionals, alright. That’s good, that’s good. Now, I have to wait for soon to pass and the policemen to arrive. How long does soon usually is? Five minutes? Ten minutes? Gosh…I won’t survive. How do I hide in a two-bedroom apartment with a living room and a kitchen? If he turns his head just a bit, he will be able to see me and kill me.
God, he will kill me. I am going to die. This is the end. There are no jokes appropriate enough here, no way to become a witty victim. This is the real deal. I try to focues. What should I do? Hide! Yes, hide. The woman on the phone said so herself. However, where should I hide? I try to get up and run to the kitchen now, he will see me. If I crawl there, he will probably hear me. I am running out options and time.
Move, you dimwit!
I manage to move closer to the sofa and cover as much of my half-naked body as possible, but just the idea of dying before mending things with him, without getting back my perfect life, is making me panic. I can’t breathe, I can’t move a muscle, and above all things, I can’t think straight. I am moving slowly, carefully, crudely, watching him and watching out for him while at the same time trying to find a way out of this mess alive. I don’t want to die, not by a man cleaning my house, damn it
Somewhere amidst that thought and me hyperventilating, I realize that there is something very strange about him.
I mean…he is wiping the floor. This is all he does. He whistles and wipes the floor. He moves the furniture around and takes special care of the corners — even though I would like him to be more careful around that stand my mother bought me — but other than that…he doesn’t feel dangerous at all. If he didn’t appear out of the thin air like he did, I could have invited this man for a coffee, to be honest.
Snap out of it, Greg. You can’t be thinking like that now. This might be his pattern, after all. Didn’t I read somewhere that there was a killer that would abduct young women, dress them up, and murder them afterwards? This erratic behavior is like “How to become a serial killer 101: Planning the First Kill” or something.
He probably likes hiding in his victims’ houses until very late in the night and then appear out of nowhere and do something totally random but seemingly normal before killing them. I stare harder at him, checking for a gun or a knife, but he is too far away to discern any details except that he is tall with a lean body. He has broad shoulders and I would swear I saw him straightening up his glasses on his face.
I don’t believe I would ever say that, but there is something rather calming about the way he moves. Like, he doesn’t have a care in the world and making sure that the dust on the floor has vanished is his ultimate goal. He feels like this kind of people that their presence itself is soothing and therapeutic. I don’t know what to make of this.
Shouldn’t it feel more like I am in danger? I mean…he is here to kill me, right?
A couple minutes after this awkward scene, the man finally reaches to the living room. I have decided to take my chances. It’s not like there are many places I can hide to. At least I am close to the entrance. Since the police officers are about to arrive, it’s better if they find me right away. I try to get my knees up to my chest to make my body as small as possible. I know that a 1.87 cm man is hard to hide behind a two-seater couch, but hey, it’s better than nothing.
My back is dripping sweat and I am feeling the muscles of my body tensing. I can’t see him now, but the sound of his steps has become louder. He is getting closer. He is still whistling, and from that weird scratching of the floor, I think he is still wiping the floor. Half of myself wants to take a closer look of the man while the other half wants to close my eyes and wait for this ordeal to pass. I have never been so afraid of something or someone in my entire life. I remember feeling a cold numbness when he left me, and everytime my parents threatened to find out more about my personal life, there were some times that I could barely breath, but this feeling right here is nothing in comparison.
My ears are ringing and even though I feel like my hands and feet are heavy and every sound is heightened to a comical level, at the same time I have the feeling that I can run to the door so fast that he won’t notice me . I keep waiting for the door to kaboom and a superhero to smash the man on the floor, but honestly, time itself has frozen. I had heard that adrenaline can make a minute feel like an eternity, but damn it, haven’t soon been over yet?
“Hello? Sir, are you still there?” The emergency woman’s voice suddenly comes from the mobile that I had totally forgotten I was holding in my hand.
My hands jerk and I drop the phone on the floor. Instinctively, I cap my mouth with my hands. My eyes almost burst out and I feel that they will fall off my head. I stretch my ears to focus on his steps. Did he hear me? What is he doing? Did he stop?
Silence….and then:“Is anyone here?” the man says, hesitantly.
Silence again. I feel my overstretched muscles on my chest pumping. Is this a joke? This must be a joke. God, if George has sneaked in one of those actors just to make fun of me, I’m so going to kill him.
He takes a step closer to me, and then another one. Both of them aren’t as heavy as the ones before. He is careful of me as well. This situation has escalated to uber awkward in the split of a second. I am holding myself back to get on my feet and simply ask him what in the hell is going on? I am very confused. Still the feeling of danger hasn’t washed off my body. I have regained some of my logic, but only enough to question my sanity.
Calm down, Greg. The policemen will be here right about now. Just…calm down.
I breathe in, breathe out until I feel a hand grabbing my shoulder.
I crawl away from him as fast as I can, hurting my back on the corner of the sofa as well as slipping and almost hitting my head on the coffee table that he bought to me for our anniversary.
“Please, please! Don’t kill me!” I beg him at once, my eyes closed and my hands in front of my face.
“What are you doing here?” he says almost at the same time while pointing his broom at me.
Right about then, the policemen arrive at the entrance. “NYPD. Please, open your door sir. We have received an emergency call”
He raises his shoulders in surprise and stares towards the door. In that moment, I feel the strength of our homo sapiens ancestors filling my veins. Instead of cowering in fear, I start yelling: “Help! Someone, help me! He is still here! He–”
He suddenly turns to look at me and quickly moves his head in the air like grabbing something and pulling it. Like zipping something? Yeah, it looked exactly like that. It caught me entirely off guard enough that I stop yelling (I thought he was going to attack me, to be honest), but when I realize that his attention returns to the police officers on the door, I try to open my mouth to continue my cry for help.
Fuck! Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck!!! I can’t open my mouth. I can’t open my fucking mouth!
No matter how hard I try, it feels like my lips are sealed. Yes, I know how ironic this sounds, but come on. There doesn’t exist a better description of what is happening to me than that. I try to force them open, to to separate them, but no luck about it. The skin over and above my lips has covered my mouth. I can still feel my lips behind the ripples of skin, but if I try to speak, pain strikes me and I stop. I am afraid that if I try harder, I will tear my lips apart and I won’t be able to ever speak again.
On the other hand, it’s not like I can speak now.
The good side-effects of the adrenaline finally kick in. My subconscious feeling of sustenance kicks in and I regain some control of my feelings. Every cell of my body is screaming help now. I get on my feet and launch towards the man, knocking him on the ground. Someone knocks on the door a second time.
“Sir? We have heard someone calling for help. We are going to break the door if you don’t open it right now!”
The police officer sounds totally in control, a fearless beast of muscle and authority that I could quite much use the help of right now. I hold the man’s hands and use all my weight to keep him on the ground. My eyes are closed tight and my arms are in hot pain. Fight, you foul, I say to myself. Fight and survive.
I think I hear the man utter something and then, out of nowhere, I feel an enormous force pushing me away. I struggle with all my strength, but it’s like a thousand hands have grabbed me at once from every part of my body. No matter how much I struggle, I can’t fight against that crushing force. Despair fills my chest so much so that I am losing hope of surviving the few seconds between the police officers opening the door and the man tearing me to pieces with his mysterious power.
Survival is a tough feeling, though, one that doesn’t take no for an answer and doesn’t give you a second chance. No thought is more important and all encompassing than the brutality of dying when you have more of that fight left in you. The thousand hands have stopped pushing me away and now they are simply carrying me to somewhere.
Nausea kicks in right away (I have a big problem with motion sickness) and I open my eyes out of a reflex.
The only thing that comes out of my mouth is a muffled scream. I kick and punch and God how much I would have loved to bite as well, but there is nothing. Nothing at all. I am simply hovering in midair.
The hands are moving me throughout the room straight to the hallway that leads to the door that the man used to invade to my home. He is bringing me back with him. He is carrying me in there…in my bedroom-slash-gate to the unknown. My head and legs are spread in the air and I am flying like an A-class case of paranoia. Everything is in my head. I know that they are in my head. Here, I will simply close my eyes and then I will open them again and I will be back on my bed, sleeping next to him.
Okay, get ready Greg. One, two…three! I close my eyes and at that moment, my hands get stuck in the walls of the hallway.
“Snabberholm,” the man suddenly says. “Not now, not now. They can’t find me here!”.
He sounds anxious but his problem is my salvation. I have some control of my fingers so I spread them as much as possible to grab the walls of the hallway and try to resist getting abducted by a faceless stranger. But, with a simple snap of his fingers, the treacherous hands start rolling me around so that my hands are on the side. And, as an added measure, they also hold them glued on my sides so that I can’t use them to grab on anything else.
The feeling of nausea is worse now than before. I have never seen the world sideway. The wall is looking like the floor and the doors ahead of me like giant holes leading to the guts of the complex. I want to puke so bad, but a smashing sound comes from the entrance of my apartment at the right moment. Let me tell you, hope for survival can do wonders to motion sickness.
Unable to scream or say anything, I hear a discord of loud voices coming from my living room. Some of them scream “freeze” while others, more composed, simple say “NYPD”. The truth, though, is that all of them can be heard simultaneously. My magical abductor picks up speed and, treating me like an elaborate suitcase, he uses his invisible hands to bend my back so that I can hurry inside the bedroom with him.
I am trying to do something, anything, even blink hard enough so that someone might hear it. It’s hopeless. I am getting floated away from my own apartment straight into my bedroom by a man that was just wiping my floor. The impossibility of the situation empties my lungs as soon as the door closes behind me with a creak.
Everything starts with tears; everything starts with my tears. But this time, everything ends with my tears as well. I keep staring at the door intensely, memorizing the color of the wood, the splinters on the frame and every tiny detail that I will need to find it again. The most important hint, however, is right up there, on the upper right corner, carved and barely visible. It’s a word I don’t recognize nor I understand.
(TO BE CONTINUED)
– by Pit