[I've written this for no other purpose than to practice experimental writing - theme is familiarity versus estrangement. Feel free to leave a comment, for example about what you think could happen next. Enjoy.
]The Save Room
Foggy moonlight crept through the blinds – a cold and austere glow lay on the windowsills of Sebastians’ apartment. The woman he just brought with him wrapped his blanket around her slender frame. Sebastian observed how she slowly sank away in a satisfying and restful sleep. He knew that for him, sleep would not come so easily – even when he slept only his upper crust relaxed – underneath there was something that never quite lost consciousness, but lay alert and on the watch. As he studied the moonshades playing through Sheva’s messy hair he wondered how he had ended up in this adventure. From the moment they touched she had seemed insatiable – Sebastian had picked up a certain vibe about her, a dark current coursing through her skin, conveying a naughty and unrestrained side. She had followed him home and asked no questions. Not about his wedding ring, not about his working schedule (it had been much too late to bring home a woman for any working man). To his surprise she did not even ask about the eerie, decrepit neighbourhood, where the stench of decay hung so heavy in the air. Sheva had been entranced by his iron confidence and Sebastian did what he could not to dispel the image he saw reflected in her eyes.
Little did she know it was his last hold on sanity.
An incessant wind swirled the skyscraper, gripping the windows in a haunting wheeze and clatter – a wind Sebastian knew brought the feculent stench of decomposing flesh. He got up and moved closer to the glass, feeling the cold sweep through. A chilling force swirled from the metal window-frame as he tried to peer outside. Sebastian attempted to puzzle his day back together – things had been a blur. After breakfast he had visited the countryside for a walk. The pallid sun shone bleakly upon the frosty landscape; thin layers of ice covered the rivulets. He had then lost account of time, trapped in his meditations and recollections. Thinking of his family, his work. Being a detective seemed so pointless at times – for every crook he brought in two new ones surfaced. Many got away due to loopholes and corruption. He had taken to drinking. It wasn’t long before his family went to shit. Sebastian did what he had often done at work. Found a small room for himself. A desk, few lockers, dusty chairs covered by a sheet. Just trying to get his thoughts together. Meditating the case. Trying not to think about Myra. When the days got darker he brought a small oil lamp to work. The warm light made him relax… Work had been a while now.
His captain told him to take some weeks off – weeks became months. Said some time for himself would do him good. Sebastian wasn’t too sure anymore – the routine had become a blur. The park, the ice, the sun, then too many clubs. More than were good for a man recovering from a breakdown. Therapist sessions, pills. Both had only served to give him nightmares. Distorted his sense of time. Was it just him or were days getting shorter, daylight scarcer, nights longer… He tried to remember. When was the first time he heard them? Restless, stretched-out wails of languish echoed the abandoned alleyways around his flat, giving Sebastian feelings of despondency, of being hunted
. Despite the skyscrapers, the condos and highways he could see in the distance the city seemed so empty, so abandoned now. He caught glimpses of their hollow faces, bloodshot eyes, sallow skins. Fourth night in a row, fifth maybe. Some of them had the mugs of crooks he nailed. They were searching, gathering, forming a mob. More of them every night. Sebastian slowly stepped away from the blinds. Backing off into the shadows of his apartment, knowing he was still safe.
He knew looking for them was no use. After the second night he had searched outside. No trace of them in the alleys. Just rotting carbon boxes, broken down washing machines, refrigerators, abandoned rusty grates. Stuff people threw out and just left there. No-one gave a damn. Made it harder to get through each week. Not even the city officials cared. No-one cared about this dilapidated part of the city. But it was quiet. Sebastian had moved there for that reason: it allowed him to forget. Until the nightmares started. Until they
His gaze went across the room until his beating heart relaxed when he saw Sheva. Her body had a calming effect on him. She had wrestled away the blanket in her sleep, her body still moist with sweat. The luminance that came from outside trickled across her smooth skin, piercing the shadows, highlighting her flat stomach. Her taut, feminine forms accentuated by the coils of brightness wrestling the shroud of the obscure. Sebastian suddenly thought of Myra again, of him and her at the kitchen table. When she said she never loved him as much as he loved her. He recalled the overhead light cruelly exposing the lines on her face and her dark-circled eyes. Neither one of them had slept in days – he dropped in and out of the house, living for weeks from club to club. One night she told him it had been enough. Sebastian would never forget the misery in her voice… the sound of loss and giving up dignity. He still did not know if what she said was true. There were times he wondered if tranquillity – as it could not be found in the soul, he was certain – could be found in the smallest space of an industrial office. If there could be space for serenity between neglected stepladders and abandoned archives. Sometimes he told himself all he wanted from life was this room. If he could successfully identify with the worn out typewriter, the solemn bookcase and the mustard wallpaper, he would not have to think of anything else.
The room seemed filled with a solemn quiet, a silence vaguely impressive and powerful, rendering Sebastian unusually open to suggestions of things other than sensory. His gaze drifted over his impressive book case – the furniture was elegantly crafted and bore an aristocratic, timeless air. It contained impressive authors as Dostoyevsky, Jung and Edgar Allan Poe – too much doom and gloom his therapist would no doubt say. Detective novels, too; the best kind of the worst variety. Main characters with repressed youth traumas clashing with sadistic psychopaths, usually with a thing for young girls, too – young girls too licentious for their age. Invariably the cases never made it to court. This ironic introspection made Sebastian grin. He pushed some tomes aside and opened the hidden drawer beneath. There he took out the Remmington shotgun. When he heard he was being summoned to his captains’ office Sebastian realised he could lose his badge and gun. The first thing he did was to buy a shotgun, as well as a reloading tool and material for crafting custom ammunition. The past days he had been experimenting with different types of shells. Pellets, slugs, brass and incendiary ammunition. If they
would ever get inside, Sebastian knew he would be ready.
A soft moan reached him from the bedside. Sebastian hurriedly put away the weapon – its metal glittering coldly in the faint luminance of a pallid moon. He did not want Sheva to know of his demons – he wanted her to know only his kind and collected self; the appearance he maintained in the eyes of others. In clubs at least, surrounded by suave and nubile ladies. Too old to need permission from their parents, too young to walk home alone. As Sebastian made his way back to the bed his eye fell on a bottle of drink standing half-empty on his desk. He sat down and filled the glass, reminiscing of past times. They had been good
times; wild times without limits. Clubbing, working, bringing in criminals and bringing home women. Those nights had been full of life basking in the neon-lights. He could take on the world back then. And then things changed, somehow.
His gaze shifted unbeknownstly to the old painting above his bed. A landscape depicted by a nameless artist, the tranquil place where he and Myra spent their best days together. He traced the lines of the pool over which a bony willow presided ominously, luring him towards the unknown depth. But a beautiful depth, pristine in a way. Beautiful as the steep blackness of a perfect jet, the impenetrable mystery of polished onyx. Sebastian remembered how they sat by edge of that pool for hours, drowning in each others’ eyes. While returning from their brief escape holiday they had encountered the painting in a market stall. A concurrence of course, not providence but chance. Still Sebastian found himself wondering if there was not a world of the fourth dimension behind things and their external manifestations – a universe existing on the reverse side of the landscape. Nowadays there were nights he could see only a thick blanket of blackness where always lights and life had been. He wondered what had happened to the neon-lights… The panorama of the nocturnal city now only revealed shades of narrow roads that coiled endlessly upon themselves, and the outlines of towering highways that broke off into mid-air. The shadows darkened under a moon glaring hard and bone-like: they grew dim and oppressive, terrifying, bearing with them subtle and stark impressions of things long dead. Then, in the very thick of the dark mass, something moved.
Sebastian opened his eyes. Foggy moonlight crept through the blinds – a cold and austere glow shone from the windowsills. He felt a warm radiance press against his stomach while a frosty presence seeped from the cold glass towards the bed. The sleeping Sheva groaned and pushed herself deeper into Sebastians’ warmth. He looked appreciatively at her slender body and saw her chest reverberating, aware of no danger, calmly going up and down. For now, there was this room. For now, he would be safe. For now