Sarah again awoke in her own apartment lying on the floor, the soft humming of the tape machines around incessantly buzzed with electricity. The raging fire behind her had burned itself out, leaving behind piles of smoking ambers and ashes. The warmth that the fire provided was now almost completely gone, the ever present chilling feel slowly crept up on her.
Sarah looked open mouthed around her, seeing only the familiar surroundings of her apartment. She looked at the television beside her on the floor. The screen was blank, devoid of anything. A faint stream of smoke rose in the air from the back of the television.
She quickly got up on her feet and walked briskly to the kitchen. She took out a small can of beer from the refrigerator and downed it in one.
She looked outside and realised that it was almost dawn, the inky blackness of the night was slowly being enveloped by the perfect milky whiteness of the daytime, creeping up from the endless expanse of towering skyscrapers and smaller buildings.
She had been unconscious for the whole night, yet her experience only lasted for a few minutes. It was almost like being in a dream, experiencing only fractions of images and sounds in the space of a whole night. Despite knowing that the evidence pointed to the idea of her dreaming all of this time, she was far from accepting it. People didn’t usually have the feeling of their brains exploding before they fell asleep. Something else was happening that she didn’t understand.
Something’s going on here. I’m passing out all the friggin’ time and seeing these weird things. This all started when I picked up that damn receiver on the telephone thing in the Town Hall. The people there told me it was Electronic Voice Phenomenon, communication with the dead. That must be it, I must be seeing and hearing the same things they listen to, only it seems more powerful. I have to find out what’s happening to me, I can’t do this alone.
She threw the empty can of beer into the waste-bin. She knew she had to go back to the Town Hall and tell them what happened to her. She knew full well that they’d turn her into a laboratory rat in a second. But, there was nothing else she could do, she couldn’t understand something she had no knowledge of and at the same time sink into the quicksand more and more. Maybe their testing would highlight some things, bring her closer to understanding. Bring her closer to her father.
Hopefully, she’d meet the guy she met there, William Blake. He looked out for. Maybe he’d help her and be able to decide what kind of tests to do.
She walked out of the kitchen and into the bathroom. After what she’d been through so far, she needed a shower.
She took off her clothes and stepped underneath the cool and refreshing water. She placed her head underneath the water and closed her eyes, allowing the water to run over her face and her eyelids. She imagined the water purging her of what she had seen and felt tonight, carrying it into the drain below her.
Sarah knew in her heart and mind that she wasn’t a timid person or easily rattled. While other survivors in the city sought cover and fled in fear as the night came, she walked or drove out into it in full force, her head high, enjoying getting out into the open air. She took pride in knowing that while everyone wallowed in self pity and depression over what had happened to the world, she carried on her life more or less as it was before. She knew it took great courage and determination to get over and survive something like that. She didn’t want to sound arrogant to herself, but she couldn’t help but feel pleased and congratulate herself.
She felt pleased and a little reassured of reminding herself of the type of person she was and how strong she was. But, since the encounter with the Telephone device and the visions and strange occurrences, she wondered just how strong she really was.
Come on, shape up. You survived all this time in this world because you had to, otherwise you’d have gone under just like the others on the streets. You can’t expect to face and get over something like this. This is the afterlife you’re dealing with, here. You can’t know how to defend yourself against something so unlike you’ve faced before.
She hoped this pondering would somehow reassure her, convince herself that she wasn’t to blame and betray her own convictions at the same time. But, her thoughts merely allowed the fears she had to overwhelm her even more as she realised how small she seemed when compared against the endless immensity of what was in front of her.
She sighed at the sudden knowledge she had gained of herself. She tried to ignore it and continued with showering.
Sarah sharply turned and looked behind her as she heard a voice. She saw nothing but her white bathroom. Her heart rate began to increase, drowning out the sound of the rushing water.
Oh Christ, not again.
Her arms instinctively covered her chest as she looked on at the empty air behind her. Her legs clutched tightly to each other, her body began to shudder with nervous apprehension.
‘My room,’ the voice said again. Sarah could tell that it sounded like a female voice. It sounded as though someone was shouting from a distance.
She returned her sight back to face the wall in front of her, trying to keep her concentration solely on the water. But it was useless. The strong and slowly growing feeling of someone stood behind her and watching her was too intense. She closed her eyes, her breathing grew more and more rapid and uncontrollable. She could take it no more, the incredible sensation grew stronger by the moment. She was terrified to say anything, but she had to, she had to shout something. She regained the strength of her muscles all over her body and opened her mouth.
“What the fuck do you want!?” She screamed at the top of her voice.
She could feel the intense anxiety and fear leave her body along with the water that washed over her. Her body shuddered for a few moments with shock. She didn’t know that she had the strength to do that. She leaned on the wall to her left as she pulled herself together.
She listened for any kind of response to her screaming question, but there was none. Just the incessant sound of the water and her own agitated breathing. The feeling of a presence and being watched had left her. She hoped that her strengthened response to its presence had caused it to leave in a hurry.
Not wanting to spend any longer in the shower, she pulled a small silver lever on the side of the pipe that led up to the shower. The rushing water stopped and she got out of the shower. She picked up her clothes and carried them into the kitchen, preferring to get dressed in a room where so far, no weird things had happened.
She fumbled with her clothes as she dressed, unable to tear her gaze away from the rooms in front of her. She felt as though simply getting dressed and obscuring her vision briefly as she put her blouse back would distract her from keeping a close eye on everything.
She had the overwhelming feeling of being attacked by her own apartment. As though something she brought with her from the Town Hall had infected it and was slowly poisoning everything she knew so well. The living room was its prime place, it seemed, where most of what had occurred had happened. It had spread to the bathroom now, possibly growing in power.
She wanted to be away from here and get to the Town Hall and the scientists before anything else happened to her. She laughed slightly as she realised something. She was seeking refuge from the very place that had done this to her and fleeing her home, the very place she had lived for so many years. Yet, while finding it funny, she also realised how bad it was. This was no ordinary thing that was happening to her, this was the supernatural. It was taking her from her home and forcing her to go somewhere that was the last place she wanted to be.
While the scientists were the ones she was angry at over what there weird device had done to her, she had to consider them allies, the only ones that could get her out of this alive and sane.
She finished getting dressed and hurriedly left her apartment, wondering whether she would ever see it again.