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chapter 18

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Johnny Slipknot

Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 39
Location: The Burned City
chapter 18  Reply with quote  


Mahoney knocked on the door and was mildly surprised when it swung open a few inches with a creak. Nudging it further, she stepped in and called to the top of the stairs.

“Seth?” No answer. “Seth?…It’s Mahoney.” She waited a moment, rolled her eyes and said, “From the coffee shop.”

She took the stairs slowly, calling his name as she went.
The door at the top of the stairs stood wide open. She tapped on the frame and called again, still with no response. She stepped inside. Please God, don’t let me walk in on him and that women, she thought. But, the apartment was empty and dark. Everything was silhouetted in silver-blue from the moonlit windows. Mahoney turned on a light by the sofa.

It looked the same as it had that afternoon. The three coffee cups sat on the kitchen counter, forgotten. The only thing that was any different was the confusion of paper and books scattered on and around the computer desk in the sunroom.
From where she stood, she could read the screen-saver, scrolling in red, marquee style. It read: THE ROAD GOES EVER ONWARD.

Standing in the empty room, Mahoney was aware of the utter emptiness that clung to the walls and gathered in the darkened corners. The sounds from the street were so muted they seemed to be coming from miles away. Everything was still and lonely, like the apartment was actually an expensive tree house, floating above the fray of the city, safe but isolated.

It struck her how different this was from the person on the radio show. To hear him, you would expect a home filled with noise and colorful clutter. Sports magazines and paraphernalia falling from every surface. Black leather furnishings, strewn with designer shirts and the occasional pair of forgotten panties. Pictures of women, celebrities, and celluloid conquests should have adorned the walls, each one featuring the Ultra-cool, Mystery-dipped-in-Chocolate Ringer, “Enigma of the Airwaves”

...but it wasn’t so.

Standing in the sparse room, Mahoney realized what she had felt the first time she’d come here. Felt but couldn’t identify.
I’m in HIS home, she thought. Him, the troubled boy from that night so long ago. Not the one who had become the Voice of the Morning, cock-sure and bulletproof.

The realization was comforting. It had been easy to sit near him every day and assign the words ‘sell-out’ to his silent face as well as hold him in contempt for so easily forgetting her and what he had brought to her life. But, standing here, she knew the difference between Ringer and Seth. And it was clear which one lived here.

She went to the sunroom and gingerly stepped through the piles of CDs and books to the computer, glowing on its perch. She found a pen and tore a page from a small notebook, scribbled to death with words and phrases that had been numbered and marked out.

What the hell do I write? She asked herself. ‘Hi, your door was open so I came on in. But don’t be alarmed. I’m not a psychopath. I just want to talk to you about why I’ve been silently persecuting you for a one-night stand you don’t remember ten years ago. Could you give me a call?’

Mahoney frowned and plopped the pen and paper on the desk. In doing so, she must have nudged the mouse, because the screen-saver disappeared and she found herself looking at the digital envelope that Jay had been worrying earlier. The little yellow smiley face looked at her benignly, as if she posed no more of a threat than the boys had. She resisted the temptation to click on the envelope and try her luck. No need to add to the unlawful entry charge she was already guilty of.

She went to the front door, turning off the light by the sofa as she did. She looked back to the computer, replaying what Jay had said about their vain attempts to crack the password.

She closed the door behind her and took the stairs slowly, deep in thought. She stopped in the middle of the stairs...and stood there for a full minute before her feet moved again. By the time she reached the bottom, a smile played at the corner of her mouth.

Mahoney got quickly into her car and drove straight home, smile full in bloom.



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