Faded brickwork in a grimy alleyway. A white door, drawn in spiderweb chalk with oddly evocative titles. The sunflower yellow handle shudders, and the eggshell white door opens silently.
Alice is there. Alice isn’t there.
She watches you through the window, eyes wide. She can’t see you.
“Hello again. Have we met before? Or is our first meeting scheduled for next week? How are you holding up? Taking care of yourself? Been a tough couple of days for me, personally.”
Awkward, grasping silence. A clamoring cacophony. She stares at you with big blue eyes, bouncing up and down on her heels. She’s quiet. She’s screaming.
“Oh! I’m supposed to ask you a couple of questions. The next chapter, and likely the few after that, will be divided into discrete ‘cases’, each representing a location or event I’ve been seen at.”
“Here’s a list of the cases, with brief descriptions. Vote on which one seems most interesting to you, and the imposter that calls himself a writer will work on that one first! Oh, and names are subject to change.”
My Best Days were in March:
These past few days have been a bit troublesome for the erstwhile residents of the Complex Apartment. As if the constantly shifting location of their grocery store wasn’t obnoxious enough, now they have to deal with men in dark suits and dreary eyes waltzing around asking questions about a woman named Alice. And there’s this strange shoegaze punk rock mix that seems to be coming from everywhere and never stops playing. Makes sleeping kinda tough.
Themes: Young love, young loss. Dreams for the future, never realized. Visions of lives never pursued.
The city never seems to have an issue with flooding, thanks to the unceasing efforts of the sewer workers. Nobody knows a sewer worker. Nobody knows how to become a sewer worker. Nobody has ever seen a sewer worker. But people have heard them. Apparently they’ve seen Alice going down into the sewers. That’s where the Sorrow Rats live. They’ll be helpful enough, but finding a manhole to reach them will be an unexpected challenge. They seem to have been disappearing, recently. Oh, and people have been disappearing as well, but that’s a bit more standard, here.
Themes: What it means to be human. Pain.
Between the Bars:
A ghost that resembles Alice has been seen in the Rabbit Hole. Or maybe it hasn’t. Accounts tend to vary, even between the same witness. Talia’s background checks on the witnesses turned up nothing. As though they don’t even exist. Probably something to that.
Themes: Letting go. Holding on too long.
A hesitant man from the isolated village in Central Park appears in your office, dressed in an outfit as clandestine as leaves and vines will allow. He buried his daughter’s mangled corpse not three Sundays ago. But she’s back now. Came down the stairs one morning like nothing ever happened. And the whole village doesn’t seem to remember that whole business of her ever being dead. But he does. He remembers his old daughter. Her skin was brighter. And she didn’t look quite so much like Alice.
- My Best Days were in March
- Between the Bars
Alice smiles dutifully.
“And there you have it! Your insights will be valuable, as always. I really mean it.”
“Oh! I’m supposed to ask you one more question…”
She flips through a notebook three sizes too large for her.
“I’m supposed to ask if you’d prefer to have a head with too many teeth and white eyes or your own headless doppelgänger floating behind you. Wonder why…”
She peers through the screen, past your shoulder. Her eyes widen, but she has the decency to mask her surprise with a polite cough.
And she’s gone. But you aren’t alone.