A short, stout, little man, with heavy glasses, named Leon, was sitting in a dimly lit office. He seemed to enjoy the silence, however, his mind was preoccupied with a few more complex matters. He was adjusting his glasses while his eyes wandered through the latest notes.
Leon did not like where the situation was heading to, he wanted everything solved, once and for all. He pressed the button on the phone and another person emerged by the table, placing his hands behind his back. This person’s face gave off a feeling of something missing from the one eye Leon could barely notice in the dark.
Leon started talking in a thin, low voice.
“It won’t work like this. There are too many possibilities for a contact to be made and for things to go wrong for us. We need to assist.”
A tall man, who just came in, only nodded his partially lit head.
“Whom should I call?”
After brief thinking, a little man responded,
“Contact our best people. We will go into action tomorrow. And remember, whatever happens, I want to know if he is capable of crossing the line.”
A tall, thin man with different-colored eyes left the office, and a fatter, shorter one remained sitting and wondering where all of this was leading to.
Alderson villa, 8:13
Here’s to another empty day. Is it a day already? How come? I feel like I haven’t slept at all…
A warm bed rustled under his movements, a pillow moved, a quilt stirred and a pale leg emerged from beneath it.
It doesn’t make sense anymore…
Thoughts were heavy and empty, a burden on his shoulders, and they were still there, in his mind, reaching towards the core of his soul. The heart was beating, the body was warm, but the soul ache was so tremendous that he barely felt his own existence.
I have a headache, again. What a morning.
Truth be told, he has had headaches ever more often in the last month.
I might have a tumor…That’ll do… a good excuse for suicide.
The floor was crunchy and cold, uncomfortable at the touch of his feet. Any toe could at any given moment come across a splinter, which could inflict the pain and cause the nerves to react. But it didn’t matter to him. Nothing mattered to him. He stood up and spoke to himself, from the depth of his mind.
Don’t lose it again. Have breakfast, lunch, and wait…
It was everything he had in his life, everything he’d got left from his life.
What followed was an empty, slow walk through a long hallway, where everything echoed, even his wintery breath.
Before it happened, everything used to be filled with lights, every room lit by a chandelier, as a sun of its own. There was always some hubbub and the echo of laughter. Years ago it was pleasant to live here.
Now, what remained echoing was the silence. Nobody knew where the ghosts of the past were today, and he only felt that they still owed him the warmth he had lost.
If everything stays as it is, there will be nobody left to pay off the debt.
As if playing ’’hot or cold’’ with himself, he strode the long, dark alleys of his own history.
The paintings, photographs, dreariness, a repulsive faded brown wallpaper color, peeling off from top to bottom, dull baroque-style pattern and his empty steps were not as welcoming.
The first door – opened. There was nothing inside, apart from a French bed with a canopy. Tinted windows talked about darkness with their heavy, blood-colored draperies. The next room – locked. And three more after that.
Why don’t I have the keys?
But that’s what amnesia was like. Even if you had something, you couldn’t remember where you left it. Those keys were waiting for him somewhere in the house, but in vain. Even if he was to find them that day or the day after, what was he gonna do? It didn’t really matter to him.
Finally, he found the washroom. Tiles were colder than the silence of the hallway, but at least they didn’t make a sound. Sometimes, he wished to stay in that bathroom.
Empty-eyed, he stared at the wall where the mirror had been before it happened. He waved his hand dismissively. He had broken all the mirrors in the house the day after the event, he couldn’t stand to look at himself and not know who he was and what he existed for. Then they took them away. Who – he didn’t know.
He looked through the window in the distance, and he could feel his pupils react to the whiteness outside. The snow had long covered the areas around the house, making everything look sterile.
Everything is so clear… Except for my memory.
He was coming down the stairs, slowly heading towards the kitchen.
What would happen if I were to fall now? Would anyone even come to look for me, at all?
He passed by the radio and he switched it on out of habit.
So, it is still not time. Time… He tasted that word in his mouth. I have too much of it, where in fact I don’t have a single second.
He had time, or at least that’s what he said to comfort himself. Because that was how people were supposed to function. Time was that incidental thing that helped humans succeed. The only thing that he could do is stand still. As if in the eternal purgatory. He felt as if his life could pass by in a day. He was hoping that he wouldn’t get up the next morning, still every morning at five o’clock, he would open his eyes to a new day and he would give himself a twenty-four-hour-long chance to remember.
If only he could, though. All he wanted was to remember who he was. To move away from the emptiness, set the clock in motion, bring back the memory and move on.
Nevertheless, he would wake up to the same emptiness every day. And every day he would wait for noon. Just to hear that melody on the radio. To be yanked, just for a moment, by those sounds of the violin, as thin as a rail, but as heavy as the sea. Those tones pulled him in, like an anchor, day after day, to some memories that he couldn’t quite make out. Blurry, everything had always been so blurry, but he had known that catchy melody since the first time he heard it. And he heard it the day after. After that.
Since then, he had been listening to it and in fact, he would hear it every day. Somebody out there played his grief and desolation. Somebody out there knew how he felt, knew exactly how to reach for his most subtle thoughts. Every day at noon.Without exception.Without delay. Without change. That melody wasn’t an announcement of any kind of program,but to him, it seemed like an announcement of his better life. It lasted for three minutes only – he didn’t time it, but he knew it. After that, he would feel fulfilled, stronger, and more capable of bearing the rest of the day in silence. The melody somehow put him at peace with himself and with his ignorance.
That was the only thing that would drag him and push him at the same time. Drag in the past and push in the life ahead. He could almost remember numbers, faces, and names, but those were always blurry, wiped away like a shadow in a foggy mirror. He saw them through a yellow stained glass; never knowing who and what he’s seeing. He only knew the melody.
He would attempt to hear it in his mind as soon he would wake up, but kept failing. Often, he soothed himself.
Maybe one day, when I succeed in recalling the music, I’ll know everything.
He would force his empty mind to remember but the results was always the same – gray emptiness, all up until noon. That’s when he would lay down on his baroque bed, set his hands below his head, touch his blonde soft hair and started humming. Always precise, without mistakes. And of course, he often wondered how he knew that melody.
He had no answers to his lingering questions.
Time passed by, and the moment finally came.
During the melody playing, he would never become silent. He would never even think of that, to just get silent for a second and maybe try to remember something. Up until now. Something covered his mind for a brief second. He became silent and the music stopped.
The room slowly got filled with silence, but not the silence he got used to. This silence was different: hideous, threatening and dangerous. He was afraid to think, but the human mind is a strange thing – always active, looking for an alert, and he was alerted now. All of a sudden he found himself in a state of panic.
It stopped. It stopped. Why? Why did it stop? Somebody out there knows, no – somebody out there doesn’t know that the music stopped. – This must be a mistake. The radio must be broken.
He got up, partially composed, and swiftly approached the radio. The fear has risen from inside of him – touch it to make sure it’s not broken, and – don’t touch it, go to your room and lock the door. Everything will be fine. Has to be, has to.
He slowly put the tip of his finger on the radio button and waited.
Did I stop the transmission or did it stop me?
The question grew bigger inside his mind and started to haunt him, burning him from the inside. He had to know. After all, if the radio broke, that’s the least of his problems. In that case, nobody had stopped the music.
He slowly started turning the button around to find another station. Silence. And after the silence, a voice.
– There you are.
He yanked his hand, ran on the other side of the room and stopped, petrified.
– There you are. – Here I am. Yes, I am here. – Somebody knows. Somebody is not anybody, somebody talked to me. – Come on, don’t be insane, it’s just the radio. – That works.- How did the music stop? – I don’t know.
At that moment the melody started playing again, right from the note he stopped on. But he didn’t sing along now.
Should I break it? – Why would I? What reason will I find to be? This was my safe harbor.
In that moment did he realize he now knew a name. ‘Jonathan.’
He knew a name, one and only. He felt like he had to take all the decorations from the Christmas tree and he didn’t know where to start. The melody finished.
He quickly wrote the name on the cover of the first book he grabbed, he didn’t care if it was a family heritage.
At that moment he regretted not leaving at least one mirror in the house. He could now at least try to see if the name fits his face.
From the depth of his mind came the idea.
The attic. I have never been there. Maybe the time has finally come.
There was a reason why he didn’t go up there. He was afraid that he will find nothing. He always thought the attic was like his mind, empty and dusty, and that if he tried to dig deep, he wouldn’t find anything.
But he finally felt light as a feather as he ran, barefooted, over the staircases.
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