Footsteps

Footsteps.

He leaned over in his chair to get a good look down the hall.

Empty.

They were in his head.

Again!

The apartment was cold now.  Her absence was as much a real thing as her presence.

More really.

His desk sat in the back corner of the narrow studio apartment.  One room, mostly empty now.  Empty of objects, and furniture, and her.

Mostly her.

He leaned over and looked again.  Still empty, he didn’t really expect anything different, but it was still early and his mind wasn’t used to the absence yet.  Really, he doubted it ever would be, but for now he was going with yet.

He put the tip of the pen to the paper and scratched. Furiously. He wrote and wrote and filled the page with his rotten guts.

Footsteps.

He stopped.

Footsteps still.

He held his breath.

Footsteps.

He leaned over in his chair.

Empty.

He didn’t sigh.  His breath came out soft and slow.  Inaudible.

He looked down at the page.

Blank.

Light scratches in the paper but no ink.  Illegible indentations.

Useless.

He was out of ink.  He dug through his desk for a pen.

Footsteps.

“Goddamit!”

He sat straight.  He put his palms on his desk and stared straight ahead at the wall.  At the open door at the other end of the lonely room.  He would not lean over and look into the hall.  He would not let the urge overtake h

Footsteps.

“FU-U-U-U-U-U-CK!”

His palms found the edge of the heavy desk and pushed.

The desk flipped over and the pages flew into the air like geese off a glassy lake.

He watched them settle on the bare wooden floor.

Blank.

Footsteps.

He walked to the door and threw it open the rest of the way.  It smashed against the wall behind it and bounced back, swinging  past his nose and coming to a rest just short of closed.

He didn’t sigh.

He breathed low and shallow.

He opened the door and looked into the hall.

Empty.

It was empty.

It was going to stay empty.

It would stay empty and the pages would stay blank and he would stay here.

He closed the door.

He sat on the floor and leaned his back against the door.

Footsteps.

He pulled his knees to his chest and laid his head on his knees.

He breathed.

He picked up a blank page and the empty pen and scratched at it.  He could see the ink but he knew it wasn’t really there.  He could see the walls but, he knew they weren’t there either.  Neither was the desk, the floor, the door or the hall.  She wasn’t there either.

Footsteps.

Don’t check.

They aren’t there either.

He closed his eyes.

He could feel it all.  See it all.

He opened his eyes.

It was all gone.

All gone except the footsteps.

He would always hear the footsteps.

He always heard the footsteps.

Always.

Footsteps.

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