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“What do we do now?” she asked.

“I don’t know. I think we’re supposed to do something amazing. I thought it was just me, but maybe it’s both of us.”

“Do you think it’s God?” Her head turned towards him as she asked the question.

He turned his head towards her, dipping his forehead to touch hers. “No, I really don’t think so. I don’t think it’s the other guy either, for what it’s worth. I really don’t think I believe in that kind of shit.”

He felt her smile. “Yeah, I don’t think I do, either. Then what, do you think?”

“I really don’t know, Alice. Maybe we’re not supposed to know. Or maybe we have to find out.”

“Together?”

“Yeah.”


* * * * *

The world did not revolve around them at this singular point in time, of course. She still had a husband to attend to and he still had his own daily matters to manage. Well, rent was due, anyway. He hadn't planned on paying it this month - after all, he'd intended to have thrown himself in front of a train by this point. Since it looked like that might not be happening, it was probably appropriate to make sure he stopped off and ensured that the roof would remain over his head for at least the time being.

They paused in front of his apartment door before parting ways.

"You'll be back?" he asked her.

"Yes," she replied. She looked directly into his eyes as she said it. "I just need to check in on my husband. Make sure he gets checked out and heads home. I might need to drive him there, I don't know."

They did not kiss goodbye. They didn't even touch before she turned around and walked towards her car. He watched her hair sway against her back, the morning light catching on the lighter strands. He put up a hand to wave as she left, but she did not look back.

He didn't know if she'd actually be back.

He dropped off the rent check at the mailbox and was headed back towards his apartment when he stopped in his tracks. The air around him seemed to constrict a bit, as though he were in the middle of something larger than he could fathom. His chest felt heavy and it became hard to breathe. He looked around wildly for a place where he could be alone. Stepping around a corner of an apartment building, he was out of immediate lines of sight.

He dropped to his knees, planted his palms on the ground and pressed his forehead to the dirt.

His eyes were closed and he tried to focus on regulating his breathing.

He was having a rough go of it.

The weight of the last 24 hours seemed to have come crashing down on him. Alice, the shared vision…it all seemed too much to manage through anymore. When it was just him, at least, he could accept that it was just a dream – some psychosis that had manifested inside of him and him alone. If they’d shared it, though – if Alice had been able to be there with him and see almost the same things…well, that made it real, right?

“Mister, you all right?”

The voice came from one of the neighborhood kids. He lifted his head and nodded. “I’m good. Just needed a breather.” Shakily, he got to his feet. The kid peered at him and another kid came around the first, craning his neck to get a better look.

"Get outta here," he grumbled at the kids. They took off snickering something about him being drunk.

He righted himself as best he could, his head still swimming a bit, but his breathing mostly back to normal. If it could be shared, then it could be real. If it was real, why were her eyes so like Alice's?

He felt a little like he might throw up.

Instead, he put one foot in front of the other and started walking. He didn't have a destination in mind, but he thought that the act of walking might help calm his nerves. Step, breathe, step, breathe. He concentrated on the sound his feet made as they slapped against the pavement. Step, breathe, step, breathe.

He was starting to feel mostly like a human again when he found himself in front of the public library. An employee was unlocking the doors and waved at him.

If it can be shared, it might be real, he thought again.

And if it's real, he surmised, there must be a record of it.

He stepped into the library.

* * * * *

After a few hours pouring over the most recent newspapers and then another couple of hours hunched over the microfiche, he could find nothing. There were plenty of reports of women and their children dying, but nothing so specific as a woman run down by a train while holding an infant.

Disappointed, he found himself back on the pavement making his way home. He supposed that she'd might've come back by now. He wondered how long she'd been waiting. The placement of the sun in the sky suggested that it was nearly five o'clock. He squinted - the sun was bright this afternoon.

Her car was not in the parking lot when he returned to his apartment. A religious tract was rolled up between the doorknob and the doorjamb - he flicked it out and unrolled it.

"AMAZING DAYS!" it screamed at him in garishly bright font. "FAITH IS THE WAY!"

He sighed. Was it another sign? He let himself into the apartment and crumpled the tract into a ball. He doubted it at first, then looked at the wad of paper in his hand. Stranger things had been happening. He threw the paper to the ground and went into the kitchen and opened a can of soup to put on the stove.

By the time the soup had been eaten - and three beers consumed, one piece of toast devoured, and his hand bandaged from where the soup tin had cut him - the light was fading from the sky. Summer was starting to give way to autumn and the longer, lighter days would not last much longer.

She still had not returned.

With each disappearing ray of light, a little more of the magic from the previous evening faded.

By the time it was full dark, he was convinced that it had been nothing more than another dream.

He sat at the table, head in his hands, and wept.

When he was done, he dried his eyes. He tightened his shoelaces. He opened the apartment door and walked away. His feet knew the direction to go - he did not need to tell them.

The train tracks were not far away.

This train was on a different schedule. They wouldn't be expecting a disappearing man.

Maybe this time he wouldn't disappear.

No moment was meant to be the center, after all.

There was nothing special here.

Just him. Just a train.

And just a deal he made with a dream.


Thank the stars for my best friend and neighbor and struggling writer sympathizer. I had no idea where to go with Alice and Travesty this go 'round, just that this topic was meant for their story - she pulled me out of a real funk last night and gave this a little more direction than I'd been able to glean out of it. If you need to know more about these characters, go check out my entries from Season 8 and this one and this one from Season 9.
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