Apartment 54

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic


The Invisible Man was in love... but nothing is ever that simple

Submitted: September 23, 2017

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Submitted: September 23, 2017

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The Invisible Man was in love.

 

He’d first seen her on a dewy, April morning, opening her curtains with a steaming mug in her hand and a smile on her face. He had paused at his window, frowning. The apartment directly across the road from his, apartment 54 he thought it was, had been empty for some time now. They must have sold it recently.

She had been wearing a pale blue dressing gown, her blonde hair tied up in a messy top-knot. After a few moments she had turned back into her apartment and he had nervously averted his eyes from the window. He shut the blind. He went back to his computer. He thought nothing more of it.

That had been a few weeks ago. Since then, he’d seen her almost every day. He’d tried not to spy, tried to respect her privacy, but the golden glow of her apartment lights couldn’t help draw his eye. His own apartment was sealed into a near permanent state of darkness. He liked it that way, though - he found the gloom comforting. Besides, it wasn’t as though he needed the light. Mostly he did his best to ignore it - days and nights meant very little to him. He worked as an I.T. consultant, with clients all around the world, so he could be working at any time. Often he slept during the day, dark blinds locking in the blackness. He raised the blinds in the evenings though. That was when he usually saw her - at dusk. He would open his blinds, hoping to catch a glimpse of her before she closed her curtains for the night.

She had a boyfriend, he knew, or perhaps a fiancé. He hoped it wasn’t a fiancé. They argued a lot. Sometimes she would cry. Sometimes he would walk out, slamming the door behind him. He hadn’t seen the man lift a finger to her but he suspected it was only a matter of time.

 

The Invisible Man liked boats. Every morning, just before the sun rose, he would leave his apartment, walk down to the docks and watch the cargo ships going in and out. Sometimes he stood there for a few minutes, sometimes an hour. Sometimes he didn’t want to go at all, but he knew the fresh air was supposed to be good for him.

One morning he stood for longer than usual. People were beginning to leave for work as he made his way back up the street, towards his apartment. People made him uncomfortable - loud and smelly and bustling. Even though he knew they couldn’t see him he felt like they knew he was there and were judging him, shunning him.

“Of course not… Louise, no, I’ve told you this before…”

And there she was. She was standing on the street corner, waiting for the crossing, frowning into her mobile phone.

“I know he does but he won’t listen to me.”

Her face… her voice… just, her.

“Well, there’s not much I can do about that.”

The crossing beeped, and with a clip-clop of high heeled shoes she was gone, hurrying away from him, a strange, beautiful phantom.

The next day he waited longer by the docks again. And again he saw her. She was taller than him, in her heels at least. She was wearing a blue suit today. He liked that - it brought out the blue of her eyes.

And then, one happy day:

“Yes, it’s Cynthia Martin… C-Y-N-T-… You do? Brilliant! Thank you very much. Bye, now.”

Cynthia Martin. Her name was Cynthia Martin.

It was easy to find her online after that. Her social media profile picture showed her relaxing on a beach somewhere, cocktail in hand, laughing at an unknown joke. She was born in Dublin. She’d studied history at university. She now worked at a law firm here in the city. Her boyfriend (boyfriend, he was happy to discover, not fiancé) was called Eddie Winston.

And she was an artist, at least in her spare time. He followed the link through to her work and scrolled through the gallery with interest. A lot of digital drawings - fantasy based things mainly - a few landscapes, lots of characters, presumably from her own imagination. And they were beautiful - so vibrant and real. Just like she was.

 

jackGrfn9: hey just wanted to say I really like your work

CynthiaM: Thanks, Jack! I really appreciate that :-)

jackGrfn9: you seem really nice too.

CynthiaM: Um… thanks?!

jackGrfn9: thats ok, just wanted you to know :)

CynthiaM9: That’s very sweet of you, Jack. Thanks again

 

He couldn’t sleep after that conversation, just playing it over and over and over again in his mind. Not only had she replied to him, she had called him sweet. She had said that she appreciated his thoughts and his praise. She cared about him, just as he cared about her…

 

The Invisible Man had seen them again at the window the next evening. Eddie Winston had yelled something at her, gesticulating sharply. She had shouted back at him. Eventually he left and she went into her bedroom, shutting the door.

His fingers hovered over his keyboard. He wanted to message her again, to try and make her feel better. But he knew it wouldn’t mean anything. She didn’t know him, who he was, what she meant to him.

He could treat her better than Eddie Winston did. He knew it. She knew it too - she’d suggested as much in her messages.

It was time to make a stand. It was time to reveal himself to her, and proclaim his love…

 

He knew her routine by heart by now. Every Friday she was back later than usual, and her boyfriend would let himself in to make them both a meal before she got home.

The next Friday, the Invisible Man waited outside apartment 54, waited for Eddie Winston to step out of the lift and walk down to the apartment door.

Eddie turned the key and flicked on the lights…

He fell with a small cry, never seeing the blow coming.

The Invisible Man swallowed his excitement, dragging Eddie Winston inside. A few pieces of rope sufficed to hold him securely in place. The Invisible Man took a seat on the sofa behind his victim, heart thumping uncomfortably. The moment was close, he knew it. Cynthia would come home, she’d see what he had done for her, she’d realise what she already knew, that they were meant to be together. She wouldn’t even care that she couldn’t see him.

It seemed an age before the door opened.

Cynthia Martin walked in. Her eyes fell on her boyfriend, bound and unconscious.

Then her eyes fell on him.

“What the hell is this?”

Not on him. That couldn’t be right…

“Who are you?”

But she… she could…

“You can see me?” gasped the Invisible Man.

“What are you talking about?” Her voice was trembling terribly. “Of course I can see you! What’s going on, what have you done to Eddie?”

She could see him. She could…

“I knew I was right,” he cried, leaping to his feet. “I knew we were meant to be together! This proves it!”

She was backing away from him. He didn’t understand… didn’t she realise what this meant?

“Cynthia!”

“How do you know my name?”

“It’s me! It’s Jack!”

“Have you been stalking me?”

She looked like she was about to cry. He didn’t understand it - everything was going wrong…

“Cynthia, I love you. That’s what I came here to tell you. We’re supposed to be together, I know it! I know that you love me too!”

She had a phone in her hand. “Apartment 54, King Street, there’s someone here - ”

“What are you doing?” He was beginning to panic.

“ - he’s broken into my apartment, my boyfriend’s unconscious, please come quick - ”

“No!” He started towards her. “No stop it! You’re ruining it! You’re ruining everything!”

She backed away from him, dropping the phone through fumbling fingers.

“Ok, I’ve stopped, I’ve stopped, please don’t hurt me - ”

“I don’t want to hurt you, Cynthia, I love you, I’ve told you - ”

“I don’t understand what you’re talking about. I don’t know who you are - ”

“But you can see me! Only you…!”

“You’re crazy!”

“We’re meant to be! You know it too, you just won’t admit it…” He was close to her now, so close. He could smell her perfume - flowery, sweet… “Admit it! You have to admit it! Admit you love me too!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” She gasped. “I’m not in love with you!”

His eyes widened. Why would she say something like that? Why was everything going wrong…

“Eddie!”

“Cynth?” The boyfriend’s eyes were flickering open. “Cynth!” He yelled. “Are you ok, has he hurt you? You! You get away from her now!”

“He hasn’t hurt me - ”

“I said get away from her - ”

“The police are on their way - ”

“I said - !”

“It’s going to be ok - ”

“SHUT UP!” The Invisible Man shrieked.

Silence fell.

He was crying now. So was Cynthia. He turned towards her. “I don’t understand… Why…?”

“He can see you,” she gasped. “Eddie can see you too… Please…”

“No… No that can’t be right…” He stumbled back, a wall slamming into his back. “Can’t… don’t understand…”

He could hear sirens on the street below. He lurched to the floor. “Cynthia… please…”

She was running away from him - running to Eddie - starting to untie him…

“No! What are you doing?”

She ignored him. “Are you ok?” she asked Eddie.

“I’m fine.”

“No!” cried the Invisible Man. “He doesn’t love you! I love you! Cynthia!”

The door banged open. Hands grabbed him. Eyes bore into him, eyes that saw him…

Saw him

“I don’t… I don’t understand…”

Hands held him back, dragged him away from Cynthia…

“It’s her… We were meant to be together!”

You do not have to say anything.”

“Cynthia…”

“But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court.

“Cynthia… please…”

“Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”

And the Invisible Man let himself be towed away, saying nothing else as his world crumbled and fell around him.

 


© Copyright 2018 Amy R. Beckett. All rights reserved.

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