Today started like any other. I woke from my bed, moved downstairs and turned on the television. It’s still on the news like any other day. But today felt different for me. I went through my normal routine, but there were strange stirrings next door. I opened the door, and there was this moving company hauling everything out and using scrub brushes on the floor.
They were escorting everything out in barrels labeled ‘YBDCO’ and carting them out to their unmarked truck. They were scrubbing a puddle by the door and scraping large chunks of black liquid out from another a little farther down the hall. It was hard to see, but I’m certain they were placing a worn out hat in a plastic bag for disposal.
I asked them all what happened, and no one would respond to me. They kept moving, their faces obscured by their hats. I approached one of them, and before I could turn them around, I heard a sticking sound from my apartment. Like tape unfurling itself.
When I arrived, the top level of red tape had fallen to the floor. A fine line of moisture lining it. When I felt the air coming from the closet, it was quite warm, humid in fact. I peeled the rest of the tape off and revealed an awful but fleeting stench escaping it. When I finally flung open the door, I found nothing in the room at all. It didn’t have any ominous feelings or draft like before; it was just a room.
A little later in the day, I received a package. Another manilla envelope from my mysterious benefactor. This was sent a lot sooner than my previous envelopes, and I was very intrigued. I held it in my hands until my eyes were taken back to the television.
“Breaking News,” they said. “Catastrophe,” they said. “Freak Accident,” they said. Until they spoke no more and the only sound that came from the television were screams and that awful sound that came from my work. The image on the screen was a ship dipping into the ocean. People jumping off from the bow into the waters as a fire began to swim up from the belly of the machine.
There was an escalating number in the corner, a score keeper for the boatman. I sat there, watching in terror as the ship slipped into the oblivion. I felt such slight relief when that awful scream of my whistle was squelched within the waves. Drowned by the same waters, I swam in not one week before.
I sat there, in agony and confusion. Disbelief washes over me as I saw all of those lives disappear in front of me. There is a strange sensation when I look down at my hands to find blood. I had cut my finger on the envelope. I don’t even remember opening it.