Dream Lover

Dream Lover by Kristina Wright (ed)

Book: Dream Lover by Kristina Wright (ed) Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kristina Wright (ed)
thinking how I didn’t like him or trust him, but I wanted him all the same. He knew something we didn’t. None of the residents who’ve left Tate Court have been able to fully explain their departure. “I don’t like it here anymore.” “It’s giving me bad dreams.” “This building is diseased.”
    I noticed the decay before I noticed the emptiness. Several months ago, Tate Court began falling apart as fast as a modern construction. The stained glass sun rays no longer shine over the entrance like a brave new future. Instead, the floor is littered with chips of glass, yellow and red like piss and rubies. Damp
began seeping into my apartment, leaving stains on walls and mildew on windowsills. Bulbs popped within weeks of being fitted. I use candles to light my rooms now.
    They couldn’t let the vacated apartments. Rumors of bad feelings increased. The rents were lowered, but still no one wanted to move in. Merrick, though he’s watchful, doesn’t have the hunted look of the remaining residents. But then I’m not sure I do either. I’m cautious and alert because I’m not sure what’s happening. But I’m not cowed. My biggest fear is of Merrick because he doesn’t seem afraid, so mine is a fear grounded in logic and suspicion. I don’t have that inexplicable bad feeling shared by so many others.
    Last year, the guy I was dating said it crawled all over him, whatever “it” was. Before long, he stopped staying the night. Then he said I was creeping him out too. He said, “It’s not me, it’s you.” We split after that. I don’t take kindly to being called “creepy.” Since then, I haven’t met anyone prepared to stay the night. I’ve given up trying to get a boyfriend and instead I make do with random hookups.
    The incident in the elevator upset my equilibrium. I began avoiding Merrick North. I felt strange, not quite myself. Flashes of déjà vu kept assaulting me. I couldn’t identify what might already have happened but I was left washed by melancholy and longing. At other times, I was consumed by a desire for Peter, my groin thumping with sudden lust as I climbed the stairs or hailed a cab or sank into a candlelit bath. But I didn’t know who Peter was. I had no image of him. Nonetheless, I knew my lust was for him, and that he wanted me too.
    After several days, my unfathomable hunger for Peter led me to Merrick’s apartment. The drowning song was playing again, the woman’s high, otherworldly voice warbling over a plinky-plonky, music-box tune. I took a flashlight, feeling half
drunk, my senses wading through a sea of unreason. I barely knew what I was doing. I just knew something up there wanted me and in return I wanted him or it. On the fourth floor, an open door revealed a cracked, peeling room, empty except for a dehumidifier. I made a mental note to return and swipe it for my place if it worked. For now, the important thing was to reach Peter or Merrick or the music or whatever was drawing me on.
    The door to Merrick’s apartment was open. I tiptoed into a large room, sparsely furnished but with an atmosphere of warmth and age, despite the dampness in the air. Candles in wine bottles dotted the room high and low, and a silver candelabra on an old TV set made ghoulish shadows wobble in one corner. A wide sweep of windows overlooked the city, reflected candle flame flickering among the squares of lit apartments. Debris littered a threadbare Turkish carpet, but the biggest mess of all was a vast, ragged hole where a wall had been knocked through, connecting Merrick’s apartment with the one next door. Structurally, it looked unwise. A yellow-handled sledgehammer lay across the rubble. There was no sign of Merrick.
    Glancing around, I crept toward the hole, my heart pumping fast. The music seemed to be coming from the other side. Tentatively, I climbed onto the heap of fallen brickwork. The adjoining room, similar in size to Merrick’s, was practically empty, the floor stripped back

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