I awoke in the early hours of the morning to the sound of the ocean rushing up onto the shore, shifting sand and the sush of water folding back upon itself, the silence of time shifting like a ghost through the distant universe.
Later, I discovered a sliver metal lighter, just inside my apartment door.
The time machine is back.
Bruce is not.
The trail has run cold.
I returned to the man with the photograph on his wall of the albino, to discover that he was gone. Seems there had been way too much time to think in my abscence.
In his place was, what I understood to be a Vietnamese family. They did not know the previous tenant. The place was empty and no, they did not have a pot-bellied pig in the back garden.
They were lying.
I heard the thing in the yard, rooting around in the bushes.
I met a man this morning, in the course of my business.
Right at the front door (which he only opened about twenty-two centimetres), there above the light switch was a colour photograph of himself, along with a daywalker, who I am sure, was in my room, some time back. No smiles, no fun. Pure male macho pretension.
I asked, as a matter of interest, who the albino was, pointing at the photograph and was told it was none of my business.
Sadly, that was the incorrect answer.
Now, normally I am not a pushy man, specifically in my line of business. I feel that common courtesy and respect pay the bills (literary and figuratively). When, however, pushed by a lack of humility and grace, I do tend to become a pushy man, as it were.
Needless to say, I shall be returning at a later date to the address and occupant for more than the initial asking price and a little bit more information on the photograph.
I need to give him time to think.
And time to clean my shoes.
I spent the previous week searching for clues in the apartment – where they came in, how they got out and what the hell they did in between.
But there’s not a single trace. Nothing to show that they were actually in the apartment and nothing to indicate what they were looking for.
Towards the end of the week, I began to think it had all been a strange dream, some waking moment where fiction and reality blur into subconscious fact.
But then I found the key. Hanging neatly with my front door set, on the key rack beside my Samuel Heath mirror.
The basement key.
The strange thing is, the grey plastic key tag has the name “Bruce” written on it.
I am not sure what this means, but I feel that it may have begun…
I awoke in the pre-dawn hours this morning and found them in my apartment.
There were three of them in my room, all dressed in white, going through my cupboards and drawers.
On the chair, in the corner beside the window, sat one. The blind one I ran into in the lobby the night Bruce went missing. He sat quietly, cane between his knees, hands folded across the top. He looked directly at me and smiled.
I reached to switch on the bedside lamp, but he softly shook his head and put his right index finger to his lips.
From the living room I heard furniture moving, cupboard doors being opened, items being shifted. Presently a fourth one came into the bedroom and put his lips to the blind one’s ear. I heard soft mumbling, but no audible words reached me.
He nodded and stood up. Again he put his index finger to his lips and with the others, quietly left the room, like ghosts before the dawn.
It was then that I moved – hit the light switch, bolted from the bed and ran into the living room.
They were gone. The living room looked as it always did. Everything in its right place.
I now know that I need to find Bruce!
Something strange has happened.
I awoke, sometime in the early hours to a ripping sound, as if the fabric of time itself was being torn apart.
The Time Machine!
I rushed downstairs, losing one slipper on the 1st floor landing and in the lobby almost ran smack into one of them.
A Day Walker!
He was coming from the basement, a smug smile on his face. I noticed that he walked with a slight limp and a white cane.
Whether he sensed me or felt me, I will not know, but he carried on walking across the lobby and out the glass doors onto the quiet street beyond.
Tap Tap Tap.
I tried the basement door. It was locked.
I shouted after him, but he was gone, as if he had simply melted into the approaching dawn outside.
It was then that I realised that Bruce, our doorman was missing.