The bronze light poured in through the blinds; lines contrasting with dank isolation. The air control had expired; it wasn’t the only thing to face its demise. A figure moved in the corner, slowly at first. It emerged, looked around, the head angled awkwardly on sloping shoulders. Its neck cracked loudly, and the body straightened with a low exhale and an inhuman stagger towards the table. The hands pawed over the various documents, a literal paper trail seemingly out of time. The languid fingers clumsily sifted, the gold watch on the left wrist clicked against the chair. The seat scrapped as it was moved gently, deliberately. The figure sat down with an eternity of fatigue and sighed.
After its pause, it seemed somewhat rested and continued the search. Finally, with relief, or perhaps disbelief, it stopped. A sound escaped. It sounded like a name.
‘Clarice,’ the word floated through the air as if it were a plume of disturbed dust. The figure sniffed slightly and seemed to stare off into the middle distance. It had a pained expression, unseen in the dark. Memories. A curse. They flooded back on occasion. Sometimes they provided pain, sometimes inspiration to keep looking, to find peace, release, satisfaction.
Presently, it was in transition. The pain gave way to purpose. Suddenly it moved. It stood and pushed away from the table. It moved to the window and looked out into the city’s sprawl from the high rise apartment. The light revealed the torso, a battered body covered in dishevelled clothes; it could no longer move freely throughout the city. Except of course in the lower levels; it fit in perfectly there.
It swayed for a moment as if waiting for something.
‘It won’t help you,’ a voice broke the silence. The figure moved, looked into the far corner of the apartment. Another figure, a man, sat on the floor, behind the couch in a damned repose. He coughed, and a splatter of blood punctured the crisp white of his otherwise clean sweater. ‘It’s too late,’ he said, the pain of which caused him to contort slightly.
The figure staggered towards the man. It bent down. In the darkness, the wracked features were barely visible. The man seemed beyond caring.
‘She’s long gone,’ he continued, ‘you think you’ve found the answer, but you don’t even know what you’re looking for.’ The man tried to laugh; more blood seeped out.
The figure tilted its head and considered those words for so long the man thought it had gone to sleep, or deactivated. With a snort it came alive, its body moved in ways the man didn’t realise were possible. It didn’t matter.
The door to the apartment slid open gently. The figure ambled with a limp. It reached the lifts. A trail of blood followed in its wake; it didn’t care. It moved ever on. It had to know, it had to know.
‘Clarice,’ a dusty word floated gently down the hallway.