Not What I See
A young woman finds herself the enactor of a crime she cannot remember, against someone she apparently doesn’t know. A struggle for understanding ensues...but there is more at stake than she knows.
Authors: ciorstan_eilionoir and SugarKart
Blair - Surroundings
Completely disoriented. The world seemed to twist and appear before her eyes, slowly taking shape from the vague nothingness. As if waking up from a consuming dream, reality came back obscurely. A slight panic began grasping from underneath the strangely smothering peace that seemed to have absorbed any real thought.
Something was wrong. Where was she? What happened? Suddenly the uncertainty cleared and terror gripped her.
Before her was a man lying crumpled against the pavement, and he was dead. Her hand was locked tight around her gun-the small gun her parents had given her for emergencies. On her blouse there were scattered tiny bits of blood stains-not her own.
Her breath felt choked, sucked inside of her. What had she done? Paralysed, she couldn’t move; she couldn’t make a sound.
Frantically her mind began searching for answers. Had he attacked her? She glanced around the dark, towering streets. How foolish of her to have taken such a dark, out-of-the-way route. She should have thought it would happen one of these days. Never should have risked it. But she was alive.
She ventured a fearful step closer. He must have been in his forties-fifties maybe? Was he dangerous? She couldn’t decipher it. He didn’t look particularly intimidating, but how was one to know?
What had even happened? The last she could seem to remember was walking down the street at least two minutes back. She must have blacked out. The thought was eerie and frightening.
Holding her breath, she strained her ears and anxiously scanned the dim surroundings. Silence. It seemed there was no one there. How long would that last? People would come. They’d find her and arrest her for...murder.
That was it. She was a murderer. No! She gasped, sobs of dread flooding through her. She couldn’t hide. But she couldn’t even remember what happened.
It had been another typical day at the office, leaving life feeling just a bit more uneventful than yesterday. Perhaps that was why she was here, to try and add something enjoyable to the week. Maybe it was the social atmosphere. Not that she’d go out of her way to talk to anyone here, just being around people felt good enough.
Blair glanced around the room at the laughing friends, smiling couples, the odd reclusive guy in the corner, but altogether a warm, comfortable picture. She tugged the edges of her blouse and took another small sip of her drink. Her gaze moved from scene to scene, various people living life, all on distinct journeys, and yet somehow all right here at this moment. What would be next? What was their story?
She avoided any one person as a subject of observation for too long. For some reason, it almost seemed to bring on a pang of loneliness. But no, she was content with her life, imagining the unknowns, watching stories unfold-from here.
Absentmindedly, Blair found herself watching one man in grey and black who stood nearby a table. His eyes roamed occasionally around the building, but his face remained unemotional and serious. Studying his brown hair traced with blonde, she smiled softly to herself, deciding he could be rather handsome.
Then suddenly he was looking at her! She ducked her eyes as she felt the embarrassment creep up the sides of her face. Oh! Staring was always a bad idea!
She picked up her drink again to provide a good distraction for the nervous energy and found another picture to focus on, in the opposite direction, until it had diminished.
It abruptly returned as she noticed the man walking in her direction and then stop beside the opposite chair.
“Is this taken?”
“Um, no.” Blair smiled, hoping she wasn’t appearing as flustered as she felt.
He sat down quietly, looking just a little preoccupied. For a moment there was silence.
“You come here often? I think I might have seen you once before.”
“Yeah, sometimes. I..like to come after work. It’s a nice place. Rather relaxing.” She still felt awkward.
He nodded. “I’m Cole, by the way.”
“Blair.” She smiled.
“Nice to meet you.”
Again, silence followed. She brought up a few brief subjects for small talk, and so did he. Overall a pleasant conversation, but she could tell from the lighting outside that it was getting a bit late.
She glanced at the clock and mentioned how she should probably be going soon. He replied similarly.
Gathering her bag and giving one last soft smile she turned to go. Stepping out from the hustling noise into the darkening, peaceful night sky, Blair couldn’t decide if it was relief she felt or excitement. Maybe it was both.
She shook it off. Nothing was likely to come of it. It was simply her wishful thinking. She mustn’t get ahead of herself.
Blair sighed into the chill, blowing breeze. She certainly never would. It was best to take things like that seriously, and not get one’s hopes up. Falling in love was what great stories were made of, not reality. But that was alright. She was satisfied with imaging it through her writing.
Holding her bag slightly tighter, she turned to follow the sidewalk around the block. Dim, intermittent streetlights paved flecks of light onto the road and buildings. Heading this way was not the best idea in the world, Blair knew, but it was the quickest route home, and she’d never run into trouble before. Besides, she was cautious. If worst came to worst she had that tiny emergency gun in her bag. Not that...she’d ever have to.
Her footsteps made muffled, hollow thuds as she eventually turned onto yet another darker, narrower road. Just a few more minutes and she’d be past the worst of these parts. She’d be fine. Nothing would happen.