Chapter one

Chapter one

She was never the kind with a gift for social interaction. As a child she often played solitary and by the time teenage years had swallowed her up, her introverted ways hadn't expired. In fact, at fifteen, she had become as inviting as a dark alley. She was like this simply because she didn't care for unpractical things and estimated a meager percentage of what was spoken was actually necessary. So instead of speaking little, she eliminated communication by vocal means entirely. With the absence of verbalization, she resorted to what she considered simpler ways of expression - Art, if you will.

Grace McNaught was divine in her tacit wrath. Not beautiful but mysterious, and mystery was what the world craved. Her brown hair was chopped short but the dark wavy locks that fell in her face proved the unusual style was indeed feminine. The eyes that rested aside muddled bangs were all-knowing in the stillness of hazel. Her complexion was clear of freckles, moles, birthmarks, and teenage blemishes. Her figure was naturally thin and delicate and her attire consisted of unique, modest blouses, paint soiled jeans, and a pair of black high top converses.

As she padded down the sidewalk, threads of a recent dream came back to her. She saw strips of tattered and weathered paper all around her. The paper was torn and the words also cut off like thoughts unfinished.

I've found the gateway and cannot enter, was among the disarrayed script.

She remembered feeling disoriented in a world of paper and when her eyes played across the one about the gateway, she grew temporarily frustrated. Grace realized without understanding that it wasn't her own frustration. The hundreds of incomplete sentences around her were in fact unfinished thoughts. A moment later the realization retreated and the only piece of her dream that lingered was torn paper.

Grace suddenly felt like she was being watched but when she glanced behind her all she saw was a hoe boe asleep on a bench. A woman in a business suit sat at the far end of that bench and was staring at a folded newspaper in her right hand with mild interest, holding a cup of Starbucks coffee in her left.

Grace rolled her eyes at herself and walked another five blocks home.

He opened his eyes and squinted at the small light illuminated from his desk lamp. He sat up, yawned, and peeled a sheet of paper off his fore head. After a while of gazing at it he saw that it was completely blank. He dabbed a spot of drool off the rugged surface of his cluttered, wooden desk with his sleeve and he remembered something from his near traverse.

You're two glances behind away from paranoia, he scribbled in his notebook. He skimmed the pages that were a result of two weeks of narcolepsy.

The green or the blue?

They only notice when they want something.

He sighed. None of it made the least bit of sense. He had tried to connect them, reverse and scramble letters and words, but in the end he always thought he was assuming something. Like the sentences weren't codes or secret messages but something quite simple, something he kept skipping over.

He plodded to the kitchen and ducked his head into the refrigerator thinking a sandwich might kick start his presently vacant mind. He noted that he had less than two hours until work and made a hideous noise that vaguely resembled a snarl. After living alone for four years and two months, he had taken up the habit of talking to himself. It was a small comfort to him in his lonely apartment. Unfortunately after spending days analyzing notes in the lonesome apartment, his only company being his own artificial shadow, he did not notice when he took his friendless ways into public. Between sudden sleeping spells and talking to himself, everyone who came in contact with him decided he was a lunatic. Although no one had ever seen him explode in smoldering rage as the stereotype loon might over something minute, most avoided meeting his eyes and eluded conversations that were more involved than the weather.

"The green or the blue?" he snorted and snatched a block of molding cheese, "Who thought of that?"

He chuckled and then it hit him. He howled when his head collided with the top of the fridge. When his vision cleared he said to himself, "Thoughts!" He cackled hysterically in triumph.

Through the concrete wall Chloe, his 25 year old neighbor, heard his fit of laughter. She stopped stirring the bubbling brew on the stove and listened anxiously. Across the hall Norah, his senior neighbor, also heard and flattened her mystery novel in her lap, staring over her thick glasses at the wall in the direction of his room. She raised an eyebrow and the corner of her mouth lifted.