The Answering Machine

It is a dark and gloomy night, moonlight shines through the window and onto the empty apartment with the belongings of it's resident stripped, except for an answering machine, in case a resident comes back. Footsteps echo from the hall way, making their way in. As the steps get closer and closer, a key is inserted into the apartment's door. The door opens, two people enter. One is a tall man with a scar on his face, wearing black clothing around him, and a cape that makes him look immense and intimidating. The other is his girlfriend, shorter than him and wears whatever colour suits her. She holds his left arm like a child. The couple notice the answering machine, the only thing the resident has left now that his apartment is mostly empty. Apparently, he's been gone longer than he thinks, but still remembers living a life around here and remember living in this apartment in particular. The couple walk up to the answering machine and sees 16 on the led indicator, meaning he has sixteen messages during his absence. He pushes the button to play said messages: they are as follows.

1: One of his friends thanks him for lending his apartment to him. But also informs him about not telling his girlfriend while he's gone. He then tells him that he joined the army, so to celebrate, he had a party. Oh, and his waterbed's leaking.

2: His landlord scolds him for his leaking waterbed, costing him $1500 in property damages. He demands him to call him in hopes to avoid legal action, potentially evicting him.

3: Another one of his friends asks him to hang with him and his wife for dinner. That is until his wife demands to have a visit with her mother, the call turns into an angry conversation between the married couple. (Not sure why they're married if he could pick someone else). Still, he wishes to have dinner with him at 8PM/20:00 and hopes to call back to confirm.

4: This one is from his girlfriend (the one with him right now), she was looking for him at the time and his best friend had a party. She was going to have dinner with him at 7PM/19:00, one hour earlier before his friend and His wife were going to have dinner together.

5: His friend called again, and wants to have him to have dinner with him and him alone without his wife. She gets involved and once again having an angry conversation, she tries taking the phone from him, but in the process, accidentally killed her. Or knocked her out since her heart's still breathing.

6: This one is from an elderly man who informs him about the lightbulbs for the elderly and handicapped are in. He ordered two floodlights and six incandescent reading lamps. And likes him to call their office 'tomorrow'.

7: His girlfriend called, she's at the restaurant, hoping he'll be on his way at the time.

Unknown to her what he's been doing. Not cheating on her, nor ignoring her. Let's say, he's got a new life, but never forgetting what has happened. He pauses the messages, giving him a moment to recollect. He looks out the window, the cityscape unchanged since his absence, saved only by particular buildings looking like they're being scheduled for demolition. His apartment Is scheduled for demolition. And the two are here for a visit one last time before so. The resident turns to his girlfriend, she trembles and shakes, scared not only what has happened to her, but also the messages sent to him during his absence. He lets her hold his arm again, ready to face the worse again. He continues playing the messages...

8: His friend calls him again, shocked and terrified that he killed his wife and desperately asks him what to do now.

9: Some random jerk who "dialed the wrong number" and then farted. The resident groans upon hearing that.

10: His friend called again and plots to fake a robbery, by tearing his home apart, bury his money and jewellery. He then proceeds to stab his leg, screaming in excruciating pain.

11: His landlord called again, he has until 8PM/20:00 to call him back or he'll be evicted. Which still doesn't matter because, again, he's gone at the time.

12: His girlfriend called again, calling him a jerk for being late and people looked around her wearing a dress for him. She believes she's dating someone who doesn't care about her (he does). She then tells him about that one time in a party the night earlier about his friend from earlier, they had so much sex they ended up breaking his waterbed, that's why it's been leaking before he left to join the army. She liked it.

His girlfriend holds him tightly upon hearing it, but it's not the worst yet. Still, the resident comforts her, still caring about her, caring her and never wants her to live a miserable life she was put in until now. They continue.

13: The elderly man called again, still waiting and wanting him to pick up the lightbulbs for the elderly and handicapped.

14: His friend called again, depressed that he can't fake a robbery because his finger prints are all over the place. (If only he washed his hands, used gloves and get that wound patched or something). He then drinks, resorting to alcoholism and still hears his wife's heart beating. He drinks again, then sings rocketman with depression and sorrow. He's got nowhere to go, but then decides to bungee her onto the roof of his landlord's car: the arrowstar and coming to his apartment at a quarter to 9PM/21:00.

The resident sheds tears and with horror that he did something stupidly horrible like that. Yet he also felt sorrow that this has all happened to one of his three favourite people. Even respecting his landlord, in-spite of his harshness upon the resident before his absence.

15: His girlfriend called from a payphone, sobering with rain pouring in the background. She loves him and apologizes to him after what has happened. She also tells him that she'll be on her way to his apartment at the same time his depressed, drunk, crazed friend is coming over.

This was the penultimate message, the ultimate would be a huge bombshell to the life he once had. The two pause once again, giving them a moment to recap. All the answers are there in the, well, answering machine. And the reason why he's gone this whole time and why he failed to do any of those things is because he was teleported when he was dreaming. Teleported to a sentient torus world named Rhye: The hub world of The FarSpringers Guild. He was gifted as an explorer, discovering worlds he never imagined. He rushed back to earth to see what has happened, leading the couple to the final message. And this one's a dozy.

16: The final message plays. His landlord announces, with no regret, that the resident was being evicted and called the cops, they will all be coming at the exact same time both his crazed best friend and his girlfriend are coming. YEP! Three things coming to him, while he was on his way back home after almost the entire day since he dreamed the night before. The landlord and the city's finest are at the hall, then entering his apartment, to their surprise, he's gone. They see the answering machine still there and recording the message the couple are hearing now. The landlord then spots the resident's best friend's wife on top of his car. And of course, both his crazed friend and girlfriend showed up, the earlier holding the last hostage, enraged for being sold out. The police demands him to release her but never listens. One of the officers grabs her and drags her away to safety before the cops start shooting, killing him. Though the landlord was caught in the crossfire, killing him too.

Soon after that, the old man shows up with the box of lightbulbs for the resident, unaware of the gunfire that just happened.

Depressed and horrified on what just happened, his girlfriend curls up to him and cries.

And how is she still with him?

He teleported out of nowhere after the gunfire and spots her among the police officers in the crime scene. He teleports again, behind her and teleports with him to the world he just visited. At first, she gets away from him, feeling overwhelmed and depressed with what just happened around her. She turned around to look back. The man who abducted her. It was him. She ran back to him and hugged him, he hugs back, stroking both her head and back, missing each other after most of the day. He reveals himself as a FarSpringer, someone who can teleport through dreaming and able to teleport with others. The alien world they're in right now is Mu. It's peaceful, natural environment is a breath of fresh air for each other, breaking away from the noisy, bustling cityscape of their past life. The couple can return to earth with all the time they want, but that would mean starting a new life all over again, never to return to that city ever again.

Bringing them to now, the moon is now over them and it's light dissipates. The couple leave his empty apartment, leaving only the answering machine left alone once more, leaving it and the abandon apartment to their demolition for something better.