By the time the Daimler had screeched to a halt at the end of the pier, all that was left of the last boat off the island was a brooding smokestack on a dark horizon. We didn't know it at the time, bu(more)t it would be the last boat we saw for almost seven years.
I drove back slow, rain beading on the slick metal hood, street light pulsing over me like an EKG, slow, dim, and weak.
The lighthouse pulsed in the distance. It looked as if I could reach out and touch it. Tip it over casually with a thumb and forefinger, like a captured king on a chess board. Everything felt too close. My clothes, the car, the air, the city. Without her there to flesh it all out and give it life, the place was suffocating.
I parked a few blocks away from the apartment in case the door was still under surveillance. Climbed the fire escape, jimmied the window. The place was ransacked. Papers strewn, bedding torn, but no blood. That, at least, was a good sign.
I heard a soft lapping sound in the next room. On a hunch, I nosed open the bathroom closet with the tip of my gun and found Plato on a pile of clean linen, licking a black and grey paw without a care in the world. I wrapped him in my overcoat and climbed back out through the peeling windowpane, out into a cold, hard rain.
Timing is everything. A few minutes earlier and I might have convinced her to stay. A few minutes later, and the apartment building would be up in flames, with Plato still in it.
As it turned out, it was the cat's story I was chasing. Not hers.(less)
"At this rate, we'll never get there in time." Akuta glanced at his watch one more time, gritting his teeth even as Yoruka gripped his hand and squeezed tightly. "We'll be okay, Akuta-kun. If we're too late, we can go watch a movie or something-"
"It's not fuckin' okay,"(more) he muttered, pulling her along forcefully as he tried to recall his steps to the restaurant, and /God damn/, who the fuck was stupid enough to forget the name of the place they were taking someone on their first date? Nobody but him. A wet squelch under his foot made him freeze, silent even as Yoruka offered a soft noise of disgust when he pulled his foot away.
The gum seemed to taunt him, sticking to his shoe like the embarrassment he was trying to walk away from. "Fuck me," he growled, rubbing his heel on the sidewalk. "Fuck this entire goddamn evening."
"I know," he muttered. "I know it's not this bad, right!"
"No," Yoruka hummed. "It's shit."
He looked up at her. "Like you would ever cuss for something like that."
She gasped. "You're right! My bad."
Akuta felt his breath stop. "I should have known."
"That this is all a dream. Like last time. And the time before. Damn it! Why me?"
Yoruka looked down at the ground. The gum was gone.
"Because you still miss me, huh?" she asked.
Akuta shot up in bed, gasping as he reached out to emptiness around him. It took him another few seconds to realize it had been a dream, and nothing more. "Damn Yoruka," he muttered, rubbing at his eyes. "You don't even know me." Silence met his words.
"You're as good as dead, anyways," he spat. (less)