Circa 1991

            The silence fed on him like some primeval fog enveloping his mind and soul, and in the darkness, he cried out for restitution, but none was  forthcoming.  The sparse decor of the apartment only served  to enhance the loneliness that he felt.  Being  lonely was  not a  new feeling,  he had felt it many times before.  It always seemed to follow him in everything  that  he  did,  in  work  or  in play, it made no difference, there was always a sense of unfulfillment in his life.  His fiancee, though lively and vivacious, did not fill the void completely, yet so far, she was the closest he had come to feeling whole.

            He was tempted to call her, but he had already done so many times that night in earnest and in argument, and it was late.  As the hour wore, the feeling grew desperate and almost unbearable.  Tossing and turning in his bed the loneliness would not let him rest.  And just when it seemed to be too much, he was saved from his private horror by a knocking at the door.  Taking a breath to compose himself, he rose from the bed and checked the clock. 11:30 PM. His steps across the living room carpet were soft and muted.  As he opened the door, the falling form of his fiancee pressed into his apartment.  Taking her into his arms, he laid her onto the couch before trying to find out what was the matter.  With the help of a little water, she recovered from her swoon to tell him that a friend of hers, Felicia Spencer, was missing.  The man hadn’t realized that his fiancee was friends with this girl, but seeing that she was distraught, he strove to comfort her.  At his first touch she melted into his arms and sought comfort in  his warmth.  Her movements quickly became languid and her touch, a caress.  He had  been confused, for this did not seem like proper concern for  her friend, and tried to protest, but her lips rose and silenced his.  Again he asked,`But what about Felicia?’ and this  only  recieved a disinterested `Who?’.

*     *     *

            In the darkness the emptiness nagged at him and he woke with the space in his soul like a festering ulcer.  His fiancee slept spent at his side.  Taking pains not to wake her, he left the warmth of the bed, quickly dressed and slipped out into the depths of the night.  There is a sense of comfort in the darkness, as if, while the rest of the world is asleep, those in the night share a sense of quiet camaraderie.  Into this unlikely comfort he ventured to find the solace that he seeked.  Gradually he made his way along the waterfront.  The loneliness was no longer an unbearable burden but rather a dim dull ache that persisted in the recess of his heart.  He felt a sense of searching, yet did not know what he needed to find.  Like the proverbial wanderer he meandered aimlessly along the beach without thought or purpose.  As he continued, he caught glimpse of a girl on the path also alone and felt compelled to draw nearer.  Her long black hair shone like polished ebony in the pale moonlight, and her though he only could barely make out her face from where he was standing, he saw that her features were carefully sculpted to a crisp, defined  state of perfection.  Oblivious to the world he followed, matching step for step never closer and never further yet always just away from her view.  Then at the edge of a breakwater, she stopped and gazed out over the water breathing in the salt air as if reveling in her solitude.  Following suit he also looked out across the ocean and took in the sea air, and for that moment in the night, they seemed to share a common bond, a thread joining their spirits and in that one instant, he felt strangely fulfilled.

            Standing there next to the golithian stones of the breakwater, he let the feeling suffuse through his entire body and marvelled at the sense of completeness that he felt.  Then in the corner of his eye, he noticed that she had moved.  In a frantic feeling of loss as he saw her draw away, he  ran towards her in the panic that she would be lost in the darkness.  As he neared the gap she turned around and stopped him in his  tracks.  Catching his  eye she looked  at him and smiled at him a small knowing smile and he knew that he had been found.  In the silence, her gaze seemed to pierce right through him as though she knew his every thought and insecurity.  Then as suddenly as she had turned to look at him, she turned away and resumed walking, the gaze leaving him powerless to follow.  When the darkness had swallowed her, and he was alone again, he turned, thoughts in  turmoil, and headed back to his apartment.  The way home was haunted with images of her face and the taste of fulfillment left a maddening sweetness in his soul.  The feeling was new and though it was what he had been searching for all his life, it left him confused and disturbed.  Upon seeing his fiance in his bed he was once again unsure whether or not it had only been a vision, and as in a dream, only a plesant memory.

 *     *     *

            The haunting memory of her face captivated and preoccupied him until dinner  and that memory only whetted a greater need to find out who she was and where she came from, a need to find out more.  It was already seven o’clock when he remembered that he had a six thirty dinner engagement with his fiancee.  Hurriedly he dressed and drove to her home to  pick her up.  A note at the door told him to meet her at the resturant as some of her old friends had come for a visit and were joining them for dinner, so they had gone ahead.  Once at the restaurant the waiter led him to the table  where his fiancee and her friends were chatting over a drink.  Sitting next to her was a strange herculoidian man whose t-shirt sported the logo of a body builder and the words ‘Karl’s Gym’.  Against the elegant setting of the dining room he seemed quite incongruous.  Her other friends were two of her girlfriends that he hardly knew.  `Karl’s Gym’ was leaning over his fiancee with an intimacy that could only be described as `familiar’.  They toughed heads laughing over some trivial antecdote.  His appearance was so sudden to  her that she barely covered her flustered gasp with a nervous laugh.  Motioning him to sit, she introduced her friends to him.  Apparently `Karl’s Gym’ had been an `old flame’ from her high school days and had dropped in on  his way to the national body building championships.  His  irritation at their intimacy quickly dulled in the presence of their incessantly trivial conversations.  Shutting out the conversation enough so that all he had to do was nod or shake his head at his fiancee’s unconcious prompting, his mind once again drifted to the image  of the mysterious girl the night before.

            He was so caught in  his reverie that he thought he saw he face in the plate glass window in the front of the restaurant.  He lightly shook is head to clear it only to be shocked to find  that it was indeed her face  at the window.  He again cleared  his eyes as if she would  disappear at any moment, but she only stood there and smiled back at him.  As she turned away he stood up to follow not realizing that  his fiancee had been talking to him and he had cut her off in mid-sentence.  He left the table oblivious to the stares and whispers of her friends.  His only intent seemed to be to  follow that girl.  Embarrassed and furious at her fiance’s behavior, his fiancee excused herself from the table and ran after him.  Catching up with him in front of the  restaurant, she launched into a tirade about how could he do this to  her and embarrass her so.  Her reprimand fell on deaf ears for he was looking up and down the boardwalk for any  signs of the mysterious girl.  His fiancee threatened that if he did not return to the table and apologize that she would insure he would regret it.  She even  went so far as to insinuate that their engagement  could be put at risk if he did not.  So unaware was he of her lecture he merely nodded and started off in the direction he had seen the other girl go.  Furious with his behavior, his fiancee made one final ultimatum  then stalked back into the restaurant in spite.

            Though he  had searched the entire boardwalk, he could find  neither hide nor hair of  his quarry.  Defeated, he headed home feeling lonelier than he  had ever felt  before.  Once home he immediately prepared to retire for the evening.  No sooner had he closed the door however, there was a knock on the door.  Answering, he found the mysterious girlstanding there on his door step looking a trifled embarrassed. However, when he invited her in, she  smiled and         did so without hesitation.

*     *     *

            Morning crept through the window like a lazy vapor consuming the darkness with an undeterred hunger.  In its presence the young man’s fiancee lay awake in her bed next to the man who had sported the `Karl’s Gym’ t-shirt only the night before.  Having cheated on her engagement, she  lay awake  unable  to  sleep tossing and turning in the throes of guilt.  She felt compelled to tell her fiance  in hopes that he would  forgive her for her indiscretion.  Being careful not to wake the slumbering bulk, she called  her fiance’s apartment.  To her dismay she recieved only the mechanical  voice  of   his answering  machine.  Because  it was only  just  dawn, she decided that he must be asleep, so dressed to tell him in person at his apartment.  In disarray, she drove to his home and urgently knocked on his door while trying to think of a convincing plea for forgiveness.  Only after several  minutes of pounding did  the door creak open.  Half asleep and only dressed in a robe, her fiance squinted in the morning light to see who was at the door.  Just as she started to explain that it had  been the wine and the anger that compelled her to do what she  had did, she happened to look over his shoulder into the open bedroom beyond and see the sleeping form of a girl among his sheets.  Instead of completing her apology, she flew into a tantrum and accused him  of cheating on their relationship, conveniently forgetting that she had been guilty of the same indiscretion not more than a few hours before.  He, however felt no guilt whatsoever at what he had done, for in finding the girl he had found absolute fulfillment and combined with hers, his  soul had become complete.  When her anger had expended she saw that she had not fazed him in the least.  Not knowing what else to do, she ran away from the room in frustration.  After watching  her disappear down the hall and around the corner, he gently closed the door and returned to his room.

 *     *     *

            Four days passed and he had not been seen nor heard from by his fiance and as  yet unwilling to submit herself to the indignity of facing him in person and clearing up the matter, she resigned herself to trying to find out about him from  is friends and  relatives.  This  however was  to no avail, for apparently among them, she had  been the last to see  or talk to him.  Finally, reason  overcoming her pride, she  gathered her courage and called him to talk about their relationship. To  her  dismay,  there  was  no  answer  and a  trip to his apartment also  yielded fruitless  results. In  desperation, she came to wander the boardwalk where they had always dined. As she  passed their  restaurant she  came to  peer into  the plate glass window to find her fiance and the mysterious girl sharing an  intimate dinner  by candlelight.   Jealous to  no end, she  burst into  the restaurant  to find  that they were already leaving.  As he passed he didn’t even  recognize her much less acknowledge her as he was so intent on the girl  at his side.  Her calls to him  also had no  effect.  Only when she ran up  and grabbed his  arm did he  finally take notice. When she asked again  how he  could treat  her that  way, he simply replied that he  had found  fulfillment in  life with this girl and that he was  sorry but could not see how  their engagement could continue.

            Minutes after he had passed his former fiancee stood  in the middle of the boardwalk dumbfounded at what he had  said. Even in her worst senario  she did not imagine that  he would break their engagement.  She felt defeated and wandered  home mulling over  these recent  events.  Come  morning she  again went to  his apartment  to talk  to him  as she  was not  yet convinced  that  the  previous  night  had  happened.   Being unlocked, the  door swung  open at  her first  knock.  In the bathroom she could hear the sound of his electric razor as he shaved.  She kept  telling herself that  there was a  logical explanation  for  what  had  happened  and  that if they just talked it out  that all would  be normal again.   However, as she stood there in the  foyer, the girl who had  replaced her as  the  most  important  woman  in  his life stepped out of the bedroom dressed only in his pajama top.  In fury, his  former fiancee lost all restraint  and started calling her  all forms of back-alley names, and when  she did not respond, the  half crazed woman began throwing things at her.  First her  purse,then her shoe, yet still the girl did not flinch.  Looking around her for something heavier the former fiancee picked up the  potted  peony  from  the  foyer  tiles.  Seeng her rival standing there so complacent under such a threat, she  hurled it at her  withall her might.   The pot crashed  bottom first into the girl’s head killing her instantly.  However, as  the body fell, her image hovered  over the figure a while  before dissapating completely.  Convinced she  had seen a ghost  the man’s  former  fiancee  screamed  in  terror and ran from the apartment.

            Startled by  the crash  and scream  the man  dropped his razor into the sink and  raced into the living room.  To his horror  he  saw  the  inert  body  lying  in a pool of blood. Crying in  grief and  anguish over  the loss  of his  love he rushed over  to the  body and  lifted it  into his arms.  But when blond hair instead of the ebony black cascaded from  her head he dropped the body  in the realization that it  was not at all the girl that he had loved.  Although still dressed in  his  pajama  top,  the body in his arms was  a  stranger  to   him. Transfixed  by  confusion  and  fear  he  felt his hands grow clammy and  broke  in  a  cold  sweat.  Then feeling a draft behind him he turned around to find his love behind him  only she  was  not  altogether  tangible  and  she floated several inches above the  ground.  There she  hovered, black hair  in disarray  and  clad  in  a  flowing white kimono.  His terror seemed to reach a climax,  when he happened to look  into her face and saw that knowing smile and suddenly realized what it was she knew.  Slowly she reached her hand out to him and  in his new found calm he took it knowing that now and forever he and she were whole.

 *     *     *

 Los Angeles Times:

            The body  of missing  student Felicia  Spencer was found with the body  of James Weiland  late yesterday when  a Julia Jacobson  a  classmate  of  both  victims  claimed  to   have accidently  killed  an  unknown  Japanese  girl  in  the same apartment.  However  when police  arrived at  the scene,  the supposed victim  was not  to be  found.  Instead  Spencer was found with  the same  injury to  the head  that the  supposed Japanese girl was  killed by.  Weiland  apparently died of  a premature heart attack  after finding  the   body.   His involvement in  her disappearance  is still  unknown.  Police are still investigating the  incident which according to  the officer  in  charge  is  fraught  with  mystery.   Even  more mysterious still is the smile reported on Weiland’s face when his body was found.