Blue

Nothing expresses a person's sense of independence more than the moment they take the keys to their first apartment. For Steve Hallows it was the culmination of three years of hard work, and as he stood in the third floor entranceway to his new home he had to admit he was rather pleased with himself. Ahead he could see only good times and freedom. Then he turned his phone on...


Monday 23rd

Biz 4.31pm
Got the keys yet?

Steve
Yeah. Picked them up this morning.

Biz
Great. When's the party?

Steve
Not for a few days.

Biz
What! Why so long?

Steve
Biz, I just spent three very long years trying to get away from you and Randle. Give me a few days to settle in.

Biz
Seems a rather snobbish attitude towards former roommates. Aren't the plebs good enough now?

Steve
:) Knocked it on the head. Don't want you soiling the furniture.

Biz
Hmm. I fear I must accept such insults graciously. Two days max then I'm sending in the boys.

Steve
I'm sure I will let you in eventually.

Biz
Need any help moving?

Steve
Should be fine doing it myself. Apartment's furnished and its only my own stuff that's going in.

Biz
Fair enough. You told Helena the news?

Steve
Yesterday. She was well pleased.

Biz
I bet she was. Still going to the opening?

Steve
Sure are. Her gallery's open from the 28th. Thinking I might set up here then head on down and help her out.

Biz
Yeh. I know Randle's going to help.  He'll probably take Sarah with him.

Steve
That will be appreciated. I've never seen so much work generated by just hanging a few pictures.

Biz
Roger that. I'll go in tomorrow myself.

Steve
I know she'll take any help on offer. It's a big dream she's pushing there.

Biz
True. See you tomorrow.


Blue 5.10pm
Steve. Are you there?

Steve
Who is this?

Blue
You don't know me but I live in your building. Third Floor, Apartment 6.

Steve
No you don't.

Blue
I can assure you that I do.

Steve
What do you want?

Blue
I need you to listen to what I'm going to tell you.

Steve
Look. I'm not sure what you're playing at. Apartment 6 is my apartment and I'm sure you're not in it.

Blue
But I am.

Steve
Do you even have the right building?

Blue
Positive. The Goldcrest on Washington right?

Steve
Yes. But I still don't know what you're after. Is this some kind of scam?

Blue
I only wish it was. You must listen to what I have to say.

Steve
I don't see why. You're not exactly exuding cred here.

Blue
One way or the other you have to listen.

Steve
Why?

Blue
Because your life depends upon it.

Steve
Now I know this is some kind of scam. Would you like my credit card details as well?

Blue
No. What's a credit card?

Steve
Look. You really aren't making any sense at all. Tell me plainly what it is you want.

Blue
OK. I believe that you are going to die tomorrow.

Steve
That really isn't funny.

Blue
Just listen. Tomorrow morning you are going to walk to the Caffiene Cave cafe across the street and get hit by a blue van.

Steve
How?

Blue
You'll step out into the road, texting someone and not see the van. It'll be over in seconds.

Steve
How could you possibly know that?

Blue
Because I saw it happen.

Steve
Get lost. Don't text me again.


Randle 5.45pm
Hey Bud.

Steve
Hey Randle. What's up?

Randle
Just letting you know I'll be over at Helena's round about 8am. She's giving me a lift down to the gallery.

Steve
No sweat. I'll go straight to the gallery from here.

Steve
Randle.

Randle
Yeh?

Steve
Have you ever got weird random texts on your phone?

Randle
Hell yeah. All the time. I'm pretty sure I'm on someone's mailing list.

Steve
I don't mean spam. What about nutcases trying to freak you out?

Randle
Um. Only about every other day.  You should see some of the freaky texts that cross my firewall.

Randle
But I digress. What's happened?

Steve
Got a text from someone calling themselves Blue. Trying to tell me that I'm going to die.

Randle
Threatening you?

Steve
Not so much. More like trying to warn me. None of it makes any sense.

Randle
What did he say?

Steve
That's the thing. I got the impression it was a woman. Said she lived in my apartment and that I would die tomorrow morning.

Randle
OK. That is nutjob territory. Think you should call the police?

Steve
Not yet. Nothing I could say really. Just unsettling.

Randle
Its probably nothing. Let me know if she makes contact again. I've got an app that should strain out any further garbage.

Steve
I'll keep that in mind. Don't tell Helena though. I don't want to upset her.

Randle
My lips are sealed.


Helena 6.15pm
OMG! Has somebody been threatening you?

Steve
What?

Helena
Randle just told me what happened,

Steve
Did you torture him or something?

Helena
No? What's going on?

Steve
I'm sure that Randle told you everything I know. Don't worry. I'm sure it'll be the last I hear of Blue.

Helena
But she said you were going to die.

Steve
She also said she lived in my apartment. I don't think she's got a good grip on reality.

Helena
I guess so. Still coming over tomorrow?

Steve
Wouldn't miss it.

Helena
Great. Bring some coffee. That new cafe has opened in your street. You should try it out.

Steve
No problem. See you then.


Blue 9.55pm
Steve.

Steve
I told you to get lost.

Blue
I can't help that. You must listen to me.

Steve
Are you some kind of fortune-teller trying to drum up business.

Steve
Cause if you are you're definitely going to have to think up a better plan.

Blue
I am not a medium or anything else like that. I just need you to listen.

Steve
Why?

Blue
Give me five minutes. That's all I need. If you still don't believe me I'll leave you alone.

Steve
Five Minutes?

Blue
That's all.

Steve
You have five minutes.  I am looking at my watch.

Blue
You will not believe what I have to say at the start but just give me those minutes and I might just save your life.

Steve
Go ahead.

Blue
It only started in the last week.

Steve
What did?

Blue
I began to get text messages on my phone from people I didn't know. You were one of them.

Steve
But I never sent anything to you.

Blue
I know. It was more like a crossed-lined. Like in the old days when land-lines were the thing.

Steve
OK.

Blue
At first I thought it was a glitch but as the conversations went on I realised that one of the senders was you.

Steve
Me?

Blue
Yes. Talking about moving in and helping with Helena's gallery.

Blue
I know about your mom's illness too, and how much its all going to cost her.

Steve
OK. Just stop. Have you hacked my phone?

Blue
What's hacked mean? All I knew was that you had moved into the apartment below me and then you were dead.

Steve
See that's the first flaw in your story. I only picked up the keys today. You couldn't possibly have seen me die yet.

Steve
You also said I moved into the apartment below you, yet you said you were living in my apartment on the third floor.

Blue
I know. You'll have to just listen.

Blue
I don't know what's happening. At first I thought someone was just playing with me but then I realised...

Steve
What?

Blue
That what I was receiving was from an alternate reality.

Steve
What? For God's sake. Are you for real?

Blue
Just listen. In my reality you moved into the second floor apartment. Number 4.

Steve
But I didn't.

Blue
Yeh. But you looked at it first. Didn't you?

Steve
I did. But it was taken.

Blue
Well in this reality it wasn't. In this reality you moved into the apartment directly below mine.

Blue
In this reality I live in number 6 on the third floor.

Blue
In this reality you died yesterday morning.

Steve
Do you know how ridiculous that sounds?

Blue
I do. But its the truth.

Steve
How do you even know you're in an alternate reality?

Blue
Just for the record you're the one in the alternate reality.

Steve
Whatever. How do you know?

Blue
One big thing and a whole lot of small things. I plex'd some info on the whole scenario and it seems possible.

Steve
Plex'd?

Blue
Yeah. You know. Search for stuff on the internet.

Steve
Don't you mean googled?

Blue
I don't know what that is. But that's not the point.

Blue
In my reality the city I live in is called Macksville. What is yours called?

Steve
Mackstown.

Blue
Exactly. Our realities are mostly the same but there are small unimportant differences that tell them apart.

Blue
You call imails emails. We call text messages twits. Just little things but different.

Steve
But if we are the same how am I still alive?

Steve
Shouldn't I have died at the same time as my alternate?

Blue
That's the one thing I haven't been able to work out.

Blue
The only thing I can think of is that this reality is a day or two ahead of yours.

Steve
Look Blue. I can tell that you are genuinely in the middle of something you don't understand.

Steve
But really. This is all too far-fetched for me.

Blue
Think about it Steve. If I am right you will die tomorrow morning.

Steve
So what do you want me to do?  Stay in all day just on a chance that you might be right?

Blue
No, not at all. Just don't buy your coffee from the Caffeine Cave.

Blue
All I'm asking is that you walk further down the street and get it from somewhere else.

Steve
And that's it?

Blue
That's all. What have you got to lose?

Steve
Nothing I guess.

Blue
Promise me you'll do it. I won't be able to sleep if you don't.

Steve
OK. I promise. Seems daft but I promise.

Blue
Thank the Gods.

Steve
Just one question. You mentioned a big thing that made you think it was an alternate reality you were contacting.

Steve
The small things could have just been lazy spelling. What tipped you off?

Blue
That was easy. In all your messages you never spoke about the tinge.

Steve
The what?

Blue
In my reality the world is tinged blue. Its caused by a blue vapour, produced by trees and spread by the winds.

Blue
Concentrates mostly in forests.

Steve
What does it do?

Blue
Not much actually. It's like a fog and mostly harmless, but weather forecasts generally will include rain, wind and tinge forecasts.

Blue
Your texts said nothing about it. Especially when you were messaging your mother.

Steve
Why would that be noticeable?

Blue
She lives in Arkansas. In this reality the state is well-known for its tinge concentrations.

Blue
Nobody drives in Arkansas without getting a tinge forecast first.

Steve
Seems weird.

Blue
Not as weird as some of things I've read from your end.

Steve
Good point. OK. I promise not to go to the Caffeine Cave tomorrow.

Blue
Good. I'll text you the day after tomorrow to make sure you're Ok.

Steve
I'll be waiting for it.


Steve 10.53pm
Randle. You still up?

Randle
Barely. What's up?

Steve
Got another message from Blue.

Randle
Jesus. Persistent little scammer isn't she.

Steve
I'm not sure she is a scammer. Gave me a weird story but she seems to believe it.

Randle
Watch out for the nutjobs who believe their own delusions Steve. It can never end well.

Steve
That's the thing. She is trying to warn me I think. I can't see any scam in it.

Randle
What is she asking you to do?

Steve
Nothing much. Just stay out of the Caffeine Cave tomorrow.

Randle
That's it?

Steve
Yeah. Seems harmless enough.

Randle
Its a weird angle if she is a scammer. What will you do?

Steve
Can't see any harm in going along with her this once. If anything it might get her off my back.

Randle
Its your funeral.

Randle
Oops. Inapropriate. Sorry


Biz 11.36pm
Hey Steve. Randle just told me about your secret friend.

Steve
He really can't shut up can he.

Biz
Don't blame him alone. Helena's been in my ear as well.

Biz
So what's the deal?

Steve
Don't worry. Blue texted me back and everything's cool.

Biz
Hmm. Bit dubious about that. Was she a scammer?

Steve
No. I'll tell you all about it tomorrow.

Biz
See you in the AM.


Wednesday 26th

Randle 8.05am
Hey Steve. Where are you?

Steve
Just getting ready.

Randle
Yesterday was great. Gallery is looking pretty neat.

Steve
Yeh. Helena's done a brill job. Should be set for the opening.

Randle
Hear back from Blue?

Steve
No. She said she'd text sometime this morning.

Randle
Did you do what she said?

Steve
Yeh. Stayed away from the Caffeine Cave yesterday. Still here. Still breathing.

Randle
Do you think she was playing with you?

Steve
I don't know. Seemed really sure she was right.

Randle
Well you are still with us.

Steve
Yeh. But who's to say I wouldn't have been anyway.

Randle
I guess we'll never know. Are you still going back to the gallery this morning?

Steve
I will. Now that Blue's dire prediction has passed I might even try that new coffee shop.

Randle
Biz said he'd probably go over to the gallery as well. I think he's angling for a job.

Steve
:) You noticed that too?

Randle
Yeh. Strange thing is, he'd probably do well. Got the right hair for it.

Steve
See you in about a half hour?

Randle
No sweat.


Blue 8.55am
Steve. You still with us?

Steve
Yes I am. Kept away from the Caffeine Cave and I am still here.

Blue
Thank the Gods for that.

Blue
I know this might sound weird but would it be OK if we kept in contact?

Steve
No problem. Would be a shame to lose contact with an alternate reality. Seems the responsible thing to do.

Blue
Its what I was thinking as well.

Steve
Why do you think the connection was made in the first place?

Blue
Can't be sure. I wonder if its the location that's important.

Steve
Could be. To tell you the truth I have no idea.

Blue
Do you think we should tell anyone?

Steve
Probably not a good idea at the moment. Maybe once we know its permanent.

Blue
I agree. What's on your agenda for today?

Steve
Well. Being Wednesday my day will be taken up helping Helena. Its only two days until the opening.

Blue
Cool.

Blue
Hold on. Did you say its Wednesday there?

Steve
Sure is. Why?

Blue
I don't understand. The day should be Thursday. I'm sure it should be Thursday.

Steve
No, its Wednesday. All day.

Blue
But you died on a Wednesday.

Steve
What are you saying?

Blue
Where are you?

Steve
Just crossing the street, making for the Caffeine Cave.

Blue
Oh God. I've made an awful mistake.  Get off the street!

Blue
Steve. Are you there?

Blue
Steve?

THE END

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