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Losing North

Introductory chapter to my in-development novel.

“Tick, tock...”

“Tick, tock...” The sound came from the clock.

“Tick, tock…”

“Tick, tock…” The ticking echoed in the entire apartment. Almost in the same beat, the sweat drops fell from Adam’s chin to the ground. His heart was beating twice every second. In synch with the “tick” and then just before the “tock.” Adam’s breathing was really fast, even though he was just sitting in the corner of the room, looking out the window, observing the lives of those insignificant souls, repeating their unimportant routines every day like machines.

Suddenly Adam’s breathing stopped completely. It must have been at least 20 ticks and tocks until he got up and sucked air into his lungs again. When he finally experienced the act of inhaling again, his eyes rolled into his skull until only a white globe could be seen. Seen by no one to be more specific, not one other living soul had entered Adam’s apartment for a couple of weeks already. It had been just Adam and his memories of Lara during that entire period of melancholy and weakness.

“Tick, tock.” The clock kept going, fading in and out inside the kitchen. Adam, still naked, probably because he had already forgotten what the feeling of having clothes on felt like, rushed into the utility room. The dust from the door flew onto Adam’s face, blinding him if he hadn’t closed his eyes before the dirt hit him.

In the utility room, Adam swiftly grabbed the red-pointed axe standing levered against the wall. Once he lifted the sharp tool, the dust around it almost formed a classic cartoony shape of the original axe. “Tick, tock.” The clock kept playing the tune, like a metronome for Adam’s life. The very thought of music would shake the leftover of peace in Adam’s soul. He rushed into the living room.

The fireplace kept everything at just the right temperature during this cold winter evening of the once beautiful New York. The overhead lights kept the ambient at the exact illumination as Adam enjoyed. That being a touch of yellow surrounding the lamp in a rounded shape, touching the ceiling close to the light spot while the far away walls would be dim, or even black on the corners.

Adam’s place really was in one of its best settings ever since he had bought it with Lara a few years ago. This was a new ambient for him. Instead of having colourful, hipsters, LSD-based decorations on the walls and every single piece of cloth being used in the rooms, from the curtains to the sofa, this time, Adam was living in a place with a touch of class. A few guitars up on the wall, a big fat amplifier in one corner, for when he actually decided to play that thing, one or two Art Nouveau paintings hanging on the other side of the room, a 72-inch television on one of the two walls left and a brown sofa right in front of it to suit the hardwood floor.

At the moment, Adam was not paying attention to the beautiful setting of his home, but yes furiously walking over to his ebony piano right in the middle of the spacious room. He lifted the axe above his shoulders, in a stance ready to give a hard blow to the gorgeous and expensive musical instrument. His arm began the descending movement but before hitting the work of art that that piano represented, he suddenly stopped, only a few centimetres away. “Fuck!” Adam shouted, the sound echoing in every area of his home.

He fell to the ground, falling on his butt in front of his piano. Adam dropped the axe and embraced his head with his hands, almost in a foetal position. His watery eyes ready to cry all night, as he had done in a couple of occasions before, but then he remembered. His mind wrapped itself around the images of the evenings Adam spent with Lara. The nights wandering around the city, just the two, walking with no destination, just holding each other’s hands and enduring the freezing cold with a smile on their faces because they had one another.

It was right at that point that Adam calmed down. The ticks and the tocks of the night faded away, leaving his troubled mind in peace for a while. Adam’s heart slowed down, his pulse calming down every second that passed. A small smile came to his face as Adam got up and sat in front of the piano.

He closed his eyes, trying to remember what the keys to hit were. The keys Lara had told Adam to hit hundreds of times, the keys he kept forgetting, the sound he could never produce the same way she did. “Damn it, what is it?” He thought to himself.

A few misguided attempts were performed by Adam until he finally hit just the right progression of notes. In a couple of minutes, he was able to play a few bits of an overly-simplified version of “Love Me” by Yiruma.

One big teeth-showing smile appeared on Adam’s face, just before his realisation that Lara was gone. At that same moment, a sharp, harsh, wrong-sounding note was hit on the piano. Adam bent his head over the piano keys, hitting about twenty notes at the same time. The horrible sound faded away slowly while a few tears ran down Adam’s eyes all the way to his naked chest then to the ground.

Adam rushed up, knocking the piano’s chair down in the process as he walked to pick the axe up from the ground. He tightly gripped the tool and hit the first swing to the piano’s right leg. The poor instrument fell on the floor as Adam kept hitting it. Pieces of wood flew everywhere until the moment the once beautiful, ivory, shining musical instrumental became just a lot of individual useless bits of shredded timber. The wooden floor had a few dents in it too, as besides hitting the piano Adam had also hit the brown floor. There were chunks of wood everywhere, Adam’s breathing was rushed again, just like his heart was going “tick, tock…” together with the clock. Adam walked fast into the kitchen and on the tip of his toes he grabbed the circle-shaped clock from the wall and threw it across the room. The once staining mark of time had now left a silence in the room, yet to be filled by something less troubling.

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