Title: Can anyone help me figure this out?
My roommate said I could post this, but I don’t remember much at all about the flood in my apartment last night. I just have apology takeout in the passenger seat.
I remember the phone call on the way in. His shaking “get here now”. A low rush of static on the floor. Heavy thuds.
I remember trial and error with the apartment keycard. I don’t hear any running water from the hallway, but there is a dripping sound.
I get to my room five minutes after the call. The air is humid. The electric lights don’t work. I see nothing. No water.
I call out for Sam and get nothing. Maybe he isn’t here.
I pick up his flashlight by the door and tap it awake. A pair of shoes slouches near the door bumper. I know he’s here.
Wet towels spread out over the kitchen. Puddles rest across the living room, just below my feet. My couch by the far wall is covered: pillow and blanket and now a topography of junk. A water line reaches just below the top of the cushions, but no water. I don’t know where I sleep that night.
Everything here is closed. Sink is off. Fridge is shut. Dishwasher is empty.
I walk a few steps further. Bathroom is as dry as ever. The shower doesn’t drip. No leaks. Still no Sam.
“Hey, I’m here,” from me.
Nothing from him.
Instead, cabinet doors hang open, with another pile of towels underneath.
I turn the corner.
The bedroom door blocks him. No. Blocks me.
I knock and pull out my phone. “I got your call,” a call of my own. “The landlord isn’t answering. Did you get all the water cleaned up?”
Alive. I can work with that.
I push the door open. A boy my age sits low on the bed, soaked through. His dilated doll eyes don’t link with mine. He’s still conscious, for now.
“Sam? Are you okay?”
The boy looks up. He pries his jaw open in a smirk and says nothing. I hear his lungs flicker. He knows how far away I was.
I approach, crouch to him. “Breathe. With me. In.”
He wiggles until he’s upright. “Tyler.” He recognizes, collects himself, backs away as I approach. “I’m okay.”
“You’re not hurt?”
Sam shakes his head. He looks twenty-three again. He opens his mouth and his front teeth are stained red. Did he hit his head?
I pull a handkerchief out of my pocket. I try a smile. Sam snatches the cloth from my hand and covers his mouth.
“Do you need to go to the hospital?”
He shakes his head, winces, goes slower. “I’m not hurt. You know what happened?”
I don’t know anything. I grab a towel from his bed and dry off his shoes and pants. “You need dry clothes, or you’ll get sick.”
“Water,” he stresses.
Is he thirsty? “I’ll get you some water. Come on.”
“No. Up to my waist.”
Is his vision blurry? I help him to his feet and say nothing.
He sounds like he hit his head, hard. We need to get him dry, or he’ll get hypothermia.
I drape his arm over my shoulder as he stands. His steps strengthen as we make our way to the porch.
“You weren’t here,” he mutters. A trail of watery footprints follows us out.