I Need You to Open Up

Open UpIt might have happened over a matter of months or years. I don’t really know. I just wish I’d been more observant.

There was no telling where anyone else was, but as I searched for what to do next, a dread washed over me that informed me that if I did leave my apartment now, no one would answer their doors or their phones. As I thought back, I’d seen fewer and fewer of my neighbors in passing.

They would all be gone tonight.

Maybe it was one of them. I was beginning to hope it was.

My landline was missing, an eerily vacant spot in its wake, drawing my eye to the picture set beside it.

A picture of my sister that had been replaced, just like every other framed photograph in my apartment, with a picture of myself unlocking my apartment door, wearing different clothes in each. It was a calendar with my outfit as a measure of the passing days, and it was nearly a year long. But who knew how many they’d omitted. The painting I’d bought at auction hung next to the balcony sliding door, replaced with an exact replica, down to the splatters and uneven brushstrokes, only in inverted colors.

It was in the details. They knew exactly what they were doing, whoever it was.

I didn’t know what I was going to do next. But if anything was clear from the state of my apartment, it was that they did.


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