Starter | Wake-Up Call
It wasn't until the scattered rays of morning light inching across Christoph's face reached his eyes that he finally began to stir from a long night of restless sleep. In a daze, he rolled over and blindly swatted at his bedside table. After shuffling through old discarded mail his hand bumped against something cold and heavy the left a metallic thud when it hit the hardwood floor. Unfazed, he resumed his hunt, doing the best to identify the things within arm-reach without needing to resort to the inevitably painful task of peeling back his hangover-laden eyelids. There was an unfamiliar keychain, his wallet, and… yep, there it was. His hand finally closed around a chipped Samsung Galaxy. A couple generations old at this point, but passable. By now Christoph's eyes were half open as he returned to his side and tried to adjust his vision to the screen's low brightness... Or, any brightness? He blinked a couple times and brought the smartphone closer to his face with squinted eyes.
Muttering swears under his breath, Christoph nearly threw the phone across the room. Fortunately for the phone, his lackluster recovery from last night’s escapades and a body beaten to hell to hell and back ensured cooler heads prevailed. As he rolled across the bed yet again, he let out a low groan in anticipation of what lay ahead. With one arm draped over the edge of his mattress he shuffled further on his stomach to graze at the floor with his fingertips where he began to feel around for his phone’s charging cable. While he searched his fingers brushed against a familiar steel barrel and paused when he reached the small trigger guard at its far end. “And that explains that noise. Thank f***in’ god that didn’t end any worse.” The thought was fleeting; vanishing from the forefront of his mind a fart in the wind. After a couple minutes passed Christoph signed and dragged himself from the warmth of his gray overstuffed comforter.
Naked except for last night’s deep blue boxers, he scanned the floor for any trace of his phone’s wired charger hidden among piles of dirty clothes and other forgotten belongings strewn about the room. Each step against the old hardwood planks echoed slightly throughout the empty row house as he searched in quiet determination. It didn’t take long before his search began to feel like an exercise in futility and Amazon or Best Buy were about to score another $40 from his bank account – they almost felt like bigger thieves than he was at this point. His eyes wandered toward the window as a hand gripped the wooden sill and its peeling white paint. There were more than a few people milling about on their way up and down the city sidewalk under fresh canopies of green… it was certainly bright enough that he must have slept most of the morning away.
He shoved the blinds shut and was about to take one final stab at finding his phone charger when a knock sounded from his front door downstairs. Racking his brain, Christoph tried to recall whether he had made plans the previous night to see anyone this morning. Was it possible he pissed someone off last night? Were the consequences of some recent endeavor finally about to rear their ugly head and bite him in the ass as his friends (if he could call any of them that) so often warned him? Even as he descended the stairs, he couldn’t quite place the events of his night out. The best he could do was peer through the peephole in the front door to see who was waiting on the other side.
And yet staring back at him he found… nothing. Sheer black nothingness was all that waited for him on the other side of his door. Now obviously time and space didn’t rip recently – he knew that much from his glimpse out the window minutes earlier – so the only other reasonable explanation remaining was that Christoph had a visitor who seemed unmistakably intent and familiar with showing up unannounced. He looked down at himself, still wearing nothing but a pair of boxers. Had he been thinking rationally, Christoph may have grabbed a robe, thrown on a pair of pants, or realized he had a better chance of enjoying his Saturday if he just pretended nobody was home. As fate would have it, this was one morning where he could do no such thing. Liquor: 1, Christoph: 0.
The door pushed outward a crack to reveal little more than Christoph’s head, at first. The only clues to his current attire (or lack thereof) were the unkempt hair atop his head and the bare shoulders he was unable to hide while leaning through the gap in the door.
“Yes, can I help you?”