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Overlapping Worlds

Michelle Steele

     "Okay, if there are no questions we'll stop here and continue next time."

     Jack wakes up to hear the professor talking as he drudgingly packs up his books in his backpack and gets ready to brave the cold wind. After a long day of classes, nothing pleases Jack more than going back to his dorm room to watch Sports Center and relax. He walks down the wet stairs and out the heavy metal door. For a moment, Jack is blinded by the sun's reflection off the snow. The winter air feels refreshing at first, but as Jack continues his trek across the snow- covered quad, he shivers uncontrollably. The wind whistles through the trees and comes with full force straight at his face, causing him to catch his breath. As Jack hunts for his keys, his friend Paul comes out the front door, relieving him from the freezing temperatures.
 

     "Did you finish reading that book for class yet?" Paul asks Jack, as they switch places in the doorway.
 

     "Ah hell, I completely forgot about it." Jack sighs, "I left mine in my car."
 

     Paul pulls a book out of his backpack and hands it to Jack.
 

     "You can have this one, I finished it this morning."
 

     "Thanks Paul, you're the shit! I really didn't want to have to go back out there."
 

     "No problem. I'll let you buy the first pitcher tomorrow night."
 

     Jack makes his way down the hallway. The smell of pizza and stale beer fill his nostrils as he makes the left turn to the stairwell. He starts to climb up the four flights of stairs but pauses halfway when he notices a big creaking noise coming from under his feet.
 

     He complains out loud to himself, "This school's a piece of shit!"
 

     Jack stumbles up the last few steps and finally gets to his room, the second door on the right. He throws his backpack and coat on the floor, plops down on the tan-colored couch, and turns on the t.v. Stuart Scott is making fun of somebody, and he chuckles out loud. He reaches over to grab the book out of his bag. He decides he better finish it and get it over with. Besides, Cindy's coming over later. They haven't been getting along lately, but break-up sex is the best.

     He tries to remember what's happened in the story so far. It doesn't take him long to recall. A woman and her lover meet in the basement of the science building on a college campus. He's dressed in black from head to toe, she can barely make out his silhouette in the darkness. Her eyes become fixed on his hands. She hears him sharpening some kind of knife and wonders where he got it, but doesn't have time to ask before he breaks the tense silence.
 

     "You got his keys didn't you?" he asked as if she were incompetent.
 

     "Of course I did." She laughed. "He thinks he's gonna get laid tonight, won't this be a surprise?"

     He doesn't say anything back to her. His hands are shaking as if he's nervous, but the expression on his face is one of annoyance. He puts on a black ski mask and hands her one, too.
 

     "Here, put this on." He ordered, "We don't want anyone to recognize us."
 

     She does so accordingly, but keeps tugging at it around her face.
 

     "I can't breath, and it's really itchy!" She moans .

          He folds up the part over her face so that it looks like a stalking hat and kisses her cheek. Her auburn curls stick out from underneath the hat and he starts to fondle them. All she can see are his deep blue eyes, the first thing that attracted her to him. She remembers how she used to stare into them forever, and it made her feel like he was part of her soul, but right now they aren't so passionate. They look cold and blank, unrecognizable. It makes her shiver, and she turns away.
 

     He grabs the knife in one hand and her wrist in the other and leads her through the hallways of the basement until they get to the door that leads to their fate. There's no turning back. She knows that now. Even if she did change her mind, she knew he wouldn't rest until her first lover was dead. He would never be able to accept that there was another living soul that she'd made love to. As they walk outside, they feel the wind blow completely through their bodies making their blood thicken. They make their way across the campus to the dorm where He lives. They see a couple of people staggering up the sidewalk, but their drunkiness makes them oblivious. She gets out the keys and opens the door. The smells from inside the building make her wish they'd just stayed in her room for beer and pizza. They walk softly down the hallway and come to the stairwell. Luckily no one had seen them, everyone was still at the bar for happy hour. Figuring they're home free, they attempt to climb up the stairs quickly.
 

     Jack puts the book down when he heres a creek on the stairs. His drunk buddies must be home. He thinks about locking the door so they don't bother him, but the book draws him back, and he can't help picking it back up again.
 

     The woman and her lover continue up the stairs, being extra cautious. They finally get to the top of the staircase and find themselves outside the second door on the right. Opening the door, they see the guy sitting on the tan-colored sofa reading a book.
 

Acknowledgments

I'd like to thank Terry Heller and my class mates for helping me with my revisions and giving me great ideas. I'd also like to thank Cortazar for writing the original story whose plot I borrowed.
 


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