Pitch Black

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Steve sat up suddenly in his bed. He couldn't remember what had startled him. He rubbed his eyes and glanced around his room for any signs of disturbance. He lived on the 12th floor of an apartment complex in New York City. His nightstand stood in the corner, with his red lamp on top. His alarm clock said 5:15 a.m. His closet door was shut, the white door flowing seamlessly into the wall next to it. His light grey curtains silhouetted the dark color of the dawn sky. It was unerthly silent, as Steve slept with his window open. I must have closed it last night without realizing it, he thought to himself. Deciding that nothing was out of the ordinary, he went back to sleep.

He awoke the same way 5 minutes later. He caught a fleeting glimpse of his dream, but couldn't remember it a moment later. He realized that a reoccurring nightmare must have been waking him up. He attempted to sleep again, unsuccessfully. He finally stood up and stretched. He walked blindly to the bathroom and flicked on the light switch. Nothing happened. He turned it off and on again. Still nothing. Power outages were common in this area, and he didn't worry about it. He reached for his cabinet and felt the drawer. He opened it quickly and groped about inside of it for the flashlight he kept. He felt the plastic top and pulled it out. He thumbed the button.

The light was too bright at first, he let his eyes adjust. He put the light in the mirror and looked at himself. His light brown hair was cut short, and his icy blue eyes stared straight back at himself. He had two days worth of stubble, so he decided to shave. Almost subconsciously, he turned on the water and reached for its cool touch.

He felt nothing. No water flowed from the mouth of the faucet. He studied the metallic finish intently, then walked out the door to the kitchen. A refridgerator clad in white was in the corner, next to a dishwasher that should have been running. A rang stood next to that. Across the room, his couch was pushed against the grey wall, its brown cover riddled with holes and scratches, each with a unique story. But Steve knew all of this, and didn't even need the flashlight to tell him where to go, but he took it anyway. He stumbled to the sink next to the range and turned the knob expectantly. Still nothing.

Nothing to be worried about... I just need some air. He slowly walked through his room and looked out the window, at the apartment right next door. I really should have gotten a room with a better view. He instinctively reached for the bottom of the window to fling it up... but the window was already open.

When Steve realized this, his face froze over in shock, and he backed up to the opposite wall, using it for support. If the window is open, he thought, then why are there no sounds? He shook himself. Slow mornings are plentiful in New York, there wasn't anything wrong. But he still wanted a better view of the street.

He looked at the window frame and stood up. The view was terrible here, so he would need to go towards the lobby, and have a look there. He walked to the front of the apartment and unlocked his door. The darkness was palpable, and he fumbled with his flashlight to turn it on. The narrow beam of light pointed toward the stairs. He started down, walking slowly. Floor by floor, the only thing he saw was darkness. The beam of light was his guide.

He arrived at the lobby, and was surprised at the emptiness. The elevator doors reflected his his light back to him from the flimsy metal, the arches above showed that they were at ground level. The desk beside the door was empty, the gold lamp drooping to the wood. The rising sun threw an awful glare across the glass doors in the entryway, making it impossible to see through.He slowly strode through the lobby, his arm outstretching to the door handle. His fingers enclosed around the cold metal surface, and he swung the door open quickly. 

He gasped. Never in his life had he heard absolute silence, lest of all in New York. But now he had. Not a single angry driver honking incessantly, not a single bird chirping. But the thing that startled him most was the lack of life. The streets were crowded with cars, but none were on, none were running. Besides these, the streets were utterly clean.