Ninety Nine Problems


Where: Rylie's Townhome

When: July 24, 2012;Evening

What: A missing girlfriend sends Zan on a return trip to an odd little house on an odd little street.

Sometimes Rylie is called impulsive. She denies it, of course, claiming that her choices are decently thought out before she jumps into them. It's just that decently thought out, in her estimation, takes about five seconds to get to.

And maybe she doesn't, in that amount of time, think them very far through.

Tonight, Rylie was supposed to be meeting Zan at her place after work. She was supposed to have gone back to work after lunch. She was supposed to have ordered some Chinese that she was raving about, too. But when Zan arrives at her apartment, no one seems to be home. It isn't too odd an occurrence. After all, that's what the extra key is for, just such a situation.

It's inside that's odd. An old newspaper sits on her coffee table, as well as copies of newspapers that seem to have been printed out. Given that a library card sits nearby, it's possible she was doing some research. But the piece that sticks out is the discarded hospital visitor's tag and a folded piece of paper with Zan's name written in large letters on the top.

Normally, Zan can be fairly patient with waiting. He can entertain himself, keep his mind occupied to pass the time. And he spent the first bit of waiting after letting himself inside writing. He's got a screenplay to put to paper, a few minutes to spare until Rylie arrives, no annoying older brother around to gripe about his lack of drive for anything.

But the wait, as it becomes abnormally long, draws his attention away from brainstorming and to his phone. No texts or missed calls show, so he wanders into the living room while starting a text of his own and find out if it's work or traffic that's keeping her. His gazes falls to the paper littered table as he sits, thumbing the button to send the message. And then, with one hand pushing his phone into his pocket the other casually pushes the papers around until he picks up the visitors tag and the paper with his name upon it.

As his fingers pick up the papers, there's the familiar sound of Rylie's text ringtone from up the stairs. But no sign of the girl herself. The visitor's badge has her name hand written in, and a note of her being there to visit room 1407. Which is also hand written in. The note, though, once unfolded, holds a quick message from Rylie, scribbled out fast, but still legible.

We did something. Or someone did. I'm not sure, exactly, what it is, but I'm going back to try to fix it. I think I'm supposed to be there. The Moulin Rouge. You know when.

Zan's gaze flicks upwards, toward the stairs. He's nearly tempted to run up there and get the phone. The idea is given some serious debate, then set aside as he returns his attention to the paper. He reads it a couple of times, head shaking by the time he starts it a third. Another look goes toward the stairs, but he turns himself away from the idea physically and collects the papers from the table.

There's no organization, no time taken to straighten papers and lay them flat with each other as he strides to the door. It's all jammed into his pack, crammed in alongside his camera, and once it's zippered closed, the whole thing is pulled onto his shoulders. He barely takes the time to lock the door and pocket the spare key, but the pause he takes outside in search for obvious onlookers is notable. If short still. Then, he shoots off into the sky to fly, literally, to the old house linked to Moulin Rouge. With any luck, his departure won't be noticed.

He may notice that the one actual newspaper is old and yellowing and very likely going to turn out to be the one they found in that house the last time. But there's hardly time to ponder over it as Zan takes to the skies. If anyone notices him go, he isn't around long enough to hear them exclaim. But given that there's no one outside and the sun is still far from setting, he isn't too obvious a figure. To the casual observer.

When he arrives at the house, the street is as empty as ever. Rylie must have taxied over, because there's no sign of her bright yellow convertible around. The door to the house hangs open, and the newly-gathered (and the old) dust is disturbed along the hall.

The landing may not be the best ever, and any possible repercussions that may come from his flight over the city will have to be thought about later. Much like the papers. On reaching the house, Zan slows enough to glide through the door and get his feet beneath him. Running steps take him along the familiar hall and to the sitting room. With the picture that he'd pulled off the wall before. He slows on entering the room, though haste still fills his steps as he approaches the crack. The fissure in time.

It sits open, that portal to another time, smaller than Zan might like, but there it is. The muffled noise from the club beyond can be heard, but any evidence of Rylie is going to have to be found on the other side. Her footprints end there, but there was little doubt where she was going in any case.

A look goes to the furniture that sits in the room while Zan crosses to the opening, little hope that he'd find Rylie waiting. He turns his focus on the hole in the wall and starts in without stopping. Tight fit or not, he's made it through before. Hands work as much to pull himself through as feet push, until he can stumble out into the costume closet.

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