Friday, March 31, 2017

Disappearing Act


"I can't believe someone would do this!" Amanda was angry. Todd was there, quietly listening to her ranting. "I worked hard putting that book together and for what? For someone to live out their sick fantasy that they supposedly know something? To lay claim to ideas that that aren't their own?"

Amanda stopped for a moment to take her laptop out of its bag. She set it on the counter and opened it up.

"It's just as bad as having my apartment broken into. Except this…" She pointed to her laptop that was still loading. She had shut it down the night before. "This is takes no effort. Only a lazy idiot with no real creativity will do this. Even his website screams 'I'm too lazy to actually Google web design principles. Look at me! Look how stupid I am!' "

Todd chuckled. It didn't bother Amanda, who would also make an attempt at some humor to calm herself down.

When her computer finished booting, Amanda loaded up Tor onto her laptop and typed in the site again. However, in place of the website, there was a 'Site not found' error.

"It was there," Amanda said, sounding defeated. All that complaining and nothing to validate her claims.

"I believe you," Todd responded as he looked over her shoulder, "Sometimes sites like this are run off a private computer, rather than a server. These sites only run when their computer is on, so if the computer is off, then the site is gone too."

Amanda nodded. "I guess I'll have to keep trying.. I'll save it to Evernote next time. I really wish I had at least taken a screen shot. I didn't even think of it then" She sighed. "Sometimes, I really wish I could go back in time."

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Conspiracy

Amanda rarely used Tor. It wasn't that she didn't like it, she just didn't see a use for it. Tor is a browser that allows people to browse anonymously. Very few people use Tor for the sake of just being anonymous, unless they believe that they have a reason to be anonymous. People who are the extreme conspiracy theorist who really have nothing to worry about, want to sell illegal goods, looking for illegal good, or are genuinely trying to escape or overthrow an oppressive government.

The majority of them were not trying to overthrow their oppressive government.

It's called the dark web. Most of the sites that Amanda visited were not much different than the conspiracy sites she has seen on the normal web. Wall of text with multi-color and multi-sized font reminiscent of the 90s proclaiming the Illuminati's involvement in the government. The blinking titles gave her a headache.

Then there were the other sites. One was a 'hire a hit man site', although Amanda thought that it was more likely a sting site to catch people trying to kill off someone over a perceived slight. There was also drug sites that sold both cheap prescription knockoffs and the illegal variety. Then there were the really disturbing, or pornography site links, which Amanda, had the misfortune on clicking. Unlike the sites in the normal web, there was no NSFW label.

It wasn't long before she uninstalled Tor.

So now she had Tor loaded onto her laptop yet again, and was concerned that she was being trolled. She looked at the piece of paper in her hand and wished that she copied/pasted it, but she still wrote things down sometimes out of habit from when she lived in her foster home.

She typed in the link and the page took a long time to load. Soon, though, it was evident that the first page wasn't that disturbing but still had that "CONSPIRACY THEORY RIGHT HERE!" feel. It talked about how the world's governments were in collusion with some alien race, and how some of our tech actually comes from this alien race who happened to be stuck here.

There was a mention of one of the aliens who had a key to some very powerful weapon. One that could theoretically vaporize the planet.

Amanda scoffed. She wondered how popular this page was, as there were no visible stats to see. She began to wonder if there was some version of Alexa for .onion sites.

Amanda continued reading and found that there were some details that were eerily similar to the book she wrote. It wouldn't have been a problem, except that her book wasn't published yet.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Allium Cepa


Amanda stayed in her apartment all day. She didn't feel like going out, even after she had stayed inside all day sorting her notes.

Todd replaced her door with an old one that was in the basement until he could order some more for the whole apartment.

Trisha had to be somewhere, but she didn't tell her where, and Amanda was too depressed to ask. She figured that Trisha had another art show or she was going to another art show.

Her makeshift table was destroyed and she no longer had a place to sit. So, she laid across her bed with her laptop using a cutting board to keep her laptop from being suffocated by the blankets.

After watching countless of YouTube videos and a Netflix documentary about the Egyptians, she decided to check the stats on her blog.

It went viral again. Tragedy and drama has a tendency to do that.

Again, Amanda sorted through all of the spam first, then the comments. Most were supportive, but she did get a few haters. Quite a few of them were the these-criminals-should-burn-at-the-stake variety.

After an hour of this, she resorted her comments so that the new were first. One comment just had a link, but it wasn't an ordinary link.
 
Amanda knew this link type of link. She quickly wrote the link down and after double checking, she deleted the comment.

She looked at her piece of paper. It had an .onion extension. She was going to need to download a different browser.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

On Key

2015/04/27 8:00 am

What is the problem?!

I get into my apartment to find it torn apart. Apparently, someone really thought that I had something that they wanted. It wasn't my laptop. It wasn't my silverware. As a matter of fact, nothing was taken because whatever it was they wanted doesn't exist!

When I was attacked in Vermont, one of my attackers yelled to give him a key. What key? You want my apartment key, because that's all I have. Well, I also have the old key. You can have that because my old door was replaced after someone destroyed it. I don't even have a car key.

What is your problem? You are an idiot if you believe everything you see on the internet. Worse if you destroy someone's life because you believe the garbage that's out there and want whatever mystical object that someone describes in a blog or website.

I don't know how to explain this to you anymore. I don't think I can convince any ignorant moron that I don't have what they believe in their fantasy world that I have.

I did some research online. It's why I didn't post immediately after the incident. By the time I finished searching for an explanation, it was late and I just went to bed. I couldn't find anything, so I'm going to ask my readers: where can I find the rumor that I have something that would cause them to completely destroy my furniture.

Oh, and I'm not a Russian spy. That rumor is on the internet and it's also not true. I don't understand some people. It's times like these that I wish I could meet these people in person, and read their minds. 

Posted by Amanda. Don't forget to Leave a comment and share

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Talking Dogs


Amanda lay in her new bed. It was morning, but the mattress was so comfortable she didn't really want to get up. She was in the stage where she was aware of her surroundings, but not fully awake. She thought she could hear two men talking. It didn't seem to be English, but she could understand everything they said.

"I don't understand it," One of the voices said, "My partner is a very calm person, but my daughter cannot seem to be still." He sighed, "It doesn't help that she barely registers as a level one."

"You daughter is very creative, " the other voice said. This voice was oddly familiar. "We hadn't had an artist in a long time."

"Says the one whose daughter is still unleveled," the first voice said bitterly.

"Perhaps if my daughter would spend more time with yours, she might help your daughter to level a little more."

"Maybe. I just hope they don't find out about…"

"Hush," the second voice said, "someone's listening. "

"But, but, buh, bark BARK!"

Amanda sat up in bed, thinking she could hear the conversation better. Instead, the voices seemed to turn into the dogs barking outside.

Amanda walked out into her balcony and sure enough, there were two cars parked with their owners talking to each other. Each car contained a dog who took turns barking at each other.

Amanda rubbed the bridge of her nose. These 'waking dreams' were happening more often and it was starting to get to her. At least they weren't happening in the middle of the day.

She checked the clock. 8:00 am. She considered calling the psychologist but thought against it.

They were just dreams, after all, not the same as hallucinations, Amanda thought, just dreams.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Clean Up


After giving Amanda his card, in case she had any questions or she finds something is missing, Detective Gabaldon and his partner left.

Todd poked at the wood where the striker plate used to be.

"I think I will get these doors replaced," Todd said. He spots the striker plate on the floor and picks it up. Studying the piece of metal, he continued, "Ones that are a little more secured."

Amanda stood there for a moment, looking around her apartment. Then she stares sadly at the mound of fluff that used to be her love seat.

"They trashed everything," Amanda said. She didn't have much, but she did like what she had.

"You know, I bet I can find some replacement furniture," Todd said helpfully, "I mean, I know it's not the same, but it's definitely more than nothing."

Amanda nodded and sighed.

"Well, I guess it's time to clean this mess up."

Amanda started to pick up the magazines that were thrown to the floor and Todd left to get some garbage bags.

It took them a few hours sorting and putting things back to where they belong. Her mattress also suffered the same fate as the seating and Todd had to call for a dumpster to dispose of them.

Trisha convinced Amanda to go shopping to replace her sheets that were torn to shreds, and perhaps go out for some real treat. They took a cab and when they got back, there was a new mattress waiting for her.

"Where did this come from?" Amanda asked.

"Mr. Carter thought he could help out a little. While you were gone, he had me order one from the local furniture store," Todd explained.

"And Trisha knew," Amanda said with a smile towards her friend. "Thank you!"

"Well, you know, what are friends for?" Trisha said and they hugged.

Trisha and Amanda cleaned up her bedroom. Todd thought it would be best if he finished the living room and let the women sort through Amanda's potentially private items.

When Amanda and Trisha finally finished, they walked out into a very clean apartment. Todd had a bunch of the index cards in his hand.

"I think these are your notes," he said, "I'm not sure what order they're supposed to be in so I just stacked them onto your counter." He gestured towards the rest of her index cards.

"That's okay, I'll sort them tonight," Amanda said. "Or maybe tomorrow. I need to post to my blog and see if I can find out more about this rumor about some key." Amanda walked to where her notes where and put her hand on them. "Or whatever rumor that happens to be flying around the internet these days."

"That is probably a good idea," Todd said and he walked over to her and hugged her. "I'm going to call my friend and we are going to Vermont as soon as possible."

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Cops


A few minutes after Trisha put her phone away, the elevator dinged. Todd walked out.

"What happened?" He practically ran past Amanda and stepped inside her apartment. Amanda grabbed his arm to stop him from going in further, but he had already stopped and turned towards Amanda.

"What's going on? Are you alright?" Todd asked her.

"I'm," Amanda paused, still trying to process what happened. "I'm not physically injured, anyway."

Todd hugged Amanda.

A few moments later,  Amanda, who had her head buried in Todd's shoulder, heard the elevator ding and then police radio chatter. She looked up to see two police officers walk in. One was dressed in professional attire with his badge on the outside of his sport coat. The other was in uniform, his radio quietly chattering about other calls.

"So, what do we have here?" One of them asked. Amanda recognized the voice. It sounded like the officer that was questioning everyone about Joey's death. His eyes fell on Amanda. He looked confused at first.

"My name is Detective Matthew J. Gabaldon," he said as he held out his hand towards Amanda, "I suspect it was your apartment that was ransacked?"

Amanda took his hand and shook it. "Yeah, I haven't been in yet, I thought it would be best to wait until you were here."

"And you thought right," the detective said and he stepped into the apartment and looked around. "You are the girl from Vermont, right? The one that was attacked recently?"

"Yes," Amanda said. "That's right."

"You said that one of them said something about a key?" He asked.

"Yeah. I guess he thought I had some key and he wanted me to give it to him. I guess it was supposedly some rumor on the internet, she sighted, "I haven't found it anywhere, though." Amanda explained.

The detective nodded. Amanda followed him into the apartment. She was relieved to see that her laptop was seemingly untouched on the table.

"Well, that wasn't taken, whoever was in here was here for something specific." The detective said. He pointed at what used to be her love seat and recliner.

Amanda sighed. "I liked those seats."

The detective finished going through her apartment. In her room, her drawers and its contents were strewn all over her bedroom.

"How long were you out?" The detective asked before leaving.

"Not more than an hour, but I don't have much stuff for anyone to go through, so it probably only took a few minutes."

"Alright, then," the detective said, "if you notice something is missing, let me know. I doubt it, though, I think they are looking for whatever the rumor says you had."

Amanda knew that she will have to find some way to stop this. She looked at her laptop. It was time for another post… after she cleaned up the mess.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Ransacked


While Todd and Amanda were still at the café, the power went out. Todd groaned.

"What?" Amanda asked, "It's a scheduled power outage. They're supposed to be upgrading the transformers on our street, it'll be back on in an hour or so."

Todd sighed. "Just wait and see."

Amanda and Todd walked into the apartment complex. A woman with a child on her hip walks up to Todd and starts yelling at him.

"My power is out! I have to feed my kids!"

"It's a scheduled outage, the entire street is out."

The woman began cursing. "Are you deaf or an idiot? I need my power turned back on!"

"The entire street is out," Amanda repeated slowly, "I know it sucks, but you need to call the power company, they'll tell you the same thing."

The woman gave Amanda a dirty look. Amanda gave no expression back.

Finally the woman gave up and walked away mumbling about incompetence and that she needed the power to watch her show.

Todd waited until the woman was out of an earshot and said under his breath to Amanda, "She's not the only one like that here."

Then he said in a normal voice, "Well, I do have a lot more work to do and it looks like I'll be on this floor for a while."

Amanda hit the button on the elevator. She could hear someone else cursing down the hall. "Why isn't my microwave working?! And my TV? Why's the TV off?!"

Amanda quickly stepped onto the open elevator. She turned to see Todd with "Put me out of my misery now?" look on his face as the elevator doors closed.

As soon at the elevator doors opened up, she knew something was wrong. She could see her apartment door and it looked off.

As she approached her apartment she saw that her door was slightly opened. The striker was missing and the wood where it used to be was damaged. Her paced quickened and she opened the door to see her apartment a mess.

She heard the elevator dinged and she turned to see Trisha, on her phone, step out. She puts her phone in her pocket and looks up and smiles when she sees Amanda.

"Hey Aman…" Trisha says and stops. She sees the shocked look on her face. "What's wrong?"

Trisha walked over to where Amanda was standing and they both looked inside her apartment. She then immediately took her phone out and started dialing.

Amanda started to walk inside to assess the damage, then realized that maybe she should wait until the cops showed up.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Grilled

"Get ready, we are going to breakfast at the café."

Amanda was taken aback by the tone. Todd stood in the hallway and Amanda, still in her pajamas and her robe held the door open.

"Um, okay?" Amanda said.

She let Todd in and he sat at the table. She slipped into the bedroom to get dressed.

After a few moments, she came out in her usual: not so casual jeans and a basic v-neck t-shirt.

"Okay, I'm ready to go," Amanda said and they headed out.

They walked mostly in silence. Todd was lost in his thoughts. When they were waiting to cross the street, Amanda finally spoke up.

"Is there something wrong?" She asked.

"There's a lot of stress with my job with the apartment complex. I really need to talk to someone, but not about work," Todd responded. He turned to her and smiled. She was enamored with his smile wasn't paying attention to the walk signal. He nudged her and she snapped back to reality. She was a little relieved, because she thought she did something and didn't feel like dealing with an angry Todd again.

When they got to the café, it was very busy, so it took a while for a table to be cleared for them.
They finally sat down with their food, "Your book is a little open ended." Todd said.

"Oh yeah, it was intentional," Amanda responded, "I have more planned."

Todd nodded, "Well, the publishers have it now, but I would still work on the second book."

"I am," Amanda trailed off. "But, it seems that I've encountered a writer's block."

"Really?" Todd said, "What, you've stopped dreaming?"

Amanda was a little surprised that Todd wasn't mocking her, but was asking out of concern.

"Not exactly. Most of my recent dreams are more abstract. Like cities, some sort of transportation system, and outer space. There's no plot to them. No dialogue." She didn't tell him about the vault or Brian Lane being in the dream.

"Transportation system?" Todd ask.

"Yeah," Amanda chuckled. "It actually looked pretty awesome in my dream. It was in a tube and I think it was pressurized or it used magnets. I couldn't hear the track, so I know the car was hovering. The last time I tried to see the car the dream changed."

Todd became really silent for a moment, most likely lost in thought again. They both finished their meals.

Finally Todd spoke up, "When you have these dreams, how do you feel?"

Amanda thought for a moment. "I don't remember. They're just dreams really. Kind of like mind movies, I guess."

Todd stared at her. Amanda started to feel uncomfortable and Todd apologized, looking away.

"I'm going to talk to my friend," Todd said, "We'll leave for Vermont, if all goes well, by the end of the week."

Monday, March 13, 2017

City


It was a beautiful city. The large support beams flew overhead rather quickly as Amanda travelled down the glass tube. It took a few moments, but eventually in riding this tube, Amanda realized she was dreaming. She took advantage of this knowledge and looked around.

She can see the city to her right. Large buildings towered over the domed buildings. She thought that the city looked deserted.

She looked forward in time to see the glass tube stop on the side of the mountain. She steps off onto a platform and turns to see what she came out of. Instead of some car or train, she sees a long hallway. After looking around, she realized that she wasn't in the same area any more.

The hallway seemed endless, but finally Amanda reaches a large vault that was sealed. She stared at it feeling fear and dread. She was supposed to do something, but she couldn't remember what it was. It was something important.

Amanda woke up and sat up, putting her feet onto the floor. What was it that was so important? She wondered. Why was I so afraid?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Mental


"Trisha! You're back!" Todd called out as the girls walked in to the Apartment complex. Amanda and Trisha came back from browsing the art show down the road.

"I bet you can use a coffee break," Amanda said. "Why don't you come up to my apartment?"

"Actually I could use a break," Todd responded and he followed the girls into the elevator.

In the apartment, Amanda plugged in her Keurig and took the box of coffee pods out of her cabinet. Trisha opened the fridge and grabbed the cream, and Todd grabbed the sugar out of the cabinet. They both put their items onto the table.

"You know, it's that website Amanda made for me that got me so popular," Trisha said. "The traffic from your blog really helped… Maybe a little too much. I've been running around cross country in meet-and-greets and interviews and now I'm exhausted."

"Humblebrag much?" Amanda teased.

"I am acknowledging that I wouldn't have done it without you, really," Trisha responded and nudged her just before sitting down. "But it is your fault that I'm so tired."

Trisha continued on about her trip for a little while. She talked about the places she's seen and the people she met.

Finally, there was a pause in the conversation. Todd got up to make himself a second cup of coffee. Amanda took a the moment to speak up.

"I may have to see my psychiatrist again," Amanda said.

They both looked at her and got very quiet. The Keurig hissed as it forced the last bit of water through the pod.

"Why is that?" Todd finally said as he grabbed his cup of coffee and sat down.

"I've been hallucinating." Amanda now realized that she didn't know what to say. How could she describe it? "It stopped for a few months, but today I thought I saw someone watching me."

"Oh, gawd, it isn't Brian is it?" Trisha exclaimed.

"No, it wasn't Brian," Amanda said, "It was a woman. She was there, and I blinked, and she was gone. In hindsight, I could have sworn some people have walked right through her."

Trisha and Todd looked at each other, concerned.

"It was just a moment," Todd said, "And you have been under some stress. Perhaps you should hold off a little."

Amanda shook her head. "This time it was only a moment. The last time I lost at least a half hour."

"What was that hallucination, out of curiosity?" Todd asked

"I don't quite remember, but I think it was some sort of glass tunnel. It was like I was going through it, but that wasn't the only one."

Todd and Trisha exchanged glances.

"Amanda," Todd said, "I still think you should hold off. Just for a little while. It may be…" He trailed off.

"It may be that it was a one-time incident," Trisha finished Todd's sentence, "It's been a few months before, it may not happen again for a while."

"But if it does," Todd continues, "Come to us and we'll help you out."

"I'll even drive you to your appointment," Trisha said.

"Well, he's in walking distance, but thanks," Amanda said. "I guess I will wait to see if there are any more problems, but I don't want to wait until I do something stupid. I mean, what if I have a hallucination that someone is attacking me?"

Amanda noticed that Todd and Trisha looked mortified.

"Okay, that's like saying, 'What if I get hit by a meteor?' I'm probably worrying about it too much. I'll wait, but if I get any more hallucinations, I will be checking in."

Todd looked relieved, but Trisha seemed a little nervous still.

"Just let me know first," Todd said. "You don't want to go without some support from your friends."

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Blink

Amanda helped Trisha put her things away. Afterwards, they decided to go out for ice cream.

They pass by an art show first.

"Afterwards, let's stop here," Trisha said gesturing towards the building.

Amanda nodded in agreement. It was good to be able to go out with her best friend after not seeing her for a while.

Amanda picked out her favorite flavor, chocolate peanut butter chunk in a dish. Trisha got chocolate chip cookie dough in a waffle cone.

"I thought you were going gluten free," Amanda said in a mocking tone and pointed to the cone. "That. Is not. Gluten free."

"I know," Trisha said. "I'm weak, so sue me." With that she took a lick of her cone and followed Amanda outside.

Amanda chuckled. Trisha will be Trisha, she thought.

At that moment she looked across the street. There stood a familiar looking woman, staring at her. Amanda looked back at her and blinked. The woman was gone.

"What?," Trisha said as she followed Amanda's gaze, "is that moron Lane here?"

"Uh, what?" Amanda said then she realized that it might have been a hallucination. "Um, no. I'm fine. I just thought I saw something odd. My brain is playing tricks on me again."

Trisha shrugged and started to walk towards the art exhibit.

Amanda knew that this was going to be a problem.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Catching Up

Amanda reviewed a post on her blog that she had submitted the previous night. It was about her water dream.

Most comments were about their own experiences with dreams but a few offered interpretations.

"Water is usually a symbol for emotion," one commenter said, "The box might be something you're protecting from your emotions as you push yourself through them."

Amanda found this concept interesting. She decided to give it more thought and closed her laptop. It was time to check her snail-mail.

As she closed the door behind her she saw Trisha struggle to get her stuff out of the elevator. Trisha, in her usual fashion, packed what appeared to be the entire contents of her apartment.

"Need help?" Amanda asked as she walked over.

"Please?" Trisha asked.

Amanda stood in front of the doors to prevent them from closing, then she began putting the bags into the hallway. Trisha took that as a cue to move the bags from the hallway into her apartment.

When they were done they sat at Trisha's table to talk about what has happened since the last time they've seen each other. Trisha joked that her life was much more quiet when she didn't have her website. Apparently her fantasy art was a hit and now she won't have to worry about bills for a while.

Finally Amanda told her about Brian Lane.

"What?! He had a lot of nerve," Trisha said, "Why would he do something like that?"

"Well, he did apologize," Amanda said thoughtfully.

"But what did he really want?" Trisha said. "Kinds like that don't just apologize."

"Kinds like that?" Amanda echoed.

"Well, c'mon, now," Trisha said, "He put whatever emergency he had over the safety of others. Even he said that he had the opportunity to call the authorities."

"It was in the heat of the moment," Amanda said.

"It wasn't spontaneously done," Trisha said. "He followed you for months. You mean to tell me that not once did it cross his mind to tell someone who can stop it?"

Amanda sighed, Trisha was right. So if it weren't to apologize, what did he want?

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Found a Way

Amanda decided that she was going to Vermont as soon as possible. She'll inform Todd, then get the tickets later that day. At least that was the plan.

She heard a knock on the door. She opened it to find Todd smiling broadly.

"I have some really good news and really good news," He said. Amanda stepped aside to let him in but he declined.

"I have a million things to do today and they were all supposed to be done yesterday." Todd explained then continued, "The good news, is that the publishing company contacted me and your book is up for review. "

"But you aren't sure if they're going to publish it," Amanda said.

"At least they didn't just shelve it. Do you know how many submissions there are? Most don't even get looked at."

Amanda nodded, "In that case, that is good news. What's the really good news?"

Todd smiled, "I had a friend who owed me a favor. It turns out that he flies his own jet and charters it out. He agreed to fly us to Vermont when we are ready to go. This means less fuss and we can get away with not telling anyone."

Now this was good news. "Wow," Amanda said, " I was just about to talk to you about that. I'm relieved you found a way."

"So am I," Todd said, "I was concerned that you would have gone without me." He took a step back as if he was going to leave but then stopped. "I have a lot of work to do in the next few weeks, so we won't be able to go until I'm done, but we will go. You'll have to be patient."

"I can be patient," Amanda said. Todd turned to leave. "And Thanks!" Amanda called after him. He glanced over his shoulder and gave her a smile.

Amanda leaned up against the door thinking, He better get over those issues soon.

Friday, March 3, 2017

All Wet

Amanda watched as large underwater bubbles float past her from somewhere below. She was dreaming again.

She can see that it's almost sunset and she realized that she had very little time so she goes underwater. At this point, she realized that she held a box. She clutched the box to her chest and propelled herself forward towards the shore. She looked up over the water to see if she was closer, take a breath, then go back under and just shoot forward while clutching the box.

She continue to do this until she reached the shore.

Amanda woke up. Compared to her other dreams, this one was fairly tame. She sat up in bed and looked out the window. As tame as it was, it was still so realistic. Why would she be dreaming of this?

Maybe I was some form of dolphin before I lost my memory. Amanda laughed. It was absurd.

Even though Amanda knew it was just a dream, there was something about it that bothered her. She replayed it over and over again in her head. It was the box. She remember dreaming about it before.

She has to get back to Vermont.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Angry

Amanda took a sip of her coffee while she waited for Todd.

"You know," Amanda said as he sat down across from her, "Just a coffee with cream only takes  a minute. You're likely to get it sooner as the cashier will make it while the other guy makes the complicated drinks.

"Yeah, but that," Todd said pointing to Amanda's basic coffee with cream, "I can make at home. My Grande-two-shot-five-pumps-chocolate-whole-milk-extra-whipped-cream-mocha is easier to buy it here than it is to make it at home.

"Yeah, but it's almost $5!" Amanda said.

"Yeah, I know you miser." Todd said teasingly and took a sip of his coffee. "Have you had any migraines recently?

"No, not at all. Which is odd. I was having some serious problems soon after we got home, but then it all stopped." Amanda didn't feel comfortable mentioning the fact that they stopped right after their falling out. She also didn't want to mention the dream she had afterwards.

After a pause she said, "You know, I don't think it will be a problem with me walking here anymore. I don't think I'll get a migraine anytime soon."

"Oh? What about Brian Lane?"

Amanda held her coffee in midair as she was about to take another sip. When the name came up, she immediately remembered the dream.

"I'm not afraid of him," She said slowly as she set her cup down. She was having a difficult time trying to find the right words to convey her thoughts.

"I'm just angry with him," Amanda said finally.

"Well, that's understandable," Todd said, "After all, he did violate your trust in people."

"No," Amanda said slowly, still trying to figure her own mind out. "That's not it. It's like I want to blame him for all of my problems, everything from my migraines to misplacing my phone this morning. It's weird."

"You want to blame him for your migraines?" Todd asked flatly. He sounded tense.

"Well, yeah, sort of." Amanda was surprised at Todd's demeanor, "But that's crazy, though. I've only seen him twice and I haven't had a migraine since." Amanda shifted in her chair and then added, "He certainly didn't have anything to do with my phone falling in between the love seat cushions." Amanda chuckled, trying to lighten things up.

Amanda was relieved to see Todd relax a little. He took another sip of his coffee. She decided to try to change the subject.

"Have you submitted my book yet?" Amanda asked.

Todd did submit it, but hasn't heard back. They talked about how some publishers miss out by rejecting good books that make millions later.

In the back of Amanda's mind, she still couldn't stop thinking of Todd's reaction. It seemed that every time that she mentioned Brian Lane, Todd would get a little hostile, just like she would every time she thought of that dream.