Monday, April 18, 2016

917C - 4 - Cryptograph

I twisted the key clockwise and slid the chain into position, completely locking my front door. Without a moment of hesitation, I changed out of my soaking wet clothing and put on something much more comfortable. I didn't plan on going out anymore tonight, so I wore one of my many sets of pajamas that happen to take up the majority of my clothing selection. I believe they may actually be the most comfortable thing I own.
I collapsed onto my bed, lying on my back while gazing off blankly into the ceiling above my head. I was still somewhat shaken from the events that happened prior to coming home. Suddenly losing eight hours of your life without really knowing why is mysterious enough, but feeling so tired and out of balance just adds to the confusion. It really makes me wonder if what I experienced wasn't a loss of time at all, but instead a sudden acquisition of time in a different location. That location of course, was unknown. Much like the reasons why any of it happened in the first place.
I replayed the events in my mind, trying to figure out how I fit in to all of it. I played no role in that foreign place other than a spectator who simply watched as the events played out before them. It was oddly reflective of my real world experiences, allowing me full freedom without repercussions purely based on the fact that nobody takes the time or feels any need to notice my somewhat irresponsible, yet insignificant, actions. This strange experience has brought light onto what is possibly the most convenient phenomenon in existence, but simultaneously the ultimate double edged sword.
I raised my arms and extended my hands forward, reaching for the ceiling. I concentrated on so-called "otherworldly thoughts" as I attempted to access the unknown, an alternate universe, or some form of ethereal dimension that was somehow locked away deep within my own subconscious. I wasn't sure if it was a place that actually existed, or one that I could only visit through my dreams. I doubted the legitimacy of my unrealistic actions, but continued on without hesitation.
My intense concentration was swiftly interrupted by a light tapping noise coming from the sliding door. Being relatively startled by the sound, I quickly sat up and looked through the glass door. Outside on my balcony stood a small multicolored duck. Its head was cocked at a slight angle, and its eyes were staring directly into mine. I wasn't sure why, but the creature didn't bother me at all. However much like my last visitor, I let them stay outside.
With almost uncanny convenience, I was interrupted by the ring of my doorbell. I looked at the duck standing in the rain, "What do think?" I asked calmly, "Should I answer it?"
The duck rose its wings and shook the rain water off of itself.

An adequate response.

I decided to leave the door alone and lean back against the wall, carefully watching the duck outside. It observed me with its head cocked at a slight angle, making skittish little movements every couple of seconds.
I heard another knock at the door. The little duck quickly shifted its gaze towards the back of the room, let out a short quack, and then looked back at me.
"Yeah... Me too..." I whispered. I sighed and rubbed my eyes before turning to look at the door. Someone must really want to see me, but they couldn't have caught me at a worse time.
I stayed seated on my bed as I watched the door. After about a minute, there was another knock, followed by a voice calling from beyond the door.
"Hello?" There were more knocks, "I really need to talk to you!" It was a man's voice, but I couldn't recognize it. "I need to explain what is going to happen!" he continued.
This caught my attention. I looked over at the duck, who rapidly looked back and forth between the door and I. I slowly rose from my bed and took a few steps towards the door, making sure I didn't make a sound as I moved.
"I understand that you are confused!" shouted the voice from beyond the door. He was right, I wasn't sure what was going on and was having a particularly difficult time grasping on to what was actually real. For all I knew, I just witnessed an assassination in the dark ages, but here I am standing in a modern 21st Century apartment building.
"But you must understand I am only here to help!" the man outside continued to shout.

I recognized the voice.

It was the man who visited me earlier today. It had to be. I recognized the subtle remnants of a foreign accent that lingered on his words. Perhaps he grew up with a British family? Regardless, it had to be him.
"Very well! I understand!" he shouted. This is not the first time he told me that he "understood" something. What does he understand? What is it that pushes this man to seek me out multiple times this day?
"I'll give you this. I'm pretty sure you'll be able to figure it out!" he spoke softer, but still loud enough to be heard from behind the door.
I hesitated. As much as I wanted to open the door and interrogate this man, I couldn't bring myself to do it. What was I thinking, going after him? How would I have acted had I run in to him outside. I would have lost it, not to mention I was totally defenseless...
At the bottom of the door, I watched a small pink sheet of paper slide in to my room from underneath the door. I was frozen in place, and had no intention of moving until I was positive the man had left.
"I don't wanna have to try this again! Please, do your best!"
Unsure of what he was talking about, I stared at the sheet of paper in horror. What was pushing this man to come on to me in such a manner? I waited, and listened carefully for any more comments from the man outside.
I inched forward, taking extra caution in every step I took. I could not allow the man to be aware of my existence. As I approached the door, I leaned forward and looked through the peephole. I saw no signs of anybody outside.

He must have left.

I wasn't sure what to do. I glanced down at the slip of paper at my feet, debating my next action.
I took a deep breath and bent downward, picking up the small pink sheet. It was not very large at all, maybe only half the size of a full sheet of paper. It was wide ruled and seemed to be ripped on one side, meaning it was most likely taken out of a notebook or something. I do recall the man having a backpack with him during our first encounter.
I walked back to my room, as I examined the sheet. I quickly came to realize that I was unable to read any of the writing on one side of it. It seemed to be written in 3 different languages, all of which I couldn't decipher. On the other side of the sheet, there were two "words" which were made up of letters I recognized.


As for what this meant, I had no idea. I highly doubt this was anything written in english, and even if it was, it had to be some form of encrypted text. There are far too many polyalphabetic and alphanumeric ciphers that exist to immediately understand what could be written here. I do happen to be relatively experienced in the field of decrypting and reading alternate alphabets, but I wasn't doing such a great job of keeping my hopes up.
When I was in elementary school, I spent a lot of time writing and solving different codes with my father. It became a sort of game between us, where we would each write some sort of weird amalgamation of letters and numbers and the other would have to figure out what it meant. I quickly realized how much I enjoyed figuring out that sort of thing, and eventually made multiple careers out of it working for different types of security or intelligence services. Unfortunately these particular "languages" that I learned never transferred over to anything that might help me out in a foreign country. I only really "spoke" in English, just in a bunch of different formats.
I returned to my bedroom and sat down at my desk, carefully looking at the sheet of paper. There wasn't any resulting anagram that I noticed. I tried the classic Atbash, or "mirrored alphabet" cipher, but I couldn't get anything out of "LIBEIRI TFIA" at all.
Just then, my computer screen, which was already on, flashed a couple random colors. I was immediately alarmed, considering I have set up a number of defense measures on my own personal network. Someone breaking in would be pretty impossible, regardless of how outdated my systems are. I hesitated for a moment and continued to watch. I got nervous and started looking around my room.

Outside my window, the duck stood completely still.

There was no sign of anything else happening. Perhaps the video cables connecting to my monitor where going bad. I honestly wouldn't be surprised considering I picked it up at a pretty shady secondhand shop. I stood up and poked my head forward, giving me a better angle on the mess of cords going into the back of my computer. I reached around with my hands and quickly got hold of the VGA cable and carefully unscrewed it. I did the same on the other end, which was plugged into my monitor.
To my surprise, when I looked back into my monitor, the picture hadn't gone away. The monitor, receiving no video signal, displayed my desktop as clear as day. I began feeling uneasy as I contemplated the possibilities of what could be going on. Having come up with no conclusion, I decided to power off the monitor. After waiting for about 20 seconds, I pressed the button to turn it on again.
The screen flickered for a moment. None of the splash screens appeared. Instead, a large "13" in bright white text filled nearly the entire screen space.


It is a relatively old letter substitution cipher that essentially "rotates" the alphabet forward by 13 spaces, turning A into N, B into O, and so on. I think it originated somewhere on the internet within forums and different communities. I don't recall it being too popular or really even that useful unless you just wanted to hide something that you didn't want people to immediately be able to read, but still, people used it. Apparently one of those people is the mysterious man outside my apartment building.
I looked once more at the sheet of paper the man slid underneath my door. After converting the original letters, I ended up with what I can only assume was the intended message.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

917C - 3 - Eight Hours

The night sky was rapidly torn apart by the numerous bolts of electricity thundering throughout the clouds. The cobblestone walls were coated in a slick glaze from the rainwater that poured from overhead. Narrow dirt passageways between buildings quickly turned into sloshy trenches of mud while the occasional rooftop released a thin stream of smoke from deep within the dwelling. The howling wind overpowered the commotion among the multiple spectators standing in front of the town's announcement stage. Upon it stood a man whose hands were bound behind his back. The thin cloth robes were drenched in rainwater as his frail body was visibly shivering in discomfort and agony. Beside him was another man, however this one stood proudly above the other. His glistening armor clammored together as he raised his arms and removed the ornate helmet from his head. His lengthy silver hair accompanied his face's soft features as his beautiful blue eyes stared deeply into the crowd before him.
"My people! It has come to my attention that a traitor is among us!" He announced to the crowd, shouting loud enough to overpower the rainfall. "I have called you all here to witness something." The man reached to his side and began sliding his rapier out of its sheath.
A hush of anticipation ran over the crowd as the man raised his sword. The storm was loud enough to conceal the footsteps of a lone figure running across the rooftops, brandishing an elaborate dagger that reflected in the moonlight. Their appearance was hidden by a dark matted cloak which trailed through the wind behind them as they ran.
Alarmed screams feintly broke through the showering sounds of rain, causing the man weilding the sword to look around frantically. He lowered his sword and shouted out in fear "What!? What is it!?"
The audience continued to scream in an inaudible amalgamation of horror. Flailing arms and fingers frantically pointed towards the rooftops behind the stage. The swordsman shifted his footing and began to turn around.
The cloaked crusader leaped from the rooftops, quickly falling towards the armored man on the stage. Before he could make any move to defend himself, he was swiftly trampled by his airborne opponent.
The ironclad executioner crashed to the ground, dropping his sword beside him. He struggled beneath the mysterious person's weight, twisting an turning in an attempt to escape their seemingly unbreakable hold. The dagger wielder raised their weapon into the air, and stared into the blue eyes beneath them. In one swift brutal motion, the assassin plunged the knife down into the man's horrified face.

I felt my arms shake, triggering my entire body to follow up on a similar action. I opened my eyes slowly. My memory wasn't serving me well. I felt disoriented and confused. What happened? Had I fallen asleep?
I was still in the coffee shop. I was sitting in a large, comfortable chair. My cup of tea was on a small table next to me. The girl on the couch was nowhere to be found, but most everybody remained in their same locations. The fact that not one of them seemed to notice me in the slightest was still very obvious. Chances are that I just fell asleep in front of all of them. The one person I knew was nowhere to be found, so as far as I was concerned, everything was ok. It was considerably foolish of me to accidentally fall asleep in front of someone I just stole a lot of money from, but luck seemed to be on my side. I'm not complaining.
Calling my otherworldly experience a "dream" still felt so strange to me. Maybe I actually did just fall asleep, but it was hard to believe. The whole scene felt strangely realistic. A vivid image of the armor wearing man was burned into my head. Was he someone I had met before?
I decided to let it pass for the moment and checked the time on my cellphone.
6:26 PM.
Holy hell.
That doesn't make sense... If that was true, I was asleep for almost the entire day! It had to be some time around 10 or 11 when I walked in the coffee shop... There's no way! Something must have happened!
I quickly got out of my chair, leaving my teacup behind. I navigated my way through the maze of tables and chairs, being careful not to bump into anybody. I walked straight out the door and was immediately confronted with a dense barrage of rainfall, not too different from the scenery surrounding the silver knight of my apparent "dream". The streets were ravaged with chaos. The remnants of the dog festival ran all around the block, occasionally carrying their pets if their size allowed for it. Accompanying the mess of people running through the town was a parade of ducks marching proudly through the wet streets. It was more than unusual, but in my situation, oddly reassuring. It led my mind to believe that something had actually happened while I was inside the coffee shop. As for what happened, I had no idea. All I knew was that the town of Collingwood apparently turns upside down whenever it rains.
Doing my best to steer clear of the madness, which wasn't particularly easy, I made my way through the street towards home. I was entirely focused on my footing, making sure I didn't step on any dogs, ducks, or other dangers.
I turned left from Baker street on to Stanley, passing by the local graveyard which, might I add, was full of ducks.
I stayed close to the graffiti stained walls of the parking deck as I powered through the rainstorm towards my apartment. The multiple cryptic messages written in green, purple, and red accompanied me as I moved along the slippery sidewalks. Collingwood Heights, my current home, came into view through the overshadowing barrier of rain. I pushed onward, arms in front of my face to maintain a clear view of the path ahead of me.
Collingwood's lobby was never too active. This evening, it was more crowded than I had ever seen it. Most of the people inside didn't seem to be residents. Anybody who lived here would have gone to their rooms, not waste their time hanging around the lobby. The various temporary inhabitants must be waiting for the rain to pass, however I feel like they will be waiting for quite some time. It didn't make much sense to me why you would choose an apartment building of all places to wait out a rainstorm. Not only would you get in the way of people actually living there, but I feel like it would be incredibly mundane. Considering there are multiple restaurants around town, not to mention the rediculous lesbian bar right next to the apartment, why stand around in here? Thinking back on the subject, I probably should have stopped at that little pizza place on my way back. I apparently hadn't had anything to eat for what? 8 hours? The more I thought about it, the more impossible it began to seem.
I pushed through the crowded lobby and arrived at the elevator. I was the one of the two passengers inside the cramped box. Next to me stood a very peculiar older woman. Trying to be somewhat conscious of my actions, I gave her a short wave. Her lack of response wasn't really a surprise at all. I feel like many people are either turned off by me or have too many disgusted emotions pent up inside them to make any effort to interact with me. Perhaps its just other people's pure laziness or the lack of interest in general conversation. Bizarre. I didn't let it bother me, I was used to it. I stayed my same quiet self and rode the elevator upward to the 12th floor.
The elevator doors opened, and I left the woman by herself as I heard the door close shut behind me.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

917C - 2 - A Touching Reunion

Everything was quiet. The only sound to be heard was my own nervous breathing. I looked at the doorknob, realizing my hand was gripping it tightly. I took a deep breath and allowed myself to relax. I reached for the sliding chain, and clicked the lock into place.
I never have done well confronting those who interrogate me, but this was unlike anything I had ever experienced. Requesting to stay in someone else's apartment isn't totally unheard of, but going all the way to the top floor to do so makes little to no sense at all. Also, something about the way he talked seemed like he wanted to talk to me in particular. I highly doubt that he actually went through every apartment building asking if he could stay with the multiple different owners. He would have surely been kicked out if that was the case. Saying I wasn't interested in his "long story" would undoubtedly be a lie, yet something about the whole situation turned me away from listening to it.
Curiosity got the best of me and I leaned forward, pressing my ears against the door to listen for any movement outside.
I heard nothing.
Instead of forgetting him and leaving the door, I began moving towards the peephole for closer inspection. I turned my head, preparing myself for whatever I may see, and looked through.
I saw the man, "Simon" as he called himself, standing outside the door. He looked slightly worried in the same sporadic manner as his initial introduction. I got a feeling he didn't completely know what he was doing. His actions seemed very unprofessional, possibly justifying his bizarre choice of room to invade. I came to the general conclusion that he had never really done this sort of thing before, but the reason as to why he was going about it through this particular course of action was still very unclear.
He looked around in pretty much every direction, hesitantly pacing around with uneven steps. He stopped for a moment, obviously thinking to himself before he eventually left my slightly extended field of vision.


I took it upon myself to begin my own little private investigation on the subject. My genuine curiosity would not allow me to do otherwise. It would probably be for the better, to be honest. Surfing general news boards and reading mediocre headlines wouldn't provide me with the information I needed, so I couldn't do any of my remote investigation until I had a manageable setup.
No worries.
This operation would just have to begin a little bit differently than those in the past. I quickly looked around my room for any sort of starting point. My eyes immediately landed on the telescope I knew so well.
It sat within the small bit of sunlight that leaked through the curtains. I rushed over and quickly opened them, revealing the rest of the world beyond my window. I turned the small handle and slid open the door. I moved outside onto the balcony, making sure to bring my telescope with me.
Directly below me I could see a strikingly large amount of cars moving through Collingwood Avenue. I slowly shifted my gaze upward towards the horizon as the rooftops of the buildings across the street came into view. I turned a little to the left and spotted the gigantic park. From the looks of things, there seemed to be a pretty massive event happening down there.
This sort of thing was very unusual, and because of the situation, very interesting.
I angled my telescope towards the trees and leaned into position.
The park came into view and I slowly pointed my telescope around, surveying the area completely. From the excessive amount of people walking their dogs around, the loud music playing, and the giant poster reading "McAllister Park Dog Festival", I feel like it was pretty easy to assume what was going on here. This also would explain the unusual amount of cars rushing about.
Today really isn't a good day to investigate. Businesses would be crowded, people wouldn't have time to stop and chat, and the music...
On second thought, I would probably be able to move around without being spotted. I would be one of the masses, just out enjoying a festival. That way, our unknown man wouldn't be able to find me so easily... Yes... Maybe...
I decided on going out. There were plenty of other things I could do during this time away from my apartment. I returned to my desk chair one final time and sat down for a moment, thinking to myself in silence. There wasn't really anything I needed to bring along that I didn't already have on me. I did one giant final scan of the room, searching for anything else that could be of use. Upon finding nothing of the sort, I made my way to the front door once again. I slid the little chain lock out of its position, opened the door, and left my room.
I moved down the small cramped hallway with caution. Any sign of our mysterious "apartment squatter" and I would have to change things up a bit. Luckily, I managed to make it all the way to the bottom of the winding staircase without a single encounter. Everybody must be out with their dogs today. I made my way through the crowded streets, steering clear of the festival for now. It wouldn't help me at all, really. Maybe if I needed to disappear, but I doubt that would need to happen. People seem to forget my existence quick enough as it is.
Instead, I went in the opposite direction. The street that lead towards a coffee shop close to the edge of town. Its a very small place called Chivo's House, owned by none other than, well... Chivo. He opened the place on his own and has yet to pass it on to someone else, not that he needs to.

I slid through the crowd of people, mostly looking at my feet the entire time, until I was right next to the door. I turned the handle and entered the room.
The quiet atmosphere was relieving compared to that of the outside streets. The smell of assorted hot beverages the barista had concocted drifted throughout the entire room. I took my seat at a table not far from the bar itself and looked at the menu beyond the counter. Hot tea sounded very nice. My gaze drifted to the right and I noticed the price. $4.00 for a cup. This is when the sudden horrific reminder kicked me directly in the teeth. I was essentially broke. I had no money with me at all.
How on earth could I have made such a mistake!?
My short moment of panic had me frantically turning around and looking in every direction for a source of redemption for my own foolishness. I was enraged at my own self, determined to find a solution.
"excuse me ma'am is everything alright?"
Oh no.
The man behind the counter was giving me quite a questionable look. Yes, I lost control of myself for a moment. That happens a lot more than I would like to admit. I would like to imagine I had a look of maniacally distressed anger and self loathing running throughout my entire body. It was only logical for the man to be concerned. I made no effort to reply and instead immediately looked to the floor and began thinking things out in a more logical fashion.
Ignoring the barista, I looked around the room and took note of every person in the front end of the store. One man sat in the very corner reading a book, history from the looks of it. A young girl seemed to be asleep on the couch by the window, completely detached from her environment. It was oddly relatable in a sense. The rest of the people seemed pretty average, looking on laptops or reading newspapers. It was only once I turned to my side that I noticed one very important person. She was a middle aged girl standing near a public ATM beside the bar. I had met her before.
I used to work part time at a grocery store back before I moved to Collingwood. During my less than awesome experience bagging groceries and cleaning up after careless customers, my working hours were only brightened by the one friend I managed to make on the job. Her name was Penny Lane, and she made a connection with me like no other. The only issue is that it was all for show. You see, she was a con artist of sorts, and I was a victim of her schemes. Through a complex method of manipulation, she somehow convinced our boss to fire me and give all my previous paychecks to her.
Essentially, she stole a the two things I have never accurately experienced, money and a genuine friendship.
To add insult to injury, Penny Lane deleted her profiles on every form of social media and changed her phone number. She then disappeared from my life.
Her sudden reappearing happened to occur at an incredibly convenient time. I needed money, and she hadn't seen me yet. Perfect.
I waited patiently for her to finish doing whatever money management, probably involving stolen currency, she needed to do. After a good, solid minute she turned away and headed toward the back of the shop, passing by me completely. Considering she skipped the bar, it was safe to assume she was headed to the bathroom. I would now make my move.
I got up from my chair and casually walked over to the ATM. Judging by the outdated interface, it was probably manufactured sometime around 2002. I have found that the older something is, the easier it is to manipulate. An ATM from 2002 would be absolutely no problem.
Instead of swiping my card like any normal person would do, I began my process by taking my cellphone out of my pocket. I ran an application I had programmed a couple years back. It does a scan within a general radius of the phone and displays any potential systems I can take control of remotely. After completing the scan, a couple things showed up on the list, the ATM being one of them. Its menus provided me with a range of useful information. The key bit here, was the "Last used by:" section. The one in question's name was clearly displayed as Penny C. Lane.
I knew it. I wouldn't ever mistake her. Not a chance.
I proceeded to gain her access codes along with a very large chunk of other personal information. Then I got to do what I had wanted to do for a very long time. Using my cell phone in combination with the access codes I had just acuired, I successfully broke into her bank account.
I wasn't surprised to see a scarily large amount of money in her posession. Most of it was probably money that had been stolen, if not all of it. I took no hesitation in removing a good two thousand dollars from the girl's posessions. I wasn't worried about her finding out now. I already knew too much for her liking.
I put the money in my pockets and turned around. Everybody seemed to be caught up in their books, computers, and newspapers to put any bit of care onto a woman using an ATM. Spectacular.
I walked away from the ATM and returned to the barista. He looked at me with a bit of awkward confusion about him. I stood before him full of confidence and pride. I smiled at the man and spoke my one request.

"One hot tea please. I'll leave the flavor to you."

Saturday, August 8, 2015

917C - 1 - Unexpected Visitor

The day started just like any other before it.
I opened my eyes, seeing the same ceiling I always do.
When I originally moved into Collingwood Heights, I was given a selection of three rooms, all of which had previously been occupied. I have always enjoyed the feeling of being higher up in a building, rather than close to the ground like I was so used to. I let my personal desires for an apartment get the best of me, and ended up choosing the highest living space they offered me, Room 917C.
I am on the 12th floor. Being up this high lets me get a better view on everything around the city. Looking off my balcony is a frequent past time of mine. I can see all the way to the edge of the city if I try hard enough. Luckily, I don't have to rely on my own eyes for this. I was given a telescope for my 18th birthday. At first I didn't much care for it, but over the past 3 years of owning it I have learned to love it.
My room isn't too fancy, but I don't dislike it at all. I have a couple bookshelves in one corner, mostly coding manuals and fantasy stories, and a desk beside the sliding glass doors which lead out to the balcony. The telescope is placed right in front of the glass doors. There is a short hallway outside my bedroom door that leads to a small bathroom and opens up into a main living room that is linked to a kitchen.
I rolled over in my bed so that my body faced the digital clock on my bed-side table. 7:30 AM.
Personally, I felt like going back to sleep, so I did.

I woke up again at 9:30 AM. Good enough.
I got out of bed, still holding my blanket around myself like some sort of cloak. I had the air conditioner running all night, so my room was rather cold. I dragged my feet across the chilled wooden floor as I slowly moved towards my bedroom door. As I entered the hallway, I made an immediate right, causing me to end up in the bathroom where I began my typical morning routine. I don't put much effort into it, honestly. Taking a shower and brushing my teeth is really all I need to do. I have no desire to present myself in any other way. Even if I did take the time to make myself look nice, it would feel rather pointless. I don't frequently leave my apartment building.

I returned to my bedroom and sat down at my desk. I looked into the blank CRT monitor and pressed the power button. As the start up splash screens appeared, they seemed much more distorted and blurred than I remembered them. I raised my hand up to adjust my glasses, and realized I was not wearing them.
I stood up from my chair, still wearing my blanket, and walked over to my bed-side table. I opened the small rectangular case lying on top of it, and took out my glasses. Once I had them on, everything became clear again.
By time I returned to my computer, it had already opened to the home screen. I quickly navigated my way through the user interface and opened up my internet browser. I found myself tapping on the desk in impatience. The apartment has pretty lousy connection.
My once luxurious computer system has left me somewhat spoiled. A couple years ago I would communicate frequently through the internet with my extensive list of comrades. Over time, I developed a strong database of knowledge for different electronics and computer programming. I got to the point where it almost became a second language, one that I could use to manipulate the universe of electronics. Since then, I have lost all of my high end equipment. It wasn't something I wanted to bring along with me, not only because of the rather extensive amount of it all, but it was also worn out over time. I plan to use my time in this city as an opportunity to re-build what I had, and simultaneously make it even better than it was before.
After a bit of time, the homepage loaded. I was presented with a local news page, a pleasant surprise. It wasn't exactly what I wanted to look at, but it was nice to see that someone was keeping up with the city's happenings. The headlines seemed incredibly random, but I suppose they were going for a variety of information. Some of the highlights included a potential threat towards the local convenience store and a injured girl found near the lake. I feel like whoever had written the articles was really trying to find something interesting to talk about, but really had no solid material. As I continued scrolling through the page, I heard a knock at my front door.

I don't normally get visitors. I don't particularly look forward to them either. I hesitantly reached for the door handle and twisted it upward until it could go no further. I took a deep breath, and opened the door all the way.
Before me stood a man I had never seen before.
My immediate thought was that he was some type of salesman, with his unprofessional clothing, unshaven face, and strange, blonde, half-ponytail. His words proved otherwise, however. He did not want to sell me anything. Instead, he looked at me with a cheeky smile, "Hello there young lady!"
I stared at him blankly, saying nothing.
"You wouldn't happen to be new around here, would you?"
Again, nothing. I do not know this person.
"Hmm... Not the talkative type, are you?" He paused for a moment and straightened himself, "Well! I would like to offer a proposal."
Regardless of my curiosity, I refrained from speaking and held the emotionless stare.
"May I come in?" He said as he took a single step in my direction.
In a quick act of confusion, I reached for the door. As my hand touched the handle, he quickly took a step back.
"Wait wait! I'm sorry! Hear me out, please."
I stopped moving.
"My name is Simon. I need somewhere to stay... I-Its a long story, but I promise it is all true. I will even pay rent in return."
I showed no interest in anything he said. I looked directly into his eyes, and closed the door.