SCENT, a short story by actung. Date added: 2011-05-30. Times viewed: 1106.
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- Intro: This story was written in collaboration with fellow SF writer and friend REITOA
Sometimes inexplicably connections are made and bonds are created. They can last a moment or they can last a lifetime. They can be as near as being between two people who pass on a street or as far as two people who live half a world away. Who knows how or why these things happen? It is just part of Human nature; it has always been and will continue to always be.
With present technology the world has become a smaller place. We can be a world away and still be right next to someone with a simple phone call, or an on screen text chat or even with a video connection. We could catch a flight from one location to another and can sometimes appear to be in two places at once. The world is forever shrinking so why can’t we be in two places at once?
Trevor lived alone ever since the amicable split with his former business partner Abraham Matthews. They had bought a house together. It had worked better for the business that the two shared a residence and it was a business they done well with, both men profiting well from it. They had chosen a good time to call it a day too. The decision to close up shop came at a time when business for them was still on a high while others around them were being forced to close with the current recession climate.
Having now bought the deeds to the house and taking time off before heading into another business venture Trevor now was able to spend time concentrating on his real passion, writing. Trevor loved to write and had been writing short stories since he was a child. Anything to do with the strange or the weird was what he loved to write about, as well as stories about death and the afterlife. Stories of young boys and their pet dogs held no interest for him. There had to be an edge to each and every story.
Over the years a lot of what Trevor had written had been lost. He had written some of these stories in spare copy books during free time in school years before, copy books that were now long gone. Others were on notepads or notebooks, whatever he had handy, many of which were also long gone. Trevor still however had many stories he had written still in his possession so he decided to begin typing what he still had and what he could still remember having written, on his laptop to keep from loosing any more of his writings. In one way it was a good thing that he lost so much of his previous writings as for when he would type up what he could remember, new thoughts and ideas for old stories came along too. With plenty of ideas for new stories too, it would take some time to get through all that he had either on paper or in his head.
Never really being all too confident with what he wrote Trevor went online to compare what he wrote with the short stories he came across and he did feel his writing could stand alongside anything he read. He joined an online writing community where he was more than surprised with the positive feedback he was receiving. It was through this community where Trevor would get to know fellow short story writer Shannon. Now Shannon lived half a world away from Trevor and there was an eleven hour gap between their two time zones with Shannon living in the future (according to Trevor anyway), but this wouldn’t really hinder the many online chats they would have.
After a few weeks it had felt to both Trevor and Shannon that they had known each for a very long time. Trevor had begun an online blog to coexist with his writing and suggested to Shannon that maybe she should begin one of her own. She clicked onto his blog and for the first time she got to see what Trevor looked like. It had been something which had yet to come up in their conversations and since Shannon now knew what Trevor looked like, she offered to send a photo of herself to him. Trevor was amazed by her beauty; he already knew Shannon was a beautiful person on the inside, he could have easily thought that this photo was not actually her but Trevor had no reason to doubt her, if anything Trevor felt it in his gut, this photo was Shannon, no doubt about it.
It was the very next messenger chat where the connection between the two really took off. It was late evening Trevor’s time when he arrived home from work and a couple of hours before mid-day Shannon’s time and she had a bit of time to kill away from her work. Trevor knew before he even turned on his laptop that Shannon was online and she basically only just signed into messenger right before he did. Before he even got around to saying ‘hi’ Trevor had a question to ask. An over powering scent filled the air as if it had just wafted right passed his nose, it was a very pleasant smell and Trevor liked it a lot.
‘Are you wearing perfume today?’ Shannon was very surprised by this question as for the first time in quite a while she was.
‘I am’ she replied while also telling him of the fact that it had been some time since she last wore perfume.
Shannon also asked Trevor to describe what he smelled. He described the scent as a musky flowery smell. She continued by asking that if he had to put a name to the flower it most resembled what would that flower be?, Trevor honestly didn’t know much about flowers and suggested sunflower. What Shannon was wearing was a scent combining white musk with Gardenias. When she told him this it hit him, he did know what Gardenias smelled like and that was indeed what he could smell.
Shannon liked the thought that two had such a connection that it allowed Trevor to smell her perfume. It didn’t scare or shock either of them. It was more amusing than anything else, especially since when Shannon went back about her work returning to chat whenever she could Trevor could sense her return by receiving another waft of her perfume before Shannon would even begin to start typing. She also found it funny when due to it being so warm that turning on a fan also increased the strength of the scent at Trevor’s end.
Their friendship continued over the next couple of months with the two friends sharing their writings with each other with each aiding the other with regards to their confidence levels in their writing and so on until Shannon stopped coming online at all. The most recent of their chats discussed the possibilities of Shannon reuniting with her ex husband. Shannon had left her husband due to the gambling debts he amounted. After years of living with his ways Shannon finally had enough and it was time for her to move on. He was back in her life now, with the promise that the days of gambling were long behind him. Shannon had felt like she was back in her late teens again, being brought out for meals and the likes while still wanting to hold onto her friendship with Trevor.
Time passed and Trevor felt uneasy, something was wrong and he knew it. The lack of chat with Shannon was more than her having a busy schedule. She wasn’t going online, there were no instant messages, no email’s, no new writing, he couldn’t even concentrate on his own writing knowing that something was not right with his friend on the other side of the world.
Lunch time, the high street is busy, Trevor accidently collides with a lady, she drops her mobile phone, he apologizes and goes down on his hunkers, picks up the pieces and puts the phone back together. He stands back up returning the phone to its owner apologizing once again. ‘Thank you’ replies the lady as their eyes briefly meet and they both move on. It was only at this point when Trevor realized it. It was the scent that did it, the perfume the lady is wearing, white musk and Gardenia’s. Those eyes, he recognized them. That woman, it was Shannon that he had just bumped into, but how can that be? She is half the world away. Trevor turned; he couldn’t see her, too many people in the way.
Trevor fought his way through the oncoming traffic of humanity. He got to the street corner to which thought Shannon had gone down but as soon as he got to that street he suddenly found himself alone. There were no people anywhere within the lines of his vision. He had no idea where everyone had disappeared to. The afternoon sun had gone too; it changed to an early evening dullness in an instant. Not only was this all happening, but something else had changed. The street Trevor turned onto was not a street was he recognized. He has been down almost every street in his home town, but where he now found himself was somewhere he had never been before.
Turning around, Trevor could no longer see the street he had just come from. In fact he could no longer see anything at all that would be familiar to him. It was like stepping from one room into a completely different room except he was outdoors. Trevor found himself in a wide open space with very little nearby lighting. The night sky was looming so Trevor cautiously approached the only building he could see.
The building looked old and grey and appeared to be in a bad condition from the outside. It was unlocked so Trevor went inside. He couldn’t find any light switches but that probably wouldn’t matter. It is very likely that the electricity had been turned off a long time ago. He could hear a sound but wasn’t sure where it was coming from. The further he ventured inside the louder the muffled murmur sounded. Trevor was surprised to hear any sound at all but he had to find out where this murmur was coming from and what was creating it. Even more surprising Trevor could smell that scent again. The white musk and Gardenia scented perfume that he could smell from Shannon. Sure enough that scent was once more coming from Shannon. Just as Trevor discovered Shannon bound and gagged inside this building, he was whooshed away.
Before Trevor could make any further movement to his bound and gagged friend everything which had surrounded him began to spin making Trevor not only feel dizzy but sick to his stomach too. When the spinning came to a halt Trevor found himself back on the street he had turned on to moments after realizing it had been Shannon that he had bumped into. He had no idea what had just happened to him. Nothing like this had ever happened before. Was Shannon in trouble? Did he just somehow travel through not only space but time too? It was getting dark when he walked into that old grey building but he was now back on a street in his hometown at lunch time.
It was at this moment when Trevor received a phone call. It came with no caller ID and the voice at the other end was distorted. The voice told Trevor that Shannon was being held captive and would be released unharmed upon payment of a ransom of 125,000 US dollars which was to be wired to an account. The call came to an abrupt end but not before he was given a time frame of 24 hours at the end of which Trevor would receive another call in reference to the account where the money was to be wired to and he was warned not to get police involved.
Seconds after the call ended Trevor received a second phone call. This one did come with a caller ID, it had an international number. This voice was undistorted and belonged to a police detective inquiring as to whether Trevor knew of a lady by the name of Shannon. With the previous call weighing heavily on his mind Trevor replied that he didn’t. The voice continued to inform Trevor that it was of upmost importance that he cooperated. Trevor apologized stating that he couldn’t help and ended the call. Not sure if what he had just done was the right thing to do Trevor had been put on the spot and had to make a decision.
A few short hours after receiving those two phone calls, Trevor sat home contemplating the situation he had found himself in when a knock came to his front door. Trevor answered to find a man he didn’t recognize standing before him, a man who didn’t hesitate in identifying himself as the police detective with whom Trevor had spoken with only hours earlier. Detective Aaron Ramsay asked if he could come inside, Trevor reluctantly allowed him in after the detective made the point that he had travelled a long distance and would prefer that the trip he made should be met with at least a little courtesy.
The detective could easily tell that Trevor knew something about Shannon’s disappearance. From Shannon’s home pc he knew that they had been in contact. Trevor felt that his best option now was to inform the detective of what he knew no matter how crazy it may seem. He knew for certain that Shannon was being held in an old abandoned building in the middle of nowhere, Trevor thought that it may once have been a ware house. It did sound strange but what would also seem strange was from the description which Trevor gave, the detective began to think of one building in particular he knew of. Detective Ramsay got on his phone and had people go check it out and sure enough Shannon was found bound and gagged.
Shannon had passed out, and when she had come too she was bound and gagged and at the location where she was found. She had no idea how she got there or who may have put her there. She hadn’t had any recent disagreements with anyone nor could she think of anyone to who would want to harm her in any way.
Surprised at how Trevor could have even known about the building where Shannon had been found, detective Ramsay had plenty more questions for Trevor. That dilapidated building was less than ten miles away from Shannon’s home and of course on the other side of the world to where Trevor is.
The following afternoon the detective arrived back to Trevor’s home informing him that Shannon was alive and well and had indeed been found at the location to which he had described. Just as the detective was about to inquire as to how Trevor knew about the building and that Shannon was being held inside Trevor’s phone rang. The voice on the line was again distorted.
‘I told you not to involve the police’ said the voice.
‘I didn’t, they came to me. It is no longer important either, Shannon is safe now’.
‘Are you sure about that? Have the money ready to transfer. I will be back in touch’.
Trevor now being quite confused asked the detective ‘your guys did find Shannon right?’
‘Yes, and she is at a medical facility under cautionary observation and I can assure you that all is well’.
‘All doesn’t seem too well to me’ spoke Trevor before explaining the call he had only just received.
Detective Ramsay made a call or two of his own, and discovered that Shannon was no longer at the medical facility to which she had been taken too. She had not been released and no one knew of her currant whereabouts.
That distorted voice, whomever it belonged too had taken Shannon for a second time, Trevor knew this and Shannon was probably in more danger than she had been the first time round. A trace would be set up for when the distorted caller would call again, though it was highly improbable to be of any use. Tracing the money transfer seemed like an unlikely but possible lead. What was needed was a recurrence of whatever it was that had happened to Trevor which brought him to that grey dilapidated building where Shannon had previously been held.
Having somehow travelled half way across the world in an instant was something that had never happened to Trevor prior to arriving at that old building so he was very unsure as to if he could do that again. Even if he could it’s not like he could flick an on/off switch to make it happen. As much as he would like to have such an on/off button all Trevor could do is sit and wait along with the police who were ready and waiting with their tracking devices.
Trevor felt uneasy about the police presence and the equipment they had set up in his home. Maybe this uneasiness was a hindrance to whatever it was that allowed his first moment of instant travel. All he could do was sit and wait for his phone to ring, and ring it eventually did. The police made themselves busy trying to track the call, the distorted voice told of the details of the account where he wanted the money to be transferred and as soon as he did so the call ended. The trace on the call was unsuccessful, Trevor began the wire transfer, as soon as the transfer was complete the money moved again and the original account it was wired too immediately closed so tracking the money also brought things to a dead end.
It wasn’t all a total loss though. The call had been recorded and the voice distortion was removed. The equipment cleared up the voice and made it crisper to reveal the actual voice of the caller. When the call was played back without distortion Trevor instantly recognized the voice. It was the voice of his former business partner Abraham Matthews. Abraham had himself a new business partner and with the world being such a small place, Abraham’s new business partner just so happened to be Shannon’s ex husband and Shannon’s ex husband was a man who had a gambling addiction, an addiction which left himself and Abraham in some serious financial difficulties. It was Shannon’s ex who lost money and then it was Abraham’s idea to stage her kidnapping and hit Trevor for the ransom.
It was only moments after the discovery as to whom the distorted voice belonged to when Trevor was to go on another excursion. His living room being invaded by police Trevor moved into the kitchen to give himself some space. Being so deeply in thought Trevor began to stare at the kitchen floor as if a hole had opened up and he just stared at it, an imaginary hole big enough for him to jump right into. When he looked up he received a shock. A shock which almost sent him crashing out of the chair he was sitting in. Shannon was standing before him, only just a few feet away.
‘Shannon you’re here, with me, how is that possible?’ he asked standing up out of the chair he had only just almost fallen out of.
Detective Ramsay looked on into the kitchen where Trevor was, noticing him stand and begin to talk to someone, when the detective looked across he noticed that there was no one else other than Trevor in the kitchen.
‘It is you who is here with me silly’ spoke Shannon. Trevor’s surroundings began to change; indeed he did seem to be moving somewhere else while also staying right where he was.
Detective Ramsay walking into the kitchen asked ‘who are you talking to Trevor?’
Half being in his own kitchen and half being somewhere else Trevor responded ‘I am talking to Shannon’.
Not quite sure what to make of this the detective asked ‘is she here right now?’
‘No I am with her where she is’.
‘And just where would that be?’
‘I am in a cabin I think’.
Shannon spoke knowing only Trevor could see and hear her. ‘This was my father’s cabin; he used to bring me and my mum up here quite a lot while I was a child’. Shannon smiled as she reminisced.
‘She is in her father’s cabin’ Trevor told the detective. Trevor was standing in his kitchen with the detective standing to his right, while also somehow standing in Shannon’s father’s cabin with Shannon standing on front of him.
Detective Ramsay watched as Trevor physically became transparent. The detective could literally see right through him. Being in shock at what he was watching unfold as well as feeling a panic with the hope of finding Shannon still alive the detective told Trevor ‘I need you to tell me where that cabin is, can you do that? Trevor, can you help me?’. Before Trevor could reply he had completely vanished. The detective walked right through where Trevor had only just stood a moment ago, Trevor was gone, no longer there and the detective was at a loss to explain this.
‘How am I here? What is happening?’
‘Trevor it is ok, the connection we have had, we have always had, is what brought you here, it is what always allowed you to smell the scent of my perfume, it is what allows us to share one more moment’
‘One more moment?’ asked Trevor as his confusion grew. Their eyes met and became fixated. Shannon’s eyes welled up and a single tear rolled down her face. Trevor wiped it away with one thumb. She reached for and held each of Trevor’s hands. The two were more or less level with regard to their respective height. Neither pair of eyes distracted from the other. They moved closer and their lips met. A perfect moment in time and space, a moment together which encompassed the distance of half a world.
They both would have liked more but Shannon walked away, and over to the living room window in answer to Trevor’s query. Trevor began to follow but stopped when he came across a pair of boots on the floor. These boots were still being worn and were attached to legs, legs which belonged to Shannon. Shannon lay lifeless on the floor while also standing next to the cabin’s living room window.
‘What the …. ?!’
‘It is ok Trevor; there is nothing you can do’
‘I can show you’.
The day time light turned to night time darkness and Trevor became somewhat of an observer. Shannon’s body was no longer lying on the floor however she was still standing by the window seemingly unaware of Trevor’s presence. There were two other men in the room, one of whom being Trevor’s ex business partner and the other Trevor presumed to be that of Shannon’s ex husband.
The ex husband had a gun, the two men began to argue and the gun was placed on a table. Seeing her chance for escape Shannon made her way to the gun. The other two noticed what was going on just before Shannon reached the gun. A tussle ensued and the gun went off. Shannon immediately hit the floor. She was dead and there was nothing either man could do about it, they didn’t mean for this to happen but it did. There was nothing Trevor could do about it either.
Daylight resumed and Shannon was back standing by the cabins living room window, her body also still on the floor. She approached Trevor, placed her right hand on his face and kissed him once more. She whispered ‘I love you’, turned, walked back towards the window and vanished.
Trevor soon found himself back home in his own kitchen. The detective being more concerned with finding Shannon alive rather to what had just happened to Trevor asked the returning Trevor as to how anyone could get to Shannon. Trevor placed his hand on the detective’s shoulder saying ‘we are too late, she is gone’ and then left the police as he made his way outside for a walk to nowhere in particular. The detective just let Trevor be making no effort to follow him.
Shannon’s ex husband had drugged her allowing him to take her the first time and bring her to that abandoned ware house. He had planned to have her released upon Trevor wiring the money. With not knowing what had happened at the time, Shannon was not surprised when he came to visit her in hospital after she had been found. He tricked her into leaving the hospital with him and he took her up to her father’s cabin and it was at this point Shannon realized what was going on. No one meant for anyone to be hurt but that isn’t how things worked out. Shannon was dead. Her ex husband and Trevor’s ex business partner would spend the rest of their lives in prison. As for Trevor, he would never forget Shannon. If anything he now could immortalize her in his newest writings….
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