Disappearance

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Read the book Rachael D Litt called “NOT for the prude…a thorny, demon-riddled thicket with a fantastic, raw talent.”  NOW ONLY $1 – I’M PRACTICALLY GIVING IT AWAY!

Perfect for anyone who likes apocalyptic fiction!

Carter Henderson walked in the door, intent on getting his shoes off and finally letting his feet stretch out a little.  The smell of cooking chicken permeated the house, a warm, homey scent that instantly relaxed him.  He could feel the tension of the subway commute loosening; the psychic dirt he always felt gathering on him between Yorkdale Station and his home near Keele washed away in familiarity.  He smiled as his shoes rattled against the wall and it widened as he strolled amiably into his living room.  It deflated a little when he saw that the TV was on, loudly, even though no one was in the room.  He shook his head, meaning to bring this up with his children, but after he turned the television down he noticed something unnerving.  Once the volume had been sharply reduced, there were no other noises to be heard in the townhouse.  He poked his head into the kitchen, but it was also empty.  The oven was on, and (more disturbingly) the tap was running, water trickling out in a low-pressure release.  He walked over and shut the tap off absent-mindedly, straining his ears to catch any sounds of life.  He slowly made his way to the narrow staircase and up to his second floor.  The children weren’t in their rooms.  His wife was not in their room.  The bathroom was unoccupied.  He made his way downstairs and stood in the living room again, his hand resting uneasily on the back of his head.  He told himself that they must have stepped out for a moment – all of them – maybe to go to the store, or to see one of the neighbours.  He told himself this, although the slowly rising panic he felt burrowing up from within him told him otherwise.

“What is most extraordinary about this book is how it sticks with you when you’re finished. It delves deeply into what makes society tick as well as the nature of power, and I found myself thinking about these themes long after putting the book down.” – Ben Bales

Mohammed Lalani had picked up the guy outside of the Hideout on Queen West; he had already been drunk, and Mohammed had been leery of him from the start.  There had been several moments during the tense cab ride out towards Scarborough that Mohammed had been sure that the man would begin throwing up everywhere inside the cab.  He had cringed each time; beyond the mess and the smell, he was running a tight operation and the cost of cleaning his cab out would put a severe dent in his profits.  The guy was sloppy; his hair was dishevelled, his face unshaven for days.  There had been a smell coming off of him that had been immediately distinctive from the moment his friends had shoved him into the back seat:  it was the smell of vomit, sour days-old sweat, and ripe tequila.  It had assaulted Mohammed’s nostrils from the get-go, ratcheting up a sharp nausea in him.  Now he was falling over, drooping dangerously into Mohammed’s seat on an angle; he was being held in place, but only until the next corner.  In a few minutes he would be on the floor.  He cursed the man’s friends in his head.  Why couldn’t they have made sure he was buckled in before thumping the top of the cab and sending him on his way?  They guy was sure to puke, now, and maybe choke on it while he was at it.  Mohammed was blackly sure that, the way his night was proceeding, this was the likely outcome.

There was a blur at his side and he swerved instantly to avoid it, his nerves and reaction time tempered by long years of driving a taxi on Toronto streets.  He very nearly hit a pole on the other side of the street, but thankfully there were no pedestrians walking there and he was able to drive over the sidewalk and right himself.  He turned to look out of his rear window and watched the thing that had nearly rammed into him speed past; it was a beat-up looking blue van, and it sped across the street and smashed into the front of a boutique clothing store.  Mohammed’s eyes widened and his hand went to his mouth.  He looked down to check on his fare and he felt as though he had been slapped.  His fare had disappeared.  Mohammed blinked a couple of times, and stretched his hand out into the empty space where the man had been, moments ago.  How had he gotten out?  Mohammed glanced at the door and saw that it was shocked.  He looked back up and out of the rear window; no one had emerged from the stores to check out the wreckage.  From far off, he heard the crunching of metal and glass repeating.

“I loved this book. I think I went through every possible star rating as I read. Ultimately, it deserves high marks.” – Tiger Gray

Albert Northdancer watched with no small amount of satisfaction as Claire fell forward into her pillows, suddenly boneless and panting heavily.  Albert was panting fairly hard himself; they’d been at it for more than an hour and they’d been wrestling each other into new positions on a regular basis throughout that.  She was lithe, he would give her that; her conversation was pretty vapid until you got her going about politics, and while Albert usually voted for conservatives, Claire was strident about it.  She was starting to bore him, but she still acted like a repressed teenager in the sack, and for him it counted for something.  He supposed, in that generous post-coital mood, that if he was interested in her job it might be different; she was a floor producer for Ezra Levant, though, and once he got over the novelty of banging a girl working in television it got old quickly.  The acronyms, the quick speech, the jargon; if it hadn’t been for the expert way she used those long, coltish legs in bed he would have moved on from her long ago.  As it was, he needed a snack; he left her exhaling into her pillows and made his way to her kitchen, his deflating manhood wagging in front of him like a puppy’s tail.

There wasn’t much, he discovered; either she ate out a lot or she was in sore need of a trip to the grocery store.  He scraped together some bread and waffled back and forth between some suspect deli meat in the fridge and some good old fashioned peanut butter.  He chose the peanut butter in the end, slapped it all together, and nabbed a bottle of Stella Artois to wash it down with.  He took the long route back to Claire’s bedroom, passing through her spacious, airy living room to admire the view from the picture window.  Claire lived in a condo building along the shoreline of Lake Ontario, and the view of the lake from her living room was nothing short of amazing.  Privately, he was willing to admit that it was another reason that he was still dating the woman.

Munching on his sandwich, he entered the bedroom and stopped short.  The bed was empty.  He looked around the room to see if she was hiding somewhere, for whatever reason, and saw that she was really gone.  He blinked for a moment, unsure of how to react, and decided to check the bathroom, in case she had gone there without his hearing her.  The bathroom was empty as well.  He walked back into the bedroom to check again, taking a long swig of the Belgian beer and feeling as though there were something happening that was just slightly beyond his ability to comprehend.  Absurdly, as he stood blinking in the bedroom for the second time, his first thought was that she must have pulled some sort vanishing trick, a magician’s illusion, in order to troll him.  It was the only explanation that he would accept for some time afterwards.

“”Disappearance” is an uncanny, poly-perspectival combination of bone-curdling psycho-social insights, darkly complex Canadians, scheming politicos, singing prophets, and rugged and flimsy individualists encountering displacement and correlation, vile erotica, and subtle narrative injections of theory. If Walt Whitman had a nemesis, it could have easily been Zaple.” – Sarah Zar

For Tessa Sanction, there was no way she could delude herself into thinking that it was some kind of trick or illusion.  Slated to be the second guest on a evening television round table discussion on pork futures, she had been getting instructions on where to go to get her camera makeup applied when the helpful intern she’d been talking to had ceased to exist.  He had been there the first moment, all smiles and wavy brown hair and the kind of soulful eyes that Tessa found her knees weakening for.  The next instant, that hot bit of delicious was not there.  She saw the vending machine he had been obscuring, clearly; the Out of Stock light was lit up on the 7-Up and for a long moment it was the only thing that Tessa could focus on.  She broke out of the trance and continued walking into the studio, but she was greeted largely by silence.  A song loop played from somewhere deeper into the building, and there was a metallic beeping noise from a few rooms over, but besides that the din of conversation had ceased.  She darted her eyes from side to side as she walked – wandered, really – through the studio complex.  She found the makeup area, full of empty chairs and mirrors that reflected no breathing life.  She passed it by, no longer interested.

Eventually she found her way to the set she was to have been on.  There were a number of chairs, some potted ferns, and a pile of papers that looked as though they had been photocopied from magazines, but there were no people.  She called out a few times but was only answered by her own echoes coming back from blameless white walls.  From deep back the metallic beeping continued on.

“This was one hell of a book! It’s definitely not for a faint of heart, because disappearance of people in this thriller conducts to a disappearance of morals, good human nature, innocence and maybe even hope.” – Touchka

Colin Li was waiting at Lansdowne Station for the next subway train to arrive, keeping his eyes on the dirty white-tile floor and trying to ignore everyone else around him.  They were doing the same as well, some of them staring at the floor like Colin, others putting their thousand-yard stares onto the movie posters that lined the metal structure that separated one half of the station from the other.  A lot of them were wearing the telltale white plastic earphones that denoted they were blocking the rest of the world out through the use of MP3 players.  Colin preferred to keep his ears open, just in case someone got any ideas about clever ways to part him from his possessions or his life.  He’d been mugged on Bloor, just around the corner, and ever since he’d been very paranoid about nearly everything.  He became extremely nervous whenever strangers came into close proximity with him; his heart would race until he would swear it would burst, and he was continually fighting the urge to run away screaming.

Until recently he had normally stood at the edge of the yellow rubber strip that separated the platform from the train tunnel.  He did it to give himself a fighting chance at getting on the train car before anyone else for the purpose of snagging an actual seat.  He hated standing in the cars more than anything else; the nausea that welled up in him by the time he got over to Victoria Park was unbearable.  He measured the success of his days by whether or not he was able to sit down; there was something vaguely sad in this, but he refused to think too deeply into it.  Thinking too deeply would result in having to stand, and avoiding that was the key to his day.  He’d forced himself to stand away from the yellow line, however, since a number of news reports had come out pertaining to a man in New York City whose fetish was to push people onto the train tracks.  He’d done it to two people thus far, and the police were scrambling to catch him before he struck again.  There were no copycat pushers in Toronto that he had been made aware of, but he nervously told himself every day that it was better to be safe than to be sorry.

He heard the rumble of the next train barrelling down the tunnel; if he’d been standing by the yellow line, he would have felt the tell-tale whispers of air being pushed out ahead of it.  Standing against the back wall, his eyes cast down to the floor, that rumble was the only warning he had.  As soon as he heard it he began to walk forward, intent on getting a seat.  His feet were tired, even more so than they normally were at the end of a day; the grocery store he worked at had been exceedingly busy for some reason, and he’d been hustled along from the moment he’d arrived.  He stopped two feet short of the yellow line just as the train came out of the station’s tunnel and into view.

It came in very fast and this was the first thing that clued Colin into the fact that something was going wrong.  The train sped into the station and did not slow down.  It rushed by, the displaced air battering at him with uncommon force.  He stepped back, his mouth falling open and catching the fetid, stale scent of deep tunnel on his tongue.  He gagged slightly and put the back of his hand to his mouth to try to block out the taste.  He watched the train speed out of the other end of the station, its momentum undiminished.  He looked around to gauge the reaction of the others in the station to this somewhat unusual event; trains would often roll through without stopping, if they were behind schedule, but never at that kind of velocity.  As he looked around, he realized that he was the only person in Lansdowne Station.  The departing train echoed its last sounds around him and he stared, uncomprehending.  There had been other people there.  He swallowed hard, and told himself this again.  There had been other people standing around him and he wasn’t suddenly going crazy.  He staggered back a few steps and glared around wildly, blinking rapidly and trying to figure out what was going on.  His heart seemed to be beating a sledgehammer rhythm in his rib cage and his mouth had gone dry.  To his left and his right, there was no one.  His staggered footsteps echoed loudly, with no one to absorb the sound.

Across the station, on the opposite platform, he spotted a man in denim with heavy, ornate cowboy boots.  He couldn’t make out the man’s features with any sort of exactness, but from what Colin could see, the man looked shocked.  His mouth was open, at any rate; Colin could see that quite clearly from across the tracks.  Colin stepped forward onto the yellow rubber strip at the edge of the platform, his concerns about murderous subway pushers vanished for good.  He held up his hands and began to wave them wildly.

“Hey!” he shouted.  “Over here!  What’s going on?”  The man focused on Colin; he realized that the man had not seen him before he started to shout.  The man shook his head uncertainly, and Colin lowered his hands until he was practically soothing the man from a distance.

“No, no,” he said, still shouting to be heard, but at a lower volume.  “It’s okay, it’s okay…”

The man shook his head a final time and then bolted, running off of the platform and up the stairs at the other end.  Colin let out one final shouted “WAIT” before dropping his hands with disgust and slumping his shoulders.  The man’s panicked footfalls on the stairs echoed back across the station to him.  Colin stared after his departed form, his mind running so quickly as to render itself blank.  Without any rationale as to where or why, he turned around and mirrored the other man, running up the stations exit staircase as fast as possible.

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