Elisa gave the incident little thought over the next months. Enough to use it as an interesting anecdote highlighting her own generosity and bad luck with men.
He called the week after she left, but was sent to voicemail, where he left a fifteen minute message which was promptly deleted.
Summer turned to fall, and Elisa began to regret how she had left. She determined to engage in one more act of charity, but not to get involved in his life again.
It was saturday morning when she showed up at the apartment door again. This time, when she knocked it took a minute for Jeremy to open the door.
He stood in the half opened door, looking perturbed by her presence, but otherwise healthy. Headphones wrapped around his neck, the cord running into his pocket.
“What are you doing here?” He put the left half of the headphones over his ear, the other behind his right ear.
“I felt bad about how we left things a while back, so I figured we could look for a better couch at the thrift store! Do you still have that terrible brown one?
” She pushed the door open to look at the couch and saw it pushed against a wall, the floor instead was filled with tools, blueprints, notebooks,
and a familiar picture set up in a prominent spot near the center. Elisa was taken aback. He had looked so well adjusted. “You never got help, did you?”
Jeremy didn’t reply, and instead grabbed her by the arm to pull her into the apartment, where a handgun came out from behind him.
He looked ready to pull the trigger when he put his left hand to the headphone. After a second he relaxed, but kept the barrel pointed vaguely in her direction.
He motioned to the dinner table, “Sit over there.”
As she sat, he alternated between packing the things on the floor into a backpack and listening to his headphone. He finished by putting the picture into the front pocket.
Elisa was still in shock from this violent change in Jeremy’s character, but one question still rose to the forefront of her mind, “What do you keep listening to?”
“Have you ever heard of Electronic Voice Phenomenon? EVP?”
He smiled, “It’s how she talks to me. I couldn’t live without her.”
He led her carefully down the street. Keeping his gun in his pocket, he made sure she didn’t run away while he spoke her praises. He loved Anne.
He would do anything for her, and right now she had a mission for him. They soon came to an old building which held some offices.
They entered together, where he pulled his gun on the receptionist. Pointing out three people in the room, he shouted, “You, you, you! Take us to the basement! Everyone else, get out!”
In the basement, he set to work. Zip ties, blocks of wood, screws, and an electric drill came out of the bag.
The zip ties quickly immobilized the hostages, and the rest were used to seal the door to the basement.
Between each discrete task, he would put his hand to the headphone and reply, “Of course,” “Right away,” “Absolutely.” Next, a chisel and hammer came out.
He made quick work of the plaster to expose the masonry behind. That’s when there was a knock at the door. Police.
Jeremy became annoyed that his task had been interrupted. He pulled his gun and pointed it into the corner of the room, away from everyone. He listened for approval, then shot.
“Back off!! I’ve got hostages!!”
Elisa tried to reason with him, “This won’t end well if you don’t let us go right now.”
Hand to headphone. He took off his shirt and used it to gag Elisa. “She warned you there would be consequences.”
Back to work. He found a specific stone in the masonry and poured some liquid onto the mortar. The liquid started bubbling, and Jeremy started scooping mortar out as it dissolved.
BANG! The police battering ram was supposed to make the door fly open, but Jeremy’s work was holding for now.
Jeremy removed a pry bar and stuck it into a crevice he had just cleared of mortar. He backed up and kicked it as hard as he could. The rock gave a little.
BANG!! The door jam gave a little too.
Jeremy kicked again and the rock fell out of its socket.
A human skull fell out right after it.
While the hostages looked on in terror, Jeremy laughed, “There it is, right where you said!” His smile faded over the course of a couple seconds.
“Anne?” The faded smile turned to a look of horrific realization. “Anne?!” Panic. “ANNE!”
BANG!!! The door flew open and there was a rush of footfalls on the steps. Defeated and desolate, Jeremy turned his gun toward his own head, but was shot with a bean bag gun.
After two months, the psychiatric hospital told Elisa that Jeremy was ready to have visitors. He sat across the table and smiled weakly.
Elisa spoke first, “How are you doing?”
“Better. Doc says I might be able to have shoelaces soon.”
Jeremy leaned in and whispered, “They thought I was delusional too. I guess we’ll just be the only ones who know.”
Elisa had to admit there was something off about the whole experience, Jeremy talked to her about her dream, though she had never told him about it.
Also, he had found human remains under directions from a voice in the headphones. “You may not be delusional, but Anne sure did a number on you.”
“She wasn’t so bad. She couldn’t move on because she had been murdered and her body was never found. We found her body, so she moved on.”
“Listen, she starved you and deprived you of sleep. She scared you until you were helpless, then she made you entirely dependent on her.”
“I wasn’t completely dependent.”
“You tried to kill yourself after she moved on.”
Jeremy sat back in his seat, unwilling to yield the point but unable to refute it. He decided to change the subject.
“I’ve been thinking, and I’m really sorry I didn’t call you after our date. I kinda wanted to get established before I took it any further.”
Elisa smiled, “It’s fine. I’ve got to go to work. See you next week?”