Title: ECHOES

Author: planet p

Disclaimer: I don't own 'the Pretender' or any of its characters.

Written: 10-September-2006


1.

It was coming on dusk now. Twilight danced contortedly upon the asphalt, shadows flickering just out of reach. Sunshine melted like lemon drops, falling from the edge of the Earth. Bitterness crept into the world and curled up beneath the window cill.

Ezra sat alone, the television turned right down. Meaningless images washed over the scruffy gnarled carpet, faltering almost as if they might trip, splashing the walls in a multitude of endless colour. Lips spoke words without comprehension; eyes glittered with no soul, hungry with greed, heavy with grief and youthful innocence.

A laden sigh announced the premise of viewing. Ezra snatched the remote from the cushion beside him. A tiny red button terminated the tirade of pretty colours. The plastic box halfway across the darkened room gave a defeated sigh and fell into darkness, creaking one last breath.

The man let his arm flop onto the cushion on which he was sitting, remote still clutched limply between his fingers. Hollow brown eyes gazed into the blank screen as though dazed.

His mind faded in and out of awareness.


The fantastic four were still chasing Jarod. Jarod was still running.

He was married now. Ezra remembered seeing half a dozen glossy photographs upon Parker's desk one uneventful morning. Green grass, tartan picnic rug, 'skanky redhead'; arms wrapped around a pretty waist. Parker didn't look up at the interruption. Ezra felt a twinge of panic seeing her bent over the bin like that. The sound of flint sobered him up. He knew where the rest of the photos had gone.

Five years later and no one was getting any younger, but there was a little angel called Connie, two or three, all ginger locks and floral scrunchies.

Parker had taken up sessions with Sydney, hoping for enlightenment into her Inner Sense. Ezra was hustled out of the office by the upper arm and chucked onto an unsuspecting office girl. Apologies aside, the girl made a point to avoid that corridor in future.

Afternoons were spent skipping out on paperwork to visit Reagan, now five years old. The little prince and the lonely princess playing ball in one of the open-air courtyards.

Debbie was gone too. She had left for college not so many months ago. She was staying with her boyfriend. Ezra liked to think she was busy and that was why she never rang. He knew that if she was busy with anything it would not be study.

He hadn't realised just how dead-end his life was, until the point when he woke up one morning and found only his reflection for company. None of those smelly soaps in the bathroom cabinet anymore; the orange juice bottle shut, sitting perfectly in the stark white door, snug as a bug in a rug.


The walls chided him and laughed. Perhaps he was too old for sulking. It hardly seemed to matter anymore.

Computers were just machines. Programs were simply numbers and formulae. The Earth went on turning.


The man ran a hand through his close cropped hair. The room felt empty and cold. Taking in a harsh breath, he stood and left.