During Stephen’s befuddlement the faceless man was on the move. He had left the park and begun a brisk walk across the city. Drawn upon a map, his walk might appear as a drunken stumble, or perhaps as the sort of path that two lovers would take with no aim except to prolong their journey. However, he moved with great purpose – five blocks to the north, two to the west, one to the south, three to the east, and so it went.
At last he rounded a corner into an abandoned alley. Midway down the block lay a steaming grate. As the dark man reached the grate he gave a quick glance to assure that he was alone. In a flash he had lifted the grate and disappeared beneath the street. Though a much more comfortable temperature than the air above, the atmosphere of the tunnel reeked of the city’s filth. A filth that had been washed from above only to decay and mildew in the sewers below. The man proceeded, stooping down the tunnel toward the sound of rushing water. He needed no light, as he knew the way well. The small passage emptied into a larger one with a small waterfall that spewed forth a putrid mist. The man strode silently along the channel, wasting no time. Within minutes he reached a portal in the wall, slid it open, and stepped inside. With the flip of his wrist, the room glowed. It stood in stark contrast to the sewer that surrounded him. The room was neat, clean, and basked in an amiable light.
Stephen awoke in his bed. “What happened?” he thought to himself. At this time in his life it was often difficult to differentiate waking and sleeping. It was still dark outside. At least he had fallen asleep, but he still felt so tired. “Was it a dream?” He rose from his bed once again, stumbled through the cluttered room, and out into the living room walking immediately to the mountain of clothes. His worn out jeans rested at the top of the pile. Snatching them up he felt inside the pocket. It wasn’t there. It was then that his gaze fell upon snowy tracks leading in from the front door. A ping of adrenaline hit him as he realized that it was not one set of snowy tracks, but two.
In the warm glow of his workshop the faceless man bent over his table. A pair of scissors lay beside him. His spindly fingers worked a needle and thread, back and forth, back and forth, as he sewed shut a gaping hole in the back of an Elmo doll.
-Matt, the elder brother