November 3, three years later.
San Francisco, CA.
Abel Erikson folded his arms across his chest. He was not enjoying the breathtaking view of fog drifting below Twin Peaks and downhill into the valley over the white city. He swung around glaring at two decanters, one full of gin, another brandy, on top of the sideboard in the living room. He swallowed a dry lump in his throat, wiping his thick brow and glancing anxiously around the room. No one around. He could really do it...could pretend to fool even himself.
He crossed the Tibetan rug over to the sideboard, his mouth watering to taste. He slammed the ice bucket lid down and picked up the shaker and twisted it open. He readied gin and vermouth when the problem that had made him feel less than a man only a week ago returned. He stared at the ceiling wanting to scream.
Once upon a time, he could drink until he was literally blue in the face. There were no hangovers then, no problem. Now he went to therapy and made special appearances at AA meetings upon his therapist's suggestion. He hated the meetings, having to sit there in that melancholy room, half listening to their stories, thinking he wasn't as far gone as those people. Drinking out of control and waking up in a gutter was not something he had in common with any of them.
And then a mere inch away he heard her coming. He pushed the decanter back into place and darted over to the sofa. An antique clock ticked on top of the white mantle, a vigorous sound he heard for the first time, and he shivered as the clock kept ticking. His portrait that was painted by the boy in oil hung above the mantle protected by glass and a light fixed at the bottom frame made the portrait come alive with piercing eyes staring back.
The French door creaked open. And therein the threshold she stood. Snow-white hair erected like an electric bush. A beige gown clinging unnaturally to her shapeless figure making her look naked.
A second later the room fell pitch black.