Be Wary of Wishes – Part One
Up until a week ago Erica had figured that all of the exciting times of her youth had been memories, so far detached that she could barely see them as her own. For the most part, life had become one endless routine of work, exercise and home. She had dated, but these days none of her relationships had lasted longer than a few weeks. Erica had begun to find herself wondering if this was what her life would always be like and had longed for the days when around every corner there seemed to be some new adventure. After all this was why she had moved to New York City from a small town in Upstate New York. Yet things still had managed to get a bit stale even while living in Manhattan. And due to how monotonous her life had become, she had developed a deep need for something beyond her, something far beyond her control. And while she couldn’t quite figure out what that something was, she knew that she had to experience it and that it had to happen soon. It was as if she would die, or perhaps a major part of her would, if her life continued along these lines. Yet what Erica didn’t realize was just how bizarre and entangled her life would become, particularly with others who, prior to the strange occurrences, she had no connection to. In fact, Erica had no idea of just how close she was to her life being pushed to the limit, a limit that on some level she wished for, but on another, that she had not fully wanted nor needed. But that’s the interesting thing about wishes, because as much as we like to believe that they are for the best, we never fully understand the ramifications of what we wish for. Yet none of this stopped Erica from wishing and wanting more excitement, so one evening after work, when a neighbor by the name of Nolan invited her to drink wine in Central Park, she couldn’t help but to internally scream for joy. She thought to herself that finally her sexy neighbor had noticed her and had taken the initiative to ask her out. So Erica didn’t second-guess her decision, but instead, jumped at the opportunity for something different from her normal routine.
Nolan had always appeared to have a certain dark and hidden way about him. His features were strong, dark, and strangely handsome, and his shoulder-length hair always appeared casual, unruly, and yet perfect. He had a slim build, with just enough muscle. Other than his looks, Erica didn’t know much about him. She mostly just heard his music blasting through the walls, but she never dared ask him to lower it. His taste in music had been a bit eclectic and Erica couldn’t ever make out what was playing, but she often secretly held her ear against the wall to listen. Yet other than that, she had to fill in the blanks about who he was. But she could at least sense that he was the type of person that let very few people inside of his world, and yet he had chosen to invite her in. While Erica wanted more than anything to have the chance to have more than the occasional small talk with him, she couldn’t help but to wonder why he wanted her. Before this invitation, he hadn’t ever expressed any interest in her, so she couldn’t help but to have some doubts about joining him. However, before she talked herself out of the little risky adventure with her enchanting neighbor, she agreed to join him.
It was mid-July, so even though it was a little after 7pm, the sun was still out by the time they arrived at the park. After walking around for a few minutes Nolan found a spot that was less crowded than most areas of the park, so they sat and began drinking and chatting. Nolan hadn’t brought any wine glasses, but instead they drank from the bottle, which Erica greatly enjoyed. She laughed at herself for the sense of freedom she felt from drinking wine, not just out of the bottle, but from doing something that she knew she could get in trouble for doing in Central Park. But she wanted more, because even this was not enough.
Before Erica knew it, a couple of hours had passed by and they were both feeling the effects of drinking two bottles of wine. They had both begun to feel more relaxed around each other and had started to flirt a bit. Yet, Nolan didn’t go in for the kiss and Erica couldn’t work up the nerve to initiate anything. So after many moments of staring into each other’s eyes and smiling, Nolan suggested that they get going. It was getting late and there were very few people still hanging out.
As they started to walk out of the park, a man approached them and advised that they shouldn’t be in the park so late. He had told them that a couple had died a few days ago, not too far from where they currently were in the park. He mentioned that they had been found near the large fountain that stood in the center of the garden.
Erica started to feel a bit uneasy about the stranger approaching them, and of course about the incident that he spoke of. So she told Nolan that they should get going. Yet something about the couple’s death seemed to intrigue Nolan, because he continued to speak to the guy to gather as much information as he could about the incident. But finally he agreed that they should go and they began to exit the park. However, before leaving, Nolan got the idea to check out the crime scene. And despite the fact that Erica told him that the garden was locked at 8pm every evening, he insisted that they sneak into the garden.
Photograph by James Forbes