Pulling Flat 5. The stench of cigarette smoke hits

Pulling out my key, I open the door to Flat 5. The stench of cigarette smoke hits me. I splutter. Taking a step inside, I come to four doors: kitchen, bedroom, shower room, living room. I decide to make soup but have to make two trips back to my car before I can start. The soup simmers and I stroll into the bedroom. I sit on the floor and unpack. I notice a scrap of paper sticking up from between the floorboards.The scrap is a yellowed 1968 newspaper cutting. Police Give Up On Missing Person’s Case. There is a black-and-white picture of a young man with the caption of Luke Moore. I’m just about to set it down when something catches my eye. Moore was last seen entering Flat 5, 48 Wellington Square. I freeze. Flat 5, 48 Wellington Square. My flat. This flat. It seems Luke Moore vanished in a puff of smoke.I take the paper into the kitchen. I can’t find the bowls for the soup. I’m sure I brought them up. Obviously didn’t. Out the door, downstairs, in the kitchen in minutes. It takes me a moment to realise there is someone else in the room. The young man almost drops his plate in surprise. “What are you doing in my flat?” he asks.”Your flat?” I say.   “Miss, there has to have been some mistake…How did you get in? I shut the door.”  “I got in with my key!” I glare at him. And I realise. I’ve seen his face before. In the newspaper cutting. The man who disappeared. “Luke?”  His eyes widen. “How do you know that?” “But you disappeared! You disappeared in 1968!” I say, half to myself.   “What do you mean: disappeared? And it is 1968!” he says incredulously.   I pause. I dart out of the kitchen, its units strange, and into the bedroom. The floor is covered in clothes. A man’s clothes. This is a different flat. I rush to the front door and outside, Luke following. “I’m sure there wasn’t a number on the door,” says Luke. I am already running back inside, skidding into the kitchen. My soup is simmering on the stove. The newspaper article is on the countertop. Just as I left it. The kitchen is the same as before I went to get the bowls. I fly back into the bedroom. My suitcase and things are scattered on the floor. It is just how I left it.  “What on earth?” says Luke. “What are all these?” He is staring at my possessions in horror.   I understand now. We walk into the kitchen. I hand him the newspaper cutting. Luke stares at it.  “You were right,” he says eventually. “I did disappear. How did I get here?” “You came out of 1968 and into 2018. The flat…oh I don’t know. I don’t know how to get back.” Luke’s face is white.”He vanished in a puff of smoke,” I say.He gives me a weak smile.


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