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It was a hot summer afternoon and the elevator was heavy with the breaths of construction workers looking to grab some lunch. As the floors dinged, Andrei counted each one until the forty-third one. It wasn’t like he needed to anyways since there’s always an ominous rattle on his floor. He was told that counting helps, so as humming and tapping to a beat.

The heavy metal doors grinded open and the young man walked out, tapping his walking stick left and right until the echoes started sounding full, as if the tiling in front of his apartment had an extra inch of concrete underneath.

As he reached for his apartment keys, the door opened and a familiar voice greeted him.

“Andrei? Welcome back! How’s the walk?”

Andrei didn’t respond.

“It must be hot out there. You thirsty?” The voice shuffled behind the sink.

Andrei shook his head. He plopped down onto the couch and rested as the AC cooled him down. The voice walked over to him, their socks slid against the wooden floor and Andrei could hear the tiny sparks of static popping in the afternoon air.

A clank. A heavy glass set onto the coffee table.

A thud. A heavy force plopped onto the couch.

A sigh. A heavy heart stood up and walked quickly to his room. He waved around until his knuckle hit his non-spilling cup and pill box. In one swift motion, he took out one pill, downed the cup and the apartment slowly sounded a little emptier.

It has been three years since the accident, and not one day went by that Andrei didn’t think about Vernon. Having to accept that one’s friend is already gone, it never got any easier for him. The medicine helps keep the ghost away, but the memories, they never really die.