He wasn’t sure exactly why he did it, but he borrowed his mother’s car and drove out to Shadow Creek and knocked on the door of the apartment he used to share with Naomi before he could figure it out.

“Sam,” she said when the door opened, surprise written so clearly on her features. And she was beautiful. Nothing could change that fact. He had to resist the urge to reach out and cup her cheek with his hand, pull her in for a kiss he so badly wanted. But he couldn’t. She was no longer his. Another thing he had to get used to. “What are you doing here?”

And really, what was he doing there? He hadn’t figured it out yet, so he just shrugged, looked down at his feet. He didn’t really know what he was doing anymore. His life was a mess he wasn’t ready to clean up.

“Why don’t you come in,” she said, stepping back and opening up the door more. He took the familiar steps, entered the apartment and followed her to the living room where they sat on the couch they had picked out together.

But it didn’t feel that familiar anymore. They sat at opposite ends of the couch, avoiding each other’s gaze.

“How are you holding up?” Naomi finally asked. She sat back and crossed her legs, changed her mind and uncrossed them, leaning toward him. Sam allowed his eyes to meet hers for a moment before looking out the window just past her head.

“I’ve been better,” he said, a barely there smile blipping across his face. Blink and you missed it. It was silent again, the atmosphere of the room uncomfortable, reminding him even more that his life was upside down. Everything with Naomi had been so smooth and effortless.

“I’m sorry, Sam,” Naomi said. He turned his gaze to her face, surprised to see tears in her eyes. She wiped at her eyes before they could fall. “I really didn’t mean for things to turn out this way. I’m sure that doesn’t mean much from where you’re standing, and you may not believe me but I do care about you. Just, things changed. You were gone. I’m just… I’m glad you’re back and alive. I’m just sorry things happened the way they did, I guess.”

Sam watched her, still trying to keep tears at bay. He didn’t want to deal with this, wasn’t sure what he had expected coming here. Maybe he had hoped that by now Naomi would have realized she had made a mistake and would take him back with open arms as if nothing had ever happened. He wished she’d take him back with open arms, but that was wishful thinking.

He had been gone for 6 months and she had moved on, rather quickly with his own brother, of all people. And sure, he was angry about that but what could he really do at this point. So again, he had to wonder why he had bothered to come out there.

He thought of his last memory before he’d gone missing. About those last normal moments with Naomi, about the lights. And he knew then what his excuse for seeing her was.

“I didn’t come here for an apology,” Sam finally said. She looked up at him quickly and before she could speak, he asked, “What do you remember about the night I disappeared?”

She stared at him for a moment, thinking.

“It’s all kind of a blur, really,” she answered, sniffling quietly. “Um, I think you were watching the news or something. I left the room and came back and you were just gone. I tried so hard to find you—”

“I don’t want to hear it right now, Naomi,” he interrupted her. “Do remember there being any strange lights?”

She shut her eyes, picturing that night. She shook her head before opening her eyes again.

“No, sorry, I don’t,” she answered. Sam sighed, rubbing a hand across his forehead before standing up.

“Well, that’s all I came for,” he said, moving toward the door to the apartment. “I’m gonna head back now.”

“Sam,” she said. He was at the door. He paused.


“Be careful.”

Halfway home he pulled over onto the shoulder of the road, pressed his forehead against his steering wheel. Despite the biting cold outside, he rolled down his window, letting the frigid air in. He felt like he was suffocating, questioning his memories, wondering why this had all happened to him.

He felt alone in this. But he felt so certain that there was something to these lights. He remembered the news reporter saying the lights were showing up all over the world, all over the country. How could people just forget something like that? There had to be someone out there who remembered.

After a few minutes, he pulled back onto the road. A little while later, he was about to pull into his parent’s driveway before changing his mind. He drove past it, taking the familiar route to the local library. He hadn’t been there in a long time, but he knew they had better computers and Internet than he could find in his parent’s home.

Once on a computer though, he wasn’t sure what exactly he should be searching for. He looked up news articles from the days around his disappearance, scouring numerous reports, looking for anything that could show that what he remembered was real. But there was nothing. He pressed his face into his hands, now completely unsure of where to go from here.

There had to be an answer somewhere.