Chapter 1: Love To Me Is So Unreal It sounded like his car. He knew the engine by heart like an old friend's voice. But wasn't his car parked right there before his eyes, in his driveway? Cole leaned further out the window, staring down at the car with a murmur of confusion. He was too stoned for this shit. He stumbled back to his computer to type a few more words of his rambling short story. He picked up the pipe laying on his bed and grabbed the lighter lying beside it in two smooth movements. He deftly took a hit and wheezed out the smoke passively. "Guess I better check it out," Cole murmured, laying the pipe and lighter down like a man in a dream. He fumbled absently in his pocket for his pack of cigarettes as he stumbled towards the door. He opened the door with some difficulty. That knob got a little argumentative after a few bowls of the shit Cole was puffing. "Be right back," he mumbled to his mother's boyfriend as he passed. The weird guy was listening to music on some 80's channel. "And I-yi-yi-yi-yi will always love you-oo-ooo-oh," Whitney Houston sang loud and proud. "Fucking strange," Cole commented dazedly. He walked outside onto the back porch. He stood there with the cigarette dangling between his lips as he watched his car pull into the driveway. He watched it swing sideways to park beside... his car. Music was blaring from the CD player. "Happiness I cannot feel and love to me is so unreal," Ozzy crowed. "And so as you hear these words telling you now of my state, I tell you to enjoy life. I wish I could but it's too late." As the song conveniently ended, the CD player shut off. No one turned it off. That was for sure. The car clone was empty. "What the fuck?" Cole whispered. The cigarette slid from between his lips and dropped. It fell between the boards of the porch. Cole didn't seem to notice. He walked down the steps carefully because his eyes were still locked on his car sitting there. His cars. "What the fuck?" Cole whispered again as he dismounted the last step and stood there dumbly. "This is some Twilight Zone shit, man." Cole glanced to his left, at the neighbors sitting on their porch staring at him. He waved with an almost politically false smile. "Howdy, neighbors," Cole said under his breath barely moving his lips. "Don't mind me. I'm just a fucking nut." The neighbors ushered their kids inside where they had been playing on the lawn on a beautiful summer day. They cast sharp and suspicious looks over their shoulders before following the kids. Apparently the neighbors agreed. When Cole turned his eyes back towards his vehicles, he only had one again. His eyes widened. At the same moment, a weird sound caught his ears. It was a tinkling little tune. It brought to mind something sweetly evil. It was taunting and playful yet murderous. Cole wondered what horrible instrument hid behind that seemingly innocent tune. "Ice cream!" the kids next door yelled and burst out the front door with their worried parents hurrying along behind them. It was an ice cream truck, pulling up to the curb. Cole turned away and ran up the porch steps and headed back inside. He was trembling and sweaty. He headed back to his room through another wave of 80s music - Pat Benatar was talking about love being a battlefield - and shut the door tightly behind him. He locked it. "That's what I get for going outside," Cole said to himself. "Holy fuck." He walked back towards his bed and began packing another bowl in the pipe with shaking hands. A handy live-action replay in his head of his other car pulling into the driveway and then disappearing kept playing through his head. "Just got too stoned," he told himself reassuringly. The tune outside kept playing, drifting through the window Cole had opened to air out the smoking location. That sweetly evil barrage of noise seemed to taunt him somehow. You saw what you saw. "My eyes were just playing tricks on me," Cole whispered as he valiantly finished packing the bowl. The tune kept playing. If you can't trust your eyes, what can you trust? "I think I have enough fresh air," Cole said flatly. He walked over and slammed the window shut. The tune was cut off, leaving only the sounds of his mother's boyfriend coughing in the living room. He lifted his mouth to the end of the pipe and poised his lighter to take a hit. He took the hit and blew it out and sat the pipe back down and then the lighter. He scratched his nose casually and then sat down in front of his computer. "I saw it," he admitted in a hollow voice. He heard the crunch of gravel and the roar of that familiar engine. "But I didn't hear that," Cole murmured. He reached for the pipe and lighter.