10923 Red River Drive doesn't exist.

It's not on the platting, the layout for Walnut Creek, the tax records, the permit records, or even on Google Maps. If you squint a bit in Street View, you might catch a glimpse of the side of a house with peeling vinyl, a few boarded up windows, and a poorly-trimmed lawn that the Red River Drive homeowner's association would disapprove of if they could remember seeing the place for longer than thirty seconds.

This isn't unusual. There are houses like this in every city that slipped off the edge of reality for most of the locals. Visitors to those cities might see them and mention them, only to forget them after getting baffled reactions from those they're with. Consensus reality says those places don't exist.

The state of not-being is fragile, though, so Mary takes care to trim the lawn, and they keep the boarded-up windows in Jake's attic room facing away from the street. They don't like to allow drugs (which means they had to kick the vampire with a taste for meth dealers out of the basement), and were it not for Song's old career, they'd ban guns in the house too.

Song pays extra rent for that. Song lives at 10923 Red River Drive on sufferance, and he keeps quiet, his head down. For all the troubles of the halfway-existing house, Song's got worse problems than the HOA. So he keeps his head down, goes to the corner store a neighborhood or two over with sunglasses once every two weeks. One drawer of his broad, alleyway-finding dresser is stacked full of Maruchan ramen.

It's creepy, Jake will tell Mary and Monica over the dinner table, but he's a good guy. Song used to be all that stood between the city of Oakland and destruction.

Yeah, Monica (who has the room next to Song's), will say. But that doesn't mean he can't keep his goddamn room from stinking up the stairwell. Stubbing out a cigarette in the ashtray. Sucks what happened to his wife, but needs to take care of his shit.

Mary, who collects the rent, just grunts. She remembers what happened with the fairy from Castro. Three months of money from him turning into leaves when she tried asking him to clean up his brick pizza oven ("fairies can't touch cold iron, I can't use the STOVE! besides, I'm Jewish.") has inured her to discontent cats, lint in the dryer screen, and the occasional wailing nightmare coupled with stenches. Mary has no skin in this game except for a dead-end book-keeping job in Hayward.

Song's wife is dead. Maybe wasn't his wife. No one likes to ask questions in the house on Red River Drive. But no one argues about the demon Song threw out into the moldy swimming pool ("how did he bless the water? I thought he was Buddhist!") ("shut up, Monica.") or him cleaning up the resulting demon pieces into the compost. No one argues about Walnut Creek being a bit safer with a hunter in the house, even if he has a warrant out for his arrest.

Everybody knows that staying at Red River Drive means a bit of you gets eaten away. Sliding off the edge of the world without anchors, Song polishes his guns and goes out into the night. Mary goes to her book-keeping job and thanks her lucky stars when she's passed over for promotion. Monica parties with Burners, and tries to pretend not to see the Seelie Court Camp at Decompression or the Folsom Street Fair. Jake calls a brother who slowly forgets his face, who never sends a Christmas card.

And bit by bit, more every day, 10923 Red River Drive doesn't exist.

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