The apartment

When I first moved into my present home, the building wasn’t actually complete. I always thought there was a story there, but like so many other ideas it sat at the back of my mind, gathering dust, waiting for the moment when like a forgotten gift it is retrieved once more. Yesterday, I had a clear out, and there, dusty and buried under notes about this and that, discovered the tale of the apartment. I quickly jotted out the little piece that you will find below and found that it could be worked into a larger story. I doubt the scene I share here will find it’s way into the finished product (it’s rough, having been written in half an hour or so), but I do think it raises a little chill. And I do so like to shudder in company….

The Apartment
I was the first person to move into this apartment block. My flat was the only one completed at the time and for five weeks I lived in this huge building completely alone. For whatever reason, construction had ceased during that time and parts of the complex were not complete. Many of the apartments lacked doors and odd times I would find myself wandering their interiors, my footsteps sounding loudly on floors that had yet to be carpeted. I imagined that the spaces were occupied and I was a ghost wandering unseen into the lives of others. I passed through kitchens and bedrooms, stopped to press my hand against the glass of windows, opened drawers and cupboards. Perhaps I took some perverse enjoyment in knowing that when the new arrivals appeared I had already sullied their rooms with my presence, perhaps I found some comfort in having the place as mine alone. Whatever the reason, In those daylight hours I haunted the rooms and hallways. Then later, as the day turned over to night, I too found myself haunted, of a kind.

Not by unearthly spectres though. No, there was no pale figure sitting at the end of my bed, or invisible hands moving the clock from my wall. It was the memory of my actions that kept me from sleep. I would lay in the dark, and there revisit the wanderings I had partaken during the day. Only, my presence was still there. I could feel myself wandering in the darkness, a part of me left moving between rooms. There was an anger to my other self. It stumbled blindly in the dark, it’s breath heavy, and as it felt it’s way from room to room ,I knew that I was the object it sought.

I sensed the hallway light sensors being trigged as it found itself in the main atrium and a sudden urge to rise from my bed and meet the creature came upon me. I walked from my bedroom into the hall and in the dim light stood to face my door. A spyhole was situated at it’s centre and there a dot of light shone, the light from the hallway. I stood motionless, listening for any sound, any movement that would give evidence to my imaginings. I’m not sure how long I stood there in the dark, my ears keen, my breath tight in my lungs for fear that in exhaling the thing would hear me.

apatmrny spyhol

Of course, I heard nothing. There were no footsteps, just as there was no figure behind the other side of the door. How could there be. Being alone in such a large building had played tricks on my mind, and I had simply scared myself, very much like a child would; unable to sleep for fear of what lies beneath it’s bed. I exhaled, chiding myself on my foolishness as I did so.
And then something moved outside the door, blocking the light from the hallway.

To this day I am not sure what was standing at the opposite end of the door that night. I recall running upstairs, and there with the door locked and lights on I waited till morning. Never again did I venture into the empty apartments, and as in time they began to fill with the lives of others I almost forgot the events of that night. In deed I would have if it wasn’t for one more thing that keeps it returning to my mind.

A friend introduced me to the wonder that it Google earth. I spent some time marvelling at the ability to see different parts of the world through my computer screen and eventually, with my ambition for new places waning, typed in the address of my apartment. The world map zoomed in, city, then street, and there in a myriad of pixels the outline of the building so familiar to me. I waited as the computer built up the image, blocks of colour finding their place, the definition increasing, and then finally in high definition glory was the complex, and there my apartment.

And from my window a figure stood looking out.

And it’s face was not my own.

face in block

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