The Apartments

I was hanging out with my friends one night about two years ago, relaxing and chatting about this and that. It had rained a great deal that afternoon and evening; the streets were still steaming and a low fog had settled. It was the perfect night to go frolicking and making mischief.

Due to the gloomy atmosphere, we got on the subject of the run-down apartments that were scheduled to be torn down in a few weeks. Pam lived not too far from the building, and we thought it'd be a great idea to go exploring.

The apartments were made for low income citizens who needed a little help getting on their feet. Usually it was occupied by single mothers who were either divorced or had never married. I flirted around the entrance gate of the apartments on several occasions and often wondered what it would be like to live in these apartments.

The monthly rent of the apartments was humorously low, and the business eventually crashed. It left people homeless and the place turned into a hang-out for drug addicts and run-aways.

Fortunately, most of these people had been "kindly escorted" to a jail-cell or back to their parents, and the police made nightly rounds throughout the complex.

Getting back to the story... we walked the four or five blocks down to the apartments. They were pushed behind a large supermarket, and the view was rather dismal. They had dumpsters or the roofs of smaller buildings to look at, mainly. We climbed the gate and ran into the "courtyard", away from public view.

It started to drizzle at this point, and we were all getting a little chilly. We walked around the complex, first on ground level and then up to the second story where there was a little overhang to protect us from the rain. There wasn't much to look at but trash left behind by various tenants.

We were walking toward the staircase when we heard a door slam shut. It echoed nicely through the abandoned complex and it made us all jump. Someone suggested that we go look some more and we were up for it. I knew that what we were doing was dangerous - we were trespassing in the first place on a condemned property, and second of all, there could have been either a crackhead who would have done horrible things to us, or a police officer who would have loved to harass us on that cold night.

What we found, instead, was a door standing wide open. It had "rebounded" after it was slammed and went straight back into the thin wall. Upon closer inspection, I found that it actually punched through the cheap drywall. I was rather reluctant to go inside at first -- beyond the door was gaping darkness and it just screamed danger and horror.

Yet, I was with the two ambitious, brave-hearted friends of mine and we (Ali and Pam) decided to venture inside.

The floor was covered with debris. The front room was trashed: litter, coke cans, broke plates, dust and dirt, animal defecation... you name it, it was probably there. The whole apartment stunk of cat urine and some unplacable scent.

We quietly petered around the front room for a while, careful not to touch anything directly. There was the skeleton of a couch, devoid of all of its cushions, and it smelt strongly of urine as well.

Finally we decided to venture into the guts of the place. There was a long hallway past the "kitchen" that ended dead with a crooked picture of a sunflower hung on it. There were three doors - two were open, but one was firmly shut. We glanced around the two rooms; one was what I guessed was the "master bedroom"; it had more of the same thing the living room had in it...trash. The air was stale and it was almost like being trapped.

The second room was a bathroom. That room wasn't very interesting - nor was I very interested, due to seeing "The Shining" too many times. We decided to check out the third room, the room with the closed door.

It wouldn't budge - we tried our hardest to push it open, but it was as though someone had stacked everything in that room against the door and escaped through the window...or not at all. The apartment's stench was almost unbearable at this doorway, and it took a lot for me not to run back outside to get some fresh air.

Then, we heard it. It was possibly the most horrifying sound I've ever heard - but we hear it on a daily basis. It was a baby's shrill cry. My heart almost stopped. My body went numb for a few second, and my eyes were wide. I could tell that my friends were equally as freaked - the look on their faces was like running ink.

After our initial freaking, we speculated. What if there was a living baby in that room that someone abandoned? With that thought in our minds, we used all the strength we could to get the door open. Surprisingly, it opened as smoothly as any normal door would. We almost fell all over each other in response.

The room was completely empty. There was nothing on the floor that suggested a living person, not even the normal debris we found in the other three rooms. The only thing was the sliding door closet.

It was cracked open slightly, but it was like an endless black slit. I was ready to go - I had enough excitement that night and for the next two hundred years, but no - Pam had to see if there was anything in the closet. I've had a fear of closets for more than three quarters of my life, and watching her slide the closet door back was like watching some horrid black-and-white thriller in slow motion. I felt nauseous.

When she drew the closet door back, it whined in protest...but there was another sound. The sound of the unseen baby, letting out another shriek. We decided that we'd just let the police take care of this - we bolted out of that apartment quicker than you could say "HAUNTED"!

I don't think we stopped running until we got back to Pam's house. We locked ourselves in her room and started babbling mindlessly about what happened. I could feel this horrible feeling clinging to me - I don't know how to describe it other than picking up ghostly "traces" that attach themselves to you. I was very wary of Pam's closet that entire night, but after a fruitful search to prove my fear wrong, I was sated.

We never actually called the police about that apartment - we did watch the news story on its razing and there was nothing mentioned about a living - or dead - child in that particular complex.

To this day, I'm haunted. Every time I hear a child scream, I'm immediately reminded of Pam sliding the closet door open...and hearing that horrible shriek.

Submitted by Lana, TX, USA