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Fourth Floor Whisper

Amber Cherry, FL, USA
June 2004

In 1995, I had just turned 17 years old and was bubbling over with excitement at having moved into my first apartment. The heat was almost overwhelming trekking up four flights of stairs, but as soon as I stepped into the apartment for the first time, goose pimples shuddered up and down my spine from the freezing plummet in temperature. Anxious to have everything perfect my first time on my own, I dismissed it, making a mental note to have the air vents checked. In retrospect, I should have gone with my instincts that something was quite fishy about receiving the largest apartment for half the price. They told me it was because the one I had viewed was not ready yet and they were giving it to us as a consolation for my troubles.

Griping and grumping all the way through the day, my new husband Jimmy contemplated throwing everything else out and starting over, but we made it through the grueling process of unpacking, with nice buns to show for it I might add, and settled in to pass out for the night.

I remember coming out of a hard sleep in slow motion, hearing a loud clicking noise through a tunnel like state. Eventually my blurred vision snapped to focus and I glanced at the alarm clock, three a.m. What in the world was clicking?

I stumbled out of bed stubbing my pinky toe on the corner of some unpacked boxes. I let out a small whimper of anguish and hobbled into the living room careful not to wake the sleeping bear (my husband). I plopped on the couch to wait for the throbbing to subside when the loud "click", "click" caught my attention again. I realized it was coming from the kitchen. The pain in my foot forgotten, I made my way around the breakfast bar and onto the cold linoleum kitchen floor. I swear at that moment, in between the refrigerator and the stove, I could feel my breath coming out in a fog. I became extremely annoyed at that point because I noticed the red light of the oven was on. The clicking was the temperature heating up and going off. What I had failed to notice at that point was, if the oven had been on all night then why was it so cold? I turned the oven off and ran back into bed shivering under the covers.

That was the first night. That morning, getting ready for school, as I was still in High School and graduation was not until the next month, my husband yelled at me from the kitchen something to the tune of, "What in the world are you going to cook in the oven for breakfast, you don't have that much time?"

Irritated first thing in the morning, we irritated each other a lot, and not having any idea what he was rambling about I started to go off on him when I realized the oven was back on again.

At first I thought I must not have turned it completely off the night before, but later, after a month of turning off the oven I finally confronted my husband. We were both baffled because we had each thought the other was forgetting the oven. I finally made my way to the front office and complained about the defective appliance and the ridiculously cold air unit.

They promised me they would fix the problem and sent maintenance in the next week to install a new oven appliance and check the air conditioner. Everything was fine for about a week, then that is when the stove lights started coming on sometimes two at a time and sometimes all four, it didn't happen all of the time but regular enough to be a nuisance. I guess we just sort of got used to it by the second month and it became part of our routine to turn it off or just put it to use when it was on. As for the air conditioner, we got tired of putting in maintenance requests so we just decided to deal with it.

It wasn't until my husband went out to the field (he was in the Army) for two weeks and I was left alone at night that the weird things started to happen. I remember coming home after a late night at work and starting a hot shower. I left the bathroom long enough to undress and towel myself before returning to a steamed bathroom and stepping into the shower. My body lurched at the immediate feel of ice running down my skin. Immediately I jumped back out and made a futile attempt to adjust the temperature of the water. As I leaned over the edge of the tub turning the clear glass handle back and forth from "C" to "H", I felt as though a presence was standing behind me and turned my head quickly to face the mirror. At that point I had flashbacks of every horror movie I had ever seen and decided to stop creeping myself and go downstairs to hang out with friends. I stood up still facing the mirror and saw distinct, translucent, fingerprints on the steamed reflection. I don't think I ever ran so fast with my voice in my throat and the dread of someone chasing me.

My friends thought I was a riot when my horror story was relayed. They said there was just something wrong with the pipes and my mind was playing tricks on me. What they could not explain was the red splotches I had on my chest and down the left side of my arm. They kept asking me why I thought the water was cold.

I was actually grateful when my husband returned the next day, but the very night he returned and we climbed in our bed, the temperature in the bedroom became a brutal ripping of our skin that it was impossible to get warm.

Jimmy actually pulled our floor heater out of the storage because we just could not get comfortable. I know you are thinking, hey the night gets cold right? Well, no, this is the beginning of the summer, in Texas. Let me tell you, it is hot. We actually opened up the windows to let the cold air out that night. We finally dozed off to the whir of the red heating coils.

Around three in the morning my eyes flew open. I felt a warm breath against my cheek and turned to make out a shadow by the head of my bed. Just as soon as I had seen it, it was gone. I noticed that the heater had gone off, but I didn't care, there was no way I was getting out of bed to fix it. I tried desperately to go back to sleep and even cuddled up closer to Jimmy for warmth and the feel of security, but as I lay there in the dark I knew my mind was starting to wander and soon I would be cowering with freight. Outside our bedroom window I heard it, just then, a whisper. Deep, throaty but very distinct, it said my name. We were up four floors. It was whispered right by my head. Our headboard was up against the window and a person could have been standing right there. That was not possible; there was no balcony and no one above us. I bolted upright in bed and turned to wake my husband, I didn't have to. He had already sat up and was looking through the blinds of the opened window trying to figure out where the voice had come from.

He heard the same thing as me, my name; he said it woke him up. We both sat there for a long time straining to see out of the window before we heard the clicking noise from the kitchen again and when we snapped our heads in unison towards the kitchen that was when the whisper was behind us again.

Well that was enough for us; we went downstairs that night and stayed with our friends claiming that it was too darn cold. We didn't want to tell the story because we weren't sure if it was a prank or something else and I'm thinking the something else was too much for us to accept the reality of. The very next day we went to the front office and had them give us the apartment we originally asked for. We had movers come and transfer all of our items to another, smaller apartment on the other side of the complex.

Jimmy and I are no longer together; we divorced within the first year of our marriage. I am re-married now with two children and to this day I cannot sleep with the windows open and will not take a shower when I am alone in the house.

Amber Cherry, FL, USA
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