If These Walls Could Talk, They'd Speak In Tongues
Jeff Lawhead, TN, USA
This is my second entry for Castle of Spirits, right behind "Like a Black Haze". This story takes place NOW, as the apartment I live in has had its share of creepiness and aimless vortex style nonsense erupting from where I live seems to be the center. Many of these, I would guess, have logical explanations - well, everything in life does, that doesn't make that the first couple years of this isn't any more ridiculous or suspicious.
There does not seem to be a strict "haunt" going on here, I'd say if there was something going on, it chooses not to have a pattern, or perhaps has one that covers one of the most convoluted incorporeal plots or sagas in recent history.
The apartment itself is pretty simple and affordable. It is not located in a bad neighborhood, nor would it be described as a cracker box. The build and maintenance is pretty abundant considering what I pay for it. It is also the same apartment the man who became my step brother almost burnt down ten years ago. He was telling me this as he helped me move in. Up in the bedroom is where he said he started a fire with his friend who was living there. I would bet the chances of anyone's first apartment having such a weird back-story is pretty low, and I would therefore bet the chances of anyone actually making good on it with an exploding bag of potato chips, that was not ANYWHERE NEAR the stove where it was burning and popping badly, are astronomical.
The bedroom has other issues - such a door that would never stay shut unless you locked it. There is no reason for this to happen. Sleeping in there can cause significant problems too, as at least once a week, I will wake up in the middle of the night and the bed will start shaking. There is nothing under it that would cause this either. And above the bed are my posters, which change and animate into the bed time hours, more so than a half-sleep state would have you believe.
Whatever else I'm sharing this apartment with does not like my posters changing either, it seems, and more than once I've gone upstairs to find something has TORN down my poster. It doesn't just fall leaving the edges taped up!
Downstairs is less of an issue, but I've still come downstairs to find strange smells that have no basis for being there, such as barbecue or lilac or human waste. The kitchen is another area of interest considering how many weird, unexplained yellow stains I've found there and how there is a single square inch that is sometimes very warm and hurts to step on anytime you do so.
As weird as it has sometimes gotten inside, it still remains a fact that it's a remarkable safe haven compared to some of the things I've caught outside. I live on a strangely structured hill complex overlooking a shopping complex. You can hear EVERYTHING up here. The acoustics are so weird and wild. To test my theory, I had my friend Aimee, who worked at the Outback Steakhouse there at least 1/3 of a mile away, go down there and have her talk to me on the cell phone. Without warning, I yanked the battery out of the cell phone and I could still hear her.
That wasn't nearly as bad as when I went to take the trash out late, like 1:00 AM, and heard a full-on conversation between two or more voices in the trash can. I didn't see anyone inside, but I didn't want to look either, so I tossed it in and ran.
But the weirdest things that I've experienced here are not some of these more ethereal transactions, but what the effect seems to have on other people. For some reason, even though this is not a bad neighborhood, it seems to inspire the weirdest behavior out of people.
First there is the doorstep. I've come to fear whoever comes to my door. First was the girl whom I thought was covered in blood. It turned out to be spaghetti sauce. From little I could gather from the tear-stained 911 call on my cell phone, the boyfriend "heard something" and attacked out of nowhere with a plate of spaghetti. Later, he microwaved the cat. I tried to follow up on it, but was directed against it twice.
Then the cops. More than once was I mistaken for a criminal who lived here and has since disappeared.
Then the boy... I still can't figure this one out. One day, a sharply dressed young man, maybe 19, knocked on my door and started asking me about my church. He wanted to know more about the Lutheran Church. That was a red flag right there, but I got him a church pamphlet I had anyway. He asked how much we follow up on Luther's traditions and I said "Pretty well, although we don't do his anti-Semitic stuff." Then he flashed a weird, devilish look and a grin and immediately shoved the pamphlet into my hands saying "NO THANK YOU". I closed the door, locked it, and tried to watch him leave... but I didn't see him! Where did he go?
He must've been around, for one time I was walking from the mailbox when a lady from down the row asked me if I knew who "that man" was and she pointed towards the greenery. She said he was stalking her and the kids. I didn't see anyone. I could share her pain though, because there is one apartment across from me that, since I have lived here, has seen a constantly rotating cast of tenants... ALL people who know me without me knowing them. They whisper my name and send it curses.
The cops HAVE been here on several other occasions. There were some fights, some other deals going on. Earlier this summer, for example, I woke up in the middle of the night like I usually do, but I was WIDE awake this time and couldn't figure out why. Then the blinds started flashing red. Bland at first but soon impossible not to notice. An ambulance had driven in silently to pick up my neighbor, who had died. I heard the cops and fire come, but I did not hear the ambulance. They also left without a trace too, similar to my other experiences.
A detective showed up at my door the Spring before that to ask me questions about the murder. "What murder?" I asked. The murder that happened RIGHT BEHIND ME evidently. That was fun. Caught a glimpse of the guy who did it on the news later that night.
Two days after that, I happened to look out my window to some of the buildings behind me, and there was a man highly resembling the murder looking out one of the house windows. He caught me looking and waved... I didn't like that too much.
I've almost called the cops on several occasions. Sometimes I've confused neighbors having a bloody argument for my upstairs fan, which I should mention should NOT be sounding very much like people arguing when turned on, it's supposed to sound like wind!
Additionally, while I've never had a traditional break-in, intruders of all kinds have gotten in here before. I've been mildly attacked before but could never figure out who keeps slapping the back of my bed or moving my legs at night.
One time, I woke up late one morning and found a Russian woman had gotten into my apartment. She was talking to someone and pointed towards the kitchen, but she had no cell phone and there was no one in the kitchen. After some harsh words and a sword being brandished, she left quickly.
I wish I had my sword the night I went upstairs after I heard something fall down only to see something scurry under the bed. I can't describe what it was, I just see a black polygon out of the corner of my eye when I think of it again. I poked and prodded but I never figured out what it was.
That's just all the stuff I can remember right now. I like living here, but I get the feeling that the feeling is not mutual.