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Submitted on 02/28/2020

Categories: Mystery

"What an exhausting day." I thought to myself as I sauntered up the cement steps of my apartment. I had just moved in to the building a week ago so these stairs were going to take some getting used too. There were 8 floors; I live on the 7th; and there was no elevator! Can you believe it?! No elevator in an 8 floor building. But the rent was affordable, it was close enough to work that I can walk it AND I have a ridiculously handsome upstairs neighbour. Which is always a positive in my eyes. Ah the neighbour. I've spent almost every night since I moved in and first saw him, thinking about our first encounter. There I was, hauling my stuff in, with the help of my sister and my best friend. I was carrying a particularly heavy and awkwardly shaped box when my foot slipped off the step and I stumbled backward. "This is how I die!" I thought dramatically in the first few seconds of the fall, closing my eyes, preparing for the end. But instead I was surprised by the sudden feeling of arms around me. I opened my eyes and there he was. Tall, mysterious, and so beautiful it made my heart stop. He said nothing but flashed a smile that made me forget how to breathe. Then he straightened me up back onto my feet, and continued out the front door of the building. Since that moment I had seen him every morning at the same time, when I assumed he was heading to work. I would greet him with a hello and what I thought was for sure my most flirtatious smile, but he never said anything back, not a word. Only a friendly, suggestive nod. And then I could hear him upstairs when he returned home since I always got back from work before he did, I never missed his arrival. He was a beautiful mystery. But there was no time to think about him at this moment. I had made a promise to myself. I would finally unpack and set up my new home that night after work. So that's what I was gonna do. Crack a bottle of wine, and get started. 2 hours, 1 bottle of wine, and only TWO boxes later! I can't believe I have accomplished nothing. I'm just tired, I had a long day at work. That's all. No matter. I'll take this glass of wine to the bathroom and hop in a shower. That'll wake me up. And then! I'll unpack. Tripping over a few boxes (but not spilling my wine), I finally found the box with my shower essentials, it was under a box of pantry food? NO idea why the food was in the bathroom. My sister's fault for sure. Right as I was going to move that strange box of food I hear a rustling coming from inside of it. Terrified, I slowly lift the flap of the box and see a long tail ending at a ball of dark grey fur. Having a serious rat phobia and being a bit over-dramatic about everything, I freaked out and threw the box across the room. It hit the back wall of the bathroom before hitting the ground. After a good 20 minutes of screaming, tearing up a bit (over-dramatic), and a lot of jumping around while cringing, I collected myself and went over to the nasty, rat box. As I got closer I seen that in the place where the box hit the wall was now a lovely hole with a few tiles broken to pieces underneath. Great. Now I have to try to find someone who can fix holes in walls for cheap or even better free, before my landlord finds out I broke the bathroom. Perfect. That was clearly a sign that I need to finish another bottle of wine and go hide in my bed. The Universe doesn't want me to unpack anything tonight, and who am I to go against the wishes of the Universe? I was heading away from the god-awful hole that the rat punctured in my bathroom wall, when I heard it. A faint muffling in the tone of someone very frustrated. Coming from the hole. Me being the cat curiosity killed, went in for a closer listen. Hmm. Still not close enough to make anything out, I thought to look around and noticed that there was a shallow hall way behind the wall, and what would you know? The hole was big enough (damn rat), and I was just thin enough, to fit. Ignoring the thoughts that if I could get in there, numerous other creatures certainly could too. I crawled until the hallway opened enough for me to get up onto my feet where I discovered a small, narrow, steep staircase. The muffling was almost audible so I had to keep going. Nearer and nearer, I could now tell that the voice was speaking what I sounded like Russian, angry Russian. I never took Russian in school, mostly because the French teacher was so handsome. So I couldn't make out a single word that was being said, but I was coming to the top of the stairs where the faintest light peered through a metal grate type thing that almost looked like what the vents in my apartment would look like from the inside. "Eavesdropping is wrong, eavesdropping is wrong." I had to keep repeating to myself. And just as I almost convinced myself to turn around and go home, a turn in the Russian conversation made me stay. It got creepily quiet; hushed; almost as if whoever was talking knew they were being listened too. Still instead of making the smart choice to leave, I decided to make the dumb choice and get in closer so I could take a look. I made him out immediately. The hot neighbour! No wonder he's never returned any of my super subtle, flirtatious advances. He doesn't speak English! No matter, we can work this out. Maybe I can learn some basic words, enough to ask him out and get through a date at least. I mean, how hard could it possibly be right? When I finally felt like I had seen and heard enough, I turned to go. And that's when I heard it. His Russian dialogue, shifted very smoothly into English. So smoothly there was no doubt he spoke English, very fluently. And the conversation was a lot darker than I was imagining. I was now all of a sudden eavesdropping on what sounded like a script from a horror movie. I don't know why I still stayed but I did, just long enough to hear a knock at his door. He ended his conversation abruptly, almost as if he didn't want whoever was on the other side of the door to hear his plans. Just as he was approaching the door to open it, he pulled what looked like a very ornate and sharp looking knife from under a cushion on his couch. Hiding it behind his back, he opened the door, inviting the other man in. At first the conversation seemed oddly civil. At first. What happened next had me wanting to scream but kept me frozen in place. I was in shock, and wanted to run more than anything, but I couldn't. A shadow came across the grate, blocking all the light from my hiding place. "Have you seen enough?"

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1 comment

Alex Wolffe
21:42 Mar 04, 2020

I really enjoyed the overall premise of the story 😁

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