Two Stories Down

Submitted into Contest #102 in response to: Write about a mysterious figure in one’s neighborhood.... view prompt


American Mystery Contemporary

“Boo Radley?”

“Too isolated.”

“Norman Bates?”

“Too crazy.”

“Miss Haversham?”

“Too vengeful.”

“Faulkner’s Emily?”

“Wasn’t she a necrophiliac?”

“Depends on your reading of the last scene in the attic.”

“Then no.”

“Gollum…the Grinch…Yoda…Willy Wonka?” My frustrations were starting to sarcastically seep into my responses. I had been thinking for about twenty minutes, but I couldn’t come up with a comparison to help Mira help identify the mysterious recluse who had moved in to the apartment below hers.”

“Dina.” Mira’s agitation was palpable. She first mentioned the reclusive stranger a few weeks ago. She passed him on the stairwell and realized that she had never seen him before. His apartment was a studio two flights down and she said that he watched her from the moment she walked in from the outside door until she was at the top of her landing. It set her on edge that entire weekend.

“You never mentioned if he was good looking,” I teased trying to diffuse the tension a little.

“I was too creeped out to see if he could give Lancelot a run for his money.”

“Which Lancelot, Richard Gere or Noah Wyle?”

“Good call…um….weren’t there other Lancelots?”

“Yeah. I’m sure there are, but these were the first two that came to my mind.”

“Then Noah Wyle in the hopes that someday Anthony Mackle might get that part.”

“Isn’t he the guy that plays Falcon in the Marvel movies?”

"Yep, and he is so…”

The noise at the door startled us both. It was more of a pounding than knocking and there were only two loud beats. We both looked at each other and then Mira slowly walked toward the door.

“Were you expecting anyone else besides me?”

She shook her head. We were planning on drinking a glass of wine here, then heading downtown for dinner, and maybe hitting a club afterwards. We would have loved to have dates, but that just wasn’t happening for either of us these days. She slightly opened the door and there he stood. I could just barely see half of him since the door was not fully open.

“Hi,” Mira said almost with a whisper, “Can I help you?”

The guy hesitated and then used his right hand to push his mid-length hair back from his face. He wore a white t-shirt under a faded red flannel. His jeans were ripped at his right knee and he had black combat boots on that were not tied. He looked like he stepped right out of 1991 and a Nirvana music video. He was mildly attractive to me, but Mira looked entranced.

“Yeah. Do you know the time? The power is out of my apartment.”

“Sure,” Mira said and pulled her phone from her back jeans pocket. “8:19.”

“Thanks,” he said and brought his eyes up to meet Mira’s for just a brief second.

His eyes were a light but vibrant blue that looked lost and hopeful at the same time. There was a smile on his face that was both intoxicating and dangerous too. Then, he ducked his head and headed back down the stairs to his apartment. Mira slowly closed the door and took her first deep breath since the strikes on the door were heard.

“See?” She said breathlessly.

“See what? He reminded me of Bender from The Breakfast Club.”

“That’s it!” Mira almost shouted. “He seems scary but at the same time he has this need to be helped or be seen.”

“Okay,” I said unsure of what she meant. “Are you ready to go?”

“Go?” Mira said distractedly. “Where are we going?”

“I thought we were going to Murphy’s for dinner and then maybe over to 1412 to see which band might be playing tonight,” I didn’t mean to sound accusatory, but Mira was starting to worry me. She was never this flighty or lost in her thoughts. She was the most organized and rational person I knew.

“Yeah. Sure. I think I might go down and check on…him…before we go.”

“Do you think that is safe?” I asked quickly. “His power is out and yours is on. You share the same power source. Don’t you think that is a reason to be a bit cautious?”

“I’ll only go to the door.”

“Come on Mira,” I said almost pleading, “We’ve seen Poltergeist and Ghostbusters like twenty times. Doorways can be just as dangerous and blackened alleys. Besides innocent girls always get attacked at night when they are trying to help. Wait until tomorrow afternoon at like 1 p.m. and then check away.”

“Seriously Dina. You sound like your mom.” Mira said and slipped on her white tennis shoes. “I’ll be right back.”

She smiled and then opened her apartment door. I followed her to the landing and watched as she knocked three times on the stranger’s door. A few moments passed and then she knocked again a little louder with only two beats like he did earlier.

“I don’t think…” I began but then the door creaked open, and I heard his voice.

“Welcome Mira,” he said and his hand reached from out of his apartment. His flannel had been replaced by a white button-down shirt. The sleeves were rolled to his elbows. There was a blue light emanating from behind him. I couldn’t see his anything below his waist.

“I thought the power was out,” Mira said startled as she was raising her hand to meet his.

“The power always dies after I travel back from Emittime,” he said like a professor teaching class.

I had started down the stairs when I saw his hand clasp hers. His confidence had improved and he seemed to be drawing Mira in. I had to stop her.

“Will you take me there?”

“Of course. We will travel history together. I have been waiting centuries to meet you and finally 8:42 came.” 

“Mira! Stop! Don’t!” My words came out loud and jumbled. Mira turned her head and I saw her green eyes stare at me without blinking one more time before the door closed. I fell against the door trying to stop it from closing. It was no use. I banged on the door and tried the handle, but nothing happened. I pulled out my phone to call 911, but then realization set in. I had no idea where she had gone or who she was with two stories down.

July 14, 2021 15:19

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.