Diaries of the Villas of Nassau Bay

Submitted into Contest #113 in response to: Start or end your story with the line ‘This is my worst nightmare.’... view prompt



September 26, 2021

This is my worst nightmare.

Two months ago, I had what I thought to be the happiest day of my short 19 years. I signed the lease on my very first apartment. The Villas of Nassau Bay. This was the cutest community I had ever seen. Turquoise buildings surrounded a gorgeously landscaped pool right in the center of the small thirty-unit property. 

An old French lady named Helene is the manager and the only employee on the property other than Miguel, the maintenance man. Not only does she manage, but she also lives here too. She looked at my application, looked at me, and in her strong French accent said “okay. I accept you.” This felt like a real dream. I packed up all my things and loaded them into my car. I could not get out of my parents’ house soon enough. Now I am here on my first day in my $500/month, 400 sq foot studio apartment with the mini fridge. I have never been more excited about anything. To find out how we went from my wildest dream to my worst nightmare, I must take you on a journey. We can just start with today and work our way back, shall we?

September 19 2021

This was the last straw. I have had it. Today my maintenance man knocks on my door and tells me that he happened to notice through my apparently not fully closed blinds that I was watching porn on my TV and that he too enjoys porn. “It is a natural and beautiful thing, watching the porn,” he says. Please. Kill me now.

September 17, 2021

Yesterday I finally met my cute next-door neighbor. We have often said hi as either one of us came or went. I have seen him bring in his guitar and sometimes at night I can hear him practice through the walls. These are the nights, when I imagine him playing for me, that I don’t need the porn. But yesterday, my dad came by. We stood on the walking deck outside of my front door. He was drunk and angry.

 “You think you’re too good for your family now? You think you’re a grown-ass woman now, huh? You’re all big and tough?”

“Daddy, it was just time for me to go. I’m almost 20.”

“You’re going to talk back to me now!” He screamed as he grabbed my hair and threw me against the wall. The wall that happened to be on the outside of hot neighbor’s apartment.

Hot neighbor then opens his door and says, ‘can you please keep it down or take it somewhere else?’

This is when my dad punches him, then he runs inside and calls the cops.

Now I am standing in the parking lot giving a statement to the cops with my dad in the back of the cruiser. My stepmom is standing behind me, talking at the cops over my shoulder, and crying. “he’s a good man! He doesn’t need to be in that car! Just let me take him home! Why would you call the cops on your own father? What kind of person does that?’ All the neighbors are standing on the walking deck in front of each of their doors, watching this go down.

Goodbye, hot neighbor.

September 10, 2021

A week ago I saw the dead body of the duck lady. Or what was left of her. I suspect everyone knew about the ducks, just no one talked about the ducks. I smelled the same smell that I had heard others complaining about for a week before Miguel finally unlocked her apartment, only to be accosted with the smell of rotting flesh and a swarm of flies. As soon as he opened the door, her black cat ran out. No one knows where she went but they say they must find her because once an animal has eaten human flesh, they develop a taste. So legally they need to find the cat so that they can put her down. Yesterday I found her wandering around in the laundry room and I was able to earn her friendship with some canned food. She can stay with me until I can think of a better place to hide her.

After the paramedic and the police removed the body, Helene and Miguel did a walkthrough of her unit. Later that afternoon I watched as animal control left her apartment with 2 full-size mallard ducks.

After they left, I went into her apartment and as I opened the door, the smell overpowered me. The scent of the corpse that had been decaying over the past two weeks still lingered strongly, even with the absence of the body. But there was more. A firm stench of death beyond that of rotting human flesh. Once I was able to make myself move beyond the smell (‘Mind over matter’ I repeated to myself), I discovered a hoarding situation that would make the hoarders on the show Hoarders say ‘maybe you have a little too much stuff…’

Duck lady’s apartment was the same 400 square feet as mine, but she had only walking paths to get around. I also noticed why animal control was returning, this time wearing masks and carrying bags.

There was what used to be a fancy-tailed guppy tank, except now all of the fish had eaten almost every bit of every fin. All but one were floating in a sad, slimy heap at the top of the tank. ‘good for you, little guy,’ I thought.

On the table was a hamster habitat, intertwined with tubes for her fancy mice to climb around and visit one another in their colorful and clear plastic tube city. At some point when the cat became hungry enough, she busted into the cage and proceeded to eat only the front half of every single mouse (was it before or after she helped herself to the delicacy of a human cheek, I wondered. Human cheek does go great with fava beans and a nice chianti. Right? “Silence of the Lambs”? No? Just me? Okay, moving on.) Before I was kicked out by the people who were dressed properly as to not contract any infectious disease from all the death, I was able to take a peek through the open bathroom door to find the remains of 6 partially eaten ducklings spread all over the bathroom floor and bathtub, all of which were covered in a quarter of an inch of duck feces. From here I walked briskly home, slammed my front door behind me and my body collapsed as I filled with tears, watching my new cat stand on my pillow and clean her butthole.

September 3, 2021

I met Sir Opiate John. He was very eccentric, outlandish, and fun. I would see him sitting in the common area at all hours of the day and night, smoking hand-rolled cigarettes with a glass of wine in his hand. 2am, wine. 9:30am, wine. It was like time was but a construct to him. One night around midnight, I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to wash my clothes. As I was walking upstairs from the laundry room with my basket in tow, Sir John stops me.

“Doesn’t this feel like one of those nights that you just know something beautiful is about to happen?”

I could tell he was feeling particularly introspective, and he needed someone to share with.

“You know, John. It really does.”

“Come into my apartment, young Queen, please share my wine.”

I fell into a shock as I entered his home. The same 400 square feet as me but it felt 4 times the size of my place. I felt like I was in the elephant room from “Moulin Rouge.” Was I in the elephant room? Was a beautiful, young Ewan Macgregor about to come out and sing to me?

As we enjoyed his shockingly delicious box of wine, he shared with me how in tune with nature and with the spiritual world he is. He went into intricate detail on the way your insides begin to vibrate with the light of every living creature as he communes with mother earth. I felt like he was probably a little off his rocker, but at the same time, I too wanted to be this close to mother nature.

“I envy you. I can’t even meditate without falling asleep or getting distracted because I farted.”

“Queen, let me tell you. You need not envy. You can be me.”

It was then that he reaches under his table and pulls out a marble and gold box. Inside lay a pipe, not much unlike that of Gandalf the Grey.

“That’s beautiful. What is that?”

“This, my love, is where the magic of peace and creativity happens.”

I thought this was pot, which I had tried a couple of times before with my friends. I enjoyed the mellow calm I felt, the way all my nerves tingled. But after a night of lucid dreaming and an extreme sense of bliss, several hours later I was sitting in this man’s apartment, feeling completely disconnected from the world. I got up and walked to my own apartment, passing him on the way. He gave me a knowing, friendly nod as a passed, then went back to rolling his cigarette and drinking his wine.

I do not think opium is for me.

August 26, 2021

 I finally decided to get in the pool. It is the main focal point of the property, after all. I put on my bikini, grabbed my book, towel, and SPF 30, and headed down.

The only other person was a man in his seventies. He was laying in a lawn chair, holding a reflective visor in order to get maximum sun absorption. I sat in a chair opposite him and began to apply my sunscreen.

“perfect day for a soak.” The man said to me.

“Oh, it definitely is. Could not ask for better weather.”

“No, ma’am. I would not waste a good day like this on that SPF 30. Baby oil. That’s the stuff you want. Here, feel free to try some.”

“Okay, maybe I will. Thank you! You look so good, there’s gotta be something to it, right?”

“Yes, ma’am. In all of my 43 years of being out in the sun, and my 24 years of living here, coming to this pool every day, I have never used anything but baby oil and it has done me good.

“Alright, time to cool off. I’ll be back, miss!”

He jumped into the pool and as I watched him swim away with a streak of oil glistening in the water trailing behind him, I gathered my things, went back upstairs, and promised myself I would never go out without a coverup and heavy sunscreen again.

September 25, 2021

This is the toughest decision I have ever had to make in my short 19 years alive. Tonight is the end-of-summer party for the Villas. This is when I decide if I am one of them, or if I am going to move on to a normal life. In my short time here, I have discovered two things: every person here moved in when they were 19. And people either move out the day of their first end-of-summer party, or they stay forever. I feel like I’m being let to decide if I want to be a vampire or not. I’m getting to decide if I want eternal life. Except, it’s not eternal life. It’s just the rest of my life here with these quirky people in this turquoise haven.

I don’t even think I knew my decision until I made it. I had not intended on staying. My bags were packed, and I was ready to drop off my key. As I stepped into Helene’s apartment and watched everyone undress and cover one another in mud, I locked eyes with Helene, and the sense of calm that had overtaken me with the opium returned, followed by the same disconnection from the world that I had felt. I just knew this is where I was meant to be. It was not my decision. The Villas had chosen me. An understanding took place in the room. 

As Helene undressed me, Sir John and hot neighbor began to rub the mud ceremoniously over my body. Suddenly Hotel California started to play in the background and I understood that this was the only home I would ever know again.

September 26, 2021 22:34

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Ayushi Roy
06:27 Oct 07, 2021

Hi Tara!! Your story was so good OMG!! I got really attached to the characters hahahaa!! Writing it in the form of a diary was a really good take on the topic. The way you have depicted different emotions is commendable. Also, your choice of words is really really nice. It was a really nice storyy :))


09:42 Oct 07, 2021

Thank you, Ayushi!


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Ryan Shaw
23:28 Oct 06, 2021

I can see what you mean by reading your story the pacing was really nice and I was able to take more time to understand everything on top of that it was a great story I felt hooked to find out what happened next and could really connect to the character great work!


23:38 Oct 06, 2021

Thanks so much for reading my story and for the feedback!


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