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Fiction Horror Mystery

    The lights flickered as lightning lit up the old apartment building. It was always stormy nights when it happened. A tall dark figure would be seen in the hallway and someone would go missing. Only five tenants remain in the building. The rest had either moved away or gone missing. Cops had been informed but all they'd do is send some wimpy officer over to look around. They'd find no evidence and leave. All the apartments had been searched vigorously by the other tenants after the first few disappearances. Everyone had agreed to open their apartments for everyone to search. They feared that, if they didn't, they'd be accused of making the people disappear. The entire apartment complex had been searched and nothing was ever found. No evidence even showed that anything had happened. No blood, no fingerprints, nothing. It was as if they’d just got up and walked away and left everything behind. 

    What remained of the tenants, on that wet cold night, was an elderly woman, a middle aged couple, the bellman who also lived in the apartment, and a young woman who had just moved in there two weeks prior. Everyone, except the young woman, knew by now to stay in their apartments at night. The young woman, Julie, didn’t know and had thrown a load of clothes into one of the apartment complex’s washing machines about fifteen minutes after ten o’clock. She noticed her phone wasn’t in her pocket and left her clothes running while she went to grab it. 

    The bellman's apartment was right next to the laundry room. He got out of the shower and realized that one of the washers was going. He ran a hand through his wet hair and debated on going out there to get whoever was washing clothes. If he left, he risked going missing. If he stayed, it'd be his fault if the other person went missing. Finally, he decided he'd get the person but be very quick. He threw on sweats and a t-shirt and started to leave. He stopped at his door. Whatever had been kidnapping residents could be out there right now. He could be the next victim. He sighed and turned the knob. Light from his room spilled out into the impossibly dark hallway. The bellman stuck his head out and peered down each end of the hallway. He took a deep breath and ran to the laundry room. He entered and nobody was in there. A washer was running but there wasn't anyone in there. He looked around in a hurry. No one was in there. Then he heard the elevator ding and he ran to it. The new tenant stood inside just looking at the bellman's disheveled appearance. 

"Oh! Hi! I'm Julie." She said and stuck her hand out. The bellman looked at her hand. Then he heard something walking down the hall and looked. A tall dark figure was walking, slowly, towards them. He pushed the girl back into the elevator and closed the doors in a hurry. "What are you doing?" She said, slightly alarmed. The bellman definitely wasn't someone for her to be afraid of but any man pushing and locking you in an elevator would worry you. The elevator began to ascend and the bellman stopped the elevator before it reached the next floor. He wasn’t sure if, whatever that was, was following the elevator to the next floor. He turned to the girl to explain and she was pressed in the corner. 

“I’m sorry to alarm you. You’re new to the building, correct?” He asked and she nodded. “Well, everytime there is a storm, someone disappears. That’s why there’s so many openings in this building. Everyone who lived here either left or went missing. The reason I pushed you back in here was because of the tall black figure. It’s what takes people. Someone in the building sees it and then someone goes missing. We’ve avoided it for the last three months because we all stay in our apartments at night.” The woman looked at him skeptically.

“If this is your idea of some sick joke or a way to get with me, it isn’t going to work.” Julie said in an annoyed tone and went to press the button to start the elevator again. The bellman stood between her and the button.

“I’m not kidding. Look it up! The disappearances are online.” The bellman tried so hard to get her to believe him.

“Why haven’t the police helped then?” She asked the bellman.

“They send one officer, this short guy who is too scared to even look people in the eyes, and he looks around and ‘investigates’ and then he claims that there’s no conclusive evidence and leaves. That’s how it goes everytime.” He told her and she nodded.

“I’m sorry for accusing you of lying. So, are we just stuck here until morning then?” She asked and he shrugged.

“I’ll try calling the police but they probably won't do anything. If we try to get to a room then we might run into whatever that thing is. Staying put might be our best bet.” He explained and she nodded and sat down. The bellman dialed 911 and put the phone up to his ear.

“Hello, what is your emergency?” The operator asked. It was a woman's voice. The bellman recognized the voice from the million times he’d spoken with her.

“Hello this is Todd from the apartment complex on main street. Me and one of the other tenants are stuck in the elevator. I saw the figure with my own eyes this time. Narrowly escaped.” Julie noted that the bellman’s name was Todd. She’d recognized that he was the bellman but hadn’t caught his name. She’d only lived here for two weeks anyways. Two, very dry, weeks. 

“Sir, we’ve sent people over a million times. How is this time going to be any different?” The operator sounded very annoyed. She knew the man she was speaking to. She had gotten his calls on multiple occasions. 

“This time it’s at night and there’s a witness. I saw it with my own eyes!” Todd, angrily, exclaimed into the phone.

“Please describe the figure to me.” She said, she figured that it was a slightly different situation than normal. 

“It was like a man. Except it was almost seven feet tall and seemed to have almost tentacles for arms.” He described the figure to the woman.

“Ok, Todd, we’ll send someone over.” Then the line went dead. Todd put the phone back into his pocket and sat down across from Julie. 

“So, how long has this been going on?” Julie asked and Todd sighed.

“It was around a year ago. The first person to go missing was my girlfriend. She lived here and we were actually planning to move in together soon. It was a night like this one and I woke up and there had to have been twenty or so messages from her. The last one was ‘I love you’. I ran to her apartment and opened the door with the master key. She wasn't there. The messages showed me that she had been kidnapped. The cops took it seriously that time. Interviewed me, looked for fingerprints, checked the other tenants rooms, and checked the security footage. I, and the rest of the staff, had to take a lie detector test. The security cameras just skipped all of the night. That’s how it always went. They’d come, check footage, it’d be gone, lie test us, check for prints, leave. They did that for the first six disappearances. After that they just came and looked around and then left. They no longer even cared.” Todd told Julie the whole story and tears welled in his eyes. He missed his girlfriend. 

“Why haven’t you just quit?” She asked him.

“I’m hoping that someday she’ll come back and I want to be here when that happens. Either she’s going to come back or I’m going to catch the damn thing that took her.” His fists clenched and unclenched. Julie understood his anger. She couldn’t imagine losing anyone she loved. 

    They sat in silence until they heard walking outside of the elevator. They had to be near enough to the second floor that they could hear what was going on out there. They both stood up and listened outside. The walking got closer and closer until it was right outside of the elevator door. They heard a few other steps and there had to be three or four people out there. Todd thought that maybe the police took him seriously this time. 

“Hello! Are you two in there?” A familiar voice sounded. It was the wimpy cop that Todd hated. He rolled his eyes before calling back to him.

“Yes we are. We aren’t leaving unless the sun rises or that thing is caught though!” Todd told them and he heard someone laugh.

“There’s nothing in the building, sir. It’s clear to come out.” The cop called back.

“I’m staying put and I’d suggest you either find that damn thing or leave before it finds you.” Todd suggest and looked to Julie to see if she was going to protest staying but she nodded.

“I’ll stay too.” Julie told Todd. After the story Todd had told, she didn’t want to leave until she knew it was safe. She was packing her bags in the morning and leaving. The cops laughed and then went quiet. Todd and Julie figured they’d started leaving but didn’t hear their footsteps. 

“What the heck is that?” They heard one of the cops say. Then they heard running footsteps and screams from the cops. Todd covered Julie’s mouth as she was going to call out to them and gestured for her to stay quiet. If that thing was out there then they did not want to be found. They heard crashes and screams and finally it went quiet. Both of their hearts were pounding. Julie had tears in her eyes and Todd was white as a ghost. They heard one set of footsteps walking away from the elevator. Once the footsteps weren’t able to be heard anymore, Todd uncovered Julie’s mouth. 

“What just happened?” Julie whispered and Todd shook his head.

“I don’t know but it didn’t sound good. I think we should go up and check. Just see if any of them are up there or if they aren’t.” Julie nodded and pressed the number 2 before pressing the button to get the elevator to go again. It went up for two seconds before stopping. They had to have been pretty much at level two. The doors crept open to reveal blood coated walls. Julie cried out and Todd nearly threw up from the sight. Three police officers, including the one Todd knew, were lying on the floor. They were bloody and beaten. One of their heads was nearly detached from his neck. Another’s body was split in two. The one Todd knew was ripped limb from limb. Todd quickly shut the doors and pressed the three button and let it go for a few seconds before stopping the elevator again. Todd didn’t want to stop on either of the floors just in case the thing got the idea to break down the doors. At least, this way, it’d have to break through the wall to get to them. Julie slid down the wall with tears streaming down her face and Todd started pacing. Profanities exited his mouth one by one. That’s all he seemed to be able to say. What they’d just seen would haunt them for the rest of their lives. 

“Todd, sit down.” Julie said and Todd sat down. It was dead silent in that elevator. Both were just trying to get that image out of their heads. Todd was confused. Never had the thing killed someone and left evidence. He’d figure it would kidnap them and then kill them at another location where no evidence would be found. Then again, it’d only ever taken people who lived here.

“Julie, what if the thing killed those officers because they didn’t live here?” Todd asked and Julie looked over at him. Tears were still streaming down her face and she wiped them away.

“What do you mean?” She asked him.

“Well, it only ever got ahold of residents of this apartment complex. Those cops didn’t live here.” Julie nodded. 

“That’s possible. Call 911 again. They might be curious to know that three of their officers are currently dead in the hallway.” Julie said and Todd pulled out his phone. Just as he was about to dial the number, he got a call. It was one of the other tenants. A middle aged man who lived on the second floor. Todd pressed accept and held the phone to his ear.

“Hey, what just happened? My wife and I heard screams and bangs. Is everyone alright? We’ve been too scared to leave our room.” The man said and his wife could be heard asking if she should check out in the hallway.

“Tell your wife to call 911 and tell them that three police officers were brutally murdered on the second floor of the hallway. Make sure she tells them to maybe start taking us seriously about this disappearances thing.” Todd told the man.

“What? It killed them?” He asked and Todd confirmed. The man told his wife what Todd said and she gasped. Todd could hear her dialing 911 and talking in the background. 

“I called 911 because I saw that blasted thing. I left my room to get the new tenant because I heard her doing laundry. I was just about to ask her what she was doing when I saw that thing. We’re in the elevator now between floors two and three. I think it only kills people who don’t live here. It kidnaps people who do.” Todd told him. 

“The cops are on their way. I’m going to call the woman on floor three and tell her what happened. We’re catching this thing tonight whether it kills us or not.” He said and hung up. Todd cursed and pocketed their phone. Julie and him sat there in silence for probably hours.

    Police sirens could be heard outside and they could hear people entering the building. For hours they could hear people enter and then get killed by that thing. Every single time it happened right on level two. Todd and Julie started to lose hope. They were so scared that if they left then they’d die. Finally they heard the middle aged man who had called Todd call down from the third floor. 

“Todd! Come up here. It’s safe.” The man said and Todd started to protest then Julie stopped him. 

“I’m not sitting in this elevator waiting to die any longer. Let’s go.” She said and pressed the button and the elevator ascended to the third level. Todd was genuinely impressed by her sudden bravery. The doors opened and the middle aged couple stood outside the door. 

“Let’s kill this damn thing!” The middle aged man said and tossed a gun to both Julie and Todd. Todd had a sickening feeling that they weren’t going to make it. He didn’t want to leave but he had no other choice. 

    The group of four walked the halls of each floor. There was no sign of whatever killed those officers. Finally they reached the second floor. They’d avoided this floor. They exited the stairwell and looked down the hallway. The figure stood on the opposite end. Todd pressed his back against the wall. The middle aged man started firing at it. So did the woman and Julie. They fired the guns at the figure and it seemed unphased and started to them. Todd just slid down the wall and watched as all three of them were maliciously killed. The figure turned to Todd and Todd just clung onto the gun. The figure shifted into the old woman who lived on the top floor. Todd was frozen in fear. She limped away from him. Todd just watched. He was frozen to the spot in fear. 

    In the morning, SWAT entered the building and found Todd. He couldn’t speak. He couldn’t move. All he could do was stare. Todd was put into a mental hospital and never spoke again. He was basically a vegetable at that point. Nobody found the old woman or the missing people. They assumed she’d gone missing too. The building was shut down and has been abandoned ever since. Nobody ever found out that it was the woman who’d been the monster. Todd never regained his ability to speak and soon died in that mental asylum. He was found dead on his room floor. People assumed suicide so there was never an autopsy report done. Little did everyone know that the old woman sought him out and killed him in his sleep. No one ever found out what had happened at that apartment complex and the building stayed abandoned and never to be used again. Never.

June 11, 2022 00:20

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1 comment

EJ Lagerberg
14:57 Jun 16, 2022

This is a great premise for a story - mysterious creature by night, old woman by day. It reads like a campfire ghost story; I can imagine the flashlight under the chin as the story teller says the last lines. What was the motivation of the old woman/monster? Why did she change forms? What did she do with the other tenants? You can build the suspense in your story by giving your readers/listeners some of these kinds of details. I wonder what kind of apartment building is it? Is it old? New? In a city, or in the suburbs? Each of your main ch...


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