She woke up on the floor of her apartment, but she almost didn’t believe it. She was warm, the sun was shining into her apartment. Yonkers meowed from in front of his bowl. Everything seemed normal. Not at all how the world had been last night. Matilda sat up quickly, smacking her head on the knob.
“Ah.” She cried, holding her head in her hands. She cursed softly under her breath and stood, shakily. She felt like she had been hit by a truck; sick to her stomach, head pounding, and every joint in her body ached. She continued to look for anything out of place, anything at all. The house was silent and still; it was rather off putting. Yonkers cried again, this time from her ankle, pawing at her leg. The noise he made echoed strangely in her head, like someone yelling down an empty can.
As she poured food into his bowl, she swore she could each each granule hit the porcelain bottom. It was like a hangover, although the source had been the nightmare scourge that has chased her into her apartment. The brief and fuzzy image of the beast surfaced in her memory again and her head throbbed in protest.
She slowly sat on the floor, her back against the fridge. She rested her head on her knees. Yonkers swished his tail over her toes as he happily ate, his soft fur felt harsh on her skin. She moaned into her lap and tried to remember what had chased her. Before she could even summon it in her mind, her brain throbbed again.
She moaned again, her breath hot against her thighs. The pressure was intense and unforgiving. Steadying herself again, she leaned up against the fridge and used the opposite wall for balance. She decided that she didn’t know and she didn’t want to know what had chased her down the hallway, at least for right now. She made it to her couch before collapsing, each fiber of the couch stabbing into her. There was no comfort to be had, but her eyes closed and her mind drifted into a dark void of nothing.
Matilda woke up to the song playing. It wasn’t a quiet start, as it had been the passed two days. It was loud and near, no longer sourced through the vent; it played fully through her apartment now.
If you look out your window tonight.
Matilda shot up on the couch, her muscles and joints screaming in pain. Frost had began to form on the windows and she could see her breath. A loud thumping came from the upstairs apartment, interrupting the music. She looked around for the source of the sound. She stood, her body trembling, and stared up at the ceiling. Bits of plaster fell with every thud that made the house shake.
Read how many times I saw and how in my silence I adore you.
Matilda leaned up against the fridge, unable to locate the source. She glanced at the clock, it read seven. She touched the wall across from her to steady herself and quickly pulled her hand away. The wall buzzed with the vibration on the bass of the song. The blue paint moved in time and felt alive under her fingers.
Matilda belted out a outrageous laugh. The overwhelming tumult of the last few days escaping her in a crazed and maniacal cackling. She slid down the appliance, and bashed her fists into the floor. She hit the wall in front of her, her laughter turning into tears. She picked up Yonkers’ bowl and threw it against the door. The thumping above her stopped for a moment. The music skipped, and began repeating the same phrase.
…you want me…you want me…you want me…you want me…
The pounding gained direction and she heard it move towards the door of Mrs. Flintman’s apartment. Bits of plaster continued to fall as the mass moved faster. She heard it hit the door above and clamored to her feet. Clenching her fists, she opened her door and stared out into the dark hallway. The record began to skip again.
meet me in the hallway….meet me in the hallway…
She heard the wood of the door start to break and took her chance on the front door of the building. She rushed to it, the doorknob was slick and the glass was covered in frost. The knob wouldn’t turn and when she pounded on the door it barely made a sound. The door was frozen in place.
Matilda felt a chill up her spine, the cold was setting in faster. She held her breath as she heard the door upstairs give way and the creature begin to move through the trash. Staring at the upstairs landing, a mound began to push its way forward. The music jumped again.
Only in my dreams the wall between us was apart.
The slapping wet sound started to emanate from the landing and Matilda felt the familiar fear set into her mind. The world began to bend at the edges and her vision started to blur. Her heart rattled against her ribs, her breathing was sharp and shallow in her chest. The music began to echo around her and a growling started to grow from the landing.
I love you, I love you, I love you…
The mound of trash began to cascade down the stairs, the beast descending behind it. The light from her apartment only illuminated so much, but it was enough to renew the terror. Matilda scrambled toward her door, slipping on the ice growing on the floor. She could see the head of the beast, the light glinting off it’s greyish green flesh. A white viscous slime dripped from it’s jowls, and it’s large white fangs glimmers. She noticed that it walked on two legs, and had multiple tendrils. Matilda flew through her door and a large tendril wrapped itself around her ankle. She fell, adrenaline shooting through her. She cried out as she hit the floor, her head smacking into the hardwood. The beast began to pull her out of the doorway.
Oh my darlin’…
Matilda screamed and thrashed, her opposing foot made contact with the beast’s head and it shrieked in pain. The tendril ripped from her ankle, small punctures dotted her skin. For a moment she was freed and she pulled herself along the floor, tears running down her face. She grabbed the door and tried to close it, but the tendril shot back around the door. The head of it flexed open and exposed rows of sharp teeth. Matilda flung the door closed on the tendril, the entity shrieked again and seized. It tried to latch onto her again, this time it found her wrist. Matilda screamed again as it dug its teeth in, ripping at her flesh. She slammed the door again, piercing the skin of the beast. It left go of her and returned to the beast itself. Matilda finally had the door closed. She started to weep as the beast threw itself again the door. It shrieked again and Matilda heard walk away from her door. She stood up and limped to her bathroom. The light of the bathroom was dim, but she could see that the damage to her wrist and ankle were vast. She did her best to wrap them tight, hoping the pressure would stop the bleeding. The light in the bathroom flickered, and the bulb went out. The creature’s crying returned in full volume. She grabbed a blanket to keep out the cold and collapsed against her front door. The door was her last line of defense.
The room was dark. The windows were covered in a solid sheet of frost and snow covered the floor. Matilda shivered and wrapped herself tighter in her blanket. She held her back to her door, as the creature pushed against it.
Hey girl, whatcha doin’ down there?
The song had started over again. There was nothing to block it out anymore, it was if the song itself had consumed her thoughts. The clock on the wall still read seven, it hadn’t moved since she had taken cover in her apartment.
One floor below me, you don’t even know me, I love you.
The wood was cracking behind her, the creature was gaining purchase. She was exhausted. The gauze on her wrist and ankle had soaked through before they froze. All the light bulbs in her apartment were dead, popped one by one as she listened to the beast pace the house.
She had faded in and out of consciousness as time had gone on. Her original plan had been to wait for morning, but at this point, it seemed morning no longer existed for her.
A rather hard swing to the door splintered the wood over her right shoulder. She cried out again.
“Stop. Please stop.” She croaked, crying into the door. When the blow didn’t come again, she opened her eyes.
“No.” A gargled growl came from the other side. “, You knocked.”
The final blow broke through the door and a thick arm ripped through the wood. The smell of the grey flesh riddled Matilda’s nostrils with the smell of death, the mucus of the beast covered her. Matilda struggled meagerly against the arm. Failing, she disappeared into the darkness of the hallway. The music cut out. The house fell silent.
A car pulled up outside of the freshly painted building. A well dressed man stood outside the door, waving at the passenger of the vehicle. The driver got out of the car.
“Hey, sorry we’re late. Traffic is terrible this time of day. I’m Derrick, this is Melanie.”
“That is alright, I’m Jason. I think you will love this apartment. Small, but cozy.” The man shook hands with them and waved them ahead. Derrick and Jason continued to talk about the traffic, but Melanie had stopped and stared into the window of an empty apartment. A white cat stared back, licking its jowls.