Apartment 2209. Short Story.

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Mine was pretty fun. Ate a lot of take away, a lot of pancakes. Watched some movies, lazed around all that fun stuff. Some friends also come over on Thursday night, which was awesome too, though we somehow managed to use every drinking glass in the house. have absolutely no idea how really. It was a good night at least!

On with the show!

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The building looked normal, completely ordinary, but something was drawing him to it. What that was he couldn’t figure out, but Jack found himself going out of his way to walk past it on his walks to and from work, or his walks to the shops, or sometimes just on general walks to look at it. It was a simple apartment building, about twenty minutes from his home, ten from his work. the building was completely full, he had already checked for vacancies, he had checked three days after first seeing the building. All apartments were full and there was a six year waiting list. He had added his name, but he didn’t hold out much hope for ever getting a place there. There was talk of some relocations in his work, they’d probably ask him to go as he had no real ties to the city. He wouldn’t mind going all that much but it would be a shame to never have a chance to live in that building.

After a few weeks, just looking at the outside wasn’t enough and he wanted to get inside, but the doors were locked with card and keypad system, no way in, not for him at least. It wasn’t until he was walking home from the shops that he got his chance. He was carrying a few bags and a young woman was leaving the building. Jack didn’t quite know what possessed him, but he jogged forward slightly and the young woman ever so helpfully held the door open, “Thanks.” “No bother, know how difficult it can be with bags.” He stepped through the door which closed behind him, the young woman smiled at him and walked off. He looked around the lobby, it was as nice as he expected, tiled floors, trees in metal plant pots, the walls were tiled until about half way, then they were painted a crisp white. Everything inside gleamed and shined. He walked towards the row of elevators, curious as to what the floors looked like. He pressed the call button, even the ding seemed musical, and waited. The doors slid open, revealing a wood panelled elevator. He stepped inside and looked at the buttons, they were a dull white, inlaid and slightly silvery. He pressed one at random, it was smooth and cool under his finger. As he stood back, he noticed he chose the twentieth floor. The lift moved quietly and after a few seconds, he was stepping into the hallway. It was lined with a light cream carpet, the walls again tiled and painted. He wandered down it, looking at the few paintings that were hung up. He turned around to return to the lifts when he saw it. The door that was slightly ajar. It seemed like it would be a good idea to leave, but someone had left their door open. What if they were in trouble, or someone robbed them? He moved towards the door and knocked gently, “Hello? Anyone there?” Silence. He eased the door open with his shoulder and called out again, louder this time. Again no answer, after a second of hesitation, he decided he should just close the door and leave, he put down one of his bags and as he reached towards the handle, one of the bags tipped over, a can of soup rolled out of the bag and into the apartment. “Shit.” He looked up and down the hall and seeing no one, Jack carefully walked into the apartment, it was nicely furnished and though he felt like a creep, he couldn’t help admire it. He took a few steps forward and bent to grab the can, as he did so he heard a gentle click. He stood and turned, looking back at the door, it had swung closed. Damn. He went towards it and pulled at the handle. It didn’t move. He locked himself in. “Fuck.” He examined the handle, looking for the locking mechanism, trying to figure out how he could undo what ever had happened, but there were no buttons or switches on or around the handle. There was a faint noise from deeper in the apartment, he turned, heart thudding wildly. “Hello? I’m really sorry, but your door was ajar and I seem to have accidently locked myself in. I dropped a can of soup and it rolled inside…” He kept talking loudly as he moved towards the noise, hoping to avoid startling the occupant. “If you could just unlock the door I can get out of your hair. Again, I’m really sorry about this.” Still there was no response. He reached the door and eased it open, hoping whoever was inside would be in a good mood. The door swung open and he froze, unable to move, unable to breathe, unable to scream.

The noise made sense now. It was a moan, dull, painful. The floor, ceiling and walls were covered in something, he realised what it was after a few seconds. It was human skin. The faint outline of each body still visible. Some had mouths, a few open eyes, a couple looked at him, on others the eyes simply rolled wildly. He could see a few mouths, but only one as far as he could tell was making any noise. “What the shit?” He took a step back, he needed to get out, find a phone, something. He tried to step backwards again, but it didn’t work, his feet were stuck. He looked down, it appeared as though the carpet was growing on his shoes, he shrieked and fell over, struggling to get free. He landed heavily, the breath driven from him, he tried to move, but he was completely stuck. Jack realised he wasn’t stuck, he was moving, moving towards that room. There was a slight heat as his back, then a strange tugging sensation, the carpet was removing his clothes. He could feel warmth beneath his body, he was moving deeper into the room, towards the others. Jack screamed and screamed. When he saw the empty space he was being moved towards, when his skin started to fuse to the skin of those around him, when he felt the burning need for more people, the deep, painful loneliness. Jack screamed until he could only gurgle.

The building supervisor was doing her rounds when she came across the bags of shopping. She paused for a moment, a young blonde, and picked them up. Damn place was supposed to clean up after itself. She carried them towards the lifts, at least this was better than the time she found a dog pawing at the door, still it was a good deal. The building was always full, had that strange allure that allowed her to charge exorbitant prices. Sure the apartment would take a few people every now and then, but it was doing no real harm to anyone. Though she and everyone in the building knew to avoid apartment 2209. That was the most reassuring thing about it all to her, no one was ever told to avoid it, they just knew. She had never felt the pull of it, nor had anyone else living in the building, it was that intelligent at least, it didn’t take from anyone too close by. The man that went in would be reported missing eventually, but he would never be traced to the building, she was sure of that. She stepped into the lift feeling a bit better about everything, she didn’t even need to go buy groceries for a few days.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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