By J.J. Cheesman
My stay at Apartment 18 B was brief, but I assure you it has put its mark on me for good. I was looking for an apartment after just moving out of my rented home due to a horrible smell coming from the basement. I am an artist, and I found that the smell that had gotten exponentially worse over time was making it hard for me to concentrate on my work. So I contacted one of the apartment complexes I lived near and turned in an application. I was soon called back to be shown an apartment, Apartment 18 B to be exact, and I fell in love almost immediately.
Apartment 18 B was small, it contained only four rooms if you included the bathroom, but it was perfect for my needs. Plus, the rent would be cheaper than it was at my old place. However, odd things began happening on the very first night I was there. It was late, and I was engrossed in my work on the art easel. I was painting a piece that was inspired by the smell of the basement of my old place. A pile of four corpses, piled in the basement of the house they once lived in, that’s what I was painting when I began to hear voices. Whispering, commanding, and almost angry, the voices drew me over to the window. When I reached the window, I drew back the curtains revealing the glass. I could see nothing but darkness outside, as that side of the complex was poorly lit. In the reflection of the glass however, I saw a face, angry and twisted whispering terrifying words. I looked down to try to make sure that the window lock was secure, but I noticed it was broken, something the landlord must not know about because he didn’t show it to me when I was first shown the apartment, I snapped the curtain shut and went back to my work on the easel, but still the voice persisted. Day in and day out those voices assaulted my ears. When I was eating breakfast, the voices were there. When I was taking a shower, I could hear the voices through the sound of pounding water in the tub. The worst came to me when I tried to sleep, where in my bed somehow the voices were much louder. It wasn’t long before I decided I had to leave that place. I told the landlord I was very sorry, but for reasons I couldn’t explain I had to go. He said that he understood but he was sad to see me go. I moved most of my things into a storage unit, and I checked into a hotel.
It was a week ago that I happened to be driving by the window of Apartment 18 B, on the side of the complex that was poorly lit. I noticed a light was on in the living room, which meant someone must have already moved into that apartment. As I parked on the shoulder of the road, I briefly wondered if they too heard the voices. I brushed that thought away almost immediately however, the voices have always been my own, they have always shown me the inspiration for my art. I could see movement in the living room, which meant whoever now lived in Apartment 18 B was still awake. That night didn’t feel right anyway, so I drove back to my hotel.
I am almost nearly done with my new painting now, only one thing is missing, and I think tonight feels right to go get it. I have packed my bag properly with my favorite knife, my drill, and rope of course. I’m going to sit and admire my canvas for a while before I go… On the canvas is a painting of a dark space illuminated by a lit window. I need to paint someone within the window, but I don’t have the face painted yet.
It will come soon however; the landlord doesn’t know that window’s lock is broken.