11 Jan “My apartment was the cheapest rental in the city. Today I found out why” – Creepypasta
Nothing is what it seems on Craigslist, or so I should have known. That’s on me.
Bill came through the door in an ill-fitting black suit that could have fit a donkey. He was a plump man that busted at the seams, his chin still sprinkled from the donut or pastry he had for lunch.
“Sorry I’m late.” He straightened and fixed his belt below his belly. “Had an emergency.”
People with greasy slicked-back hair and seedy disposition are destined to be used car salesmen. Unfortunately, this one was my real estate agent.
He took me on a tour through the apartment. It was a rundown place, sure, but nothing out of the ordinary. The ceiling sunk in places, mold saturated the walls and air. It tasted like mossy growth, and things were quite damp. Though, it was certainly not deserving of the cheapest place in the city. There was something I wasn’t seeing.
“Eh… As you can see,” He hobbled around the lounge making wide gestures. “Couple things to fix up, obviously. The walls and floorboards creak, the fridge actin’ up a lil’ strange, couple leaks when the rain comes through.”
I stroked my five o’clock shadow pensively. “I’ve been sitting on it for a while, Bill. Something just doesn’t add up, you know? This place is dirt cheap. Dirt cheap.”
He too fiddled with his beard, freeing some crumbs onto my potential new carpet. “Getya’ some new appliances, scrub up the mold, she’ll be perfect.”
I shook my head. “Bill, cut to the chase.” I stared at him intensely. “What’s wrong with the place?”
“Ah,” He exhaled in defeat, helpless like he was caught in a mousetrap. He palmed sweat away from his greasy forehead. “There was a woman. Old lady.”
I gestured him to sit on one of the dusty out-of-date stools.
“The Japanese would classify this place as a ‘stigmatized property’ – yes, that’s what they call it over there.” He sat down.
“Well, it’s not uncommon in Japan for a place to be on the market for twenty years after someone dies a lonely death – or worse – in their home. Y’know? The public think it’s cursed, that the previous occupant wanders the halls.”
I didn’t believe in all that mumbo-jumbo. I saw only dollar signs – to be a student and rent my own place was a luxury. Well, signing the agreement was contingent on one thing.
“How’d the old woman die?” I asked.
His eyes scanned the carpet for a while and he gulped, almost comically. “You don’t wanna’ know, chap.”
I started to say something but trailed off. I thought about it for a while. Maybe he was right – ignorance is bliss. I couldn’t stay put if I knew I had been eating on the kitchen counter where she was stabbed. The bed she was strangled in. That I bathed myself in the bathtub she once filled with blood.
I could get this place cleaned up without the gruesome details.
I reached out to Bill with one reluctant arm. “Deal.”
We shook hands, he gave me a quick nod and a smirk.
I smiled, too. “So, how bout’ you throw in a new fridge?”
He threw his head back and bellowed a fat man’s laugh. “Maybe for Christmas, Jeff.”
The first few nights at the apartment were drearily usual, nothing amiss.
Most nights after, I consoled myself that I had been dreaming. Dreaming the type of dream that Dr. Ron had told me about, the ones where I couldn’t move – like I was paralyzed. He called them by some fancy long names and told me to stop sleeping on my back. I tried to stop. But every time I ended up on my back, and no matter how hard I tried, she’d be there – standing at the end of my bed.
Those are the evenings I would begin to pray for. The nights where I would only see the silhouette of the woman, not hear her.
In the following weeks I would be woken up by gentle clatters, like she wanted to be quiet. She didn’t want me to know that she was there. I would hear steps along the floor in the living room, wandering the house. I heard the water running from the tap, only for a while, and only in the dead of night. Like something was… drinking.
After a while though, she wanted me to know that she was there. That she was hungry.
It was Thursday when I knew she was living in the walls.
I sat alone in my room reading with my back against my headboard. Rain sprayed against the window beside me, obscuring the bustling cityscape beyond my apartment’s eye with glassy droplets.
Sucking my cigarette, I exhaled and waved the smoke away from my book.
Tap, tap, tap
Something rapped against my bedchamber wall. It was coming from the living room, or kitchen.
I put my book down beside me and slinked out of bed. The hallway was dim and silent, save for the sound of the waves of rain thrashing against the windowpane.
“Hello?” I called.
There was no reply.
Tap, tap, tap
I sluggishly pulled myself forward, through the hall and into the living room.
The room smelled sickly. Decaying wafts of sour breath lingered in the air.
A low glow beamed onto the old-school tiles of the damp kitchen. The fridge had been left open. I was certain I had shut the door before bed.
When the sound of the rain had been pulled away by the wind, my ears twitched at the sound of the tap left running. I briskly made my way over to the kitchen, the floors creaking as I went.
I turned the tap and closed the door of the fridge. I stared at it for a while, a seed of doubt blossomed in my mind. Was I just forgetful?
Lights: off. I scanned the lounge and kitchen. Nothing amiss.
Jeff, you are one careless son of a bitch.
I smirked at my mistake. Had to get some new milk in the morning, it was probably spoiled.
In the hallway, my ears pricked.
Tap, tap, tap
Something was behind me.
I darted down the hall, I passed the toilet and study room and threw myself into my bed. It took me a while to catch my breath.
The noise came from the apartment. It was in the walls.
My head pounded from my rapid heartbeat.
Tap, tap, tap
I heard it distantly through my bedroom door. My pillow fit around my ears snugly.
Go away… Please just… Go away…
For a while, I was buried in my pillow, unable to sleep. The tiredness caught up to me eventually, and I fell into a deep sleep like a daydream, or a fever.
Things got worse for me at that apartment.
Much, much worse.
One afternoon started wonderfully, though. I called Rosie, and we agreed on a date.
“See you at nine?” I talked into my cellphone, combing my hair in my bedroom mirror. “Great, great. I’ll see you then.”
I hummed a happy tune on my way to the bathroom. If I were in a romcom there would have been a spring in my step. Maybe there was.
I made my way to the kitchen. A quick snack before dinner with Rosie, no biggie.
What a beautiful, beautiful quiet afternoon. Sunlight beamed a brilliant yellow through the windows. On days like these, impatient city folk stop their incessant honking outside to smell the roses and let birds sing their song.
In the kitchen, I almost tripped on shoddy tiling. My heart stopped.
The fridge was open.
Just a crack.
My jaw tightened; the birds had stopped singing.
All I could hear in my apartment was the forceful whistle of my breaths escaping me.
The apple I went to grab was rotten, a contorted mouth-shaped hole had been bitten away at its flesh, yellowing the fruit.
Inspecting the apple, I lost my appetite. Long strands of black hair were deeply engrained in its flesh. I shuddered and let go, it rolled for a while. A single broken tooth had found its way out of the apple and onto my floor.
That night I called Rosie again. We settled on a movie instead.
Make no mistake, I called Bill, my real estate agent, about the place. I think you can guess how that went.
I had to take matters into my own hands.
A few nights later, I decided to wait for it. I sat in the dark lounge of the apartment, finishing the final chapters of my book. Though, when you wait for these things, they seldom come. They come at you when you least expect.
Yawning, I pushed out of my chair and made my way into the kitchen.
Some buttered bread, a salad sandwich perhaps. My stomach rumbled.
I stopped in my tracks in the middle of the kitchen.
There it was again. How it felt to be afraid in my own home. A distinct sound – one long fingernail meeting plastic.
My hand met the cold metal fridge handle – I didn’t want to open the door. I assured my stomach nothing was waiting for me, but my heart didn’t get the memo.
It was quiet in the apartment again. My eyes shut tight as I inhaled.
The handle turned; the fridge’s seal peeled open with a stomach-curdling thip.
The interior light wasn’t on. From standing I could only poke around the top shelf – it was empty inside except for a few condiments and rotten vegetables.
I wiped one sweaty palm on my leg and bent down to inspect the bottom shelves, rummaging in the cold void of its white shell. It was clean yet smelled rotten and sour, the trailing scent of a garbage truck.
Extending my arm into the unlit fridge I met something hairy and brittle in the darkness – it might as well have been a vile, moldy coconut. I retracted. I could not see anything, though it felt as if a ball of scraggly hair filled my hand like sand – it flowed between my fingers like a soaked kitchen sponge.
She hadn’t been living in the walls.
An icy grip tightened around my forearm. I shrieked and tried to yank away.
The old woman’s body twisted and buckled at the joints, one leg was bending backward over her shoulder, the other firmly planted below her jaw.
She stared up at me from inside the fridge, slowly reeling me in from my wrist to my arm like she was a flexible acrobat carefully climbing a fleshy rope.
I tried not to puke, I swallowed sour spit. Cockroaches scurried from her open lips and spread across her face like wildfire.
Teeth clattered as the woman grinned, squeezing one of the insects with a sickening pop in the space where a tooth had been. Maggots exhumed themselves from her fleshy skin, dropping onto my sweaty arm like Satan’s rain.
Frigid, gripping fingers closed in at my forearm, then my bicep, pulling, pulling, pulling.
I bent my head up to help steady myself and tow backward; my chin clasped onto the cold top of the fridge.
Pulling hard enough sent me flying back, crawling on the floor free from her decaying hands.
The woman’s face stared at me through scraggly silver and graphite strands of hair. Two gleaming white sockets over a wide, disgusting smile.
I kicked the door shut and lay on the floor, my chest heaving. My mouth tasted like bitter acid and my hand finally let go of the unkempt wire I had pulled from her head.
Many nights have passed since that encounter.
Bill still rents me the apartment. When I hang out with Rosie we always go back to her place, never mine.
I keep grandmother fed so she doesn’t wander the halls.
I don’t sleep much anymore, but it’s okay because I have the cheapest apartment in the city.
When I’m home, I hear her when she’s hungry.
Tap, tap, tap…