01 Feb The Man in my Hall Closet Won’t Stop Screaming
I would compare this to a migraine, had I had not experienced a migraine before, but I have.
This is not a migraine.
I must admit, it does feel the same way people describe migraines, but it is something else entirely. Migraines incapacitate me, I cannot do anything. I sit in the bathtub, in the dark, for hours till it passes.
This, however, never passes, and while I can be mobile, and I am able to go about my day, I am on edge like I have never been before in my life. I stomp around my house. I slam the doors. I yell at my toaster because the smell of the toast I tried to make offends me.
I’ve spent the last week almost sleepless, since the man in my hall closet has been making the noise.
Since taking up residence there ten years ago, he’s been largely quiet, but suddenly no more. Now his screams are keeping me awake at night. All night.
I remember the first time I met him, that man who lives in my hall closet. I was initially quite startled to see him and his stretched grin staring at me from the darkness, but soon his presence became quite mundane. He was silent, unblinking, and largely kept out of the way, so why would I be concerned? He tended to stay around the back of the closet anyway, away from the windbreaker I wear most of the year and closer to my winter coat. He also offered no sort of problem when cold weather came around and I had to venture a little further into the closet to get that particular article from the place it lives.
From his maniacal expression and almost perfect stillness, I initially expected him to jump to life, and slash at my throat the moment I came near him, but no. He seemed perfectly happy to continue standing there calmly as I took the coat from its hook.
The scream is coming from the closet again. The scream, the scream, that awful scream. He had stopped about five minutes ago. Stopped completely! I thought he was done.
I was wrong.
Having a man in the hall closet was always disconcerting for guests at my house. When he appeared there, I was in a quiet period of my life, without many visitors. By the time my weeks got a little more busy, I had spent so long with him there that I had just completely normalized his presence. Perhaps a part of me had just decided that everyone had a strange grinning man in their closet? At any rate, for a few months my life was a circus of friends and relatives shrieking while trying to hang up their jackets and hats, each being shocked by the unexpected presence of this man and his wide toothy grin. I eventually stopped inviting friends to hang up their coats in that alcove, instead installing a coat rack by my front door.
The screaming started in the middle of the night, one week ago. I was woken from pleasant dreams by that sudden long drawn out screech, echoing shrilly through the corridors of my home. After a few desperate attempts to find the source, and the very brief assumption that it was the (admittedly old) plumbing in my house, I finally came to realize its source. Spewing from between the clenched teeth of that man’s fixed grin, there was that sound, pure high end, causing an endless throbbing pressure at my temples…
Previously, the Man had been one of the best listeners a person could ask for. Quiet, attentive, interested (as best I could tell). He made no sound, save for the quiet wheeze of air from his nostrils. His wild eyes observed me as I would tell him about my day, my problems, my concerns. The exposed gums and glimmering teeth of his smile would reassure me that I was making the right decisions in my life, that I was a worthwhile person, that even in my darkest hours I was appreciated by somebody.
My brief foray into the dating world, as you can imagine, was not helped by the presence of a grinning man living in my hall closet. I found that many of the potential partners I sought out in my age range do not appreciate suitors with roommates, and ones like him especially. While the man kept to himself, did not make a mess, or cause much of a commotion, his presence was just too much for many to bear. I briefly considered hiding the existence of the man from my potential dating partners, but that seemed unfair to them. My situation was unique and they deserved to know.
Still he was quiet.
This last week has been absolute hell. I feel the trust, the unspoken understanding between myself and the man in my hall closet has been broken. Possibly irrevocably so.
I am tired now, exhausted, but I am unable to find sleep. I used to pride myself on being able to snooze just about anywhere. Noisy neighborhood? Fine. Neighbor’s car shaking the foundations of my house with their accursed bass music? Not a chance of bothering me after 10pm. But this? This ringing, almost whistling, pitch that floats around the corners of my home through every hour was sheer hell.
I know that I have to do something. I must! But I found myself stuck. I do not dare touch the man. How could I? This change in our relationship now came with something of a change in my perception of him. The grin, previously one that I saw as reassuring and confident, now had an aura of menace and mockery to it.
It was as if the man in the hall closet was challenging me, daring me to confront him. And I must admit, I was afraid. For the first time I was afraid of this companion I had accepted as part of my life for so long. If I were to touch him, to cover his mouth, to block out the noise or worse, to manhandle him… to throw him out into the street?
I know what those teeth would do to me.
I could see in those glassy, intense eyes what he could. What he WOULD do.
I now sit here, typing this with the hope that someone will understand what I am going to do. I have a well stocked kitchen, and once saw myself as something of a budding home cook. I have a selection of knives – some sort of Japanese steel you can only purchase from the internet. There were seven of different varieties and sizes, along with a pair of kitchen shears that zip must profess I have never used for anything more culinary than opening a bag of frozen chicken. I grabbed three of the larger, longer blades and am planning on taking them into the closet with me.
I will force that man from my home. I will do it at knifepoint, and I will not hesitate to slice his throat if given any resistance.
Now I believe he is watching me. My house sits at a lean and there are several doors in the place that have not been designed to compensate for this. The hall closet is one of these and occasionally you can see him peeping through the crack, where the top of the door and the top of the doorway do not quite meet.
I imagine he may have gathered what I plan on doing, but for the love of god, I must try. The noise, while not getting worse, is consistent, and it is not getting better. It grates upon every nerve in my body.
I apologize for burdening you with this story. I apologize to the man for not being a better roommate, for not accepting and adapting to his idiosyncrasies as I should. I apologize to anyone who may be inconvenienced by the aftermath of these actions I must take.