“Monsters are real, ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.” – Stephen King
Martin Rice had just moved into a new apartment. His friends helped him move all his stuff into the new place. They stayed for beers and pizza for a while, but eventually they all left Martin to deal with his own demons in his new apartment.
“Watch out for the ghosts,” Martin’s friend Jordan had said with a laugh as he was leaving. Jordan had the standard black man’s stance on ghosts. Get out.
“No such thing as ghosts,” Martin replied.
“Always ghosts on the first night,” Jordan explained. “Don’t you know that? Oh right, this is the first place you’ll have to yourself, after Jenny, huh?”
“Right. Jenny. Stop fucking reminding me, man.” Martin had gotten real sick of being reminded of that bitch Jenny. Sure, they moved into an apartment together, right out of college. That was four years ago, and Martin was ready to move on after that whore banged his brother.
“I’m just sayin’ if you hear some strange noise, or see somethin’ you can’t explain… Get out. I mean it. Don’t fuck around. Just leave,” Jordan said, serious as a heart attack.
Martin put his hands on his friend’s shoulders, in the doorway of his new apartment. “And I’m just sayin’ there’s no such thing as ghosts. Now, fuck off. You’re lettin all warm air out of my ghost-free apartment.”
“Alright man,” Jordan said, as he walked down the steps, into the cold Portland evening. “Don’t say I didn’t warn your stupid white-ass.”
“Whatever…” Martin said, as he closed the door. It was about one a.m. and he was dead tired, after all the work they’d done, moving everything into the new apartment.
He walked to his couch and flipped on the tv. Nothing was on, but he just stared at the screen anyway. He looked around his new place. The walls were freshly painted white and bare, none of his posters were on the walls yet. He looked down the dark hallway to the bedroom. The idea of sleep crept into his mind, but he ignored it.
“Ghosts my ass,” he said to himself as he took a swig from a beer. Martin flipped through some more channels on his tv but still couldn’t find anything worth watching.
Finally, he said “Fuck it,” and staggered off to the bathroom to take a piss, before finally heading to the bedroom.
He flicked on the lamp on that nightstand, that was beside the bed, kicked off his shoes and sweats, and fell into his bed. Just a little drunk. Not enough to pass out instantly, but enough to feel just a bit off balance.
After he got comfortable, he reached over and turned off the lamp. Stared at the bare, white ceiling for a while. It was just barely visible from the moonlight, coming from the window. He hadn’t put up any curtains yet, so a dull glow of moonlight filled the room.
His mind wandered. This is what being a girl must feel like, he thought. Staring up at the ceiling as some guy fucks you. Martin thought about how bad he was at sex. Wondered if Jenny had fucked his brother simply because Zach fucked from behind. That had to be it. Zach, that kinky fuck. He can keep her, Martin thought. Fucking whore.
He looked at the alarm clock on the nightstand. An hour had passed. “Goddammit,” he said aloud. He just wasn’t tired, but his body was exhausted. So he turned on the lamp, and reached for his phone.
Porn. Sweet, beautiful porn.
As he was jacking off, he heard something that wasn’t quite familiar. “What?” he said aloud, startled. He covered himself up and turned off his phone.
“Who’s there?” he asked the empty air. No response.
Another noise. This time, it sounded like growling. Not like a dog. It was like a person, making growling sounds. Maybe. What the fuck, he thought. Probably that asshole Jordan making noises outside the window.
So, Martin got up. Went to the window, and looked outside. Nothing there. Nothing that he could see, anyway. He opened up the window, letting the cold air rush in. “HEY!” he screamed. “I know it’s you, Jordan. Knock it the fuck off.”
Nothing. Nobody answered.
He heard what sounded like a howling noise, from behind him. Martin thought, maybe he had left the front door ajar. Or, maybe he just left it unlocked, and fucking Jordan was in the kitchen, fucking around.
He closed the window, and stomped off to the kitchen. After he found nobody there, he looked around and hollered “HEY! What the fuck, Jordan. Come out here, and stop fucking around. I mean it, man.” Martin was getting pissed off now.
He walked every inch of the apartment. Opened every closet. Nobody was there. “Goddammit,” he said aloud, with a sigh. He went back to bed and stared at the naked girls on his phone. But, he couldn’t do it. He felt like he was being watched.
He sighed, turned off his phone, and switched off the lamp. Stared at the ceiling again. “Fucking Jordan,” he said, whispered under his breath.
Martin felt a chilling breeze hit his face, and heard a whisper in his ear. “I am not Jordan,” it said.
“What the…!” he exclaimed as he sat up and looked around the room in a panic. Even though the room was still bathed in moonlight, he could see nothing. Nothing that could speak to him. Nothing that would make the noises he had heard.
He thought about Jordan. What had he said? Jordan’s words came back to him in a rush. “Get out. I mean it. Don’t fuck around. Just leave.”
But, Martin didn’t believe that bullshit. He laid back down in the bed and stared at the ceiling again. Tried to calm himself. Took deep breaths.
“Ghosts are not real,” he told himself aloud. He closed his eyes and said it again. “Ghosts are not real.” A smile crept across his face as he repeated the mantra in his head a few times.
Ghosts are not real.
“Yes we are,” came another whisper in his ear, cold as ice.
Martin sat up in the bed and looked around again. Still nothing. He looked under the bed. Nothing there. He paced around the apartment for a good ten minutes, trying to understand what was happening. There was no making sense of it.
He finally admitted it to himself. There were ghosts in his new apartment.
So, he put his sweats and shoes back on, grabbed his jacked, and headed to the front door. Get out. Good advise, if there really were ghosts in his apartment.
But the front door wouldn’t open. He turned the knob, but the door wouldn’t budge. He kicked at it. It was completely solid. “What the fuck!?” he exclaimed.
He went to the large bay window in the front room. Grabbed one of his baseball trophies from the mantel and tried smashing the window. He broke the trophy, but didn’t even scratch the window.
“Fuck it,” he said, grabbing a chair and smashing it into the window. Nothing. Still not a scratch on the window. He pounded away at it, again and again, with the chair.
Still nothing. The window wouldn’t crack, the door wouldn’t budge. He was trapped.
Martin collapsed into the couch. Exhausted from trying to break the window with the chair. He dialed Jordan.
The phone didn’t connect. It didn’t ring, it just made weird noises. Like an old modem. Computer static sounds.
Martin stared at the phone. “Great. Ghosts in my phone too,” he said aloud, laughing a little.
He dialed another friend, Tom. Same weird noises. Kelly. Same thing. Everyone he dialed, he got the same result, just strange computer modem sounds.
“Come on!” he screamed at the ceiling. “Somebody…”
Martin thought about it for several minutes. Sitting there in silence, trapped in his own apartment. Staring at the dormant tv on the wall. He switched it on. Static. He changed the channels. Static, on every channel.
“Goddammit…” he said, putting his head in his hands. Almost crying. He tried not to think about Jenny. The only number in his phone that he hadn’t dialed.
He didn’t want to do it. He despised the idea. He shook his head a few times, smacking himself in the forehead over and over. Trying to shake the idea out of his mind. Finally, he gave into it, and dialed his ex, Jenny. It wrang. And wrang. “Come on!” he pleaded into the phone.
“Hey, it’s me…” came Jenny’s voice.
“I didn’t want to do this, Jenny. I told myself, I would never call. But here I am, trapped in my fucking…”
“I’m out having fun right now. Leave a message. Or whatever. Bye!” she exclaimed on her message, with that cheery bimbo voice.
“You fucking whore!” he yelled into his phone. He threw it across the room, where it hit the wall and shattered into a million pieces.
He put his head in his hands again and stewed there on the couch for a while. Desperate. Scared. Lost.
Martin finally decided to just ignore it. So, there are ghosts in his apartment, big fucking deal. He would just close his eyes and pretend they didn’t exist.
He went back to his bedroom, turned out the light, tossed off his shoes and sweats, laid down and pulled the covers tight to his chin. He started his mantra again.
“Ghosts are not real,” he said, in a calm and soothing voice, to himself. He repeated it in his head, over and over and over, until he felt on the verge of sleep.
He felt someone’s hands on his feet, but he refused to open his eyes. “Ghosts are not real!” he said, louder. With more purpose.
He felt pain in his feet. Heat. Like they were being baked at five hundred degrees. “Ghosts are not real!” he said again, through clenched teeth. The pain worsened.
“We are very real,” said the cold whisper in his ear.
Still, Martin kept his eyes shut. Scared out of his mind, he said it again. “No. No! Ghosts are not real! You, whatever you are… You’re not real. Leave me alone!” he pleaded.
His feet burned, like they were on fire.
“Kiss us, and it will end,” said the whisper. Martin couldn’t even tell if it was male or female. The voice was like a combination of many voices.
His legs were burning now. He tried to thrash about, but his legs or feet would not move. He was pinned there, in the bed. Something, or someone was keeping him in place, holding him down.
“Your feet have burned away,” said the whisper. “Only ash now. Your legs will burn away soon. Give us a kiss, and the pain will end.”
Finally, the pain was unbearable. “Yes. Yes! Anything. Make it stop. Please. I’ll kiss you. I’ll kiss all of you, whoever you are. Just make it stop,” Martin said, in a panic. He dared not open his eyes. He didn’t want to see his legs on fire. He sure the hell didn’t want to see who or what he was about to kiss.
He pursed his lips.
“Open your mouth,” said the whisper. “Wider. That’s it. It’ll all be over soon.”
Martin complied, and he felt something enter his body. Some energy, some being. Some thing. It entered his mouth as a mist, as he kept his eyes shut. It took over his body, and forced him to open his eyes.
He felt his body sit up in the bed, and tear off the blankets. Martin felt his face look down at his feet, his legs. Nothing was burned. He was completely whole.
Martin watched as his body got dressed. He kept trying to gain control, but it was no use. Whatever, or whoever, had complete control.
His body picked up his phone from the bedside table. Martin could have sworn he had thrown the phone against the wall in the living room. It shattered into a million pieces. But there it was, good as new, on the bedside table.
He watched as his body walked to the living room, sat down on the couch, and turned on the tv. It was no longer static. Martin watched his hand change the channel to the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
Seriously? Real fucking Housewives? Goddamnit. Martin complained inside his head as his body had a little laugh.
He saw his body scroll through the contacts in his phone. His fingers landed on a number. It dialed.
“Oh hello Jenny,” Martin heard his voice say. “I’ve missed you so much. Won’t you come over, so we can discuss our feelings?”
Nooooooooo! Martin screamed inside his head. Just kill me now.
His body just sat there on the couch, watching Real Housewives. Laughing its ass off.
Visit my novel-in-progress at http://killingeveryday.com
Visit my tumblr http://killingeveryday.tumblr.com
My twitter @killingeveryday