Nothing really interesting has happened in my life. No girlfriend, parents on the other side of the country and I have a boring desk job. Even my childhood was boring. Nothing really bad happened it was just, plain and simply, uneventful. We never took trips or anything fun like that. Every night after my parents came home from work, I would hear, “Anthony! Come down for some supper and talk with us,” she would say that every night, nothing different ONCE.
I live in a crappy apartment in New York. The walls look like they haven’t been painted in years and I even found a few holes in the walls and ceiling. Carpets are stained and it takes at least one hour to get two stains out. The smell there reeks of past animals and cat pee so I might have to replace the carpet. The only place that wasn’t as bad as the rest of the apartment was the master bedroom and the bathroom. The heater always seems to stop working so winter time is the worst.
I was twenty three when I moved in and now I am thirty years of age. I know seven years of living in this dump is just sad. It still needs a lot more work on the place. But I don’t think I’ll be sticking around to finish the work. I haven’t had a huge problem outside the apartment and the people always seemed nice. Sure there was the guy next door who blasted his music as loud as he could get it and it bothered everyone living in the complex, including me. A few months ago I met an old lady that moved into a few rooms down from me. I lived in 205 and she was in 210. She said her name was Reberta.
She always so kind to me and the room looked amazing, way better than the rest of our rooms. She always offered me sweets and all the things a typical grandmother would offer you. I never had a problem with her. The only thing that stood out to me was the fact that she always talked about her daughter and how she had some kind of mental illness and how she would stay with her all the time. But I never saw her around, even when I was in the apartment with Reberta. She also never gave me the name of her daughter so I shrugged it off and figured it she was at the mental facility.
One day after a long day at work I drove home and I knocked on the old woman’s door. She invited me in for a cup of tea and I agreed immediately. We sat down at her small but yet well decorated wooden table in her kitchen. She started asking me normal questions like, “How was your day? Have a girlfriend yet? How was work?” etc. After I answered all her questions there was a long, silent, awkward pause in the conversation. I was trying to think of something to say. Reberta was just staring into her cup of tea, probably thinking of something to say as well. Then a thought popped into my brain that I have wanted to know for quite some time now.
Without thinking I asked, “What mental illness does your daughter have? I have never seen her around here before.” She looked up at me as if I had done something terribly wrong and she was going to hurt me for it. “I… I think you need to leave Anthony, please,” she said to me, I don’t think she meant to come off rude. “Oh… I’m sorry Reberta, I didn’t know it was that sensitive to you,” I said looking at her with a sorrowful look. “Anthony I really think you need to go come back another day,” I started putting my jacket when she spoke again. But his time she sounded concerned. “Anthony… If you see a woman at all in your apartment or the hallways leave immediately!” Confused I just left the house without saying a word.
I was just a little angry at the thought that we were friends but it is her personal life so I won’t question it, it wasn’t my place anyway. As I was walking back down the hall I saw a young woman. She was by my door, and now thinking of what Reberta said I was getting freaked out and chills went up my spine. But what worried me more was the fact she had black hair covering her eyes, a red spots over a white dress she was wearing, and a wide, unnerving smile that was not human. Out of fear I called out to her, “Hey… are you new here?” No answer came from the woman. “Do you need help?” Disturbed I kept walking forward slowly. “I can call for help if y–” I was quickly cut of when I saw her smile quickly fade. For a few seconds it was completely silent. Then I was scared shitless when she started laughing. It started from a childish laugh, to a more higher pitched laugh then to a full on scream!
She ran towards me as fast as she could still screaming as loud as she could. I couldn’t move, I was frozen on the hard floor and it felt like I couldn’t breathe. She finally reached me still screaming, grabbed my face and kept screaming. The worst part was when I saw her eyes. They were bloodshot, and red with furry. Completely red. I fell to the ground and cried and screamed for help and cradled my body for any type of protection. I don’t know how long it was before someone grabbed my shoulder with a tight grip. “Hey! Hey! Your ok… Your ok calm down, breathe,” I looked up to not see the woman but my neighbor 203. I didn’t ever know his name and I never got to know it.
“You woke up like half the complex man, you alright?” I didn’t answer him, I was still in shock. I looked around to see a bunch of people with their bedtime clothes, some with towels on after taking a shower. They all looked at me as if I was insane. “Hey man you’re 205 right?” “Yea…” I said shakily. 203 was an alright guy, he was at least 5”11, had short brown hair but he was very bulky and if he was a human ox. “Hey, let me walk you back to your room, alright?” I agreed still thinking of what just happened. I looked back to see Reberta, she was shaking her head as if she knew what had happened. Then she went back inside. When we reached my room he asked if I needed anything and I shook my head. When I opened the door I immediately rushed to the bathroom to throw up. My body couldn’t handle anything at the point and I figured I would just take a warm shower and go to bed.
After throwing up, with teary eyes I stepped into the shower, turned on the water and sat there on the floor thinking. Something caught my attention and I looked to my right where the shower door was. There she was, again. Standing there, with her smile. Fearing that she would run to me again and get me this time and see her blood red eyes again I hid in the shower and I even started praying. I don’t normally do that sort of thing but I felt I had no option. “That won’t help you, he won’t hear you scream,” that was her voice, I half expected it to sound demonic or dark. But she sounded normal, she was quiet and her voice was soothing. It still disturbed me non the less.
I looked over at the door and she was gone. Just like that she vanished out of nowhere. After the shower I put some clothes on that I wear before bed. The bed sheets felt warm and comforting over my body as I lay in them. “Tomorrow is another day,” I whispered to myself. I couldn’t sleep, I was too concentrated to see if the woman was in my room with me. Watching me, somewhere with me. Around 11:30 I felt drowsy and I am not ashamed to admit I put the bed covers over my head and my eyes but left a spot open so I could breathe normally. I know it was stupid because I would probably wake up with them off anyway.
I randomly woke up in the middle of the night to see my clock illuminating on my nightstand on the left side of my bed. The time read 3:02, “Weird,” I thought. It was really cold and I shifted more into my covers. “It was weird having it this cold,” I remember thinking. I thought nothing of it and I turned over to my right side to see a dark figure in the corner of my room and my clock only illuminated part of shadow figure. All I saw was a wide smile and one red eye. That was more than enough of a reason to run out of the room and scream for help to anyone I could. But for some unknown reason, I didn’t. The whole night I stayed awake staring at her or it, I don’t f*****g know what it was. Soon it was daylight and she was gone.
I quickly rushed to the mirror because I had to get ready for work. I had darkened rings under my eyes from not sleeping. It was almost 7:30 and I had to be there by 8:00 a.m. sharp, and it was a twenty five minute drive. Instead of getting ready for work and I took a sick day and I have never, up until this point, taken a single sick day. My boss was a little upset but her understood, as long I was a little early when I came back. Which I was fine with. The first thought I had was to go see Reberta, I deserved answers and I was going to get them from her. I didn’t even bother getting ready for the day besides putting some deodorant on.
I carefully opened my door so it wouldn’t squeak and cause attention drawn towards me. After all, I am pretty sure I was labeled crazy after what people saw last night. I quietly tiptoed down the hall to 210. I knocked twice on the scratched up wooden door which was weird because last night it wasn’t scratched up at all. I knocked a few more times and she didn’t answer. “Strange,” I thought. “She is up earlier then this,” I started to head back when I heard the door open. “Hey, sorry I was making breakfast, come in please.” I entered and shut the door behind me. Something was off, first it was her door and now her apartment had a faint, weird smell and it was a little more tattered than usual. The smell of fresh cooked bacon and eggs filled the room and it made me really hungry.
“Come sit down James, I have Bacon and eggs made,” I decided to sit down, I hadn’t had anything that morning and I was starving. As I sat down I didn’t say a single word to her. “Anthony, all you alright?” she asked me while putting food in front of me. The smell made my mouth water. “Umm, not really. Last night was rough,” I said while taking a bite of my food. My taste buds must have cried when I took that bite. I also noticed it was surprisingly warm. It was usually cold in her apartment. “So you’re not going in for work?” she asked while making more breakfast. “No… I don’t feel the best, and I didn’t sleep well.” “You saw her didn’t you?” That took me off guard and it frightened me. “I told you Anthony, you were supposed to leave if you saw her.” I… didn’t know what to say, I had a piece of egg in my mouth and she had the coldest stare. It was almost like she was dead.
That is when I saw her again, behind Reberta I could see her, smiling and giggling but not moving her smile. “What’s wrong Anthony? It looks like you have seen a ghost.” I quickly looked up at her as she said that and when I did my eyes darted towards Reberta’s mouth. It was also smiling. As big as the woman I have been seeing. I kept staring and staring, I couldn’t move at all. “Anthony! Anthony! Snap out of it!” Somebody shook my shoulder violently. I shot up from my chair shaking and my eyes were as big as golf balls. It was Reberta, she wasn’t smiling at looked worried. “Are you alright Anthony?” “I think I gotta go, thank you for the food, I think I am gonna get some rest.”
Of course I was lying to her but I didn’t want to stay one more minute. “But Anthony you haven’t finished your–” “I know I am sorry I just gotta go.” With that I left not looking back, I felt bad, she was so nice and kind to me but I knew I couldn’t stay. While I was walking down the hall, all I heard were laughs, giggles and I still heard it them even while covering up my ears with my sweaty hands. Once I reached my apartment, I slammed the door shut, locked it and laid in my bed for hours, terrified to even touch one foot on the carpet. I only got up for some dinner, which I had some salad and macaroni don’t judge, anyway I got back in bed and I finally fell asleep. I awoke to the familiar cold feeling, the clock was still illuminating but this time it said 3:03 a.m. I didn’t want to roll over to my right, but something compelled me to.
I couldn’t explain it, as soon as I rolled over I saw the same smile but the first night only a little bit of her smile showed. This time more of it was revealed. Hey eyes were closer than before. She moved closer, not by much but enough to notice. Then a terrifying scream echoed in my head and I couldn’t explain it because she was still smiling not moving a muscle. Soon I passed out. It has been like this for weeks, each night she gets closer and closer, inch by inch, movement by movement. I didn’t leave my apartment for weeks and 2 nights ago she was looming over my bedside. I decided today I would go out for the night and not sleep.
As soon as I left my apartment I saw 203 outside his room. He quickly noticed me. “Hey 205 you look like s**t, why don’t you come to the bar with me?” “I don’t think so man.” “C’mon it’ll be fun, maybe you will find a hot girl there.” “Alright man, I’ll go.” It was 10 at night and I was looking around to see if could find the woman and I couldn’t. I think 203 noticed because he asked what I was doing. “I am just looking around for someone that moved in a while ago,” “Oh is it a her?” “Yea man it is and she is cute,” I said, It wasn’t the best but he would never believe me if I told the truth to him.
It was a fun night at the bar, it really did relax me and I felt amazing. I haven’t had this much fun in so long. It wasn’t until we had a long conversation when things got weird. “Hey, why do you keep going to that abandoned apartment room?” he asked slurring is words. “What abandoned room?” I said also slurring my words. “210, it hasn’t been habited by someone in at least twenty years man.” That made my heart drop, and I felt a familiar cold chillness in the air. “I don’t know it seems like a nice place to fix up I guess,” I said clearly lying. “Alright weirdo,” he said laughing. Sure the news I heard was, I don’t know, weird and couldn’t be explained I was too drunk to really notice for the time being. I really had a friend that I could talk to and hang out with now. “Hey 205 my name is Jim, what is yours?” His question made me feel like I mattered for some reason. “Anthony,” I said.
“Well Anthony, we should probably get back to the complex.” I nodded. He was clearly way more drunk than I was so I chose to drive back. We stayed quiet most the drive and it was nice. When we rounded the corner to get the complex I saw a woman underneath a street light. Same red spots on her dress, same black hair, same cold, sickening feeling. I sped up and Jim noticed it right away. “Hey Anthony slow down a bit would ya?” he asked obviously exhausted. I paid no attention to him. Once I parked his car in the parking lot I picked up my phone and left him. I could hear his voice in the distance, “What the hell man you aren’t gonna help me out?” I feared for my life. I rushed to 210, and I knocked on the door and no answer came, I tried the door knob and it was unlocked.
I rushed in to see that the place was completely in ruins. Clothes were scattered, glass all over the kitchen, graffiti everywhere. “What the hell is this?” I said to myself. This was all a lie. I ran back to my room and I sat in my room. That was 2 hours ago, now it is 3:30, each night I woke up to see the time change by only one minute. Last night it was 3:29 a.m. I tried doing research all night and I found nothing on my case, please, the cold shift in air is back and I don’t want to die not knowing what is happening. But I believe it is too late for me now. If you see the smiling woman, you can’t escape, your only chance is to hope she doesn’t come to you. If she does just run as far as you can. I hope you have better luck than me because now I can see her shadow and I hear faint screams in my head. They get louder each minute I write this. Her red eyes stare into my soul. Her smile is unforgettable. Pray for me, for this it. Goodbye.