By: Jennifer Waller
A shrill scream shattered the serene silence of the night.
As the scream faded into memory the neighbors started to wake. They wondered what had caused them to stir at such an hour, then they heard soft whimpering coming from the girl’s apartment. Their minds connected the scream with the whimpering, and they rushed to see what was the matter with the girl.
The first people to reach the small apartment were the girls from next door. They lifted the spare key from underneath the potted plant next to the door, then rushed in. Right behind the girls was the gentleman from the apartment at the rear of the four-apartment complex. Nobody came from the empty fourth apartment.
The neighbors rushed into the girl’s bedroom to find her huddled in a corner atop her bed. One of the girls from next door, a redhead, sat on the edge of the bed to try to calm the whimpering girl. The girl merely huddled deeper into her corner while trying to push the redhead off of the bed with her feet. The redhead’s sister, who was blond, then tried to talk to the frightened girl. The girl just stared past the blond and the whimpering grew louder.
The gentleman walked up behind the blond and laid a hand on her shoulder. The blond moved silently to one side. He then knelt at the edge of the bed and took the hands of the whimpering girl in his own.
The girl finally seemed to take notice of the others in her room. She stared directly at the gentleman for a moment, then she lunged.
The gentleman started to recoil from her advance, but the girl had taken him by surprise. Before he had a chance to fully react she was in his arms, and he calmed as he realized her intentions.
“Protect me, protect me, protect me,” the girl whispered into his chest.
The gentleman raised a hand and started to smooth the girl’s hair. As her pleas for protection ceased and she quieted, he gently broke her grip upon him and maneuvered her so that he could speak to her.
“What happened? What am I supposed to protect you from?”
“The evil… The horror…” then she collapsed against his chest again, crying.
The gentleman turned to look at the blond and the redhead. “Could one of you please get this girl a glass of water?”
The redhead turned and left to get the glass of water. The gentleman did his best to set up some pillows for the girl to lean against. He then lifted her back onto the bed, laid her against the pillows and pulled her blankets up to her lap.
The redhead walked back into the room with the water, gave it to the gentleman, and then motioned that she would like to speak privately with him.
The gentleman went to the girl’s side and handed her the water. “Drink. It’ll help to calm you.” Then he watched as she put the glass up to her lips. As the girl started to drink he made his way into the hallway to speak with the redhead.
“While I was getting the water I noticed a number of medications along the counter. I work in a pharmacy and these are usually the type prescribed for depression and mental illnesses.”
“Doctor’s name on the bottles?”
“Yes, local guy, seen his name before.”
“See if you can get him to come take a look at her.”
The redhead gave the thumbs up sign and then left to find the doctor’s telephone number.
The gentleman walked back into the room. He saw the blond sitting next to the bed and the glass, almost empty, sitting on a dressing table. He then turned to look at the girl and noticed a large wet spot on the covers.
The blond saw him looking. “When she decided that she was finished with the water she just let it drop. I grabbed it as fast as I could, but …” she trailed off, looking at the wet spot herself.
The redhead knocked at the doorsill. The gentleman stood up and once again met her in the hall.
“I called the doctor and he said that he’ll be here in about fifteen minutes. He also said that he’s going to bring the paramedics with him, just in case.”
The gentleman smiled tiredly at the redhead and patted her shoulder, then walked back into the bedroom.
The blond looked up at them as they entered the room. The girl was still sitting on the bed, just as the gentleman had placed her. She was crying softly.
The gentleman walked to the bed and sat down beside the girl. Once again she moved only in response to him, leaning against him and crying against his shoulder.
They stayed that way until the doctor arrived. The redhead was the closest to the door, so she was the one to show him in.
As the doctor was ushered into the room, the gentleman tried to move to allow the doctor to look at his patient.
The girl grabbed desperately at the gentleman’s arm, looked up at him and uttered a strained “No…”
The doctor placed a restraining hand on the gentleman’s shoulder. The gentleman sat back down.
The doctor also took a seat on the bed. He reached into his bag and pulled out a small light. He was shining it into the girl’s eyes when the ambulance pulled up. The paramedics, seeing the doctor, asked, “How is she doc?”
“Unresponsive, I would like to take her to the hospital for observation.”
“Ok. Let us get this stuff stowed and we’ll come back in for her.”
The gentleman looked at the doctor. “I would like to go with her, if that’s possible.”
The doctor looked back at the gentleman. “Ok, but just you. See these girls home while we’re prepping her to go.”
The gentleman tried to stand up again. The girl turned to him with frightened eyes, clawed at his arms and cried, “Don’t go… Don’t leave me.”
“I’ll be right back, don’t worry. Then I’ll go with you to the hospital.”
The girl continued to grab at the gentleman as he finally freed his wrist from her grasp. He walked over to the sisters and followed them toward the front door, stopping only to let the paramedics pass the other way.
As the gentleman saw the sisters close the door to their apartment, he turned and walked back to the bedroom of the girl.
The gentleman noticed that somebody had closed the door. He reached out and took the knob in his hands, but it wouldn’t turn. He then knocked softly on the door. Voices inside told him that it was unlocked and that he could come in.
“I’m trying to get in, but it must be broken. Try to open it from the inside,” the gentleman said.
He heard footsteps approaching the door. He heard the knob rattle as the person on the inside tried to open the door. Then he heard something else. He heard the girl start whimpering again. Then came a laugh, not from the girl, a deep laugh, an evil laugh.
The gentleman watched as the doorknob shook under the pressure of the person trying to open the door. He watched the door rattle in its frame as the people inside shoved against it in an attempt to escape that laugh.
There was a gurgling noise. Then there was silence.
The next sound that the gentleman heard was a thud, as if something large and wet had fallen on the floor. He tried the knob again; it still wouldn’t budge. The laughing had started again.
He heard two more thumps from inside the room. Then he noticed the carpet start to get squishy about his feet. He looked down to see that he was standing in a pool of blood seeping from under the door.
The laughing stopped.
Silence filled the night again.
As the gentleman pondered his best course of action he heard a sound.
Soft whimpering came from the room.