Halloween Writing Contest third place: The sixth floor
Jolee Parolise – Junior Early Childhood Education Major
A flash of lightening lights up the dim room as Luna heats up some water on the stove. The news plays on the TV in the background, and the weatherman warns everyone about the incoming storm. Luna pulls her sweater closer around her: the heat never works in this crappy apartment. To fix her problem, she pours the hot water into a mug with a tea bag and wraps her hands around the cup. She hears a clap of thunder from outside, and when she looks out the window, it’s finally raining.
She leaves the kitchen for her bedroom to grab another blanket, but hears the TV making a loud noise. It’s static. She rushes over to the TV and hits it a few times before the image is clear again. Everything in this place seems either broken or ancient. She knows she needs to move, but where else will she find a cheap apartment only ten minutes away from her job? Even the neighbors are perfect, they’re barely ever around. Actually, when she thinks of it, she can’t remember seeing anyone in the hallway except for her first day. It was an old couple across the hall.
The raining turns to pouring, and she can barely hear the TV anymore. She turns it off angrily and decides to grab a book to settle in for another night alone. But when she looks for her book, she can’t find it. It was right on the kitchen table. She looks everywhere, near the toaster, in the fridge, under the chairs, but it’s nowhere. She looks at her orange cat, Louie, but he just stares back at her. Am I going crazy? she thinks.
Suddenly, the TV comes back on. On it appears a creature in a clown mask and wild red suit. His eyes are rolling around in his head, and he licks his lips while poking the camera creepily. Luna’s mouth falls open. She rushes to the TV to turn it off, but it keeps popping back on. Who is he? Where is he? He looks like he’s in a small, empty room. She starts hitting the TV again, but it won’t stop. Every time the TV comes back on, the clown’s face is closer and closer until his bright, red eye fills up the screen.
A knock comes at the window. Luna’s heart races as she slowly looks over. A white gloved hand reaches up and lands on the window. Luna hears a blood curdling scream and realizes it’s her own. She jumps up and grabs the phone to call 911, but the line is dead. She whips open her front door and knocks on the old couple’s door across the hall. She knocks so hard the door flies open.
“Hello?” she calls, creeping inside. Maybe if she isn’t alone her heart will stop beating so fast. Then she sees the old man is sitting up at the kitchen table. The room is dark and she can’t see. With a clap of thunder and a flash of lightening, the room is lit up and she can see he’s dead, bleeding from the forehead and eyes wide open. Luna’s blood runs cold. She feels rooted to the spot, but she knows she needs to keep moving. She runs back to the hall and over to the elevator. She needs to get out of here.
The elevator feels like it will never come, but finally it does and she steps onto it alone. The door closes and her breathing starts to slow. Everything will be okay, she tells herself. She watches intently as each floor goes by. Six . . . Five . . . Four. But then it stops and goes black.
“No!” she screams. She bangs on the door and searches for the buttons on the wall. Her heart races so fast, it could burst out of her chest. Tears run down her cheeks. The button lights start to flash, and it feels so cold in the elevator. She realizes she’s not alone. A hand rests on her shoulder just as the elevator starts to fall.