“Nobody lives there for long.” hissed the solitary voice peering out from the blackness at him. From behind the rusty chain lock it said, “poor souls...”. Something about that hidden voice seemed familiar to Abraham, like as though he knew it or somehow it knew him, but the heat of the Brooklyn summertime melted that thought away.
Abe wiped a handful of sweat from his brow with the dry bottom of his loose Dolphins jersey.
“I uh- I noticed somethin’ real strange in the ad for Apartment 66F Mrs. Ferr-” Abe began.
“Please!” the landlord insisted “Mrs. Ferr is my mother. Call me... Lucy.” the darkness smiled out at him, he felt it deep down.
Maybe he just hadn’t read the ad right “Yeah of course. Lucille, uh Lucy. I noticed the rent.. it hasn’t changed in years...” He paused, and suddenly felt the weight of his new keys in his palm.
Abe took a breath. “New job, new me” he thought to himself.
He was too broke to be superstitious.
“That’s right, just six hundred sixty-six dollars. No more. No less.”
Abe thought of what to say. There was a lump in his throat that wouldn’t budge.
“Is there... a problem, dear? I collect on the thirteenth day of each month.”
“No, not a problem” he continued “just, it’s kinda unusual for such an up and coming neighborhood, I mean one so close to Manhattan.” he whispered, almost to himself.
A funny feeling crept down his spine. The coldest most lonely feeling, like the air was leaving.
“Shit!” he shrieked as he lept back.
Abe glanced down at his bloody hand, noticing the dull old key dug up flesh, crimson dripping onto the laces of his New Balance sneakers.
“Oh my...” the hushed voice called out as though it was clutching a secret right from the corner of his eye “your blood, all that blood right there on our floor.”
A clear thick fluid poured out from the dark, slowly bubbling from the other side. It oozed and collected around the red in the center of the hallway. A red streak drained from Abe’s palm and slowly moved up the puddle of viscous drippings, as if it was being called, beckoned up and into the cracks of the rusty door.
“Damn! I can uh I can clean that...I’m so sorry Lucy-” he started.
For a moment he could smell it, wet fur. He could swear he heard panting breaths against the door, like Rufus his grandpa’s junkyard dog, when he caught the smell of Sunday dinner.
“Please my boy, ” it chirped through the black.
“I’m sorry?” Abe said, stepping in closer.
“M-make it up to me, sweet boy. I’d like to have you... for supper.”
An impatient scratching on the door, then a click and the sound of dangling metal.
A chain lock coming undone.
The door creaks ajar.
A bit of sunlight crept into the doorway and there before him he could see it clear as day, a mountain of bone with odd symbols carved in it and a mound of moist fur atop filthy stone hooves, and there, following his every move, were three glistening pairs of yellow eyes scanning him up and down, ready like old Rufus before ripping up an unlucky squirrel.
He tried to step back, but the hallway felt wrong, backwards, and he lost his balance.
Abe clutched the wall as he stood “Will I be able to renew the lease in a few months?”
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