Here is my response to the Halloween Challenge for 2013. #151. Things that go Bump in the Night.
Hope you enjoy it!
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
There it was again. Beth sighed, and took a sip from her coffee cup. These past two weeks it had been regular as clockwork. Thump. Thump. Thump. Every couple of days, around ten am. Echoing through her apartment building.
People had been getting worried. Maintenance, the building managers had been called time after time by one resident or another. But they couldn’t seem to find out where it was coming from.
All Beth had wanted to do was spend her day off watching old movies on the couch. She’d wrapped herself in a throw and was all curled up, ready for the first one… it was something to distract her until Mick came by in the afternoon as he’d promised. ‘As soon as I’m freshened up I’ll be there, babe.’ She sighed a little, smiling. She was going to have to get used to his unsociable hours if they were going to see more of one another. And it had to be said that the twilight hours of the day just recently had been spent doing little more than making out. Mmmm… just the thought of those lips. Beth’s smile widened. She bit her lip softly as she settled back into her place on the couch, picking up the remote. She’d do some freshening up of her own in a little while.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
Hitting the off button impatiently, Beth clambered from her cocoon. Tilting her head slightly, she listened. It was muffled. But constant.
Enough was enough. Beth pulled a sweater over her tousled hair and grabbed her keys, locking the door as she left her apartment. She could just imagine Mick’s face if she managed to get burgled because she’d left the door ajar. Yeah. She wasn’t going to give him that kind of ammunition… she chuckled to herself and set off along the corridor.
Towards the end of her hall, Beth noticed the sound getting louder, ever so slightly. And as she reached the stairwell, louder still. She stood still, thinking. She hadn’t realized how quiet her building was during the day. Most of the residents were either at work or out shopping. Between the flurry of activity as the nine- to-five set headed to work and arrived home for dinner, there was a lull where the halls were nearly deserted. The silence was broken only by the quiet sounds of TV sets behind closed apartment doors. In the quiet of the daytime, if you bumped into a delivery guy, you were lucky, it seemed.
Mick had mentioned it when she’d told him about the apartment for rent on the second floor a month ago. ‘This would be a great spot for a vampire, Beth. Unassuming, quiet. Perfect peace during the day. Heh. A guy could come and go as he pleased. I mean, do you even know your neighbor’s name…?’ She’d blushed as she remembered that Mrs. Henson had left about a year ago. She had no idea who was in the next apartment. And now that she thought about it, it made her a little apprehensive. Thump. Thump. Thump.
Louder still as she ascended the dimly lit stairs and turned the handle, peeking around the door to scope out the second floor hallway. The sound definitely seemed more pronounced here. Beth tilted her head once more, and closed her eyes to concentrate. Why had no one noticed that it was louder up here…? She turned left… this floor a carbon copy of the one below, slightly different coloring, but a layout that she knew by heart. As she went down the hall, the thump became a banging. And Beth’s heart quickened. What she wouldn’t have given to be behind Mick right now. Not that she’d admit that to him. But even the thought of him calmed her a little. She rubbed her fingers into her palms, the tips of them cold as she continued along the corridor. The banging grew ever louder.
Maybe she had made a mistake. Suddenly uncertain as to whether or not she should even be here, Beth paused, and took a breath.
‘Come on, Beth. It’s the daytime. No monsters. No vampires. Probably just some annoying workmen who don’t know how to keep it down.’ She took another step forward. But it stopped, just as suddenly as it had begun… it was almost as if someone had heard her. But seriously…? There was no way. Not over that racket.
Beth kept walking, her curiosity piqued now… her fingers trailed the wall lightly as she made her way along the hallway to what, on her floor, would be her neighbor’s apartment. Thinking just what she would say when the new owner opened the door. A slightly perplexed look on her face, she gently knocked.
Moments later, the door opened. Beth’s eyes widened as she took in the shaded room, immaculately decorated. The shadow of a man passed behind a woman’s figure as she turned her face to Beth’s . Hazel eyes, lowered in embarrassment once more. Simone pulled the pin-striped robe more closely around her. And a voice spoke from within, all too familiar to Beth now. She sighed at Josef’s words. So this was why no one was finding out what was going on….
‘Come on in, Beth, I don’t think we were expecting to see you quite so soon. Great building you have here!’