I was a Superintendent in the strangest building ever…Part 8
Hello, NoSleep. It’s been a while. I started posting the events I experienced at the building I called the Royal over a year ago. I stopped rather abruptly, and without much explanation. Putting these nightmarish experiences on paper takes its toll, and I’ve been in a kind of daze since then. Still, the events chase me to no end. They’re a nightmare I can’t shake. My silence was an attempt to run away from them, but they keep coming back to haunt me. They flash through my head every time I drive past an apartment building. Those towering behemoths frighten me more than anything, knowing that whatever eldritch horror possessed the Royal could be inside any one of them. Still, it’s been cowardly for me to try to run away from the events I had such a vital part in. I hope some of you readers from a year ago are still hanging around to read them. If not, I hope that by continuing this, I can help someone new. If any of you witness anything strange in an apartment building, or building with more than one floor, I urge you to get it out there. I don’t know for sure what happened to that building, or why. But I know that it could happen again, and nothing frightens me more than that.
Below are links to the first part, and the last:
Your reading this and your comments helped me get some semblance of sanity back in the past, and I hope it will do so again. So, without further pause for those of you who have waited over a year for the next part, here it is:
I was standing with my palms flat on the cold surface of Felipe’s security desk. The events of 15B shot past lips stiff with the will to hold back the nausea that had clung to me on my way out of that God-forsaken kitchen. Somehow, I was able to tell Felipe what had happened without having to swallow any lead-hot bile, my forehead slicked with the effort to hold vomit back. When I saw Felipe’s face, I also saw that I hadn’t gotten rid of the piggy-backing nausea, only transferred it.
Felipe traced his lower lip with absently, he spoke with a voice strained with the skeletal chokehold of anxiety, “It’s getting stronger, bolder, manifesting in more complex ways, targeting more tenants at a time.” We resolved to establish a clearer line of communication once I entered an affected apartment. There was a grave weight hanging over our heads as Felipe and I settled on a system that pretty much just consisted in my calling him, once I confirmed something was acting up that shouldn’t (or shouldn’t be able to). Then I’d let him in.
We both agreed, looking around the empty lobby on a morning so hot the windows were fogging up on the other side, that we couldn’t afford to lose another apartment…not after losing an entire floor. Felipe said that, with 15B gone, we’d lost seven apartments in total. Whatever the cost, we had to keep that number as low as possible. He said he didn’t know what would happen if we lost more than ten units, if anything, but Felipe declared we wouldn’t (and couldn’t) find out. I nodded my agreement about five times and left the lobby wondering if our call-the-second-something’s-off policy would make much of a difference. I didn’t have to wait long to find out.
Felipe called in a strange one just a couple of days later, “11C, someone’s locked out of the master bedroom. Could be something, call me if it is.” I said I would, thinking that, if it came to that, it’d be a little alarming for a tenant to see the super calling someone nervously, then letting the security guard in for what would probably just look like a busted appliance. I’d cross that bridge when I got to it, though. For now, all I could do was grab my kit and walk to the service elevator. When the double-doors slid apart, I stepped in without (much) hesitation. When they met again, the elevator began its steady ascent. The electric ding as we reached the 11th floor made me look towards the already opening doors that would lead me to my next call.
I was relieved to see that the elevator bank was empty, then remembered that I was probably there to play the role of a turnkey. Regardless, if a tenant had misplaced their keys (the ring with the master and copies of each key was probably stored in the master bedroom) then they wouldn’t risk going out through their front door. Whatever the case, I plopped my kit down beside me, thumping the door with a knuckle. In seconds the front door swung open. Not a good sign, as if anything in this building ever was. A disheveled woman stood in the open maw of the doorway, droplets of sweat traced glistening tracks across a face pale with worry. I spoke first, but only because, given the way she looked, I might have had to stand there for minutes otherwise.
“You’re locked out of the master bedroom?” She bang to stutter a response, so I shot my hand out in front of her in a lame attempt at a handshake, “Hi, sorry, I’m the Super. If we haven’t met, it’s just because nothing’s busted in your place yet.” That seemed to bring back some of her color, but she cast a nervous glance toward the rest of the apartment behind her. I didn’t like that, not one bit. I would have called Felipe then and there, if I didn’t think it’d rob her of the little peace of mind I’d brought back my speck of humor. “I think…” she said, half to her herself, more than half. “You misplaced the master keyring? I bet it’s in a drawer just past that locked bedroom door, we’ll get that right out for you. You-” I was about to tell her that she should keep her keys somewhere where the doors didn’t lock, the kitchen drawer, I’d suggest, but she cut me off with a sudden, frightening yelp of a reply, “No! The door’s not locked, I can get it open, it’s just…”
She didn’t have to say any more. I knew that she’d said “locked bedroom door” because it sounded saner than whatever was actually wrong. I nodded, “Show me.” She took a step backward, scooting a bit to let me through the open front door, and step ahead of her. She wanted me to go first. I didn’t blame her, but I wasn’t too happy about it either.
“Something’s acting up, isn’t it? An appliance?” The woman looked at me with genuine confusion. “No, it’s my husband, something’s wrong with my husband.” Her voice still came in shy trickles that suggested something like shock. I fidgeted towards the kitchen’s general direction, but the woman moved for the main corridor. As I followed her, my hand drifted absent-mindedly to the pocket that cradled my cell.
The woman began leading me towards the master bedroom door, which I saw was closed. I frowned, wondering if perhaps the woman was worse off than my initial impression. “I thought you said the door wasn’t locked…” The tenant replied without turning to look at me, she just kept walking to the door, her voice as flat as her pace, “It’s not locked, just shut.” As we got nearer, I started to ask her if she would mind if I called a friend for additional help, but part of me still convinced the rest that I should wait until I’d actually seen the building’s latest outburst of strangeness.
When she got to the door, the middle-aged tenant turned the knob in one monotonous motion that morphed into her pushing the door open. She stepped in as a continuation of that single, not-so-fluid movement, shuffling to one side almost politely so I could follow her in unobstructed. I started to wonder if my theory of her suffering from shock was right after all. Then I swallowed my doubt and followed her into the darkened room.
The lights were off and the shades drawn tight, the only light came from the open door behind me. With it, I could only see a dark lump underneath an otherwise uniform landscape of sheets. “Would you mind sliding that curtain open a bit?” “Of course,” from the tenant as she was already walking to the simple pulley mechanism that swiveled the shades apart. I eyed the shape on the bed as she started to crank the plastic-and-string contraption and the afternoon sun blasted into the room with each jerk of the curtain.
The slits of sunlight revealed that there was, indeed, someone lying under the covers. I could see their features, rendered as small mountain ranges on that otherwise smooth fabric. “Sir? Are you all right?” I took a tentative step towards the bed, my fingers already slipping underneath the lip of my pocket, one particularly jumpy fingernail already tapping the hard plastic of my phone.
As I stepped forward, the bedsheets curled upwards. Writhing like they were alive. The head under the covers bucked towards me. It rose, moving the rest of the sheet with it as it went. The figure in the bed sat up. The sheet was draped around it. The fabric folding seamlessly, smooth like skin. The sunlight from the window hit the sheet from the side. The light shone through it, revealing a pinkish material that really did seem like skin, crisscrossed with purple veins underneath. There was a reddish shape in the center.
“Jesus Christ…” I took a step back towards the door. With the shades drawn, I could see the shape inside the skin more clearly. It looked like an embryo, or a fetus…Purple/red eye-like shapes moved towards me. I backed away from the bed, stepping towards the door. My hand was subconsciously moving towards my pocket. My finger hooking around my cellphone. All the while, the lady stared at me, never moving. I took out my cellphone and motioned towards her. “We have to get out…” As I moved, the shape in the sheet/skin followed me with its head. “Lady, come on!” She finally acknowledged me. As I stepped backwards out of the apartment, she stumbled out after me.
I immediately pulled the door closed. I locked it with a key in my crowded keyring. I jabbed my phone against my ear. Felipe picked up after the first ring. “You got something?” he asked nervously, “Yeah! Get up here! Something’s got the husband on the bed…it’s covering him like a second skin-” “The bed? Was there an electric blanket on it, or something?” “I dunno! Get UP HERE!” I stabbed the “END” button, turning to look at the woman. She was staring at me with lifeless, wide eyes. Shock, I thought again. From behind the closed bedroom door, I heard muffled shuffling. Then something thumped against the floor. It had gotten off the bed. Something bumped against the door. The crack underneath it blackened, then became a pinkish/red. The sheet-thing was pushing itself through…squeezing out of the door crack, flattening itself.
“Away from the door! Come on!” I led her into the living room. The front door led right into it, so I’d be able to let Felipe in right away. I put my hand on the woman’s shoulder to push her towards the front door. The second I did, I noticed something was wrong. The fabric of the woman’s shirt was too smooth. It felt like skin. I yanked my hand away from it. As I did, tendrils of fabric shot up towards my palm. If I’d held on any longer, they’d have wrapped around it. “Lady…what?” I backed away from her. With the living room curtains drawn, I couldn’t see her clothing too clearly…but it appeared to by writhing, threads of fabric squirming like worms. She was wearing a short-sleeved blouse, but the sleeves were quickly crawling lower and lower. Soon, they had reached her wrists.
“Oh…God…” I backed away from her. She stepped towards me. Her limbs moved awkwardly. Like her clothes were pulling them forward. The neckline of her blouse shot up, swallowing her mouth and climbing towards her forehead. Her arms cracked, snapping towards me. I stepped backwards, and suddenly something slammed against the back of my shins. I tumbled, falling to sit on the floor. In front of me, between me and the lady, was my toolkit. I grabbed it, shaking hands struggling to open it.
The woman took another step forward. Suddenly, the worm-threads that made up her living clothes began wriggling madly. They rocked her body forward. Her arms shot up. Her upper torso twisted wildly. Her limbs flailed with it. The movements became faster and faster. Soon, her arms, torso, and head were all moving in a whirling, circular motion. Her arms became a spinning blur. I heard cracks and pops as her bones broke apart and her body spun towards me. One of my hands was holding a hammer from my toolkit. Turning my head, I saw an open bathroom door next to me. I scrambled towards it.
I shot to my feet as soon as I crossed the doorway, pushing the door shut. Once I did, I something slammed against it so hard the door rattled in its hinges. I was panting. Droplets of sweat stung my eyes. Remembering Felipe, I grabbed my cellphone again. If he opened the front door, the woman would be right in front of it…The phone rang and rang, then disconnected. “Damn it!” I lowered it. No reception. The tile walls around me made sure of that. As I surveyed the bathroom, however, my eyes landed on something. A metal ring poked out of the wall next to the sink, on it hung a red hand towel. I stared at it. The frilly fabric suddenly started moving. Thousands of tiny threads squirmed like worms. The towel swung on the wall-ring. “Oh…shit…” It slipped out of it, landing in a bundle on the floor, about three feet away from me. The phone was still pressed against my ear. The dial tone rang and rang. My other hand pointed the hammer in the towel’s direction.
The red threads wriggled to life once more. The edge of the towel closest to me began to rise, turning to face me like a little head on a flat body…it looked like a small, red stingray. It fluttered, the thousands of threads wiggled against the tiles, pushing the towel-body forward like legs on a centipede. When it was about a foot away from me, it suddenly froze. All the threads straightened, making the towel rise slightly on the tiles. Then they all bent downward, freezing once more. I dropped my phone, grabbing the hammer with both hands. I knew what it was going to do. The threads straightened again, but this time with an unearthly force. The motion propelled the towel upwards. It sprang, curling through the air. It spread apart as it neared my face, its threads fluttering like a million tongues. I screamed, swinging the hammer towards it. The hammer’s head struck the whirling fabric, sending it flying against the far wall. The towel plopped against it, but instead of falling back towards the floor, it stuck there. I gripped the hammer, arching it towards it and readying for another swing. The threads were twitching against the wall, the towel crawled up the tile. Its thread-legs straightened, it was readying to jump once more.
An electronic doorbell echoed through the apartment. Felipe was here. I turned towards the door for less than a second, but it was enough. The towel-thing shot through the air, the threads fluttering as it went. It slammed against my ear. I swatted at it with my empty hand, pulling it away from me. I could feel each individual thread smacking against my skin, prodding, shooting towards my open ear. I ripped it off of my head, watching as it squirmed towards my shirt. The towel was trying to get at my clothes…undoubtedly so it could infect them with the unnatural life it possessed. I pulled it away, noticing the toilet and moving towards it. The towel squirmed in my hands, trying to get loose. The threads became stiff, becoming as hard as toothpicks and stabbing into my hand. I kicked the toilet seat up. I threw the towel-thing up in the air like a baseball then swatted it with the hammer. It plopped into the open toilet bowl. I slammed the toilet seat and cover down with my foot. I went to flush, then thought better of it. Something wet plopped against the underside of the toilet cover a couple of times, then stopped.
The front door opened with a, “Hello?” from Felipe. He called out my name. I responded through the bathroom door, “Watch out! It’s got the woman! Get away from her!” “There’s no one here.” I opened the bathroom door. Felipe was standing in front of it. “We gotta find out what’s getting them,” he said. I nodded, closing the bathroom door behind me. Felipe closed the front door. “We can’t let it get out. So, you said the bed got the husband?” “Yeah.” “And you didn’t see any electronics on it?” “No. It got the wife, too. It’s something in her clothes. The fabric. I was in the bathroom, and a towel attacked me-” In spite of his familiarity with the building, and its insane circumstances, Felipe chuckled. “A towel?” “Yeah-” I froze. The woman was back. She was holding a bundle in her arms…sheets, dozens of them. Her face was covered by the fabric of her blouse, now. Her hands had disappeared under elongated sleeves.
Felipe’s hand went to the revolver on his belt. I eyed it nervously. The woman dropped the sheets. Immediately, they came to life. A white one flapped upwards into the air, spreading and floating on an invisible breeze. It flew towards us like a giant, living kite. Felipe drew his gun. Another sheet hit the floor, it coiled into another, twisting into a tube of cloth. It slithered like a giant, cloth tentacle. The other sheets wrapped around the woman. They found their way to her sleeves, stretching her unnatural arms even further. Felipe pushed me towards the kitchen door. Just as we went through it, the sheet kite flew towards us.
Felipe slammed the kitchen door. Something immediately fluttered underneath the crack, the kite was pushing itself through. Felipe and I stepped backwards, he turned to speak to me, “We have to find out what’s causing this, if we stop it it should stop all of these things. It has to be an appliance, it always has been-” Felipe and I shared a sudden look of realization, “The washing machine.”
The flying sheet was halfway through the door crack when Felipe and I ran for the laundry room. I propped the laundry room’s door open with the hammer. The lights were off inside. The hum and drone of a laundry machine in full swing filled the small space. I flipped the lights on. Felipe was behind me, he alternated between facing the laundry room and the kitchen door, watching for the woman. Next to him, on a wood block on the kitchen counter, was a set of knives. He pulled one out. I stepped through the doorway. In the far corner, I could see an age-yellowed washing machine bucking in place. “There it is.” I took a step towards it. The door plopped open. A froth of soap suds grew out of the opening like a foaming, rabid mouth. “You might wanna hurry up…” I turned. Felipe was looking at the kitchen door. The woman stood there. The sheet kite swirled around her. It landed on her shoulder. She lifted her massive arms effortlessly towards us. They were at least five feet long each. She suddenly sprinted towards us. Her upper body twisted, the arms spinning into a blur. The sheet kite swirled away from her, shooting towards Felipe.
It flew through the air, Felipe raised his kitchen knife. As the sheet flapped close to his head, he stabbed the knife into it. The sheet thrashed against it. It drooped over Felipe’s arm. Just as it did, he extended his arm, tossing the knife into the far wall. The knife took the sheet with it, stabbing it into the wall. The sheet squirmed in place. Felipe turned to shout to me, “Go for the washer! I’ll hold her back!”
I ran into the laundry room, turning just in time to see the woman raise her massive, whirling arms, and Felipe raising the hammer and his revolver. I slid on the tile floor of the laundry room, skating towards the machine in the back. The floor was covered with soap suds and water. The washer was ahead of me, its bucking slamming the door against the inactive dryer next to it. I gripped the hammer and turned to shoot a glance at Felipe.
The woman swung her massive arms wildly. The fabric-morphed limbs were heavy and thick, like mallets. They shook, trembling, twisting and swooping wildly. Felipe stepped back, he grabbed another knife off the rack, and stuck it in front of him. One of the mallet-fists quaked towards him. Felipe slashed at it, excising a strip of cloth from the bulbous fist. A muffled shriek sounded off from the depths of the creature-tenant’s cloth-smothered head. “Hurry! Please!” Felipe shouted at me without turning.
I ran into the laundry room, skating on the sud-covered floor. Behind me, I could hear the sounds of a struggle. I reached the washing machine. It rocked from side to side with the force of its churning innards. Foam spilled from the open door like the mouth of a rabid animal. I gripped the hammer and stepped towards it. As my foot smacked the wet tile in front of its open door, something slid out of the open door. It was a tangle of cloth, twisted into a knotted cylinder. It slapped onto the wet tile, its entire length dropping out of the machine and rolling into a pile. I froze, waiting for the cloth to move. It shot up suddenly, the cloth becoming taut, like a muscle. It wrapped around my leg with a wet slurp, twisting like a tentacle. I yelped and grabbed at it. My fingers dug into the wet cloth, scratching at the soapy, water-strengthened fabric. It didn’t budge. One end of the cloth-tentacle snaked back into the open washing machine. My eyes widened. I grabbed the length of the cloth to try to pull it back, but it was too late. The whirling machinery inside the washer churned and growled like an animal. It spun the cloth tentacle. It twisted forward, yanking my leg as it spun. My back smacked the wet tile as I fell, my leg pulled out from under me. I grabbed at the dryer, trying desperately to pull my leg out of the cloth snare.
The tentacle constricted. My pant-leg bulged with the pressure. The fabric of my jeans seemed to be swelling to life, the wet fabric of the tentacle writhed, threads digging into the jean fibers and melding with them. The tentacle pulled my leg forward, inching my foot towards the open washer door. Inside, the spinning washing drum whirled, growling in anticipation. My grip on the dryer faltered, and I was pulled across the wet floor further. My other hand still held the hammer. I swung it, striking the wet tentacle just above my leg. The fabric whipped back with the force of the impact, but seemed unfazed. My foot struck the edge of the washer’s opening. The spinning tentacle twisted my leg at an odd angle. I screamed as my ankle popped against my shoe. In a few seconds, the washer’s tentacle would break my leg, and pull me inside. I kicked the washer with my free foot, denting it, but damaging it no further. I dropped the hammer, gripping the tentacle with both hands. I propped my free foot against the washer’s side, betting it all on one last idea. Using my new foothold, I pulled the tentacle with every ounce of strength. The tentacle ripped loose from the washer’s whirling interior. It writhed freely, slapping at the wet floor. Its free end coiled around my arm. I struggled against it. The washer’s open door swung lazily as the machine bucked from side to side.
I grabbed the hammer from the floor. The tentacle constricted my other arm, snaking towards my shirt’s sleeve. I moved towards the open washer. I gave the hammer one last look, thinking that, if this didn’t work, I’d be weaponless. The tentacle was now fully fused to my pant leg, the other end was already merging with my shirt sleeve. I tossed the hammer into the open washer. I kicked the door close with my free foot. Instantly, the hammer slammed around the interior. It banged as the washer spun it, slamming against the closed door and the washer’s insides. The pained groaning of metal on metal filled the laundry room. More pops and bangs sounded off as the hammer scraped the washer’s inside, cracking the door and denting the interior in every possible angle. The tentacle uncoiled suddenly, its threads shooting in every direction like flailing, desperate limbs. Something like a pained screech screamed out from the washer. It was dented even further, a hole had formed on one side. It was busting from the inside out, its previously cubed shape bulging outwards every which way. I slid way from it. Its back was smoking, it bucked upwards wildly, smacking against the floor and the dryer next to it. Suddenly, something blasted out of its back. The interior drum screeched to a halt. Smoke drifted out of the shattered door. The washer was finally still. The tentacle, which had been taut like a muscle, deflated instantly. It coiled outwards, the knot undoing itself.
I pulled my leg out of it, uncoiling it from my sleeve and tossing it as far as I could. I rose unsteadily, pain sparking out from an ankle that was probably sprained. I limped out of the smoke-filled laundry room, moving towards the kitchen. “Felipe?” I asked nervously. In the center of the kitchen, I could see two figures lying under a pile of knotted fabric. “Felipe!” Forgetting my hurt ankle, I ran towards them. I tossed the bundles of cloth away, uncovering Felipe and the tenant. Felipe’s face was bruised. His arms held out the knife in front of him. There were cuts on his arm. The tenant lay on top of him. The knife was stuck into a knot of fabric in between both of them. There were several cuts on the woman’s arms and face, but she seemed mostly alright. Felipe opened his eyes. I let out a sigh of relief. “You got it?” he asked. I nodded, helping him to his feet. Below us, the woman breathed heavily, seemingly unconscious.
Felipe and I sat on the security desk. We stared at an ambulance through the closed lobby doors. Two emergency workers hauled the still-unconscious bruised and cut woman into the back. Her husband had been taken in another ambulance, equally unconscious, with something like a rash all over his upper body. Felipe and I answered a couple of questions, spinning a strange narrative. Evidently, the washing machine had malfunctioned, harming both tenants as it whirled wildly. We had gone in to help them after hearing the strange noises coming from the laundry room, and had fallen victim to the wild, self-destructive machine. We couldn’t explain the strange and uneven distribution of wounds between them and ourselves, but we chalked it up to a bucking, out-of-control machine and glass from the shattered door. In the end, the emergency responders weren’t really there to interrogate us or deduce the nature of the strange situation, they were there to take the two tenants to the hospital. When they eventually woke up, they remembered very little about the machine and even less about us, but were grateful.
“We did good,” Felipe said, sitting behind the desk and watching the ambulance drive away. His face didn’t show relief, or pride, but still nervousness and fear. We may have won in 11C, but there was still a building full of apartments above us. Any one of them could act out again. All we could do was wait, and fight back when that inevitably did happen again. Whatever kind of game we were involved in, we couldn't let the building win. But, for the moment, we had one more win for our side. That put us at 3 to 7, in the building’s favor. We had a lot of catching up to do… I’ll post again soon, this story’s not over yet, despite my long bout of silence.