Stalking Shadows

The door stood defiantly closed. The man was trapped on the wrong side. The creature was coming, he could hear it panting up the stairs to get him. There were many stairs, sixteen floors up, and a broken elevator. From the sound of the panting, the creature was somewhere in the middle floors, the man had to hurry.

But there was nowhere to go. He stood in front of an apartment that announced itself as: 1632, he was out of steps. This was it, top floor, end of the hall. His fists pounded on the apartment door. Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! He could hear footsteps on the other side of the door.

“Yes?” A careful voice asked from the apartment. The voice sounded old, female, frail.

“Yes, hello, please, I am in great danger, and I need you to let me in, please!”

“I’m sorry, I don’t open the door to strangers.”

“Please, ma’am, I need to get in, it’s coming!”

“No, you’ll have to try somewhere else, good bye!”

“Please!”

There was no more sound from the apartment. The hall was vibrating with the huffings and puffings of the creature bounding up the stairs. It sounded so very close.

Then there it was, at the end of the hall, eyeing him, licking his gigantic slobbering lips. The creature was a dog from hell, not a hound, more like a giant unwashed poodle. When the creature lowered itelf to pounce, the man tried his last act of desperation, reaching for the doorknob, twisting, opening, slamming, locking, within split seconds of the creature crashing up against the solid oak door.

“Ah! Please! Young man! Get! Get out! I’ll call the police!” Greta gave a quick shriek, then shuffled her arthritic legs over to the phone.

“Yes! Call the police! Tell them to get here right away! Tell them to be careful the creature’s very dangerous, they should come ready to fire!”

Greta kept one eye on the intruder and the other on the numbers: 9-1-1. “Yes, hello, please come quick! A man has broken into my apartment and I don’t know what he’s- yes, it’s 154 Hammersmith Street, apartment 1632, please hurry! Thank you!” Greta put down the phone. “You better leave now, before they come, they’ll arrest you, put you in jail a long time.”

“I’m not going out there.”

“Please. I’m an old woman. I don’t have much. You want money? I have a little. Take-”

“I don’t want your money, lady! Now shhh, I can’t think.”

“What do you want?”

“I want to think!”

“Why can’t you think somewhere else? The police are coming, you should really think about not being here when they come.”  

“The police aren’t coming for me, wait, you didn’t warn them. You didn’t warn them about the creature. It’s out there, and they don’t know. Call them back, tell them.”

“They already know you’re here.”

“I’m not the creature! Don’t you see? Look out there! Look out in the hall and tell me what you see! Go on, look!” He moved away from the door, palms up to show he meant no offense.

Greta made her way to the door, looked out the keyhole and announced: “I don’t see anything. Something’s blocking the view.”

“That’s the creature! Of course he’s blocking your view, cause he doesn’t want you to see it!”

“I’m not afraid of something I can’t see.”

From all the crosses adorning, statues of The Virgin Mary praying, and crucifixes crucifixing up her apartment, the man deduced the woman Catholic. “You fear God, don’t you?”

“Yeah, but I see God. He’s right there on that cross.”

“Can you call the police back and warn them it’s out there.”

“I’m sure they’re ready for you.”

“I’m not the creature!”

“Yes you are. You’re the creature in my livingroom. If you’re not careful they could taser you, or worse. They could shoot you. You behave when they come. Or, go now, it’s better.”

“Lady, the creature! It’s out there, right outside your door! Don’t you see!”

“No, I told you, I saw nothing. All I see is you in my apartment, scaring me.”

“I don’t mean to scare you.”

“I told you not to come in, you came in. I ask you to leave, you stay. You’re raving about something that isn’t there.”

“It’s there! It’s there! You just didn’t see it!”

Something pounded on the door. “Police, open up!”

“Oh, thank heavens,” Greta sighed, unlocking the door, letting two tall policemen in to her apartment. “There he is, officers,” Greta introduced him to the police.

“Sir, we’re gonna ask you to put your arms behind your head.”

“How did you get past the creature?”

“Sir, please, put your arms behind your back and remain calm. You’re under arrest for trespassing and breaking and entering.”

“I didn’t break and enter, I turned the knob and entered, I didn’t break.”

“Sir, we’re going to need you to stay calm.”

“I am calm.”

“Sir, give me your arm.”

“I didn’t do anything!”

“I told you to leave!” Greta shouted after him as he was hauled away.

“You’re dragging us to hell! Don’t you know? It’s hiding! It’ll get us at any time!”

“Sir, stop resisting, or, we’ll have to twist your arm off.” The officer added extra force to make his point.

Out in the hall, the man held his breath, listening for the breathing of the creature. He heard only the talk of the officers, pushing him out the door. And when the man saw the claw marks in the wallpaper, his screams could be heard all the way at the end of the hall, where a shadow pawed at the carpet.

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