I moved in this month and noticed
the cracked paint and old steam heater, realizing immediately the building is
quite old. The oven and fridge are new, most people that buy a place and revamp
it change them out, but it was pretty clear the rest hadn’t been fixed up for a
very long time. The stained wooden floors bear scars of moved furniture and
worn pathways from decades of use. The first thing I noticed however, and the
most peculiar feature of all are the doors.
front door, closet door and bathroom door are all old, dark wood with peculiar
and ornate handles. A pattern of weaving lines are engraved around the brass
knobs that appear to be Art Deco, likely from the 1920’s. Below each knob,
inset in the metal plate are keyholes for the antique “skeleton” style key. I
was assured by the realtor the one key opens and locks each door of the
apartment, and that the front door is in fact secure. Hell, for a $900 1
bedroom in Brooklyn, I wasn’t too concerned.
After a few days of sweating
profusely, lifting cabinets, beds, dressers and cardboard boxes after calling
in favors from friends, I was in my new home. All was fine until the third
night, when I woke up to a startling, loud thumping from the ceiling above my
sat up, annoyed the upstairs neighbor was being so noisy at 3 AM and I switched
my light on and stared angrily at the ceiling. After a few seconds of listening
to the thumping, I grumbled and stood on my bed, ready to pound back, but then
it shifted. If first sounded like stomping movement from one side of the room
to the other, but then it reached the corner of the room and began descending
I stared in fearful confusion at the source of the sound as it passed
down the entire wall to the wooden floor, continuing impossibly under my the
wooden floor near my bed before fading fainter and fainter until it was
inaudible. I need to clarify, it was the same forceful banging the whole time
but it sounded distant, as if the wall of the next room being banged on was
drifting further away.
sat on my bed and stared at the walls and ceiling, wondering if the neighbors
on all sides had somehow colluded in an elaborate game to annoy me. I tried to
fend off the illogical notion of what I had just witnessed, the impossibility
that someone or something was circling my room like an insect crawling around a
cube. I considered pounding back but something nagged at me, telling me that
whatever made the pounding was no longer there. I was unnerved and beyond
confused, but that was just the beginning.
A few days later I was locking my
apartment door after a terrible day at work, which is done with the key from
the inside. I was fiddling the annoying key, trying with impatient, scrambling
hands to get the mechanism to click. In order to lock and unlock the peculiar
old locks, you need to insert the key and rotate it to the right (to lock it),
making a few twists around until you hear a click. The stress of the day caused
me to fumble this task a bit, and I twisted it in aggravation a few times after
I heard the click until I heard another. I thought nothing of it at the time,
but this information is key to the what happened next.
sunk into my dingy old couch to decompress, and began a binge-watching session,
placing an order for delivery as I wanted to simply hide in my room and forget
the shitty day I’d had. After an hour of waiting, my phone rang and I answered
to hear my pad thai was just three flights down. I rushed to the door and
unlocked it with the left spin of the key and when I opened it, I yelled out in
shock at the impossible sight of a hallway that shouldn’t be there.
view from the front door is always of the other tenant’s door across the hall.
To the right is a short hall that leads to a stairwell. The walls are a
yellowish white and the doors seem mostly modern aside from mine. What I saw
out the door was none of that. What I saw, directly out my door was a long hall
of smooth stone that led into complete darkness at least 30 meters in. I stood
there for a few moments, trying to understand the peculiar sight. My hairs all
stood up as the dusty, cold air from the corridor chilled my body. It simply broke
logic, and dread scratched at my brain as it tried to understand.
peered into the deep, dark hallway that shouldn’t exist, my blood chilling by
the second, and I nearly jumped into the air in fright as my phone rang again.
I couldn’t even speak, I just stared into the darkness then extended my phone
to light up the hall that couldn’t possibly be. I began walking into the space
slowly, testing the cold, stone ground as if in any second it would collapse
and I would awaken from a peculiar dream. I kept walking, and the phone’s light
met no wall ahead. I kept looking back to the shrinking rectangle of warm,
yellow light from my apartment, making sure my open door was still there. I was
somewhere that by all means should not exist, and the very real terror of being
stuck there began to rise. Then I heard those footsteps.
were quick and staggered, slapping echoes of bare skin on the cold stone floor.
They were fast, and I quickly realized they were rapidly approaching. I spun
around and sprinted faster than I ever had back to my door, praying to reach
the warm light before the source of that running could reach me. I nearly dove
through the threshold and slammed the door shut. I nervously missed the keyhole
with my trembling hands a few times before I was able to get it in and spin the
key wildly to the left. I finally heard the click of the locking mechanism and
collapsed to the floor, panting, sweating and nearly pissing myself from the
impossible event I had experienced.
ran my fingers along the edge of the old door frame, feeling the strange
texture before noticing the chipping paint and I scratched at it as a chunk
fell and engraved script along the front was revealed. I pried away more of
that old, lead-based paint, revealing engraved words of some archaic language
I’d never even seen before. Terrible, dark thoughts entered my head as I traced
my fingers down the carved, gnarled wood of frame. I envisioned agonized
screams and violent tortures too graphic for me to type, and these thoughts
grew more gruesome and vile until I yanked my hand away with a gasp.
not quite sure what that passage was the key unlocked, but it is something that
should not exist. I built the courage to peer through the keyhole just once,
and I screamed at the sight of an eye directly on the other side, a wide pupil
like a goats in a webbed, red iris, staring wide back at me. I don’t believe in
anything but science and the folly of man, but I know what I saw, and it defies
the laws of nature.
an hour of replaying the events in my mind, I built up the courage to insert
the key once again into the brass plate and turned it to the right until I
heard that first click, my left hand pressing firmly on the door to hold it
shut. When I peered through the keyhole then, I saw the neighbor’s door once
again. I cautiously opened it to see the apartment floor and the stairwell as
it should be.
It sounds impossible but I was in that
hallway, and it was very much real. I saw that blood-red eye of something I
never wish to meet, but curiosity is eating me alive. I’m going to try turning
the key in the bathroom door past the click of the standard “unlocked state”
and will try to keep you updated, for now I just need to try and calm my
nerves, and purge my brain of the strange, dark secrets of this apartment.