I watched many strange people visit Apartment 409, through my peephole across the hall.
They were usually white males, who wore dark glasses and wary expressions. Some carried guns. They would slide a black box or package through a slot in the door, before making a hasty exit.
Nobody lived in 409 that I could see or hear.
My curiosity piqued, but I never investigated. My curiosity (for strange women) is why my wife kicked me out of our home and into this small, crappy apartment 3 months ago. I hadn’t glimpsed her warm freckles or our 3 redheaded kids since then.
Curiosity definitely killed this cat. But I was trying to change.
Tonight I recognised a visitor!
She was short and mid-30’s. When she squatted to deliver her box, her melting skull tattoo revealed itself. It was Sherri-Lynn Baxter. She was accused of butchering 3 of her co-workers last year, but she got off on a technicality.
After she left, I gave in to temptation.
I ran over to the door. Amazingly, it was unlocked!
When it opened, a coldness hit me. Not a blast of cold air, but a cold – feeling. The apartment was completely empty except for a large, ornate armchair that sat facing the door. Watching me.
There was only one black box on the floor. I opened it.
No drugs. No money. Inside were 3 blood stained coffee mugs. Each had gold twine wrapped around them. Like trophies.
I dropped the box, scurried back to my apartment, collapsed into my armchair and turned on the TV.
The coldness followed me.
That night I dreamed of hell.
My apartment was on fire. The air was a shimmering furnace and rich laugher echoed off the melting walls. But then I woke up absolutely freezing. I was still in my armchair – wait – no. I now sat in a large, ornate chair and faced my front door.
The shadow under my door meant someone was standing there.
I looked around, panicked. My apartment was completely empty.
I jerked violently as the door swung open. A man stood there. Unnaturally bright light illuminated his suit and slicked back-hair. But darkness obscured his face.
“Who are you?” I cried.
“Good evening, Mr. Curiosity,” he whispered. I could not see his mouth.
“Is this about the box? I’m sorry, I – “
“No need to apologise, Mr. Curiosity. “But if you wanted a glimpse into the devil’s treasure room, your wish is granted.”
A single black envelope magically appeared on my lap and then he was gone.
6 months later, I hadn’t moved from this chair. All kinds of murderers and scum, summoned through their dreams, visited to drop off their black boxed tributes. Of course, I never saw them. All I ever saw was him when he came to collect them.
His black envelope still sat sealed in my lap. I wasn’t curious as to what was in it. Deep down, I already knew.
Four separate locks of red hair.