's 2013 Horror Write-off:

" Apt. 14 "

Submitted by Orionide5

Today I move in.

It's a good apartment, and I got it for an absolute bargain. The landlord said the last person living in it was a hoarder, like in those reality TV shows. He showed me photos of what it was like before they cleaned it out. It was awful. Trash everywhere. He said nobody wanted to buy it because of the bad smell. I didn't smell anything. I actually have almost no sense of smell. I remember one time, back when we were together, my wife and I were at the park, sitting on a bench, and she said she wanted to move because it smelled like smoke. It turned out there was a man smoking just a few yards away. I could barely smell it.

Last night I found a small stain on my sink, coming out of the joint between the faucet and the countertop. I missed it going through the house earlier. So today I went out and bought some cleaning supplies. A pack of paper towel rolls, cleaning spray, a few disinfecting wipes for good measure. It took some hard scrubbing but I got rid of it.

This apartment doesn't have much storage space. I've been unpacking and there just isn't enough space to put things. Right now the paper towels are on the coffee table. They'd be more out of the way, but this morning I found another stain, this one on the linoleum floor around the heater grate. I didn't have time to clean it all before work. I'll finish when I get home.

I think the apartment might have bugs. One morning I saw a crack in the wall above my bed, like it had something inside it pushing outward. And the floor in the middle of the hall has started to creak every time I step on it. Termites, probably. I don't know if there's anything that gets rid of termites. But I bought ant traps, just in case it's actually ants. I wouldn't know the difference.

I'm starting to suspect the landlord didn't tell me everything. I've been noticing problems with the apartment. There's a black stain coming from behind the showerhead. Whatever chemicals I use, it only halfway goes away. The doors all make loud creaks from time to time, probably because of those shoddy hinges. And now I'm starting to think the electrical's messed up, too: twice when I drove up I've seen the lights on in my apartment. By the time I get there they've turned off.

The landlord knows about all this, I know. I've caught him staring at me passing by in the apartment complex. He's waiting for me to confront him about the cheap construction. I'm not playing by his rules. I know better than that.

The carpet is cracking. There are gaps in it, where what's under is showing through. I had to cover that up to make sure it wouldn't spread. So far I've piled some heavy boxes on the cracks, and they've stopped widening. I'll see if it stays.

Last night I couldn't sleep. That damn clacking in the walls went on all night. I got up and went to the bathroom. There was even more red filth on the mirror. I scrubbed and scrubbed and it didn't even make a difference. After that I just found my way to the couch. There was some stuff on it in shopping bags, that I didn't remember buying. Mostly groceries, I think. I probably don't really need it. Then my alarm went off and I had to go to work.

My apartment's always so cold when I get home. I don't know what to do about it. Sometimes I sit in the middle of the floor wrapped in blankets and newspapers, listening to the thumping of the unplugged refrigerator. It's a comforting sound, I guess, now that I've gotten used to it.

I missed work today. I slept through most of it, crashed next to the coffee table. And I'm still so tired. It's getting harder to get around the apartment. The walls are different every day.

Today I saw the bugs for the first time. They aren't so bad. They showed me where they live, in the holes. I found some new shopping bags from when I went out. They can stay where they are.

It isn't cold anymore. It's nice and warm, here in the apartment. It's very warm.

The faces have come here, like they promised. The bugs don't like them

They're in the refrigerator, I don't know what they are They have no legs

They want me to sta

  the door


I sighed heavily, my arms crossed over the pile of papers. "Now what are we going to do?" My wife didn't answer. She sat on the couch, gazing forward with lowered brows, her book unopened. It hurt me to see her so sad.

"They found him in there, curled up in the middle of the room, exactly the same as last time. You couldn't even walk with all the piles of stuff. And the smelló" My voice broke. I'd gagged when the door was opened. "What do we do?"

My wife got up and sat down beside me at the table. She put her arm around my shoulders. I leaned my head back and stared up at the ceiling. "Who the hell is going to rent it out now?"