Author’s Notes: Start of a Short Story. Horror. Adult Language.
Eli sat with his finger tips touching, eyes on the ceiling, desperately repeating the last sentence that he put to paper in a vain attempt to ignore the commotion across the hall. It seemed like every time he’d sat down to write since moving into this studio apartment on the east side of town, there was some ruckus or another going on over there. Loud music, yelling, or the rhythmic pounding on the wall; first he took it for the couple who must live there getting it on a bit too loudly… but now he’d begun thinking they did it just to be annoying assholes. It was as if someone was just standing beside the wall banging on it just to get attention.
He couldn’t take it anymore. Flying up out of his seat he stormed out of his apartment and over to the door. Making a fist he pounded loudly to be heard above the music. “HEY!” He called out. “Come on man, keep it down in there, some of us are trying to think!” Shockingly, the music turned off. Eli waited for the door to open, for someone to come out and yell at him, but no one came. Relieved, he retired back to his room to write. This draft had a deadline of 3am and if he didn’t have it to his publisher by then, well… he wasn’t sure he’d be able to legitimately call himself an author anymore.
Hand up into his shaggy auburn locks he sat down to reread his page again. “God this is such shit…” Disgusted and exhausted, he drank the last dregs of his overpriced coffee. He hated to admit it, but if he lost his contract with Rambling House these were going to be the first things to go. That thought made him want to cry. His studio loft… that too. He’d dreamed of a place like this since he was a teenager and writing in spiral notebooks during class and on the school bus. Everything he had that he loved came from writing. When he was poorer, when he had nothing, the words use to come so easily. Now that he HAD TO write, a dam had rose up on the river of ideas that normally flowed from his brain and out his fingertips.
“What the hell has happened to me?” He supposed the question was to god, though he hadn’t been inside a church since right before his first book went to press. Life had taken off then. Book signings, women, more books to be written, blogs, speaking engagements… who had time for church? It wasn’t as though he stopped believing in god when he’d become successful and he was sure that god knew how thankful he was for all the blessings… well, maybe he didn’t. Perhaps this was god’s way of punishing a writer for getting too full of himself. Maybe the words had never come from him in the first place. A red hot anger rose inside his heart.
“Fuck you.” he said quietly, looking up at his ceiling. “If you’re abandoning me now just because I started to enjoy what I worked so hard for, then who needs you!?!” He shook his head. Talking to himself, to a man in the sky who wasn’t even listening – even if he was there. “Not me.” He muttered.
The lights dimmed and raised and dimmed again before returning to normal. Eli chortled dryly at his own fearful reaction, embarrassed that he’d startled from the thought that god was reacting to his words. With a sigh he reread his sentence and then began to type once more. Just as the words started to flow, the radio across the hall came on again – this time louder than before.
“You have GOT to be kidding me!” Out of the apartment and banging on his neighbors door again he went, unable to ignore the words speaking over a happily little commercial jingle.
“Are YOU stumped for the right words?” the commercial asked as Eli knocked a second time.
“COME ON! TURN THE DAMN RADIO DOWN.”
“Got a deadline to meet?”
“SERIOUSLY I’M GONNA CALL THE SUPER!” Maybe it was the lack of sleep, the blinding rage that had been growing after weeks of this nonsense, but Eli reached down and jiggled the handle to find the door unlocked. He hesitated for only a moment before cautiously pushing it open a slit and taking a tiny inside. The room was dark except for the streetlights outside coming in the front, undressed windows. There was no visible furnishings save one… a small table with an old time radio sitting in it’s center. It was bulky and rounded, it appeared to be made of wood and it’s dial was lit up like a headlight across the way. From it’s large speaker in the front the commercial continued to blare.
“I can help.” Eli waited for the next line of the commercial to come, but it didn’t. There was only a long pause, the background music continuing to play eerily letting him know that it wasn’t dead air or a mistake. The commercial voice over ended quite literally right there, as if it had been speaking directly to him. Frightened out of his mind, Eli shut the door fast and backed away, his heart thundering in his ears as all sound from the apartment ended.
((to be continued))