The Disappearing Alley

We all think of our world as one grounded in logic. A place in which the supernatural and abstruse only exists in stories. I thought so too, for the longest time.

When I moved into the vicinity of a certain building, I should soon find out just how wrong I was.

The aforementioned building is a giant old mansion. Its huge walls are right next to my living room window and tower over every other building in the surrounding area, including the small apartment building I live in.

It consists of various different buildings or wings, which are all connected to a huge main building. In its prime the place might have been fancy, maybe even beautiful. Now though, after decades of neglect, it is just old, run down and even a little creepy.

Behind some of the many windows you can still see old, musty curtains, but I am almost sure no one lives there anymore.

To start about myself: My name is Linda. I am a thirty-four year old woman. I moved into this apartment a good month ago and was quite happy living here.

Sure, most people wouldn’t be happy living in this place, but I was rather content.

After years of substance abuse, shitty relationships and other troubles, this new life of mine felt pretty good. I even found myself a job. Sure, it was sweeping floors in a warehouse, but at least it was something.

At first I thought the place would be a typical dump, considering the age of the building and how cheap it was.

It was surprisingly nice though, at least for a place that was part of the public housing project.

The low rent was most likely due to the area. Like the old mansion next door, almost all other buildings in this part of the city were run down and abandoned.

As you can imagine, not many people live here. There are eight apartments in total, four on the first floor and four on the upper one. Only two apartments apart from mine are occupied.

An old couple lives with me on the upper floor in the last apartment down the hall. I’ve talked with them a few times and they seem quite nice.

The ground floor is vacated except for the apartment right below mine. A group of young people live there. They might be students, they might be potheads, I don’t really know. Never so much as seen them yet, only heard them at nights a few times. As long as they don’t cause me any trouble though, I don’t mind them.

This whole mess first started one morning, at least, as far as I can tell.

I got up and while I waited for my morning coffee I took a quick look out my window. There wasn’t much to see, since it faces the wall of the mansion as I mentioned. For whatever reason I couldn’t help but feel that something was off about it this morning. I wasn’t able to put my finger on it and soon I shook my head.

“You just need your coffee, Linda.” I said to myself.

It was a few days later, that I couldn’t blame it on my lack of coffee anymore.

There was a noticeable difference: It was much darker outside than usual.

At first I frowned and thought my alarm had gone off too early or I had changed it by accident, but no, it was the same time as usual.

Normally the sun shined down into the alley between this building and the mansion and at least a few rays of sunshine reached my living room window. Now though, it was all dark outside.

I opened the window and looked outside. I couldn’t help but think that the alley must have shrunk in size.

It was an absolute ridiculous thought. I waited, hoping that I was imagining things or that my mind was playing tricks on me and that the optical illusion would soon vanish. It didn’t.

I put my head out again, looked left and right, then down, then back up. There was no doubt, the alley was smaller.

Unnerved I quickly put on some cloth and went to the old couple’s apartment to ask if they noticed anything weird themselves.

After a few quick knocks on the door the old lady opened. She eyed me curiously. Of course I didn’t ask her if she thought the alley shrunk. I simply asked if she or her husband had noticed anything strange last night.

She thought about it for a moment, but then shook her head. They kept the window to the alley closed at all times and mostly ignored it, she told me. After that she excused herself and went back inside.

“Guess there is no helping it.” I told myself and made my way down the stairs.

I knocked once and then twice more before a tired looking redhead with thick glasses opened the door.

“Morning?” It was said in a somewhat annoyed, mostly dull way. Then she just waited for me to say something.

“Sorry to bother you, I was just wondering if you knew anything about the building next door.”

“Why don’t you just go over there instead of annoying people that early in the morning?”

Her tone of voice had noticeably changed. The first thing that came to my mind was ‘What a fucking bitch’, but I obviously didn’t say it out loud. Instead I tried my hardest to stay calm.

“Well, I think something strange happened last night and maybe you guys noticed something as well? I feel weird and-”

Right at that moment the door was slammed in my face.

“Bitch.” I cursed.

I raised my hand and almost knocked again. Then I stopped.

“Calm down Linda,” I told myself, “you don’t want to come up as the crazy chick again.”

I went back to my apartment. Maybe I was just making things up? God knew my mind could be hazy at times. I did my best to ignore the window and not to think what I had noticed.

As I left my apartment I started to wonder if the sunlight had ever truly reached it to begin with. When I walked past the alley though, I couldn’t help but look at it again. My doubts were back and I took a quick picture. Just to be sure it stays the same size, I told myself.

At home I kept the blinds to the alley mostly closed, to ignore whatever was going on or better to keep my overactive imagination in check. Soon enough, I forgot about that weird morning.

It must have been two weeks later that I was greeted by glasses girl and a guy I presumed lived with her in the same apartment.

The two of them approached me with a serious expression on their faces, just as I returned from work.

“Hey there.” she started, with an awkward smile on her face.

Well, well, look who can be friendly when she needs to be.

“Hello.” I simply said.

“Ehm, some time ago you asked me about the building next door, right? What was it that you noticed?”

I was reluctant to tell them what I thought I had seen.

“I heard something at night. Why?”

Glasses eyed me and seemed to think about what to say next. At that moment the guy who was with her approached me. He was tall, skinny and a little awkward.

“Hi there, I am Phil.”

He reached out his hand towards me. After the nervous handshake was over, he continued.

“We pretty much noticed something weird and we were, well, wondering if you did too.”

“Like what?” I asked.

I could feel that he was wary talking about the whole thing.

“Well our friend heard some noises at night, but he also thinks the alley shrunk?”

There was a very obvious break before the last word.

I couldn’t say anything. For a moment I was sure that this was an elaborate joke. The laughter never came though. What the hell were they talking about? Wasn’t it just my mind playing tricks on me?

“What do you mean by it shrunk?”

“You have to talk to Will about that, he is the one that noticed it. I just thought you might know something. Also, I am Jen. Sorry about the last time.” Glasses, or better Jen, said.

A minute later I found myself in their apartment. There was five of them living there altogether. Jen was the only girl and I wasn’t really sure what to think about that.

The three other guys in the room were quickly introduced to me. There was Will, which Jen had mentioned before, the others were Steve and Jay.

As we started talking I found out that Will was the one renting the place and the rest was pretty much just crashing here for a prolonged period of time. Jen had her own small room, as did Will. The rest of the guys simply stayed in the living room. Needless to say, it wasn’t the cleanest place. I was pretty sure by now that these people weren’t students.

“At first I thought it was just a cat, but it didn’t stop, you know? The tapping against the window I mean.” Will started.

“So I checked out what the hell was going on. Was the first time in a long while that I even opened the blinds. First thing I see is a damned window and it is really fucking close.”

“What do you mean by close?” I still played it save.

“He means the freaking thing is closer than before, lady.” It was the one named Jay that had given me this answer.

Asshole, I thought, while he sat there with a smug look on his face.

“Well, yeah,” Will continued without reacting to Jay, “the damned window is closer now, I can almost touch it if I lean forward. Wasn’t like that before. Hell, can’t even say if there was a window to begin with.”

He started to think about that for a bit. I made a mental not that this guy was definitely a pot head.

“Oh yeah.” Will suddenly said. “There was that figure I saw behind the window, too. Vanished right as I looked outside. Shit was creepy I tell you.”

I nodded.

“To be honest, I noticed the same about the alley.” I finally admitted.

For a moment I looked around to see if they’d start laughing and reveal that they were all making fun of the crazy lady from above. Instead I saw how Will’s eyes grew wide, as he looked right at me.

“You mean last night?” he asked.

I shook my head, then I looked at Jen.

“Remember when I knocked on the door? Like two weeks or so ago?”

“Back then?” she asked surprised.

“You guys aren’t seriously talking about an alley shrinking.” Jay said shaking his head. “Maybe next you are saying that the freaking building next door is closing in on us or coming to get us? Fucking listen to yourselves!”

No one said anything.

“The picture.” I remembered and took out my phone.

Only moments later me, Jen and Will stood outside, looking at the alley.

“You got to be kidding me.” Jen said in a low voice.

All three of us looked at it and all three of us could see that the alley had indeed shrunk by almost a third. I quickly took a second picture.

“So?” Phil asked as we returned.

“It is smaller.” Jen answered.

“The fuck you mean?” Jay asked.

“The alley, idiot.” she snapped at him.

“You are seriously going to tell me that the fucking alley shrank down?”

“Go ahead and check for yourself if you don’t believe us. It is definitely smaller than on my picture.” I said to him, finally fed up with him.

“Oh yeah? Maybe you just suck at taking pictures, lady?”

I looked at him and felt myself getting angry, but kept it together.

“Seriously, I can believe Will coming up with shit like that, but you guys too?” Jay asked, looking at Phil and Jen.

“How do you know they aren’t right?”

It was the first time that the one named Steve said anything.

“Really Steve? You too? Am I the only one who is fucking sane here?”

“Look at this will you?” Without asking, Jen took my phone and showed him the two pictures.

“Could be any freaking alley.” Jay said, shaking his head.

I noticed though that even he was a little unnerved by what he had seen.

“So what you wanna do about it? Call the man from social services? The cops? What do you want to tell them? Hello, our alley is shrinking and I am wondering if you”

“Will you just shut the fuck up!?” I finally yelled at him.

I could see the surprise on his face. “Jesus lady, no need for that.” he said raising his hands in defense.

“Maybe there is an explanation for it? Might be the mansion falling apart?” Jen began.

“Or maybe it is some stupid trick? You know for TV or YouTube or something?” I tried carefully. “I mean, the whole area is abandoned. They might try some new show or social experiment or god knows what?”

The others weren’t convinced at all. Hell, even I myself wasn’t, but it was better than the alternative of a building moving or an alley shrinking.

In the middle of that night I was woken up by a sort of grinding noise, accompanied by what sounded like breathing. I shrieked and jumped for the light switch, still half asleep, thinking someone else was in my room. For a moment I looked around in a panic, but soon I realized that it was coming from outside.

I have to admit I was a little scared of what I’d see if I opened the blinds. What I was greeted with was absolutely nothing. The sound too had vanished.

I opened the window and checked the alley as best as I could. I looked for animals, people or even a sort of machinery that was at work doing, well, anything. There was nothing at all though. I closed the window as well as the blinds and went back to bed.

I had barely drifted off to sleep again, when I heard the sound once more. Looking out this time, I could have sworn I saw something moving behind the window next door. I shivered and quickly closed the blinds again.

For the rest of the night I was barely able to catch any sleep at all. The thought of something waiting behind that window was creepy enough, but whenever I was drifting off, I could have sworn I heard the strange sounds again.

In the end I gave up, made myself some coffee and stayed up till it was time to go to work.

On my way I took yet another quick look at the alley. It was strange, but it looked as if the wall of the mansion was leaning over towards our small building. Almost as if the top of the mansion was reaching out for my apartment building. I averted my eyes and shook my head.

“Just your damned imagination, Linda. There is nothing like that going on.” I told myself yet again.

Work went terrible that day. I couldn’t focus at all. I was sleep deprived and my thoughts centered on the weird events going on. Multiple times people yelled at me to get a move on and to stop daydreaming.

In the afternoon my superior came over and demanded to know what had been the matter with me all day. I told him that I suffered from sleep deprivation due to severe night terrors.

“If the job is too hard on you miss, then why don’t you take a few days of and get some rest?” he said in sarcastic way, giving me a hard look.

I didn’t say anything, but simply nodded. I knew damn well that this meant almost the same as getting fired. I’d be lucky to get back and find that my position was still available. I was furious and mad and cursed the damned mansion and whoever was behind this whole thing.

When I got home I was still furious. I put on a random show on Netflix, but I didn’t give it too much attention. Only a few, short episodes in, I drifted off to sleep.

My phone told me that it was already late at night when I woke up again.

Great, so much for my daily routine, I thought. Soon enough, I realized why I had woken up. It were the same strange grinding and breathing sounds.

I’ve had it with this shit, I told myself. I ripped the blinds aside and opened the window.

“Knock it off you son of a,” I started yelling but what I saw was not a figure or a person.

As the breathing and grinding went on, I saw something moving and twitching on the wall itself. It must be the mechanism that is moving the damned wall or something. With the dim light from my lamp though, I wasn’t able to see exactly what it was.

I reached out for my phone and opened the flashlight app. For a moment a wave of fear came over me. What if it was something else?

I hesitated only for a moment. Then I held the phone towards the wall.

What I saw was that the whole upper wall opposite me was covered in pulsating bumps. They were moving in and out, pushing the plaster above them outward, as if the whole wall was breathing. For a moment I was reminded of blisters or pimples on the skin of a person.

I just stood there in horror and confusion looking at the spectacle in front of me. I saw how one of the many bumps grew bigger and bigger and then finally burst open. I saw a yellowish liquid running from it down the wall and I smelled something rancid, almost putrid. At the place where the bump had been, the plaster was now missing.

Below it weren’t bricks or stone, instead I saw a fleshy mass that seemed to be moving and twitching. I saw holes in it from which the disgusting liquid seemed to be flowing outwards.

When the shock about the sheer absurdity of the situation had settled, I stumbled backwards, not even able to scream. Then I rushed to the bathroom and vomited.

Afterwards for long seconds I stood behind the bathroom door shivering. I told myself to reach out and open it, but I simply couldn’t move. What the hell had I just seen? I tried to reason with myself that it couldn’t be real. It must be my imagination again. The grinding and breathing too, were just things I made up. The trick didn’t work this time though. When I finally reached out for the door, I didn’t open it, but instead locked it.

I don’t know when sleep came, but for hours I simply sat in the bathtub shaking and shivering.

I was woken by the doorbell. For a few seconds I had no idea where I was. When the bell rang a third time, I finally got up. For a moment I hesitated, then I unlocked the door, peaked outside and when I found nothing lying in wait for me, I went for the front door.

At the door I was greeted by Jen. I could see the relief on her face.

“Oh thank god you are save,” she said, “I thought you’d be gone too.”

I had no idea what was going on.

“What are you even talking about?”

“Will is gone!” she exclaimed.

“He just vanished. His window is open and the bed is in chaos. But he wouldn’t just run off if-”

“You think something happened to him?”

Jen simply nodded with a worried look on her face. Only now did she seem to notice what a mess I was.

“Linda, what happened to you?”

“I-” I started but couldn’t finish the sentence. I shook my head.

“I saw something, that’s all.”

Jen nodded.

“You want to come down with me?”

“Yeah, I am not going back in there.” I said to her as I shot a quick glance over my shoulder.

When Jen led me inside, the rest of the guys looked up.

“What did you bring her down for?” Jay asked annoyed.

“She is scared, asshole.” was all Jen replied to his remark.

“Something happened to you, too?”

It was Steve who came towards Jen and me. I nodded weakly. Only now did I realize just how exhausted I was after the events of the last night.

“Well, you gonna spit it out, lady?”

“Jay. Just. Shut. Up. Okay?” Jen said to him, now seriously pissed.

She turned from him to me and motioned for the couch to take a seat and soon she handed me a cup of watered down coffee.

After I had taken a few sips and had somewhat calmed down, I told the rest what I had seen.

“Jesus, what is going on here?” I heard Steve curse after a while.

“Is that shit still there?” Jay asked.

“I only saw it in the middle of the night, so I dunno.” I admitted.

Right at that moment Steve got up and made his way towards Will’s room. I quickly followed him.

“Careful.” I urged him.

When we were both in the room, I could see that Will’s bedsheets were in chaos. The rest of the room seemed untouched though. Steve went towards the open window and carefully leaned outside to check the wall above. A few seconds later he turned back to me.

“Can’t see a thing.”

I don’t know why, but somehow I had known that there would be no hint of it now.

We returned to the living room and found the rest talking about Will and what might have happened to him.

“Couldn’t he have run off?” I asked.

It was Phil who answered.

“Well it is not so easy. He needs his,” he made a pause to think for a moment, “medication. You know he” he didn’t finish.

Medication I thought and smiled knowingly, while Jen frowned at Phil’s attempt to disguise the truth.

“The window is a mess, too. Looks as if it was pried open from the outside.” Jen went on.

I looked up. “You called the cops?”

“Yeah, called them first thing, but they didn’t arrive.” she answered.

“Tell you how it is lady,” Jay cut in, “they probably won’t show up at all. Some shit happened before, took them days to get here.”

“So what do you think happened?” I asked them.

Every one of them knew Will didn’t just run off. We all had seen the window and remembered the tapping and the silhouette he had been talking about. Combined with whatever it was I had seen, we were all sure that something weird had happened to him.

As we sat together awkwardly for what must have been hours, waiting for the cops to arrive, I suddenly realized just how tired I was. The terror of last night had taken its toll on me.

“Hey Jen, is it alright if I take a nap here?”

She looked at me, then took a look around.

“Let’s go to my room, you can sleep there. One never knows with those guys around.” She looked right at Jay though, who gave her the finger.

“Fuck you bitch, you know it only happened once.”

I couldn’t tell if they were joking.

Jen’s room wasn’t much more than a bed and a small shelf. It was almost too tiny to even be called a room.

“Sorry to ask, but can you bring me some water? Oh and if possible,” I gave her a weak smile, “maybe something that helps me sleep a bit better?”

“Sure thing, Linda.”

She returned quickly, handing me a glass of water. After the first sip, I drank, almost gulped, the rest down greedily. I was surprised how thirsty I really was. It took only moments for me to drift off into sleep.

When I woke up, I was glad that I hadn’t been plagued by any weird or scary dreams. Guess whatever Jen gave me did the trick, I thought. I got up groggily and stumbled out of the room.

“You were out pretty long.” I heard Phil from behind me.

“It’s dark outside already.”

I simply nodded to him and then made my way back to the living room.

“Hey there, sleeping beauty.”

I didn’t even bother to give Jay a reply.

“What about the cops?” I asked.

“Nope.” Steve answered.

“Any news about Will?”

I got a second nope.

They told me they had checked out the mansion, but couldn’t see anything from outside or through the windows. After a while, they said, they went to the front door, but whatever they did, they got no reaction. They even tried to force themselves in, but that was useless too, the heavy doors didn’t budge.

The worst though, they said, was the feeling the giant building gave them. It felt strange, even wrong and you couldn’t help but want to get away from it.

As I listened I fumbled for my phone, only to realize that I didn’t have it. It was probably still at my place. For a moment I considered giving it up for lost, but then I thought I was being silly. I’d grab it and be out again. No big deal.

“Linda, where are you going?” Jen asked when I got up.

“Gotta get my phone, I am going to be right back.”

In front of my door, I took a deep breath and stepped inside. I was afraid that something might have entered my apartment from the ghastly mansion, but my place was still the same.

My phone must be in the living room, I thought and with quick steps I entered it. I looked around for a bit and finally saw it lying right below the open window.

As I kneeled down and grabbed it, the same terrifying sounds I had heard so many times started again.

“Oh god no. Please no.”

I told myself to get up and run, to get out of there, but as I got up my eyes wandered automatically to the wall of the mansion again, driven by an abstruse sense of curiosity. The wall was now completely covered over and over in the same bumps I had seen before.

The feeling of fear and absolute absurdity grabbed hold of me again. I took a step back, but right at that moment I saw one of the ghastly bumps burst open. This time it was not only the disgusting liquid that came out of it.

My eyes were wide and I was completely frozen as I saw how the flesh behind it start to wriggle and then push forward. It stretched further and further, almost like a sort of tentacle, into the direction of my building and then I heard a wet sound as the flesh connected to my building’s wall. The same disgusting, putrid smell reached my nose again, only now much stronger.

Then I saw the window opposite from mine open wide.

At first I thought it was a normal woman who looked over and the surreal idea of someone actually even living over there raced wildly through my mind. I almost said something to her before stopping as she leaned forward, where I was able to make out her face.

Behind her long black hair was a huge bulging, leathery forehead. Her eyes laid deep in the skull, the skin around them puffy, almost disgustingly swollen. Where her nose should have been was just pure bone. It wasn’t actually missing, instead there was a bulging, bony thing in the middle of her face from which the skin seemed to have detracted. The cheeks were fallen and hollow. The mouth was a lipless hole filled with large, misshapen teeth. The deformed smile grew wider as it saw me. The face ended in a chin that was protruding from the skin.

I saw two hands, if you could have even called them that. One of them was resting on the windowsill, the other holding on to the side of the window frame.

“Why don’t you come over and join me, little girl?” the thing asked giggling.

Its voice was all wrong, the distorted version of an old lady’s. As it spoke the mouth opened impossible wide. It was almost as if the jaw unhinged like that of a snake.

Still frozen in sheer terror I watched as the arms of the thing started to reach out to me. They were impossible long, reaching out further and further before one of the giant hands came to rest on my windowsill. The other reached further. I toppled backwards, only half in control of my body, to avoid the clutch of the thing.

I watched as the thing started to pull itself over towards me, as I tried to scoot backwards out of the room. The body was non-human, just a long mass of flesh, like a snake, or better a worm. I pushed myself up and tried to run in terror, but felt something close around my ankle.

I hit the ground hard and felt bony fingers holding on to me and soon I was yanked back towards the window. I desperately started clawing at the floor or anything around me to keep from being dragged away while it started giggling at my feeble attempts.

“Where are you going, little girl?”

I kept clawing at the floor, but my efforts were futile against the thing’s strength. I tried to scream terrified, but only a few incomprehensible noises escaped my throat.

I flailed around, but it useless. In complete horror, I felt myself being restrained by a second hand grabbing on to my arm.

I felt like prey after being caught by a hunter; just waiting for the final moments. The strength was leaving my body as I saw the giant head of the thing move in closer. It reached my foot and, I saw a disgusting, swollen tongue, as impossible long as its arms entangled my leg. I felt a burning pain erupting from my leg before I lost all feeling in it.

I was waiting for the creature to sink its teeth into my flesh, while it pulled me in closer and closer. It wants to swallow me whole, I realized in horror as the tongue slowly crawled up my leg.

I heard a scream from the opposite direction. I looked towards the door as I saw Jen standing there. Phil and Steve ran up behind her. They had heard my screams and the noise of me fighting and clawing at the floor above them.

“What the fuck!” I heard Phil scream.

They stood frozen in terror watching me struggle to get free from this abomination.

Steve picked up the first blunt object he saw, a chair, and driven by adrenaline started beating on one of the creature’s arms.

Jen and Phil were grabbing on to my arms trying to pull me loose, but even they were barely able to match the creature’s strength.

The thing started wailing in pain while Steve was beating its arm with the now splintered chair, trying to free me from this monster. It started to pull with a new surge of strength and I screamed as my leg felt like it was going to be ripped from my body.

I was finally released as the creature turned its attention to Steve. Phil picked another chair and started beating the arm to get it away from us. As both he and Steve attacked the creature it retreated.

I scrambled backwards away from the window, as my eyes followed the long body slithering back and vanishing behind the mansion window. It grinned at me one last time, before it closed its window.

As soon as it was gone and the shock was over, I started screaming anew. The nihilistic thought of giving up and letting the monster kill me had completely vanished. I started crawling towards the exit. I tried getting up, but fell back instantly. I had no feeling or strength in one of my legs.

My arm burned up in pain and the skin was red and scaling, where the creature had touched me.

My leg was even worse. The skin around the ankle and the lower leg where its tongue had touched me was cracked and covered in numerous blisters.

As waves of pain ran over me, tears where streaming hot from my eyes. I screamed shrilly as the others pulled me up.

I remember only bits and pieces as they dragged me down to their place to take care of me. More than once I tried to get free from them. Finally though, as we entered the living room, I came back to my senses. I was still shaking and shivering, but I knew I was safe, at least for now.

While Jen did her best to treat my wounds and provided me with some special painkillers, she explained to a confused Jay what had just happened. Steve and Phil checked Will’s room to see if anything else tried to make its way over.

There was nothing, but not willing to take the risk, they locked the door and quickly built a makeshift barrier in front of it.

“We need to leave.” I urged Jen and tried to get up from the couch. I sank back almost instantly under curses with tears in my eyes. The pain was unbearable.

Minutes later the grinding sound was back again. It was much louder than before, sounding much more aggressive. While the others, hearing it for the first time, were clearly confused, I knew what it meant. The mansion was dragging itself closer again. Terrified, I wanted to scream at Jen, but before I could, the apartment building was suddenly filled by a different sort of screaming.

We all looked around in horror, before I realized the source.

“The old couple!” I shouted. “That thing must be back.”

The guys rushed out right away. Jen, helping me lean onto her, followed close after.

Right as me and Jen made it up the stairs, we saw Steve kicking in the door. Suddenly all three of them stumbled back in surprise and disgust.

“Help them.” I said weakly under the pain, but after me and Jen reached them at the end of the hallway and saw the scene unfolding in front of them, my voice dropped.

The old couple was on their knees in a puddle of the disgusting, putrid liquid. I saw that it was leaking from a hole in the wall behind them. They tried to get up in vain, but in shock I saw that their feet and lower legs seemed to be stuck.

When they both raised their arms and reached out to us in desperation. Their voices soon turned from screams for help to high-pitched wailings that should not be possible to come from a human being.

As I was standing there, leaning on Jen, I watched as their bodies started shrinking down and shriveling up. Blisters formed all over their arms and hands, their skin turning red and dark and finally with a sizzling sound, bursting open. The flesh started to drop and ooze from their hands and arms in mushy pieces. It mixed with the liquid puddle on the floor, turning it into a boiling mess of organic tissue melting away.

As the smell of burning, or better melting, human flesh reached us, Phil stumbled back a few steps and vomited.

Jay slammed the door shut as we all stood in the hallway for a moment dumbstruck and confused In horror. A loud thump shook us back into reality.

“What was that?” Jen shrieked.

“Help me. Quick!” I yelled at her.

“What are you-” she began as I pulled her towards my apartment.

As we reached the door we both stopped.

“How the-” she started but doesn’t finish. As we both looked inside we saw that the window in my living room was now completely sealed off by a wall. I don’t even know what was more disturbing, that my window was now sealed off, or that the mansion’s window seemed to have simply vanished.

“What the fuck is going on?” Phil yelled in alarm stopping in his tracks. Steve and Jay burst in after us, but immediately took off running down the stairs without saying a word as soon as they saw what we were seeing.

When I made it down, I could see them tear down the makeshift barrier and opening the door to Will’s room.

As Jay ripped open door, I already knew what he’d find: A window blocked off by a solid wall. No one even mentioned, that here too, the window had been replaced by a solid wall.

“What in the hell is this shit?” I heard Jay yell. Steve slowly walked over to it and, after hesitating for a moment, reached out with his hand.

“It feels warm.” he said with a pale face turning to Jay as his hand touched the wall.

We looked at the wall and watched as a bump formed under the plaster of the wall that was slowly getting bigger.

“Get away from there!” I yelled at him.

But it was already too late. The bump below his hand burst open.

The first thing I heard was not the tearing of plaster, neither the squirting of liquid, but the sound of something burning. Then all sound war replaced by screams.

The liquid on Steve’s hand, arm and shoulder sank down into his flesh. I watched horrified as bits and pieces of his arm were falling to the ground, melting away. Then his shoulder vanished completely, eaten away by the liquid. His bloodcurdling screaming died out as the rest of his body fell to the ground.

That was it for me. Before anyone else could move or even react to their friend melt before their eyes, I pushed myself forward, only to fall to the ground after a few steps.

“Out!” I scream.

“We have to get out!”

Pain rushed through my whole body as I fought myself back up. With adrenaline coursing through my veins, I dragged myself forward thinking frantically of nothing but escape.

I reached the hallway and finally the exit door. I almost blacked out from the pain as I managed to use my wounded and scaling arm to rip open the door to the outside.

Instead of the fresh, cold air of the night, I was greeted by another wall. I stared at it in disbelief and shock. Then I slumped to the floor.

I saw Jen stop right in her tracks behind me, covering her mouth with a hand letting out a terrified yelp.

“No way.” she whispered as she came towards me.

Phil and Jay followed behind us after their initial shock. As I turned my head I saw them move to the next apartment over, kicking in the door, only to emerge from it after a few seconds, screaming and cursing in shock.

It was only when the noise stopped all at once that I realized that there had been constant grinding sounds around us all this time.

Phil and Jay didn’t say a word as they sank down next to us with thousand-yard stares.

I didn’t even bother to ask. We all knew every window and every spot that could lead outside was now gone and shut off from the rest of the world.

We were completely trapped.

After we were able to muster up enough energy, we checked the basement. There was no way out there either. All the tiny basement windows were sealed off by the walls as well.

The internet and the energy were still working, hell even the phones did for quite some time.

For hours we desperately tried to get help, all of us did. I tried to call the cops over and over again. I got through several times, but the signal was so bad, that they weren’t able to make out most of what I was saying.

I soon gave up, at least for the time being. Even if they were able to understand the address, what would they find? By now our building was most likely completely surrounded by walls and had become another part of the giant mansion. They’d think they’d got the wrong address, or write it off as a prank call.

We tried to break open the walls to the outside, but this was useless as well. Right below the plaster the walls had already been replaced by the weird fleshy mass. When we hit it, the same liquid that killed Steve and the old couple started to leak from it. It didn’t matter what we used, wood or metal, everything that touched the liquid would start melting as soon as it got into contact with it.

We tried a variety of other things, but nothing we did had much of an effect on the walls and any damage was soon repaired.

In the end we couldn’t do much. We relocated to the center of the hallway.

Here we were as far away as possible from all the outer walls and the weird liquid. This way, we hoped to avoid an end like that of the old couple.

While we gathered anything that could be useful we noticed that the walls around us started to change and shift.

At times we’d notice that the hallway was a little shorter than before, then, only hours later, it seemed too long. The layout of the apartments too changed. At first, it was little by little, but then it was more noticeable. It seemed as if the whole place was remodeled due to being incorporated in whatever this mansion was.

It was this remodeling that reminded me, that we weren’t alone here.

As I was in a room searching for things we could use, I saw one of the walls in front of me shift. I moved backwards as quickly as my damaged leg allowed, but for a moment something different was revealed to me.

I am not sure what I saw, it was both, a void, but at the same time it was a room glistering and shining in all the colors of the rainbow.

In there I saw a hulking, humanoid figure, much too long and skinny. For a moment the creature looked at me. I could see a deformed, human face that seemed to be twisted to a perpetual, grinning smile.

During the few seconds the wall in front of me revealed the inside of the mansion, a wave of euphoria washed over me and I couldn’t help but giggle and smile.

It was over as soon as the wall closed again. I shivered as the bout of insanity left.

I sat there shivering, thinking about what had happened and what it had done to my mind. As I was about to get back up I heard noises behind the wall, soon followed by giggling. It went on and soon transformed into laughter. I inched back as the sounds of whatever this creature was doing continued. After a while the laughter died down, but the giggling went on.

At times I could still hear it, resounding from different parts and areas of the building or the walls around us. I imagined the creature hiding between the walls or inside the crawl spaces, exploring these ever changing walls.

The sheer thought of it gave me the creeps. I never told anyone what I had seen that day.

While we sat huddled together in the hallway, the hours went on and soon turned to days. I don’t know if I ever slept during that time.

We made plans about rationing the food and water. It was during that time, that Phil finally broke down.

“Why don’t we just drink from the freaking tap?”

No one replied. There was no need. Phil kept going on though.

“I mean the energy is still working, the internet too, why not the pipes?”

He looked at each one of us, afraid and trying to find either reassurance or someone stopping him. He got neither. No one said anything. Jen didn’t even look up.

“We might be able to drink it you guys, why don’t we just give it a try? You know, to see if it’s alright?”

“Go ahead then.” Jay said shrugging.

Phil just stood there. Then he turned to me. I could see his eyes. His whole expression was almost pleading me. I knew he wanted me to stop him. He wanted me to tell him that there was no way the water would be fine. He was so afraid.

I didn’t say anything for a while.

“Go do it.” I finally said to him and looked away. I couldn’t anymore.

I heard him mumble to himself as he walked away. Soon I heard the tap running. After a while I heard him again.

“It is fine.” he yelled.

“There is nothing happening, my hand is not burning. I am sure I can drink it, right guys?” His voice almost broke due to his fear.

“R-right?” I heard him ask again.

I stayed quiet.

After few more seconds, I heard him gulp down. What surprised me the most was not that he actually did it, but how clearly you could hear the sound of him drinking in this complete silence.

His drinking sounds soon stopped and for a moment the silence returned. Then I could hear Phil’s steps as he came back to us.

“I told you guys the water is fine. I knew we could drink it.” he said in a snooty way.

“You guys are such idiots, saving up those few bottles of water is if they are oh so important. Just go and drink from the tap, you know. You can just go and-”

“Oh will you shut up already?” Jen yelled from behind me without even turning around.

I saw Phil open his mouth to give a snappy reply, then he said a “Whatever.” and sat back down.

Not even ten minutes later I could hear him start breathing heavier and shifting around.

“Will you fucking stop?” It was Jen again.

As I looked over at him I could see that his face was glowing read and he was sweating profoundly.

“What is the matter?” I asked him.

Phil stared at me. He opened his mouth to say something, but then I saw the blood coming from his mouth. When he saw it, his eyes grew wide. He looked at me pleadingly, like I could do anything to save him.

Then he started screaming. He twisted and flailed around in pain, his jaw cramping up, his eyes almost popping from his sockets as he screamed and screamed.

“Shouldn’t have drank the damned water.” I said to myself.

Phil was laying on his back, his whole body cramping up, as he clutched at his abdomen.

As he pulled up his shirt I was able to see the many deep, sunken holes where the skin had melted away. I saw his hands sinking into his mushy flesh, tearing inside of himself, trying to fix what could not be fixed. The screams lasted for a bit longer, then finally silence returned.

Jen had looked on without saying a word and then turned away again.

She had given up. After we had found out that all exits were blocked off and there was no way out, she’s been like that.

Since we relocated to the hallway I have been using my laptop. There is still energy and an internet connection. I don’t know if I should thank god for it or curse him.

I have been typing this whole thing out for a while now. It helps to keep me busy and to distract me from the reality around.

I have posted about what is going on here all over the internet. I cried for help, pleaded, asked for advice, for an explanation or told them what is going on, but no one believed me. The only thing I got was ridicule.

In the end no one but the social service knows we are even here. Our shitty little building is one of so many other similar buildings that were renovated as part of the social housing project. They probably have forgotten about half of them already. Hell, I doubt they’d ever bother with us even if we had stopped paying. At least for some time.

I wrote them, but as I expected I got no reply.

I sent emails to all my old friends, to acquaintances, to my family, everyone I could remember. I told them I need help and that I am in trouble. I gave them my address, too.

I doubt that I’ll get a reply though. Most of them had given up on me years ago, when I was still hooked on the drugs. They’d probably not even believe I came clean.

I would laugh, if I still had the energy left for that.

This thing here is not a building. I have no idea what it is, or where it even came from. All I can say is that something like this shouldn’t be able to exist.

There are noises all around us again. The giggling, the shifting of the walls, the grinding noises outside. It most likely means, that by now no trace of this small building is left and soon… I can’t bear to write those thoughts down.

When I last woke up I saw that a door had appeared at the end of the hallway. It was just there, out of nowhere, a simple wooden door.

Jay has been looking at it for hours now. Jen ignored it like everything else. She has completely given in to lethargy. She is alive, but she doesn’t talk or move. Once in a while she takes a sip of water, but that’s about it.

I am trying my best not to think about anything stupid and just type. Jay is trying the same, but I can see that he is getting nervous. He has been staring at the door for god knows how long now, not moving at all, only shaking his head every once in a while. I can tell he is contemplating opening it.

Jay is gone.

At one point, after hours of looking at it, he couldn’t take it anymore and got up. I followed him as best as I could on my damaged leg.

“I am going.” he said as I reached him.

Again, I didn’t said anything.

“Just sitting here won’t do anything. There might be a chance. Maybe I can find a way.”

“Yeah, maybe.” I said nodding.

“Right? The mansion has windows and doors. If I find anything, then-” he broke up.

I stayed quiet. We both knew anyways. We knew about the liquid, the shifting walls, the monsters.

“I’ll bring help.” he said, before he put his hand on the door knob.

I nodded as he opened the door. There was nothing but darkness behind. A few seconds later he stepped in.

After he vanished in the darkness I stood there for a long time. I waited for screams, for laughter, for the grinding, for the glowing lights I saw before, for anything, but there was nothing. I waited desperately to hear that whatever was out there to got him. I had tears streaming down my face as I threw the door shut and cursed at the damned building for giving me hope.

The door is still there now, hours after Jay went in. It is still tempting me. I once heard something scratching on it, but I ignored it. I am not going to fall for it.

Jen started to talk to me. Completely out of nowhere.

“What are you even doing?” she suddenly asked as she turned over to me.

“It is just to keep me sane.” I answered her.

She started to laugh. I didn’t know she had the energy for that left.

“Why do you bother? We are going to die here anyways. Why not just let go?” she asked. “Letting go is the greatest feeling in the world. God, I wish I had some right now.” she rambled on.

“What do you mean?”

She went on about all sorts of drugs, a good part even I had never heard about. Turns out she and her friends weren’t your typical pot heads and small time dealers I had expected. No, they were taking and dealing all sorts of shit: coke, benzos, ecstasy, hell even crack and meth.

Some, like Will and Jen, were hooked on the shit, others like Steve had stayed mostly clean.

“So that’s why the cops didn’t show up? They knew you guys were involved in weird shit?” I asked her after she finished her little story.

She started laughing again. After that she dropped me a bomb:

“Oh Linda, how can you be so freaking dumb at times. You think we actually called them? You really did?” she burst out laughing once more.

“What do you think would’ve happened if we called them? What would we’ve even told them? Oh hey officers, our friend just vanished, please ignore the drugs and search for him, kay?”

She kept laughing while I sat there, quietly, trying to take in what she was saying.

“There was still so much shit in our place, we’d look at some serious time, fuck even the shit in my blood would have been enough.” she laughed for a bit more, but then broke up.

“Looking at it now though, I guess prison would have been better than to die in here, right Linda?” I stayed quiet, not even able to say a word.

“Linda?” she asked again. I still said nothing. “Well then fuck you.” she turned away again.

I kept quiet.

I just typed. I typed out what this bitch told me and what she and her friends had done.

If the cops would have come and cleared out this whole fucking place, then I’d not be here right now.

It is her fucking fault. They’ve been lying to me all that time. I could have been saved instead of being trapped in here.

There are more sounds coming from the door. Maybe the creature that tried to get me is out there? Maybe something more terrifying? I can imagine it sitting behind the door, waiting for me to get as optimistic as Jay, or to go completely mad and delusional. That’s why the damned door is still there. To lure me in. To give me hope. Hope that doesn’t exist. No, not me. You won’t get me.

As I am typing these last few lines, my food reserves are diminishing. There is still water left for days, maybe even a week.

I have been thinking a lot. Maybe someone is coming? Maybe my parents read my email? Or the social service is coming to check things out? Maybe they even answered me, but their emails aren’t coming through anymore? I have to last a little longer.

I just need to find some food so I don’t starve. I checked the apartments again, but there is nothing left.

There is another option though. One I haven’t even thought about yet. I don’t know where these thoughts are even coming from. In the end though, it is all her fault, right? I mean it is the least she can do. I know people would agree with me.

I have to post this today. The phones haven’t been working in days and the energy is starting to cut out.

I am sure someone is coming soon. I am sure putting all this out there is going to help. I can’t give up. I simple have to last a little longer.

I catch myself looking over at her more and more often. She’s asleep right now. She’s drifted off. She won’t notice a thing.

Oh I am giggling already. I can’t help it when I stare at her sleeping body. The fact that she doesn’t know what I am going to do, same as I didn’t know about the police makes me laugh.

I can’t hold back anymore. I feel my mouth twisting into a bright smile now. I feel euphoric as I type this. For a moment I imagine my face looking like that of the twisted hulking creature I saw. I have to be quick. I can’t let her wake up now.

The remains of a chair are resting right next to me. I just have to press send on this. Then I am going to do it. Oh, I can’t wait anymore.

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