Fiction · noise in the room upstairs

Entry X: It Was the Night Before Halloween

4:05 AM

This is day 2 of the coffee experiment. Instead of drinking coffee every hour, I just make sure that when I’m done with one, I have another handy. So far, this is my fourth cup of the day.

Other than some mild handshakes, everything’s fine!

6:16 AM

I heard the ghost of my grandfather outside my window this morning.

His croaky howls echoed across the street. I can imagine him perched on a graveyard hill, scratching at the ground and happily romping through across the fields.

Actually, maybe I don’t want to imagine that.

Despite my hatred for Halloween, my grandfather loved it. During his more lucid years, he made an event of picking up treats from the Halloween shop. He had a special skull head to dump most of the candy. He also had his pick of all the spooky decorations, procuring the most terrifying props to scare the neighbor kids (and evil spirits he would later admit).

His love of Halloween carried over to his lycanthropic days. He always “transformed” on Halloween even when there wasn’t a full moon.

He was a romantic at heart.

4:32 PM

I wonder how many people have heart attacks on Halloween.

A lot probably.

I watch the oil in the fryer boil and imagine how much of a person bloodstream resembles a witch’s brew when its work is done.

I’m working if you couldn’t tell. This is a good 12 hour shift. I would be more bothered by this but the coffee experiment has given me a lot of energy. Though, I will admit that I’m way more irritable now. I couldn’t help but imagine one middle aged woman who was being finicky with how much ketchup we put on her burger getting run over by the minivan she took so much pride in. I also confused an old man for a zombie but that’s another minor issue.

My friendly little fast food joint also decided to have a spooky Halloween sale. We now have a wicked combo special that includes green patties and blood red curly fries. Both will leave their little trick on our customers before the night ends. Instead of carousing around enjoying themselves, they’ll be leaving painful treats for their porcelain thrones.

Happy Halloween, you little gluttons!

8:06 PM

Mira knocked on my door in a witch’s costume. I kinda confused her for a real witch for a moment and cowered behind my kitchen counter until I heard her call my name.

She wanted to invite me to a party on Halloween. She said that all of her friends will be there and she would like me to spend a part of the afternoon doing that talk I usually do. I had no idea what she was talking about and I declined. She asked me why. I admitted that Halloween wasn’t my favorite holiday in no uncertain terms.

She was deeply offended by this and went on a good ten minute rant why Halloween was the greatest holiday that Western Civilization ever created.

“Candy, monsters, and license to be however creepy you want! What more can you ask for?”

But I told her that I wasn’t going to waver on the issue.

She looked prepared to go on another rant but I shut the door before she got the chance.

The Woman in the Television had started to play “The Monster Mash” at the end of that conversation. It’s been on repeat for the last 15 minutes and its driving me up a wall. I would take a sledgehammer to her but I loaned it to Mira about a week ago for an “ultra-secret” Thanksgiving project. I decided to do the next best thing and ask her to turn herself down. She just laughed at me and started singing along.

I wonder if I’ll have to endure another rant to get that sledgehammer back.

10:17 PM

I found out that this apartment has a ghost story.

Great…

About 20 years ago in apartment 31B, an old guy named Dave was found dead on his bathroom floor on Halloween night. Ordinary, this wouldn’t have garnered that much attention. Things die in these apartments all the time: bugs, rats, sense of security. But this case was different.

You see, according to the chain smoker, Dave had no exact cause of death. There were no bruises, abrasions, or signs of a home invasion. He was locked in his bathroom, face and pants down. His eyes were wide open and his expression looked like he had seen something horrifying. They found nothing unusual after sorting through his insides. He was as healthy as a 58 year old man could be.

But there was one thing the police and the medical reports often neglect to mention throughout the case. The chain smoker had me lean in close as he told me that there was an inexplicable pumpkin sitting in the bathtub when his body was found. It was several days rotten. It was swarming with fruit flies and had a ghoulish expression carved into it. The investigators tossed it soon after the body was discovered.  It was perhaps the only reason that they found the body as soon as they did because one of the neighbors sent up constant complaints of its stench to the maintenance staff.

I asked him why he thought this was significant.

He shrugged. He said it might not have mattered but every person who lived in apt. 31B since the incident has noted a strong rotten pumpkin order lingering in the bathtub which grew more unpleasant on Halloween night. He told me to make of that what I will.

Honestly, I wish he never left it up to interpretation. There’s nothing worse than hearing a ghost story a day before Halloween. I’ll just stash that little tidbit under “Things Better Left Forgotten”

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