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Faces in the Windows
Story published June 30, 2013 · 3 pages · 1,491 readers · 1,638 reads
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        There are three things that are necessary to this story making sense. The first is that my girlfriend, Abby, has obsessive compulsive disorder. Not like everything needs to be clean, she actually freaks out if her apartment is cleaned up. There are a lot of things that make her panic, but only two of them are important to this story; the bed she sleeps in always has to be positioned so the foot of the bed faces north and all the doors and windows in the house must be locked, unlocked, and re-locked three times. Backtracking to her not liking the apartment to be clean leads to the second important detail; I've never been inside her apartment. She was always too embarrassed of the mess to let me come over. The third thing is that her apartment is on an outermost side of her building.
       
        Now, as I said she has OCD so she can't do some things. One of the things she can't do is sleep over my house because it's just too different from her routine. But I really loved this girl and we had dated for five years. She finally asked me to move in with her and I, happily, agreed to do so. It would be tough, especially because it meant I couldn't bring much of my stuff, but we'd save a lot more money if we had only one rent to pay and that was something both of us would be grateful for. The week before I was going to move in I was sent on a business trip. It was terrible timing because the trip would take a week and a half so I wouldn't be there to bring in what few things I had. To make it worse, the trip was a complete failure. The deal fell through and my luggage got lost on the flight back, which was delayed for several hours do to the weather.
        It was almost midnight when I got back and, as Abby was already asleep, I tried to get a cab. But, of course, I couldn't get a damn cab. So I had to walk home. In the rain. Without an umbrella. I also didn't have the key for Abby's building because it was in my luggage. I called down the owner of the building and was let it. He was also kind enough to unlock the door for me. I used the light of my cell phone to find my way to the bedroom, taking no time to look around at this new place that was my home. I just wanted to get to sleep. After kissing her on the cheek and waking her up to move so I could get in bed, I found myself faced with insomnia. Great, right?
        After an hour of sitting there, in the dark, unable to sleep and forget about this terrible day, I thought maybe a drink would help me sleep. I knew Abby always kept some beer in the fridge because part of her routine was to have a drink with dinner. I crept as quietly as I could out of the room and into the hallway. It was black, endlessly black. After three steps, I slammed my toe into something on the ground. Swearing quietly, I flipped on the light. Blinding white filled my vision. A burning kind of light that is only felt after hours of pure darkness. I made my way down the hall and flipped on the next light. There was a loud pop and a sputter of light that was quickly consumed by the darkness.
        "Great," I murmured to myself, "the light blew out."
        The bulb in the hall behind me didn't light up the room enough for me to see the room, but my eyes adjusted and I could see vague shapes. To my left was the opening to the kitchen. Based on it's relation to the bed, that meant it was on the west side of the apartment. To the right, the east side, there were some couches, a rocking chair, other light furnishings. It was so dark I couldn't even see the wall.
        I went to the left, going into the black kitchen and opening the fridge. I grabbed a beer, closed the fridge, and removed the top with my teeth (a useless trick I picked up in college). When I turned back, I was facing the wall of the other room. The beer almost fell from my hand at what I saw. There was a face, a face that was clearly not human, in the darkness. I could make out a frame around it, but the face was moving, it's nostrils flaring with breath and it's eyes blinking. Was I dreaming? No, this would make sense in a dream. I'd only question it's feasibility in real life. I slowly walked to the hallway, keeping my eyes on the face until the wall blocked my view. When I passed by the next door, slowly swung open and the bulb in the hallway sputtered out just as the living room light had. I jumped at the two strange events and stared into the now open room. By the time my eyes adjusted to the now darker environment, I saw the same demonic face outlines by a similar frame. It was still moving as well, in the same way. I could make out horns and a grin entirely made of canine teeth. Why was it just watching me? How did it get here without me noticing? That's when a realization hit me. This thing, whatever it was, was outside. the frame must have been a window frame and all the windows were on one side of the apartment. The apartment must have been on the east side of the building.
        Thanks to Abby's OCD, all the windows were locked in the apartment so there was no way anything was getting in until I heard a window break. I retreated to the bedroom, chugged the beer, and sat on the bed. I didn't try to sleep; I had to be awake to protect Abby. If nothing else, I wanted to make sure she was safe. Finally, the rain stopped pouring and the six AM sun came through the clouds. The room was illuminated with a warm orange glow. Abby's alarm went off and she sat up.
        "Morning, babe," she said to me as she rubbed the sleep from her bright green eyes.
        "Morning. the strangest thing happened last night. There was this thing like...like some kind of monster that I saw. I swear it wasn't a dream. Don't worry, it was outside the windows. It didn't come in at all."
        She sat up, the window directly behind the bed shining through her brunet hair. She had a concerned look on her face.
        "That's...troubling. We're on the first floor, are you sure it wasn't just some creep in a mask?"
        "It might have been. I don't know, but it was on the east side looking through the windows."
        Abby shuddered at my words. She bolted upright out of bed and snatched her phone off the charger. She dialed three numbers and put the phone to her head, shaking her hand as she waited for an answer.
        "Abby, what's wrong?" I asked her.
        "We're on the WEST side of the building, Nick."

        When the police showed up, the door was locked. They found wet footprints in front of two paintings Abby had hung up on the walls that were framed with dark stained wood. I must have mistaken these for the window frames. The part that concerns me is that I forgot to lock the door when I got home.

 
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