Something was whispering in the dark Karen realized as she slowly stretched in her bed, sleep still crumbling from between her eyes. Looking around the room, she couldn’t see anything that could be making the kind of noises she was hearing. Dressed in a purple tank top and short shorts, she didn’t want to leave her protective cocoon of warmth in order to turn on the light, so instead she just continued listening to the whispering noises, trying to make out the words as they formed rapidly from within her walls.
The whispering was light and scratchy, almost like an animal scratching at the plaster on the other side of the wall. Smiling, she reached out of her cocoon and scratched the wall slightly, giggling when the whispering stopped and responded to her scratch with the sound of nails on wood.
“So there is something back there,” Karen said, brushing her black hair away from her eyes. Gently knocking on the wall, Karen pulled her fist back quickly when a staccato of knocks came in quick succession. Karen let out a quiet “eep!” whipping her arm back into her comforter as fast as lighting.
And so the whispering continued, starting up once again after a few minutes. Karen tried to fall back asleep, but she just couldn’t get the sounds out of her head. The harsh lisp, the raspy throat… even the clacking of teeth! All of these things combined kept her awake, preventing her from going to sleep like any other night.
Getting up and wincing at the cold of her bedroom, she turned on a light and walked over to her computer desk. Typing into a search engine “whispering in your walls” only brought up a series of creepy articles that she really didn’t need to read before bed. So she tried finding something that could help her go to sleep, a soundtrack of ocean waves. While downloading that, she stood up and walked across her room, tripping over the rig in the middle of the room as per usual, before making her way out into the kitchen.
Turning on the light, she poured herself a cup of orange juice and sipped from it while staring through the opening into her living room. She’d been in this apartment for a little over four months now, and this was the first time she had a problem with it. Sure, there were that standard problems one would have, like the heater malfunctioning and her refrigerator going out, leading to a foul-smelling apartment for a few days, but really nothing out of the ordinary.
Until this started.
Whatever was whispering behind her walls was intelligent. It repeated her knocking and mimicked her scratching; it taunted her. The best she could come up with was that she had some vindictive mice living in her walls, prompting her to get a cat.
Mr. Boots, however, refused to enter the bedroom and had yet to capture anything larger than a roach in the cracker box apartment that Karen lived in. The small black and white short-hair was wholly unapologetic, looking up at her with adorable eyes and meowing his innocence when she demanded to know where the mice were at.
Normally she was live and let live kind of person, but this whispering in her walls had been going on for over a week now, and she was beginning to lose sleep. Sipping from her orange juice, Karen thought about how her boss had pulled her aside and asked if anything was the matter. Karen had just used the excuse that she was just tired and left it at that, but she didn’t know how long she could keep living with whispering in the walls.
Pouring the last of her orange juice down the sink, she placed the glass in the dishwasher before heading back into the bedroom to check on the download, only to hear what sounded like digging in the plaster near her bed, some three feet off the ground, along with harsh whispers that seemed to be angrier than usual.
“That does it,” Karen said, storming from her room and to her hallway closet where she kept the toolkit her father had given her all those years ago when she’d moved out. Lifting a long-handled hammer, she swung it once to test its weight.
More than enough to tear through the plaster!
“Screw my security deposit, I’m finding out what this is!” Karen said, stomping into the chilly bedroom. She moved her bed away from the wall and, once it was clear, slammed the hammer into the exact spot where she heard the digging. The whispers went silent for but a moment before breaking into a frantic sort of crying. Taking the hammer in both hands, she began tearing out the plaster, a fine white cloud of debris raining down all around her as she made the hole go from a few inches to a few feet.
A dry, salty odor came from the hole, along with the whispers of what sounded like a young boy and a little girl. “Hurry!” The little girl said. “He’ll be back soon, we need to get out of here before he returns!”
Confused but scared, Karen continued hammering away the plaster until she came across the little boy, or at least what was left of him. Twisted and dark, the little boy was nude save for tattered gauze wrapped around his body and a silver necklace with a strange symbol hanging around his neck. His brown skin was drawn taut over his body, and his hairless head was devoid of eyes or a tongue, his mouth open in a perpetual howl. Karen shrieked when she saw him, but the little girl’s whispers calmed Karen down.
“I know, we look terrible. But please, pull us from the wall before he comes back, or else we’ll all be in trouble!” The little girl cried.
Karen carefully pulled the leathery corpse of the boy from the wall, laying it on her bed (after kicking off her favorite comforter), before turning back to the wall. “Where are you?” Karen asked loudly, hoping the little girl could hear her.
“I’m just below where my brother was, with the others. They’ve all gone silent, but still need saving!” The girl said, seemingly incensed by Karen’s question.
“Hey, calm down. Once I get you out I’ll call the police and they’ll remove all the people buried in there with you, okay?” Karen said, knocking apart the wall with her hammer. “Do you have any idea who did this to you?”
“The man with the long neck,” the little girl said, her voice going soft as if trying to remain unheard.
“Is he close by?” Karen asked, pulling a section of plaster free to reveal the mummified girl, her sunken eye sockets and tongue-free mouth open in a wide scream. A similar necklace was around her neck though her arms were strapped down to her chest, her fingers curved in an unnatural way as if broken.
“He’s coming closer…” The girl said her mouth stretched wide. “Pull me out, quickly!”
Karen reached down into the hole and gripped the sides of the little girl, dragging her up over the edge of the hole in the wall with a grunt. Looking down into the darkness, she saw twin glittering points of light staring up at her, along with the shadowy outline of a serpentine neck topped by a human head. It didn’t move up the wall any, just merely sat deep in the recesses of the wall staring at Karen as she rescued the young girl.
Karen placed the body of the young girl on the bed and quickly picked up her phone from her nightstand. In less than fifteen minutes, the police arrived and took over the scene, which involved several more police cars and several mortuary vehicles. Karen had been pulled aside by one of the younger police officers for questioning.
“How did you know those bodies were in the wall?” He asked a notepad and pen out to take down her answers.
“I know you won’t believe me, but I heard whispering,” Karen said, crossing her arms.
“No, we believe you. You see we’ve gotten calls to this apartment before. The last tenant said she heard whispering in the apartment and thought she was being robbed. The tenant before that went nuts and started shooting the walls. The tenant before that, well…”
“Well, what?” Karen pressed.
“Well, he sort of hung himself in your bedroom, over that rug you have. He had a chair that he’d climbed up and kicked over, but it didn’t break his neck. He dangled from the ceiling fan for several minutes before he died.”
Karen stood there speechless, unable to process what she’d just been told when a scream broke through the night like a dropped platter on a hard tile floor. Turning to head back into her room, Karen’s hands flew to her mouth.
Climbing up from the depths of the holes in the wall was a black-skinned corpse, dried and moldering from various different fungi and molds that festered in the darkness. It’d climbed up and had stretched out a limb towards an officer, spraying the man with a cloud of spores that seemed to render him unconscious. The remaining two officers in the room withdrew their side arms and pointed them at the… thing as it turned to face Karen, two twinkling eyes and a serpentine neck wriggling about as it eyed her like a fresh gobbet of meat.
“You…” It hissed its voice as dry as sandpaper.
“Yeah me, what do you want?” Karen said, her false bravado catching the corpse off guard.
“You cost me my meals child… those last two would have kept me fed for years to come. Now I have to hunt down new ones and start the process all over again!” The creature said, turning its head to look at one of the officers. “Isn’t that right officer?”
The officer stared at the creature for a moment before he started shaking. Trembling hands separated, one bringing his gun up to his left temple. A tear streaming down his face, the man was about to say something when he pulled the trigger, blasting a baseball sized hole in the side of his head and out the other. Slumping to the ground, the creature let out a sick, rasping cough that Karen realized passed for a laugh.
The officer didn’t find it funny and opened fire.
He got off four shots before he too was immobilized by the creatures stare, Two shots had gone wild, blasting plaster all over the living room while the other two had found their mark, one in the creatures upper right-hand shoulder and one in its lower jaw. The creature didn’t seem pleased by this and raised a long nailed hand up, motioning for the officer to point the gun lower. The officer fought the control the creature had over him, but slowly he adjusted his gun to be facing inwards, pointed at a downward angle, just above the right side of his chest.
The creature turned and looked at Karen, smiling with rows of narrow, pointy teeth. “Bang-Bang!”
The officer fired twice into his abdomen before dropping to the ground, blood exploding out of him like a fountain. The creature hopped over Karen’s bed and bent down low over the crippled officer, bringing their mouths close together. Whatever it was doing, Karen didn’t want to know. She grabbed the other officer, the one that’d been interviewing her, and pulled him from the room.
“Call for back-up, but first get me out of here!” Karen ordered.
“Follow me,” he replied, his face a little white as he turned and led her out the door, the sounds of sucking coming from her bedroom making Karen shiver uncontrollably.
She should have just stuck with the whispering.