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I was amazed how quickly my dad found a new house for us after he was told where his job was headed. I never really try to understand what anyone want...

PREVIEW: Jack in the Box

September 13, 2018

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The Carpet

Thursday, December 1, 2016

“It’s a one bedroom, one bath with a wide view of the park from the kitchen nook. All the appliances come with the apartment, including the washer and dryer,” the realtor said as she guided Kevin and Riley through the apartment. The two had linked hands as they gazed up at the high white walls and the clean counter tops, excited about their first apartment together.

 

The realtor spun before entering the living room, her wrinkled face breaking the sugary smile that had been plastered on her face since she opened the front door. “Now to be fair, I’m supposed to let you know about the history of the apartment.”

 

“History?” Kevin repeated.

 

Riley clung to his arm and smiled, tossing her blonde hair over her shoulder. “What, did someone get murdered here?”

 

The realtor fell quiet. “Well, yes, to be quite honest. It was a young man who had recently moved into the apartment. From what the police were able to determine he committed suicide in the living room.”

 

Kevin looked in the living room, a large sofa and large circular carpet resting in the center. “How?” He rasped, finding it hard to locate his voice.

 

“Frankly they aren’t certain, but from what they were allowed to release it was ruled a suicide.” The realtor said, her mask of cheerfulness falling momentarily. “He was such a nice boy to, wanted to move up the corporate ladder at some local business. Such a shame.”

 

“Is this why the rent is so low?” Kevin asked, looking at the papers detailing the apartment in question.

 

“That is one of the many reasons,” the realtor nodded. “It just isn’t a renters market right now. A lot of younger people are buying their first homes, while fewer and fewer are taking to apartments.”

 

“Yeah, well, that’s a few years down the line,” Kevin said.

 

“Oh? I assume you two are engaged?” The realtor asked, eyebrow arched.

 

“Just dating actually,” Riley answered. “Eight months now!”

 

“Oh? Well congratulations!” The relator said in her false tones. “So should I leave you lovebirds alone to decide whether you would like the apartment or should I just give you my card?”

 

“No,” Kevin said, looking down at Riley, who merely nodded. “We’ll take it.”

 

“Excellent! I’ll just need the first month’s rent and the last month’s rent in advance, as well as your security deposit.” The realtor said with a smile. “Let’s retire to my office on the first floor, where you can fill everything out.”

 

“One moment, I left my clutch in the bathroom.” Riley said, separating from Kevin to walk to the bathroom in the bedroom.

 

As she crossed the living room from the entryway, she heard a creak of wood. Looking over to the windows opposite the living room, she thought she saw a shadow standing by the curtains. Blinking, she realized she must have been mistaken as the curtains, a dull red, hung limply in front of the windows.

 

Walking to the bathroom, she turned on the light and smiled when she spotted the clutch sitting on the countertop. Grabbing the sequined bag, she tucked it under her arm and turned out the light, turning to head back to the front of the apartment where Kevin and the Realtor were waiting.

 

Kevin smiled at her as she rejoined them; her arm snaking between his as the Realtor led them downstairs, speaking the entire time of the benefits living in the apartments. The signing was dull, with only a few rules that had to be explained to the young couple.

 

No loud music, no parties and no drugs. This was fine for Kevin and Riley, who were both students at the local university, with part-time jobs at a local grocers. They finished signing the papers and began moving in immediately. They spent the day carrying boxes from Kevin’s van up to their new home, Riley settling in the living room near a bookshelf unpacking their schoolbooks while Kevin brought up their bedroom accoutrements and bathroom supplies. 

 

Riley, seated with her legs folded underneath her, noted a vague smell of something rotten. Looking out over the living room, she furrowed her brow as she stared at the furniture. A brown leather sofa and a circular red carpet, with a television sitting across from the seat was all that filled the living room, with a few throw pillows tossed around for good measure.

 

“Kevin?” Riley called out, knowing he was in the bedroom. “Can you come in here?”

 

A short grumble followed by the thudding of feet on the floor quickly revealed Kevin in his night clothes, a long white tee shirt and a pair of boxers. “What?”

 

“Can you come here for a moment? I think I smell something rotten.” Riley said, scrunching up her face.

 

Kevin heaved a sigh and walked across the room, stepping out onto the soft carpet with his bare feet. He stopped and looked at his foot, which came up bloody.

 

“What the hell…?” Kevin said, looking down at the carpet, seconds before it sprang from the floor, wrapping around him like a sick cocoon, revealing only his feet as the carpet moved to cover his entire body.

 

Riley screamed and jumped up and ran over to the carpet, grabbing at the edges and pulling, blood dribbling from the thoroughly soaked rug. Kevin’s muted screams became more hectic as the carpet began to constrict, the sound of squelching coming from within the encapsulated frame. Riley, tears streaming down her face, ran to the kitchen to grab a steak knife, choosing to take her chances and try to cut the rug open.

 

By now the rug was a narrow spiral, some eight feet tall and perhaps a foot and a half in diameter. Kevin had ceased his screaming, though a low gurgling could be heard from within the rug as it continued to crush Kevin within its wraps. Riley took the knife and slid it into a flap and began sawing, causing a high pitched squeal. Surprised, Riley watched as the rug unfurled in the air, releasing Kevin’s body, which fell to the floor.

 

The rug floated in the air, forming a semi humanoid form as it loomed closer to Riley, the cut portion of the rug dripping with fresh blood.

 

“Kevin?” Riley said, staring at the “head” of the rug, which seemed to be staring at her as it floated level with Riley’s height.

 

Kevin merely groaned, hundreds of lacerations covering his body, his white shirt shredded and in tatters. Riley held the knife in front of her, the gleaming blade held aloft ready to be slashed forward.

 

“Kevin, are you okay?” Riley called out.

 

Kevin coughed up a lungful of blood, one eye blearily winking open to stare forward. “I can’t move my body… I think my back is broken.” He gurgled, blood dribbling out of the side of his mouth.

 

The rug lunged forward before Riley could question her boyfriend anymore, encapsulating her in a sticky, hot embrace that quickly began to constrict around her. Twisting the knife into the side of the rug, Riley gave a vindictive smile as the rug gave out another pained squeal as the knife split through the thick rug. The wrap tightened around Riley’s arms, crushing bone in a noise grind that was drowned out by the scream Riley produced. Darkness consumed Riley as the carpet covered up the hole at the top of the wrap, pushing down to begin compacting Riley’s head.

 

Doing her best to try and move the knife from its spot wedged in the middle of the carpet, but the crushing force of the carpet around her prevented her from doing anything.

 

 

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