This story is by Natalie Shannon and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Lisa was in the laundry room of her apartment building. She put her clothes into the dryer. Her roommate Cindy walked into the laundry room. “Hey, I just heard there were police cars and ambulances here last night. I miss everything when I work the late shift.”
“You’ll be glad you missed this. Remember Alex and Wendy, they lived in apartment 15?” Lisa asked.
“The ones who ran away last week?” Cindy said. “At least that is what the police and their mother think”
“They didn’t run away. They were murdered. My Uncle Matt, and the other State Troopers found their bodies buried int the woods last night.” Lisa said.
“Oh my God, Alex was only 17 and Wendy was just 12; still a child!” Cindy then covered her mouth and took deep breaths.
“You didn’t hear the worst part-“ Lisa said.
“What could be worse than murder?” Cindy said.
“They were both raped.” Lisa said. “Since both girls were underage; the police left out those details for the news reports.
“That is so gross! I can’t believe someone would do that. Especially to a 12-year-old” Cindy said.
“Only a monster would do that.” Lisa said.
“Do the police have any suspects?” Cindy asked.
“No, they don’t but I do.” Lisa said.
“What- or who are you talking about?” Cindy asked.
“That guy who lives in apartment 15.” Lisa said.
“You mean, Jim?” Cindy said. “He might look like a monster in a horror movie, but he’s harmless.” Cindy said.
“He behaves like one—“ Lisa began, but she was interrupted by someone clearing their throat. Both Lisa and Cindy shrieked at they turned to see man whose face looked like a melted wax dummy. Burn scars covered his face and hands. He wore blue coveralls and black boots. He had a tool belt around his waist with a box cutter and saw on it.
Jim walks into the laundry with his arms folded. “You girls need to hurry up and finish. It is not safe to be out this late at night. Especially if you’re alone. You wouldn’t want a monster to get you”
Cindy gasped but Lisa only rolled her eyes. “We’re almost done. You don’t need to worry about us.”
“I get it, you girls are strong, independent women. You’re invincible.” Jim sighed and shook his head. “Someday you’re going to realize you aren’t so invincible.” He raises his hands in a whatever gesture and leaves the laundry room.”
After he left, Lisa and Cindy huddled together. “Oh my God; he heard us! What do you think he’ll do?” Lisa asked. “We’ll be next to get slashed.’
“Oh stop it! Why do say such awful things?” Cindy asked.
“He is always lurking around late at night. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been caught off guard by him in the shadows.” Lisa said.
“Quit being so dramatic! Jim’s a maintenance man who lives here. He often has to work at night.” Cindy said.
“Fine, but explain why he’s always smoking by the door every time we work the night shift. It’s like he memorized our schedule the way a stalker would.”
“He could be concerned about us.” Cindy said.
“Yeah, so concerned he has to flirt with us and follow us around.” Lisa said. “How about when he stares and drools while we sunbathe?”
“Give the poor guy a break. He’s single and lonely. He just wants companionship.” Cindy said.
“Why ae you defending him?” Lisa said. “He treats women like crap. I saw him dump a pitcher of beer on a woman’s head and push her. It was because she walked away while he flirted with her.”
“That doesn’t make him capable of raping and murdering young teenage girls.” Cindy asked
“I think it does. Jim is angry because women won’t date him because he is ugly. The only way he could have sex is if he raped someone.” Lisa said. “He killed them so they wouldn’t tell anybody.
“Come on, Everything you said is pure speculation. Just because he has difficulty with women does not mean he would hurt a 17-year-old, or a 12-year old-child!” Cindy said.
“Young girls are much easier targets. They are not so strong and independent.” Lisa said. “What about the fact that Jim lives on the same floor as those girls.” Lisa said. “He could easily watch their every move and catch them off guard. He also carries sharp tools all the time.”
“I guess it is possible with the evidence.” Cindy said as she puts clothes into her basket. “I’m done so I’m going back to the apartment . I’m tired and need to go to bed. You coming?”
“No, my clothes aren’t done drying.” Lisa said.
“You could come back and wait in the apartment with me.” Cindy said.
“I don’t want to leave my clothes, they might get stolen.” Lisa said.
“Whatever. I know the real reason you want to stay. You hope, Eric, the cute guy in apt.4 comes to do laundry.” Cindy said.
“Are you crazy? With his blond hair and blue eyes; he’s gorgeous!” Lisa said.
Cindy laughed and carried her laundry out the door. She walked down the hall and into her apartment.
A few minutes later Lisa saw Eric come walk into the room carrying a basket of laundry. She smiled and said. “Don’t worry all the washers are open.”
“I’m surprised you would come here after dark, after what happened.” Eric said.
“I still have to do laundry. If something happens, I have my cell with me so I can dial 911.” Lisa said. “Plus my roommate is across the hall. I yell and she comes running.”
“Sounds like you got it all figured out.” Eric said. “I don’t think anybody would want to mess with you or your roommate.”
“I’m on high alert and keep my eyes open.” Lisa said. “I doubt he would strike again because the police are around.”
“What do you mean by strike again? Maybe it was a one time thing. The guy probably snapped. He then felt guilty about it and would never do it again.” Eric said.
“What would make someone snap so much that he would rape and murder two girls?” Lisa asked. “Especially a 12 year old child?”
“Wait, how did you know they were raped? The news report didn’t say anything.” Eric clenched his fists.
“My cop friend told me. Wait- How did you know- Oh my God! It was you- ,” Lisa turned and tried to run away. Eric lunged and grabbed Lisa by the hair. He dragged her down onto the floor.
Lisa began to cry. “How could you do that? Why?”
“I didn’t mean it!” He screamed. In a lower voice he said. “I was dating Alex. I found out she was sleeping with someone in her school. I confronted her asked to break up with the guy. She said no because her 17 year old boyfriend was better in bed. I got angry and hit her. She got knocked out. I decided to get back at her by sleeping with her little sister.”
“That’s disgusting!” Lisa shouted.
Eric grabbed her by the throat and began to speak very rapidly. “Who are you to judge me? I didn’t rape them, they both wanted it.”
“Why did you have to kill them?” Lisa said. ”You’re a monster.”
“I didn’t intend to; everything happened so fast. Alex woke up and saw me and Wendy having sex. She kicked and punched me. I hit her back. Wendy attacked me with a knife. I grabbed it and stabbed her. Alex went to the phone to call the police. I slit her throat to keep her quiet. I did the same thing to Wendy. Now I have make sure you stay silent.” Eric pulled out a knife and dragged it across Lisa’s throat. Blood poured out the wound and pooled on the floor.
Out of nowhere, Jim ran into the room. “I heard shouting; what the hell is going on?” He saw Lisa bleeding and Eric holding the knife. Eric ran towards Jim and tried to stab him. Jim blocked the knife and grabbed Eric’s arm. He then kicked him repeatedly in the head until lay unconscious on the floor.
Cindy ran into the room. She saw Lisa covered in blood and began to scream and sob.
Jim shook his head, “You can cry later, right now you need to call the police!”
Cindy called the police and told them what happened. A few minutes later police arrived Officer Matt asked Jim too come to the station and give a statement. Then they took Eric away in handcuffs. An ambulance arrived and took Lisa to the hospital. The EMT said she was in critical condition.
Cindy ran over to Jim and hugged him. “Thank you for helping her. Especially after the way she treated you.
Jim shrugged and said, “It’s fine. Don’t worry about it; everybody makes mistakes.”