Time: 5:45 AM
Location: West Philadelphia
It was a hot, humid night. The air dripped with the warm sweat that it imposed upon the brows of those it consumed. There wasn’t a sound to be heard except for the faint blare of police sirens and gun shots firing off in the night, a comforting sound in the heart of West Philly. Suddenly, a misplaced scream pierced the sweaty dark veil of silence.
I turned slightly, my body refusing to be awakened.
Another scream cried out, followed by a smack on my arm.
Lisa: “Robbie, I think someone just screamed.”
Robbie: “What? Oh, yeah I know. I heard it too.”
Lisa: “You should probably do something.”
Robbie: “If someone’s dead, they’re still going to be dead in the morning.”
Lisa: “Robbie, get up and see what’s going on or I’m going to scream.”
Weighing my options, I jumped up and started running down the hall fully expecting to see a baby sitting in a pool of blood.
I noticed the bathroom light was on. Someone was in there. Unarmed and without glasses, I yelled out the only thing I could think to say, “How can I help you?”
From inside the bathroom, I heard my roommate Susan, “Yeah, there’s a rat in here. I’m afraid to move.”
I pushed open the door to see Susan crouched in the corner of the shower stall.
“I don’t see a rat,” I offered helpfully.
“It’s gone now. It climbed up under the sink.”
I leaned under the sink to see a small mouse clutching to the pipes. I screamed. Then Susan screamed. At the end of the hall, Lisa screamed.
“ALRIGHT, EVERYONE CALM DOWN,” I screamed, retaining my composure. “Susan, you can come out of the bathroom. He’s not coming out. I’m going to have to murder him.” Susan sprinted out of the bathroom while I walked to the closet to grab the bleach.
“Robbie. No. You can’t go killing small animals. That’s the telltale sign of a serial killer,” explained Lisa.
I looked down at my hands, “I’m sorry Lisa. There’s a monster inside of me. I can’t control my dark passenger.”
Lisa rolled her eyes, “You’re not Dexter, and you don’t have a dark passenger. You’re just an idiot.”
I snapped on a plastic glove and shot Lisa an intense look before closing the bathroom door behind me, “Perhaps I’m not the person you think I am or once was at one point in time.”
“That doesn’t even make sense. You can’t go killing small anim—“ The door slammed shut, the lights flipped on, and her voice was muffled by the sound of the rattling vent.
You and me James. I had named the mouse James.
I set the trashcan under the sink and sprayed a few shots of bleach up at James.
Sorry to be such a bleach, James.
Lisa had poked her head in the door, “Did you name the fucking mouse?”
I slammed the door shut again, “Damn it Lisa! I’m trying to kill in here!”
You hear that James? Your time is waning. Or should I say, whitening.
I sat down on the toilet and waited for the mouse to die for a few minutes until Lisa knocked again. I peeked my head out.
“Robbie, just go to bed. You’ll get it later.”
She was right. I let out a deep sigh and walked back to my room to lie down.
It’s a waiting game now, my disgusting little friend. And the laundry’s on the drying cycle…
I drifted off to sleep, only to be awoken a few hours later by the annoying shrill of my LG Shine. I glanced down to see who could possibly be calling. Emblazoned upon the screen of the phone read just one horrifying word: “James.”
To be continued…