General Fiction posted December 3, 2016


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If only Charlie had told me what was going on...

Moving Walls

by Maria Jose Garcia


The last time I saw Charlie, he looked worried. There were dark circles under his eyes and he had lost weight.

'Are you okay, man?'

'Good, never better,' he said.

Even though we had been friends for over twenty years, we were not big on sharing feelings. We both understood it wasn't a manly thing to do.

Two months passed and I didn't hear from him, but that wasn't strange in the least. We lived in different states and had very busy lives. Sometimes, we only met twice a year.

But then one day, out of the blue, I got a call from his brother. That was strange. Alarm bells started ringing as soon as I heard his voice. Why would Ricky be calling me? He didn't even like me that much. He thought I was a bad influence on his little brother.

'Josh? It's me, Ricky,' he said. 'There's been an accident. Charlie... well, he's dead.'

'What do you mean dead? What happened?'

'He jumped out of a window last night.'

I was silent for a while.

'Any idea why?' I asked.

'I was going to ask you the same question.'

He told me what time the funeral would take place and we hung up.

I booked a flight and packed my case. I felt like a man in a dream. Charlie could not possibly be dead. He was only thirty. We had been friends forever.

The funeral was, as these things are, a very sad affair. Charlie's Mum cried non-stop and his father looked even more like a Dickens character than he did on normal days.

When it was over, Ricky came up to me and told me Charlie's will would be read the next day and that they wanted me to be there. I was surprised as I didn't even know Charlie had written a will.

The next morning, I went to Charlie's parents' home, an impressive southern mansion with huge white columns that made me think of Scarlett O'Hara's plantation.

We sat in the library opposite the family lawyer, Mr Lewis, a man so thin that he was almost transparent. Nobody spoke.

I didn't know what to do with myself, so I just sat down and waited.

The lawyer started reading, but the truth is I wasn't paying much attention till I heard my name. What? Charlie had left me something? What exactly? I had missed that bit and I didn't dare ask.

Before he left, Mr Lewis gave me a key.

'This is the key to Mr Young's apartment. It's yours now. He also wrote you a letter. Here you are.'

I said goodbye to Charlie's parents and went back to my hotel. I wasn't' sure what to do. On the one hand, I wanted to fly back to New York immediately and put this nightmare behind me, but on the other hand, I was curious. Maybe I should stay one more day and go to see Charlie's apartment.

I sat on my hotel bed, trying to decide what to do and then I remembered the letter. I took it out of my pocket and opened it.

It read:

Dear Josh,

There's something bad living inside my apartment. It comes out at night and wants to kill me. I've told my family, but they won't believe me. You're my last hope. I should have told you the last time we met.

The walls close in on me when I go to bed. The rooms become smaller and I can't breathe.

I don't sleep or eat anymore. I don't know how long I'll be able to go on like this.

Your friend,

Charlie.

Poor Charlie, I thought. For some reason, he had gone crazy and nobody had been there to help him.

There was nothing I could do now, so in the end I chose to fly home the next day. However, when I tried to book a flight, they were all full for two days.

I decided I would use that time to see the apartment and look for a realtor. I could also sleep there, that way I would save the money I was spending on the hotel.

Charlie's apartment was on the top floor of a lovely building in downtown Jackson. It was quite small, but tastefully decorated.

I walked in and put my suitcase in the hall. Immediately a sadness enveloped me. What was it about this place that had driven my friend crazy? It seemed innocent enough.

After changing into tracksuit bottoms and a T-shirt, I sat in front of the telly with a beer. I started watching a romantic movie, but I found it so boring that my head began to bob forward. Eventually, I fell asleep.

A while later, a noise woke me up. It was a scratching, wood on wood. I looked around me and noticed the furniture was moving. It was being pushed towards me and the room was becoming smaller. Just as Charlie had said in his letter.

I got my case and ran out the apartment as fast as I could. I've never told anybody what happened that night. Who would have believed me?

I decided not to sell the apartment, it wouldn't have been fair on whoever bought it. I've never revisited it myself either.

And how do I explain what happened? I can't. I'll never forget, but I'll never understand either. People say there are many angry spirits in that part of the city. The spirits of those who never got closure in their lives. I just hope Charlie hasn't joined them...

 


Charlie writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Write a story that begins with the line: The last time I saw Charlie ... (continue the sentence and story)
Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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© Copyright 2017. Maria Jose Garcia All rights reserved.
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