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Oct 31, 2006
Tonight, walking into my darkened apartment building, I can hear the unearthly howlings of an unhappy creature above.
She shrieks in horrible muffled pain. I can hear sudden clattering and frantic, random clapping and snapping of fingers, interrupted by gasps and screams of pain. Occasionally I hear sobs of pain that make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. The sounds echo up the darkened stairs. The sounds get louder and more distinct with every footstep. It's going to be a scary Halloween night.
Unfortunately, it is Halloween here every other week or so.
You see, I have a neighbor who has some sort of psychosis. I don't know exactly what kind. But she's got it. I'm not sure what the diagnosis is, but it's bad.
Periodically, often ironically coinciding with the full moon (I'm not making this up, I swear) she goes into a frenzy of screaming and clapping. She has not left her apartment for the past three days.
She's been in there for the past 70 or so hours, clapping and screaming and moaning like a person possessed all day and all night.
Once, during a full moon, I stayed up, all night listening to her, for two nights in a row. She didn't let up for 48 straight hours.
I've seen her occasionally. She looks like a perfectly (well not quite, but almost...you know...) normal 50 something, spinsterish schoolteacher (much like me?). She's rather skittish, but for the most part, from 50 yards away, she seems normal enough. Every so often, however, she turns into a middle aged version of Linda Blair (redundant?)
When I first came to see this place, I chatted with the landlord. I asked him naively about the neighbors. He rattled off a bit of a biography about each. I didn't really pay much mind. It all seemed pretty innocuous what he told me.
In retrospect, however, his mention of the across the hall neighbor was telling
"Oh, you'll know________. She takes care of the yard. She's ummm....kind of eccentric."
Little did I know.
He told me that the couple who had been in my apartment before, wanted to move to another apartment in the same building "for more room." Again, at the time I didn't think much of it. It seemed to make sense. Looking now at their new apartment, however, I realize they don't have any more room.
Now I know why they really wanted to move.
My mother insists I need to move. She's afraid the woman will take a knife to us all. My friend Velinda (who got a tiny taste of The Howling one night...in a very abbreviated form...has offered her blow up mattress and floor of her apartment across the street).
As I type this right now, I can hear her across the hall slapping herself and making incoherent sounds, sometimes what sounds like sobbing. It's very disconcerting, I have to say.
She'll be doing this all night again, I guess.
Up here, it's always Halloween