The New Apartment Part Three
Ghosts in Florence – This is a continuation from Part Two…
As the spring gently blended into summer, John spent the first couple of weeks getting to know Florence and trying to make new friends. He’d been a little surprised not to have heard from Adam again after their brief encounter in the local English pub. Perhaps sparking a conversation about ghosts in Florence hadn’t been such a great idea – though John was nevertheless glad to have got it off his chest.
That second Sunday night, marking his second week in Florence, he’d had an Apperitivi at a local restaurant and two glasses of wine. By 11pm, he was pretty tired, though starting to feel like he was getting accustomed to the local’s time frame. He often ate late and started going to bed around 1am. That night, he’d had a friendly banter with an American lady and her travelling companion – who hadn’t spoken a word – and left smiling as he headed to the new apartment. The woman had been attractive and John was more than a little disappointed that she was merely a tourist and would be leaving the following day. The reality that Florence was very transient was beginning to trouble him.
He entered his apartment closer to 11:30pm and was too tired for a night-cap and decided to sip some water while he continued his latest novel, about a woman who had survived the holocaust. After just two chapters, he found himself rubbing his eyes and unable to concentrate so he decided to turn the lamp off and rolled over.
His dreams were odd, the most prominent one being about a young boy fishing by a lake that kept looking back at him. When John began to walk towards the boy, he suddenly realized that he’d disappeared – seconds later appearing on the other side of the lake; still fishing. Then the dream would change and he’d be walking through the streets of London with his friends, only to discover that the boy from the lake was watching him. Again, if he took a step closer, the boy would disappear – then reappear further down the street and he would still be watching John.
The last dream he had before he woke up, involved a young girl who was having an argument with a man in a bakery near his apartment in Florence. The girl’s voice began to get more shrill and the man seemed to irritate her all the more, instead of trying to pacify her. Then the boy from the lake appeared again, standing further away and watching John from the other side of the entrance. Before John could approach the boy, the boy stepped back and opened his mouth, as though he were about to say something. Then John realized the boy’s mouth was moving but no words were coming out. The girl’s voice grew louder and the man in the bakery began to yell even louder. When John looked away from the boy – who’s face was now alarmed and it seemed he was trying to warn John about something – he saw the man was no longer looking at the girl, but was instead yelling at John. Then the girl also turned to look at John and she began to back away, as though something were behind him. John quickly turned, but saw nobody behind him. When he turned back, the man was suddenly in front of him and he was yelling something that John couldn’t understand. A cold spear shot through him as the man’s eyes – filled with anger – bore into him. The man stepped forward, an inch from his face and yelled something else, this time in English.
“Get out! Get out! Get ouuuuuut,” the last word was stretched out and gave him an even creepier feeling. He meant to step back and try and get some perspective on the situation, but found that he was rooted to the spot. The man’s eyes suddenly turned a darker color – almost black – and John was more than a little terrified. He closed his eyes and felt a hand on his shoulder, while the same voice repeated, “get ouuuuut, get ouuuuuut, get OUT!”
John snapped awake and instantly sat up, a sheet of sweat covering his body and his breaths frantic and rapid. He tried to calm himself and wished his light was on as he put his face in his hands, then used them to wipe excess sweat off his forehead. Something was bothering him and he couldn’t place what it was. He knew it was just a dream, yet something about the entire occurence didn’t feel right. It was as though…
He slowly turned his head to the left and froze; suddenly powerless to move and even more frightened than he’d ever been. The man was by his bed and staring at him.
“GET OUT!” the breath was putrid and ice cold, the face was very pale and the eyes, just as they were in the dream, were full of anger and hatred. John could not move. For an eternity, the man yelled the same words, while John was too petrified to move.
“GET OUUUUUUUT! GET OUT! GET OUUUUUUUT!”
John had no voice, he was truly held down by some power that refused to give him an inch. The man’s face moved in closer then, the room so dark, John’s blood pumping loudly and booming in his ears, rivers of sweat dripping down his body while an impending sense of doom filled his mind. He blinked – for a second – but it was enough; he quickly realized he could move. With all his might, he rolled to his right across the bed and landed on the floor on the other side. Without looking towards the left of the bed, he jumped up and raced out of the room into the darkened kitchen, thankful that he was able to navigate towards the front door.
As he stood by the front door, in his under-pants, John needed to get out of the apartment, regardless of how he was dressed. He had no idea what time it was and really hoped that none of his neighbors would be awake to see him. He opened the door and walked out into the landing, turning to look back towards his apartment, suddenly feeling ridiculous and hopeful that it had been a bad dream.
It was no dream, he knew that. There was a certainty in his mind that what had just happened, was no dream. A light chill cooled the sweat on his body but he barely felt it. He looked into his apartment and realized that the dread he’d been feeling was due to the realization that he’d spent all this time convincing himself, that there were no ghosts in Florence. Certainly not in his apartment – yet, he stood at that moment, facing the inside of his apartment, wondering if there were no ghosts in Florence, then what the fuck had just woken him up?
Somewhere, a clock struck four times in the city and alerted him to the fact that it was only 4am. He needed to be able to quickly get some clothes and his keys so that he could go for a walk until daylight. There would most certainly be no more sleeping for the remainder of that night.
He stepped towards the door and mentally calculated that the light-switch would be just behind the door. Then the man suddenly appeared, silently, from around the corner and blocked his path. John stepped back and felt his neighbor’s door against his back as the man screamed again, “Get out!!!” and slammed the door closed, leaving John out in the hallway – in his under-pants – without any keys to get back in.
***The End of Part Three****
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