It’s been six years, but I feel like it just happened yesterday. Let me go back to the beginning…
It all started when I wanted to follow my gut and take the big move from North Carolina to Los Angeles. Everyone told me that moving to the big city would be the death of me. “Nothing good comes out of that city,” they said. “A girl like you would get gobbled up in the concrete jungle.” Now looking back, I should have listened to their advice
It was the Summer of 2010. I packed up my apartment and drove 3,605 miles cross-country. Most people go to L.A. for Hollywood stardom, but I wanted to get away from the small town lifestyle.
Once I got to Los Angeles, I found my apartment and settled in pretty quickly to the West Hollywood lifestyle. I loved the feel of my neighborhood: Palm trees lining the street, a black metal gate protecting the front lawn, and a cute little water fountain with an angel in the middle. This area was a dream come true for someone like me.
I started meeting the neighbors soon after arriving. Apartment 2C housed a nice little Mexican couple with their twin kids, Allie and Alex. On the other side of them was an older woman, who had three cats and a dog that would bark non-stop. Then there was Apartment 2A.
I would see him leave his apartment whenever I got my mail or take a jog. I remember trying to smile at him, but he always had a blank expression on his face. He had dark brown shaggy hair, brown eyes, and his clothes were always stained. I asked the little Mexican lady, still to this day she never told me her name, if she knew anything about him. But she would shake her head and change the conversation to something in Spanish.
Since I hadn’t found a job yet, it became my priority to find out more about this strange man. So I started watching him. I knew what time he went out of his apartment and the time he came back. I realized that he couldn’t have a job because he was gone at strange hours during the day.
One night, at around 1am, I woke up to a banging on my door. I slowly got out of bed with the knife that I hid under the mattress. Looking through the peephole, I saw the elderly woman in 2C just standing there. I unlocked the deadbolt and opened the door slightly. But she was gone. After looking in both directions, not seeing anything, I shut the door. I didn’t think twice about this episode so I went back to sleep.
The next morning, I woke up to yelling coming from the hallway. In my drowsiness, I slipped on my chiffon robe from Victoria’s Secret and opened the door. There were two police officers holding their badges up.
“Ma’am, sorry to disturb you but we need to ask you a few questions.”
“Sure,” I said in a polite manner.
“There was an incident that occurred here last night with your neighbor Ms. White. Can you give us any details about what you might have saw?”
I had to think for a moment. Ms. White, who was Ms. White? Oh! That elderly woman a few apartments over.
“I know Ms.White, but I didn’t realize something happened to her.”
“She went missing last night. We found her dog hung up from the tree right outside the building.” I gasped at the news. “Can you give us any information? Did you see or hear anything last night?”
“Well, I was woken up someone knocking. When I looked through the peephole, I saw her standing at my door. But when I opened it she just disappeared. After that I didn’t see or hear anything. I went right back to sleep.” They wrote in their tiny composition notebook.
“Thank you. If you remember anything else, please don’t hesitate to call us.”
After they left I went to the kitchen to make breakfast. I couldn’t get the image out of my head of that poor woman and her dog. She seemed so nice, even brought me a chocolate cake on the day I moved in. After cleaning the dishes up from breakfast, I decided to take a little run around the neighborhood.
Reaching the intersection of Fairfax and Formosa, approximately two blocks from the apartment, I saw my neighbor. He was cleaner than usual, his hair wasn’t as oily, and he had a nice pair of pants on. I stood on the corner watching him for a second. He got out of his green old beat up Honda and went into a women’s clothing store.
That night, I turned on the radio to get the silence out of the room. The midnight host got done talking about the issues of abortion, the Middle East, and how this world is going to shit. Katy Perry’s, “Fireworks,” came on as I drifted off to sleep. I was jolted awake by a rumbling sound coming through the walls. Pipes moving back and forth like fireworks on the fourth of July. I inched my body towards the wall and put my ear against it. Boom. Boom. Click. Click. Boom.
“What the hell? What is that?”
I walked over to 2C and knocked on the door. The husband answered the door.
“Can I help you?” He said while caressing his eyes
“Umm… do you hear a noise?”
“What kind of noise?”
“A banging sound? Coming from the walls?”
“I sure didn’t. You must have dreamt it.” He said indignantly
“No, I promise! There was a sound coming from the walls! I was worried it could be the pipes or something.”
“This building is old, we get weird sounds every night. Please just go back to sleep.”
He shut the door and left me standing there in the hallway. The florescent light shuttered in the same beat as my heart. I walked back to my apartment.
As I lay back down on the bed, I heard the same familiar sound. Boom. Boom. Click. Click. Boom. “What the hell!”
At this moment I was getting pissed. All I wanted was a good night rest, was that so hard to ask? I go back to the wall and started beating on it.
“What the hell is going on in there? Cut it out! People are trying to sleep!” I stood there, keeping my ear close. Nothing.
I slowly backed away when I heard the voice, the voice that will be ingrained in my mind forever.
“I know you’ve been watching”
My heart started pounding a million miles per minute. Everything just stopped.
“And you’re next.”
I immediately grabbed my purse and ran out of that building.
The next morning, I called the police. I told them they should check out apartment 2A because I thought something strange was going on. I’m happy I did….
When they walked into that apartment it was a disaster. This guy was a mad hoarder and liked to collect everything. Once they made it to the bathroom, that’s when they found the body of Mrs. White. Her naked body was hung up on the rods of the shower, just like a piece of cattle. Going through his clothes, they found large amounts of women’s clothing. One in which was Ms. White’s nightgown. In a box neatly placed on the bed, they found pictures of him dressed up as a woman—wigs and everything. The police told me I didn’t see Mrs. White that night; it was my neighbor dressed up like her.
But that wasn’t the creepiest part. When they removed the body, they found a hole he had created in the wall. That went straight to my apartment.