I undid the seven locks that barely kept my apartment safe, juggling my books in my other arm at the same time. As usual, the process ate up about fifteen minutes of my life. I didn't suffocate in the silence of my apartment building though, seeing as the usual heavy metal music blaring from number 409 on the right and the symphonies of Beethoven at number 407 on the left made the so-called 'silence' non-existent. Heck, their music even managed to drown out all the gunshots downstairs. It was amazing that we haven't received any complaints.
I had shifted into this rundown apartment in Brooklyn a couple of weeks back, and had grown accustomed to the thin walls that separated me from the two people I had never met before, living on either side of me. As I (finally) entered my own humble abode, I immediately flicked on my Justin Timberlake CD. I had no love for it, but it annoyed my neighbours as much as they annoyed me.
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.
"Oi! Turn-it-off!" Neighbour 407 yelled, banging on the thin wall. I replied with obscenities before going to the kitchen to prepare my favourite peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It had been a long day, and I strained to hear 407's Beethoven over Justin Timberlake's 'Sexy Back'. I really needed something to calm my frazzled nerves.
I had another five minutes of peace before Neighbour 409 hammered on our lovely partition, using words that should not be repeated to children. I responded by using my remote to turn my volume up to the max, silently regretting the complete loss of Beethoven. It did not last long though, seeing as Neighbour 407 increased his volume as well.
Neighbour 409 did the same.
So this was how I lived. Avoiding gun shots on the block, trying to make it alive to college and work, only to return to another war zone at midnight (which was coincidentally my home) with Electrico and Saosin attacking on one side, and Chopin and Mozart laying siege on the other. I, in turn, bombarded them with my Christina Aguilera and Pussycat Dolls. If I was particularly pissed off, I would sing along in my loudest voice.
I live in a wonderful, harmonious community.
The next morning, I woke to my phone's recurring alarm at seven, as usual. My back hurt from sleeping on the sofa – I had fallen asleep straining for a little classical music last night, and had not returned to my bed. It did not put me in the best of moods, but I reveled in the unusual quiet that was always around each morning. It was made from a silent, unspoken mutual agreement - that involved three people who had never met - to withdraw all forces in the morning. Of course, this is based on the assumption that Neighbours 407 and 409 never met up as well.
When I went out that day, I looked up to see the clouds gathering. There would probably be a storm in the afternoon, but it usually cleared up by evening. I decided against bringing an umbrella since all it did was get in the way, add more weight in addition to all the books I had to carry, and looked extremely uncool. For goddamn sake, it had a giant Pikachu head printed onto it, among other Pokemon.
As I entered campus, I received a message from my workplace, saying that they were closing down for the day due to complications – a leak or whatnot. Later on, when the heavens opened up, I found out that my afternoon classes were cancelled. I tried to find refuge in the library, only to find it full and stuffy. Being the sad, unsociable person I was, I trudged back home under the pouring rain that had me soaked to the skin when I had walked one and a half feet. I wondered whether it was worth getting wet compared to being a dry eighteen year old caught under a Pokemon umbrella in New York City.
I climbed up the stairs, my bag extra heavy as all my books were in there to prevent them from getting wet (I would have usually carried half of them by hand). The same could not be said about me as I left a trail, very much like a snail would. Except that I left a trail of water, not slime, of course.
As I fumbled with my keys at the door (I've got seven, in case you forgot), a pool fit for mosquito breeding accumulated at my feet. From a certain angle, you would think I peed in my pants on the spot. As I was thinking about that, it was then that I heard it.
The sound of footsteps coming up the stairs.
Now, this might not seem like such a big deal to you. After all, anybody was entitled to walk up a flight of staircases. Not here, however. This was the final floor, and only three apartments were being rented out by the landlady, and they were coincidentally right next to one another (Can you guess who?). Therefore, only three people go up these stairs. Therefore, the person coming up the stairs would be…
I was pulled out from my fantasizing as an immensely familiar voice let out a curse right before an audible 'thud' was heard. There was more swearing as something seemed to clutter down the stairs. I would take it that said person slipped due to my trail of water, and would probably be right in assuming that he would not take it well when he finds out that I was responsible for his… unfortunate plight.
I rushed faster with my bolts, locks and chains.
Inside, I knew it was too late, though. I still had three locks to go, my keys were all jumbled up, some refused to turn the right locks, and whoever it was that had fallen apparently had a fast recovery rate as it took around fifteen seconds before his footsteps thumped on the stars once more. Fee! Fi! Fo! Fum…
This is really not the time.
As if God had a hand in all of this, the door to Neighbour 407's apartment clicked and rattled from the inside – I take it that he was doing something concerning access to the outside world from his habitat through this portal called a door.
In other words, he was about to get out of his goddamn house.
So, seeing as one was standing in front of her door, another was opening his, and the final one was coming up to his home, I can safely conclude that we were finally going to meet.
I could practically feel the adrenaline being pumped into my blood, and debated the urge to stay and fight (Literally? Figuratively?) or run away, despite being cornered. In the end, I simply decided to simply fumble with my keys and continue my futile attempts to unlock my door. The fact that my hands were shaking and the keys continued slipping did nothing to help accelerate my endeavour. At the rate I was going, it almost seemed inevitable for my keys to fall.
As I crouched down to take them, my bag seemed to sigh in resignation and ripped, causing all my books to fall out. I let out a curse and forgot about my keys, trying to save my precious books from getting wet. At the same time, I could hear the footsteps of Neighbour 409 (I figured it was him using this method called 'crossing out'. See, if I have two neighbours, and one is currently getting out of his house, the only one remaining would be my other neighbour who would happen to be coming up the stairs to his house and maybe then… I should just shut up now.) getting louder as he reached the final flight of stairs. I glimpsed the top of an auburn head before I heard a creaking sound from 407's door, revealing a leather boot. I turned away, but froze as 409's footsteps stopped, indicating that he had reached the final step and could see me. At the same time, 407 had probably stepped out from his house as I heard him emit a long string of curses.
I bit my lip, stood up, and did a 180 degree turn to finally face the two people I had never met.
Neighbour 409 was dressed immaculately in a business suit and trench coat, a sleek black umbrella in one hand and a black briefcase in the other. He looked extremely out of place in this dingy apartment building. This was he who plagues me with his heavy metal and rock music when what I wanted was simply some relaxing music for some alone time… something like what 407 plays.
Neighbour 407 was decked in black from head to toe. His hair was dyed black and he was using a black shirt that had graffiti words on it along with skinny black ripped jeans with a whole bunch of chains hanging on, besides having around twelve piercings (not including the ones at his eyebrow, lip, nose, and other possible anatomies that I would rather not know). This was the other who tormented me with the screechy violins and mind-blowing trumpets (pun not intended) music when I simply wanted to vent all my anger out through something loud… something like what 409 plays.
Shoot me along with my fickle mind.
Is it just me or is there something seriously wrong with this picture? For example… aren't they supposed to be well… the other way around?
We probably stood there for half an hour (an exaggeration, I assure you. It was only around… five minutes?) just staring at one another, saying nothing. A dead silence hung in the air, only broken by the steady ploink ploink ploink of water droplets that dripped into the puddles beneath my feet.
Finally, Neighbour 409 spoke up, pointing his umbrella at me.
"…I always thought you would be some sort of hooker."
A/N: This was actually something I wrote for my English class. It was a lot shorter than this, though…
It's my first time writing something that isn't Manga or something fantastical and putting it on fictionpress, so I would really appreciate it if you told me what you think. XD
This is probably going to remain a one-shot, but I might make it a three-shot, re-telling the same story except that it would be in the eyes of Neighbours 407 and 409!
Hope you enjoyed reading Neighbours!