These were the last moments of my life. She’s taken us one by one, year by year. It’s September 19th and I knew it was my turn. I knew it when I heard Moonlight Sonata playing on the piano upstairs in apartment 503 for the past week. It was her favorite song.
We could run, but she would find us, and we never knew who she was after. She saved me for last, maybe because I was nice to the little brat before she died. Her only redeeming quality was the way she skillfully played the piano. When she wasn’t playing the piano, she was getting into trouble. The entire building could hear her loud tantrums when her parents tried to reprimand her. We should have seen this coming. Evil children don’t stay dead.
A part of me wanted to accept my death, but the other part wanted to fight for my life, as futile as that fight may be. At that moment, I chose to stay seated in my recliner to give a clear view of every room. Being the coward that I am, every light was on in my apartment, while I sat paralyzed by fear. I considered moving last year, but Mr. and Mrs. Novak moved after the first death and it made no difference.
Mrs. Novak said that she and her husband heard the piano though none of their new neighbors played an instrument as far as she knew. They listened as Moonlight Sonata was playing moments before their lights flickered. By the end of the night she found her husband lifeless in their bedroom, strangled by his fishing line. A year later, Mrs. Novak was found dead in her laundry room with a head injury.
New neighbors have moved in, but they don’t understand. She’s not concerned with them because they didn’t know her. She couldn’t blame them for letting her die. It was her own fault for playing in the utility room.
The lights flickered once. Twice. And now they were off. This is how it began. It was pitch black and I wasn’t sure whether to move. If I ran, I could have run right to her. If I stay seated, she could easily get to me. The lights flickered again and stayed on. I lost my nerve and ability to move as she stared at me from the doorway. Her pink floral dress and pigtail braids should have made her look sweet and innocent, but her arched brows and wolfish smile reminded me there was never anything sweet about this kid.
“Let’s play hide and seek,” she chimed. “I’ll hide and you have to find me.” Then her voice became very deep. “Unless you want to hide first.”
She disappeared and I was left standing in the middle of my living room, still unable to move, limbs shaking. I looked around frantically for a place to run or even hide. That was the game she wanted me to play.
“Okay, ready or not, here I come,” the deep voice called out.
My eyes moved to the fire escape and I decided to make a bolt for it. Fumbling for the lock on the window, I realized I should have been more prepared. I knew this day was coming and I was the only one left.
The sound of a hand hitting the window pane told me I took too long and I stumbled back. The little monster stared back at me from the other side, her eyes black, and her smile stretched across her face. “I found you.”
She opened the window very slowly, allowing me a chance to run. She was toying with me. A game of cat and mouse. I was almost to the front door when the window slammed shut followed by every door in my apartment. Then the door locked and the piano started playing again.
“The last time we played this game, I got hurt,” she called. I couldn’t find her though. “You told me to hide and I did, but you never came to find me.”
“I didn’t tell you to hide in the dryer,” I called back to her.
“If you actually looked for me, you would have seen that I couldn’t get out. You all hated me,” she said.
“We didn’t hate you,” I said.
“Liar! And you were my favorite!” her voice boomed and I felt something slice my leg, causing me to fall to the ground. “Do you know what it feels like to suffocate?”
A bag wrapped around my face and tightened. I clawed at the bag until the light dimmed and I lost my strength. The last sound I heard was her laughter.
“Now you can play hide and seek with me forever,” she said.