FAVOR FOR A NEIGHBOR
I pause the movie I was streaming through my Netflix account and stood up from my lazy boy. I was about to make my way to my refrigerator without giving it a second thought, until the incident that happened a few weeks ago that involved me and some nasty “leftovers” my oh so friendly neighbor, Parker made me, slips into my mind. I look at the sword that stood upright in its sheath, leaning against the wall, undisturbed. Memories’ of the event pass through my thoughts every time I have to make my way to the kitchen. Guess that’s a good thing considering I never know what she has planned for me next.
“Should I take the sword with me to get a coke or not” I ask myself as I smile. She hasn’t been here in my apartment since helping me clean the mess I made during the squid monster fight. I kept her pot as I said I would, not because I needed it, but because I would hope to stop her from cooking something in it ever again. These are all the things you have to take into consideration when you have interaction with a real witch. With all things being considered and after I deem the situation un-supernatural, I made my way to the fridge that was replaced a week ago now, no questions asked. Something tells me our land lord has been dealing with Parker’s practices much longer than I think. I grab the cold coke from the door of the fridge after taking in a quick inventory of contents. Parker taught me a valuable lesson about cleaning out my fridge so nothing stays in it longer than three or four days. Everything looks good and then I hear the vibration of something on the kitchen counter. I slam the refrigerator close out of reflex and whip my head around to see my phone buzzing next to the sink.
“Shit” I say to myself as I release a sigh. I’m not sure if the sigh was of relief my fridge didn’t try to kill me or for being slightly annoyed by the name that pulses on screen. I let it ring as I pop open the soda and took a sip. I slide my finger up on the smartphone screen and hit the speaker phone button.
“Hey, Parker, how are you?”
“Well hello there, Vincient. I’m doing great. I was calling because I need some help with something over here in my apartment. You think you can give me a second of your time and-“
“Should I bring the sword with me or is this an actual human people thing you need help with because otherwise I’m bringing it.”
“You should really let that whole evil pots in the kitchen thing go, Vince. I apologized for that and had you cleaned up your kitchen contents more often-“
“I’m bringing the sword. Here I come.” I end the call before she could blame that last encounter on me again. I put on my running shoes I keep next to the door and grab the sword before I leave my apartment. I slide my cell phone into my back pocket and look down both ends of the hallway before walking over to hers. Everything seems normal enough so far so no need to panic. An older lady at end of the hall is staring at me with a look of fear in her eyes. What’s a matter, granny? Never seen a man carrying a sword to his neighbor’s apartment all paranoid like before? I wave at her and she closes her door as quick as her old bones allows her to. She’s definitely one small disturbance away from calling the cops on me for sure. I open the door to Parker’s apartment and see nothing but a room dimly lit by candles. Alarmed, I unsheathe the sword, dropping the sheath and standing in the light of the doorway waiting to see what happens next.
“I don’t have time for these games tonight, Parker. I got shit to do tomorrow” I say trying to drown out the feeling of fear with the sound of my own voice. “Also, how do you have all these candles lit and your fire alarm isn’t going off? I can barely use my microwave without hearing the damn thing.”
“You know I have my ways, Vincient.” I hear her voice from around the corner of her bedroom door. “Now close the door and I’ll show you what I need help with. I rather not let the entire second floor know what’s going on between us.”
I snort. “The only thing going on between you and I Parker is this wall that separates your apartment from-“She rounds the corner of her bedroom door holding a candle and dressed like I never seen her before. Her hair was loose and draped down her shoulders. Her only garment was a sheer robe that didn’t leave much for imagination. I close the door behind me without any protest.
“I’m guessing you approve of my new night gown, then?” She says to me as she makes her way across the darkness of the room with the candle glowing softly against her facial features. I’m still in shock so all I could offer is a nod, even though I’m not sure if she can see me in the dark.
“You act like you never seen a partially naked woman before Vincient.” She says as she points to the chair across from her for me to take a seat. “If there was another way to get this done without taking off my clothes for you, I would’ve done it, but I figured you wouldn’t care. This shouldn’t take too long though.”
“Depends on what you have in mind for me, Parker. I specialize in long nights.” I step over a candle and take a seat right in front of her. She could already see my signature Vincient smug smile, I’m sure. I place the sword down next to the chair and I look up at her as she smiles and places the candle directly between us on the floor by my feet. I can’t tell if it was her own lips creating the eerie smile or the waving of the candle flames casting shadows across her face. She closes her eyes and whispered softly to herself. Something doesn’t feel right. I turn away from her and look at the candle placements around the room. They are in perfect symmetry around me. It was one placed at every point with the final candle at my feet completed…the full pentagram. I figured it out just in time to do nothing, but watch.
A gust of hot air hits me from below and I can see the witch in front me smiling and giving me a wink. I want to get up and tackle her, but my muscles are paralyzed as my stomach gives me that “Plunging to your doom” feeling. I’m now falling through the floor, but I could see Parker peering down at me as I plummet.
I find myself, standing in a hot cavern. I can’t remember the fall as I look up, hoping to see Parker still looking down at me, but see nothing. Looking up now, all I see is an empty sky of darkness. She managed to trick me again, but with the power of nudity this time. I could hear footsteps coming from behind me now. I don’t have the sword with me so I’ll have to depend on my hand to hand skills if things went south here. The footsteps belong to a man in a gray suit. He is wearing no tie and his top button on his shirt is unbutton, reveling a collar of some kind around his neck.
“We haven’t had any visitors down here in quite some time, mortal. What brings you to the gates of Hell today?”
I couldn’t have heard what I think I just heard. “Where did you say I am again?”
He nods his head and knows exactly what I need to hear again. “Yes, sir. You heard me right the first time. You’re at the Gates of Hell.
~To be continued~