I now know what’s slowly driving me mad. It’s the thing in the room next door.
I live in a duplex you see. And my office is one of the rooms that has a shared wall. At least that’s what I call it. It’s not really shared, since I guess you could technically call every wall in the house shared, seeing as they all have two sides. So by shared, I mean I get one side of the wall, and the new neighbors get the other side. It’s on their side of the wall that my problem lies.
At first I thought it might be a radio or something. I knew that no one was home, and I could sometimes hear a faint noise on the other side, as though someone were singing to themselves. But as the noise continued, I realized that it was no radio. I then thought it might be a small child, and wondered to myself what kind of parents would leave a child so young at home by themselves. I pressed my ear to the wall for quite some time, hoping to determine the true nature of the sounds that were seeping through my wall. Unable to resolve the issue, I told myself rationally that it must be some kind of computer screen saver that makes noise, and put my headphones on so as not to be disturbed any further.
A couple of days later I heard it again. Louder this time. A sort of moaning sound at first, which turned into a chittering, shrieking, howling wail, and then once again subsiding to a moan. That’s when the fear started.
I saw my landlord later that day, when he stopped in to say hello. He usually doesn’t just stop in to say hello, and it was rather awkward, him standing in my kitchen, with nothing really to say. There would a be a moment of silence, while I wondered what he was up to, and he would look around, and in his heavily Vietnamese inflected English say “so, yan, ebytin okay?” I would respond in favor, and wait some more. Something didn’t seem right, and when he finally he began to speak again, from those word I could make out, I began to understand what it was.
He’d just been over to the neighbors’ side, and seen what was in the back room. He claimed they had a dog, a young dog, in a cage in the room. He hadn’t realized it for a while, because the creature would only make noise when he moved, or was working on something. As soon as he paused to listen, the dog would also be still and silent. Finally he entered the back room and found the caged beast. Immediately after is when he came to visit us.
I don’t know what he really saw over there, but I’m sure it was no dog. The mind plays funny tricks on us when we don’t have the rationalization to comprehend certain things we see, certain things best left unseen, and unknown. I think he convinced himself it was a dog… in a cage. For no dog I’ve ever had or heard has made noises such as those coming from the other side of the wall which I now sit fifteen feet away from. I’m doing my best to ignore them, but I can feel them creeping inside of my head… inside of my very soul.
May is a long time to wait to move out of this place, and away from these noises. I only hope I can hold on that long.