Through the open window the screams were as loud as if they were on the tv two feet away. He had to imagine that the screams were coming from some fictional place like the tv or the radio or he'd go mad. He pointed the remote at the screen and increased the volume to max…. that's how most tenants dealt with the screams on hot nights.
The heat was suffocating. Closing the window wasn't an option. Helping the person screaming wasn't an option. No one went out onto the streets at night. No one but the evicted.
You could get evicted now for the smallest thing; running your disposal after eight, playing your guitar too cheerfully, tracking mud into the foyer.
There was no rhyme or reason to the evictions. And once you were evicted you had maybe one, maybe two days to live. The things that came out at night fed on the evicted.
Alan had lived in this apartment now for three months. Mr. Roxby had lived here prior. Mr. Roxby had been evicted for leaving mail in his mailbox overnight.
Mr. Roxby had only lasted the day. That night Alan had witnessed him being devoured by the things. Alan had even tried to help by throwing Mr. Roxby a baseball bat so he could whack them back and away, sometimes if someone got an opening in the pack and climbed high enough they could last another night. But the bat Alan threw down to him did little to help Mr. Roxby. He had not been able to swing it more than twice before they had him on the ground. Then no amount of noise could block the screaming. Alan had watched with his stomach churning. He felt he owed it to Mr. Roxby.
The next day Alan had gone down to the street and hosed away the stain.
Through the open window the screams were finally still. Alan muted the tv and put his face into his shaking hands. He heard a swish and looked up at the door just in time to see a slip of paper glide over the threshold and slide to a stop right next to his chair.
His first thought was good thing I retrieved the baseball bat, his second was I wonder how long I'll last.
A link to this week's 75 #fridayflash stories at Mad Utopia