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At first glance, it seemed like a normal, clean apartment, but something was different. It was organized, ordered and undisturbed. Someone spent a lot of time making sure that everything was where it should be. Everything was categorized and set. I walked quietly into the kitchen. The table cloth was placed so that every edge was the same distance off the floor. Chairs in places I had stayed were usually tilted, or even discarded to the corner of the room because of a broken leg. Not here. Every kitchen chair was set around the table, the same distance from the table cloth, and the same distance from each other. Of course, I didn’t measure anything. I didn’t have the time or the desire too. When you see something this painstakingly organized, you assume things. This whole situation was suspicious. With every step I felt like I was being watched. Maybe this was a trap. For some reason I couldn’t leave. It all seemed familiar to me, like I’d been here before. Of course I hadn’t. It was nice and clean, but it had a slightly creepy air. This feeling was hard to label as fear, worry, or excitement. It was a weird hybrid of the three, a mutant born of uncertainty in my own drained psyche. I stopped thinking about it. Hey, I got this nice place to stay for the night. Why should I worry if the guy that lives here is a weirdo? I’m just here so I don’t have to stay on the dirty, grimy streets of the city. This was an accomplishment! I had found a nice place to stay where there were no family dogs, babysitters, or alarm systems to find ways around. It was simple. Obtain the key, open the door, but this is what made it odd. What kind of man would leave a key in such an obvious place? If he did, then why would he not have an alarm? A shiver crawled down my spine. Maybe he wanted uninvited guests. It would be easy to kill a homeless man without anyone knowing. Since they had no jobs, no family nearby, and no one looking out for them, no one would know they were even missing. No one would know I was gone. I started looking around, focusing on every shadow, looking at every corner of the room. No one was here. The street lights were the only source of light I had, and they only revealed the kitchen. What about the other rooms? He’d be waiting, watching, looking for the perfect opportunity to trap me. Sweat started dripping down my brow and my heart beat harder in my chest. I had never been scared of a house before, especially not a tiny apartment. This was different. There was definitely more going on here then I realized, or wanted to know. “It’s ok! I’m leaving now. There is no cause for alarm. I didn’t break in…see?” I held up the key slowly to the window so the street lights glinted off the metal. “I…I just wanted somewhere to stay…and found this key. It so happened to be to your place. The key was on your doorstep.” I lied, swallowing a lump in my throat. He’d know where he put it. That was a stupid move. “Ok, I lied. I found it under your pot. Anyways, I’m going towards the door now, there is no reason to panic. Don’t call the cops. Don’t worry.” I started putting my hands out in front of me, trying to calm down the approaching shadows. “This is silly,” I said with a nervous edge to my voice, trembling. I tried to calm down and take deep breaths. If he were really here, he would have said something or at least yelled empty threats like most people do. What do I have to be afraid of? I’ve fought many people, and most of them were probably tougher than the person who spent so much time on making sure his house was clean.
There I go making assumptions again. Maybe the owner is a she which would be even better. There would be no fight at all. She would try to sound intimidating, but women always were more attractive when they tried that tactic. It was like a little poodle becoming fluffier when it got riled up. With that image my body became completely at ease. No one was home. This stupid feeling was just nerves. I thought I had gotten over being nervous, but I guess I never will. A small sigh wisped from my lips as I turned around to turn the light on. Without warning I tripped over a chair leg and fell hard. I reached up for the cabinet but found something less steady. My wrist rammed into the side of the cabinet while my hand reached and grabbed something plastic. I let out a small yell as the plastic object fell beside my head, barely missing my skull. My eyes focused on the dark object. It was round with a plastic handle. “Great,” I said to myself as I got up, “I knocked over the coffee pot.” A few seconds later I found the light switch and turned to examine the coffee pot. My cut leg started hurting as I stood up. I put on my gloves I kept in my pocket and picked up the pot. I didn’t want to leave finger prints. It was a round pot, clear with a black plastic handle. Everything seemed alright. Oh crap. I brought it up to the light. A small scratch was along the edge where it had hit the floor. I was thankful it hadn’t busted, but still. This would seem obvious that someone had been here. What could I do? I looked around for another coffee pot that looked similar. Maybe this man or woman had another coffee pot, an older one they didn’t sell or an extra in case something happened. I looked around, checking every drawer and cabinet. There were no coffee pots. This person apparently never thought they’d need another one. Maybe…maybe if I hid the pot they’d think it was stolen, buy another one, and the next time I come I can remove the old one! Brilliant! A sudden streak of genius flowed through my mind. If I hid it, then they’d have to buy another one. They wouldn’t find it, and if the coffee pot was placed this way, it must mean they needed the coffee and wouldn’t take the time to comb the house to find it. With this sudden plan I searched throughout the house for somewhere to put this pot. It took me five minutes to realize that everything had a clear, glass case, and it wouldn’t fit anywhere else. Whoever owned this house must’ve been afraid of losing things, I thought to myself. There was nowhere that wasn’t open or clear in the entire apartment, except one place. Apparently, the owner didn’t consider the cabinet under the sink. It was made of wood and had plenty of space. “That’s it!” I said out loud. “Charlie, you’re a genius!” I opened the cabinet door and slid the coffee pot in there gently, making sure I pushed it to the back wall. That’d be safe. No one would find it here. With that final thought I relaxed. That’s finally taken care of. No worries now except to explore this place and make sure not to disturb anything. I walked around the rooms for a while. There was a wooden fan above my head that was nice, and a clock that sat beside the bed. Basic stuff, I thought to myself. My eyes became tired as the evening went on. It was close to midnight. “I’ll check out this last place, and then I’ll go to bed.” I said out loud, yawning. It was my usual procedure. Check the entire house before sleeping, just in case I missed anything important
or exciting. Besides the extreme organization and tidiness, this place was actually boring me. There were no weird collections or any fancy televisions or game consoles to mess with. It was just stuff like chairs, fans, clocks, books, and other basic things. There was nothing interesting, or worthy of my attention. This was the last room. I opened the door slowly, making sure there was nothing behind it. A small, wooden desk was the only thing in this room. The lamp was still on, spotlighting something white with black marks on the table. Hmm, this is interesting. The owner must be some sort of writer. Curiosity had always gotten the better of me. There was nothing I could do about it. It was an uncontrollable, intense energy that influenced me to do nearly outrageous things to quench it. This was one of those times when I just HAD to see what was written down. I walked across the room with a slow, deliberate pace, making sure I didn’t hit anything or disturb any of the organized papers on the floor. There was only a breath between me and the desk as I looked down on the paper. My eyes glued themselves to the page and began reading. Within seconds I stopped. I froze. Every muscle in my body locked in place and bolted me to the floor. My legs got tired from the strain, and my cut stung. All of these pains meant nothing, there was a serious problem. I couldn’t help myself. I continued reading down the page until I read the last line. “The shiny object in my hand was what I’d been looking for. It was the key for the night.” Josiah Washington. My eyes searched the room at a frantic pace, looking for some shadowy figure to tell me how stupid I had been to stay in this apartment, how I was going to die at his mercy for all of the sins I had committed. I stopped myself. This Josiah Washington was more than just a writer. He had been watching everything.
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