Knock! Knock! Knock!
Jared hastily comes out of the kitchen and takes a quick scan of his apartment. This is the fourth time in the last eight hours he was here that he heard the knock. Who is it? He goes up to the main door and opens it knowing pretty well there would be no one outside just like the previous three times. Still he peeps outside hoping to catch a glimpse of one or two kids probably trying to play a prank on him. But the corridor is as empty as it was before. The other apartments are locked, cobwebs decorate the place here and there, and dust has accumulated on the floor. Not many people live here.
Jared closes the door behind him and walks back into the kitchen where he was trying to fix the broken pipe attached to the sink. Far away from the hustle and bustle of the city and its people this building had attracted Jared the very first day. After a brief conversation with the landlady, who lives downstairs, Jared was determined to buy an apartment here. The landlady had said only a few people live in this building and most apartments are kept locked, specially the one Jared was buying would be the only one with a living being because the other apartments on that floor were deserted. Something like this would have easily scared a person to the core but Jared was an exception. He loved isolation; according to him it helped him in composing his music.
Jared retreats his hand from the broken pipe to see blood oozing out of his fingers.
“Damn it! No use, it's got to be replaced.”
The wooden floor creaks as he walks into his room, fuming. Pressing a piece of cotton on his wound he sits on his bed. Ugh! How could the pipe miss his attention when he had worked for two days repairing and replacing every single thing in this apartment? Collapsing on the bed he stares at the white-washed ceiling and slowly watches it dwindle away.
Knock! Knock! Knock! Thud!
Jared jumps up in his bed at the noise. What is that? The room is pitch dark, not even a street light is seen outside. He struggles in the dark to reach the switch board. The room floods with light. Stepping down from the bed he walks into the living room. No one is here. The main door is locked from within. What was the noise then?
Knock! Knock! Knock!
In a nanosecond Jared turns towards his bedroom and rushes inside. Where did it come from? Is it some kind of an insect? But he had spread pesticides around. Then?
Jared pauses, his eyes fixed on the wall behind his bed. It's coming from the wall. Moving closer to it he presses his ear to listen. Nothing. Not a single sound. Automatically his fist rises and he knocks on the walls. A heavy sound generates. Two three minutes later a reply comes: Knock! Knock! Jared knocks again, three times. Reply comes: Knock! Knock! Knock! A smile creeps on his lips.
* * *
"Does Jared Williams live here?”
“Yes. He lives in the third floor. But who are you?”
“We are coming from his office. He has not reported
there for about a month. Is he okay?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t seen him in a long while either.”
“Can you show us his apartment?”
The three men, dressed in black, walk up the stairs with the old landlady. The lady stops in front of Apartment 303 crossing a number of locked apartments.
“No. Only in this,” the lady replies.
“How can Jared live in a place like this? It looks like abandoned!” another man says.
“A music composer requires privacy, man.”, the third man says knocking on the door.
No one answers. After three or four tries the landlady unlocks the door with a duplicate key. They enter a well furnished, dusty, tranquil flat. Knock! Knock!
“Did you hear that?”
It's coming from the bedroom.”
Together they walk inside to find a skeleton-like man sitting on the floor in filthy clothes, bushy hair and beard with a wounded fist knocking on the wall for a month.