Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Package: Halloween Blog Carnival Edition

After living in Bridgewater, NJ at the Riverside Condominiums for a little over 7 years, Greg pretty much knew everyone in his building.   And though he wasn't a gossiper or one to get into his neighbors business; he did enjoy striking up pleasant conversations whenever he would run into one of them.
Six apartments, including Greg in C-1, make up the only building in the small cul-de-sac: Judith, a 34 year old widow and mother of two; Joe and Lizzy, a couple on the verge of marriage; Patrick, a twenty-something basketball coach at a local high school; George and Ruth Horowitz, an elderly couple that live next door to Greg; and in apartment A-2, Chuck, a nurse at Bridgewater Memorial Hospital.
It was late afternoon on September 30th when Greg noticed a package outside of Chuck’s apartment.  The box was made of sturdy cardboard and was almost big enough to touch the doorknob of the front door and by no means was this box small.  Due to Chuck’s late hours and online shopping obsession, there was always mail outside of the door.
The next morning, October 1st, Greg was in a rush. He hurried out of his apartment, locked the door behind him, double checking it, as he does every morning, and walked down stairs toward the front door.  Before leaving the building Greg turned around to check and see if the package was still there; it was.  Greg thought nothing of this.  As he headed towards his car, he passed by Chucks beat up Camaro. This struck him as odd.  After contemplating going back inside to knock on his door, he realized what time it was and he had to get to work. Besides, Chuck had probably just worked the late shift and didn't feel like bringing the box inside.
Later that evening the sky was dark blue, almost black with a haze over it.  The wind was chilling and the air smelled of rain.  It was the perfect weather for the first night of October. Greg pulled into his parking spot and collected his phone and satchel before opening his car door and getting out.  He quickly walked to the front door of the building, trying to forget how badly he had to pee.  He swung the door open and the first thing he noticed was the package. Greg hadn't seen Chuck’s car in the parking lot but then again, he wasn't looking.  Hesitating for a moment, Greg decided to be a good neighbor and grab the box and bring it upstairs.
The box was surprisingly heavy.  Greg, who was ill prepared to lift something that heavy, tripped and fell into his neighbor’s front door. He was annoyed now.  He knocked on and then walked in.
"I hope you know I almost pissed my pants!" Greg said as he waited for a reply.
Greg looked down at the box and took a deep breath and as he was about to lift the package, he noticed a note on the floor. It had his name on it so he unfolded the torn piece of notebook paper and began to read it.
"Hey Greg...do be a solid and bring this upstairs...I'll stop by tomorrow to grab it. Thanks man."
 He shrugged a bit, crumbled the letter, put it in his pocket, picked up the box and then proceeded to his upstairs apartment.
As he reached the door, he lifted his left leg, moved the box into his left arm and the rested the box on his knee. With his right hand he turned the doorknob and opened the unlocked door.  Greg slowly put the box down and ran to his bedroom; he hadn't even turned the lights on.  The flushing of the toilet was the only sound in the quiet condominium.
Greg came from around the corner, shut the front door he'd left opened and then turned on a small lamp. He pushed the box over to the couch with his leg and then plopped down next to it. Reaching into his pocket, he grabbed his phone and quickly typed, and sent a text message to Chuck. Within seconds he heard chime.  A few moments later he heard it again.  Greg looked at the box. Praying that what he heard, and where he heard it come from was a mistake, he sent Chuck another text.  Seconds later he heard the chime again, followed by the same sound moments later. It was now obvious to him as to where the sound was coming from, and though Greg knew he probably shouldn't open the package, his curiosity took over. Slowly he opened the large package.
There was nothing he could do. There was nothing he could say.  He couldn't move. He couldn't breathe.  He couldn't keep his eyes off of the contents that were shoved into the package; body parts and the head of his neighbor Chuck from apartment A-2.  After the initial shock of seeing the bloody mess in the box, Greg noticed a note placed between two fingers on Chuck’s left hand that had not been dismembered. It had Greg’s name on it. He quickly reached for the folded piece of paper. His hands began to shiver as he read the letter out loud.
"When did you realize the door was unlocked?"
Greg’s eyes widened. His heart sank. Instantly he made the clear realization that his front door had been unlocked, knowing he had locked it this morning before leaving the house.  Standing there frozen he could hear footsteps behind him. Whoever was coming from behind him was moving quickly and before he could even move to run, a hand pounded against his shoulder with a brutal force.  All Greg could do was shut his eyes and prey to not suffer the same fate as his neighbors.

The next morning Ruth Horowitz slowly opened her front door to go down to the first floor to get the morning paper.  She turned her body to shut the door when she noticed a package.  It was placed up against Greg’s front door.  Being the nosey neighbor that she was, she bent down to glance at a note placed on the package.  To her surprise the note was addressed to her.  


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