Good Neighbour

Welcome to October, to celebrate the Halloween season here’s a paranormal horror story. There’ll be more at the same time every day this month, so check back regularly for more!

You can follow the Short Scary Story – Halloween Horror Challenge’ here

Hope you enjoy it,
– Zairron

I used to live in an apartment complex much closer to the city. It was close to where I worked, the rent wasn’t too bad and it was a lot easier to maintain than a house. If it wasn’t for my neighbour I doubt I would have ever moved.
My neighbour was an elderly woman, somewhere north of sixty, called Nora. Honestly, she was actually a good neighbour in every way I could consciously describe. She came to greet me with home made cookies when I first moved in, she knew everyone in the complex so she was the perfect contact for any kind of emergency and for all that she was a friendly conversationalist who was still respectful of your personal space and privacy. What eventually drove me away was an experience I still don’t even know for certain wasn’t actually a dream, involving Nora.

Nora was one of those old people who never seemed to sleep. Of course, she did, but she must have slept lightly and quickly for she always seemed to be active before and after I would go to sleep. Those days I kept fairly regular hours, bed by nine to be out the door by six every week day.
I’ve always been a deep sleeper. I’ve had episodes of sleep walking, lucid dreaming, sleep paralysis, night terrors, you name it, if it’s a form of messed up sleep I’ve probably had it. That’s why when I woke one morning to find mud all over my shoes, that hadn’t been there the night before I simply assumed I’d been sleep walking again. I mean, putting my shoes on and heading down to the yard was fairly complicated, but I’d done stranger things in my sleep before, so I didn’t find it too difficult to believe. I did consider that given my activity in my sleep I should let my neighbours know about it, so they weren’t concerned.
That weekend I made my way around the complex, knocking on doors to explain the situation the reaction from my neighbours was surprisingly routine. Apparently the previous tenant had been a sleepwalker as well, so the older tenants all understood how to treat a sleepwalker. I was thankful at first, it wasn’t often I had such a simple time explaining my condition to strangers. When I knocked on Nora’s door was when I started to feel uneasy.

“Isaiah, good morning,” the sweet old lady had greeted me as she opened the locked screen door. The view apartment always reminded me of one of those esoteric new age stores every shopping centre seems to have at least one of.

“Hi Nora,” I smiled back, “I’m just doing the rounds to let everyone know about my sleep walking. I think I’ve started walking beyond my apartment at night, so I just wanted to let everyone know not to worry if they see or hear me wandering around in the early mornings.”

“Thank you for the consideration dear,” she replied, an almost wistful expression taking her, “You know, my late husband was a sleep walker. He always described it as being taken for a ride by spirits.”

“Is that so?” my response was politely disinterested, Nora always had a spiritual explanation for any unusual situation.

“Oh yes, actually wait here a moment,” she says disappearing back into her apartment briefly before returning with an unusual ornament. Like a less aesthetic dream catcher, she handed it to me with a smile, “If you hang this above your bed, you’ll be protected from evil spirits riding you, so only the benevolent ones can join you.”

I accepted it with no intention of using it but also no desire to offend the kind old woman, and returned to my apartment. I dropped the ornament on the counter by the bin, it felt a bit too rude to just throw it away after all. Then I went about my day, lounging around, watching TV and enjoying my weekend as best I could.
That night I fell asleep early for the weekend at around ten and woke again early in the morning. I felt a tiredness that suggested I may have been sleepwalking again and as I went to relieve myself I noticed my shoes were muddy again and Nora’s ornament had disappeared from the counter. A bit weird, but nothing I was too concerned about.

The next morning when I woke again properly, I set about cleaning my shoes from the night’s sleep adventure and I noticed a slight brown-red stain on one of them. The stain resembled blood, but I didn’t seem to have any injuries on myself.
Again I didn’t think too hard about it, it could easily have been any number of other things after all. Just as I was finished cleaning I heard a knock on the door. Opening it revealed Nora standing there with the ornament she’d given me the day before, “Good morning, Isaiah. Sorry for the intrusion, but I had a feeling you might need a new one”

“I’m sorry?” I ask as I open the door accepting her gift, I was a little uncertain how she’d known mine had gone missing.

“Last night. You were gone for quite some time, when you came back you were very dirty. I don’t mind that you didn’t use the last one I gave you, I understand it sounds a bit naff. But just in case, here’s a new talisman to protect you.”

I thank her and close the door. When I’d woken I’d only noticed my shoes being dirty, had I cleaned up in my sleep as well? And the news that I’d been gone was certainly worrying, I’d never been far while sleep walking before. I was a little bit spooked by everything so this time I actually did hang the talisman before I went to sleep.
That night I had terrible nightmares of a furious dark man in the room trying to attack me but unable to reach me for some reason. The nightmares, along with episodes of sleep paralysis continued for as long as I lived in that apartment. As soon as my lease was up I moved away. I took Nora’s talisman with me, and I haven’t experienced sleep walking episodes since. I don’t know if what Nora’s husband had said about sleep walking being possession by spirits was the truth or not, but if I’m honest I’m happier not knowing.
I’ve kept in contact with Nora, she insisted when I moved. I never asked her about the talisman, and she never offered. But she did tell me that the new tenant has started sleepwalking as well. Recently I’ve started having the nightmares of the dark man coming for me again. I hope it’s just a coincidence.

Author: Zairron

I'm writing to build a habit, practice, and be creative.

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