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Chinese Letters

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This story takes place in Flushing, Queens NY. For those of you familiar with the area, it's a house between the big cemetery and Queens College.

China

The Great Wall of China

About two years ago, I lived in a pretty nice house. It had three rooms, a full kitchen, and an attic for only $1300 a month. For all of you who rent apartments, you'd know this is a damn good deal. A large cemetery was about six to seven blocks away, but it really has nothing to do with my story.

Anyway, after moving all of my stuff into my new place, I started to explore - all the rooms, all the nooks and crannies and whatnot. I noticed that the room I chose (I let my mom have the larger room - yes, I live with my mom. Go fuck yourself) had a small piece of paper above the door. It was placed flat on the wall between the top of the door and the ceiling. All that was on the paper was a few Chinese letters. Now, I'm Chinese, but I can't read Chinese for shit, so I had no idea what it said, but I have seen those types of paper before.

Basically, there are old traditions about monsters (usually vampires) that have a piece of paper attached to their head, hat, or whatever. Google "Chinese Vampires" and look at some of the pictures. That's what this paper above my door looked like.I asked my landlord (a semi-old white lady) about it. She said that the last guy to live in the house was very superstitious, so I brushed it off. I left that paper there, though, because...seriously, who wants to mess with something like that?

My room had a very deep closet. It was narrow, but it took a good four to five steps to get to the far side of it. After checking out my room, I headed up to the attic. The landlord previously told me (or, sort of, warned me) not to let anyone sleep in the attic. Whether or not this has anything to do with my story, you'll have to decide. She said it gets extremely hot up there during the summer or something. I had a room, my mom had her room, so it didn't matter much.

I walked upstairs to a two-roomed attic that had the door in-between them removed. The first room had nothing inside, but the second had a couch sitting in the middle of it. There was nothing around it - no tables, lamps, light fixtures, or anything else. Just a dirty white couch in the middle. I decided not to fuck with it or sit in it, because...seriously, would you plop down on a couch that the last tenant left in your new house? That's disgusting.

Everything was sorted out and the place started to feel like home. A few months passed and some weird things started to happen. I would stay up very late, most of the time on my laptop while sitting on my bed, and on a few random nights, my closet door would swing open. Not swing open as in that *creakkk* shit they do in movies. I'm talking swing open like someone roundhoused it open. The first time it happened, I was scared shitless. My bed was facing the closet, so I looked up, scared as shit, and saw...nothing. The closet door was just flat against the wall with nothing but darkness in the closet. There were no demon eyes, no shadowy figure, just darkness. I got up, closed the closet door, and went back to my laptop.

This event started happening more and more frequently, and since I always had a window fan installed, I figured it was just some really strong draft. The fact that I couldn't close my closet door all the way supported my theory - the locking mechanism on it would have prevented it from swinging open like that. As I'm writing this, I just realized that I should have just put something heavy in front of it. Whatever. I told my mom about it and apologized for the noise in the middle of the night,but she said that she never heard a thing. I found it pretty odd since the door slammed pretty loudly into the wall.

A little more than half a year after first moving in, we decided to move out. We found a cheaper, but smaller, apartment and decided to go with it. My friend knows people who work for a moving company, so we hired a few workers to move all our stuff out. While we were packing up all our things, I set up a radio in my room to listen to while I was busy putting everything into boxes. I went to the bathroom, and upon leaving my room, I closed my door. It wasn't by accident or anything; I just had a habit of closing doors behind me. I took a piss and went back to my room.

I opened the door and stood there for a moment, closed the door, and opened it again. That's when I noticed that I can't hear anything coming from my room when the door is closed. The radio was pretty loud, yet I couldn't hear even a tiny bit of it when the door was shut. This actually weirded me out more than the closet door slamming in the middle of the night because it just didn't make any sense. Then I realized that maybe that's why my mom never heard the loud slamming. Still thinking about it, I continued to pack.

I went into my closet to get my clothes. I swung the closet door open and held it flat against the wall - I didn't want to keep opening and closing it as I walked in and out. But the door wouldn't stay flat against the wall. I would open it all the way, then it would creak back a bit into a 70 degree angle. This is where I started to get creeped out. All those nights that the door slammed open, it was at a complete 180. The only way it could stay like that was if someone or something held it open Freaking out, I grabbed all my shit in the closet ASAP and threw them onto my bed. I did NOT want to stand in that long, narrow closet any longer.

I went up to the attic to check up on the workers. They had just finished clearing the attic and asked me about the white couch. I told them it wasn't mine and to leave it there. They shrugged, put it back down, and went downstairs. As I turned to follow them, something on the floor caught my eye: an extremely black, seemingly burned mark stuck out underneath the couch. I walked over and pushed the couch out of the way. Sitting there, at my feet, was a pentagram burned into the carpet.

It was as if someone had one of those cow-marker/prodder things or whatever they're called, except it was huge and in the shape of a pentagram. I quickly called the workers back and we stared at it for the longest time. A few "the fuck is this shit" were exchanged, and then a few chuckles from them. I wasn't laughing. Especially after they pointed out that this pentagram was right above my room.

I was going to go downstairs, finish packing, and get the fuck out of this house. As I took the last box from my room, I looked one last time at the room, at the closet, and at the paper above the door. The top right corner of the paper was falling off a little bit. I felt a deep, sudden urge to rip it off, but I denied that feeling and brought my stuff outside.

It's been about three to four years since I've lived in that house, but I still think about it often. About a year ago, I went to my aunt's house for my cousin's birthday. I've been there before, but on that day I noticed something I've never noticed before. As I was taking off my shoes, I looked up. Above the door to her house, stuck in-between the top of the door and the ceiling, was a very similar piece of paper.

This piece was different, though, as the Chinese letters were very faint, as if it was flipped and faced the wall instead of facing me. I asked my aunt about it and she told me it was a sort of charm to keep evil spirits away. It haunts me now - what if I succumbed to the urge of ripping the paper off the wall? Is that paper still there? It was peeling off the last time I saw it, did anyone fix it? Or worse,did anyone remove it?

She told me what the Chinese letters meant. Literally translated, it said "No entry beyond." I asked her why she had the piece of paper flipped around, and the words she told me next will scar me forever. "It's supposed to be that way. The wordings on the paper are supposed to face where evil spirits will come from."

I stood there, frozen. A feeling of enormous dread swept over me. That man, that superstitious bastard of a man that lived in the house before me wasn't trying to keep evil spirits from entering that room. He was trying to keep something from leaving.

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