John shifted through his keychain, looking for the key to his grandma's apartment block. His grandma had just passed away and he needed some of her paperwork.

With a push, the heavy wooden door opened. John walked down the dark hallway, the apartments left and right buried in shadows. John could faintly hear a constant thumping sound, but he didn't pay more attention to it.

He went up the winding staircase, careful not to trip in the darkness. He reached the second floor and he stood in front of his grandma's apartment. The lights were off, but he managed to find the keyhole and open the door. As he was stepping inside, he noticed the next apartment's door was open, the darkness hidden within seeping into the hallway. "Weird," he thought. "I swear it was closed just a second ago."

He discarded the thought and stepped inside, closing the door behind him, not before taking another peek at the next door apartment. It was still open, but he couldn't see anything inside. "Probably the old hag from next door is being weird again."

The air in the apartment was musty and smelled of closed space. John let out a long sigh. This place brought back many happy memories, mainly of delicious meals. He flicked on the lightswitch and the room was painted in a sickly yellow light. John went into the kitchen and gave a quick look around. He searched for the papers, but he found nothing. As he was turning around, he heard a door creaking just outside the apartment. "Probably the old hag went inside."

John continued searching the apartment for the papers. He turned towards the bedroom and he froze in horror. Something moved at the other side of the room. He took a deep breath and sneaked towards the movement. He peeked around the corner and was relieved to see a curtain dancing under a rogue breeze. "Man, I'm such a wuss."

Before he completed this thought, he heard a shuffling sound coming from outside. Someone was out there. John tried to calm himself, but to no avail. His imagination was getting the better of him. "Gotta get this over with quickly," he thought and he started marching quickly up and down the apartment, eyes darting left and right with manic speed, scanning the rooms for the papers.

Finally, he spotted them. He picked them up and turned to leave.

Suddenly, footsteps echoed outside. A chill went down his spine. The footsteps continued for a couple seconds before stopping in front of the apartment door. John slowly approached. "Someone is definitely outside. Shit." He could very clearly hear raspy breathing. "What do I do? Do I open the door? Fuck, what the hell is going on?"

His mind was racing. He didn't want to admit it to himself, but he was terrified. Out of nowhere, the sound of nails scratching against hard wood invaded his ears. "This is insane! What on earth is happening? I should get out of here," he thought.

"No. I need to calm down. It's all in my head. I've just been watching a lot of horror movies lately and I'm very tired. Yeah, that's it."

He took a deep breath and stepped towards the door. The sounds from outside had stopped. "See, it was all in my head."

With trembling hands, he reached towards the doorknob. Holding his breath, he opened the door. The cold and unforgiving darkness outside greeted John.

He closed the door behind him and ran towards the stairs, not even glancing at next door. Suddenly, he stopped. "Oh god. I forgot to lock."

Slowly John turned back around.

Before he could react, two hands reached out of the darkness, pulling him into the next door apartment.

His screams echoed through the building, but they fell on dead, decaying ears.

Written by MrDupin
Content is available under CC BY-SA

Author's note: Special thanks to Empyre for helping me with the story on the Writer's Workshop.