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Man Down the Hall

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"Why does he not shut up? He's always so loud! Ugh!" complained Nancy.

Nancy and Jackson lived in a small apartment along with one other man. He was a middle aged man who usually kept to himself in the room down the hall. Despite keeping to himself, he wasn't a quiet man in general. There were constant beats and bangs against the walls.

"Can't we have him evicted? It'd make life much easier for us and the kids," suggested Nancy.

"Oh come on, sweetheart, you never know; he could be a nice man," Jackson soothed.

Nancy and Jackson ran a small market around the corner in Midtown Manhattan. They've seen the man from down the hall often run past their store and stop at the same light post everyday. Then, he'd casually walk back past the store with a scowl on his face.

"He's so strange, Jackson... do you think he's up to something?" Nancy inquired.

"Nah, he's probably just thinking he could meet someone there or something of the sort," Jackson replied.

After work they went home to their small apartment where they would endure another night of beats and bangs until the wee hours of the morning.

"Alright, I'm gonna see what the hell he's doing," Nancy trumpeted.

As she slammed the door behind her she went to the man's door and banged loudly on it. The noises suddenly stopped. After a few minutes she knocked again loudly. The man answered the door but said nothing.

"Alright, sir, what the hell are you doing in here night after night?!" Nancy exclaimed.

The man stared silently.

"Well answer me, damn it!" Nancy demanded.

The man just pointed at the closet and whispered in her ear, "It's him, Nancy. Not me."

Nancy looked at the man and back at the closet very carefully. She slowly walked to the closet and opened the door just wide enough to peek in. Fearful at what she saw, Nancy retched violently on the floor.

The man jerked the closet open and screamed, "OPEN YOURSELF TO HIM! HE IS YOUR MAKER, YOUR MESSIAH!"

A man about the age of 40 was dismembered and nailed to the wall. He bore a branded cross on his chest and wore a crown of barbed wire. The only attached body parts to the torso were the head, and arms to the elbow. He was no longer alive but this did not stop the strange man from hammering his body to the wall.

After an hour Jackson became worried and went to look for his wife Nancy. Jackson rushed into the man's apartment only to find Nancy and the man bowing down to a floating dismembered man. Jackson immediately blacked out. Waking up many hours later Jackson saw his wife and the strange man standing over him with dark eyes.

"He's waking up, Stan. We can't have him awake and trying to run, now can we?" Nancy said with sultry in her voice.

Stan, the strange man, gave Jackson some sort of shot that made him black out once more.

After his second awakening, Jackson let out a slurred groan. Looking around he seen that his arms and legs were missing. The Messiah had been fitted with new legs and arms and was walking towards Jackson. Jackson shut his eyes and looked away. "Thank you Jackson for your "generous" donation. It is most appreciated." The Messiah walked away and Jackson observed the room. His wife and Stan were both dead with one eye taken from each of them.

Jackson spent what seemed like five days strapped to the wall when the Messiah returned. Jackson was on his last hours of life when a strong white light over came his vision. He saw his life rewind to the day that he and Nancy bought the apartment space. He saw the smile that his wife had as they closed the door behind them and Jackson was placed in a room with a panel of buttons. The Messiah, Stan, and Nancy were all standing in front of the panel looking at Jackson.

In unison the trio warned, "Pick the right choice Jackson. Your life depends on it."

The trio vanished and Jackson regained his legs and arms. The panel had many buttons on them in which many were colored black and white.

After analyzing the panel for more than 30 minutes, Jackson closed his eyes and pressed a random button. He felt his body fold in upon itself as he collapsed onto a cold floor. He awoke in his bed with Nancy as if nothing had happened. He heard no beats and bangs, Nancy's eyes were intact and so were his appendages. He got up to explore their apartment. He stepped outside his door where he suddenly jumped back. The walls, floor and ceiling were covered in blood. Fresh blood. He walked to the quiet apartment next to them and knocked on the door. The door opened instantly and what Jackson saw, he would never forget. He saw Stan dismembered on the floor with nothing attached to his torso. Jackson blacked out.

Jackson woke up in the hospital near their apartment.

The doctor walked in humming a Beatles song when Jackson screamed at him, "WHY THE HELL AM I HERE?!"

"Calm down Mr... Mr. Dimas. We found you in your neighbor's apartment with much of your body missing. Your wife called us about 10 hours ago saying that you had went to investigate why your neighbor was so loud and apparently he went on a drunken rampage and cut you up pretty bad. We were able to replace your arms and legs with new metal robotic limbs. Have fun with them Mr. Dimas."

Out of the corner of Jackson's eye he saw the Messiah give him a wink and disappeared.

Outraged, Jackson went home to find that the apartment building he lived in was still the same dull brown colored interior he always knew. No blood. Except one thing was different. The man down the hall... he and his apartment space had disappeared. Suddenly Jackson transported back to the room with the button panel. Messiah was there to congratulate him.

"Now you see how you end up Jackson Dimas. Look at me closely. Do you remember the day you first saw me in poor Mr. Stan's closet? Do you remember my dismembered body?" Jackson looked away in anger.

"LOOK AT ME! YOU ARE ME JACKSON DIMAS AND I AM YOU!" Jackson stared in horror.

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