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Sticky Hands

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Josh was a single young man in his late 20’s. He worked as a security guard in a jewellery store, conveniently close to his newly rented apartment. Life was never easy for Josh, even at an early age. Due to an unfortunate accident, he became an orphan at the age of 7. Yet, regardless of the hardships he had to endure, he never complained. However, behind closed doors, depression was the only thing that he came to know. The façade he maintained during the day was quickly shattered each time he got home. The pills gradually became his only real friend. Well, besides Tom – his old gray cat.

Lucky for him, a certain someone took interest in him. That someone was non-other than Mr. Sticky-hands.

That Friday was like any other for Josh; he came home from his monotonous job and threw off his blue coat on the dusty sofa. His scalp was itching from wearing the ridiculous security guard hat and his back was aching from the uncomfortable stool that he was forced to sit on at work.

He was about head to the bathroom for a quick shower when he noticed Tom with the corner of his eye. The gray cat was hissing towards the window in his bedroom. His back was arched and his tiny teeth were bared towards the glass. Josh couldn’t remember the last time he had seen old Tom act so hostile towards anything. Perhaps a pigeon had landed on the other side? With a sigh, Josh walked over to his pet and glanced at the window. The initial realization startled Josh quite a bit, so much that he even stumbled back.

A handprint was plastered across his window.

Josh rubbed his sleeve on the window, attempting to wipe it away. However, he soon realized that it was plastered on the outside of the surface. But how could that be? Josh asked himself. He lived on the 6 floor, which was quite high up from the ground. It was by no means unscalable, but why would someone want to do that?

Most likely some punk kid trying to impress his friends, Josh assured himself while attempting to reach the stain. He had opened the window just enough to squeeze his arm through, but cleaning the handprint required quite a lot of scrubbing. As he pulled his limb back and examined the mysterious matter coating his sleeve, he deduced that it was most likely glue, as it was thick and sticky.

An hour later and Josh was already lying across his narrow bed with a mouthful of pills. He felt as if his eyelids weighed a ton, not that he was resisting the sweet embrace of slumber. Soon, his snores echoed across his entire apartment.

The next day was as miserable as the previous. The young man stared blankly at the showcase of expensive accessories he was forced to guard. The jewels glistened alluringly to the naive customers, almost begging to be bought. To Josh they were just shiny pebbles that happened to be worth a lot of money.

As he got home that afternoon, the distinctive hissing of an agitated Tom was the first thing that greeted him. He swallowed hard and quickened his pace towards his bedroom. He bumped open the door with his shoulder and immediately turned towards the window. The cat was sitting on the frame, pawing at the glass which was stained with a new set of handprints.

If this was a sick prank, Josh was definitely starting to fall for it. This time there were two sticky handprints on the thin glass of his window. It was if the person who left them was trying to lean in and take a closer look inside. Josh quickly cleaned the mess up, which seemed to have calmed the cat. He considered notifying the proper authorities of his supposed stalked, but then reconsidered. After all, the police would have to search his apartment and not all of the ‘’medications’’ he used were technically legal to own.

Another dose of pills quickly took his mind of his fears and knocked him out on the couch. Tom would take the opportunity and claim the bed, where he had a good view of the window.

The routine kept repeating itself. Each time he came back from work, Josh would find more handprints on the window of his bedroom. It was beginning to get quite unnerving for young Josh. He decided to put an end to this and prove to his passive tormentor that he wasn’t frightened of him. So he did the unthinkable, something someone in his position should never do. He left his window open before going to work.

Foolish young Josh decided to practically invite Mr. Sticky-hands into his home! You should never ever let Mr. Sticky-hands into your home, for he may just decide to stay.

Josh arrived at his apartment half-asleep after a particularly uneventful day. Opening the door he immediately noticed something was off, as Tom was nowhere to be seen or heard. The cat definitely wasn’t in his usual spot next to the gaping window or across the unmade bed. Lazy old Tom would never leave the apartment even if the opportunity presented itself. But, to be safe, Josh decided to leave the window opened in case he was indeed out for a stroll, as uncharacteristic as that was. On the bright side, there were no handprints or traces of theft. Then again, Josh didn’t own anything worth stealing, unless someone desperately needed a bottle-cap collection.

Suddenly, the door of the bathroom creaked ominously. Perhaps Tom was just drinking from the toilet again; the cat did possess that nasty habit. Reluctantly, Josh took a deep breath and stepped inside the bathroom. The fading light bulb on the ceiling was barely able to illuminate the toilet and sink; Josh could’ve sworn he changed it recently. The smell of copper filled the young man’s nostrils and he sharply turned his head towards the origin of the scent.

Crimson handprints were smudged across the cracked mirror hanging in the dark corner near the bathtub, forming what could vaguely be determined as a smiling face. Foolish Josh obviously didn’t appreciate the kind gesture and immediately ran out of the bathroom, pale as a sheet.

The nerve of that boy, to think how much time it took Mr. Sticky-hands to create this masterpiece. Despite his age, the old cat was able to put up quite a fight. Poor Tom, he produced such a fine shade of red, and Mr. Sticky–hands made sure that not a drop was spared.

As for Josh, well he drove. He drove as far as his Mustang would take him.He left his job and apartment behind, not speaking a word to anybody, never answering his phone when his boss and landlord eventually called several days later. A destination wasn’t required, just a flat road and lots of fuel.

Poor scared Josh; he didn’t even bother checking the trunk of his car. But that’s alright; Mr. Sticky-hands enjoys road trips.

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