This happened in recent times and I’m still trying to recover from the trauma of it. I rented an apartment in a calm and quiet building. It was a 5-storey building. People who lived there hardly talked to each other. The neighbourhood where I live is also not in its best shape. Robberies, kidnappings often take place here. Being a bartender in a local pub doesn’t suffice me with a good number of choices where I can afford to live somewhere expensive at this point. That’s why this apartment was the only roof over my head.
I lived on the 3rd floor. In the exact opposite apartment, lived a woman in her late 30’s. Her name was Judy. She was a shy, good-looking woman but everyone avoided her because of her ill-mannered mother. I have seen many cranky old people but Mrs. Voorhees was like the Cactus in a garden of flowers. She used to yell at Judy all day and all night. I could hear her shrill voice coming from their apartment.
- “I didn’t ask for a salad, I said I wanted soup”
- “Why didn’t you wash my handkerchief? There’s a yellow stain in it?”
- “How come you never hear me calling you? Is this how you repay your mother?”
- “I regret the day I had you. No wonder you’ll end up alone!”
Being the neighbour next door, I felt pity for Judy. No matter how disgusting, Mrs. Judy took care of her at her old age. I could never hear a single word. If one came across her in the hallway, she would just walk past like a robot without noticing the other person.
The only time this poor woman got some recluse is in the evening. Every evening from 6-7 pm, Mrs. Voorhees went for her walk balancing her old body holding a wooden cane. She never missed going on these walks no matter how the weather changed. I remember, one time it was raining heavily and Judy told her not to go. She screamed – “Of Course! Why would you want me to stay fit! You’ll be happy if I die tomorrow. Then it’ll be easy for you to snatch all my wealth!”
She wore her pink raincoat and walked away with her cane. That one hour, I watched television on mute. I never made any sound for that entire one hour as I wanted Judy to have some peace. I wanted her to have at least one hour from her entire day where she can cherish the silence or cry silently. There was nothing anyone could do except watch Judy go through the same hell every day.
One night, I came home from work. I was about to unlock my door when I heard Judy’s voice behind me.
- “Thank you for being a quiet neighbour. It must be a horrible experience living next-door to us.”
- “Umm…not at all. It’s good with me. I am a heavy sleeper.”
- “I see.”
Before we could talk more, Mrs. Voorhees yelled from inside – “If you’re done fooling around then finish the dishes!” Judy’s face became red with shame and she closed the door. This woman is such a pain in the ass. She’s driving her daughter crazy. While I was thinking all this their door opened once again and Mrs. Voorhees came out with her cane to go for her evening walk. She gave me a look of pure hatred and walked away.
Things were going the same as usual when a robbery took place in one of the apartments on the 1st floor. It didn’t shock me though because that’s how the neighbourhood was like I said already. Out of tension and panic, I decided to install a doorbell camera just to be on the safe side. While attaching that I came across Judy many times and told her to do the same. She gave me a sad smile and said – “My life is already ruined; nothing else can make that worse.”
I exhaled a deep breathe hearing this and Judy went inside locking her door behind. No one would have interfered in her life if not for this terrible incident happened. After installing the doorbell camera, I developed a new habit. I don’t know why, I liked keeping an eye on the screen and monitoring the movements on the other side of my door. Because of the camera, I could now hear Mrs. Voorhees’s voice even more clearly. Her yelling and cussing were more prominent to my ears.
It was a rainy evening, and I could hear Mrs. Voorhees arguing with Judy about going on her usual walks. Suddenly, she became quiet and I saw Judy come out of the apartment sobbing. She stood in front of my door whimpering badly. Even though I watched her suffer like this, I didn’t open up the door because that would have been more embarrassing for her. I stood silently and watched her on my screen then she went back to her apartment again.
I sat on my couch and expected to see that old witch leaving for her walk after putting her daughter through hell like usual. 5 minutes went by an hour went by and she didn’t come out. I got up to go to bed thinking maybe she won’t go out today in this storm. I might have taken a step when I heard the muffled sound of the door getting closed. I turned around and saw the screen.
There she was! Mrs. Voorhees dressed in her same pink raincoat holding the cane in her hand. (Show a person dressed in a pink raincoat holding a cane going out, but don’t show the face; let the audience think it was Mrs. Voorhees)
“What a bitch!” – I said to myself and went to bed after switching off the light. Since that night a few changes took place in my daily life. The sound of argument and fight reduced slowly. Mrs. Voorhees stopped behaving like a cruel witch that she was all of a sudden. Every evening she went to her walk wearing that raincoat and holding that cane without screaming at Judy.
Judy’s face also lit up as her life finally sunk into harmony. One time I met her in the hallway and she smiled at me. That was the first time I saw her smiling. Don’t know why it felt a bit creepy. Her wide eyes surrounded by dark circles sparkled as she showcased her pale white teeth.
- “Hello, Samuel.”
- “Hi, Judy! How are you?”
- “I’m good. Finally good after a long time. I had talked with maa, told her she needs to cut me some slack if we are going to live under the same roof. Luckily, she agreed.”
- “Oh, I’m happy for you. Let me know if you need something.”
She walked away with a smile and I went on my way. Days went by and I couldn’t help but think how Mrs. Voorhees became this calm, quiet person all of a sudden. Every time I watched her going to the walk, I wondered what could bring this change to her!
I would have wondered this if not one day I barged inside their apartment. It was a Saturday afternoon and I saw Judy leave in the morning. I was making my lunch when I heard the smoke alarm go off in her apartment. I rushed to her door and started banging on it. I rang the doorbell calling out Mrs. Voorhees’s name several times but she didn’t open the door. Hearing my scream and the alarm the landlord and two other tenants came to my floor. We all thought the old woman must have fainted in the smoke so without giving much thought we broke the door and entered the apartment.
A tea kettle was placed on the stove and somehow Judy forgot to turn off the heat. The smoke from it made the alarm go off like crazy. We brought the situation under control and started to look for Mrs. Voorhees. As soon as we opened the bedroom door all of our hearts skipped a beat. Mrs. Voorhees’s upper body was lying on an armchair. Her throat was slit open and she had been dead for quite a while now. The lower portion of her body was missing. It was a horrible sight to witness for any human being. The reeking smell of her rotten body where maggots have started to crawl sat right in front of us.
I rushed to an apartment on vomited on the kitchen sink. The smell was unbearable. Our landlord called the cops and arrested Judy from the nearby grocery shop. It scared me to sleep when I realised that rainy night her tolerance limit gave up and she murderer her monster mother. She knew very well about my installation of a doorbell camera. She couldn’t get rid of the corpse directly as my camera will record the footage so she came up with a more sinister plan.
Every night she started to chop off a certain amount of her flesh and dressed up as Mrs. Voorhees went out to get rid of that. That’s why I could never see her face. All this time it was Judy taking away her dead mother’s body part pretending to be her. Everything was going according to her plan. She had her perfect alibi that was my doorbell camera footage which was enough to prove Mrs. Voorhees was when in reality her corpse was rotting inside her bedroom.
I was there in the courtroom when the judge sentenced her to life imprisonment for the murder of her mother. She stood in the room silently the entire time. When the cops came to take her away, she looked at me and said – “You know what, Samuel! I should have eaten her after cutting her up…Hahahaha…I should’ve eaten her up right away!”