The Roommate

This is a short story I wrote for a class. Be warned, this is a rather long short story. If anyone bothers to read the whole thing, then I hope you enjoy it.

The Roommate 

            “Oh! I forgot my camera!” I yell to my mom while I run up the stairs of my house. My dad honks the horn impatiently, I ignore him.

            I run into to kitchen and grab a piece of ham out of the fridge and grab my camera from the drawer under the phone. “Here Duke! Come here boy!” My dog takes one look from across the room and runs toward me when he sees the ham. I grab him and give him a big hug and a kiss. “Are you gonna be a good boy while I’m gone?” He snatches the ham out of my hand and starts to walk off. “See ya later Duke, and Dan! And Pat!” My brothers mumble goodbye but are too enthralled in a video game to look up.

            “Come on!” My dad looks at me like it’s gonna be a long day, but I’m not worried. How grumpy can he be when he’s not going to see me for a month?

            I look out the window as we drive over the hill, catching a last glimpse of my little hometown before it disappears in the fog. “I guess maybe I will miss it a little”.

            Three hours later we pull off the freeway and it starts to hit me, “I’ll miss you”.

            “You’re not rid of us yet!” My mom smiles at me and I attempt to smile back. She starts to fix her hair in the mirror, and she really needs it. I glance into my reflection in the window and realize I’m even more of a mess. As we pull into a too big parking lot I take a deep breath to calm my nerves.

 ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..         

            “Alli, hand me your pillow.” My mom folds the edges of my sheets under my bed just like she was taught when she learned to clean hotel rooms. My dad sits impatiently on my mystery roommate’s unmade bed.

            “Do you really have to leave now” I say to him as I hold back a tear.

            “Yep, we want to get home before dark. What are you so nervous about anyway?”

            “What if my roommate’s mean? What if everyone’s mean?” I’m unable to hide the panic in my voice.

            “Don’t worry so much, they won’t bite” His grin cheers me up and as he hugs me goodbye I feel like maybe it really will be ok.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 

            I turn the map around in my hand unsure which way is up and even more unsure of where I am. Everything looks so unfamiliar, especially in the dimming light. I spot a three-story brick building and walk toward the entrance to read the name above the door. “Connor House, hmm nope.” I turn around to the building next door, “Hetch East Living Area!” I hear a couple of girls laugh behind me as I open the massive door, maybe talking to myself isn’t a good idea.

            “We call it Hell–A for short!” I hear then shout as they walk away and their laughing drowns out any other noise that there might have been.

            When I reach the top of the stairs I notice immediately that my door is open. I walk in and see that my roommate has moved in completely, she is already more organized than me.

            “Hi!” The shrill voice behind me made me jump and I spun around rapidly to see my new roommate. I assessed her quickly. She was at least half-foot taller than me and her eyes were the strongest shade of blue I’ve ever seen. She smiled quickly and shook my hand before I managed to come up with anything to say. “So you’re Alli, right?”

            “Ummm, yep. And you’re Vicky?” I was already living up to my old high school reputation of being way too quiet.

            “That’s me! I want to introduce you to my friends.” She motioned for me to follow her as she walked into the room directly across from ours. “Hey guys this is Alli”, “Alli, this is Megan and Michelle.” I noticed immediately that I was staring at a pair of twins. They were identical in every way except for their clothes. What was weird was that they had the same blue eyes as my new roommate.

            “Nice to meet both of you” I say the only thing I can think of, “So you guys are twins, right?” They nod and I turn to Vicky and ask a question even though it might sound stupid, “You all have the same eyes, are you related to them too?”

            “Nope, it’s just a coincidence” Michelle answers quickly before either of the others open their mouths.

            “Oh, that’s cool.” I glance at my watch and then turn to Victoria, “Well, umm, I’ll see you in the morning. I’m gonna go to bed now.”

            They all giggle quickly before Victoria shushes them and turns to me “It’s only eleven, do you always sleep so early?”

            “Sometimes I stay up till, like, one on the weekend”, even that was a bit of a stretch.

            “Wow, I wonder why they picked us for roommates?” She glanced at me and added with a laugh, “Just kidding, I’m sure it will work out fine. I’ll be quiet when I come in. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

            “Kay, see ya.” I say it with a smile. I close the bedroom door and just stand there for a moment staring at my new home. Well, maybe home isn’t really the right word for it. It is somewhere in between a home and a hotel. A home-tel. I laugh briefly at my own stupid thoughts and then turn the light off and crawl into my foreign bed. I peek out the window at the full moon before I pull the covers over my face and drift into sleep.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 

            “Good Morning.” I hear Vicky’s voice as I smack my alarm clock off and roll out of bed. She is already fully clothed and looks as if she’s been awake for a while. I must have been fast asleep when she came in last night.

            “Do you have a really early class?” It is only seven and I can’t figure out why she would be up so early

            “My first class is at nine, I just like to wake up early” she said this all with a perky smile as she typed away on her laptop. I can’t help but think she is being just a little too friendly.

            As I walk down the hall I hear alarm clocks and blow dryers and I notice that Michelle and Megan’s door is wide open and they look as if they have been awake for hours. I just don’t understand how they can stay up so late and wake up so early.

            “Good Morning!” I look up to see some random girl smiling at me and I smile back. It’s going to take a while to get used to this place and all of these people.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 

            I throw my back pack on my bed and release a big sigh as I flop into my hard desk chair. It’s been a long day. I got lost on my way to my first class, I spilt a bowl of soup on the cafeteria floor at lunch, and I can already tell that my Spanish teacher hates me for no reason. This school just isn’t like the all the brochures made it look. The people are friendly, but almost so much so that they seem fake. Hopefully things will get better soon.

            “Hello roommate!” Vicky skips into the room with a too big smile and heads straight to her closet.

            “Hi. Did you have a really good day? You seem so chipper.” I’m not good with conversation or being friendly, but I’ll try my best.

            “Yep! I’m heading out with Michelle and Megan so I won’t be in till really late. I probably won’t see you until tomorrow. Hope you have a good night” She dug through her closet and pulled out a sparkly black purse and a pair of heels.

            “You too. See ya” I barely had a chance to say anything before she was out the door. What could she and her friends be doing all night on a Tuesday? I know that I’ll be busy with homework all night.

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            “Hi Mom! It’s Alli.” I clutch my phone close to my ear as I walk around campus with nowhere to go and nowhere to be.

            “Hi honey! How are you? How’s school going?” I can hear the excitement in her voice, but I can also detect a slight note of worry.

            “Oh, it’s ok. It’ll probably just take a while to adjust. I’ll probably be totally happy in a week or two.” I’m not really sure if I believe what I was saying, but I really hope it’s true.

            “I’m sure you’ll cheer up. You’re just homesick. So, how do you like your roommate?”

            “Well, she’s really friendly, but we don’t talk all that much. She’s out with her friends all the time; I don’t know how she gets any homework done!” I hope I didn’t make her sound too bad, she really is pretty nice, when she’s around.

            “Hmmm, does she party all the time, or what?”

            “I’m not sure, maybe. She does look like the partying type, like a cheerleader maybe. But I don’t think so. I never hear her stumble in drunk or anything. Actually I never hear her come in ever. And she always up really early, so I don’t think she’s ever hung over.”

            “Well you never know.” My mom keeps talking, going on about something unimportant, but I’m not listening anymore. I can see my roommate and her two best friends across the parking lot. They are in a tight circle and I know they must be whispering, but about what? They look so secretive, like they are trying to be invisible. I’m surprised I even saw the three of them all in black huddled by the side of a black minivan. “Hello! Alli! Are you still there?” My mom’s voice draws my attention back and I shake my head quickly to clear it of my far off thoughts.

            “Oh yeah. Sorry I got distracted by… umm, a hot guy.” I said it more as a question than a statement and I’m not really sure why I lied.

            My mom laughed and went on with her conversation; she must not have detected the confusion in my voice. When we finally hang up I am reluctant to say goodbye and return to my lonely dorm room.

            When I walk in I see Vicky at her desk with text books spread everywhere, as if she’d been studying for hours. She flashes me a quick smile and continues with taking notes from a large text-book. She must be catching up on all the studying she didn’t do during the week.

            “So, what did you do this afternoon?” I try not to sound nosy, but I’m wondering if she will mention anything about sneaking around in all black with her friends.

            “I’ve been studying since noon. Gotta catch up on my homework, I have two big tests tomorrow.” She didn’t look up from her work and I could tell she didn’t want to be bothered. It is nearly four o’clock and I know she is lying, I just don’t know why.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 

            I sit at my desk staring at my text-book, but not reading. My thoughts are definitely not on the history of Asia. I’ve been here for two and a half weeks now and things still don’t feel quite right. I can’t wait to go home in a week and a half, that seems so far off though. My roommate continues with her strange behavior of staying up all night and waking up really early. I’ve even spotted her a few more times sneaking around the school with her friends, always dressed in all black. She seems inseparable from the twins across the hall. I have stopped asking her questions and I’m starting to wonder if maybe I don’t want to know the truth.

            “I know! Isn’t it crazy! … Yeah, I’m super exited, we’re gonna have so much fun! …Yeah I’m so hungry, I can’t wait!” Vicky grabs a pair of black sweats out of her dresser while she talks excitedly on her cell phone, “Kay, see you then. Bye!” She begins changing into the sweats and pulling her hair into a high bun.

            “Are you actually going to bed?” I joke, but I’m sure the answer is no.

            “Nope, I’m going to sleep in a friend’s room tonight, like a sleepover. It’s going to be so much fun. Have a good night.” She is out the door before I can even respond. When she slams the door I hear something in her closet bounce to the floor.

            I wait a few minutes to make sure she is really gone. As I walk towards the closet I glance to the door to be sure it is locked. I really shouldn’t be snooping around; a coat probably just fell off its hanger. I reach for the closet door, but stop myself. This just isn’t right; I’m being a bad roommate. But she will never find out, I tell myself as I reach for the door handle and pull it. I won’t budge; it must be locked from the inside. Now I’m really curious and I reach for the door farther from me and it opens with ease.

            Something round rolls out of the closet and I can’t tell what it is before it rolls under her desk. I bend over slowly and reach under her desk without looking. What I pick up is hard and cold, not perfectly round. I have no idea what it is when I bring the object within my eyesight. It only takes seconds to realize it is a skull, a human skull. I feel my heart speed up as I search the way too realistic skull for a “made in China” or a brand name or something. But there is nothing.

            I set the skull on the floor of her closet so it doesn’t look like I touched it. I stare for a minute at her neatly organized shoe. I don’t want to look up, but I can’t pretend a skull didn’t just fall out of her closet.

            I take a deep breath and stand with my eyes closed tight. It will probably be nothing. Maybe she keeps a fake skeleton in her closet to study with; she is a pre-med major after all. I open my eyes quickly before I chicken out and a gasp escapes my mouth before I even know what to think. Three more skulls are lined up on the top shelf of closet and beside them is a large glass jar. I stand on the tips of my toes and squint my eyes to make out the figures in the jar. It is packed with round objects and filled with blue liquid. I look closer and I realize that they are eyeballs; a few are staring right at me.

            I take a step back and bump into something tall and hard, that couldn’t be her desk.

I swirl around quickly and I’m staring right into Vicky’s bright blue eyes. Now I’m in trouble.

            “Hello Allison” Her voice is friendly but accusing. Her eyes are angry and fierce, but her smile is as pleasant as ever.

            “Err… something fell in your closet and I was just making sure nothing was broken.” She doesn’t respond, just pierces me with her icy eyes. “Nothing’s broken. It’s all good, so I’m just gonna go now. I’ve gotta…ummm meet with some friends. Yeah, see ya”. I turn and reach for the door knob.

            “Stop,” Her voice is commanding and I feel guilty for sneaking around. I’ve been caught, now I need to face her. “I can explain all of this” she now spoke calmly and I waited for her explanation. “The heads are from my dad. He hunts Gorillas in Africa. I never see him, this is all I have to remind me of him” Her eyes look sad and sincere and now I really feel guilty, but I’m not totally convinced.

            “And the jar full of eyeballs?” I’m sure she’ll have a clever excuse for that too.

            She laughs briefly and rolls her eyes before answering, “Don’t be silly! Ewe, I would never keep a jar of eyeballs in my closet. Those are fake. They are just hard-boiled eggs I decorated to look like eyes. That’s why I came back, I was supposed to bring them to my friends’ sleepover but I forgot.” She reached up and grabbed the jar. They still looked like eyeballs to me.

            “If my closet makes anymore noises you can come tell me, I’m just across the hall at Michelle and Megan’s room.” She jokes as she leaves but I can tell that she is mad at me, and she should be. I was jumping to conclusions and snooping around in her closet.

            I still had unanswered questions and her excuses seemed a little farfetched. My biggest question was how did she get into the room and stand right behind me without me noticing. I guess I was just really distracted by the skulls and eyeballs.

            I’ve already been a horrible roommate tonight, so why not just do one more bad thing? That is my reasoning as I walk towards her desk as quietly as possible. I stare at the door to our room as I silently open the top drawer. I glance in quickly and see only normal things: paper clips, a stapler, and a few notebooks. The other three drawers also house school supplies.

            I back up toward her dresser while staring at the door. The top drawer holds under clothes. The next drawer is full of shirts and pants that I’ve seen her wear many times. The third drawer is full of black clothes and nothing else. I pull at the fourth drawer but it doesn’t budge. This is just creepy.

            Returning to my desk and I can’t think of anything else to do. I leave my room and walk down the long hallway. I stop at the window to stare at the large full moon. Suddenly I hear a noise coming from outside. By peaking through the window I can see something moving three stories below but it is far too dark to make out what the object is. I open the window and I hear hushed voices whispering hurriedly. The voice sounds a bit like Vicky’s, but it sounds as if she has a sore throat and is really mad. My eyes have now adjusted to the darkness a bit and I can make out three small figures below, huddled close together.

            I walk silently to Megan and Michelle’s door and stand there for a second. It is a Saturday night and I’m the only one lame enough to be walking around the dorm when they could be out having fun. I press my ear to the cold door and wait for a sound, but it is completely silent. This is just too much of a coincidence, I think as I walk down the three flights of stairs as quietly as I can.

            I exit using the door opposite of where I saw the three figures standing. It takes some effort to close the heavy metal door silently, but once I’m in the grass walking quietly takes no extra effort. I stop before I reach the edge of the wall and can just barely make out what is being said between who I’m now sure is my roommate and her two best friends.

            “I want to do it now!” A whiny voice breaks through the others and I cannot distinguish which twin is talking.

            “No! We must wait for the strike of midnight! You can wait two hours.” This was definitely Vicky. I don’t know what they are talking about, but I don’t think it’s good.

            “We’re really thirsty! Why wait when we could have it now?”

            “It will be much easier when she’s asleep. And you know this is how we were taught to feed by our elders. They would be ashamed to know we broke tradition simply because you and your sister were impatient.” I feel as if my breath is being sucked out of my body and I am frozen as crazy and unimaginable thoughts race through my head.

            I’m not sure how long it has been silent, only a few seconds maximum, but something feels wrong and I think I’ve heard enough to know I’m in big trouble. I turn quietly and walk as quickly and silently through the grass as I possibly can. As I turn the corner I glance over my shoulder to make sure they are not behind me. I keep looking backwards as I climb the stairs to the heavy metal door. I breathe a sigh of relief and my thoughts are focused on my survival, they must not have noticed me, but what am I going to do now? I have just over an hour till midnight.

            I look forward to the door as I reach the top step and standing in front of it are three tall, blonde girls dressed in all black: Vicky, Megan, and Michelle. Their eyes are a brighter blue than I’ve ever seen them. I try to breathe and think of something to say, but my body is frozen as I feel the blood draining out of my face. The three girls slowly inch closer to me, now opening their mouths slightly. In the moon light I can make out a pair of fangs peeking through each of their twisted smiles.

            I can feel my heart racing and I wonder for a moment if they can hear it. I feel as if my body has taken over when suddenly I’m jumping down the stairs and racing through the grass as fast as my legs will carry me. I’m not much of a runner and I don’t think I’ll be able to last much longer against the three girls whose legs are much longer than mine. I feel one of my shoes slip off and I remember that I decided to wear my favorite too big black shoes today instead of my gym shoes. Bad choice.

            I can hear panting behind me and it almost sounds as if someone is laughing at me. Light washes onto the sidewalk a bit ahead of me and I can see a glass door and two guys standing just inside of it chatting. If I can just make it there I might be ok for a while. Suddenly the men turn and disappear behind a wall and my feet fall from under my body forcing my head to rush toward the ground. I pull my hands forward, but not fast enough to keep my head from slamming into the cold, damp ground.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 

            I smell pancakes and can hear my mom chatting away on the phone. What the hell is going on, I think as I regain consciousness. I blink my eyes hard several times and take a few deep breathes. My head is killing me and my hands are so numb it feels as if I’ve been sleeping on them all night. Was that all just a dream? It seemed so real, but it was so unrealistic. I release a massive sigh of relief as I realize it must have all been a dream. I pull my blankets back to roll out of bed, but as I do this I glance down to my feet which don’t feel quite right. What I see sucks all of the breath from my chest: I am wearing just one black shoe.

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