Detective Blackwater Goes To Hell

Entering the apartment building, he found himself in a cavernous lobby, ominous and grey, where the dirty light cast flickering islands of light upon the floor, darkness constantly scratching at its edges, protesting it’s invasion. It didn’t seem like a place it where people lived; rather it seemed to be a place that was found somewhere between existence, where the fact that people lived here was only dimly implied, somehow lost amongst the cracked walls and the winding corridors. Sam glanced over at the doorman’s desk as he passed, where a large pile of newspapers had accumulated. The paper on top was current, but unread. He was aware that the building was unnerving him; a vague and ill-defined fear had begun to creep up his spine, causing him to hurry in his steps. A patrolman appeared from the gloom. Seeming relieved to see another person, his eyes flicked around the lobby, as though he feared the building itself was watching him.
‘Detective?’ he called, as he moved closer, cautiously navigating the steps leading down from the hallway.
‘ … Detective, is that you?’
Sam reached for his identification.
‘Yes. I received the call about twenty minutes ago. Are you the only one here?’ he asked.
‘Sorry, I can’t see a damn thing in here. Blackwater right?’
‘Yes.’
‘Got a call from this location about a disturbance in one of the apartments, Number 164. The call was placed from the lobby.’ The patrolman glanced over his shoulder. ‘But it’s strange. There’s no one here.’
Sam paused for a moment. No one being home wasn’t all that unusual, and he begun to doubt the competency of the Officer before him. He did possess a rather slack-jawed quality, and perhaps more incriminating, had neglected to button his shirt properly. You’d think he’d have enough practice at that, Sam thought darkly.
‘No one in the apartment?’
‘Well, there’s a dead person in there. But I mean the building. There’s no one in the building. At all.’
This seemed unlikely, as the building was large enough to easily house five hundred people, and the chances of every inhabitant all having plans to be out at this particular time of night, were very slim. Although, Sam supposed that they could be a community of people who were just very heavy sleepers. Perhaps.
‘No one at all? No one asleep, watching television, playing scrabble? Have you checked other apartments?’ he asked, a tinge of accusation creeping into his tone.
‘Of course I have.’ The patrolman gave Sam a look that implied he took this as a suggestion that he was either blind, deaf or just very stupid. This wasn’t altogether far from being correct.
‘I checked three floors. There’s no one home, at any of the apartments. But lights are on; televisions are on, it seems totally normal. Except there’s no one here.’
With his nerves fraying further with each passing moment, Sam begun to regret taking the call. He could have quite easily have stayed in bed, and cuddled up to his pet beagle, which he attempted to reason was not a substitute for lack of meaningful human contact – merely a convenient source of heat.
‘Ok. I’m going to go up and have a look. Stay down here in the lobby.’
Relief crossed the patrolman’s face. It seemed that going any further into the building was akin to venturing further into hell. Sam turned, and headed for the stairs. Slowly, he started up them, keeping his eyes forward, suddenly aware that it seemed as if the walls were closing around him, causing his breath to sharpen.
‘Oh, and Detective?’ The patrolman called out. Sam paused, sincerely hoping that the patrolman was offering to go in his place.
‘Be careful. This place gives me the creeps. And who plays Scrabble at 3am?’
Not answering, Sam continued up the stairs. ‘I play scrabble at 3am’, he thought.

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