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The Serial Killer Next Door

by Zaphra Reskakis

Zaphra, a long time Clever contributor, is retired and lives in NYC.

A new apartment, a new life, a great job in a new city, I deserved this after five years of living in denial with a monster, an abusive husband. I felt so free. 

As I turned the key in the lock of my apartment, I heard strange sounds from the apartment adjacent to mine.I inched closer but could not identify the scratchy sounds. I looked at the nameplate, JT Rhypper. Odd name but no stranger than mine or anyone else’s for that matter. I sidled back and entered my apartment. The sounds continued but were not so loud. I wondered what JT stood for and would this be a new female friend or a cute male. 

Later that evening, maybe nine or ten, I heard a door close and lock next door. I looked out of my peephole and caught a glimpse of someone in a black cape, carrying a black case.

I am a fan of horror movies and was delighted to see one of my favorites was on. I turned on the channel and Mr. Jekyll leered at me. That night between my imagination and the movie, I was terrified and hardly slept.

I leaped out of bed when I heard a key in the lock. My heart was racing in my chest until I realized it was the door in apartment next door that was being opened. My clock showed 8:00 A.M. I went to my keyhole post and stifled a scream when I saw the black case on the floor and saw JT Rhypper trying to hold onto a large, bulky  package. It was leaking a red substance. I gasped, I was sure it was blood. I trembled. I could not think. Then, it hit me! JT Rhypper! He couldn’t fool me; this was a copycat of Jack The Ripper.

What should I do? Do I call the police? They would think I was crazy. Do I try to climb into his apartment from a window on the fire escape we shared? Should I just knock on his door and surprise him. I was just frozen. I sat down, trying to think. I got dressed so that I would be ready for any event, had a cup of coffee and was just finishing it. 

I froze as I heard the door open next door and heavy steps coming toward my door. I was glad I had abandoned my keyhole because he might see my eye spying on him. There was a knock. I froze and was dry mouthed as I said, “Who is it?“

I knew it was him coming in for the kill. A deep male voice said, “This is Jonas Rayper, your neighbor. Sorry I have not come by sooner to meet you but I work nights at a nightclub, I play violin. Tonight, my boss gave me a load of meat. They over ordered, we had a slow night so they gave us all some. It is more than I can fit in my refrigerator .Can I give you some as welcome gift? You’re not a vegan are you? 

I let out a sigh, opened the door to a pleasant looking, my-age guy, in jeans and a T-shirt. I smiled as I said, “No, I am not a vegan. Thanks for the welcome neighbor gift.”     

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