He said he saw nothing. Didn’t hear a sound. Hadn’t noticed that the light was flickering in the hallway; a bulb nearly burnt out. There were several things the boy didn’t notice that night. It was late. He’d just came home from a bar down the street where he’d drank all night and watched shows about stupid tricks people play on each other. The young man was drinking shots and beers. Cheap whiskey from the well. Cold Old Style cans sweated in his hands. The moon was full.
Crazy folks come out when the moon is full, the old man sitting next to him said. People do crazy things, the old man laughed. Sometimes you’ll catch em doing crazy things. Most times not. They’ll drive a car wrecklessly. Hold people up at gunpoint. Rob liquor stores. Commit murder, he said. Did you know that most crimes take place under a full moon?
Really? the boy asked.
I don’t know. Just made that up. But, it sounds right don’t it? the two laughed.
Nothing seemed out of order. The boarding house was the same as always. A constant drip came from the bathroom down the hall. The crazy man in room number 1 was talking to himself as always. Talking about the end of the world. Saying the horsemen were coming.
Boy walked to the end of the hall and unlocked his door. His Irish flag on the wall was falling. Holding on by a piece of tape. His bed was un-made. A mess. Covers wadded up in a ball. He sat by the window and lit a cigarette. Looked at the moon. Thought about astronauts walking on the moon. Laughed. A Hollywood movie set, he said. A Hollywood movie set, continued looking at the moon. There was a knock on his door.
Who is it? the boy asked from across the room. No answer. I said, who is it? he got up from the window ledge. Walked to the door. You gonna tell me what you want? The knocking continued. No voice. Just knocking on wood. I’m gonna call the cops if you don’t cut it out, he yelled. Come on now. Knock it off, he put out his cigarette on the tile floor. Made a burn mark along with the others. Black streaks on a yellowed floor. The knocking stopped. Silence. He could hear breathing on the other side. The boy pulled out his gun from the nightstand drawer next to his bed.
The heavy breathing continued. He decided he would open the door just a crack. Boy stuck the end of his pistol out just a bit. Looked through the crack. Saw a woman stading there. A tall woman with blonde hair. Wearing long sleeves in summer time. She was gasping for air.
Don’t shoot, she said. Please don’t shoot. He looked at her a little more. Opening the door just a few more inches. I need help, she said. My boyfriend next door his dead. He just died while we were doing it. Died on top of me. He was going at it and then he just stopped. No breath. Nothing. He’s just dead. The boy opened the door completely. Stepped out into the hallway. Looked at her. Looked at her legs all scared up. Bumps and bruises.
Did you call the police?
Don’t you think you should do that? she shook her head. I think that’s best. Call the cops. I’m sorry for your loss. And with that he closed the door. The boy could hear her walking down the hall to the next room. Knocking away. She just kept knocking. He laid in bed listening to the sound of her pounding on doors till it was quiet. Too quiet. He looked at the clock and it read 2:30 a.m.