Fiction logo

Behind Walls And Windows

"Puddles of deep, dark red spreading across the hardwood floor. Growing in all directions."

By Stephen Kramer AvitabilePublished 2 years ago 21 min read
Behind Walls And Windows
Photo by Peter Herrmann on Unsplash

Puddles of deep, dark red spreading across the hardwood floor. Growing in all directions. And more spilling on top, adding to the mess. Pit-pat. Pit-pat. Droplets continue to fall.

“Well, don’t just stand there! Grab some fucking paper towels!” Abe shouts. A grin on his mouth but a look of disbelief deep inside his light blue eyes.

Jalen’s arms are out, perpendicular to his body. His knees rock his body back and forth in a confused manner.

“We used the last of your paper towels for dinner, remember?” Jalen looks to Abe for help in the matter. He chortles. Abe responds with laughter of his own. They both look to me.

“So, I have to be the adult?” I ask in disbelief.

Jalen holds his wine glass, just a drop or two left in the glass. Most of it spreading even as we speak. Abe and Jalen stand over it like two dumb pillars surrounding a red pool.

“Oh, Omid!” Abe snaps his fingers and points at me. I hate it when he does that. “Aren’t there sheets in that closet we don’t use?”

“You don’t use the sheets, or you don’t use the closet?” Jalen asks.

“Both! That closet we never go in. You put those sheets in there Omid, and you never use those.”

I rush to the closed door that leads to our hallway, fling it open and approach the closet. The closet I’ve opened maybe twice since we’ve lived here. Once to toss some extra sheets inside. And a second time, if I remember correctly, to get the sheets. Likely, the sheets are no longer in here. Even if they are, they’re there just in case I need clean sheets. Not just in case my roommate and his boneheaded friend spill wine.

I open the closet and it squeaks loudly. It creaks as I pull it all the way open. No sheets where I had last placed them. I reach to the back like there’s going to be extra sheets or napkins or who-knows-the-fuck what in this closet. My hands press against the backboard of the six-foot high closet, and it quivers and slowly swings backwards. I had never noticed this before. Inside the closet door is a false wall that presses open to reveal more shelf space. Strange, there are actually more sheets back here. They must be Abe’s.

“Abe, you got sheets in the back of this closet?” I call out.

“Yeah, whatever, grab ‘em, man! Hurry! It’s getting close to the wall!” Abe sounds frantic.

I place my hands on the dingy, sand-colored sheets. The texture on them is not unclean, just old. As if the years they’ve seen are peeling off into my palms. I tug at them, they’re stuck on something. As I tug, it’s almost as if they’re being tugged back out of my reach. A swift yank frees them from the closet.

Abe and Jalen dance around the puddle of wine like frantic cavemen unsure of the fire they’ve just created. Old sheets thrown on top. Wine soaked up. Crisis averted. Sheets tossed in the trash.

Jalen doesn’t leave until well after midnight and Abe and I immediately retire to our rooms. I remind him to buy paper towels since he used up the last of them. He gives me one of those “uh huh’s” that, although it’s an affirmative answer, it was completely the opposite. There won’t be paper towels in this house until I get them. I’m going to start keeping an extra roll in my room.


Dreams are a tricky business. As absurd as they are, whether you’re on a mountaintop carrying a cat with your mother’s voice or wrestling a toddler-version of yourself in a museum you’ve never stepped foot in, it is still so difficult to convince yourself it was just a dream. Now, when your dream takes place in your own bedroom and nothing looks any different, it’s almost impossible to make the distinction.

As I lay on my back in my bed I realize, this is obviously a dream. I never sleep on my back. I’m one of those facedown-sleepers. The other thing that tipped me off was the pale blue lady floating at the edge of my bed. Her skin was so pale, that I could see through it. However, what I saw through it, was not the wall behind her. It was a window. And her white dress flowed in a wind that did not exist, just as her wavy hair did. Her wavy, colorless hair. Not white, not transparent, just not a color. Not a color I could describe, anyway. A sensation to my eye emitted from her hair that is not one I have ever seen.

She floats a foot off of the floor, the bottoms of my sheets in her blue hands. She lifts the sheet up, almost playfully. A draft enters and cold swirls around my bare feet. I grab my sheets and pull back with a look in my eyes that says, “Stop!”

Her hands grab the sheets again. Lifting them up, sliding them off of me. I attempt to grab the sheets, but cool air enters under my sheets again. It swirls up my legs and my midsection and attaches to my arms. The cool air solidifies into fingers that grip my forearms and pin them down. The cool air pushes in under my sheets infinitely. More and more swirls in and pins me down with the dexterity of fingers and power of hands and arms. I am being pinned down completely, all the while, the blue hands of the floating lady hold my sheets in the air. A giggle emanates from her unopened mouth and echoes above me. Her dead eyes, sunken, black, gaze at me. A glint of life in them for a moment, as they stare dead through me.

Alright, it’s just a dream, but I am absolutely ready for this to end. Now. Now. Now!

I am trying to move my body but there is not a centimeter of a muscle I have any control over. Like I’m completely paralyzed. I just have to stare back into these eyes and their consuming nature. Dead. Yet, consuming my stare. Pulling me in. I’m having trouble breathing. Why are my lungs not working? Why is my tongue growing? Why can’t I open my mouth and scream?!

And then my body rips out of the dream, and I shoot up out of my bed into a sitting position… and nothing is there. No floating lady. My sheets left alone. No cool breeze. But my feet are freezing. And I’m on my back. Well, I was. I’m currently sitting up in my bed.

Alright. It was just a dream. Even though everything in my room looked exactly as it does now. The color of the limited 3:00 A.M. light in the room has the same color and hue. But it had to be a dream. It’s just going to take a lot of convincing myself. I reposition myself onto my stomach, sheets over my head, tucked in from all angles, no chance of them getting lifted up. Face down in the pillow. If I hide my face and my eyes from the rest of the room, then it didn’t happen.


Bryan and I stroll past the lines of plain cubicles, all the same as the last, all a preview of the next. He holds his coffee to his lips without drinking it as he intently listens to my story. I clutch mine like it’s my lifeforce.

“Wow!” Bryan looks like he’s speaking into his coffee as if it’s a microphone. “That is a frightening dream. I wouldn’t have slept either.”

“Yeah, that’s why I got the added espresso.” I sip my coffee in response to my own uttering of espresso as I remember, I need this shit in me now, so I don’t doze off.

“Maybe you should take off early and take a nap, Omid.” Bryan suggests as he examines the dark bags under my eyes.

“No, I’ll be fine.” I try to reassure him. He’s a good friend. Almost too caring.

“Did you tell Abe about this?”

“No, he was already gone when I woke up this morning, he usually is. Besides, who knows what he would even say to all of this.”

We stroll towards our bay. I scan my keycard and open the weighted door. We enter and Abe and Jalen are already well-situated in their seats. Their work sits in front of them on their computer screens, but they neglect it as they’re deep in conversation. They see us, wave, and return to their computers while Bryan and I plop into our seats and fire up our computers.

“Hi, hi.” Abe spins back towards us. We greet him and then Jalen spins back around to face us.

“You should tell Omid, so he knows to watch out too!” Jalen has the grin of a child who only knows how to start trouble.

“Shut up, Jalen.” Abe smiles but his voice suggests slight annoyance in Jalen’s persistence. “I said it was just a dream. I don’t believe anything happened. It was just scary.”

“Uh, a dream?” Those words piqued my interest.

“Abe had a nightmare about some lady ghost in his room last night!” Jalen’s voice has all the tone of a school bully getting ready to stuff a kid in his locker.

My coffee slips right out of my hand and crashes on the floor. Several “oh shit’s” later along with me and Bryan acting swiftly to avert the damage and save as much coffee as possible, and Abe tells his story.

“Yeah, I was just telling him, I had a nightmare, but whatever, that was it. But it was this creepy lady with a white dress, floating over my bed and she kept pulling my pillows out from underneath my head. And I woke up after and my pillows were on the floor, but I probably just knocked them off in my sleep.”

“Oh, don’t forget the blue skin!” Jalen finds this all too entertaining. Luckily, I had just set my coffee down on my desk, otherwise I would’ve dropped it again. The muscles in my wrist have lost all functionality.

“Whatever.” Abe is visibly aggravated with Jalen. “Must have been the wine. I never have wine that late. It was scary, you wouldn’t have enjoyed it either Jalen.”

“Oh yeah, a floating Smurfette sounds terrifying.” Jalen returns to work.

“Not that kind of blue.” Abe punches Jalen solidly in the arm. He returns to work as well. Bryan stares at me with a quivering chin. I slowly shake my head at him. I don’t want this conversation to continue any longer, but I need to know one last thing.

“Abe,” I say softly. “In that closet we never use, behind my sheets, behind that false wall, you put your sheets back there, right?”

“False wall?” Abe’s absurd look in his eyes has already answered my question with the answer I absolutely did not want. “I didn’t know there was a false wall. And I don’t have any extra sheets, anyway. All my shit’s on my bed, dude.”


After a long walk to and from the coffee place, I have just about gotten all of this out of my head. All of this… coincidence, that’s what it is. I walk back into the bay, convincing myself I won’t talk to anyone about any of this and convincing myself I won’t think about it. I enter, Bryan looks at me first, then Abe and Jalen spin around in their chairs.

“You had a dream about a blue lady too?!” Abe explodes.

“Oh my goodness, you two are so ridiculous!” Jalen is busting a gut.

I shoot daggers out of my eyes at Bryan’s direction.

“Come on, Omid.” Bryan pleads with me, his heart in the right place. But that doesn’t make me less angry with him. “It’s too strange. You both had a dream about the same thing, the same night! I had to tell him. Something is going on there!”

“Yeah, they watched the same movie that night, or something like that.” Jalen still finds everything amusing. Even though we were both with him that night and didn’t watch any movies, let alone, movies with floating blue ladies.

“Yeah, it’s no big deal.” Abe is clearly shaken. He’s doing his best tough guy impression. “Omid’s being a baby about this. You know what, I don’t want to stay at the place if you’re going to be acting all crazy like this, Omid. I won’t get any sleep if you’re bugging out like this. Jalen, I’m staying with you tonight.”

Jalen slaps his palm over his face, allowing snorts to squish through the cracks between his fingers.

“Not because I’m scared!” Abe doth protest too much. “Because Omid is going to be scared and dumb and I don’t feel like dealing with that. Sorry Omid, you got to relax about this stuff.”

Wow, so I got the place to myself tonight.


I’m home and it has been a long day. Today has been two days long. I have the stink of a long day of work on me, nervous sweats still persisting through my pores. My eyes burn with the fire of ‘tired.’ I feel like I need to be refreshed. I’m going to take a shower.

And it is doing the trick. The hot water, the steam, whatever the ingredients are in my shampoo, it’s all helping rejuvenate me. I squirt the body wash into my hand, lather it up and start to cleanse this awful day off my face. This is the part that always helps the most. Scrubbing off the dust accumulated from work, refreshing my skin cells, letting the suds do their work.

As I’m scrubbing my forehead, a long and slow creaking noise emanates from the door in the bathroom. It is slowly being pushed open and creaks all the way through. It thuds as it bumps into the wall. I panic, my eyes shoot open. Soap drips into my eyes and they slam back shut! The sting of the soap rolls to the back of my eyeballs and they’re both entirely burning, every centimeter. My hands return to my eyes, as if to aid them, but they’re covered in soap!

A soft and wet thud of a damp foot slaps against the tile floor of my bathroom. I can only see black… and wavy red streaks. I try to open my eyes, but they are pressed so tightly shut. Another wet slap of a foot on the tile floor. I spin in the shower in such a panic, I almost slip. I stick my hands out into the spray of water from the showerhead, rinsing the soap off them.

Another wet footstep closing in towards the shower. My bathroom is not that large, it doesn’t take that many steps to get from the door to the shower. I rinse the soap from my hands and start splashing water on my face. I crane my neck towards the stream of water, but the water cleanses the soap off my forehead, sending more soap cascading down in front of my eyes. Another wet footstep, the loudest yet. The closest yet. I use my hands to wipe the soap from my eyes furiously. Just enough so that I can open my eyes. I blink hard and painfully, freeing myself from blindness.

I turn to the shower curtain, a shadow darkening most of it. Soft breathing on the other side.

I grasp the edge of the shower curtain and ready myself for the worst moment of my life, for the worst sight I could possibly see, ready for the end. I rip the shower curtain open… nothing. No one in the bathroom. But the door is wide open.

And there are several puddles of water in the shape of feet, from the door to the shower. But the toes are not pointed towards the shower, they’re pointed away. As if the footsteps came FROM the shower… the shower that I’m in.

I turn the water off. I am clean enough.

I sit in the living room, steaming cup of coffee, TV on a comforting show that I have seen a thousand times. It is 10:00 P.M. but I am not planning on sleeping anytime soon… maybe not anytime at all.

The door to the hallway, the one that is inexplicably there, is closed. With the latch clicked shut and the door firmly in place in the doorway. The closet sits just on the other side of the door… out of sight.

Hours pass, coffee cup refilled several times over, bags of chips and cookies torn open and scattered on the coffee table. Something like a million and one episodes have played, I know every line, every scene, yet I give myself faux investment in it in order to preoccupy my mind.

Another sip of hot coffee, it warms my throat, it flows down my chest. My torso devours it and heaves with energy and activity. I set the coffee cup down and lean back on the couch, resting my arm on the arm of the couch. The heat from the coffee hangs in my body for a while, but the slow-spinning fan above me dissipates the heat. I slowly feel a calming and relaxing cool, hugging my body. Resting on my skin. Playing on my arm… stroking my forearm, pressure applying to my wrist, cold and strong.

Nothing the wind can do…

As I snap my neck to the right to look at my arm, spikes dig into my wrist and yank my arm backwards! I turn and see my arm get wrenched backwards in an awkward fashion, my whole body even is jerked to the back of the couch. I scan quickly, nothing on my arm, nothing near me. The pitter patter of feet receding to my left scatters across the hardwood floor. I jerk my head 180 degrees the other way.

The door to the hallway creaks slowly open, the result of having been pushed open. It slows to a stop, halfway open. Semi-revealing the hallway, and the closet behind it. The door ajar, ever so slightly.

I shut the closet door again and place a chair in front of it. I return to the couch, sweating, near hyperventilating. I suddenly feel the pain on my forearm. I look to it. It isn’t cut or scraped or scratched. Rather, it has five distinct bruise marks. Colored dark yellowy-green like that of bruises that have been there for days.


I didn’t get to sleep until the sun had fully risen and I only slept for an hour and a half until I had to get ready for work.

I shower. I do not wash my face.

I put on the clothes I wore the day before. I do not go in my room.

I drive to the mall. I buy new clothes and change into them in my car. I do not keep my old clothes. I throw them in a dumpster.

I drive to work. I do not know what I am doing.


Working alongside Bryan, Abe and Jalen… I believe they are talking. I don’t know what they are saying. I’m just trying my hardest to stay awake and work. I stop working for a moment and allow myself to lean back in my chair.

“Omid. Hi, hi.” Abe pounces on the opportunity to talk to me. “How was it last night? Any bad dreams?”

Everyone turns and eagerly awaits my answer. I simply shake my head. I open my mouth and attempt to speak the word “no,” but I am not certain it even escaped.

“Alright, good.” Abe is genuinely relieved. He catches a glimpse from Jalen and puts the tough guy mask back on. “I’m glad you’re over that nonsense, I can actually come back home tonight and not have to worry about you freaking out.”

“We going to the concert after work?” Jalen asks as he and Abe instinctively get up at the same time to leave, as if the two share a brain or are attached at the hip.

“Eh, I don’t really feel like it.” Abe begrudgingly gets pulled along by the tether from Jalen’s hip to his. “I’m just gonna go home after work.”

“Oh, come on!” Jalen’s plea is devoted yet lacking substance as the two leave.

“Did nothing really happen?” Bryan asks. “Because I was looking stuff up about your place…”

“Bryan—” is really all I can muster up.

“Listen, the woman who lived there before you, lived there for about two years, coworkers said she started acting strange one day and then just went missing the next day. They never found her. And the guy who lived there before her, single guy. Well, divorced. But he was arrested. Suspected of kidnapping his daughter from his ex-wife. They later found the daughter… deceased… in the walls. There was like this, false wall or something. Does any of that… sound like anything to you?”

My chest heaves but my breath is gone. I shake my head and turn around. The only way I am going to get through this, is for it to not exist. For ghosts to not exist. For everything to be coincidental. To stop thinking about all of this.


Work is over with. But there’s traffic. And I probably couldn’t last three minutes in my car without falling asleep at the wheel. So, I take a nap at my desk, unbothered, a few hours. It does me all the good in the world. After a few hours of uninterrupted sleep, I’m finally ready to go home. And I’m not thinking of… anything.


I enter the apartment, toss my keys on the coffee table. The couch is inviting. I plop myself down. A pleasant smell enters my nostrils. Oh, it’s Abe’s incense. I have to say, I love it when he lights these things. They always have such a calming scent. Who knows if this is sandalwood or some other scent… it instantly relaxes me. I turn the TV on and zone out. Completely relaxed for the first time in a while. The smoke from the incense hangs in the air and floats around my head, the smell very strong now. I guess Abe lit it out here somewhere and then went in his room. Wouldn’t be the first time. He isn’t Mr. Cerebral.

The smoke dissipates, the smell fades. The feeling of relaxation lingers. And then… keys jingling in the doorknob of the front door. The doorknob twisting, turning, the front door is pushed open. Abe enters, Jalen behind him laughing raucously. My eyes pop open.

“Hi, hi.” Abe gives me his patented greeting then turns back to Jalen. “Oh, I am so glad I changed my mind! That concert was crazy!”

“I thought you had said you were coming home after work.” I manage to utter.

“What is he your husband?” Jalen chortles. Abe laughs in response and moseys over to the freezer, pulls out an ice pack and presses it to his mouth as he returns to the living room.

“What did you do?” I ask with concern, not over his mouth, but over the situation that I find myself in. Aromas in our apartment, and no one is here to create them. No one with a living body, that is.

“Some dude caught me in the mouth with his watch. Cut the inside of my lip.” Abe presses his tongue to his lip and reveals a bit of blood. He presses the ice pack back to his mouth. “But I’m gonna go to bed. See ya tomorrow, J?”

Jalen waves to Abe, looks to me and smirks and then leaves. Abe starts towards the hallway and stops.

“Hey.” Abe is standing there. I turn to look at him. “If you’re going to be burning my incense, you could at least kick in some money for me to replace it.”

Abe heads off to his room and I hunker down in the couch. I am not going to my room. I have to take that hallway to get to my room. I glance towards the hallway. Abe left the door cracked open. I hurriedly shut it and return to the couch. Back to the TV. No chance of sleep tonight.

Except I awaken several hours later after having drifted off. And of course, the blue lady floats above me, directly in front of me. I had only cracked my eyes open and I keep them that way. Not fully open. Hoping to hide my state of being awake behind my eyelashes. Maybe she won’t notice. A giggle omits from closed lips. No, she noticed.

Cold touches land on my ankles, dance up my shins, creep up my thighs. I am not moving. I am not sure if I have tried and cannot move or if I am too scared to even try. The cold retreats. The blue lady does too. She billows away like a thin cloud of smoke. And I hear the hallway door squeak open. But I am too scared to look.


I awaken again in a hurry, but now it’s daylight out. I fell asleep again? As terrified as I was, I must have been more tired. I turn to the hallway. The door is cracked open. But that could be from Abe, right? I check my phone. 9:12 A.M. Yeah, Abe would have left for work by now. Maybe he opened the door. Maye that was a dream last night. Maybe this has all been dreams, brought on by an overworked, overtired brain.

And then Abe exits the hallway, stumbling around like a newborn calf. He walks right into the kitchen, grabs a box of cereal, pops it open and starts eating straight from it as he walks back to his room.

“No work today?” I squeak out of my scratchy throat.

“No. No work.” Abe mumbles through a mouth full of cereal as he heads back to his room and slams the door shut. Probably hungover from last night and called out sick.

And I go to work. And Jalen and Bryan are asking about Abe. I tell them I assume he is sick, which doesn’t seem so strange.

But then it starts to seem strange after I have said it the next day. And the Monday of the week after. And then I start to realize, I haven’t seen Abe since that morning. Jalen tells me he hasn’t either. And Abe won’t respond to his texts.

And a couple more days have passed and no one has seen Abe. He is gone. Rent is due and he won’t answer any of my texts. Jalen tells us how Abe had been musing about getting back together with an ex at the concert. Apparently, they had started speaking again. Did he just up and leave his life for an ex-girlfriend?

It’s tough to figure out what to make of all of this. Especially since I haven’t had any more issues with… dreams… or anything for that matter. Until a few nights later. The closet door I was too afraid to touch. I finally closed it. While sitting on the couch afterwards, I decided to open a bottle of wine for myself. I hadn’t even had one sip, when suddenly, the taste of blood ran through my mouth. I tasted it, it was pungent, but there was no liquid in my mouth. No blood.

I even wiped my inner lip with my finger. Nothing. But the taste lingered. And I’ve had blood in my mouth before. On several occasions. Several lost fights in high school. I know the taste. And this… this was the taste of blood, but it was different. More metallic, almost. My blood has never tasted like this. I stared at my wine glass and the taste of blood grew more pungent. More metallic.

I decided, I needed to decipher the taste of my blood. I pumped myself up, took a few deep breaths, and bit down hard on the inside of my lip. Ooh! That was a big one! Instantly, blood ran through my mouth, I could feel it. And I could taste it.

It tasted totally different from the taste I was experiencing before. This is curious. This is worrisome. Or is this just another late night where my mind is playing tricks on me?

After tending to my lip, I drank two glasses of wine, corked the bottle and went to bed. Like I had for the past several nights… problem-free…

I awake on my back. And I never sleep on my back. I am pinned down to my bed. And there at the foot of my bed floats the blue lady. She stares deep into my eyes. Her eyes so light. Her lips open. And her soft voice spoke. “Hi, hi.”

Sharp teeth flash, her mouth opens as large as her entire head, and a blood-curdling screech rings in my ears as she flies in a fury directly at me.

It’s dark. But not black. Not really… any colors. But it is dark. And it is musty. I am in a space that feels enclosed, yet as vast as the universe at the same time. Squeaks and creaks echo miles behind me in the darkness. Wind blows. The taste of my own blood in my mouth. And a cloth sheet in the grip of my hands. Soft. Dirty. Full of a residue.

Another squeak. Another creak. Darkness interrupted by a dingy yellow light in a rectangular shape a hundred feet in front of me. A doorway. My way out? I gravitate towards it.

Squeak. Creak. The door closes. The light is gone. Darkness again. For now. For now, I’ll wait.

Short Story

About the Creator

Stephen Kramer Avitabile

I'm a creative writer in the way that I write. I hold the pen in this unique and creative way you've never seen. The content which I write... well, it's still to be determined if that's any good.

Enjoyed the story?
Support the Creator.

Subscribe for free to receive all their stories in your feed. You could also pledge your support or give them a one-off tip, letting them know you appreciate their work.

Subscribe For FreePledge Your Support

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  3. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

Add your insights

Comments (1)

  • Ashley Lima12 months ago

    Dang! This was gripping. I loved the beginning line because I totally thought the wine was blood and it hooked me, it also acted as a great foreshadowing tool for the horror that was set to take place further down the line. I really liked the way you characterized the dreams as I suffer from sleep paralysis on occasion and they feel exactly the way you described. Well done. I know this story is older, but I'm glad you shared it on Facebook because it was a great read

Stephen Kramer AvitabileWritten by Stephen Kramer Avitabile

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.