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The New Girl

A horror thriller story

By Author Eve S EvansPublished 2 years ago 10 min read

Elle checked the time on her phone and grimaced, cursing softly under her breath. She had to get to work. Setting down the box she’d just finished unpacking, she hurriedly dragged a comb through her hair and slipped on a jacket, grabbing her keys and purse from the side. Behind her, the apartment was still in a state of disarray, piles of unpacked boxes and torn bubble wrap. She wished she’d had a little bit more time to get settled in before she started back at work, but her boss had refused to give her more than a couple of days.

Locking her apartment behind her, Elle was about to head down the stairs when the door beside hers opened, and an older woman hobbled out.

“Ah, hello!” She said brightly. “I’ve been meaning to come and introduce myself.”

Not wanting to appear rude, Elle smiled, trying not to let her foot bounce impatiently.

“I’m Susan. Your new neighbor.”

“Elle. It’s nice to meet you.”

Susan tucked a strand of grey hair behind her ears, resting a hand against the stair’s protruding banister. “Let me know if you ever need anything. And I’m sorry for the ruckus last night. I hope it didn’t put you off staying here. We don’t usually have any trouble.”

Elle furrowed her brow. “Ruckus? I didn’t hear anything. Maybe I slept through it.”

“My, I’m surprised anyone could have slept through it,” Susan said with an uneasy smile. “All those police sirens, investigators coming in and out.”

Elle’s breath fell short. “I’m sorry? What exactly happened?”

Susan’s expression flashed in surprise. “Didn’t you hear? The man downstairs was murdered last night in his apartment. Both him and his dog.”

Elle put a hand over her mouth, her stomach tightening. “I had no idea,” she said. “That’s horrible.”

Susan lowered her eyes. “Yes, well, just be careful, and keep your doors locked, at least until they find out who was responsible.”

“I will do,” Elle said, nodding. “I need to head to work.”

“Of course, don’t let me keep you.” Susan gave her another smile, and Elle jogged down the stairs, her mind spinning.

A man with a dog.

She found herself thinking back to yesterday morning, when she’d just moved in. She’d been carrying the last of the boxes up the stairs when she’d encountered a man with his dog. She vaguely remembered him calling the dog Jax, but she couldn’t be sure. He’d been ahead of her on the stairs, and had let the door at the top slam shut in her face instead of holding it open for her, despite her having an armful of boxes to carry. She’d almost lost her footing and tumbled backwards as a result, and the whole incident had soured her morning. Was that the same man, or was there more than one canine resident here?

Either way, as long as that was the last of the gruesome business, she was hopeful she could settle here just fine.

After work that night, Elle was too exhausted to take the stairs up to her apartment, so she hit the button to call down the elevator instead. While the complex was generally clean and well-kept, there was a faint veneer of dust and grime in the corners and along the skirting that she noticed while she was waiting in the lobby.

The elevator arrived with a cacophony of creaks and groans, and Elle shifted her feet as the doors finally slid open.

Two figures were already inside, neither of whom she recognized. A man wearing a suit, his tie sitting askew and a bright lipstick smudge sitting on his cheek, and a woman with curly blond hair. The woman brazenly adjusted her dress, barely sparing Elle a glance as she walked out of the elevator, throwing her hair over her shoulder. She glanced back once to throw the man a wink, before disappearing through the front doors. At the same time, another woman passed into the complex, and the man inside the elevator straightened his tie, hastily wiping a hand over his cheek to clear away the lipstick stain.

The woman offered Elle a faint smile as the two of them stepped into the elevator together.

“Oh, you just got back too?” She said to the man, kissing him on the lips. He nodded, massaging her shoulders gently. Elle could tell he was trying to avoid her gaze after what she’d just witnessed.

She turned away from them, clenching her jaw and keeping quiet. The woman seemed unaware of the tension inside the elevator as Elle shifted her feet, watching the buttons light up as they passed each floor. As soon as they reached the third floor, Elle bustled out before the other two, hearing them step out behind her. That meant the two of them must be her neighbors on the other side. She slipped into her apartment before they could say anything to her. She wasn’t sure she’d be able to stay quiet after seeing the man so blatantly cheat on his wife. It wasn’t her business anyway.

The following morning, Elle switched on the news as she was brushing her teeth, getting ready for work. She’d been kept awake most of the night listening to sirens screech through the city, and after staring at the ceiling until the early hours of the morning, she’d finally decided to just get up.

A breaking news broadcast flagged up on the screen, and she almost choked on her toothpaste.

BRUTAL MURDER IN HOLBROOKE.

She turned the volume up, listening to the news anchor’s report.

“A woman was found in the early hours of this morning, brutally strangled in an alleyway near HolBrooke’s city square. Officers have yet to release the identity of the woman, but are calling for any potential witnesses who were in the area between the hours of 2-5am.”

Elle shook her head, leaving the television playing in the background as she went to spit out her toothpaste. Another murder? She’d moved to HolBrooke thinking it would be the perfect place for a new start, somewhere she could learn to be happy. But these murders completely threatened the peace and safety she’d been coveting. Was there a serial killer in the city? Or were these two events completely unrelated?

The thought made her shudder. HolBrooke city square wasn’t that far from the apartment complex either, which meant the killer must have been operating somewhere close to the area. Did that put her – and any of the other tenants – at risk? Maybe she should stop by the hardware store on her way home from work and buy an extra lock for her front door. Surely it was better to take precautions rather than put herself at any unnecessary risk.

She switched the television off and grabbed her keys before stepping out of the apartment. Before she could lock it behind her, a figure appeared on her left, startling her. She threw up her hands in a defensive pose, her heart hammering in her chest.

“It’s just me, dear,” Susan said, stepping out of her reach.

“Oh, Susan, I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize.”

The older woman nodded in understanding. “I take it you heard the news,” she said. “Such a horrible tragedy.”

Elle sighed, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. “I know. I’m starting to question if it was a good idea moving here,” she said honestly.

“Oh, don’t think like that,” Susan said gently, reaching out and patting her arm. “As long as us ladies look out for each other, we’ll be fine.”

Elle allowed her tension to ease away, and she offered her neighbor a smile. “Yes, of course.”

“I just baked some fresh cookies,” Susan said, her eyes twinkling. “Would you like to come in and have one?”

Elle checked the time. “I’d love to, but I need to get to work. Maybe another time?”

Susan nodded, then held up a hand for Elle to wait. She disappeared inside her apartment, then returned a moment later with a plate covered in tinfoil. “Take them for later, then. I made far too many for just myself.”

Elle accepted the plate with a grateful smile. “Thank you. That’s very kind.”

The woman hobbled back inside and closed the door behind her, the lock sliding into place with a metallic thunk.

With a soft sigh, Elle quickly deposited the plate of cookies on her kitchen counter before heading back out.

Dusk was already beginning to fall by the time Elle started cooking dinner that night. She’d had to stay late at work, and between a sleepless night and the shock of the murders, she was struggling to keep her eyes open. She might have fallen asleep on the spot if not for the racket next door.

As she waited for the pasta to boil in the pan, she gritted her teeth at the heavy thud of bass vibrating through the walls. The music had been blasting since she’d let herself into the apartment, and she’d hoped her neighbor would have turned it off by now out of consideration for everyone else inside the apartment complex. But apparently, she’d been wrong. She was certain the man was there alone, since it didn’t seem like his wife would have let him act so selfishly.

She switched on the television and turned the volume up to try and drown out the pulsing beat as she ate her food, but the sound was starting to get under her skin, making her ears ring.

With a frustrated sigh, she set down her bowl of half-eaten spaghetti and climbed off the sofa. She was certain other people in the apartment must be able to hear the music, but it seemed nobody was willing to do something about it.

Leaving her apartment, she stood outside her neighbor’s door and raised a fist to knock. That’s when she noticed the door was already open, a sliver of a crack holding it ajar.

She frowned, tapping her knuckles against the wood. “Excuse me?” She called, not knowing her neighbor’s name. “Is anyone there?”

When she received no answer, she knocked harder on the door. It creaked open beneath her touch, spilling music out into the corridor. She didn’t want to intrude, but it was obvious he wasn’t able to hear her.

She pushed the door open wider, peering through. The curtains inside had been drawn shut, basking the room in a hazy gloom. Tiny red and white lights flickered from a CD player that was blasting the music, but other than that, the only source of light was a thin sliver of yellow bleeding out from the door on the right.

“Hello?” Elle called again. “Anyone home?”

An unsettling sense of dread began to creep over her when she received no reply. Where was the apartment’s tenants? Why had they left the music on so loud?

She stepped inside, reaching for the light switch. She didn’t want to catch anyone off guard by intruding in the darkness.

The light filtered on, revealing the empty front room. With nobody to confront her, she marched over to the CD player and switched the music off, but the silence that followed wasn’t as relieving as she’d hoped. It only seemed to increase the eeriness of the empty apartment.

Eager to get out of there, she headed back towards the door when something made her stop.

A smell, dark and unpleasant. Something familiar that she couldn’t quite place.

She found herself turning towards the door on her right, where she’d seen the light seeping through.

Holding her breath, she listened.

Pliiink. Plink. Pliiink.

Water? She frowned. Something didn’t feel right.

Before she knew what she was doing, she stepped up to the door and tapped her fingers against it. “Excuse me? Is someone in there?” She called.

Pliink.

She could definitely hear water. But that wasn’t all. That strange smell seemed to be emanating from within too.

Despite the feeling of dread that had wrenched in her gut, Elle reached for the handle, and inched the door open.

Warm eddies of steam immediately billowed out, accompanied by that horrible smell that made Elle blanch. What the hell was it?

“I’m coming in,” she said to nobody in particular as she stepped over a crumpled pile of clothes sitting near the door, padding into the room.

A scream immediately got caught in her throat as she saw the scene before her.

A man was lying in the bathtub. Steam was still rising from the surface, but it wasn’t enough to obscure the deep gash in his throat, or the bloated clamminess of his skin, or the deep crimson color of the water.

Bile tore up Elle’s throat, and she turned and vomited into the sink, nausea twisting her stomach into knots. She threw up until there was nothing left in her stomach, then wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.

Her mind spinning, she dragged herself out of the bathroom and ran back to her apartment, fumbling to call 911 on her mobile. After she’d explained everything to the operator, she stumbled into her bathroom, still feeling dizzy with shock.

She twisted on the faucet and waited for the water to run cold before splashing it against her face, trying to coax some color back into her cheeks. What the hell was going on in this city? That made three murders since she’d moved here, two of which had happened in the very apartment complex she was now living in. It was like something out of a nightmare. She no longer felt safe here.

With a shaky sigh, she toweled her face dry, listening to the sirens approaching the apartment in the distance. As soon as this horrible business was dealt with, she was going to start looking for a new place to live. She couldn’t stay here anymore. Not with a killer on the loose.

As she was reaching to switch the light back off, something caught her eye, making her freeze. A flicker of ash and crimson, sitting amongst the crumpled tissues in the trash can. She turned, struggling to comprehend what she was seeing beneath the bright fluorescents.

A black tie, splattered with dark red blood.

But why the hell would something like that be sitting in her bathroom trash bin?

Then it struck her, and she felt the floor almost give way beneath her feet.

That tie… it was the exact same one that the man in the elevator had been wearing.

The man who was now laying in his bathtub with his throat slit…

Horror

About the Creator

Author Eve S Evans

After residing in two haunted houses in her lifetime, Eve Evans is enthralled with the world of paranormal. She writes ghost stories based on true events and fictional thriller & horror novels.

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    Author Eve S EvansWritten by Author Eve S Evans

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