I always hated moving. Mostly because I’m something of a hoarder, and that makes it difficult to pack everything up and I usually get forced to throw some stuff away. Parents just don’t understand that the scented pencils in my desk drawer have sentimental value.
Still, I’ve moved probably a million times over the last seventeen years; it doesn’t get any easier.
A few years back, I got this apartment by myself for the first time. Usually I’d lived with friends or my parents, and the thought of living on my own was both daunting and exciting.
I pulled up in an Uber right in front of the towering apartment complex. As I stepped out, I bumped my head on the ceiling of the tiny sedan and searched my purse for the note I’d made telling me what the apartment number was. It was pretty silly that I made a note, because I had already committed to memory the number and floor, but I guess when I’m put on the spot I need to have a reference or I’ll forget. Thankfully I made it, because my memory seemed like it was wiped right when I got out of the car.
“Floor 10 number 10-G,” I read quietly to myself, then nodded as I made my way to the front doors.
Before I knew it I was standing in front of the bold “10-G” engraved in the metal plate bolted to the rugged-looking door. I dug around in my bag for the small key and then opened the door slowly, holding my breath.
I let out my breath in relief as I saw the completely normal interior. It was pre-furnished with some crummy outdated couches and stuff, but I didn’t mind that. I dropped off my suitcase in the bedroom and started to explore the tiny place I would soon call home.
After my investigation was complete, I grabbed the remote and sat on the couch. There was a little CRT television sitting on a table in front of me, so I clicked it on and watched cable for a bit.
The mini-fridge had nothing in it, so I decided to have the granola bar I’d stashed in my purse for dinner.
Nothing really happened for around two weeks, but then things got spooky.
Believe me, I know it’s cliché, but the creepiness started around Halloween. A few days before the holiday I started hearing chatter at night. I say chatter but it was raucous laughter and hollering. But it only happened late at night. I would’ve sort of expected chanting like in Rosemary’s Baby, or I would’ve wanted to hear chanting more than maniacal laughing because if there was chanting I would know not to talk to any neighbors so I didn’t end up like Rosemary. Enough about that though, I don’t want to spoil the film for you.
The laughing sometimes turned into what I thought was drunken singing of sea shanties. The weird thing was that sometimes the voices got really close to me, almost like the owners of the voices were standing next to my bed or hiding in my closet. Even when they woke me up in the night because they were so loud and seemed so close, I kept my eyes sealed shut because I didn’t want to see if they were actually in my room. Ignorance is bliss, I thought.
One night, I think it was Halloween night, I couldn’t stand it any longer. Before I went to bed I knocked on the neighbors’ doors in 10-E and 10-I and asked them about the sounds I was hearing. They looked at me like I was nuts. I asked them to come by at 1:00 A.M., that I’d leave the door unlocked, but of course they refused probably because they thought I would murder them or something.
I pulled a knife from the block in the kitchen and I set it under my pillow. It would’ve been dangerous but I knew that I wouldn’t sleep at all so I couldn’t accidentally stab my hand.
I could have won an Oscar for my fake sleeping; I let my mouth hang open and everything. Before too long the voices started, pretty quiet at first, but then got louder and louder until I was sure they were standing right next to me. I opened my eyes and sprung up with the knife clutched in my hand. There was nothing in front of me.
A light shone from above me, though. A dim blue light. I brought my eyes upward, trembling in fear. A figure was swirling around, and as I stared at it I realized it was human and wore an eyepatch. “Ghost pirate,” I mumbled, “huh.”
The Ghost Pirate didn’t even seem to realize I was awake and armed, because he just continued to sing “Drunken Sailor”. Soon, another bluish figure (this one fatter, with a peg leg) floated through the wall and joined the eye-patched one in song. I wasn’t even scared anymore, probably because I accepted that I was going to die and there was nothing I could do about it.
Finally, the concert ended and the two pirates drifted out of my apartment via the East wall. I set the knife down on the nightstand, completely in shock over what I’d just witnessed. I felt faint, but when I tried I couldn’t sleep.
In the morning I called my parents and told them everything, but they thought I was mad of course. They thought I was just having anxiety or sleep paralysis or whatever, but I know it was real. I moved out of my apartment that day. I was able to contact a previous renter, and I found out that they’d experienced the same thing at Halloween. I researched pirates being near the coast of New York and discovered that three pirates had escaped custody in the mid-1700s while being sent from the West Indies to Britain, and had ended up on the East Coast of the United States. I don’t know why they chose my apartment, or why there were only two of them.