From: PN Collins
To: The Official Shadow People Archives
Sent: Friday, January 2, 2009 9:44:15 PM
Subject: negative showman

It was my second apartment. I was nineteen years old, engaged, and my other best friend had returned from the west coast and the three of us, myself, my fiancée and my friend, were getting along great. My fiancée and I had previously been sharing a one-bedroom efficiency and when my friend came back, he spent two months crashing on the couch in the non-bedroom room in this efficiency. So when I say we were getting along great, I mean things were going brilliantly.

When this lease ended, my fiancée and I, along with my friend, decided to move into a larger two bedroom apartment in a complex. The rent was about double what we had been paying, but I had just gotten a sweet new job that paid about ten dollars an hour and my friend was going to bring an additional income, so it seemed like a good idea. Of course, we saw a model apartment but we never did get to see the apartment we were moving in to until they day we moved.

Moving day. The first thing I noticed was a large crack running across the ceiling that had clearly been patched over multiple times. It is worth mentioning that this apartment was on the third floor which was the top floor of the building. Also, I had gone out about a week prior and purchased a flat-pack lamp that was built into an end table. I had already assembled it because I was nineteen and it was some of the first furniture I had ever purchased. It worked perfectly. It was the first piece of furniture I carried into the apartment. I plugged it into a socket and turned it on and immediately it fried. Spectacularly. So spectacularly that it blew the breaker for the whole building.

The apartment had two bedrooms and naturally my fiancée and I took the largest. This bedroom had a large closet with a set of double folding doors. For some reason, the door on the left would drift open, not instantly but a minute or two after you closed the doors. This is normally not a case for concern, but for no reason that I could give, I was extremely disturbed, scared, by this slightly opened closet door. So much so that I couldn’t sleep at night without wedging the door closed with my toolbox.

It is worth mentioning now that we had two cats: a four year old and two year old female. The female was the runt of her litter (I rescued her from my parents farm) and she had suffered through a very bad eye infection that had left her with badly scarred eyes, leaving her mostly blind. Despite this, she seemed to be more sensitive to her surroundings including responding to and staring at the television. After I started using the tool chest to wedge the closet door closed, she would climb on top of the tool chest and sit facing the bed when my fiancée and I would retire for the evening.

Things were good for the first three months or so but after that, it wasn’t long before all of our relationships started to crumble. My fiancée fought so much that after the fourth month she moved back in with her father. This was almost the end of our relationship, but after this apartment, we went on for another two and a half years. My friend, when he wasn’t at work, was basically spending all of his time shut up in his room.

Several other notable things were happening. Firstly, the crack in the ceiling got worse. Secondly, the kitchen sink would stink like rotten food no matter what we would do to clean out the drain. Thirdly, we couldn’t keep a bulb in the ceiling fixture in the kitchen for more than a few days. When we first moved in, it was normal, but as the time passed it reached a point where a light bulb would burn out as soon as it was put into the fixture. This was solved by placing a small table lamp on the counter in the kitchen. Bulbs still didn’t have a normal life span, but they lasted longer. Fourthly, we couldn’t keep any house plants. They would all die within a matter of days; one lasted as long as ten days. Fifthly, this apartment had a deck that came with a sliding glass door. My friend was leaning on it one day and the glass cracked. It cracked at the same angle as the crack in the ceiling. Lastly, a girl that my friend dated told us one next morning that she couldn’t sleep because of someone crying all night long.

Seven months into the lease, my friend and I were struggling to pay the rent because it was quite expensive for two people and I had been cut back to part time at my job. We found a third roommate and agreed to partition most of the living room off so he could have private space. After two days, my friend and I came home to find him meditating inside a circle of candles in the dining room area. When we asked him what was going on he looked surprised and scared. He left that night and didn’t come back for several more days. When he did come back, we caught him sneaking his own stuff out in the middle of the day. He gave us one month’s rent and half a pizza (he delivered them for a living) and left.

A few weeks later, my friend and I are watching a DVD we rented. The way our living room was arranged, if you wanted to watch the TV, you had to sit facing the sliding glass door. At night time, if you had lights on, the sliding glass door would reflect whichever room had the lights on, living room, dining room, kitchen, etc. So this night we’re watching a movie and, after getting some drinks and popcorn, we had left the lamp on the counter switched on in case we wanted to make a run for more drinks. As we watch the movie, we both notice the light in kitchen flickering as if something was pacing in front of the light. I assumed it was the young female cat walking around on the kitchen counter, which she would do sometimes. Normally I would get up and shoo her off, but I was enjoying the movie so I decided it could wait.

At this point my friend asks me what is in the kitchen. I tell him its just the cat, not to worry about it, I’ll take care of her in a minute. He says no, the cat’s right there and he points. I look and sure enough, the cats asleep in the corner by the front door. We look up at the reflection of the kitchen in the glass and the shadow that had been passing in front of the light suddenly takes form. It takes the form of a man, from the knees up. It looks like a person’s silhouette without legs below the knees. It’s hard to say how I knew it was male. I just knew. We sat and stared for a moment and then we grabbed keys and wallets and ran. We didn’t come back that night.

We didn’t see the shadow man after that, but we felt him: cold spots, touches on ears, shoulders, legs, whispers just beyond hearing. I was plagued by terrible dreams where people I loved would turn into demons and attack me, causing me to wake up in a cold sweat, always staring at the closet in my room. For the next month my friend and never left each other alone anywhere in the apartment, except, of course, the bathroom. After a month of this, my friend and I broke the lease and moved out in the middle of the night simply because it was the earliest time possible.

There are two events worth noting here.

The first: as we were carrying stuff out of the apartment both of us, at different times, felt a push at our backs as we were carrying furniture down the three flights of steps to the street. Secondly: in the back of the closet in my room, the ‘bad’ closet, was the hatch that allowed access to the plumbing for the bathtub. Upon clearing everything, my friend and I were making one last sweep for anything left behind and I decided I wanted to confront the closet. My friend and I went and opened this closet and I was immediately drawn to, obsessed even, by this hatch. My mind was filled with the idea of money stashed away or some kind of secret treasure hidden away behind this hatch. I scrounged around and found a screwdriver and opened it up. As soon as the hatch opened there was a small puff of air and then a smell. I smelled sweet beeswax; my friend smelled roses. There was nothing inside other than pipes and dust. We left almost immediately after and never went back.