There is a Wight who lives downstairs from me. I believe he just moved in last week. You see, the walls in my apartment are thankfully thick and I rarely hear any noise outside my door. Perhaps, if I leave my window open, I can hear a dog barking, or a car door shutting, or some kids squealing in the afternoon, but nothing more than that. The usual neighborhood sounds.
It was a few days ago that I stepped out of my apartment at 11:34am to walk my dog, Jones. I heard a terrible screaming, not much unlike a rooster crow except louder and longer. I paused only a moment, but Jones thought nothing of it and we walked down the two flights of stairs to his favorite palm tree. When we returned after a stroll to the park, the screaming was still there.
Jones did not react, but I stood still a moment just listening. It was coming from the door below and one over from my apartment. I sat at the bottom of the stair and listened for a while, browsing facebook on my cellular phone. Quite suddenly, I had realized that the noise stopped. I gave it a moment of my full attention and slowly climbed the stairs, but the screaming did not continue. "Perhaps it was a very upset dog giving birth," I thought, and shut my door.
The next morning I had managed to awaken a bit earlier. I helped Jones with his harness and stepped out of my door at 8:50am. Again, the terrible screaming. This ruled out a laboring canine, as I am not an expert but I am quite sure a dog in labor would not have the energy to make such sounds after nearly 24 hours. Also, I determined a rooster in someone's apartment would be silly.
We went for our walk and came home. Other than the horrible noises coming from the apartment below and one over from mine, the day was as it is normally. That night, however, was a bit different.
Jones is a small dog, and thus can only hold his bladder for no more than four hours and fifty minutes. If left to his own devices for four hours and fifty one minutes, I am welcomed with a puddle near the front door. And so, on our nightly walk, which often occurs around 12:30 in the morning, I helped him into his harness and took him out the door.
There was no screaming then, but the lights on the second floor were flickering. I hurried Jones to the park. He did his business and I had forgotten all about the screams and the lights, my mind full of thoughts from the day I had had.
As we came around the corner to my building, I noticed a darkness up the stairs. I climbed them quietly and carefully, though Jones hopped up as per usual. As I came to the second floor, I let out a scream. There, at the end of the hall, was a tall, ghoulish figure.
Its skin was ashy white and skeletal, its eyes were a blue bright enough to see clearly from 30 feet away, and it wore black rags that seemed to float as if under water. The Wight looked at me a moment, nodded its head, opened its door, stepped into its apartment, and shut the door behind it. The bits of its cloak that would have been stuck in the door turned to smoke and dissipated before my eyes.
Frankly, there was nothing I could do short of stand there in shock and resolve to speak with the front office the moment they opened in the morning. I made absolutely sure my door was locked and went to bed fully clothed and covered head to toe in blankets. It was terribly hot.
The next morning I walked with Jones straight to the office, but they were closed. It was Thanksgiving. Fuming and frightened, I went back home and, as I climbed the stairs, I heard the screaming. Still, Jones did not care. I picked him up and made for the Wight's door.
As I got closer, I slowed down and stepped as carefully and quietly as I could.
I put my ear to the door.
I nearly jumped out of my skin when the door across the hall burst open. Jones barked at the stranger stepping out of her apartment. I was embarrassed and tried to shush my dog while simultaneously acting as if I had just happened to be walking by. The neighbor and I met eyes and I saw her gaze move to the door I stood before.
"Poor thing," she shook her head.
"Nightmares" She said so matter-of-factly I nearly laughed. "They're typically nocturnal, the Wights, but this one has been through a lot I think."
"Wights?" I said, shocked, looking back to the door.
She shushed me. I turned back to her, but she was already walking toward the stairs. Jones finally stopped barking when the door behind me opened.
There stood the same Wight in the darkness of its apartment, wrapped in its floating dark cloaks, its icy eyes looking dimly into mine. The coldness from inside felt like a punch in the face.
"Hello," I muttered timidly.
The Wight looked at my dog in my arms. Jones reached out to meet its outstretched hand, gave it a sniff, and let it scratch his head. It left a white chalk in his fur that smelled like salted caramel. I looked up into its eyes, but its gaze was to the floor. It blinked sleepily, gave a little nod, turned, and shut the door.
I brought Jones back up to my apartment and gave him a bath. Now he smells like salted caramel with vanilla. It gave me an idea. I pulled up my laptop from next to the bed and opened Google.
"what do wights eat?"
Google wasn't very helpful. The only thing I could find was babies and that wouldn't do. Unless... In my refrigerator was a brand new dozen eggs. It was barely 10:00 in the morning. I made a 6-egg cheese omelet, cut it in half, and put it on two plates. I walked determinedly downstairs and knocked on the door to the apartment below me and one over.
A moment passed and the door opened. It was 80 degrees outside, but the sudden burst of cold air caused me to tense so much I nearly dropped the plates. The Wight's wrinkled face seemed angry at first but its brow raised which prompted me to speak.
"I... I heard noises... Oh no, don't worry! You aren't bothering me at all. These apartments have very thick walls. Anyway.. um.. I know I get nightmares if I go to bed hungry so I thought maybe some eggs would help?"
I held one of the plates up.
"There's Monterey Jack cheese in it."
At that the Wight took the plate and stepped aside to let me in. He likes cheese as much as I do. I also found out that he's a fan of MST3K and board games. Before I left, he invited me to come back over on the weekend, although I'll have to remember a flashlight and a winter jacket..
Anyway, that's how I became friends with the Wight who lives downstairs.