Story Prompt: What if you bought a new house or apartment and when you went to move in, you found someone already living there?
My Story (596 words):
Leon picked up the keys from Ms. Gordon’s office. She insisted on taking him up to the apartment and soon they were standing outside the door to 331, his new home. Leon knew he was lucky to get the apartment – there was a housing crisis these days and it was getting harder to find a place for a starving artist like him. This was a tiny apartment, but in a good neighbourhood.
Oddly, music seemed to be coming from behind the door. Was that…a guitar? Why did it sound so familiar? Leon glanced at Ms. Gordon but she seemed oblivious. Inserting the key, she swung open the door.
The lounge in front of them was flooded with light. The guitar music came to a sudden stop as the woman playing it abruptly got to her feet. Mouth agape, she stared at Leon.
Leon stared back. Then he raised a finger and yelled “What the hell are YOU doing here?”
Ms Gordon looked perplexed. “I’m sure there’s been some misunder-“
She was interrupted by the woman. “This is my apartment! What are YOU doing here?”
Ms. Gordon hesitatingly ventured into the fray again. “You two know each other?”
Both Leon and the woman huffed, too furious to answer.
Ms Gordon looked from one to the other, then said briskly. “Well, then. Miss…” addressing the woman.
“Miss Baker and Mr Harris, I apologise profusely. There’s obviously been a misunderstanding. It should be cleared up soon enough. Unfortunately I cannot offer either of you another apartment just now, since we have none available. If I may suggest, since you know each other, the two of you come to some arrangement…?”
Leon glared at the woman then glared at Ms Gordon. “I won’t stay here. I’ll stay in a hotel.” Then he gulped, remembering his already depleted funds. “If you return my security deposit.”
“Mr Harris. I’m sorry but I can’t sort any of this out until the morning. If you wish to find a hotel that’s fine, but I’d rather suggest the two of you come to a solution. I’ll be in touch tomorrow.”
Both of them seemed too furious to reply again and in the silence that descended after those words, Ms Gordon left the room.
The silence deepened.
The last time the two of them had been in the same room, she had chucked his Doctor Who DVDs out the window and he had deliberately smashed her mother’s vase.
The silence was impregnated with those memories.
Anne was the first to move. She sat back down and picked up the guitar. Breaking the silence, she started playing. Leon shuffled further into the lounge and dropped into a seat.
As before, he was slightly hypnotized by the movement of Anne’s fingers as she played. The music sounded extra vibrant in the tiny apartment. He felt it slowly wash the anger out of him, replace it with embarrassment and regret.
The playing stopped. The silence slowly filled the room again. Anne mumbled something.
“I said I’m sorry about the DVDs.”
Leon looked at her bent over the guitar, the way her chestnut hair fell forward in straight bangs, covering most of her face.
“I’m sorry about the vase. And this new issue. I had no idea the apartment was already let.”
“Not your fault. Listen…” She touched a string, twanged it. Sighed. “You can stay.”
Leon smiled. “Thank you.” Then he said, hesitatingly. “For now, can you keep playing?”
Anne pushed her hair back, smiles and bent over the guitar.
The music pushed away the silence again.
Tamoor’s Story (546 words):
The day we moved in, we found there were many who lived in the same house with us. We probably should have read the brochure more thoroughly. It was gelda’s fault, she always skims through the pages. She thought it was mine, typical minorian, always laying the blame on the other person. That is all they teach them on their planet. My parents warned me,
Marry a dorian
Fuck a detorian
And kill a minorian
My parents were racists, that was quite obvious. But spending all your life on dorian does that to a person. But enough of that. If we were moving to the house of mirrored dimensions we may as well have read the brochure. The house was cheap for a reason since we were sharing it with creatures from every dimension in the known and possibly some parts of the unknown universe.
They would flicker in and out of existence every now and then, which can be a huge inconvenience, especially if you’re trying to take a shower or worse trying to commit your marriage bonding ritual. More than once we were disturbed by a ghostly apparition, of what we can only assume was a bluish creature with a shining exoskeleton, and large bulging eye. Gelda screamed so loudly that she almost crushed my birthing tube.
After a few months, I suppose we even got used to it to a degree, and on the flip side I’m sure we must have bothered creatures from other dimensions as well. I myself walked in on a corbidian molluscule in the bathroom, I couldn’t quite make out what he was trying to do, but I’m assuming he did not want me in his dimension. I had no idea how to leave the dimension so I just left the bathroom.
In time we even got to know someone of them, there was a midimorman named zorf, a nice bloke, we would always have great conversations about sports, he was a huge thimbleball fan but I think on his dimension it was called karat or something. An artist called maran who would appear for some reason on weekends each time with a new companion and share his stories with me, which was good, but every so often he would pop out of existence just as he was about to tell me the punch line or the climax of his story, which was quite frustrating. Also that left me in the room with his companion and that make for some awkward pauses, I would thank the floating protoplast when she popped back to her dimension
Some were less pleasant. A plutonian, a giant creature from a tiny planet, who always seemed to have a chip on his shoulder. He told my wife once that their planet was demoted. Well, no wonder he was always so insecure. But the worst of all were these weird creatures with fleshy exteriors and only four outer limbs called humans. They would literally run screaming every time they saw any of us, they were simply incurable. They kept screaming out, Ghost, ghost whatever the hell that is. Anyway we are moving out soon and I certainly won’t be missing those guys. Hopefully we can find a house that can commit to a single dimension.
Some points: Tamoor’s taken the unusual route again but I absolutely love his take on it. I seem committed to the cliche, but I’m not unhappy with the poetic prose I tried to generate towards the end of my story. It’s a lovely contrast to the matter-of-fact tone of Tamoor’s narrator. Told you we were totally different. Although both of us have come close to the word limit in this story, taking our time to flesh it out.