Here's another of my occasional short stories for the 2000AD forum competition. I quite like the creepy twist at the end which I confess I have borrowed from a short film I saw once. The names of the two housing blocks are nods to a famous comic book artist, Jose Ortiz, and to Mr Jim Moon who hosts the excellent Hypnobobs podcast about all manners of weird fiction.
“OK, Citizen Deets. Tell me again why you need rehousing. What exactly is wrong with your apartment?”
“I keep telling you. It’s haunted. Something terrible happened there.”
“Well we had Chaos day and the loss of nearly 60% of usable housing stock. Something terrible happened all over. You and your family were allocated a very desirable 2 bed con-apt in Jim Moon block. You should be happy to be here.”
“And I would be. I’d love to be happy here, but I get these haunting visions all the time. And it’s not just me, my wife and son know there’s something wrong as well. Jancis ain’t sleeping and Todd’s been having some behavioral issues. And it’s all to do with what happened in that apartment. You've got to move us.”
“These visions you've been getting. Talk me through them again.”
“It’s always the same. There’s this guy, He’s wearing one of those Mango computer store t-shirts and his badge says his name is Chip Mindy. He walks in through our front door. I can tell it’s our apartment, but the furniture is different. He lived there, he had keys, and I can see pictures of him and his family on his fridge. He sits down at his table with his head in his hands. Then he’s standing in the bedroom and there’s two little girls asleep in bunk beds. He’s got a bloody knife in his hand and there’s blood all over that blue t-shirt. He steps over to the sleeping girls and he ... you know.”
“He kills the two girls? Look Mr Deets. We've been through this already. We have complete records for this block and for your apartment in particular and there’s no Chaos day gaps or anything. No family named Mindy has ever lived here, not anywhere in this block. And Justice department have no crime file answering that description. You’re just having some very imaginative dreams.”
“They're not dreams, I’m awake when I see him, they’re ghosts or something. I’m telling you something horrible happened there and I won’t have my family in that place for one more night.”
“OK, Mr Deets. Let me chat with my supervisor. We’ll see what we can do and I’ll be right back.”
He rose from his seat and walked down the corridor to the housing manager’s office.
“Steven, how’s it going with that Deets guy from 14B? Has he calmed down yet?
“Afraid not, Boss. He’s been in here every day for two weeks. We’re going to have to move him.”
“Yeah, I thought it might come to that. Well this is his lucky day. We've had a transfer request from a family in Jose Ortiz block. The husband wants to be nearer to work. Looks like a straight swap. You start the paperwork for Deets, ship them over to Ortiz and I’ll speak to the guy there. Guess we've just made the Mindys' day.”
“Wait. Mindy? The new family is called Mindy?”
“Yeah. Why, do you know them?”