Mrs. Vidal was a fifty-six year old lady whom had lived next door to me since I first moved into the apartment complex which I have now resided for well over two years. She was now dead. I came upon her open door as I made my way to my studio apartment on a gloomy evening night. I walked inside her apartment and saw no sign of life, nor of any destruction or foul play as I stepped into her living room. I noticed then that the door to her bathroom was slightly open and made my way to it. I opened the door, and found her body, soaked in blood, decapitated beyond belief on her bathroom floor with her intestines scattered all over the. Her face was ripped open without any sign of eyes, mouth, or nose. Her hands were tied behind her back with the flesh on her bones cut from the armpit down to her fingers. Her legs were on the bathtub, separated from her body, and probably were dissected from her after death, because there was no sign of harm, only purple coloring.
I told the police all of this as soon as they arrived to answer the call I gave that my next door neighbor was deceased. I couldn’t imagine any individual whom would want to cause such harm to an innocent senior. Mrs. Vidal, to my knowledge, had no contact with the outside world, no children, no spouse, no visitors. Throughout my two years stay in my place of residence I saw her sixteen times. She would only step outside when the time came to do her groceries. She was harmless, caring, with a smile on her face every time I saw her. Now she would no longer be walking this earth.
I made my way to my studio apartment the day after the murder, and to my disbelief, I saw Mrs. Vidal walking out of her apartment door. She was closing her door and carrying a handbag. I stopped and stared.
“Well, hello young man, how are you this fine morning?” Mrs. Vidal asked as soon as she secured her door. I was silent.
“Well…?” She added.
“Mrs. Vidal…you’re here? Alive? I thought I just saw you yesterday?” I replied after what seemed like minutes rather than seconds.
“Yes, you did see me yesterday. You invited me over to dinner, which I again have to say was very pleasant of you. Thank you again,” she said smiling and made her way past me and then to her left to take the stairs into the street.
I was perplexed, bewildered. Mrs. Vidal was dead, beyond dead, she had been decapitated. It was a scene I witnessed that wouldn’t leave my mind for years to come. It was a scene beyond morbidity. But, here she had just been, smiling as she had done all those years, and speaking to me as she had done all those years.
I went inside my studio apartment and went straight into my refrigerator. I opened the door, and inside was the skin from Mrs. Vidal’s body that I had peeled from her the day prior, the day I had murdered her; her eyeballs, tongue, lips, breast, flesh I had managed to save before the police arrived. Yes, I was the murdered. I hated Mrs. Vidal. I had wanted her dead since the day she decided to give me some helpful advice on women. What did she know about women? She was over four decades older than I. From that day onward every time Mrs. Vidal and I would see each other she would stop with her usual smile and begin talking to me about her time; how men would win a woman over. I never cared one bit of what she had to say, I only pretended and nodded in agreement, it was this specific reason that I sought murder.
I couldn’t have lost my mind. I just couldn’t. All the police were here, the other tenants in our apartment complex witnessed the body as it was being pulled out. I witnessed her last breath. I closed the refrigerator door and walked over to the window in my living room. I opened the brown curtains and saw a view of darkness, no moon in sight, no stars, no streetlights, only a street without a single soul. It was the loudest silence I had ever felt in my whole life. My heart began racing, and with sudden impulse I jumped as soon as I heard someone knocking on my door. I froze; not knowing whom it might be and waited for another knock.
“Young man, are you in there?” The voice of Mrs. Vidal spoke from the other end of the door, “I came with a plate of food. I want to repay you for yesterday.”
I shook my head and waited again to reassure myself that what I’ve just heard was only a fixture of my imagination. It was only after a few seconds when the door again began knocking, this time with a louder tone. Patiently, cautiously, as if I were walking on fire, I made my way to my door.
“Mrs. Vidal…….is that really you?” I asked, more of a comment rather than a question.
“Yes, why wouldn’t it be? Young man, are you sick? Do you need me to make you some tea so you can feel better?”
“No I’m fine. I’m just having a day of the uncanny,” I said.
“Uncanny……..Why……… Is it because you murdered me last night, and now you can’t seem to figure out the reason for my being here?”
The tiny hairs on my body turned cold. I froze. She had admitted that I had murdered her the day prior. She knew. Then as if Mrs. Vidal read my thoughts I heard her giggling from the other side of the door.
“Do I scare you young man?” Mrs. Vidal said and after a few seconds added, “open this door and see your work of murder.”
I obeyed. I cautiously open my door, starting with the top lock then the bottom one, and open my door to see a brick white wall. I pounded on the brick wall; it was hard as a rock. I turned around and saw more of the white brick wall. I made a three-hundred sixty turn and realize I was surrounded by four brick walls. I looked down on my clothing and came to realize I was wearing a white jumpsuit from the bottom of my feet all the way to the top of my neck.
I went around touching all the walls and realizing this was all real. Then behind me a door opened and came into view a gentleman in a brown suit with brown dressing pants. He walked inside and the door behind him close.
“Mr. Santos, you look a bit timid,” the gentleman whom had come inside said. “How are we feeling today?”
“Where am I?” I asked.
“You really don’t have a clue?”
“Where am I?” I repeated the question, starting to lose my patience.
“You’re not kidding are you,” he replied, “well, you asked me this same question two weeks ago and it seemed to me that you were making progress up until now. Mr. Santos, you are in the Watford Asylum for the Criminally Insane.”
“Criminally insane,” I laughed as I said these two words, “you’re kidding.”
“I wish I was but unfortunately I’m not.” The older gentlemen stopped talking and began staring at me. I stared back as soon as he did. My mind was racing with questions. Who was this older gentleman? Where was Mrs. Vidal? Why am I here? I wanted to open my mouth and asked what was bottled up in my mind, but no words came out.
“Where is Mrs. Vidal?” I asked at last having the courage to speak.
The gentleman put his hands in his pockets and walked towards me. As he did this I slowly retraced my steps all the way to the corner of the wall. I stood and held to the wall, afraid what might come next, and now the gentleman was face to face with me. I could feel his breath in my face, it smelled of cigarette smoke. I now made his features vividly. This gentleman did not seem as old as I presumed he was. He was a man taller than I was, about six-feet three inches. He had no beard or mustache. His tan skin was not wrinkled; it just looked as if it had seen better days. His eyes were black, dark black like no other I had witnessed.
“Mr. Santos,” the gentleman began, a speech I foreshadow. “You killed Mrs. Vidal. You decapitated her body as much as you possibly could. You ate some of her flesh. You took your time doing your sick tortures to that poor defenseless old lady. If it were up to me, I would have gutted you up, limb by limb, and any other possible torture I could come up with. You’re an insane individual.”
I had lost my sanity two years ago. I moved in to an apartment complex right after my break-up with my girlfriend of four years. I was alone, forgotten, and scared. When I met Mrs. Vidal and she began speaking to me about ways in which to charm a woman, I began despising her. I despised Mrs. Vidal to the point of wanting to murder her. She always had a smile when she and I spoke. Her smile made me even more furious and when she spoke it seemed as if she was laughing at my misfortune. I decided to murder Mrs. Vidal to forget her voice in my head, since her words would replay in on a daily basis. The problem, however, did not end there but rather began. I had taken the life of the old lady, but she came back in my life in the form of vivid form. It was as if she was never dead.
The police never found out who had murdered Mrs. Vidal. It was only when more than one of the tenants in the apartment complex complained of seeing me talking to myself, that I gave myself up. I complained of being haunted by Mrs. Vidal and when questioned why, I admitted my crime.
Mrs. Vidal’s vivid form never left me. It came back to haunt me because I couldn’t cope with the real world. I couldn’t cope with the fact that I had taken a life out of pleasure without reasoning. I couldn’t cope even with the uncanny. I went beyond the point of insanity.
By J.T. Torres