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The Noise Upstairs

You won’t like this story… the main character is petty and vindictive, the good guy dies, and the plot revolves around one passive-aggressive toilet flush…

I killed my neighbor by flushing my toilet. There’s no graceful way to explain it, really. The family upstairs seemed nice enough when they’d moved in. We’d even discussed barbecuing together in the coming Spring. The husband worked in a factory, and the wife stayed home with their two kids. I told them I worked nights and lived alone, just below them. There were no red flags or issues right off the bat. I thought I’d lucked out and gotten some decent neighbors. Once the initial pleasantries were exchanged, though – things changed.

It was almost immediate. The day they moved in it was constant stomping and creaking above my head. I had a shift that night and barely got any sleep. I gave them the benefit of the doubt – maybe they were moving things around and getting settled in. Over the next days, I realized it wasn’t going to stop, and things seemed to escalate from there.

I had their phone number, so I texted to let them know I wasn’t very happy. I’m sure I came off like an ass, but I was grumpy and tired. We went back and forth through texts a few times, coming to no real resolution. I’m pretty sure they’ve blocked my number now. I haven’t gotten a response in over a week. Nothing has been resolved. I still haven’t managed to get any decent sleep since they moved in. I’ve been laying awake thinking about this whole situation. The cacophonous stomps and creaks above my head were a never-ending torture.

I couldn’t bear it any longer. I didn’t want a confrontation, but I was sure the loss of sleep was slowly causing me to lose grip on reality. At first, I just started messing around. I moved my porch chairs to their side of the building, filled their mailbox with acorns, and swept a pile of leaves into the open window of their car. I don’t even know if they ever realized I did those things, but I soon began to make my point clearer. I usually got home from work around midnight or one a.m. If I was being a nice, considerate neighbor, I’d at least try to keep it down. I had no obvious reason to be considerate, so I indulged myself.

AC DC, Styx, Aerosmith, Queen – I jammed them all and at top volume. I knew they could hear it upstairs. They’d have to have been deaf not to. The ceiling above me groaned obnoxiously, and I pumped it up louder. I’m not an idiot; I turned it off after about twenty minutes. But, I repeated this activity every night, hoping my message would get through – if they kept the noise down, so would I. I guess they liked my taste in music or something, because they never complained – they also never stopped their stomping.

In the nearly three months since the upstairs neighbors moved in, I believe I’ve gotten maybe one month’s worth of sleep. I can’t take this anymore. I’ve started listening for when their pipes turn on. All the water in the building is connected, so, if I time it right, I can cut off their hot water with the turn of a knob or the flush of a toilet. I’ve heard the wife squeal a few times now, and it’s so hard to keep from laughing out loud. This has been the sweetest revenge yet. Until it wasn’t.

Yesterday, I’d tried and failed to nap before my shift. I heard the pounding of little feet running around upstairs and sighed. I sat up and rubbed my face. There was no way I’d be able to get any rest today – again. Then, I heard it… the familiar rushing sound from behind the walls meant water was being used above me. I listened closer. There was only one, continuous stream, meaning someone was probably in the shower. When they did dishes, the rushing ebbs and flows as the faucet is turned off and on. I smiled to myself. This would be fun.

I glanced at my watch and estimated about ten minutes until ‘go’ time. While I waited, I made myself a cup of instant coffee, lit a cigarette, and headed to the bathroom – coffee goes right through me. The ten minutes passed in what felt like five. I could still hear the water flowing freely just above my head. I didn’t even bother to contain my laughter as I dramatically flushed the toilet. The water churned and swirled as it was sucked down the drain. The mechanical whooshing sound was followed by a sharp scream from above, then an ominous thud that shook the ceiling.

I killed her. I flushed the toilet which caused her shower’s water temp to drop drastically. She was so startled, she tried to evade the icy stream, slipped and fell and broke her neck, dying instantly. I took a mother from her children… a wife from her husband. This family will forever be changed, and it’s all my fault. I found out later the building was built in 1908. They weren’t even being loud… it was just an old building with creaky floors.

8 thoughts on “The Noise Upstairs

  1. Good one, Ashley! Very entertaining. Your writing style was unforced and very readable which made this totally enjoyable to read. One thing…the image is kind of hard to read through sometimes. I had to keep the story at the bottom of the page. Voted. 5 stars!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Jim! I’ve been thinking about re-working my site again. Seems a redesign is definitely in order. So glad you enjoyed the story! Thanks for stopping by, and congratulations on your success with ‘The Tattoo Anniversary’!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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