I'd been bleeding myself into the sink on the night the lady above us died. Truth be told, nobody noticed until a week later. But looking back I should have recognized that seeping sensation. The one that stained the ceiling of the green-tiled kitchen in my mind. Or noticed how the lone light over the sink seemed to make my arms look more lifeless than usual.
In any case, a week passes and Jamie ends up in my doorway telling me about the dead woman. He raises his eyebrows about my lack of surprise and proceeds to tell me about some practices in Japan. I think it had something to do with not sleeping in rooms below the dead. I can't be sure. In the end he raids my fridge and exits my apartment, leaving me feeling the uneasiness of the light on my skin.
The next day Clara from next door brings me some cookies, claiming she made too many for herself. I smile. She blushes. And I think for a moment to invite her in.
This doesn't happen.
Her eyes sink back into her head and all of her teeth fall out.
Later on, after Jamie had forced me to eat a sandwich, I related this to him. He tells me I'm crazy. I frown and gaze up at the off-white of my ceiling, trying to think of a rebuttal to that I haven't said before. Someone smiles, but is isn't either of us.
It's a day after that I pull my rusty twin bed away from the walls. I can still feel the woman's death slowly seeping down and it's starting to make me nervous. Even when I walked to the lobby to retrieve my mail I could feel it in the distance...a blob of foggy black. And when I get back I debate going in. I can almost see it now and it makes my apartment look like some sort of tomb.
Clara comes by later to ask me if I'm sick. Her nose is gone.
That afternoon I block off the door to my room and feed a bit of myself to the sink. I keep thinking if I can satiate the thing in the basement for now it won't be feeling eager to help the death in my walls spread to the others. On the side where I share a wall with Clara it's the darkest. Sometimes when I look at it I see her new face as a glossy-white reflection. If it gets any darker...I get the feeling she'd be able to walk through.
No…no, we're not having any of that.