The Neighbour

The Neighbour by Chris Barraclough, Humour/Mystery, 2,000 words

After a traumatic confrontation with a mugger, the nameless protagonist finds himself suffering from agoraphobia. Unable to leave his apartment, and tormented by a noisy neighbour, he soon discovers that his possessions are going missing...


5. Truth


I couldn’t sleep any more. The attacks became more frequent, until they were once or twice a day. Each time, items and photographs would vanish from my flat, and the grim truth could no longer be ignored. No one was breaking in every time I passed out, it was impossible. Which left only one person who could possibly steal the photos and random junk from my tiny little world. It had to be me.


So what, I was schizophrenic? The blackouts weren’t blackouts at all - I was actually taking these items and stashing them somewhere? Somewhere out in the real world, so presumably my other self wasn’t agoraphobic. Why would I do that to myself? Maybe my other personality was a joker. Maybe he was just a total dick, and enjoyed seeing me suffer. Although he never could of course...unless he was somehow secretly videotaping me.


I tore the flat apart looking for surveillance equipment. I ripped into my mattress, tore the stuffing from my pillows. The long, narrow vase in the corner of the room was shattered with a single kick, leaving a maze of serrated pieces piled up on the floor. No cameras or tape recorders. Nothing in the whole fucking flat.


I clasped my hands to my head and screamed. My wails barely drowned out the Bee Gees, who were screeching along in the neighbouring flat. They say crazy people don’t realise they’re crazy, but that’s bullshit. I felt my brain throb and fart inside my skull, diseased and bloated and dying. Failing like an ancient computer, coughing up dust before the electrodes stutter and spark and the whole lot crashes into oblivion.  


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