Upstairs

A girl, finds herself torn between two men, two decisions, two different futures. Will she choose good or evil, right or wrong, good or bad. God, or Satan.

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1. Samantha

March 7, 2016.

 

 Samantha walks into her small apartment, sits down at the dining room table, and throws her heavy bag of schoolbooks onto the table in front of her. She can hear loud heavy metal music echoing from the apartment below, where The Man Downstairs lives. She also hears laughter coming from the apartment above where The Man Upstairs must be hosting a group of guests. “Hey kiddo!” Yells a tall broad man with gray streaks in his brown hair. “Hey Dad.” Samantha responds. “I’m just heading out for work, but I promise I'll make time for dinner next week, okay?” He asks. “Yeah, whatever you want Dad.” She replies, not sounding convinced. “You're the best.” He says, planting a gentle kiss on her forehead before walking out the door to work the night shift at the local museum. After the front door closes, Samantha glances over at her school books, knowing she has tests to study for, but she doesn't reach for them. Instead, she stares at the blank wall before her, as a single tear falls down her face. Things were harder for Samantha today. The bully at high school humiliated her... again, she failed her test... again, she didn't smile though the whole day.... again. Most of her days at school have passed by in this same routine, but today was different, today hurt more. Samantha's about done with everything bad happening in her life, and forgetting about everything good. She could end it; she glances at her wrists, noticing the familiar scars, which have been dug into her by words, and knives. She knows what the man living upstairs in her two story building would say. He would tell her to trust him and that everything is going to work its way out. He would say he has it covered and the pain won't last forever. Today, Samantha doesn't believe him.


 Behind her, she hears footsteps coming up the basement stairs. One after another, slowly advancing towards the closed door. “He's never had enough courage to approach me.” she thinks, as the basement door creaks open. A tall figure emerges as the door opens. His face is different, as it always is, as it changes every day becoming a new person with new looks. Today, he is a tall middle aged man with short black hair, and dark brown eyes. He seats himself at the opposite end of the table, directly across from Samantha. She doesn't feel any need to fear him, it's almost like, he's inviting her, and she can feel it. He leans back in his chair, not bothering to lock eyes with Samantha, he says, "Another rough day, wasn't it?" he asks, although she knows he already knows the answer. Samantha nods, as she stares down at her feet. "You don't have to be afraid of me. You don't have to listen to the man living above you. Why should you listen to him? You're sixteen now, Samantha, I think you should have the right to make your own decisions." He says, almost purring, as the words fall off his tongue. "I...I know, but-"  “What do you know!?" The man interrupts her, slightly raising his tone. “I know I could leave, but the man, the man living upstairs, he said not to listen to the things you tell me." Samantha says, with more confidence than before. "That's because he doesn't want you to grow up. He doesn't want you to make more friends, or do things normal sixteen year olds do. Follow me Samantha; I have a spare room downstairs. You can have your own bed, and fridge, even your own television if you wish. I can give you friends, and a job. All you have to do is follow me, please Samantha.” She knew, what The Man upstairs said about this man living in the basement. She knew not to follow him. "Samantha!" The Man Upstairs hollered, "Don't forget to walk the neighbor's dog later today!”. "Listen to him! Bossing you around like you're ten! If you live with me, I'll let you do whatever you wish. You will be your own person." The Man Downstairs hissed. "Samantha, also, remember to do your homework, and shower tonight!" The Man Upstairs shouted down. "Follow me, you can be free." The Man Downstairs urged. Samantha had made up her mind, either that, or The Man Downstairs had done it for her. "Okay, I'll follow you." She said, her eyes locked with his. "Good." The Man Downstairs smiled, grinning from ear to ear. Together, they walked down the cold stone stairs into the basement. If only, Samantha knew that her bed was made of thorns, the fridge was moldy, the television was smashed, and the friends she was promised would leave an imprint on her that would affect her until the day she died.



 

Four months and six days later.
July 13, 2016,


 Samantha had a new bunch of friends, and a new well-paying job. You would think this would be a good thing if you didn't look further into both categories. Her friends, weren't the sort of influences The Man Living Upstairs would've wanted her to be spending her time with. They all, have dropped out of school, convincing Samantha to do the same. They all, drank things they shouldn't have and said things they shouldn't, something Samantha has also picked up on quickly. She's fell into a bad circle of friends. Concerning her job? Well, she's simply helping a friend... to sell drugs, and steal from neighborhood families who are out of town. Every night, Samantha comes home, and without hesitation bounds down into the basement to tell the man living there everything she had done that day. He'd encourage her, by saying he is proud of her for making the right decisions, but Samantha has not forgotten about the man living upstairs. She simply acts as if he never crosses her mind, as if... she never knew him.


 

Two months and nine days later.

October 22, 2016,

 

    Margot, Samantha’s best friend, cranks up the music in their small car, as they drive home after another night at the bar. Samantha was hesitant to allow Margot drive in the first place, mostly because it seemed quite obvious her friend had had one too many, but Margot insisted, that she was “fine”. The car slowly ventures into the left lane of a two-lane road. Margot quickly jerks the car back onto the right lane, and does this four or five times. Samantha starts to worry. “Margot, how about I drive okay?” Samantha asks. “No, that's alright, we are almost home anyways.” Margot responds. Samantha returns her gaze to the road ahead of her. Margot reaches for her phone which has just buzzed, Samantha smacks Margot’s hand away and gives her a disapproving glare. “Dude! Come on!” Margot shouts, “We’re almost home any-, Samantha isn’t given enough time to finish her sentence. Head lights from an oncoming truck blind both Samantha and Margot. Margot jerks the wheel, turning the car off the road. The truck hits the cars back-side, sending Samantha and her friend flying forward in their seats. Air bags go off as the car crashes into a tree. Samantha is thrown out of the vehicle a few feet from the car. Blood stains her shirt, and runs down the side of her head. Margot stumbles out of the car with a bloody nose. She limps toward Samantha. Margot yells, and screams, but Samantha lays still. The truck-driver had then pulled over onto the opposite side of the road and had already called 911. Five minutes pass. Ten minutes, then finally the loud familiar sounds of sirens come bounding down the road. Margot rests her head on Samantha's stomach, tears streaming down her face, as she tells herself it's all her fault. Medics run to the scene, pushing Margot aside. “Clear!” One of them shouts, Samantha's body jerks as they shock her with the defibrillator paddles. Nothing happens. “Clear!” One of them shouts again. Her body lurches forward again, this time, her lungs and heart respond to it. Her body is lifted into the ambulance, and rushed to the hospital.


 

One day later

October 23, 2016,

 

Samantha lies in a hospital bed, looking lifeless. She can’t hear the doctors talking. She needs a heart transplant, within the next few days, or her, what looks like a lifeless body, will be lifeless. Samantha’s father sits at her side. His head resting in her lap. His breathing is steady as he sleeps. Her father has been through enough already. He lost his wife, Robin, shortly after she gave birth to Samantha. Now, he is about to lose the only important thing he has left in his life, his daughter. Samantha lies still and asleep. She is not aware of anything going on around her. She doesn’t realize that tonight could be her last.

 

Later that night, Samantha wakes up. She suddenly can see and hear things that she couldn’t before. She glances around, taking in the unfamiliar room she is in and wonders how she arrived here, and why. A chair creaks to her left, Samantha jumps once she realize there is a man sitting in it. It’s The Man Upstairs. His eyes are closed, but Samantha is near positive he is awake. She stares at him, eyes wide open, She feels both safe, and afraid. “There is nothing to be afraid of, I promise.” He says, almost reading her mind. “Your father needed a break, so I took his spot until he returns. You remember me don't you?” He says. Samantha tries to speak, but she physically cannot. “Samantha, I warned you about The Man Downstairs. I told you not to follow him.” He whispers, his voice steady, but sad. “I had your whole life all planned out, You were going to get that degree in teaching you wanted, get married, and have kids, but you followed him instead. Look where it has brought you!” Samantha tries to speak again but her tongue is tied. A single tear falls down her cheek as she starts to understand what she has done, what she could’ve done differently, and how it’s now too late. “Samantha?” He says, she nods. “I love you. No matter where you go, or what you do, I will always love you, and I will always be here with arms wide open. I will always, always forgive you. Remember that.” With that, The Man Upstairs got up, grabbed his book he had been reading, opened the door, and left. As the door closes, everything goes black, and silent. Samantha can’t hear, she can’t see, she can only think. As she laid there in her hospital bed, she made a decision. Samantha decided, that no matter what happened, whether she ever left the hospital alive or not, she would listen to The Man Upstairs, and believe in everything he had said, and done. Because somewhere deep inside of Samantha, she had been moved, and she believed.

    

 

The next morning

October 24, 2016.



 Cries, and sniffles encircle the closed casket, lying outside ready to be buried. Inside that casket is Samantha. The Man from upstairs is there, as is the man from the basement. Tears fall to the ground all around them. The man from upstairs weeps, but his tears aren’t from sadness. His tears are from joy, because he knows that he won Samantha. He knows that she is now one of his children. The Man Downstairs however, stands towards the back of the crowd. No tears fall down his cheeks. The muscles on his body stiffen, his eyes glare at The Man Upstairs, because he knows, he has lost another one.


Samantha’s eyes slowly open; she looks around her, seeing warmly-colored walls, and soft carpet. When she sits up, there is no pain. There is no sadness. Samantha walks across the room and opens the door. Laughter fills the room, but not a loud obnoxious laughter. It is a calm welcoming one. She follows the sound, which leads to a large living room full of people young and old. They, all, sit in a circle around what looks like another person. As Samantha gets closer, she recognizes the person sitting in the middle, it is The Man Upstairs. He beckons toward her with a warm smile. The people surrounding him all shake her hand, and welcome her. In the crowd, she sees many familiar faces. A beautiful woman comes up to Samantha. Samantha has never seen this woman before, but she knows exactly who she is. Samantha has her same nose, and her smile. “Welcome, my daughter.” The woman says, as she pulls Samantha into a warm embrace. Samantha doesn’t need to ask any questions, she knows exactly where she is. She is upstairs. She is where she belongs. She is home.

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