ᴇᴠᴇʀʟᴀsᴛɪɴɢ ᴀғᴛᴇʀʟɪғᴇ

By Wreck-

a collaboration for wreck- and satanswhore © 2020

wake me up to an everlasting afterlife. it is designed from the secrets i hide

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Wreck-     1y ago

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[b [#9ed6e6 "Thank you."]]

Marissa Evan looked down at the key in her hand a while, and then back up to the maintenance worker who handed it to her. Why wasn't the woman leaving? Surely she had better things to do than stand around chatting with some newcomer to the building. The barely-an-adult blonde had enough to do without worrying about someone else, so she felt rightfully put out at the insistence of this woman.

[i I have a tenant about your age, down in the basement. He's like a nephew to me, I bet he'd love to make a new friend.] Sure. A friend. That's what the stranger had on her mind when she saw Marissa, for her [i Your-Age tenant]. She highly doubted it, but she kept her face passive as the woman said a cheerful goodbye and left. She took a deep breath, pocketing the key and making a mental note to throw it away later.

A quick glance around the bare apartment made two things glaringly obvious. One, that this place was an absolute dump. Clearly the maintenance woman wasn't keeping up with her job very well. Secondly... she needed curtains. Above many other things, privacy was a thing that Marissa valued above all others. She leaned against the counter in her run-down apartment, surveying the old kitchen. It was spacious enough that she had to wonder what the hell was wrong with this place for her to be able to afford it.

Speaking of afford, she would have to get a job pretty soon. Moving to a new town meant no job, yet again. She wondered sometimes what people thought of her resume when she handed it in. All of the places were the same, but the name was different every time. Marissa figured it must have been the jobs that didn't bother calling the previous place of employment that hired her, because if they asked for the name on the application, they would be met with confusion.

Hiding your identity like that wasn't easy, but a necessary evil.

A large sigh escaped her, and she bent forward just a little bit, trying to balance out her spinning head, pushing past the nicotine headache- all out of cigarettes- and the exhaustion to think of what to do next... when she found her mind wandering to the key in her pocket. It lead to the basement, right? Maybe there were good places to hide out there, aside from the [i tenant]'s apartment. She might just check it out...

[right [pic https://i.pinimg.com/originals/78/15/c6/7815c6f72ceaefdff15584615d010e61.gif]]
And it was stupid thoughts like [i those] that landed her in the basement that evening, after the sun had gone down. She promised herself she was just looking for the laundry facilities, but underneath she knew it was mostly curiosity. When the elevator door dinged open, Marissa stepped a socked foot into the basement, taking a look down the concrete hallway to see lines of doors. Apartment B1, Utility Closet, Storage...

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[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/z3849gs.gif]] [center [font roman So, moving into some shoddy ass apartment in Fucktown, USA, was the equivalent of post nut clarity right about now. An absolute high that clouds all judgement and makes a man do what no other could ever do in his place, until afterwards, where the immediate clear mindfulness and soberness makes him regret every little thing that ever happened at that moment. Yep, this was that, without forcing yourself to fall in love with the person you just fucked afterwards, because there was no loving this place.

But living within the basement for four months sort of made the place more bearable. Out of sight and out of mind for the other tenants who were, well, fucking strange and practically loopy, but the maintenance worker was nice enough. At least his relationship with her was good enough to be almost like a far-removed relative. Still, her overenthusiasm was a little off-putting, especially with the news that a new person, around his age, was moving into one of the rooms upstairs. Perfect, was this damn woman trying to set him up now?

[b "Come on, Calvin. I can't bear to see you lonely any longer."]

She had practically forced him to comply and 'meet' this new tenant, but Calvin wasn't going to go looking for them, whoever the hell they are. The [i perks] of living in a room within the basement was that the laundry machine was right outside your door, the agonizing symphony of whirring clothes had practically become his lullaby. They had to end up in the basement at some point, Calvin would [i catch] them and that's it. There was no point in looking for them, plus, laziness and misanthropy for anyone who wasn't him.

He stepped out from his apartment, sticking close to the door though, realising how fucking cold the basement could sometimes be and stared down the concrete hallway where the laundry stuff was kept. Nope, no one had shown up apart from some [i mysterious] person who was in the habit of leaving their crusty clothes in the hamper all the time. And then the question entered his mind, why exactly was that important anyway? This newcomer was bound to be nothing special, and Calvin didn't need anyone in his life right now. Fuck, Samantha, for thinking that loneliness was his biggest issue.

But then the familiar [i ding] of the elevator echoed through the hallway, which made him involuntarily perk up and watch the doors from his apartment door split apart to reveal the dreaded newbie. Alright, from what little he could see, the newcomer was a [i girl], maybe. Actually, no, what the hell. Why did that matter? But she was pretty hot. [i Wait, no, use your other head, fucking weirdo.]

He stood at his open door, leaning against the frame, half-in and half-out of his doorway, but he looked casual enough and not like a total creeper who was waiting for her to show up at all, no way. Just randomly breaking the silence with some forced greeting would only be the polite thing to do. She was new, after all.

[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/GM0Xdis.gif]] [#C4788E [b "Hey."]]

He was completely monotoned, almost bored-sounding as if this was most definitely forced, but nobody forced him to stand there and say anything. [#C4788E [b "You're new, right?"]] Yeah, obviously, but saying something and then nothing at all would just be weird.
Wreck-     1y ago

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And there he was. Because, like a movie cliche, she wouldn't just be able to get in and out now that she had finally located the laundry room. No, she would be stuck making forced pleasantries with this guy simply for the fact that she didn't want things to be glaringly awkward when she came down to do laundry. That tended to happen when she was honest with people about not giving a shit about them, even if they [i were] complete strangers. It was weird to her, that the world expected some level of respect and politeness without ever doing anything to earn it.

Marissa gave the stranger a once-over, ice blue eyes darting down to his feet and back. He had the look of a heartbreaker about him. Something about his features suggested that a lot of girls probably got crushes on him quickly, only for those cynical, deadpan eyes to turn them away. At least she wasn't the type to get superficial crushes.

She shoved the keycard into her back pocket and raised a hand in greeting. No wave, just a raise of the hand, and then her hands went into her front pockets, her eyes on his as he spoke.

[b You're new, right?]

Gee, how did he know?

[b [#9ed6e6 "What? No, I've been here for years."]] she said flatly, her voice dripping sarcasm as the hint of amusement played at the corner of her mouth. [b [#9ed6e6 "I guess that's me. You must be the one Lisa went on and on about."]]

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Marissa curled her socked-toes against the cold concrete of the floor and considered. What name would she use, now that she could settle down? Now that she could maybe get a fresh start. It wasn't like they could drag her back to Joseph anymore. She was a legal adult now, they couldn't put her back in the system. Maybe it would be okay to use it. Maybe. There weren't any articles with her name on them about what'd happened.

[b [#9ed6e6 "I'm Marissa."]]
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[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/z3849gs.gif]] [center [font roman [#C4788E [b "Marissa..."]]

He repeated back beneath his breath as if the name held any significance to him, and then subtly shrugged his shoulders, mostly to himself. [#C4788E [b "Calvin."]] He just replied, about as blunt as ever, a small smile creeping up at the corner of his mouth from her small ounce of sarcasm earlier.

[#C4788E [b "All good things, I hope. She does like to rave a lot."]] If they were, they were probably all lies. Not like Calvin was the antichrist or anything, but he wasn't exactly Mother Superior. It wasn't like he cared about whatever Lisa had to say about him, it was just funny to have someone make up complete fabrications about your entire being just so you could seem likeable to someone you'd never met before, or maybe Calvin was just cynically superficial about everything.

He pushed himself away from the doorframe lightly and then shuffled closer a little bit, to close the large gap between them, nothing more. He ultimately faced her, shoulders hunched over, and his cornflower-blue eyes darting from her face to the floor now and then, hands in his pockets to really solidify the tension. Something about her made him nervous, but he couldn't tell what.

Damn, this was awkward. Now Calvin was reminded exactly why he never went from door to door in the apartment building, practically asking for a conversation. He told himself that he was only doing this for his friend, but he seriously doubted he'd be here for this long if that were the full truth.

[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/GM0Xdis.gif]] [b [#C4788E "So, um. What brings you to this haunted freakshow of a building? Can't say this would be my top recommendation of [i liveable] housing."]] Geez, where did that come from? He didn't want this conversation to carry on any longer; it was barely a conversation, but he sure wasn't stopping.
Wreck-     1y ago

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The name somehow didn't suit him, and simultaneously matched him so well she suddenly couldn't imagine him being called anything else. The smirk on her face softened to something that could probably be considered friendly. It faded when he pushed himself off of the doorframe and closed the distance between them, making her chest tighten anxiously.

[b [#9ed6e6 "Did you know you grow horns at night and start speaking in tongues?"]] she teased, covering the anxiety with flat humor. She had to fight to keep her breath from shaking at his proximity. Something about him made her tense, like her world might fall apart if he touched her. Why?

Marissa turned her eyes away from him just briefly, but they were drawn back to him like a magnet, and she couldn't stop looking at his eyes, darting around as they were. Was he nervous too? Interesting.

[b [#9ed6e6 "Rent is cheap."]] She was going to leave it at that. She really was. But if he was forcing himself to make conversation like this, the least she could do was give him a little bit of honesty. [b [#9ed6e6 "And nobody knows me here."]]

[right [pic https://i.pinimg.com/originals/78/15/c6/7815c6f72ceaefdff15584615d010e61.gif]]
Something she couldn't deny being curious about was what he'd said. One word stuck out amongst the rest, and had her abandoning the conversation about why she had moved here gratefully.

[b [#9ed6e6 "What makes you think this place is haunted?"]]
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[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/z3849gs.gif]] [center [font roman [#C4788E [b "Beelzebub, in the flesh."]] He joked, but rather offhandedly, and his voice quivered a little. He couldn't quite relax yet, even with the small quip between them, and it appeared Marissa was feeling the same way, but Calvin hadn't caught that finally. The air between them felt incredibly thick, though. He had to ask himself if that was the real reason his chest was tightening up or not.

It was like somebody had cast a spell between them that just set off this overwhelming feeling of tension and sickening worry, or maybe that was just him. It was almost customary for him to be super apprehensive about another person's company, and Calvin knew best when to retreat, with a careless goodbye to boot, that would have been now, but that didn't seem to be happening. [i [b Why the fuck not?!]]

He chuckled through his nose quietly at her comment. Yeah, the rent was cheap, for a good fucking reason, too. But then came the other bit, about nobody knowing her here. Sure, everyone in this building had a story, some fucked up ones too, but Calvin knew all about them, and the story matched their teller's appearance. You know, druggies looked like druggies, kind of thing. But this girl, Marissa, looked about as innocent one could get.

[#C4788E [b "Right."]]

There was no point in prying; they were still strangers, painful ones at that. But Calvin would keep that in mind for later, if not, then someone in the apartment would most likely find out and tell him anyway, word travelled fast in the apartment block.

He absently-mindedly, or more like nervously, picked at his fingernails as the conversation topic soon switched, his eyes focused on the skin of his fingers, but looked up at her question, his eyes wide with confused curiosity. Now [i that] was the talking point? [i Great.] He liked the occult, sure, but that didn't mean he believed in any of it.

[#C4788E [b "You know like, flickering lights, faulty taps. Some real Ghostbuster type shit, if you believe in it. Guy in 104 could tell you stories, over a giant wad of crack."]]

[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/GM0Xdis.gif]] He then narrowed his eyes, brows furrowed into a small frown as the curiosity really hit him, and leaned his side against the wall; crossing his arms too. [#C4788E [b "You don't believe in that stuff, do you?"]] It was almost accusatory, the way he said it, and his nerves seemed to have dissipated a bit, but they were still definitely there. Calvin just had a knack for practically antagonising people without much trouble, but that wasn't his intention at all, at least not right now.

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This guy seemed awfully defensive for someone who'd brought up the topic himself. She had simply been looking for a talking point, what'd made him use that word specifically. His eagerness to jump down her throat at the topic had her taking a step back, and meeting his eyes again with some vague flicker of amusement, eyebrow raised in question.

[b [#9ed6e6 "You're the one that brought it up."]] she drawled, her french accent dripping the words with her biting amusement. [b [#9ed6e6 "I simply wanted to know what made you choose to use the term haunted."]] That tight feeling in her chest was still there, but she refused to take her eyes from his, or let it register on her face that it affected her at all. Some people let their emotions run rampant on their faces. It looked like Calvin was no exception, from the look in his eyes to the way he picked at his fingernails. A fleeting curiosity passed through her at what he would look like with black nail polish on.

But, to answer his question,

[b [#9ed6e6 "I believe places can be haunted. By people, by rumors, by the things that happened there... it depends."]] No admission to or denial of the belief in the paranormal. That, she would let him decide. But if ever there were evidence of a haunting, it would be Joseph.

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Marissa pushed a hand through her hair, tossing the white-blonde over her shoulder and finally tore her eyes from him, in the direction of a too-serendipitous sound that echoed from the laundry room. All of the amusement went from her face then, her expression blank. Surely, this was a joke or some strange coincidence. Just being in there minutes ago, she knew it was empty.
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[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/z3849gs.gif]] [center [font roman She wasn't wrong; it was [i his] problem, [i his] issue, but screw that. He didn't answer her, instead choosing to avert his gaze elsewhere, subtly scrunching his face up as the urge to bite back hit him and was suppressed at the same time, now that wouldn't be the best first impression in the world, or second impression, by now.

Her accent, though, almost made him look back. He felt somewhat stupid for not noticing it before, how [i European], how [i fancy], how almost [i pretentious] it was. It was nice, almost pretty. Compared to his own, thick and aggressive, from the bowels of New England itself, at least. Almost straight from a Bugsy Malone film.

When they spoke together from this point onwards, their accents would undoubtedly mix like oil and water; it was actually quite funny to think about. But the way things were going, this felt like their only in-depth interaction, until the moment they said their goodbyes and would only see each other if they did laundry at the same time. Even then, an offhand greeting and aloof goodbye would be their only exchange, maybe small talk, if they felt adventurous.

It pained him to think like that. He was aloof, a bit of megalomaniac, completely unadjusted to the world, but at the same time, way too adjusted, but Calvin craved [i someone], and whenever that [i someone] appeared, the moment was ruined because of him. Everything about him went quiet in that concise moment of thought; his face, his posture, even the air around him, almost too engrossed with himself before Marissa had spoken again, which jolted him straight back into reality. Fuck, the mind does wander.

[#C4788E [b "I'll go ahead and pretend that made any sense."]] It did, actually, but again, how could Calvin admit his wrongdoings. He took it as her believing in that stuff though, how could one not? If she were anyone else, he'd probably feel superior for not believing in such nonsense, but she wasn't someone else, she was [i Marissa], and somehow, that made her different.

Again, his thought process interrupted by both her and something in the background. God, hair-flipping really shouldn't be that hot. [i Quit thinking like that, creep.] He turned his attention to the almost fortuitous noise that echoed through the hall, but his facial expression merely looked bored, unbothered by the sound. He noticed Marissa's hesitation and held back a scoff. [#C4788E [b "Don't worry, it's just Timms from upstairs, probably."]] He casually assured her with a small semblance of a smirk, finding amusement in her unease.

[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/GM0Xdis.gif]] [#C4788E [b "You'll get to know 'im, trust me, be damned if you don't."]] But the noise kept going, Timms was usually in and out before Calvin could see him. The unease had hit him too, a cold chill running down his spine as the noise just wouldn't cease, but this was [i nothing], right? [#C4788E [b "But I- uh, guess we can check it out if you want."]] For her sake, duh, and to prove himself right, and her wrong. Or it was just a rat. Yeah, just a rat, maybe.

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If he truly didn't know what she was saying, then he was a lucky guy. Lucky...

The fear in his eyes was subtle when he started to doubt even his own conviction about this so-called [i Timms] in the laundry room, whose existence she didn't doubt... but he definitely wasn't in there. She had just been in there, and no one would have been able to slip into the laundry room without passing them. Marissa was very aware of her surroundings, even when stuck in this tense draw she had to a stranger.

She looked over toward the laundry room, following his gaze, and her arms crossed under her small chest, shifting her weight uncomfortably. [b [#9ed6e6 "It's probably nothing."]] she murmured, dismissing it as nothing if only for the little flicker of doubt she'd seen in his face. Before he could find some excuse to leave, though, as the paranoia from the room eased and she shifted back to a more casual stance, she focused her eyes back on his face, tilting her head just a little bit.
[right [pic https://i.pinimg.com/originals/78/15/c6/7815c6f72ceaefdff15584615d010e61.gif]]
[b [#9ed6e6 "What happened in the room upstairs? There was police tape on the door."]] He seemed the type to know what was going on in the building, as evidenced from his automatic assumption of the noises belonging to one of the residents. Clearly he knew them well enough by now to know why there was [i police tape] over a door in their building. Newer police tape too, and she wanted to know why the room across from hers was all taped up.
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[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/z3849gs.gif]] [center [font roman He subtly hoped that the police tape topic wouldn't come up, which was pretty evident by the very slight glint of bitterness in his eyes, but no matter, it was unavoidable at this point. At least they didn't have to head into the laundry room, not that Calvin was scared or anything, no way.

[#C4788E [b "Oh, uh- Um..."]] By the lost umming and erring and the uncomfortable shuffling of his feet, there was something about the issue that disturbed him. That room, all that blood and the smell...

He didn't want to even think back on the memory, of why the police tape adorned the door like some shitty Crimewatch scene, but Marissa did have a right to know, living right next to the room and everything, and nobody could keep their mouths shut here, not even him. It was only a matter of time, anyway.

He cleared his throat, with hand motions and all. [#C4788E [b "... Something bad happened, a few nights ago, [i really] bad."]] He said, totally serious, awkwardly rubbing the back of his neck then. [#C4788E [b "I don't think you really want to know, but..."]] Using his hands, Calvin crudely made the shape of a gun and held it up to his head, before mimicking a gunshot with his voice.

[#C4788E [b "Pop."]]

Apart of him wanted to protect her from that knowledge, but the other half thought that would be woefully unfair. She didn't seem that innocent, though, even less than him; there was no point in explaining it. He shrugged then and ran his fingers through his already tousled hair, blowing an exasperated sigh through his lips.

[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/GM0Xdis.gif]] [#C4788E [b "Surprised you didn't see the cops, they've been sniffin' 'round here like dogs. But, I dunno. I guess they only sent out two to investigate, or whatever."]] Yeah, that was sort of weird, only one officer and a detective for something as heinous as murder. But the law enforcement had always been pretty fickle, Calvin hated them. Still, for once, Calvin knew something that they didn't, about the crime...


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