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The Lights

By HeartOfGold15 All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Mystery

Short Story

The lights were on, as always.

To Peter's knowledge, no one lived in that apartment anymore. The last resident had moved out around three years ago. He knew, because he'd helped the man leave.

No one new had come in. It was a small town. People coming and going never went unnoticed, as town gossip spreads quickly. Joane and David had divorced, the Robinsons were expecting a fifth child, those types of things. Petty little things.

Peter supposed it didn't matter. It was none of his business, after all. Perhaps another person really had moved in undetected.

It still clouded his thoughts, like all odd things did. The man had lived with OCD all his life; his own apartment was spotlessly clean, his office was organized, and he never, ever left the lights on. His whole life was like a Staples commercial. He was an efficient citizen.

What a blatant waste of power, Peter thought. The itch had begun, worse than ever before. Oh, how he wanted, no, needed to shut that damn light off. And yet he composed questions: Who paid the electricity bill for that apartment? Did anyone live there? Why was no one talking about this damn light?

It seemed a crime, that this light turned itself on everyday at 8 sharp, with the same precision that the man would use to organize his room. They glowed from across the street, challenging him, insulting him, worrying him. He needed to shut them off.

Peter left his apartment in a large overcoat and made sure to lock the door - he always locked the door - then crossed the street. A stairway lead up to his destination, and quickly looking around to make sure no one else saw, he walked up. Finally. He just needed to get inside somehow and shut the lights off.

It was a favor he was doing for the world, not a crime. That's what he told himself. It wasn't breaking and entering if no one lived there. He would be saving some person a large amount of money. He'd be doing himself a favor, too. Maybe he could smash the lights, so they would never turn on again.

Yet in all oddness there was a key in the door already. Peter almost didn't notice it at first until the street lights came on, and the gold metal lit up, glinting in the almost-darkness. So he would not have to break and enter, it seemed. He sighed in relief, but his heart still sped. Maybe he was wrong. What if someone really does live here?

Peter collected himself, taking a shaky breath in. He grabbed the key and twisted it. The handle soon gave way.

Finally he would see who was turning these lights on.

It was 7:59 pm on a Saturday night. A man sat in his perfectly organized home. He gazed out the window with tired eyes for a minute, staring specifically at an apartment across the street.

The lights turned on, as always.

Peter found that he didn't care anymore.

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