This was the first time she had finally called out, after three tries and, well, fails of ringing the doorbell. The corridor was dark.
The last thing she wanted was to be stuck in a haunted building for the rest of her years in university. But she couldn't ignore the stories- the ones she picked up from whispered sites and gossiped columns of the local magazines.
Even though she had thought it would involve more paparazzi kind of stuff about, well, university, but when a page spoke about a guy dying there back in the nineteenth century, it was kind of hard to ignore.
Well, she wasn't giving up her hard-earned scholarship for such a prestigious university for a gossip column about paranormal activity.
There was no reply.
The handle of her suitcase was slippery under her sweaty palm. She still had her key in her hand, but she stared at the door uncomfortably, unsure how to proceed.
"Is anybody in there?" She asked hopefully, voice tapering to a weak end. "Damn, I thought I was supposed to have a roommate."
Which was also what had been said when she ended the call with her mother about half an hour ago when she was still in the cab and still had the reassurance of family backing her up. Though she'd ended it on terms of not wanting to hear any more no more drugs and you'll know when you become a mother yourself classics.
It had been cool enough when she was behind the drive. But the moment she stepped out of the cab, boom.
Hello, haunted house.
"Well, I'm coming in," she called out again, but if there was a ghost in there, it didn't seem very interested in stopping her. So slowly, she inserted her key in the lock and winced.
The door swung open with a low pitch whine, and she almost felt like whining along with it. She pushed it open into the room, it was dark and deathly quiet.
Everything felt more haunted with the progressing moment.
"Okay," she whispered to herself, slowly peeking inside, and then pulling her suitcase in, "you got this."
If there was a presence in the apartment, it didn't give itself away. The furniture was all in place and it looked very lived in, contrary to what she had been expecting. She shut the door softly behind her, and let go of her suitcase's handle, wiping her hand at the side of her shorts.
Years of sleepovers of horror movie marathons hadn't helped her situation, despite being the one to laugh at jumpscares and promising never to step into an old building alone, yet here she was. Cowering behind a three feet tall bag of plastic.
Right one week before her first day of college.
"Hello?" she called, "Anybody in here?"
As she waited for a reply, there was a groan.
Maybe I shouldn't have dropped my ice cream on that kid's head in sixth grade.
Well, something pretty similar to a groan. It was low and very subdued, but something very out of place in a homey apartment like this.
Maybe that was a bucket of bullshit because she was pretty sure apartments like these had a reputation. More so about boxed wine, initiation drinking games, and getting piss-drunk despite it being a Monday the next day.
Or maybe it was just London.
"Oh to hell with this," she muttered fervently, "I should have just slept at a hotel."
As if in answer to her words, another similar groan echoed through the interior of the house.
Of course, there was also a load of stories of things leaning more towards the unholy, but she hadn't experienced much of that. Having a mother who kept her locked up and pure, and had bashed her head in an all girl's school for eighteen years had to have some side effects.
And ghosts, of course, there were ghosts.
Mustering up what was left of her courage, she straightened her back and cleared her throat, trying to bring back some of that old student council authority," Uh, Colin, right? You there?"
She was pretty sure it was Colin and she didn't want to piss off anyone she was supposed to live with, but the answer was another aggressively loud sound.
This time, it was definitely a moan.
She held her breath, and moved forward slowly, towards the short hallway supposedly connecting the main living room to the smaller bedrooms. The only light was a dim white bulb, but the lack of illumination made the pale blue walls appear gray.
And that observation didn't help improve her already stressed state.
Come on, maybe it's not ghosts. maybe it's just... murder.
She needed another seven cups of caffeine.
"If you're doing this to freak me out, it's not funny," she said, trying to keep the shake out of her voice. Unsurprisingly, there was no reply.
As she glanced around, she noticed that both the rooms' doors were shut, and she bit her lip. Maybe no one can hear me. But then admitting that would be admitting to the fact that someone was there.
She came across to the first door and froze for a moment. "Um, I'm opening this?" Even to her, it sounded pathetic. Hi, I'm your new roommate and I'm, trying to be threatening but it's not working. "The door?"
She felt like smacking her head against the door. Way to go, Julia.
Her fingers rested against the cool metal of the handle. Pushing it downwards, she was about to open the door when there was a heavy creak.
Her heart almost stopped in her chest. It was definitely the creak of a bed- maybe someone was getting off? But then, another moan emitted from the room, through the door, louder and more obvious than any others she'd heard.
It wasn't that easy.
She felt like running away, but seeing as she didn't have anywhere else to run to, she held her breath. And pushed the door open.
Yeah, there were definitely no spirits in the room.
What there was, was a couple tangled up on the bed, the male specimen on top of the female, the two covered by only a thin sheet, and their eyes wide on her. The utter shock on their faces was probably as prominent as it was on Julia's.
The guy unfroze first.
Hastily pulling up his boxers, he got off the bed in a flustered manner, almost tripping as his legs got tangled in the sheets.
Julia finally got back her senses, slapping a hand over her virgin eyes and stumbling away from the door.
"Oh, man! Holy shit!" she yelled at the top of her voice, jumping away from the door and covering her eyes, but furtively peeking through the fingers. "Goddamit, why can't I have a normal first day?"
"What the hell?" the guy screeched, trying in vain to grab the already claimed sheets to cover himself and his not-so-exposed ding-dong. "Who are you?"
The other girl on the bed spoke nothing, instead only covering herself hastily under the sheets and staring wide-eyed, shocked. Probably traumatized, poor her- much like Julia.
"Someone who didn't pay to live in a house like this!" she yelled back, refusing to take her hands off her eyes. "What the heck is wrong with you? You could have at least locked the door..."
"Wait, you're Julia?" the boy questioned, eyebrows jumping, his voice coloring with surprise as he covered his bare chest. "Oh, hell no."
"Wait, why?" Julia removed her hand, confusion overpowering her intense disgust for a moment, "Who the hell are you?"
"Yeah," he said wearily, almost groaning at her words, "About that..."
Julia's eyes narrowed.
"I'm Colin, Colin Parker...your new roommate."