A Simple Survey

212 39 33

This story was contributed by Sam_le_fou

Christian woke up rather jittery that day.

It wasn't the fact that he has been drinking the night before - although mixing Tequila and wine perhaps hadn't been his brightest idea - or the fact that he was late to work. No, he woke up jittery because somebody was incessantly knocking on the door of his apartment building, waking him up from his deep slumber.

This made Christian rather puzzled, seeing as he wasn't accustomed to entertaining guests. It wasn't the landlord, since he always paid his rent on time. It couldn't be a salesman as he paid a pretty penny not to be disturbed. In fact, he didn't like anybody disturbing him at home. It...rattled him, for some reason he couldn't quite say.

He purposely moved in and out of the building without running into anyone, and he liked it that way, and so did his neighbors. In fact, he only knew he had neighbors from the occasional sound of T.V. and chatter coming from the many rooms that littered the building. But he could honestly say that no neighbor had ever knocked on his door before.

And yet, there it was--someone was knocking at his door. Three short, but strong knocks, followed by silence. And again. And again, ad nauseam.

Christian couldn't tell why it bothered him that much. It was as if every knock was a nail scratching the chalkboard of his brain. An itch he couldn't satiate. He put a robe around his naked body and approached the door. His hand hovered above the doorknob, shaking madly. Something primal, even guttural, told him not to open it. He knew there was danger behind it.

But he had to. The knocking wasn't stopping. It was mechanical and thorough. And just as mechanical and thorough was the pain throbbing on his brain.

"Coming," said Christian. He shook his hand to ease his nerves and opened the creaking door.

Behind it was a man. He had a nose, and eyes, and a mouth. There was nothing particularly interesting about that man. He wasn't fat, or skinny, or ugly, or beautiful. He wasn't taller nor smaller than Christian. He was, for all intents and purposes, a regular person.

Save for his smile that shone unnatural white teeth from ear to ear.

"Good morning! Are you Christian Anderson?" asked the man without breaking his smile.

"Yes?" said Christian. There was something odd about the man, almost uncanny. As if he was trying to look normal but failing.

"Excellent! My name is Mycroft Wallers, and I'm from the census bureau," said the smiling man while presenting Christian with a plastic credential. Not that Christian managed to see it properly; the man placed it in his pocket once again.

"What can I do for you, Mr. Wallers?" asked Christian.

"I'm with the census bureau," repeated Mycroft.

"You said that already."

"I would like to make a few questions to determine some basic data, if you don't mind," said Mycroft without flinching. "Just a simple survey."

Christian, almost reflectively, adjusted his robe tighter around his chest. He had no reason to say no, other than the censor was an utter weirdo. "Of course, I'm happy to help."

Both men stood in the hall without saying a word. Mycroft stood there with his impossible smile that didn't translate to his dull eyes. It occurred to Christian that he hadn't seen the man blink once. Every second that ran by made Christian more and more uncomfortable. He felt naked and vulnerable under the gaze of the uncanny doll of a man.

Read No Evil: Anthology of TerrorWhere stories live. Discover now