“Your landlord is a family man, from what you’ve told me, so I really wouldn’t worry about him,” Amanda’s best friend Krystal told her a few days later as they sat in a diner they often met up at.
“Having a family doesn’t always ensure that someone’s not a psycho.”
“That’s true,” Krystal said as she popped a French fry into her mouth.
“I don’t know,” said Amanda, gazing around the diner. “I know it sounds weird, but he just creeps me out and sometimes I’m sorry we moved in there.”
“I get what they mean about trusting one’s gut instinct and all that, but don’t you think you’re being a little extreme?”
Amanda studied her friend and said, “When was the last time you knew me to be extreme?”
Krystal looked thoughtful but didn’t say anything.
“Exactly,” Amanda said making her point. “That’s just not how I am. Something’s very wrong with the guy and I just don’t want to be caught alone with him.”
“I’m not saying you’re wrong, but what could he possibly do to you? I mean, think about it rationally, girl. You’re his tenant.”
“So, why risk losing a tenant. Besides, he would be one of the first ones the police would look at if he harmed you in any way. It would just be too obvious and too hard for him to cover up anything he may do. And just what is it you think he may do anyway?”
“I have no idea.”
“Another thing is his age. You said he was older, right?”
Amanda nodded. “Seems to be in his fifties. His daughter looked like she was in her early twenties or so. What’s your point?”
“Well, if he was that dangerous, he likely would have done something big and ended up in prison a long time ago. People don’t usually up and go psycho so late in life.”
“That’s true, I suppose.”
“Just try to avoid him and enjoy the place until you guys get a house. It’s only for a year, right?”
“Yes, but it’s kind of hard to do when he keeps coming to your door. It seems there’s always something. First, it’s to see how we’re settling in and then there happens to be a stain on the ceiling downstairs. We haven’t even been in the place a month yet.”
“That’s not long at all. There are only so many reasons he could come knocking, so it’s not like I would expect him to be showing up every week forever.”
“Let’s hope not,” said Amanda.
She and Krystal finished their lunch and then they each went their separate ways.
As Amanda was pulling into the driveway which ran up to the apartments and alongside them, she was dismayed to see the landlord step out of the apartment below her. She would have turned around and taken off had he not spotted her.
He was parked in front of the building. Amanda pulled in alongside the building and as close to the stairs leading up to her place as possible. She gave a quick wave when the landlord nodded and silently prayed she could quickly get up and into her place without him coming to the door.
Her hopes were dashed when she found him standing just behind her car when she got out of it. She didn’t say anything and didn’t care if she appeared to be annoyed by his regular presence.
“Good afternoon. I knocked on your door earlier but there was no answer. Your car was here, though.”
“Yeah, I’m not one to sit around cooped up indoors for long so when I don’t have patients to see, I’m off walking or jogging. What’s wrong now?”
He stared at her for a moment with an expression that was a bit hard to read. Was he offended by her question or something?
Finally, he said, “You seen a black cat around lately?”
“No. Who has a black cat?”
Amanda was confused. Why would he take his cat with him when he was tending his properties? “Oh. Was it here with you or something?”
“No. I only live one block away and he sometimes takes off.”
Dismayed to learn he lived so close, she said, “Didn’t see any cat. Sorry.”
“Okay then, just give a call if you do.”
“Will do,” Amanda replied heading up the stairs.
She didn’t look back until she reached the top of the stairs and turned to unlock the door at which time there was no mistaking the fury within the landlord’s eyes. Again he stood with his head angled down, eyes riveted upwards, and from her point of view, it sure looked like his hands were clenched into fists. She was almost tempted to run back down the stairs and go for another jog or drive off somewhere. Instead, she was determined not to let him get to her or for her discomfort to show. This was where she was living for now and that was that.
She went into her apartment and locked the door behind her, hoping to hell the guy wouldn’t knock on the door. He didn’t knock, but she sure could hear a lot of movement down below. After two hours of the annoying bumps and bangs, she was beginning to wonder if it would ever end. Eventually, all went silent and she heard a vehicle door slam shut loudly.
She rose from the couch and slowly crept up to the window and peered down through the barely parted slats of the blinds, knowing she couldn’t be seen yet she could see down below just fine.
And there he was. Sitting in his car and gazing up at her living room window through his windshield.