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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest · #1694895
Writer's cramp 7/30/10~ Matt takes on a renter, but finds there's more than meets the eye.
Ding – Dong

Matt hurried to the door to greet his new renter. He didn't want to have to share his house with someone, it was nice and comfortable, just him and his dog Rufus. But bills still had to be paid, even though he was only getting part time work now. Even so, he was surprised at how soon he'd gotten a response, and the lady hadn't even tried to haggle the price down for the little space she was getting. Stopping in front of the door, he took a moment to tuck-in his shirt, and then opened the heavy oak door.

“You're Matt?”

Matt had trouble finding his voice. The person staring back at him was simply gorgeous. He couldn't comprehend how this amazing looking woman could have such an old sounding voice, like an old librarian he remembered thinking when she had called. But in front of him stood a woman who couldn't be more than thirty, or taller than five feet, her blond hair tied back in a bun. She wore a business suit, and looked like she would be at home in a business meeting, or nearly any upscale place. Not here in this shabby little neighborhood.

“You're Matt?” repeated the woman, her gaze narrowing as Matt stood there looking at her dumbly.

“Ye-Yes! I'm Matt. You're Jean, right? My new renter?”

“That is correct. May I come in?”

“Oh yes, please, enter. Can I help you with your stuff?” Looking around her all Matt saw was two trunks, each two feet tall and and wide, and about four feet long. “Is that all of your things?”

“Yes, all I need is in those cases. And I can handle them.”

“Oh, don't be silly, I can carry one of those for you.” As he said this Matt stepped around her and attempted to lift one of the trunks. He could barely lift it a few inches, but he was determined. But then Jean had a hand on his shoulder and was squeezing so hard it hurt, and he couldn't help but drop the trunk back the few inches he had managed to lift it.

“Do not, ever, touch this case.” Jean said.

If Matt had been inclined to respond, he still wouldn't have, simply because of the horrible look that had come across Jean's face. Stumbling back he mumbled an OK, and then watched as Jean proceeded to lift the trunk effortlessly. If he hadn't had the chills already he might have wondered how she could carry a case that must have easily weighed twice as much as Jean herself.

In the two weeks since Jean had moved in, they had barely spoken. She kept to herself in her basement room, and had made it clear she wanted to be left alone. Matt rarely saw her, and when he did she was usually cold and formal. His dog Rufus had taken to growling at her whenever she passed, and so Matt had been forced to leave him outside more often.

But Matt steadily grew concerned about his new renter because he would occasionally hear crying through the air ducts. He absolved himself by saying if she wanted to talk, she would. But finally today was enough. She had left the door to the basement open and he couldn't just sit there and enjoy his puzzles while he could hear her crying.

He got up and walked to the door, and tentatively called out “Jean? You OK down there?” The crying stopped, and then what sounded like muffled shouting came to his ears. Taking this to mean she needed help he hurried down.

Matt stood at the bottom of the stairs astounded by what he saw. There lay Jean, tied to the top of one of the trunks with tape over her mouth and an IV dripping into her arm. Overcoming his shock he ran over to her and tried to remove the duct tape from her mouth. Not making any progress, he reached into his pocket for his swiss army knife. He was about to start cutting the tape when he noticed a peculiar black device attached to Jean's temple. He had never seen this on her before, and it looked suspicious so he pulled it off first. A light trickle of blood came from a wound it had been covering, and Matt set it on the floor before getting back to work on the tape.

Matt had been cutting for only a few seconds when he heard a crash upstairs, like a plate breaking, and then footsteps. Matt's eyes widened in fear. Who could be here? Was it the person that did this to Jean?

Hearing feet on the steps he turned and stared at the man walking down. He wore what looked like the suit Jean had been wearing earlier, though it was much too small for him and was consequently ripped in several places. He also held a gun which was leveled at Matt.

“I thought I made it clear to you, to never come down here.” said the man, his blue eyes peering out from under blond bangs.

“Wh-who are you?” stammered Matt. He couldn't remember ever meeting this man before.

“Me? I am Jean.” replied the man, a smug grin coming to his face. “And now I will be forced to be Matt as well, when I must.”

Matt gave him a confused look, then there was only pain, as the man shot both Matt's knees. Soon he was trussed up similar to the woman, duct tape over his mouth and his limbs tied to a chair. But Matt soon understood, as the man applied a little black device similar to the one Matt had removed from Jean's head, to Matt's temple. Pressing a button on his watch, Matt could only stare in horror as the man's image wavered, and Matt was now looking at himself.
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