Page 70

Unless I learn what happened to them, I fear that I might be next.

“This is serious shit we’re now dealing with,” Dylan says. “You heard what Erica said. Something weird is going on in that building. Maybe we should go back to the police.”

“Do you really think they’ll help? We have nothing to go on but a vague suspicion that something bad happened to Megan, Erica, and Ingrid.”

“I’d say it’s more than a suspicion,” Dylan says.

“Fine,” I concede. “But until we know for certain what’s going on, the police aren’t going to get involved.”

“Then we keep looking.” Dylan sighs, almost as if he regrets the words that have just come out of his mouth. “But we need to be careful. And smart. And quiet. We can’t risk having what happened to Ingrid happen to one of us.”

Dylan steps out of the Ladies Pavilion and turns toward the Bartholomew, staring at what can be glimpsed of it above the treetops. I join him and look up at my own personal section of the Bartholomew. George sits on the corner of the roof, keeping watch. The windows of 12A reflect the white-gray sky. They remind me of eyes. Similar to the ones in the wallpaper.



Staring right back at us.


It’s just past midnight, and I swear I heard a noise.”

I grip Erica’s phone with both hands, mesmerized by her moonlit face, the fear in her eyes, the quaver in her voice.

“I think—I think something’s inside the apartment.”

Dylan and I agreed it was best not to head back to the Bartholomew together. All part of being careful, quiet, and smart. We returned fifteen minutes apart, Dylan going first, his hoodie pulled over his head as he hurried away.

I lingered in the park, strolling the path running along the lake. I stared at the rust-colored leaves on the water’s surface, the ducks that cut rippling paths through them, the people strolling over Bow Bridge. None of it helped. Nothing erased the fact that something sinister is taking place inside the Bartholomew’s gargoyle-studded walls.

Now I’m in 12A, watching Erica’s video on a loop. This current viewing is my sixth, and I know what comes next.

First the quick glance over her shoulder, followed by the slow turn back to her phone. Erica then looks at herself on the screen, and alarm shoots into her eyes.

“I don’t know what’s going on here. This whole building. It’s not right.”

Not content with just watching the video over and over, I attempt to reenact it. I’m in the sitting room—the same place where it was recorded. I’m even in the exact spot where Erica sat.

The crimson sofa.

Dead center.

An expanse of red wallpaper behind me, looking over my shoulder.

“We’re being watched. I don’t know why, but we are.”

Erica exhales. I do, too.

“I’m scared. I’m really fucking scared.”

So am I, which is why I keep watching the video, why I insist on putting myself in Erica’s shoes. I’m hoping it will help me avoid whatever fate befell her.

A noise blasts from the phone.

A knock.

The one that makes Erica jump with a start. No matter how many times I replay the video, the sound still gets to me. Even worse is Erica’s reaction. That last wide-eyed, frightened utterance.

“Fuck. It’s him.”

When the video cuts to black, I continue to stare at the screen, where Erica’s face has been replaced by my own reflection. My expression is more pensive, less frightened. I’m wondering who Erica was talking about at the video’s end, if it’s the same person she thought was watching, if that watcher was targeting her specifically, or every apartment sitter in the Bartholomew.

Judging from what I saw on the security monitors, it was all of them.

All of us, I should say.

I’m now part of this.

Unknown is exactly what part I’m playing. Am I prey, like Erica seemed to be, or an inconvenience, like what Dylan and I suspect Ingrid was?

Maybe I’m both—a person who looked too hard and said too much, putting myself in the middle of something I can’t begin to understand.

Yet Ingrid did. Somehow she found out what was going on and tried to warn Dylan. I think she even tried to warn me that afternoon we were together. I see her now, curled up on that park bench, looking years younger than her age as she spoke of the Bartholomew.

It . . . it scares me.

I should have believed her.

I start to watch Erica’s video for a seventh time.

“It’s just past midnight, and I swear I heard a noise.”

As do I.

Two raps on 12A’s door—as quick and jarring as gunshots.

My whole body jolts. I suspect I look exactly like Erica does in the video.

The walk from the sitting room to the foyer is slow, cautious, my heart beating double time. The same person who knocked when Erica was making that video could be on the other side of the door. The same person who made her disappear.

It’s him.

But when I peer through the peephole, I see not a him but a her.

Greta Manville. Standing at my door with her cardigan and tote bag.

“I had a feeling you intended to check in on me at some point today,” she says once I open the door. “I thought I’d spare you the trip and check on you instead.”