Last Week, My Neighbor’s Apartment was Sealed Shut

📅 Published on April 11, 2021

“Last Week, My Neighbor’s Apartment was Sealed Shut”

Written by Kyle Harrison
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 9.50/10. From 6 votes.
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Until last week, I paid little attention to apartment 23.  I knew that an older Japanese man lived there…Hisong something.  I’d seen his family stop by occasionally and drop off groceries, or just to check and make sure he was all right.  Nothing of any interest, really.

Then on Monday, right before Christmas, I walked out my front door and noticed that his door was completely sealed up by chains and wooden boards nailed on either side, preventing any entry.  I scratched my head in curiosity, wondering why I hadn’t heard anyone in the hallway the night before.  I knew I was a heavy sleeper, but the amount of effort that had been put into sealing up his door was odd.

Still, I tried not to think about it too much.  I figured that he must have passed away, and the super was going to clean his flat soon and didn’t want anyone to go in during the process.  Maybe there were bed bugs or mold or something; I knew the building had problems with that before.

I didn’t realize there was a problem until I got home from work that evening and noticed that his family had stopped by and were shouting in their native tongue through the door, as though expecting a response.

To my surprise, Mister Hisong responded.

I think I dropped my keys in surprise as I was right behind them, causing his daughter to notice me.

“You…neighbor to father, yeah?” she asked.

I fumbled and picked up the keys and smiled awkwardly.  I felt bad that this was the first time I had ever cared to have a conversation with them.

“Richard.  Is…everything okay with your dad?” I asked, pointing toward the door.

“He very sick.  We come bring food,” the son said, gesturing toward a casserole they had made.

“Oh.  So then all of that is for quarantine?” I guessed.

“Very, very sick.  No one should go in,” the daughter insisted.

“How do you plan to give him the food, then?” I asked.

They showed me a tiny slot at the bottom of the door, which looked like it was meant for a pet, and then placed the food down there before calling to their father that they had done so.

“Please, Mister Richard.  No matter what you hear, do not let him out,” the daughter told me.

“I don’t think I would be able to do that even if I wanted to,” I joked to her as I scratched my head in amazement.

“What exactly is he sick with?”

They didn’t bother answering that one, which left me a little unsettled.  Was I in danger of infection?  I had never seen anyone take this much precaution, even from Covid.  Was it a new strain?

My curiosity won out, and after that I decided to pay close attention to anything that happened across the hallway.

It didn’t take long for me to discover that whatever was going on was more dangerous than any virus, though.

Again I was coming home from work when I heard this sharp barking coming from inside his room.  It sounded like a dog was fighting something and not winning.  Instinctively, I felt compelled to ask him, “Is everything all right?”

The barking stopped a moment later, and I heard the scrambling of feet.

“Yes.  Yes.  All is fine here.  Did my family bring me any food today?” he asked.

I looked around the floor but didn’t see any dishes.  “No.  It doesn’t look like it.  Are you hungry?  I was going to cook up some burgers.”

“Starving,” he said in a raspy voice.  He sounded like he was in a lot of pain.

“I’ll make you one.  Just gimme a few.”

I went inside and started to cook the ground beef, trying not to be too worried about whatever he was going through.  But when I came back out to the door, I couldn’t get a response for him to come and get the food.

“All right.  I will just leave it down here, then,” I said, setting the plate down near the slot in the door.

A moment later, his hand snatched out, grabbed ahold of the plastic and swung the food inside within mere seconds.  It was so jarring it caused me to shout in surprise.

“Well…you’re welcome,” I said nervously as I heard the low growl of the dog again.  My mind replayed the scene over as I returned to my own flat.

His arm hadn’t looked…human.  What the hell was happening to this old man?

The sounds got worse after that.  Growling and screaming worse than anything I’ve ever heard before.  A few of the other neighbors were starting to complain, but it seemed like the super didn’t want to cause trouble.

“Whatever this is, it isn’t natural.  Best to just leave it alone,” he told all of us.  Unfortunately for me, that was easier said than done when every time I passed his door, I heard Mister Hisong begging for help.

“Please.  Please open this door.  You must kill me.  If you have any decency at all, I need to just die!” he shrieked.

One morning I saw his two children approach, this time with what appeared to be a large jar, and I had enough, demanding answers.

“It’s been almost five days.  Your father needs medical attention or some kind of help!  He sounds like he is dying!”

The two exchanged worried glances.

“We appreciate your concern, Mister Richard.  But this is a family matter.  You should no longer involve yourself,” the daughter told me.

“It’s not just me.  The whole apartment is talking.  The super won’t do anything, but if you don’t take action soon, I will call the police,” I warned them.

The two siblings bowed respectfully, placing the jar near the middle of the hallway and commenting, “All will soon be resolved, Mister Richard.  Please trust this.”

They ran down the stairs before I got a chance to scold them again.

In frustration, I kicked the jar over.  A thousand angry hornets and beetles skittered out on the floor, crawling over one another as a swarm.   I stepped back in awe, watching as the insects fought one another, making low buzzing noises as the hornets stung at the smaller insects and the beetles fought hard to bite back.

Was this what they planned to feed to their father now?  Had he completely lost all sense of humanity?

After a few more seconds of watching, only one insect, a larger horned beetle, seemed alive in the mass of bugs, and a snarl from Mister Hisong’s door brought me back to reality.

The rest of the bugs seemed to form one solid fluid mass as I watched in fascination, and then I watched Hisong’s long bony arm reach out from the slot, desperately trying to reach the bugs.

“Please, Mister Richard, you must help me,” he begged again.

I moved a few feet closer and used the tip of my boot to scoot the dish closer, giving him a chance to touch the fluid with his fingers.

“It is no use…I can never be free of this curse,” he said sourly as he rested his arm in defeat.

I leaned closer, trying to look through the slot in the door to get a glimpse at my neighbor.

“Tell me what I can do to help,” I offered.

It wasn’t right for his family to treat him this way, but I knew that if this bizarre ritual were to continue, more harm would likely come to everyone in the building.

This needed to stop.

“The insects.  I must consume their fluid.  It is the only way that I may hope for the spirit to pass.”

I didn’t know whether to question him or not, but decided to just do as he asked and ran to get a spoon.

I knelt down and scooped up bits of the insects, offering them to him as he ate.  He frequently paused between bites and thanked me.

“I simply must get out of here.  You don’t know what it is like, experiencing this evil.”

I looked toward the door, feeling sorry for the old man.  His family seemed intent on making him suffer based on some ancient belief.  But no ritual would save him, I thought.  He needs a doctor.

“Hold tight,” I decided, my mind made up about what I was going to do.

I ran back to my apartment and looked through some of my tools.  I didn’t have much that could help, but I figured even a small hand ax might do the job.

Finally, I found an old one and ran back out to the door, instructing Mister Hisong to stand away from the door.

Immediately I started to slam the blade against the wooden blocks, hitting them time and time again to break them apart.

It took about seven minutes, but I didn’t stop until I could jar the door open.

“Mister Hisong!   I’m coming inside!” I told him as I used my brute force to push the rest of the way in.

As soon as I got inside, the first thing that hit me was the overwhelming smell. It was as though something had died in the apartment.

Then I saw exactly where it was coming from in the center of his room.  There was a circle of stones leading up to what looked like the head of a dog.

I couldn’t see anything except for its swollen red tongue and grey fur.  Yet somehow, despite not having a body, the creature opened its piercing black eyes and stared straight at me.  It felt like I was looking into its soul.

I started to feel this warm heavy sensation of pain against my chest, and I dropped the ax and stumbled backward.  My vision was growing blurry and I could hardly make out the naked figure of my neighbor, chained to the wall.  Hisong looked like skin and dried muscle attached to a bony outline, as though he had spent the last few days starving himself to death.  As I slipped down to the floor, I could hear him repeating some strange chant in Japanese, and my head suddenly felt very dizzy.  Then the entire room began to spin.

It was a blur for me after that.  I heard the muttering of voices as his family came, trying to decide what to do with me.  I heard the whine from the bodiless dog as they fed it the final insect from that weird copper jar.  Then I felt them drag me back across the hall to my own apartment.

When I woke, I was shirtless, covered in sweat and felt extremely dizzy.

Immediately I ran to the door to confront Mister Hisong, but all evidence of his apartment ever being sealed up now had been cleared away.

He was standing there, looking much healthier than he had for the last week and humming to himself when he saw me.

“Ah, Mister Richard!  I wanted to thank you, my friend, for helping me recover this past week.  This virus was a nasty business,” he told me.

As he unlocked his door, I looked in the apartment for any sign of the horrible things I had seen before my blackout and scratched my head in confusion.

“I’m sorry, all of it feels like a lifetime ago for some reason.  Are you okay now?”

He smiled and laughed.  “Never better, never better.”

I couldn’t help but be jealous of his sudden recovery especially considering how terrible I was feeling now.

In fact, by that evening I felt bedridden and called in to work.  It’s gotten worse since then, so much so that I feel I’ve been hallucinating.  I have seen that bodiless dog stalking me from the corners of my apartment, its mouth open and snarling, ready to pounce.  I fear if I fall asleep, it will devour me whole.

The next morning I saw the family of Mister Hisong arrive, and they told me they intend to stay there while he recovers.

“It seems while helping Father you may have picked up something, so we want to help you too,” the daughter said, offering me a jar.

“It’s not filled with bugs, is it?” I teased her.  Her stoic expression didn’t reassure me.

As I went back into my flat, I couldn’t help but feel they were watching me.  Call me crazy, but I think they did something to me.

I think they have passed whatever curse their father had on to me.

I’ve been feeling so sleepy.  That floating dog head is getting closer every night.

And the food I have here just doesn’t seem filling anymore.  Everything is dry and bitter.

I keep staring at that jar, and hearing the faint buzzing of hornets.  And then the bark of a dog.

Is it coming from my own mouth?

“You should contact your family to care for you, the way we did for father.  Family should be together in times like this,” Mister Hisong’s son encouraged me.

That sounded like a good idea.  I’m so scared, though.  I have this deep unsettling feeling that this will only make things worse.

In my dreams I feel the dog chewing on my body, nipping at my sore and swollen flesh.

And then I wake up with bite marks all over.

If my family does come, I think I will have only one request.

They need to seal up my door too.

Or else I think this is just going to happen again.

Rating: 9.50/10. From 6 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Kyle Harrison
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Kyle Harrison

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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