The lock on the door was broken, so I just let myself in. The apartment was littered with old fast food bags and wrappers, some holding the stench of rotting food, others holding the food itself. The carpet was crispy and rough, covered in cigarette burns and left uncleaned for god knows how long. I covered my nose with my sleeve and called out, “H-hello? Ms. Jameson?” There was no reply. I kept my breaths shallow and tried not to breathe in too deeply in fear of the smell that coated the apartment. Venturing further included the navigation of getting through piles of clothes, trash bags, and various stacks of dishes covering every surface visible. “Ms. Jameson, your daughter Carley said you never came to get her after school,” I called out as I made my way down the hall.

I didn’t see anyone when I passed the kitchen, so I checked through the next door. It appeared to be Carley’s bedroom, as stuffed animals covered the PowerPuff Girl bed and drawings from school were taped up on the walls. It seemed to be the only room clean in the entire apartment. Turning out of her bedroom, I could see across the hall into the crack of the bathroom. A very faint groan came from behind the door. My heart pounded out of my chest, my blood rushing through my ears and making my face hot. It almost drowned out that single groan from the bathroom. I called out to her one last time and creaked open the bathroom door.


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