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It was a hot sticky summer in Holly Ridge, North Carolina. With temperatures rising to at least 102 degrees, kids who were playing outside resorted to using sprinklers to keep cold and family pool parties were in full swing. I was working as a landlord for the Pine Valley Apartment Complex during that time. The owner of this place-- my boss, was a total bastard. When it came to inspecting units, I only checked them for cleanliness and structural integrity, nothing more. My boss, however, was very anal retentive and always peeped in on people's refrigerators, made a complaint about baseboards, back splatter panels in kitchens, fridge and freezer gaskets, you name it.

He was more concerned about how much money he could line his pockets with instead of the person living in the unit. I'm sorry, but we can't all be rich fat fascist, eat caviar, and drink champagne like all your rich buddies. I would go out of my way to bring some stuff to my tenants, like an extra bar of soap when needed, and some toilet paper, that sort of thing.


I remember during that time, I met this family who was moving into unit 213. The Levinsons. Donald with his wife Miranda, and their teen son Robert. They all appeared nice and very sweet, and I took an immediate liking to them. For the rest of the entire summer, I felt like I became part of the family because they treated me as such. I often hung out with the son when I wasn't working, and we would do guy stuff together. So in a way, I was like an older brother to him. But as the summer months seemed to stretch into September, that's when I started getting phone calls from the husband saying that a hulking bearded man who was like a mixture of Johnny Depp and Lou Ferrigno, started to harass him. 


First, it was just regular, harassing phone calls-- then, unexpected appearances at his door during the late hours of the night, wanting to simply come in. Miranda herself received the same thing, but it was from a woman, two girls, and one boy. Maybe it was someone who got lost and needed to use the phone? Perhaps, the bunch outside were... under the influence? Theories varied. According to Donald, the unknown man said to him, in a calm, yet eerie whispery tone: "You have to leave this apartment... Leave..."


What did he mean by "leave?" surprisingly enough, the harassments started to escalate on the day of inspection when me, my boss, and the building superintendent showed up. I thought to myself "Why doesn't this fat ass just leave?" I was referring to my boss. But after countless threats of me being fired, I had no other choice than to bring him along. The family was not home during the inspections, so we went ahead and checked out everything. I must tell you. When I'm with the building superintendent, I'm not so nervous and jumpy, but when I'm with my boss, it just makes me want to shit a brick. He didn't care about me one damn bit. He had money on his mind, and fucking dollar signs in his eyes. I even read up on him, I heard his wife doesn't like him. His children think he is a loser, and he is. Normally, I don't wish death on anyone, but if anything happened to my boss, I would be liberated. His family might grieve over him, but the many tenants he had evicted and the current ones who are living here, won't.


By mid-October, I had grown increasingly concerned over the Levinson family. I have not heard anything from them. No phone calls from the son, the husband, the wife, nobody. Their on-time rental payments never made it to my mailbox, no work orders were filed, nothing. I had no other choice than to post an eviction notice, letting them know they had 30 days to leave. Something I noticed after I posted the eviction letter on the door. The door was... unlocked. I called the superintendent, and he came with me. From what I could gather, the unit was in very pristine condition, everything was still in place, not a single piece of furniture was moved or taken down.


It felt like all the sound around me was muffled by the sound of my heartbeat. First place I checked was the son's room. I tried to open the door but it felt like something was blocking my entrance. There on the floor was Robert-- dead, with his PS4 controller shoved into his mouth and right down his throat. I vomited on the floor from severe shock. Who the hell would do this?! The sound of a running shower snapped me right back to reality. I ran into the parents' room, and right in the shower was Miranda, beaten severely, strangulation marks were on her neck, and her back was bleeding as she laid in the floor of the shower, on the glass of the sliding door that was busted. The water that went down the drain went from clear to pale red.


I went to find the husband to see if he was okay. I found him sitting out on the deck. He looked to be in a trance, staring out into deep space. "Mr. Levinson?" I asked, trying to get his attention. He didn't move. He just sat there. "Mr. Levinson??" I tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention, but when I did, his head fell off his shoulders and onto the concrete surface. I ran back inside, reeling from fright... so disoriented, I didn't know what to do. Inside of Robert's bathroom, I heard a drip sound. 


Drip...

Drip...

Drip...

Drip...


Part of me wanted to go into the bathroom to find out what was going on, but the other part of me said no.


Drip...

Drip...


Right inside the bathroom was a large, hulking bearded man standing in front of what appeared to be the fat bloated corpse of my boss who was hanging by sharp steel meat hooks. Gutted like a fish, and split into like a freshly-killed dear. All the meat was gone from his lower body, leaving the upper part intact. I recognized the man-- I knew who he was... Anthony Goldsmith. He spoke up and said "This was our home, Alex," (Yes, Alex is my name) "It was your boss's fault we got evicted. Not yours. I understand you were doing your job. We had this place cleaned from top to bottom. Every fucking nook and cranny. The baseboards-- EVERYTHING! You knew I had to take care of my wife and three children. I knew you cared, but your boss? Not so much, I saw how he had terrorized elderly and disabled people. I couldn't let that happen, man. No sir. For the past few months, we have been living in the basement of this unit. And your boss? Well, let's just say he provided enough meat for our dogs and months worth of sustenance to me, my family, and everyone in this whole complex who can't even afford to feed their own. And the family who lived here? I didn't kill them. My wife didn't kill them. Neither did my two daughters and one son. The owner-- your boss, did. When your boss became more concerned about how much money he was making, and all the people in this complex were not high class and rich like him, he started to kick people out for no reason-- INCLUDING ME! I've been living here for seven years, taking care of my children and my wife... we made you part of the family. My daughters loved you, and they still do, and as far as you're concerned, you are still part of the family. But your boss? He had to be eliminated. Your boss's trust was built on greed, paranoia, and being stuck up. This whole complex which was once a utopia, is now a cesspool of corruption. These units are the home that terror built."


Everything he said was true... at that moment, I had fallen to severe lack of hunger, disorientation, and insomnia... I needed to run outside to get some air. Anthony understood. As I was struggling to get myself together, I saw Anthony's wife Casey, with their children, at a barbecue grill they pulled out, cooking hamburgers, and spare ribs. Now I knew where the meat of my now-deceased boss had wound up... My grief was brief, I was liberated, and I decided to join the family and fill my stomach. The daughters-- Paige and Carly greeted me with warm smiles and gave me hugs. The son-- Damon, shook hands with me and gave a pat on the back... we were reconnecting. As far as I'm concerned, with my boss no longer terrorizing me and the people who lived here, I was liberated... forever. About a week later, I quit my job and moved to Westbrook, Maine to start my life over again... now that I'm in Westbrook... I can finally rest.

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