25, Park Avenue

A few years ago, I had just arrived home from a family vacation, when a close friend of mine suddenly came. It was odd for him to pay me a visit at 11pm, and he looked visibly worried. “Could you come with me?” he asked between breaths, “I’ll tell you everything on the way.” I sit in his car, and we begin to drive on the empty streets to the other side of the city. “I was chatting with a girl online,” he began, “we met online a few months back, and began chatting with her and slowly the frequency increased, and we now chat with each other all day and night. But today, when I asked to meet her, at first she said yes, but she did not come, and I waited for over an hour, and then she messaged me that she was there, and couldn’t see me and she went back home and she gave me her address to come over instead and now I can’t find her house.” “Why don’t you call her?” I asked. “She doesn’t have a phone.” “Bullshit,” I was shocked, “So you believed a girl that you have met online, have been chatting for months, doesn’t give you her phone number, doesn’t come to meet you, and easily gives you an address?” He looked at me sheepishly. “Do you really want to go looking for her house? You really think it’ll be safe?” I asked him again. He nodded. “What’s the address?” “25, Park Avenue Apartments” We enter a dark lane; the only movement is of a turning wheel in the dim light coming from the cycle repair shop in one corner. We find most places eerie because of the setting in which we enter them, clichéd by horror movies. We ask a passerby where Park Avenue Apartments are, and he guides us to go into another darker, smaller by lane, the car is too big to fit in there, so we park and walk ourselves in. We finally find the building, a white building, with the words Park Avenue painted vertically on the front, glowing in the moonlight. The society seems dead, including the watchman, who is asleep on his chair. We creep past him, and make our way upstairs, apartment number 1, 2, 3... We keep reading as we keep going up, and it ends at 16. There are no more! We get back down, this time the watchman is awake, “Oye you! Where do you want to go?” “Umm we are looking for apartment number 25.” “There is no 25 here,” the watchman said bluntly, eager to escort us out. We look at each other, he checks his phone, and she is conveniently still offline. I don’t know if I need to be angry or supportive to my friend, so I stay silent and we drive back home.

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