Hey everybody! Here's something that I've been working on for the last few months. I'll update every Friday as long as I have reviews. Whether you love it, hate it, find a typo, or think it could be awesome, please review. Enjoy the story!
Paris. The city of lights. The city of love. I had come to Paris to forget love and write. I'm a writer by trade, but I had not written anything major until now.
Juliet Morgan stared at the words she had just typed. It had been a year since she had come to live in this garret just a short distance from the once great Moulin Rouge. She had finally decided to write the story. The events were still fresh in her mind. She took a deep breath and began to type.
It was a rainy, somewhat depressing day when I arrived in Paris. A friend of mine had promised me a place in the Montmartre. She had come to Paris right after college and never left. Now she was the landlady of an apartment building of the Montmartre. I had just finished a somewhat successful book of short stories and my publisher was eager for me to write more. I had a deadline to meet, a fiancé I'd just left, and the urge to get some peace and quiet from everything from disappointed family members and my ex-fiancé to my small pool of fans.
The words fell away to memories and she sat staring at her computer screen simply remembering.
There was a chill in the air as she stepped out of the airport. It was a sharp contrast to the warmth of San Antonio. She tugged her scarf tighter around her neck and wondered about the garret she was renting. Marie, a good friend and her soon to be landlord, had told her that the rooms were quite old, but were recently renovated to have all the modern amenities. Marie had also said there was something strange about the place, something unnatural. Perhaps it was all the memories of things that happen in the building.
Juliet arrived at her destination quickly and found Marie just as quickly. They climbed a set of winding stairs until they arrived at a rough looking wooden door. For a moment, Marie fumbled with her key ring, looking for the correct key. She found the correct one and opened the door.
Juliet walked in and dropped her things on the floor. The room was somewhat circular and old, rough furniture decorated the room. Off to the side was another was a wooden door that Juliet assumed led to the bathroom. In one corner, there was a small kitchen area with a small refrigerator and a microwave. A small alcove held a bed and a small table. It was cozy and sort of reminded her of a dorm room. The one thing that really held her attention was large archways like windows that lead to a balcony. Juliet stared out at the landscape of streets and buildings.
"If you're going to go out there, then be careful. There are no guardrails or anything," cautioned Marie.
Juliet looked back at her friend with a grin on her face.
"This place is fabulous, Marie. It's a perfect place for writing. It's quiet and private. All I need is a subject," she trailed off thinking.
"You could write about how it's better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all…"
Marie realized what she had said just as the words slipped from her mouth. Her eyes widened slightly and she clapped her hand over her mouth.
"Sorry," she squeaked out through her hand. Juliet noticed that her friend's ears were growing pink. That was a sure sign of her embarrassment.
"Marie, it's all right. I'm over Charlie. He doesn't matter anymore."
"Really? Well, if you ever need anything or need to talk," she placed a key in Juliet's hand. "I'm just downstairs."
She turned and left the room with her ears still a light pink. Pocketing the key, Juliet turned around to admire her surroundings. The door slamming behind her made her jump and spin around to find no one there.
I was so sure that Marie had closes the door behind her, but I was also sure that the door had slammed. I told myself it was someone else's door slamming or it was just my imagination. The problem was that the sound had been so close, and I had never imagined anything like that before. Nothing seemed conceivable.
Try as she might she couldn't come up with a plausible excuse. She felt eyes on her and chills ran up her spine. Frowning, she shook her head and looked around. There was no possible place for anyone to hide. A cool wind circled her, making the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. Now she was a little freaked out.
"It's just from outside," she reassured herself.
However, she still felt the eyes watching her as she unpacked her belongings and placed her luggage somewhat unceremoniously in a corner. The only bag that was left out was a rectangular black cloth briefcase. Juliet took the case and set it carefully on a table next to one of the large windows.
Feebly, sunlight penetrated through the grey rain clouds that hung over the city. The scent of rain was on the air and the dingy mood of the streets matched that of the sky. Juliet unzipped the case and pulled out a black laptop. As she booted up the machine, she glanced at the battery indicator. The light glowed green for a moment before blinking to red, indicating a low battery. Juliet stared at the light perplexed.
I was sure that I had charged it before leaving Texas. The power should have been at full, because I hadn't used it until now. It was as if something was sucking the energy out of my computer. I passed it off as an electronic failure.
Due to the events that had happened just moments ago, Juliet wasn't completely convinced that the problem was electronic. Never the less, she plugged in her machine and entered a writing program. She sat staring at the blank white page and blinking cursor trying to think of what to write. The cursor blinked mockingly as she racked her brain for ideas, but her mind was as blank as the page in front of her. Her hands were poised above the keyboard; ready to type when an idea struck her.
Silence surrounded her until suddenly something very unexpected happened. The sound of a key clicking sounded in the empty room. The once blank page had the number two sitting next to the flashing cursor. Juliet stared at the number and removed her hands from the keyboard. Even though her fingers had rested on the keys, her fingers were nowhere near the line of numbers and she was positive that she hadn't typed a thing. Another click sounded. This time an 'M' appeared on the screen. Juliet jumped up and nearly fell backwards out of shock. The phantom typist noticed none of her actions as it continued typing. Suddenly the typing stopped as abruptly as it had started. Juliet looked at the screen.
moulin rouge help chr
The last word ended as if the writer had been too fatigued to finish the word.
"Chr," she thought. "Who is Chr?"
She peered at the words, trying to figure out their meaning. The machine's screen abruptly turned to black. According to the battery power indicator there was no power. Puzzled, Juliet glanced at the cord that she had plugged into the wall. It was still in the socket and still in the laptop. She closed the top, unplugged it, and backed away. There was an uneasy feeling swirling around in the air. There was another presence. A swift gust of wind blew through the open windows, brushing away the invisible force. Rain began to pelt the city. Quickly, Juliet closed the French doors fastened on the windows. The comforting sound of rain hitting the windows and walls began to lull her to sleep. She fell onto the cot-like bed, succumbing to the tiredness that filled her body.
When she awoke, the rain had stopped and darkness still blanketed the skyline. Juliet focused her eyes on the glow-in-the-dark watch hands that read 4:06. She sighed and rolled over to get back to sleep, but she knew that once she was up, she was up. The air smelled sweet with rain as she opened one of the doors and stepped out. The balcony was still wet with rain that had fallen just hours ago.
All was quiet. It was amazing to think that in just a few hours the sun would rise and the streets would be full of people hurrying to one place or another. I stared out, lost in thought until I felt something I'd never felt before.
Juliet felt the brush of fingertips on her wrist. She whirled around, but saw nothing. The only things around her were spider webs.
"That's what it was," she said to herself. "Spider webs."
The wind blew the silky strands towards her so they brushed her skin. The feeling was different. The first felt like someone was reaching out to her; trying to get her attention. It was like a hand was trying to grasp my wrist to show her something. After resolving to ask Marie about the incidents, she sat back and waited for Paris to come to life.
Juliet ran into Marie while climbing the stairs after returning from shopping at a local market. She was holding two bags in her left hand as she unlocked her door with her right. Due to her unbalance, it was very difficult to complete this task.
"Here, let me help you."
Marie reached out, fit the key into the lock, and turned it easily.
"Thanks." Juliet placed the bags on the floor and turned to Marie. She opened her mouth to speak, but Marie beat her to the punch.
"I've just been showing a new tenant around and I noticed that you needed some help. How have you been getting along?"
"Fine, just fine. I need to adjust to the hours though. Just one question."
Marie's enthusiastic smile dimmed. She responded with more enthusiasm than she felt.
"Alright. You said there were a few incidents her," she gestured to the flat. "What were they?"
Marie looked a bit relived as she answered.
"There were a few reports of strange occurrences; seeing a man or something, but none of the stories could be explained. Why? Have you seen anything?"
"Me? Um, no. I was just curious."
The last thing she needed was a ghost following her around. She chatted with Marie a moment longer before slipping into her flat. While putting the food away she glanced toward her laptop. The machine hadn't been used since the day of the invisible typist. It sat closed, waiting to be used. However, Juliet didn't want to use it until she had a story idea or the abnormal occurrences were either stopped or explained.
She thought about what Marie had said, 'strange occurrences that couldn't be explained.'
"Most paranormal activity can't be explained."
She glanced at the carton of milk in her hand and at the refrigerator. She quickly opened the door and hoped she didn't see flames and demons saying "Zul." Inside the appliance sat only food. Juliet sighed, put the milk away, and chided herself for letting her imagination run away with her. Quickly, she put away the food and folded up the bags. She wanted to get out of the apartment and get away from the uneasy feeling of being in the flat. However, she had nowhere else to go.
Grabbing a pen and one of her many notebooks she sat down at her makeshift kitchen table. The paper was no better than her computer. Try as she might, she couldn't find an idea to transfer to paper. Her mind was to busy with thoughts of hallucinations and ghosts.
Drip. Drip. Drip.
The sound of dripping water filled the otherwise quiet apartment. The loud drops unnerved her and she began to search for the source. It couldn't come from outside; the rain had dried up from the other day. The kitchen was also stricken because she could see the sink from where she was sitting. That left one place—the bathroom.
All my childhood ghost stories flooded back into my mind as I walked to the bathroom. Stories of dead dogs and dripping blood. When I got to the small room, a very different sight greeted me.
The door was closed when she arrived. She opened the door and some steam seeped out. Water dripped from the faucet.
"Gotcha," she muttered as she turned off the water.
Condensation covered the mirror. She cleared the lower portion and wondered how this had happened. As she wiped off the last of the condensation so she could see her face, a man appeared in the mirror. Juliet jumped and turned around looking for the man who should have been standing right behind her. There was no one there. She turned back to the mirror to see the stranger still staring at her.
"What do you want?"
The figure gestured to the upper part of the mirror and disappeared. Juliet looked up and what she saw stunned her.
An invisible finger had begun to write on the mirror. An 'm' appeared first.
"What is this? The Shining?"
The rest of the letters appeared until the message was complete.
"Moulin Rouge? What about it?"
Nothing answered her.
She needed to get out and away even if it was only for a little while. Grabbing her jacket, she practically raced out the door nearly over a man on his way to the apartment beside hers, down the stairs, and into the Montmartre.
Quietly, she walked along contemplation the events of the past week and today's message on her mirror. Night began to fall around her. Streetlights came on, blocking out the stars with their bright beams. People hurried around Juliet to get home and be with their families. Juliet just walked on until she reached the Moulin Rouge.