For most of my life I had lived in the same apartment. It was on the third floor and overlooked the busy city. It was also directly next to another apartment, which means you could hear everything going on behind the right-hand side bedroom wall.
I would occasionally hear faint noises coming from behind the wall. There would be scraping, which I assumed was the sound of a chair being pulled along a wooden floor. Sometimes voices could be heard. I guessed they were either from the residents living there or from a TV or radio. And then there was the banging.
The banging was a rare occurrence, but whenever it happened it really annoyed me. Why wouldn't it? It always seemed to happen when I was trying to sleep and considering my bed was right against the wall where it was loudest, I was usually awoken by it.
It was loud and frantic usually, like someone trying to get attention. I always thought it was a young child doing its best to piss off its parents, but I was never sure. Mostly because I had never met the residents of the apartment. I would rarely go out and never spoke to or saw the residents of the apartment next to mine, but god could I hear them.
Like I said earlier, this banging was a rare occurrence, which meant at most times I would get a good sleep. But whenever I didn't, it was always because of that banging. However, I remained in the apartment. Its not like it happened all the time and it wasn't a major thing, definitely not a reason to move out.
There's a different reason I moved out. It was the tapping. I remember the first and only time it happened. It was late and I was trying to sleep. As I slowly drifted off, I heard the faintest of tapping coming from the other side of the wall. I simply shrugged it off and quickly forgot about it. Once again, as I was close to falling into slumber, there was more tapping.
It was slightly louder than the first time and prompted me to open my eyes. For a moment I just laid there, waiting for it to happen again. And it did. It had gotten even louder. I sighed as I realised it was going to be another night with hardly any rest. Despite this knowledge, I still tried to get some sleep.
Unfortunately, the tapping continued. There was always about three to four minutes after one succession of taps before another round occurred. It was like whoever was tapping was waiting for a reply from me. Like they knew I was there, listening to them, ignoring them. This freaked me out slightly, but I brushed it off as best I could.
After a couple more rounds of tapping, I finally snapped. It was two in the morning and it was obvious I wasn't getting any sleep until whoever was tapping got a response from me. So I gave in and participated in the childish game.
Lightly I tapped on the wall. There was silence, then knocking from the other side. I replied and waited. Whoever was on the other side knocked back. It was louder than before, much louder, almost like they were slamming their fist against the wall. I hesitated, but tapped against the wall once again.
Afterwards, the person on the other side of the wall took much longer to reply. I thought they had stopped and I tried to get back to sleep. But I was quickly brought out of slumber by extremely loud, frantic banging against the wall. I shot up into a sitting position, my mouth slightly agape and my eyes wide.
The banging was so loud and frenzied I thought the person on the other side was trying to break through my wall. I sat there, frozen, just staring at my bedroom wall. It continued non-stop for a good couple of minutes and was beginning to give me a headache. I could just make out the sound of scraping behind the banging. Then it stopped. Everything went quiet.
I sat there for a while, waiting for more knocking or tapping. At that moment I wouldn't have even minded some banging. I just wanted to hear something that would tell me everything was alright. But there was nothing, just eerie silence. Placing my ear against the wall, I listened closely for something, anything. But there was nothing.
It took a while for me to get to sleep that night. I woke up the next day tired and still thinking about the night before. After a couple of days I managed to brush it off as best I could. But, the sense of normality and carefreeness didn't last long.
It was some time after the tapping incident and there was a knock at my front door. It was the police. They said they had come to question me about a murder that had happened next door. Apparently, at around two in the morning a couple of weeks ago the father of a ten year old boy killed his son with an axe. The police say he was killed with one blow. They also said the father was nowhere to be found, but the son's body was still in his room.
I was unnerved when I heard about the murder. The police said the boy had been killed a couple of weeks ago in his room. It all happened on the night of the tapping incident inside the boy's room, which was right next to mine.
I've never seen my neighbours, but god knows I've heard them.