A Dark Night
She rose at the head-splitting bang, clutching her ears as the continuous thumping vibrated through her bedroom walls.
Her son, who had just fallen asleep in his crib, started crying, scared at what was happening.
She carried him to his sick grandma, ready to go and confront her neighbor. She wanted to teach him a lesson he’d never forget. But she had no idea what she’d find behind his open front door.
Looking For Peace
But for Renee Woodgate, moving to this apartment was the best thing that happened to her that year.
After a few difficult months of endless disasters, she finally managed to scrounge up enough cash to move her family to a new place.
She longed for peace, hoping to finally be able to raise her son and take care of her sick mom. But she wasn’t in that apartment complex for a week before she realized what a terrible mistake she’d made.
A Normal Life
Renee was like any other mom in Kansas. Living with her son, Eli, and her ailing mom, Melissa, she worked as a nurse in their small town to provide for them.
She’d just divorced her husband, who’d gone against their marital vows, and was starting life as a single mom.
Moving to a new apartment, she hoped life would finally let up.
Their New Home
The apartment was the only place available for the cash she had in hand.
It was modest and in a mildly safe neighborhood. But Renee was willing to turn it into a home she and her family could finally call theirs.
Something caught her ear as she moved the boxes into the apartment. She should have rethought her decision to move in but she had no choice.
A Loud Thrum
The sound made her halt in place. It was loud and jarring, thrumming through her body as she wondered where it was coming from.
She took a step forward, and it sounded again, a deep vibration that left her ears ringing. Renee couldn’t tell what it was.
But one thing was clear: It wasn’t something good.
It’s All On Her
She continued carrying the boxes into her apartment. Since her mom was sick, her son was still a toddler, and she didn’t have enough to pay a moving crew, she was all alone with the heavy boxes.
How many times that day did she consider throwing in the towel, curling on the floor, and crying?
But she couldn’t do that, not with her mom and son depending on her for everything. That’s when the man appeared at her door.
Renee had just entered her apartment when he materialized behind her. He was tall and broad-shouldered, with a disheveled mullet and a beard that hadn’t seen clippers in months.
His eyes, heavylidded and bloodshot, pierced across the room before he smiled. “New neighbor,” he exclaimed almost too happily.
“We rarely get new neighbors here. Hi.” He extended a hand toward Renee. “I’m Morrison.”
The single mom wiped her dusty palms on her jeans and shook the man’s hand. She introduced herself and her family, explaining that they loved the apartment and thought it would fit them well.
Renee’s mom, who couldn’t fully speak, smiled at the man from where she’d been sorting family photos.
Renee’s son grinned at him and waved a toy. If only they knew the trouble that stood before them.
Rock And Roll
After a quick chat, Morrison left, leaving Renee and her family to settle in. But a few hours later, the noises began while Renee was making dinner.
They resembled what Renee had first heard in the hallway.
They were loud thrums which she now identified as the initial riff to some timeless 70’s rock and roll song. Renee was initially okay with it, hoping whoever played it would quickly reduce their volume.
It Gets Louder
They did not. The song got louder as the seconds counted. Eli, Renee’s son, started crying.
The apartment’s walls shook as the song reached its crescendo, framed photos falling to the carpet.
But that was only the beginning. A few minutes down, a second song started, louder than the last. There was only one thing Renee could do.
A Quick Search
While her mom tended to Eli, she took off her cooking apron and went to confront whoever was playing such loud music.
She hurried through the ground-floor hallway, ensuring each apartment was quiet before going upstairs.
The music got louder as she stepped into the first-floor hallway. It didn’t take long for her to pinpoint which apartment it was coming from.
Apartment 2 B
Renee stood before apartment 2 B’s door. The place was directly above hers, explaining why she’d gotten the worst of the ear-numbing music.
The door vibrated in tandem with the song’s chaotic rhythm.
Would whoever was on the other side of that door listen to Renee’s request to turn down the volume? She hoped they would. With a deep breath, she knocked on the cold wood.
Open The Door
Her first few knocks didn’t garner any responses due to the loud music. She doubled down, turning the knocks into a continuous banging sure to get anyone’s attention.
It didn’t take long before the door’s locks clicked, and someone pulled it open. But to Renee’s surprise, it was Morrison.
But that wasn’t the part that had her stepping back.
Behind Morrison were a guy and a lady seated before the largest TV Renee had ever seen.
They didn’t bother greeting her, only stared wildly before their attention returned to whatever they were watching.
Morrison stepped out of the apartment, closing the door behind him as he smiled. “New neighbor,” he said. “To what do I owe this visit?”
Renee hadn’t picked up on this, but Morrison had a British accent, although distant. Standing before him now, she noticed things about him that she hadn’t earlier.
He had darkened lips, meaning he must’ve been a heavy smoker. The air pouring out of his apartment was caked in cigarette smoke.
He also had a subtle tremble to his right hand, which he quickly shoved into his pocket when he noticed Alica was staring.
He seemed malnourished up close, his clavicles protruding from his skin. His jaw and cheekbones were clearly defined despite his shaggy beard. Most of his teeth were also decayed.
“Can I help you?” he asked, pulling Renee from her habitual analysis.
“Yes,” she mumbled. “Do you mind reducing the volume, please? It’s deafening, and my family and I could really use a quiet evening.” She couldn’t have guessed his answer.
Morrison smiled and backed into his door, pushing it open. “No,” he said. “Not tonight.” With that, he turned around and walked in, slamming his door in Renee’s face.
Renee and her family had to endure the entire night listening to Morrison’s selection of rock and roll.
In the wee hours, he finally reduced the volume before shutting the music off at 8 am. But the war had just begun.
Renee thought Morrison was done with playing loud music. She let it slide because it was a Friday night. But the man and his friends turned on their TV again at noon.
They spent the day watching horror movies, action flicks, and sports highlights.
They ensured the entire apartment complex knew precisely what they were doing. But that wasn’t half of it.
Morrison decided playing loud music, TV shows, and movies wasn’t enough. He and his friends started chasing each other all over the building.
They threw empty bottles at the walls, screamed, and shouted profanities.
Renee, a nurse for a decade, could tell they were under the influence. But could she ask them to stop what they were doing?
The Reality Of Things
Her mom warned her not to approach the apartment again. But her blood boiled as she thought about how she wouldn’t be able to enjoy her Saturday because of all the noise.
Usually, Renee worked for nine hours at the clinic.
But after her divorce, she took extra hours since she needed the cash. More hours meant little time for herself and her family. Every second of peace she had was precious.
She stomped out of her apartment to confront Morrison and his friends.
She had heard enough and was about to call the landlord if it came to it.
All she’d do was ask politely for Morrison to keep it down or at least reduce the intensity of his and his friends’ chaos. If he turned a deaf ear, then she’d do the unthinkable.
Seeing Him Again
With her mind made, she banged on the door as she had the previous night. After a few minutes, Morrison answered.
But instead of coming out as he’d done before, he stuck his head out, almost keeling over.
Clearly, he wasn’t in the right frame of mind, which made Renee hesitate to confront him. So what did she do?
Leveling With Him
She gently asked him if he could reduce his volume a bit. She explained that her mom was sensitive to loud sounds and was suffering because of the noise.
Additionally, the music kept her little boy awake at night.
Morrison nodded with a slanted smile. He dipped back into his apartment and showed up a second later. Renee couldn’t believe what he had in his hand.
It’s Cleaning Time
Morrison returned with a vacuum cleaner in hand. He told Renee he needed it in the morning, so she should return it immediately.
A frustrated Renee had to stifle a sigh. Of course, the man hadn’t understood a word of what she said.
She told him she didn’t need the vacuum cleaner and walked away. But she would teach him a lesson he’d never forget.
Shut It Down
Renee didn’t go downstairs to her apartment.
Instead, she hurried to the central power unit six floors above, conveniently shutting off electricity to Morrison’s apartment.
She knew it wasn’t right to do what she was doing, but if she wouldn’t endure another second of this chaos when all she needed was peace. If only she knew what her actions would start.
Renee returned to her apartment with a smile on her face. The complex was quiet for the first time that day, and it was all thanks to her.
She found her mom and son lying on the couch, enjoying the peace, and joined them.
But she wasn’t down for an hour before the blaring music started again. She ate back a curse. There was only one thing she could do now.
Renee called the landlord, explaining her situation. But the man wasn’t in town. As such, he couldn’t look into the matter in person.
Still, he promised to call and talk to Morrison. Since he was in a position of power, he could sway Renee’s neighbor into compliance.
But Renee waited for hours before Morrison finally turned off the music.
Deep In The Night
It was nearly midnight when he did so, and Renee was beyond furious. But she counted her blessings, hoping Sunday and the rest of the week would be quieter.
However, a few hours past midnight, the songs started again.
They wrenched Renee and her family out of sleep, threatening to shake the building off its foundation. Enough was enough.
She’s Had Enough
Renee went to face Morrison once and for all. But on reaching his door, she noticed it was open, dangling ominously with the loud music seeping through.
She knocked and, when no answer came, pushed the door wide and walked inside.
She thought she’d find Morrison and his friends partying. But she froze at what was staring at her.
Morrison’s living room was dark, save for the TV’s dim light that barely lit the place. He was lying on the mat, seemingly unresponsive, with white foam on his mouth. Renee shot down to him, quickly assessing the situation.
After years as a nurse, she knew exactly what was going on. However, kneeling beside Morrison, the answer to her loud music problem finally presented itself.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.