Corners and In-Betweens (Pt. 1 of 3)

To perceive is to suffer.
  • Attributed to Aristotle by Diogenes Laërtius in Lives of the Eminent Philosophers

The poor girl's brain was nothing. Not even a proper body to cease, and her mind… Unreachable. The flow of memories from what her life had been flowed in quick flashes through her broken mind.
'In the bazar, a pretty doll.'
Oxygen lacked, there was no room to move. Nothing but darkness.
'I said something, that made them happy. It wasn't only sounds that time… اب.'
As the flashes went on, their speed went down, as if the details that slowly filled them held them in time.
'That girl, I want to be her friend. Her hair is nice and I like the way she speaks. I approach her and… bite her arm.'
'My essay got the second prize. Minu's was way worse, I read it. I can see her smug face as she receives the small trophy. If I had sold myself out like her to the religious theme, I'd be the one there.'
Her body tried to react, but not only did it have no strength, it also had literally no space. Stuck.
'College is so weird, I don't like much studying close to boys. That one… He's staring weird at me.'
Things became clearer and her head got lighter. The events got closer to now.
'I'm so tense… I can't believe I'm graduating. My life starts now, and I will finally be able to follow my dreams and get that book written!'
And, inside her memory, she found herself leaving the removal van, two weeks ago.
Babak had just started taking her things out of it as she sat on the stairs of the building.
"Well, I could really use some help."
She rose one eyebrow and laughed.
"No way, you lost the bet. There were way more old car models on the way here than new ones."
"How cold of you… " He said, facetiously. "You know I'm a silly countryside boy, I just assumed the capital would be full of newer cars. It is the big city after all."
"You can cry as much as you want, I'm not laying a single finger on those crates. These nails have just been made. Plus I gotta write, you know."
"Oh… So Miss girly girl, with her pretty nails and prettier poems!"
"Yes, I am Miss girly girl, and that won't stop me from kicking your balls if you keep crying for help with the results of the bet you lost."
"So you want to talk about losing bets? What about the Persepolis match?"
"Pff, I will pay you..." She said, turning her face away. "I will get you your poem."
"Poem? I thought we settled with a kiss if I won, and if you did I'd have to move your stuff. And then you came up with the other bet, and now I have to both move your stuff alone and got no kiss..." Babak said as he looked at her in a goofy way.
"I said I could do a poem as good as a kiss, and that's how this whole ordeal started. I'll make your poem, so stop crying. I'll go see my new neighbors."
"Ok, I'll handle back the keys when I finish getting those to your place..."
"No prob!" She said, walking backwards and doing finger guns, as she entered the building.
She greeted the handyman and made her way up the stairs, since the elevator was broken. The place's manager told her the building had just been finished a couple of months back, but something felt fishy. It was not like the place looked dangerous or unstable, it was only that  it  had small cracks and bumps, as if the place was really old. The paint was cracked and dropping in chunks too. But she wasn't the one to  judge all of that so proactively. That was the only place in the capital which she could afford.
She caught a glimpse on the corner of her eye, something moving close to the wall. On the last steps to her floor, a quick turn. Nothing. A mildly unsettling feeling stuck to the air. 'The place must accept pets… ' She didn't remember anything regarding that on the contract, though.
She opened the door to the 5th floor. There were 2 apartments in each floor, and the entrance to the one of her front door neighbor was open.  All the way inside of it, a modern interior design with old furniture. 'I guess they bought it all from second hands too…' She knocked on the open wooden door. An old crackly voice answered from inside:
"If it is Mr. Alborz, you can go screw yourself with your 'rightful demands'."
And then another voice came in, at first arguing with the previous one, but then complementing:
"If not, please do come in, we're having tea."
She went in.
Among the furniture there were many portraits, almost all of them more or less faded. Among those, there were a couple of digital frames, going through many pictures. There were also some cat sculptures, and some sort of small wooden tabs in a corner, with christian imagery in them.
Another shadow in the corner of her eye. It moved by a mirror in the living room. Cold went down her neck as she kept walking.
Two old women sat by the kitchen table, their hair as white as the cloudy sky and their faces full of wrinkles, almost like desert valleys. The youngest looking one, that wore an eyepatch, argued about intestines, while the eldest-looking seemed to not listen, as she kept adjusting her sunglasses.
"Goddamnit, Gulsim. I'm a friggin nurse and I'm tellin' ya, that is not how stomachs work!"
"Save your hogwash for another day Kamila, we've got a guest."
They've both turned towards her, she quickly responded:
"Hi! Um, I'm moving in next door. My name's Hul…" And as she said, she extended her hand so they could shake it.
"Hul...? Never heard a name like that before.", said Gulsim stroking her chin, while Kamila grabbed her hand and started to examine it.
"Erm, yeah. I was supposed to be named Gul, just like nana, but she mispronounced it to the register."
"I see. That's still a pretty nice name though, Hul…"
Kamila looked at her hand intently,  pulling it, making Hul stay on one feet.
"You're pretty active, aren'tcha? And also pretty certain of yourself, never been hurt badly, in either way, and like to think well before doing anything, eh?"
Hul pulled her hand back and held it close.
"How do you know that?"
"I'm a good guesser."  Said Kamila, winking.
"She did a course on hand reading." Complemented Gulsim, while filling a cup of tea for Hul. Kamila looked back at her with her one eye, mad, and then pulled a chair.
"Anyway, have a seat, deary. We have enough tea for five here. Pretty boring to spend an afternoon only by ourselves. Oh, and you can take that thing off. We're christian here, no worries for needing to cover yourself."
Hul took the seat and got her hair loose, looking back at the door so she could hear Babak carrying the boxes. She smiled and thought of bringing something of the tea for him later. The small table had all biscuits she already knew from all the way back to her childhood, and the samavar couldn't be any more familiar.  Both women argued with each other constantly, so Hul was always changing the subject. Gulsim was 85, Kamila 67. Both of them had cataract, the first in both of her eyes but the second only on her right one. After a lot of gossiping, all three of them seemed to be very comfortable, so Hul decided to ask about the building.


A nice arrival at a new place. Things couldn't be going smoother! Well, all for a couple of glimpses into the abyss.
Will this story finally have anything to scare our poor readers?
Come get some more right here!