There is an unfinished apartment building not far from our block. It has been there for as long as anyone can remember, a gray giant of concrete and steel looming over the neighborhood. The absence of scaffolding and workers clearly indicates that it had long since been abandoned by its constructors.
Sometimes though, I'd notice small changes taking place on the apartment. I was walking to work with one of my friends yesterday when I brought the matter up.
"You know what? I heard sounds of construction last night." I said.
"Yeah?" My friend nodded absent-mindedly as he checked his watch. "So?"
I looked up at the apartment's outer walls, and there it was: a small patch of newly applied ceramic tiles had appeared just above one of the windows on the 10th floor, forming a sharp contrast with the crude concrete walls around them.
"Hey, look at those tiles." I said, "They weren't there yesterday, were they?"
"No idea." Came the reply. "Come on, we're gonna be late."
The unfinished apartment is something everybody has grown used to, and thus no longer warrants any real attention. The noises of construction which sometimes come at night are dismissed as commonplace in an urban environment.
Whenever I heard sounds of hammers and drills in the middle of the night though, I'd sit up in my bed and listen carefully. And when morning came, I'd always find that something new had been added to the apartment. It could be a patch of tiles, a pipe, or a brand new aluminum window fashioned with tempered glass.
Many of the homeless in our neighborhood have gone missing these days. No bodies were ever found. The papers are ranting on and on about how criminals are abducting these poor souls, and called for the government to take action. Some youngsters in the neighborhood seems to be into the theory of alien abduction.
Looking out from the second floor balcony of my house, I saw wavering light shinning through the hollow windows on the lower floors of the apartment--some homeless folks must've been camping out there. It may not be a very comfortable place to sleep in, but the concrete walls at least provided some shelter against the weather. The light was muffled out as I watched, and the sounds of construction soon began to resonate through the night. I turned away with a shiver, fancying that I had just heard distant screams coming from the abysmal darkness beyond the apartment's gapping windows.
I hurried pass the apartment the very next morning, fighting back the idea that the red stains on the newly painted walls somehow resembled the face of a screaming man.