The apartment had a grotesque, silent, and almost paranormal presence. As if thousands of glaring eyes were hidden in its walls. This was the premonition that found me upon my initial visit…
Moreover, the apartment's air had a peculiar scent, a certain sterile acidity. Similar to that of a cleaning fluid. And there was an unusual and occasional heaviness to the air, too, a passing pressure, much like the cabin of a descending aircraft.
However, despite my off-putting first impressions, the apartment's pros outweighed its cons. The place was in a prime location, smackdab downtown, only a short walk to a subway station. In addition, it was sprawling, bright, and on an upper floor of a sleek, glass-plated tower.
But most importantly, it was cheap. Very cheap. The unctuous leasing agent averring that the bargain price was because of "COVIT" (as he pronounced it: koh-veet).
So I pounced on it, without hesitation. Scoring a place this big, in downtown Bangkok, a furnished apartment with floor-length windows and panoramic views of the "Big Mango" was having me feel as if I won the lotto. Then I remembered the alms I gave to that young muscular monk at Wat Benchamabophit, "The Marble Temple", last year, and I supposed my altruism must be paying its dividends.
(That monk was shredded, too, his body cabled with rippling muscles. He appeared more like a pro kickboxer than a monk. Perhaps he was a Thai kickboxer, partaking in a monastic year, expiating his sins, collecting and distributing karma…)
Note to self: Exercise more and practice more Buddhism.
Upon moving in, the cleaning fluid smells, declivity, and the ethereal presence remained but dissipated. And I'd been fascinated by the sound I'd been hearing. A sound I'd not heard in ages. The sound of silence.
I'd been delighted, enamored with the apartment's silence. Unlike my last place, on the 3rd floor of a 5 storey building, here, in my new apartment, there were no hawkers outside my window, no-one pushing creaky carts or cajoling or honking squeaky little horns, and the ambient traffic sounds were merely a distant hum.
However, as is typical in Thailand, the silence wouldn't last long.
Noises came forth. Noises crawling like hermit crabs from their shells; noises grinding like teeth in the night. The noises digging up skeletons. The noises casting spells and moving minutes. Noises buttfucking vampires. Noises birthing phantasms. Phantasms… falling out like popcorn… Phantasms… those chattering dark creatures of thought somewhere between the somnambulist and psychosomatic.
It was in this way that an onset of erethism ensued and thus began my descent into perdition.
The perdition began immediately after I'd moved in. An infernal sleeplessness washed in, washed over me, like a nocturnal tide. I'd lie awake at night and sense… something. Something like an urge. An urge, compelling me, seizing me. It was an uncomfortable feeling, like I had an unfinished task, and it was nagging me, the feeling, but I didn't know exactly what I had to do, which in turn, bothered me even more.
The urge would often be accompanied by nausea, and a tightening of the chest, followed by columns of tiny floaters in vertical, horizontal formations. The floaters fluttering by, caking my line of sight, the floaters like little fluorescent bottle caps, flashing neon dots as bright as Bangkok's cyberpunk skyline.
Lying in bed, I'd know the floaters and not know them. I'd experience the urge and disavow it, attempt to ignore it. But I couldn't. There'd be a tug at my guts, as if a ghostly hand were digging down my throat. I'd feel as if I wanted to vomit. But I couldn't. I could only muster a pathetic hiss and a dry heave. I longed to vomit. Longed for a pumping of the guts. The longing, it came and went, then vanished. It was transitory as a flock of birds.
After a week in the new apartment, the nagging, the paranormal urges worsened to an execrable degree, and I began not being able to sleep. At all.
Day and night were becoming increasingly irrelevant. Whether the orb of the sun, or projected shadows, neither mattered. I was just stuck. I was contemplating visiting a fortune teller. I was wondering if I was shapeshifting into a water monitor lizard, because I was imagining myself as a water monitor lizard. I was seeing myself swimming in canals and crawling up sticky walls.
It was enraging. Whenever I'd try to sleep, I couldn't. Then I'd hoist my head and check the clock. 4:35 a.m. It was always 4:35 a.m.