“Can you believe you were the only one who answered the ad?”
I adjusted my glasses and glanced at the house beside us, cracks running across the stone and scraggly vines hugging the walls. Even though it was still a summer’s eve, a cold mist had settled into the valley, and it made this neighborhood feel especially dark and cold.
“Weird, I wonder why no one else is interested in renting the room…” I answered sheepishly. “Anyways, I’m Benji.”
“I’m Zell! You have a beautiful neck, Benji. Shall I give you a tour?” His smile was so easy it was hard to say no.
“Oh yeah, sure. Wait, what?” Did I hear that middle part correctly?
And I know, I know. You’re probably wondering what I was thinking. “Benji, why are you running away to the middle of nowhere with no money?” or “Maybe don’t follow the stranger into the decrepit house even though the rent sounds really cheap?” No, I have to confess, my mind was initially preoccupied thinking, “Wow, those are some tight shiny red pants.”
“C’mon, I’ll show you the upstairs first.”
Zell led me up a flight of stairs to a small landing. The walls were scratched, peeling, and caked in dust.
“So, this would be your bedroom. Er, I guess it’s not really a room since there’s no door, but a bed could fit here.”
“Um, how often do you clean this place?” I asked. “Not to be rude, but there’s a giant cobweb in the corner…”
“Oh, that’s part of the decor.” Zell puffed his chest up proudly. “I hung that one up myself!”
Zell led me back downstairs. “Aaand downstairs is the living room. This door here is my room, please don’t go inside. Actually, that’s the ONE and ONLY rule in this house. DON’T. EVER. GO. INTO. MY. ROOM. Oh, and look, here’s the kitchen!
It’s got all the appliances you mortals need- sorry, that was a weird way to phrase that- I mean, it’s got all the appliances you need, fellow mortal… though I’m not sure if they all work…”
I sat at the table and adjusted my glasses. This was certainly the most unconventional house I had visited so far.
I turned to Zell. “So you’re telling me, you’re renting out a room- that’s not really a room- in a dingy house, with possibly broken appliances, in a cold, tiny neighborhood in the middle of nowhere?”
“Yep, that about sums it up!” Zell grinned.
I was at a loss for words. How did this guy ever expect to find a roommate? This place was deplorable.
“Oh, and about my sleep habits,” he added. “I’m active in the middle of the night and asleep during the day.”
“So, what do you think?”
I didn’t even think twice about it. “It’s everything I ever wanted. I’ll take it.”
It was the perfect place to run away to.