"Triskaidekaphobia"

“Triskaidekaphobia,” said Nathan.

“What?” I asked. The elevator made a loud groaning, creaking sound that sent shudders down my spine.

“That’s what you have. An irrational fear of the number 13.” A self-satisfied grin stretched across his face as the elevator jerked to a halt, forcing me to hold on to the rusty bar that barely clung to the back wall.

We were looking at apartments. It was our sophomore year of college, and the dorms were way too expensive to live in for another two semesters. Chris was supposed to take care of it like he said he would. In June. It was August now and most of the good, cheap apartments had been taken. All that was left was the crap nobody else wanted. Floorboards stained with cat piss, cupboards that housed hordes of cockroaches, and one apartment with a dead cat whose flesh had started to graft to the moldy carpet.

At least Chris had come through at the last minute. He’d set up an appointment with the super. So Nathan and I were gonna show and see what we thought. Like we had a choice. It was this or the dorms at this point.

“It’s room 213,” Nathan said, leading me down the hallway. It didn’t smell like mold, which was already a good selling point. The walls were a dull beige that was peeling in places, and the carpet had been ripped off, leaving only a cement floor.

Apartment 213 came upon them on the left. The 2 was missing–the only indication that it had ever been there was an outline where the paint had been ripped off by the number as it had fallen, or been removed.

Nathan grinned. “Oooh. Apartment 13.”

I shook my head while holding my shoulders closer to my body. Nathan had already been making fun of me for the fact that I hated being an intern at Jameson & Powell, which was on the 13th floor. I’d commented that there shouldn’t be 13 floors. Most buildings just went straight from 12 to 14. Of course that meant I was superstitious. Nathan was always blowing things out of proportion.

Nathan opened the door. “You scared?” he asked, opening it wide.

“Dude. I’m not fucking scared of a number.” I walked inside, pissed. Nathan was being a dick, and I just wanted to get this over with, sign the lease, and get moved in.

A large shadow came at me from inside the dark apartment. The head was giant and covered in fur. It growled and then chuckled madly as it fell on me, pinned me to the ground. I felt a cold, sharp thing press against my chest. I screamed as the hilt of the knife touched my skin through my shirt. “Nathan run!” I said with my dying breath.

But Nathan was laughing. He turned on the light. Chris’s stupid grin was painted over with red and white clown make-up. Then he laughed too and showed me the fake knife he had supposedly stabbed me with.

“Coulrophobia,” Nathan said.

“Shut the fuck up,” I answered.