The Beast of Montenegro

Mina held her breath and froze in place. Occasionally, shuddering when she heard her father’s footsteps. She recognized his steps, they sounded the same way when he came home. They were deliberate, as a man who knew where his prey was.

“Mina, where are you,” Mr. Crane slowly snarled. “Mina, I know you’re here. I saw your friends.”

Mina wondered who he meant and wondered, but didn’t dare move. Mr. Crane angrily shouted out her name a few times. The landlady who lived on the first floor must have heard him and came out to see what he was fussing about. Her door was also underneath the stairs, getting a clear view of a huddled Mina.

“What are you yelling about?” the landlady griped in her thick accent, stopping Mr. Crane from coming any closer.

“I’m looking for my daughter,” Mr. Crane declaimed.

“You don’t need to be shouting in my building,” she carped. “There is no need for it. There are no children here that I see. I don’t like children and I’ve told them not play near my door.”

“I need to find my daughter,” Mr. Crane persisted.

“She’s not here, I can tell you that,” the landlady said. “Go somewhere else to find her. I won’t allow you to be shouting in my building. I won’t bare for it. Now go, before I call the polize.”

Mr. Crane hesitated and grumbled something incoherent under his breath.

“Go on now, leave!” the old woman urged him on.

Mr. Crane, paused before making his way back upstairs. Mina, imagined the angry look in her father’s eyes flashing before her mind. She was now going be severely punished for keeping him waiting. She didn’t want to go home, not now. Mina couldn’t stop the tears that rolled down her cheeks.

The landlady watched him go up the stairs and waited to hear him close the door to his apartment.

“He’s gone, child.” the old woman said before returning to her apartment.

The Beast of Montenegro

By the time Mina reached home it was almost dark. The ghosts had vanished from sight. The building looked abject from the outside, when Mina walked in the ambience was more deplorable. The faint lights on the wall made the yellow paint appear brown. The many years of neglect showed in every corner of the building. The invariable stench of boiled cabbage infused the air. Someone was always cooking cabbage, though the smell was wretched it made Mina’s tummy rumble.

Mina went up at the flight of stairs, leading her to her apartment. She had a habit of looking up at the dreaded stairs that coiled up into the darkness. Her apartment was on the fifth landing. She placed her hand on the banister ready to ascend the way up when Natalia out of nowhere halted her.

“Mina, don’t go up there,” Natalia impassively warned her. “He will kill you if you do.”

This passiveness was not common in Natalia. Mina became a little scared. What was she to do?

“He will kill you,” Natalia repeated. “He is waiting for you upstairs. He has made up his mind today.”

“You must hide,” Alena soon appeared. “Hide, Mina!”

Desperately, Mina looked for a place to hide, noticing a wedge underneath the stairs. She hurried and hid underneath there. At this moment, feeling as she did, she couldn’t think of a better place.

“Be quiet and stay still,” Alena advised.

“He’s coming,” Natalia warned.