Vanished – A Horror Story by Troi Blackthorne

Emily needed a roommate and I needed a room. She kicked out her ex boyfriend and she had 6 months left on her lease. My ex roommate, Gemma, kicked me out because I was late with the rent a few times. Ok, maybe it was every time. A posting, coffee meeting and one week later, I moved in with Emily.

The building was at the edge of the city, close enough to be convenient but too far to be trendy. All the apartments were identical two bedroom units built with a high turnover of tenants in mind. Cheap furniture, cheap fittings, but not a cheap price. We were on the top floor and the only occupied apartment on the floor so it was at least quiet.

I was determined to not like Emily. She was the opposite to me in almost every way. She liked pink, pop music and parties and usually all three things together. The glass wasn’t just half full, it was half full of glitter and confetti. She was the type of girl that gets almost everything she wants in life just by smiling and being positive but you can’t hate her because she manages to be charming as well. I thought my plan was foolproof. Be polite, label my food and stay away from her as much as possible. Between my part time job and my full time degree, I didn’t have the time, energy or inclination to be a social butterfly. And for the first few weeks, it worked. We passed each other in the kitchen or on the way to the bathroom and I dragged the corners of my mouth up a few millimetres and grumbled something close to a hello or a how’s it going and quickened my pace.

But Emily was persistent. She killed me with kindness. First, she seemed preternaturally interested in my life story. She asked about my family, my job, my hopes, my dreams. It was annoying at first but then it started to feel good to have someone to talk to. Someone who seemed to actually give a sh*t. She told me all about her past. How she had lived in the city her whole life. Her job that she hated. Her ex Derek who pushed her against the wall that she hated even more. Then, she invited me out all the time.

First, grabbing drinks at her favourite bar, then clubbing with her friends and, parties; she went to so many parties. I said no most of the time because I couldn’t afford to be hung over multiple times a week but Emily kept asking. She tried to include me in everything. The night before my birthday, I had one of my awful nightmares. The ones where I couldn’t move and I woke up shouting, sweating, sucking in air rapidly. Emily held my hand until I was calm. The next day, she baked me twelve salted caramel cupcakes and the transformation was complete. My defenses were completely down. I considered her one of my closest friends. Maybe my only real friend in the city. Now, after everything that has happened, maybe that was a mistake.

In May, we heard some commotion in the apartment next to ours. It was the only other apartment on our floor, a two bedroom like ours, that had been empty since I had moved in. For almost a week, we heard shuffling noises, the occasional door bang and even a humming noise but the curtains remained drawn. Emily was convinced that we had a new neighbour and a few times, I caught her looking through the peephole or lingering near the mailboxes on the ground floor. I wasn’t as excited about someone else on our floor. A new neighbour meant more noise and I cringed thinking about the possibility of late night parties and loud music. I had enough headaches as it was. Sure enough, one evening, we met our new neighbour, ascending the stairs, just a few steps ahead of us. From the back, I could see that she was tall, very thin with long, stringy black hair. She was struggling with a black suitcase that seemed twice as heavy as she was.

Emily rushed up the steps to her side. “Let me help you with that” she said, trying to grab one end. The girl spun around, looking bewildered, almost cornered. Now I could see her eyes that were so dark that they looked almost black. Her face was long and drawn, her lips were almost colourless and stretched into a tight frown. Her skin was sallow like she hadn’t eaten a decent meal or breathed fresh air in her entire life.

“I’ve got it” she said, yanking the case from Emily’s grasp. We watched her waddle to her door, unlock it and close it behind her without looking back.

“She’s nice.” I said.

Emily laughed.

She waited until we closed the door to our apartment before announcing triumphantly, “I asked Mike about her.” Mike was the building manager who was very quick to take a look at the faulty air conditioning, replace the beeping fire alarm or do anything that Emily asked. With me, not so quick.

“Her name is Agnes. And she paid her rent and deposit in cash.” She said the word cash like it was a treasure like diamonds or gold bars. “Who does that?”

The name Agnes sounded like a ninety year old woman from the 19th century. “I don’t know. Is it any of our business?”

Emily looked a little surprised. “I hear a humming noise coming from her place at three in the morning. She’s making it my business. You aren’t a little curious?”

I shrugged. “Not really.”

She shook her head. “There’s something about her. She creeps me out. I almost expect to wake up one night and find her standing at the foot of my bed.”

That wasn’t a pleasant thought.

One week later, after I had finished work, Emily sent me a text that she had invited Agnes over and I should not be surprised that she was in our living room right now. I hurried back to the apartment. I didn’t understand why Emily was obsessed with this girl. I didn’t understand why Agnes accepted the invitation. I didn’t understand why the whole thing bothered me so much.

I unlocked the front door and walked in slowly. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting to see. It seemed pretty normal. Emily was sitting on the sofa, her feet tucked under her with a glass of wine in her hand, laughing which wasn’t unusual. Agnes sat across from her in the chair, what seemed to be a glass of water in front of her on the table, not even a hint of a smile on her face.

“Naomi! You got here fast. I met Agnes downstairs and invited her up.”

“Yeah, hi, Agnes.” I said.

She stared at me. “Hello, Naomi.” Her voice was too calm, chilling, almost robotic. Her eyes followed me as I dropped my bag on the kitchen table and grabbed some water from the fridge.

“Pizza should be here soon.” Emily said.

“Great. I’m starving.” I sat down next to her and met Agnes’ gaze. Now sitting here, really looking at her, there was something familiar about her face.

“So where are you from Agnes?” I asked. I watched her keenly. She was wearing a long sleeved black shirt and her fingers started to pick the fabric as soon as I finished the question. Surely a sign that whatever was about to come out of her mouth was a big fat lie.

“Everywhere really. I move around a lot. I have since I was a kid.”

Uh huh. Why are you sitting in my living room? Why do you look like you haven’t been in the sun for your entire life? What was in that case? That’s what I wanted to ask. Instead I gave a tight smile and said, “Same here. What work do you do?”

“I’m between jobs at the moment.” came the swift reply.

“I see. What did you do then?” I fired back.

Emily interjected, sensing the rising hostility from me.

“This isn’t a job interview.” She gave me one of her “cool it” looks.

“I don’t mind. I have a question.” Agnes said quietly. “How long have you two known each other? You seem very close.”

Emily was too eager to tell the story. “About four months. I posted on the Roomate app because Derek, that’s my psycho ex, decided to push me into a wall and so I kicked him out. Naomi responded in like five seconds to my post, we met up and we’ve been friends ever since.”

“Um…That’s not exactly what happened. We didn’t get along right away.”

“Oh yeah. Sure. You were hard work for a bit. But I wore you down.” She smiled at me and winked. I had never seen her wink before. It was weird.

But was that what was going on here? Was Agnes Emily’s new project?

There was a knock at the door.

“Pizza’s here.” Emily announced. She bounded to the door leaving Agnes and me alone.

Now, I play those seconds back over and over in my head.

She looked at me. Her dark eyes seeking and then holding mine. And in that moment, she didn’t look like a quiet, maybe even sad young woman anymore. There was a hint of a smile, a knowing, a challenge and an oppressive weight seemed to envelop me and push me deeper into my chair.

“Margherita for you, Agnes. Your usual meat feast, Naomi and pepperoni for me.” Emily said dropping the boxes on the table.


You can’t trust someone who eats Margherita pizza.

A few nights later around eight, Emily sent me a text asking if I wanted to meet her and Agnes for a drink at X’s her favourite bar. It seemed that she was moving into phase two of her charm offensive on Agnes. It bugged me a little bit more than I would like to admit. The answer would have been no anyway but I had an assignment due the next day and I hadn’t written a single word. I had to pull an allnighter. I texted back and pushed all thoughts about what those two would talk about out of my head. I settled into the sofa with my laptop and Vivaldi to keep my mind alert.

At midnight, I took a break. It was the perfect time for the self loathing to set in. Why did I always procrastinate? I had an entire week to get this assignment done. I liked to tell myself that I worked best under pressure but this was ridiculous. I felt a headache coming on. I checked my phone. No messages. Well those two must be having a good time, I thought.

2 am – No Emily. They must have gone to a club after the bar. Even though it was very hard to imagine Agnes twerking. I chuckled a little and went back to work.

4 am – I had dozed off on the sofa and now I was really going to struggle to make the deadline. I sent Emily a text but didn’t get a response. She does not usually stay out this late. Should I knock on Agnes’ door and see if she’s back? Nope, I am overreacting. Back to work.

8 am – A minor miracle, I finished my assignment and emailed it to my supervisor. Emily still had not responded to my text. I sent another one.

8:15am – I knocked on Agnes’ door but there was no answer.

10 am – I dozed off on the sofa and woke up covered with sweat. Something was wrong. I called Emily’s phone twice and the phone went straight to the voicemail. Did they get into an accident?

Midday – I called a few of Emily’s friends. No one has seen her or talked to her since yesterday evening. I was now officially worried.

I started to run through different scenarios in my mind. Maybe she had run into Derek, her old boyfriend and there had been some trouble. Maybe they had been in an accident or were at the police station. Maybe… maybe Agnes. I hardly knew anything about this girl. I didn’t have her phone number. And I didn’t trust her. I knocked on her door again and there was no answer. Whatever was going on, they were likely together. Who the hell was she? I should have done this days ago, I searched Google, Instagram, TikTok… I couldn’t find any trace of Agnes C. It was like she didn’t exist.

I remembered that Emily had mentioned our building manager Mike knew more about where she was from. I headed down to his office. Mike was a short, hairy, middle aged guy who was soft in the middle and almost always in that closet office even though he managed more than one building.

“Emily is missing,” I said, walking through the door without knocking.

He was halfway through a sandwich with mayonnaise dripping down the corner of his mouth and onto his beard. He did not look happy with the interruption. “What?”
“Emily went out last night with Agnes and neither of them are back. She did not answer my texts and my calls are going straight to voicemail. I can’t track her phone. It might be off. You have Agnes’ phone number, right? Can I have it?” I rattled off in one breath.

He dropped the sandwich on his desk and leaned back in his chair. “I can’t just give you her private information. I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about. They are probably just sleeping it off at one of their friends.”

“I called Emily’s friends and no one has seen her.”

“One of Agnes’ friends then”

“I think we were her only “friends” here. Listen, Mike, something is wrong. I can feel it. Is there anything you can tell me about Agnes? Is it possible that it’s not her real name?”

“I don’t know. I’m not a cop!” He gave a long sigh. “ If you’re that worried, I will call the number I have for her.” He rubbed his fingers on the front of his shirt, turned to his laptop, angled the screen away from me and started typing. I felt this small kernel of irritation and rage start to grow in the pit of my stomach. Two minutes that felt like twenty minutes later, he picked up his phone and dialed a number. Within seconds, I heard the “this number is disconnected” message. I knew it. Agnes had Emily and there probably wasn’t much time to save her.

“I need to get into her room, Mike. What if she has Emily in there?”

He laughed. “Are you serious? You want me to let you walk around that girl’s apartment because she’s, what, holding Emily hostage? That’s crazy.” He picked up the sandwich again and took a huge bite.

I slammed the door to his office so forcefully that the frame shook.

I went back to our apartment and sat on the sofa, my laptop on my knees and my phone tucked beside me. I was running out of ideas. I was anxious. I was tired. How soon can I report someone missing? Did I have to wait 24 hours or was that just something I had seen in every tv show.

Suddenly, I felt a heavy sensation on my chest, like someone was sitting there, pinning me into the cushion. I couldn’t move. I saw the light of the screen of my laptop and tried to move my hand to hit one of the keys.

“Help me” a voice said. It sounded desperate but also resigned to its fate.

Was it Emily? Was the voice inside my head?

“Agnes.” it said. The pressure on my chest increased. I could not breathe.

“Agnes.” I could see my laptop. I could see the sofa. If I could just move my finger. The tip of my finger.


This time it was a loud moan that engulfed the entire room. I woke up and knocked my laptop onto the floor. I struggled to breathe, my heartbeat flooded my ears. It had been months since I had experienced one of those nightmares. It must have lasted seconds but felt like an hour of torture. My lack of sleep and increasing worry was getting the better of me. It took a few minutes for my breathing and heart rate to settle but there was an itch at the back of my brain.

“Agnes.” I said it this time. I know she has something to do with this. She is responsible. She has to be. I can save Emily. I know I can. This time the piteous moan was not inside of my head. It was low, wretched and coming from Agnes’ apartment.

I jumped up and ran out. This time, I didn’t knock on Agnes’ door, I turned the doorknob, knowing that it wouldn’t be locked. Her apartment was in total darkness, only the hallway light behind me casting a soft glow into the doorway. I knew that nothing good existed beyond this door. Part of me wasn’t ready to face whatever was lurking in the darkness. The moan sounded again. I wasn’t certain where it was coming from, it come from all corners of the room. Was it Emily? I hesitated. Going in would be dumb, right? I should just call the police and wait for them. I should definitely not. Go. In.

“Help…me” the words were muffled and devoid of hope. A last, sad plea as life was draining away.

I took one small step into the room. I could smell the blood. The sharp, iron sweetness of it. I could tell that it was warm, flowing slowly and pooling onto the floor. My eyes started to adjust to the dark room and I saw a figure sitting in a chair on my left.

“I haven’t got all day. Come in,” a voice said, exasperated. Agnes.

I walked in.

“Close the door.” She sounded different. Her voice was deeper, more confident, commanding

I obeyed.

She switched on a lamp. I squinted against the low light. The figure looked like Agnes but she seemed two inches taller. Her hair was pulled back away from her face and I could see a spray of blood across her cheek. There was someone else in the room. I could hear their labored breathing.
“Is that Emily? Have you hurt her?” I demanded but my voice sound more like a squeak.

Agnes laughed softly and I felt sick. “Why don’t you come over here and take a look?”

I felt that I could not control my own legs. That she was pulling me towards her and I was powerless. I moved slowly, looked over the sofa and saw what lay in a heap near her feet. It was Mike. Hairy, soft in the middle Mike covered in sweat, blood and barely conscious. I couldn’t understand what I was seeing. A chunk of flesh was missing from the side of his stomach and there were bite marks on his face, arms and neck. Thick, dark blood oozed from the wounds and soaked into the floor underneath him. The smell was making me dizzy.

Agnes walked to the sofa and unzipped her large black case. The same case that Emily and I had seen her trudging up the stairs. She worked swiftly in the dim light like she had done this a million times. She pulled out a large apron, gloves and what looked like a plastic sheet.

“Can you grab this end for me?” she said casually, handing me a corner of the plastic sheeting. I started to reach out and then backed away, horrified with myself.

“What did you do? Did you do this to Emily? Is she dead?” I shrieked, stepping slowly back trying to put some distance between us.

“Oh no, Emily is fine. She went home with some guy from the bar.” she responded and I didn’t believe her. I watched her spread the sheeting on the floor. Then slowly put on the apron and the gloves. She crouched and started to roll poor Mike onto the sheet. His last breaths bubbling out with every rotation. She was humming as she worked. The same humming that Emily and I would hear through the walls.

Was this real? Was it possible I was still dreaming?

I inched my way closer and closer to the door. It was difficult to think clearly with the smell of blood and death enveloping me. All I could think of was get as close to the door as possible and then run. I could outrun her for certain, couldn’t I?

“Ah, got it.” she said, pulling something out of the case. It looked like a saw. A bone saw. And I reached the door.

“You can run and scream for help if want you, Na-o-mi, “ she said, stretching out the sound of my name. “But you might want to clean up first.”


She pointed to my hands and then circled her mouth.
I looked at my hands. My red hands. My hands covered with blood. Acid rised quickly in my throat and I heaved the contents of my stomach onto the floor. The red, bloody contents. The small chunks of flesh contents. Soft in the middle Mike contents.

“I’m getting sick of cleaning up after you, Maya” Agnes said. I slid to the floor, feeling another wave of vomit building in my gut. Maya. No one had called me that in a very long time. I knew who Agnes was now. Why she was here.

“You weren’t causing any trouble so we left you alone. But then you chewed up your old roommate and I was sent to clean it up.”

The memory flashed quickly in my mind. Shouting, a threat and the feel of her warm, slippery insides all over my hands, mouth, skin.

“After Derek followed soon after, they told me to keep a very close on eye on you. To report back so they can decide what to do with you. We can’t have you eating half the city, Maya!”

People like me usually stay locked away in communities far from normal people. But I wanted more. I didn’t want my entire life to my defined by my… appetites. I got the hunger under control, changed my name and moved into the city. I had locked this part of myself tightly away. I hadn’t fed in years. Or so I thought.

“Gemma…what happened?” I asked Agnes.

“I think she kept asking you for the rent. Threatened to kick you out, things got heated and you ate most of the left side of her body.”

I reeled. “But…but I barely remember. Why don’t I remember?”

“You have always been ashamed of who you are, Maya. You push it so far down that you make yourself forget. Lucky for you, I can make it like it never happened. But you’re out of control. What did this guy do?” She pointed at Mike, what was left of him, waiting to be disappeared.
He laughed at me. I was so angry. I heard him open the apartment and I followed him in. I tried to look around and he kept stopping me, kept blocking me. And then I bit his neck. And when I have a taste, I don’t stop. I don’t stop until I am full.

“Maya. Maya,” she snapped her fingers and forced me out of my reverie. “I have a few hours of work here. You need to pack up and get ready to leave tonight. I have instructions to bring you home to face the Council. You can’t stay in the city anymore. Do you understand?”

I nodded.

“Last chance, Maya” she warned and started the saw.

The whirring sound filled my ears as I walked out of the room.