I live with some roommates in inner Sydney, which is the largest city in Australia in an open apartment building, meaning that instead of having enclosed foyers and hallways, our front doors open to outdoor balconies. We live on the third level.
Rent in Sydney is the highest in Australia and everyone wants to live in Sydney. I work retail so I’m forced to live in the older parts of Sydney.
The apartment complex I lived in used to be owned by the Housing Authority, so many indigenous and low-wealth families lived here. Unfortunately, this meant it was a haven for illegal crime activities, rapes and death.
The government sold off the complex to a local developer who revamped it and sold it to young professionals and investors which is how I and my roommates came to live here.
My roommates and I work opposing shifts. I work IT support for an Internet Service Provider, one roommate works at a petrol station and the other is a FIFO (fly-in/fly-out worker) so he usually isn’t here for 3 weeks at a time.
One afternoon, I had gotten home from work after working for 11 hours and NO lunch break, I jumped straight to the shower. Knowing I was home alone, I teared off my clothes and jumped right.
It was something I looked forward to at the end of every shift… just being able to relax in the hot water and steam, and the coolness that hits you immediately after stepping into an air-conditioned living room.
As I got out of the shower, I grabbed my towel from the rack and started drying myself off. Like I said earlier, I knew I was home alone… or so I thought, because I walked out of the bathroom while drying my long hair… and I saw someone standing in the kitchen.
I ran back to the bathroom and slammed the door. No doubt it was full-frontal nudity for which ever roommate was at home. I didn’t actually catch a glimpse of who it was – I just wanted to spare myself the embarrassment of my wiener being exposed.
I grabbed some clothes from the laundry basket which we kept in the bathroom and quickly slipped them on on, trying to shake off the cringe-worthiness of what just happened. I figured I’ll just play it off cool and hopefully it won’t be awkward or anything…
So I walked out of the bathroom again, this time clothed and went to the living area. No one was there. Alright, they’re probably still in the kitchen. So into kitchen I went. Nobody was there.
I was adamant that someone was there, I saw the figure clear as day. So I called out my roommates names. “Kyle?”. “Bryan?”. “Where are ya?”
The fuck. I checked their bedrooms which was at the front of the apartment away from the bathroom. Their doors were open but no lights were on… no one was home.
I checked the front door in case they went out. The door knob was locked when I looked at the button. I started wondering to myself if I imagined it or what ever. I checked every room and there was nobody else here.
Right. Well, that’s fucking weird.
So I went back to the bathroom because I didn’t want to wear these clothes. I just put them on because I had nothing else with me in the bathroom and I’m pretty sure these were clothes from like a week ago which had yet to be washed.
I took my clothes off and chucked them back into laundry basket and wrapped myself in my towel, just in case a roommate was indeed home and was out of sight… or playing a trick on me.
I looked into the mirror as I tied my hair and received the fright of my life.
At the corner of the mirror’s reflection, a man was standing at the open door. He was wearing all black clothes and he stared at me, unaware that I could see him in the mirror.
I was frozen.
And then I realised I was in danger.
The man in black had probably worked out that I could see him as I didn’t move. I kept staring at him through the mirror.
I still don’t know where this came from as I would never put myself in danger in my right mind, but fear got the better of me.
With nowhere to go, I instinctively ran into the man, knocking him back into the wall. I headed for the front door. Each step felt like he was following me. Every organ clenched inside me.
I heard every heartbeat in my inner ears as my heart nearly exploded out of my chest.
I opened the door and ran out of my apartment, as far away from it as I could get.
Obviously, I didn’t have anything on me so I ran down the stairs to the ground level. I made for the payphone and dialled 000.
I watched my apartment like a hawk, but I didn’t see the man exit the apartment, so I knew he was still in there.
Thankfully, the police came and met me. They told me to stay where I was while they investigated the apartment.
They found the man in my apartment unconscious. I must have pushed the man so hard that I knocked him out.
He was armed with a knife and was known to police for aggravated burglaries in the area. They told me I was lucky because he is very dangerous and there had been articles on the news for his whereabouts.
I didn’t watch TV or read the news so I had no idea.
But it was obvious. I avoided my own death.
I don’t know how the man got in. There were no signs of forced entry to the apartment. I checked all windows and doors.
The only thing I can think of, is that my roommate forgot to lock the front door, but when asked, he couldn’t remember.
So please, always double-check you’ve locked your door, because this could happen to you.