Estimated reading time — 6 minutes
It didn’t take long for me to realize that my freshmen college roommate was a very strange guy. But that wasn’t all that surprising as I’d heard about plenty of people that got saddled with weirdos as roommates their first semester of college. He wasn’t strange in the sense of being a LARPer or never taking showers or anything like that, but from the moment I met him, something just seemed…off.
Move-in day was pretty odd. The first thing I remember is being surprised at how old he looked when I met him. From the roommate info card that I had received from my university over the summer, I knew that my roommate’s name was Zach _________ and he was from a town called Zionsville, a suburb of Indianapolis. I thought that he was an 18 year-old freshmen like me, but he looked like he was maybe 4 or 5 years older than that. Oh well, I thought, it had been two months since I read that roommate card, so I figured I was simply mistaken and that he was just one of those guys that waited a few years before going to college.
Now all that Zach brought with him to move into our dorm was a duffle bag of clothes. No furniture, no computer, no belongings, nothing. He didn’t even bring bedding. I asked him if that was all that he had, and after an awkward pause he said that we was bringing the rest of his stuff later.
For the next hour, I went about setting up our room. Zach sat down at the desk that came with the room and pulled an iPod out of his back pocket. So he did have at least some other things, I thought. He put his headphones on and while doing so, he would just watch me or look out the window. I tried talking to him while doing this, but his answers would be pretty short.
“Are your parents here with you today?”
“Do you know what you want your major to be yet?”
“Do you know anyone else here at DePauw?”
After another half-hour of feebly trying to converse with him, Zach says, “That’s a pretty girl. Who is she?” I was holding a framed picture of my girlfriend. “What? Oh. That’s Andrea. She’s my girlfriend. She goes to IU.” I set the frame down on the nightstand by my bed. And that was all he said.
After another 30 minutes of awkward silence, I have to get out of there so I go to meet up with the only other guy I know from high school, my buddy Joel. I tell Joel that I think my roommate situation is going to be disaster this semester, and then we go out to grab a bite to eat. I come back to my room to find Zach is gone, but see his duffle bag still lying on the floor. I finish setting up the room and go to bed around 1:00 AM. Zach still isn’t back by then.
I don’t sleep well that first night, but figure it’s due to sleeping in a new, unfamiliar place. I wake up to find Zach sleeping on his mattress with no sheets. During the day, anytime Zach isn’t in class, he is in our room just staring out the window with his headphones on. He nods his head if I said hello, but that’s about it.
I try having Joel over to our room one night, but Zach is there and it gets awkward fast because he just keeps looking out our window listening to his music the whole time we are there. After attempting to watch a movie for about 15 minutes, Joel makes an excuse to be somewhere else.
Frustrated, I angrily ask Zack, “Why do you just stare out that window all the time?”
“I just like to people-watch. There’s so many interesting things to see here.”
“You’re a strange dude, Zach. You need to get out more,” I respond. And with that I follow Joel out. When I catch up with him, he asks me, “What’s up with your roommate?”
“Yeah, sorry, I tried telling you he was a weirdo. He stares out that window all the time. He said he likes to people-watch.”
“Well, he was probably homeschooled our something. Maybe his parents were really strict and he isn’t sure how to handle the wild college life,” replies Joel.
“Yeah, maybe. It’s just that he looks like he’s 23. You would think that he’s lived a little.”
When I go to bed again that night, Zach is once again gone. I have another restless night and when I wake, I see that he is once again sleeping on his blank mattress. He must have come in quietly while I was asleep. I notice that my computer screen is on, which was odd, because I thought I had turned it off when I went to bed. Oh well, not the first time my screen turned on because a draft moved the mouse.
A few more days go by and I’m still not sleeping terribly well, but think it probably isn’t helping that I am staying up much later than I ever did at home.
Each night, Zach is gone when I go to bed late and he is asleep on his mattress when I wake up in the morning. I can’t figure out where he would be since I have never seen him talk to anyone other than me. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have any friends. Thursday night of that first week, I’m doing some homework at my desk and Zach, per usual, is just staring out the window like a creep, listening to his iPod.
“Hey, where do you go every night? You’re never here when I go to bed, and I’ve been up pretty late each night.”
He didn’t respond immediately, but finally said, “I like to go for walks at night. I like the quiet.”
“At 2:00 in the morning?”
“Did you do that at home too? Did your parents just let you walk around late at night?”
Again, long pause. “I lived in a pretty small town, so it was safe. My parents didn’t care.”
“I thought you were from Zionsville. Isn’t that pretty much Indianapolis?”
Another, longer pause. Finally Zach says, “I’m going for a walk.” And walks out the door.
Late that night, I’m startled awake to find Zach just standing next to my bed, looking at me.
“JESUS! Oh God! Zach, what the hell are you doing?!? You about gave me a heart attack!”
“You look very peaceful when you sleep.”
“What?” I say groggily. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“You look very serene as you sleep. I envy that.”
Thoroughly creeped out, I say, “I gotta take a piss.” I didn’t have to pee, but just wanted to get away from Zach. I go to Joel’s room and tell him what just happened. It’s about 3:00a.m., so I’m not sure Joel is completely coherent, but he lets me crash on his couch.
The next day between classes, I share with Joel again how uncomfortable Zach is starting to make me.
“Have you tried Googling him?” asks Joel, “He’s got to have Facebook page or something online. Maybe you can find something out about the creep.”
“Yeah, I’ll check it out when I get back to my computer.”
After another class, I return to my room. Fortunately, Zach was at class. I typed “Zach _________ Zionsville, IN” into the search bar on Google. Google finds thousands of webpages instantly, but I stare in disbelief at the top listing.
ZIONSVILLE TEENAGER ZACH _________ STABBED TO DEATH, CULPRIT STILL MISSING
I click the link and see an article from the Indy newspaper about the brutal murder of my roommate, who was repeatedly stabbed to death in his bedroom two weeks ago. They show Zach’s senior photo. It is not the same person that I have been sharing a room with for the past week.
I close the browser and sprint to Joel’s room, but he has classes until 4:00. Wanting to be out of our dormitory, I text him, saying to meet in the student commons after his classes. I don’t want to be anywhere near my room if “Zach” should return in the mean time.
Joel finally meets me in the student commons and I tell him everything. I’m trying not to make a scene but as I’m sharing the story of sleeping in the same room as a murderer for a week, I begin to break down and sob. I can tell that Joel is still unsure until I pull up the news article on his phone, then his face turns grim. He says it’s probably best if we go to the police in person and tell them everything.
Joel doesn’t have a car on campus, so we have to go back to my room to get my keys. I’m incredibly nervous, but Joel says if we happen to see “Zach” we’ll just act normal and say we are going out to eat. No big deal.
I peek into my room and sigh with relief as I realize that he isn’t there. As I grab the keys from my desk drawer, I notice that my computer screen has two tabs open on it. One is my web history. The 2nd tab is the news article about Zach’s murder.
“Shit!” I scream, “He was here and saw this.”
I glance around the room and see that his duffle bag is now gone. “We gotta get to the police NOW! Who knows where this psycho is?!?”
As I’m running out of the room, I notice something odd. The picture of Andrea, my girlfriend, is no longer sitting on my nightstand.
Credit To – legendaryhero27
This is a small miniseries that will be posted in three parts over the next few days. Once the other parts go live, I will edit in links to their posts here. You can also track the Freshman Roommate Series tag to see all posts in this series.
This story first appeared on reddit’s /nosleep/ board and is being hosted here with permission from the original author.