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Had I been thinking clearly, I would have made sure that Andrea didn’t see the pictures that “Zach” left me on his iPod. But, by the time I looked up from crying, she was already viewing the images, a look of shocked horror on her face.
She asks, “Eric, what kind of monster is this?”
“He’s a psychotic killer. And I think he’s out to get me because I found out his secret. I know that he’s the one that killed the real Zach and he’s trying to stop me before I can go to the police.”
Just then, my cell phone rings. I’m surprised to see that it’s my mother who is calling. My mom never calls me this late at night…
“Eric, honey, I think you better come home tonight.” Her voice sounds strained.
Starting to panic, I ask, “Mom, are you ok? What’s going on?”
“Eric, just, please come home. Your father and I need to see you.” And with that she hangs up.
I’m gripped with fear that “Zach” has somehow found his way to my parents’ house. I don’t know if he is playing a sick game, but I need to make sure my parents are safe.
“Andrea, I’ve got to go home to check on my parents. You need to go somewhere safe. Go to your parents’ place. He shouldn’t know where that is. I’ll call you when I can. Then we can go to the police.”
“Eric, I don’t want to go alone,” she retorts.
“You gotta trust me. I think “Zach” might have my parents and I don’t want you anywhere near there. Just go home as fast as you can. You’ll be safe at home with your folks.”
My mind is racing during the drive home. How could all this be happening so fast? Zach _________ was just a name on a roommate info card 8 days ago and now his killer has pretended to be him while living with me, stalked my girlfriend, killed my friend, and is now terrorizing my parents.
It’s very late when I pull into our cul-de-sac. I’m immediately shocked to see police cars with flashing lights all around my house. Could my parents have somehow contacted the police? Maybe they’ve already captured “Zach.”
I park the car and sprint toward my house. After a few seconds I hear someone yell, “There he is! Someone grab him!”
I start looking around anxiously, hoping to identify “Zach” as he’s trying to dash away. All of a sudden, the wind is knocked from me and my vision blurs. I’ve been slammed to the ground.
“What the hell!?! Get off of me! What’s going on?” I can feel my arms being twisted behind my back and I feel cuffs locking.
“Eric, you are under the arrest for the murder of Zach _________. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do will be used—“
“What are you talking about?! I didn’t kill him!” I scream. “My roommate at DePauw has been pretending to be Zach, but he’s the murderer! I can help you catch him!”
I continue to try to make the police officer understand, but he continues to escort me into my house where I see my parents sitting at the kitchen table. They look distraught and pained when they see me walk in.
“Mom? Dad? Are you guys ok? Did my roommate try to hurt you? Was he here?!” I anxiously ask.
“Eric…” my mom starts to say.
“Mom, the cops are making a mistake. They should be arresting the guy that’s been my roommate at DePauw. He’s been pretending to be my real roommate, but he murdered him! And he killed Joel!”
“Eric,” she starts again quietly. “They found something in your room…”
A large police sergeant comes over to me. “Eric, I’m Sergeant Rosado. We received a tip tonight that you might be responsible for the murder of Zach _________ two weeks ago.”
“What?!?” I yell incredulously. “That’s ludicrous. My roommate killed Zach! Who told you it was me?”
“The caller identified himself as a friend of yours from school,” responds the Sergeant. “He said you were acting strange and thought it had something to do with the death of Zach.”
“But… that doesn’t make sense…”
“We weren’t convinced either. That is until we came here and found this under your bed.”
As he said this, another cop brought in a duffle bag, the same duffle bag that had been sitting on the floor of my dorm room for the past week. “Zach’s” duffle bag.
“Does this look familiar?” As he opens the bag I can see a small cooler inside. He flips open the lid to reveal human organs and ice. A heart, a liver, and a few others.
Stunned, I blurt out, “This is crazy! I’m being set up! My roommate is framing me for the murder that he committed! Ask anyone on my floor at school. They’ll all tell you how strange he’s been acting all week! Call Andrea. She’ll tell you how he’s been leaving origami flowers in her room! He’s framing me somehow! I didn’t do this!” Tears begin to stream down my face.
“Son,” Sergeant Rosada says. “You’re going to need to come with us tonight.”
As they walk me out of the house and to a squad car, I can hear my father ask the sergeant if it’s possible that I’m telling the truth. Is it possible that my roommate is framing me? I hear the sergeant respond that they’d look into it, but that it’s very unlikely.
I spend a long, sleepless night in a holding cell at the police station. A few times I try to plead with the officer on duty to talk to my friends at DePauw. I tell him to ask them about the guy that I’ve been sharing a room with. He just ignores me.
Late the next morning, I’m taken to an interrogation room. Sergeant Rosado walks in holding a manila folder and sits down.
“Eric, can you tell me, in detail, about this person who has been your roommate this past week?” he asks.
So, I tell him all about my roommate “Zach.” I tell him about all the weird things that he did that week: the staring out the window, the sleeping without bed sheets, the late night walks, and the creepily staring at me while I slept at night. I then go into detail about what happened the day before, starting with my discovery of the news article revealing that the real Zach had been murdered two weeks ago. I share about meeting with Joel after class and then having him to go to the police while I went to check on Andrea because I thought “Zach” was after her. And finally, I explain to him about driving down to Andrea’s and finding out “Zach” had been coming there at night and how we found an origami flower and iPod with the images of the murdered Joel on it that had been left by the door while we talked.
“So you have to stop him. He killed the real Zach and he killed Joel yesterday.”
Sergeant Rosado just stares at me and sighs. “Eric, we went up to your dorm room this morning to verify your story. We found this.” With that he opens the manila folder to reveal a set of photographs. The pictures show the same scene that I saw on the iPod that “Zach” left me. But the police photos were taken further back to reveal that Joel was killed and placed into my bed in my dorm room. I stare at them in shock.
“He killed Joel in my room… These are just like the pictures that he left for me on the Ipod—“
“An iPod that only has your and Andrea’s fingerprints on it.”
I pause. “I’m not sure I follow…”
He continued, “Don’t you find it peculiar that there is nothing on the other bed in your dorm room?
Isn’t it strange that your roommate doesn’t have any clothes or personal possessions?”
“That’s what I’ve been saying!” I scream. “He’s always been super weird. He’s a psychopath!”
“Eric,” he calmly says. “We talked to the other people that live on your floor. No one has ever seen or heard of this roommate of yours. The teachers say they’ve never had this ‘Zach’ in any of their classes. Eric, you’ve been living alone for the past week. You never had a roommate.”
The hearing and the trial went by in a blur for me. I was tried and convicted for the murders of both Zach and Joel. Additionally, they are currently trying to link me to two similar unresolved murders that happened in the past month, all in Indiana.
I never got to speak to Andrea again and I only saw her once during the whole process. It was when she testified on the stand about her relationship with me and about what happened to her that fateful week. She only looked at me once and I could see the revulsion and fear on her face.
It didn’t make sense! I don’t remember doing any of these things. I pleaded with them that I was framed and that if Joel were still alive, he could confirm meeting my roommate, the real killer. He knew how crazy “Zach” was and he helped me figure everything out. The prosecuting lawyer said it was awfully convenient that the only other person who had seen or spoken to my supposed “roommate” was now dead.
After the trial, they put me in a prison for the criminally insane. They said I have dissociative personality disorder; that’s why I don’t remember killing anyone. I’ve been here for months now and I’ve been told this so often that I’m starting to believe that maybe they’re right. Maybe I did kill those people…
This morning, I received a letter. A rare surprise in this hellhole. I opened it up to see a folded origami flower and picture. On the flower was written a note in handwriting that I immediately recognized:
She looks so peaceful when she sleeps, Eric. I envy that.
The picture was the photograph of Andrea that was taken from my nightstand.
Credit To – legendaryhero27
This is the last entry in a small miniseries that was posted in three parts. For the prior two entries, you may visit the links at the start of the post or track the Freshman Roommate Series tag to see all three posts.
This story first appeared on reddit’s /nosleep/ board and is being hosted here with permission from the original author.