By Ben H. Winters
FOR lease: most sensible flooring of fantastically renovated brownstone, 1300 sq. ft., 2BR 2BA, eat-in kitchen, one block to parks and playgrounds. No broker’s fee.
Susan and Alex Wendt have discovered their dream apartment.
Sure, the landlady is a bit eccentric. And the aged handyman drops a few cryptic feedback in regards to the basement. however the hire is so low, it’s too reliable to go up.
Big mistake. Susan quickly discovers that her new house is crawling with bedbugs . . . or is it? She awakens each morning with clean bites, yet neither Alex nor their daughter Emma has a unmarried welt. An exterminator searches the valuables and turns up not anything. The landlady insists her construction is fresh. Susan fears she’s going mad—until a extra sinister clarification offers itself: she may well actually be confronting the bedbug challenge from Hell.
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Additional resources for Bedbugs
Not the feeling of the house or even of Emma standing out in the hall. It was more like the warm, anxious rush of playing for a stranger. When I took the headphones off and went to the window, though, the backyard was empty. More time had passed than I’d realized and it was starting to get dark. I stared out at the lawn and the bushes, but it was ridiculous to think that someone had been listening. Completely ludicrous, when I was sitting there with the sound ﬁltering through my headphones. I sat back down on the edge of the bed with the Gibson 25 Brenna Yovanoff propped across my knees and played a walking bass line that peaked and dropped and grew until I could feel it in my own heartbeat.
From the ﬂoor, the amp hummed softly in the gloom and I felt hazy and numb. Outside, the sky was dark. The house was very bright, which meant my dad was home. He has this thing for electric lights. If a switch can be ﬂipped, he’ll ﬂip it. When I stepped out onto the landing, I had to shut my eyes against the glare. “Malcolm,” he called from the kitchen. ” I went downstairs, blinking and shading my eyes with my hand. He was at the table, and I could tell from his expression and his necktie that he’d just gotten back from the church.
He stood against the counter while I washed my face and avoided looking at my reﬂection. I nodded and turned off the faucet. ” I wiped my mouth with a paper towel and didn’t look at him. ” My voice sounded hoarse, almost a whisper. “This isn’t funny,” he said. “Do you think you should maybe go home? If you went easier on yourself, maybe—” Then he just stopped talking. I jammed the paper towel in the trash and reached for another. He came up behind me. ” When I turned to face him, he was staring down at me.