It happened when I was out, and I didn’t even notice immediately. I’d been away. It wasn’t until I went into the loo that I saw there was a hole in the floor where the toilet had been. Water covered the tiles of the floor. I assumed the tenants below weren’t at home, as all was quiet. It caught me completely off guard and was immensely worrisome. I thought of the damage that must have been caused below, and hoped the landlord knew; that restoration would soon be underway.
I went into the bedroom and noticed one narrow section of wall looked in very bad repair; so too with the portion of the walls surrounding the windows. Even as I stood looking at them, I recalled the superintendent having done a hasty job of re-plastering or patching up problem area.
The room was literally deteriorating as I looked, just falling apart.
I went to the wall on the far side. Through gaps in the wall I saw another room— small furniture and cabinets. It was a sort of studio. There, close enough to touch, a rotating display of jewelry and other items, presumably made by whomever was here before. I was momentarily delighted out of my shock at this discovery— the hidden room.
Until— both suddenly and in agonizing slow motion it seemed, the ceiling came crumbling down: a great sodden mass of sheetrock, the way a wet cardboard box falls apart when overburdened. It fell on top of me, yet without crushing me by some luck or because it was too shoddy to have been a proper ceiling to begin with.
The roof itself must have long ago chipped away piece by piece, for the mass of grey now lying across the bed and floor was insubstantial, yet the sky was now clearly visible above me. The room grew cold.