The hallways reek of piss. Water stains make a kind of impromptu paisley pattern on the ceiling of the ratty stairwell. Discolored half-moons from hundreds of footsteps are worn into the stairs. If there ever was wallpaper, it has been ripped off, leaving behind walls covered in yellowed and mouldering glue, with the helpful additions of extravagant, blood-red graffiti designs in its place, though a few flowered tatters hang in the corners. Something's dripping invisibly in the background.
The door to the new place says "3". Raise a hand to knock, but the door opens before a hand can fall on its battered surface.
"Hey, man," says the previous tenant, tossing over the keys. He has a knapsack on his back with the last of his belongings, and he can't hide the shit-eating grin on his face.
"Enjoy the place," he says, in a tone of voice that prompts an involuntary, sotto voce "asshole" in response, and walks off toward the stairs, toward fresh air and the house down the street, No. 2. Your house. Before he's out of earshot, he's whistling a happy tune. Suddenly, bitter though it was to be kicked out of the mansion on the hill, No. 1, that little house seems like a perfect sanctuary.
Look around the place. It's about what you'd expect. Although, to be honest, despite everything, you never quite expected to end up here. Did you.