13 Sep Arms
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"Arms"Written by Umbrello (a.k.a. Umby Pokochan)
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Estimated reading time — 5 minutes
I remember when it started. The woman next door was strangled to death in her bed, with no sign of forced entry. Although her window was open, she lived on the fifth floor without a fire escape. The killer was never found, and the apartment remained vacant.
Some time after she died, I started having night terrors. I would awaken suddenly, gasping for air. One night I opened my window and stuck my head out to take some deep breaths. That’s when I first noticed him. A man was standing in the window of an apartment across the street. It was the only one with the lights on, and his body was just a silhouette. I couldn’t really make it out at first, but he seemed to be outstretching his arms toward the window.
The next night, I awoke again in a panic. This time it really felt like someone was choking me, but there was no one there. I assumed the incident with the woman next door was just making me paranoid. For the first time in my life, I was a little scared to be alone. As I opened the window for some fresh air, I noticed him again. Just as the night before, there was one apartment across the street with a light on, and a man standing in the window with his arms outstretched.
“Is that all this guy does?” I muttered to myself. “Maybe he’s not right in the head.” I had an eerie feeling that he was looking right at me, but it was hard to see. I closed the window, pulled the shades, and went back to bed.
I was getting curious about the man in the apartment across the street, so I bought some binoculars. During the day, I watched his window to see if there was anything strange going on. There was no activity; not even any furniture that was visible from the window. Had he moved out since last night? I watched until the sun went down, but no light in the apartment ever came on.
That night I dreamed there was a man at my window. Like my late neighbor, I lived on the fifth floor and there was no fire escape. It was hard to see his face, but I could feel his eyes examining me. His presence was thick and suffocating; almost intoxicatingly so. I struggled to avoid his gaze as I ran to the window, attempting to close the shades. Before I could scream, he reached right through the glass and put his hands around my neck.
I awoke terrified and convulsing. The window was open, though I had closed it earlier. Coughing and wheezing, I stuck my head out and took in the night air. It was unusually quiet; no cars on the road. Looking down at the street, there was a long stretch of light penetrated by a looming shadow. Reluctantly, I panned up to find the source. Again, there was one apartment across the street with a light on, and a man standing in the window with his arms outstretched. I grabbed my binoculars to get a closer look. Immediately, I was petrified. He was most definitely staring at my window, and his arms seemed to be reaching for me. I locked the window, pulled the shades, and hid under the blankets.
Each night I became more paranoid. I stopped looking out my window, and kept it locked at all times with the shades drawn. Even so, I could feel him staring at my apartment. I thought about calling the police, but I still wasn’t sure if it was all in my head. Then came that horrible night.
As usual, I awoke in hysterics. My window was still locked but the shades were up. I looked across the street, and the man with his arms outstretched had his window open. This was my chance. If he could hear me, maybe I could get a response out of him.
“What the hell are you looking at?!” I shouted, but there was no reply. The man remained silent and motionless; his arms extended slightly beyond his open window. I thought he would at least be startled, but he showed no sign of acknowledgement. “Why do you stand there every night?!” Still nothing. Just as I turned away, his light went out. I looked back to see if he was still standing there, but it was too dark. I slammed the window shut, locked it, pulled the shades, and turned on the TV. There was no way I was going back to sleep. Or at least, that’s what I kept telling myself until I started to pass out. I couldn’t help it, so I shut off the TV and climbed into bed.
Later that evening I had another night terror, feeling like I was being strangled. The sensation didn’t stop, however. This time I really ”was ”being strangled! Two real hands were clasped around my neck, attempting to squeeze the life out of me. As I struggled to break free, I tried to get a look at my attacker. I followed the arms, expecting them to lead to a body, but they just kept going. They stretched all the way to, and through, my open window. I couldn’t believe it! Arms were reaching into my fifth story window, all the way to my bed, and were choking me!
I flailed around, trying to wrestle away from the freakish extremities. Kicking and scratching didn’t phase them, and the grip was so tight that it hurt to move. I reached out in desperation for the knob on the nightstand drawer, as brittle nails dug into my skin. I managed to get it open, but trying to reach inside made the choking even more painful. Frantically, I felt around for anything sharp. I grabbed a pen and began stabbing the left arm with every ounce of strength in my body. I don’t know how many times I stabbed it, but eventually it pulled back a little, removing the left hand from around my throat. I grabbed it, pulled it to my mouth, and bit down as hard as I could until I drew blood.
The arm shook violently, trying to pull its hand from my jaws. Choking on blood, I unclenched my teeth. Both arms began retreating while I spit and gagged. I stumbled to the window hoping to slam it down on them, but I just grazed the fingertips. I watched in horror as the arms, which had stretched all the way across the street, retracted back to their source. My heart stopped when I saw who they were attached to. They were ”his” arms. I couldn’t look away as the hideous limbs wobbled and whipped, returning to their normal length. He put them down at his sides, and the light went out. This time I didn’t just lock the window, I moved the bookcase in front of it.
I sat on the floor shaking, trying to get my thoughts together. What was I going to tell the police? A man reached into my window — from across the street — and tried to strangle me? They’d surely think it was a prank call, but I needed someone to check out that apartment or I would never be able to sleep again. I decided to make a quick, anonymous call about a domestic disturbance.
Eventually, two officers pulled up to the building across the street. They went inside, and a light soon came on in the window. I waited for something to happen, hoping I didn’t just send two unwary men to their deaths. After mere minutes, the light went out and the officers returned to their vehicle. Their voices just managed to carry up to my window, and I heard them say what I was hoping they wouldn’t. Nobody lived there.
A few weeks later, I saw a moving van outside the building. Someone was moving into that apartment. I was relieved, though my night terrors had already stopped. One night I couldn’t sleep, so I turned on a light and looked outside. I noticed someone across the street looking out their window. For some reason I felt compelled to reach for them. I’m still trying.
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🔔 More stories from author: Umbrello (a.k.a. Umby Pokochan)
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