30 Sep Chosen
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Estimated reading time — 7 minutes
“There are winds of destiny that blow when we least expect them. Sometimes they gust with the fury of a hurricane, sometimes they barely fan one’s cheek. But the winds cannot be denied, bringing as they often do a future that is impossible to ignore.”
― Nicholas Sparks, Message in a Bottle
Do you remember your sixth birthday? You were probably uncontainably elated; diving into a small mountain of delicately wrapped presents, exhuming each and every one with more exitement and joy than the last. Maybe you remember sitting in a dark room, lit only by the faint incandescence of 6 glowing candles, giggling and kicking your feet as your entire family sung to you, before blowing them all out and making your wish. Or perhaps you have fond memories of being chased around the house by a firing squad of party poppers, becoming almost entombed in a cascade of tinsel and confetti, much to your delight. I truly hope that that is the case. If it is, I am happy for you, and I’m glad your early years were filled with happiness. Unfortunately, I remember turning six for an entirely different reason.
Don’t get me wrong, my sixth birthday party was great… Probably. I don’t really remember it, so I can’t tell you. I do recall eating smashed cake from off of the top of my head, if that’s any indication. And it was real windy that day, like, gale force. I guess turning six isn’t particularly memorable for anyone, but it’s almost as if what happened to me that night made the day’s events seem so insignificant that I didn’t commit them to even the vaguest of memories. By shocking contrast, what happened that night is something I will never, ever forget. You see, that was the night that I was… Visited.
Birthday boys didn’t get any special treatment in my household; the “party” was over and I was in bed by 8 o’clock, just like every other night. But this wasn’t at all like any other night. I thought I heard the sound of something scraping against my window, a kind of scratching sound, like an old record jumping. My mother assured me it was a tree branch and, exhausted from my exciting day, I quickly fell asleep.
I don’t know if it was the cold that woke me up, the sound of the wind howling through the open window, or the billowing curtains, but my eyes bolted open and my sheets were stuck to me by a cold sweat. That wind, it was horrifying. It froze me solid, it was so damn cold, and I swear I could hear a thousand pained screams calling out my name, floating on its haunted breath, seemingly a million miles away. A quick glance at my wall clock revealed I’d been asleep for a grand total of 6 minutes. My entire room was covered in a thick frost, and I could see my breath freezing in front of my face. Worst of all, I couldn’t move, not even an inch. I could swivel my eyes in my head, but that was the limit of my movement. All of this on its own, as I’m sure you can imagine, would be certifiably terrifying, especially for a young child. Let me clear a few things up; my birthday is the 22nd of June, there’s no way it was cold enough out for my whole room to freeze the fuck over in such a short amount of time. And why the hell was my window open in the first place? My mom drew the curtains every night and made sure my window was shut tight, it could only be opened from the inside, and yet there it was, opened as far as it would go. Nothing made sense, and I was so petrified. I tried screaming, but I couldn’t make sound. I tried shutting my eyes as hard as I could, as if trying to wake from a bad dream, but this was very, very real. The frost, chilling me to the bone, was real. The baltic wind surging in through the impossibly opened window, whispering my name, that was real. Whatever was holding me down, whatever was stopping me from calling to my mother, that had to be real. That’s when it drifted in through the window. That thing. And believe me, I’ve prayed every night since that he isn’t real.
The first thing I noticed was his head, or what little of it their was. His skin bore the complexion of something dead and rotten, covered in stripping patches and sickly yellow in colour. It was wrinkled and covered in moles, like it had once belonged to an old man, perhaps in his 90s. The skin around its eyes was completely absent, as if it had been gruesomely clawed and ripped away, revealing yellowed bone, despite its eyeballs being completely intact. Its most disturbing feature by far was that its entire lower jaw had been messily ripped off, leaving its dried, black tongue dangling from its mouth. Its head, logically, was then followed by its body… Or at least, what I assume was its body. Around the creature’s veiny, pallid neck was a tattered silk robe, which seemed even darker than the darkness itself. It was covered in all sorts of grime and it even had a few holes in it, through which I could see its dessicated chest; dark, rotting skin stretched tight over broken ribs. The robe continued downwards until it became nothing more than shreds, barely dangling from the main body, and hanging below them, scraping along my windowsill before messily hitting my floor, was a length of black, centipede-ridden intestines. I waited for its legs to follow, but they never did. As far as I know, it doesn’t have any, and it apparently doesn’t need them. It floated further into my room and hovered right above my face, extending a decaying arm, practically dripping with lumps of decrepid flesh, from under its robes and placing it on my shivering forehead. Then it drew its face in close to mine, and I realized the true horror of its visage.
The eyes. Oh god the eyes. They weren’t coal black, like an animal’s, and no, I didn’t see an eternity of endless suffering behind them, or my future, or the meaning of the universe. They were just a pair of perfectly normal, grassy green eyes. They seemed fresh and young, compared to the rest of its body, at least. Almost like a child’s eyes, wet and glistening. That was the most disturbing part. Something so vile, something so rancid and abhorrent, and yet it possessed the most beutiful, human eyes I have ever seen. Something so wicked shouldn’t have eyes like that. It’s just wrong. It lowered itself to my side, producing another arm, this one split directly down the middle as if it had been sawed in half, and placed one bony, feculent hand on either side of my ear. Then it started whispering, in angry, cursing tones, but as gently and as subtly as a gust of wind on a summer’s day. Even without a jaw it could speak, likely in the same way it could move without legs, but I still smelt the sour stench of death on its breath as its ice cold wheeze brushed against my ear. At that point I started to become hysterical. I tried my hardest to scream, I tried to thrash around and kick out my arms and legs, but I was still paralyzed, frozen, under that thing’s will. Then the whispering abruptly stopped. The being floated up from my bedside and slowly began to recede back through the window, the thick layer of ice withdrawing with it, into the night from whence it came. It never stopped facing me, its icy glare never realeased its hold on me, not until its entire body had become invisible in the darkness outside my house. As soon as the final glints from its unnatural eyes had ceased, and the last of the frost had melted away, there was a massive gust of wind and the window slammed shut with enough force to shatter the pane of glass. I suddenly felt sensation in my limbs once more, and I felt the warm rush of blood in my throat.
I screamed so hard I almost burst a lung.
Of course, my mother eventually came, and gave me some comforting words. It was all a dream, she’d said, blaming the broken window on some disrespectful youths who’d decided to vocalize just how lame my party had been with a brick. I didn’t sleep that night. Or the night after. I was just too horrified; I thought that every time I slept, that thing would visit me. I dreaded falling asleep more than anything, I was utterly inconsolable. According to my mom I cried for 2 days straight, refusing to tell her what I’d seen. Really fucking horrifying stuff.
Anyway, that was twelve years ago now. I eventually recovered, but I never truly forgot what happened that night, despite never seeing the apparition again. I’ve been to several doctors, and they’ve all given me the same diagnosis; sleep paralysis. It’s not uncommon to visualize terrifying images while in this state, they told me. For a while I actually believed that it had all been some vivid hallucination, but I know that’s not true. I was also completely unable to recall what the spectre had whispered to me that night. Maybe it was because I’d completely ignored what the fuck it was saying (I was just trying to find a way to wake up from that living nightmare), but some of my psychologists suggested that I had blocked the memory from my mind to prevent my brain further trauma. I even tried being hypnotized to see if I could coax it out from the recesses of my subconscious, but it was all fruitless in the end.
That’s the end of the story, more or less. I’m sorry it doesn’t have a more satisfying conclusion, like the thing snatching my throat out and drinking my blood, or dragging me into the depths of hell. This is something that has seriously affected my life, and I hope you can appreciate that it is something that, to me, at least, is chilling to the very soul. There is one thing, however, that I must add. Admittedly, it’s the reason I took to writing this all up in the first place, I just can’t get it out of my head. When I woke up this morning, this, chant, I guess, was ringing in my head, reverberating in my mind, I was practically singing it in the shower. Only when I stopped to actually listen to what I was saying did it strike me. I can’t prove it, but I know where I’ve heard these words before; that fateful night, twelve years ago…
“Son of Earth, you are yet a child,
and so, too frail for our embrace beguiled.
The cloth pulled down over your eyes,
the lips with which you suckle lies;
We must snatch these sordid things away,
for you to see true light of day.
Still, too young, not ready yet,
To join our most enlightened set.
But when, dear boy, you are a man,
and need no longer of your mother,
we will come for you, my clan,
and, at long last, shall call you; Brother.”
I turned 18 this morning, and all day I swear I’ve heard my name floating on the wind. Closer now, and angrier.
Credit To – Acaimo