I’ve been living in a fifth wheel on my recently purchased property. The goal was to build a home on the 2 acres of land but the weather didn’t agree with that. I live in rural Nevada and the weather conditions in winter can really throw a wrench in any construction plans you may have. Between the snow and the 50 mph winds, winter just wasn’t an optimal time to build. Nonetheless, I still have my fifth wheel and generator to keep me up and running through the cold months. It’s pretty peaceful, actually. Between the howling wind and the rain on the tin-like roof, it’s like my very own ASMR. That’s usually how I fall asleep, listening to the therapeutic sounds of nature. Tonight is different.
There was a mild case of wind and a light drizzle but the quiet came before I could drift off. The sound of a herding dog who lives across the way is barking at what I assume is his flock of sheep. I toss and turn but the incessant barking is refusing me rest. I’m irritated. I understand the dog is just doing his job but in order for me to be on time to my job in the morning, I need to be able to sleep. The bark is hollow. There is little urgency from the dog and he sounds more like an old man coughing. It’s a low woof and it happens every three seconds. I imagine him nipping at heels, nudging the sheep into the direction they need to go. Eventually, the barking seems to stop and I’m able to doze off.
When I wake, it is not from my alarm. Unfortunately, the same old tired herding dog is barking again. I pick up my phone and see that it’s 4am. Okay, well I’d have to be up in an hour for work anyway and trying to fall back asleep with this noise would be pointless. I get up and start to brew my coffee. I’m listening to the rhythm of the dog’s bark. “Woof, woof, woof. Woof, woof, woof” He sounds like he hates his job. Me too, bud. I turn on the TV and put on a comfort movie from Netflix to drown out the animal.
As though he knows I have tuned him out, his barking picks up. I roll me eyes and curse to myself. This is starting to really get under my skin. I crack the window and yell.
Before I can shut the window, however, I notice something. It’s something small but nevertheless it’s there. The dog sounds more urgent now. He seems alarmed and instead of the usual cough like woof I was hearing, it sounds more like a panicked and biting bark. He’s facing away from the flock and I try to make out the image before me that is clouded by morning mist and lack of sunlight.
In the field of uneven grass and strewn about feed, there’s a figure. It’s just crouched behind a half eaten bale of hay. The dog and sheep are in the opposite far corner, clearly unsure about the shape that has entered their land. I try to force my eyes to focus but between the bale of hay blocking it and the lack of proper sunlight, my eyes refuse to adjust. My heart pounds with anxiousness. Is this what the dog has been barking at? This person? Is it a person? It has to be. It has a very round head and a long neck and shoulders as far as i can tell. Thats a person right?
Before I can stare any longer, I close my window. I know farmers get up early so maybe the shape I’m seeing is one of them just laying out the feed. Maybe they’re children, saw me, and crouched down to hide their embarrassment. I rationalize as much as I can. I sat still in the near silence just convincing my mind that whatever it was, it was human. Maybe its an intruder and thats why the dog was so distraught. Should I call the police? But what if it was a farmer?
I decide I’m being too dramatic. I’m going to look again and make sure that what I saw was one of the people who own the land. I refuse to allow my brain to get the better of me. I just really need to build my courage back up to crack the window and peak out.
I’m ashamed to say it has taken me what feels like an hour to gain the mettle to look outside. I think what has helped me finally build said courage is the fact that the dog has stopped barking. I know I should have done something before this point but the comfort of knowing the dog no longer sees a threat is what pushed me to finally follow through.
I slowly crack the window and look out. Its a little brighter now, with the sun pulling oranges and pinks into the sky. The field is empty, thankfully. The only residents are the sheep, who are now back to the center of the field, and the dog. Good. Now I can go to work and forget that any of this happened. And thats exactly what i do.
Work was boring as work usually is. I hardly thought of the dog or the person I saw in the field. Its easy once time goes by to convince yourself of what actually happened. I looked out and saw a shape. Thats all. No monster of the night, no killer awaiting ambush. I just saw a shape- and im not even sure if thats what i saw either. It could have been nothing. A shadow in the field. SO that’s what I go with, nothing has happened.
As i pull into my dirt driveway, i look across the field. I smile to myself seeing the sheep graze the grass and the dog laying against the fence line peacefully. What a fool I have been. I am a grown man and I allowed a little dog’s bark to terrify me over essentially nothing.
I go inside my trailer and make myself a package of ramen for dinner and pair it with a glass of sweet tea. Not a five star meal but really its all I have energy for after the lack of sleep I got last night. I eat my ramen, drink my tea, and watch my shows as the hours slip past me and the day creeps into night. I start to feel anxious. What will i do if i hear the barking again? What if they or it is out there again? I try to rationalize and laugh it off but fear is stronger than logic and as we descend into night, my mind descends into panic.
I decide to sleep on the pull out futon in the “living room” area of my fifth wheel. At least this way ill have the illumination and sound from the tv to muffle any noise outside my trailer. I make my bed and turn on a tv show ive seen a thousand times. I allow myself to drift off.
When I wake, I awake with a panic. The kind of panic you get when you know someone is standing inches from your face, watching, waiting. The tv has timed out and the illumination the dimmed screen adds to the space is eerie. I sit up and look around as my chest struggles for breath that somehow escapes me. I scan my head from the kitchen area back to the futon. Nothing. I relax a little, getting up to turn my show back on. As I do, I double check that my door is locked and all windows are closed. I’m ashamed to admit that when checking the windows, I squint my eyes, avoiding any possibility of seeing something I would rather not see. As I check the last window next to the futon, something unfortunately catches my eye. It was quick and brief to the point that I wasn’t even sure that it was ever really there. But I think I saw something peek out at me from behind the tree in my yard. I didn’t get a great look but it seemed like whatever it was had an unnaturally round head with two glowing eyes.
I slam the window cover down and lay back down, chest once again heaving. “I didn’t see anything” I tell myself. “Your mind plays tricks on you when you’re already panicked.” I do my best to focus on the tv but like an itch in the back of my brain I hear my own small panicked voice. “Its gotten closer. Its no longer across the street. Its here, for us. What does it want with me? Will it try to get in?”
The panic eventually subsides as I convince myself that what I saw was probably my own reflection or shadow. I decided that is what it had to be. I don’t look out to look again though, to be sure. I just drift into sleep, dreaming of glowing eyes and howling wind.
When I wake, everything seems normal. I make myself a cup of coffee and a bagel. I go through the motions of preparing for my day and when I get to work, I go through the motions of being an employee. I don’t necessarily have a bad day, but it feels like I’m stuck on auto pilot. I chalk it up to lack of sleep. Today is Friday which means I will be stuck at home for two days. I’m scared that without the distraction of work, I may go insane trying to ignore the glowing eyes that I keep trying to convince myself I didn’t see.
I arrived home once again and put on some sweats. I turn on the tv and make a cup of hot tea. I don’t eat dinner. My stomach churns as I feel like I am waiting for the inevitable. My eyes dart around the trailer waiting to see something move. My ears perk up with any hint of noise. Relaxation feels impossible. I don’t even lay down today, instead I sit at the edge of my futon and watch tv with wired, bloodshot eyes.
After about two hours of absolutely nothing, I decided I can lay back and relax, just a little. I don’t decide on sleep as sleep isn’t an option. Even if I was tired, which I am not, the panic in my chest would refuse me any rest.
It’s about 2am when I hear it. A slight knock on my door. My eyes dart to the trailer door and lock in as if I’m trying to shoot lasers out of my eyes and into whatever is standing on the other side. I don’t get up and open the door. I’ve seen enough horror movies to know what happens after that. I just sit and wait. I hear another low consistent tapping noise this time coming from the window beside me. My head whips to the side as I jump off of the couch. I just stand and stare, waiting. Another tap, this time in threes. There is no mistaking the noise. Its as if someone is intentionally trying to gain my attention. Tap, tap, tap. I crouch down onto the floor holding my head in my hands. I want to scream. I want it to leave me alone. But i don’t want to acknowledge its existence. Tap, tap, tap. I start to chew on my nails. Tap, tap, tap. This time it’s coming from the door again; ruling out any possibility that the tap on the window was a tree branch or something more logical than a creature of the night. Rap, rap, rap. The taps have turned into banging now. Loud knocks that beg for me to open the door. I refuse. Then, I hear something else. A giggle, low and almost like a gurgle. It sounds as if someone tried to laugh with a mouth full of water. At this point, I’m sweating and shaking. I can’t help myself. I’m exhausted and terrified. I’m not thinking straight.
“LEAVE ME ALONE” I scream. For a moment nothing happens. It’s quiet, almost too quiet. I reach for my cell phone to call the police but before I can, the trailer shakes. I squint my eyes shut as I hear the window cover roll up in a quick whip of motion.
“I can’t look outside. I can’t look outside. I can’t look outside.” I’m rocking back and forth, whispering a slurred reminder to myself. Minutes pass and that’s when temptation takes over. I don’t know what it is about the human brain, but any time you tell yourself you must not do something, the need to do the opposite overpowers your mind. I squint my eyes. I need to close the shades, I silently tell myself. But I needed to see. I needed to see if it was really there or if I was just going insane.
I count to three and open my eyes. I almost scream at what appears before me but nothing escapes my lips. Standing on the other side of my window is the most terrifying thing I have ever laid eyes on. The head is so round and smooth. The eyes are so metallic yellow, reflecting all the light coming out of my trailer. Its skinny neck looks so unproportionate to the head it has to carry around. The nose is just a single U shaped slit. The mouth though, oh god the mouth. It has three times the amount of normal teeth, all appearing human. Its smile is so wide that it takes up the majority of this thing’s face. You can see every tooth from its smile alone. And it is just staring right at me and smiling. I don’t move. I freeze like a deer in headlights and can hear my brain screaming at my legs to move, to run, to do anything but stand here and let this thing see me. But it already has. It slowly leans its head forward. Before I have any time to react, it bangs its head against the window. It does it again and again. It’s trying to get in. The fear in my body finally turns to fight. I grab my old revolver from my tv stand and manage to load three bullets in. Without thinking I ran outside and face it down.
“LEAVE ME ALONE” I scream. It slowly turns away from the trailer and towards me, still smiling with a tar like substance oozing from its forehead. I aim my weapon and pull the trigger and it falls with a thud. Relief floods my body and without hesitation, I squeeze the trigger two more times to be sure the thing is dead.
I almost laugh to myself. It’s done. It’s finally done. I reach for my cell phone to call the police and let them know that I killed this… thing on my property. As I stick my hand in my pocket I soon realize I left my phone inside. I turn around to go back inside but as I do, I see a bunch of tiny lights appear around my trailer. I start to walk forward, gun still in hand to see what these lights could be. As I approach them I start to make out a very round head and a very tiny neck. These aren’t lights. These are hundreds of reflective eyes staring back at me. I turn to run back to my front door but see that through the window, three of them are already in my home. They just stand there, smiling at me. I drop to my knees and feel something on my shoulder. I look to the side and see that it is a hand, a hand with long bony fingers and inch long nails. I know that I can’t run. I assume they are everywhere now. I feel the nails sink into my skin and I let out a cry. I really shouldn’t have looked outside.
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