Estimated reading time — 9 minutes
My hands are shaking. With every key I type, I feel this letter’s conception will attract them to me. You may wonder, dear reader, what I mean by, “them.” That is what I wish to tell you about. There are things in the night that haunt the very corners of every room that is dimly lit like spiders hiding away from a night light. They only come out at night when it is at its darkest. I can still feel their fingers coiling around my limbs, their eyes fixed upon me, their slight chitters of laughter as I write this plea for help. However, this is not a plea for help. I know I am doomed in my own way to these… things. This is a warning. Do not go down the same road I did. Do not, dear reader, provoke that darkness.
Here my story, and know the danger. That is all I ask. Then forget me, but remember my mistakes.
When I was merely four years old I lived in a house in Germany. Little did my family know, nor still believe, that a demon haunted it. Every night for three years it tormented me. It chased me in the middle of the night laughing its demonic cackle like he was playing a game with me. I cried and screamed, but my parents wouldn’t hear until dawn. I was never the same then.We finally moved to America after the three years. I think it followed me. It was angry that I moved. Nightmares were common, but the figures were sporadic. I lived with it all my life. After a while, I put lights everywhere in order to keep them away. It’s funny to think that the fear of the dark is childish. What I went through, it was far from childish. It was hellish. I lived all my life with lights to keep away the… things.
I am twenty-two now, and nothing happened for a while. Not since after I exorcised the demon from my life. Old pagan charms still had their tricks. After it was gone, I felt peace for a while. I still had the lights on, however. Even if I removed the source, the damage was done. I was completely, and psychologically, afraid of the dark. Though I still felt it was still there. The ghosts, I mean. I took the liberty after two years of silence to see if they remained. I realized now how much that was a mistake. It was like hitting a wasp’s nest to see if there were still residents inside.
One day I covered up my windows, filled the creases in the doors, took out the night lights, and made sure that I would be encased in darkness. The last light I would have on would be the lamp next to my bed. I would tuck myself in, seeing all the things illuminated in the dimly lit environment that was my room, and with the last bit of confidence, I turned off my light. I told myself, I would not turn on the light no matter what; that I had to face this fear. That very night, I laid there in the utter darkness, and there in my struggle to sleep, I experienced… nothing. I didn’t feel anything, no eyes, no ghosts, no entities, nothing. That night I fell into a nervous sleep, but I did sleep unmolested. I felt relief for once in my entire life. I didn’t have to be afraid. I had confidence, a newfound hope. I should have known it was a lure to trap me. I continued to challenge the darkness after that night, feeling that there was nothing to be afraid of. I slept peacefully for about three days. I always thought the number three to be a good number. Guess I was wrong.
On the fourth night, I did the same thing as I did for the last nights. I sealed my window, sealed my door, and with my lamp being the final source of light, I turned off every light to sleep in complete darkness. I thought I would sleep peacefully again, but instead I heard a whisper. It was inaudible enough to not know what it said, but it made me shoot up to look around my room. All I saw were the shapes of the tv, game systems, computer, desk, and all the rest, from when my eyes were trying to adjust to the darkness. Suddenly I saw things in the corner of my eye. They seemed purely reflexive at first, but when I tried to focus my sights at the corners I realized it was like strands of hair wisp away when I tried to focus on them. Suddenly I saw small indistinguishable little lights, especially in my closet, but I thought nothing of it really. I thought maybe I had put my handhelds there. It was when I saw little shadows move ever so slightly that the hairs at the back of my neck stood up. I felt the need to turn on my lamp light, but I made an effort to keep my shaking hand from instinctively turning it on. I had to keep all lights off. I had to fight this. I covered myself up in the sheets of my bed, and tried to sleep. It was hard for me that time. I had to ignore the little whispers from behind me.
My family knew that I wasn’t getting much sleep after about a week of this happening. They began to ask if everything was alright, seeing the dark bags under my eyes. I would tell them that I was just stressing over school. I couldn’t tell them what I was experiencing. They never believed me in the past. Why would they believe me now? When I spoke with friends, there was a stutter in my speech. I would lose my thoughts. I would just keep thinking about my nights of rough sleep. I convinced myself that it was just my mind making things up. I was afraid of the dark because of a demon, and now that the demon was gone my mind needed to replace it. I wish I didn’t listen to myself. I was so stupid. I still feel stupid while I write this. Dear reader, understand that I was a college student in English, literature, and history. The last thing I wanted to believe was that I was in a ghost story of my own. It was like the stories in mythological history, I would think. Not real.
After three weeks of restless nights, things changed. Instead of whispers or lights or little movements from the corner of my eye, I started to see… them. They were still blurry, but I started to see them. At first, they looked like dark figures crawling around the floor. They were jittery and abnormal like bugs trying to find hiding spots. My heart was racing by then, and I wanted to scream, but all I could do was pant heavily. I held onto my sheets like they would save me. Then, in my closet, I saw them. I’m shaking so much right now, trying to tell you what I saw! Even now, I keep glancing at my closet. What I saw made my eyes grow wide in fear. I saw long pale arms of hung long haired women in my closet. It wasn’t just one or two, but many. It was like I was looking in a meet locker for people! They were hung upside down, their faces were blocked off by the top frame of the doorway, but I saw their hair coming down. The arms were long enough to where the fingernails could scratch the floor. Then my walls began to melt away, and behind their secure faces were grates holding back the many eyes that stared intently at me. Dear reader, this was not my room anymore. It was a twisted form of purgatory!
My fears got to me, and I frantically turned on the lamplight, and suddenly everything was gone. It all faded away like it was some sick nightmare! I was shivering with terror of wondering what was behind my walls, what was watching me at night when I slept. My head hurt, my mind trying to figure out what it just fell witness to. Was I dreaming the whole time? Was I hallucinating? I didn’t sleep that night. My room was the brightest light in the whole neighborhood after that twisted night.
I got a complaint about it from my parents who got a complaint about it from the neighbors. I took down my blinds for the windows that night. They didn’t want me to keep lights on like that, especially since they had to pay the electric bill. If only they knew what I saw! I snapped and told them all about it. I told them about the arms, the shadow people, the eyes, the grates, the whispers, everything! They just laughed and told me I should stop watching so much horror movies. Idiots! They could have saved me! They could have made it all stop! Don’t they love me?! Don’t they love their son?! I was alone. No one understood what I felt, what I saw. No one believed me. I hope you can believe me, dear reader. Don’t do this ritual. Don’t let them take you.
Knowing that I was alone, I felt I had to ward these things away. I took everything I had. It had to be like before. I got the charms, the salt, the incense, the knife… the knife. I didn’t stay in bed this time. I made a circle in the middle of the floor. I placed certain stones where they had to be. I put the knife before me in front of where I would sit. I kept the lamp outside the circle as it would be my last source of light. Having everything set up, cracks sealed, windows covered, lights off, I sat there in the circle, clutching the knife, and with a deep breath I turned off the lamp. It was silent. Nothing had happened for minutes at a time. Were they afraid? Did they see I was ready for them? My heart pounded, my sweat rolled down my face, and finally, they came. Red eyes illuminated my closet, black mold like anomalies began to crawl up the walls, and those jittering shadow things seemed to be in a kneeled bowing manner like they were praying. Suddenly, the hung women appeared, and arms shot out of the walls! I screamed, but it didn’t carry. The foulness of the air blocked it from ever escaping my deformed room. Then I was taken aback by floating ghosts encircling me.
Their faces, oh, god, the face! They were mutilated! Their limbs contorted into odd shapes! Then the voices came again, but louder! They were crying out, screaming in a panicked chaos! I felt myself losing my mind at the images! Then it got hard to breath like there was smoke. I was burning up. I was panicking! My shaking arm wanted to reach for the lamp switch! I had to keep still. If I moved out of the circle, I was doomed. I breathed and clutched the knife, trying to do incantations and continued with the exorcism ritual, but I suddenly stopped when I heard a familiar demonic laughter. I looked and my words were swallowed up by the sight of a blackened ghost, dripping some sort of oil on the ground. He crawled on all fours toward me, coming closer and closer to the edge of the circle. I heard then from him a gnawing growl.
“Do you remember me?” I heard it say in its demonic voice. It was raspy, and its growl reached into my soul! I couldn’t take it anymore and my arm shot for the switch! In the light, I saw its face right when it snatched my arm. It was my face! It was my face drowned in black oil and cut up! It roared at me, showing its razor teeth! The light then blew out, and he jumped on top of me! The knife wasn’t in my hand! No, it was in its hand! It raised it above its head, speaking incantations I could not understand. I still remember the sting, the smell of blood. The taste came to my tongue when I began to puke it up.
“You will know pain before the end,” It growled at me. The screams of the damned came to me now more than ever until everything seemed to black out.
Then I heard nothing.
The last time I woke was in a hospital. Doctors said the fire fighters found me after my house burned down. I was the only one left alive. I was inside a circle of salt. My circle was still there. When they told me this, I had thought last night was a hallucination from breathing in the smoke, but my face grew gaunt when they told me I had sixteen unexplainable stab wounds in my torso. It was a miracle I survived, they said. I call it a curse. They put me in an insane asylum when they tried to leave me strapped in a bed in a room that was dark. I screamed and bit a nurse. I then punched another nurse until they all held me down and gave me a sedative that put me to sleep. I was placed in a brightly lit padded room for a while. They even strapped me up in a straight-jacket. I had the whole get up and everything. Finally, after a large amount of insomnia and therapy, I was able to join with the rest of the nut jobs in the public ward. Here I am now. Writing to you.
So, dear reader, If you can get anything out of this story, I hope you understand at least the message I wish to give you. Do not tempt the darkness. It will find you. It will come for you, and it will take you. After I am finished writing this little story, I am going to go back to my room, turn out the lights, and let those hellish demons take me. I can’t escape it forever. I will be their slave just like the ghosts, the hung women, the shadow people, the whispers and the screams. So, reader, if you do not heed my warning, even after explaining the horrors I had to endure, we may meet some day. If you block out your window, seal the cracks of your door, and make sure it is all pitch black in your room, then I’ll be there, dear reader, with all the other tortured souls it took. I will be there, under your bed, in your closet, maybe even in the corner of your eye. Please don’t make me do what it forced the others to do to me. So please, forget me. Forget that I ever existed, that I ever was real.
Just don’t forget my mistakes, and remember: Don’t ever sleep in the dark.
Credit: Alexander Patrick Stoertz
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