Estimated reading time — 9 minutes
There are lots of stories made for children who don’t go to bed early, probably bogeymen or monsters under your bed. You’ve probably outgrown such stories, and might have already found a laugh or two in its retelling. But there are some stories that I’d rather not laugh about, more so challenge it. I’m Patrick, 17 years old. People see me as someone who sleeps rather early in the night, around 9pm. I stay that way even if there were exams in the following day. They really don’t get it. You should never procrastinate and do things late at night, because it’s a lot stressful and bad for your health. But in my case, it’s bad for my mind.
I was always a skeptic when it comes to ghosts. I’d usually invite my friends for a sleepover once every week just to exchange loads of ghost stories, though. We were such a fan of horror, until that night our friendship was shut for good.
We start horror films after dinner, around 6:30pm. Ghost hunting comes right after the film, around 8:00pm. We all bring a camera with a flash, and that was just about the only light source we have when we’re in the location. We have a rule to not use flashlights before the activity is over. Lots of flashes on different parts of the location is usually what happens, with occasional screaming, running around and laughing our pants off. The nicely shot pictures are for our scrapbook, where we highlight good stories and good pictures, and most of all, scared faces during and after activities. We usually start ghost story sharing around 11pm. The one who has a story is free to volunteer and try to scare the others. After that is a good dusk’s sleep.
Among us was the greatest scaredy cat I’ve ever been friends with. Her name was Kyla. She has always been a part of our group of friends, but she’s always the first to chicken out of our horror activities. She had this weird habit of blanking out and humming something, but she swears that she doesn’t have control of it. Horror films became an hour of looking at the floor or at a certain inanimate object close by. Horror stories became an album of Taylor Swift or sleeping. Ghost hunting, the least fruitful of our activities, became sitting on my couch waiting for me and the others to return. Typical Kyla moves. We can’t blame her, though. She cries easily, no matter how much we comfort her. She keeps on saying “searching for stuff we don’t fully understand might result attracting an uninvited guest.” That gave us goosebumps the first time we heard it, but we got used to her being a killjoy. We like her that way, but we would have loved her if she joined and actually tried to face her fears, and also especially if she didn’t sleep at the 10pm mark. She explained that it was urgent, and we kinda hurt her when she said she was such a killjoy. I knew back then that she was really hurt. I saw a glint in her eyes.
She slept so early, yet her large eyebags make it seem ironic.
One night, Kyla suddenly fully joined us in our activities, and we noticed she was finally trying to be brave. She was really cute with an intent but scared face, and we loved every single moment when she was facing the scary parts of our activities. And then the ghost hunting activity happened. She had her own camera too, and we were set to be guided by mere flashes in our school grounds. Our favorite teacher, Sir Sev, took the responsibility of watching over us in our supposedly off-limits school grounds in the evening, so we had legal permission. I guess we owe him another one. He waited outside of the 1st Academic Building by the flagpole, and said that we should come back at exactly 10pm. I saw Kyla kind of apprehensive, but I patted her head and said everything’s gonna be fine. I guess that was the last unsure statement I was ever gonna say to her.
Sir Sev was probably observing the various flashing lights as we scattered all around the building with only our cameras, and flashlights for emergency. I never thought there would ever be an emergency, but I still brought one, just in case. I’m not a very brave person, but I decided to push my limit after seeing Kyla enjoying all the snapping and memorizing the place. Spamming the shutter would leave you out of film, and we only had 50 shots at it. I guess that was the thrilling part, memorizing what you saw after taking a pic, but this was our school, we probably knew most of the way around, and that was what I thought was the reason why everything should have been fine. I tried to be really brave, and went to the allegedly haunted 4th floor. There was room 309, the cursed room where students and teachers see stuff, but I guess schools are the breeding ground of ghosts because of the students and faculty’s creativity.
As I took pictures, I was actually amazed of what I saw; Room 309 had lots of old school movie posters, since it was the film club’s room. I’ve seen a couple of stuff like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Dracula, Casanova and Frankenstein and was looking forward to taking pictures of each and every poster, until I heard a certain melody that sent shivers down my spine. I could hear breathing along with it, and muffled sobbing. The melody seems to be hummed by an old, deep-voiced lady. The sheer pitch of the humming made the hair on my nape stand, and I shuddered at the continuous deep-pitched sound. I found myself blindly walking towards it, my camera held under my belly with my two hands. It seemed to be some sort of lullaby, but it wasn’t at all like the ones you usually hear. It was rather terrifying, with the contralto sound of a seemingly elderly lady humming somewhere in the room. I must be dumb for actually searching for it blindly in the allegedly haunted room, instead of just running for my life, but the sobbing was… Kyla’s. The sobbing stopped suddenly. Rubbing my nape, I took a picture at the corner where I could hear the humming and the sobbing, and saw a glimpse of her lying down on the floor, seemingly asleep. There were tears that ran down her cheeks, and I decided I had to use my flashlight. I called for help, but she woke up a little, still weak for some reason, silencing my scream for help. She said it was “okay, and making noises and moving would only provoke her short temper.” I myself, had extreme goosebumps upon hearing what she said, especially after hearing that haunting lullaby. As my friends came inside the room and helped her while she was in my arms, I asked her who was that “she” she was referring to. She didn’t respond.
Sir Sev assured us that she probably fell unconscious from fear. Hr told us we should probably stop doing this, especially if there was someone being left behind. I must be the only one among us who believed that she really didn’t fall unconscious. She was acting like she was asleep, with teary eyes. Like she was trying to trick someone… Perhaps something, that she was asleep.
That night, she went to sleep right after we settled our things down in my house. We understood that she probably needed it due to the incident, but loudmouth Pauleen said something insulting to her, and I knew that she heard it and that she was hurt. I could hear her crying softly with a little trouble in breathing as she tried to sleep.
The next sleepover, Kyla was back to her brave soul, but she didn’t seem so sure about it like the last time. She was the one who developed all the pictures we got the last night, and laid it on top of my table. We were shocked that night, as she volunteered to tell her own story. Don mocked her that it would be some Hello Kitty story, but she spoke with conviction. “It’s my horror story. The one I call She Lulls Me to Sleep.”
This is a non-verbatim version of the story I could recall.
“There’s a good reason why I sleep earlier than you guys everytime. I’m actually afraid of harming my close friends, but someone triggered my selfish and vengeful side. I’m gonna try to stay awake as long as I can everyday, so you guys can confirm how authentic my story is. Sometimes, you guys point out that I’m such a killjoy, and that I suddenly space out while humming some sort of tune that you guys say was disturbingly creepy. She calls it Time to Sleep. Who is SHE, you ask? She’s the one who always reminds me to sleep early, or she will lull my friends’ sanity to sleep. I was trying to be protective, but some are just too insensitive to not get it with the slightest clues. You dense people will know what nightmarish lullaby and embrace I’ve been taking all my life to keep her away and have friends.
“Every night, when she shows up behind a friend of mine, I’d lie down and let her hum her deep-pitched lullaby raise every single hair on my body as I tremble in fear. She would hug me with her long bony arms so tight that I could barely breathe. I feel her cold breath as she hums on the back of my neck. Her cold rubbery lips brush my nape ever so often as she tries to make me fall asleep. She WON’T stop until I’m asleep, and I tell you, oh I tell you, you’d wish you could. But fainting in fear doesn’t happen when you want it. I’m starting to get desensitized from it, to the point that it ends when it’s around 5am, when the warm light of the day starts to bathe my face. Let’s just see if you guys can take it. And Pauleen, good luck being her first baby in a long while.
“If you guys don’t want to get unwanted attention from her, remember this. Just try to sleep.”
Pauleen was shaken from the scary story that was claimed to be true, and what I heard that night in Room 309 was enough to send goosebumps all over me. We set a faint lamp in the middle and slept on the floor around it. When we called it a night and everything seemed to be perfectly fine. We fell asleep like normal, until we heard it. A very deep, as if hungry, tone that made our throat feel blocked, our bodies sweat, and our breathing faster. We could all hear Pauleen’s muffled sobbing, and I opened my eyes ever so lightly to check her in front of the faint lamp. I could see Vico trembling near her, who was hugging herself. I wondered how she couldn’t move. I also wondered why no one helped her, but I saw something that answered it for me. There were dents around her arms and legs and her eyes were wide open. I could see dents around her mouth, and it looked like a large, bony hand. She was trickling with sweat, and I could smell the reason why her legs were wet too. She wet herself, and I fully understood why. I almost motioned to move, but I saw Kyla sleeping as she smiled, and Robert shaking his head to me as if saying I should “stay motionless.” And that was what I did.
It felt like an eternity. We were all wet with sweat and were breathing heavily, but couldn’t move at all. We should not. Not because of that itchy arm. Not because of that full bladder. Not because we could run and tell the authorities. We wouldn’t dare get “her” unwanted attention. Pauleen’s eyes were bloodshot from her endless crying, and there were mucus all over her mouth that still had a dent of a large bony hand. The haunting lullaby seemed endlessly looping, and I could have sworn 7 hours of hearing the same melody over and over would make anyone crazy, especially when you had no freedom in those 7 hours to move, let alone scream for help. The deep voice rattled our spines the whole night, and it reeked so much of sweat and urine that it was too sickening. I couldn’t remember how it ended, and I’m glad I couldn’t remember most of it. But that haunting melody and that smell of unwanted body fluid that mixed the air for 7 God forsaken hours can’t possibly be forgotten. I sometimes find myself humming it too, like what Kyla once did.
The next time I woke up, I was in a hospital, the doctor said my mom shouldn’t get me too stressed with questions, but I eventually found out what happened. Five of us were institutionalized; I and 3 others, Roy, Jam, and Aljhun were allowed to be free like me. We never talked about it ever, not even look each other in the eyes. Just last week, the three were also institutionalized, leaving me alone in this darkness.
One by one, they have been reported to commit suicide, and I think it’s just about time that it was my turn to have an unwanted nanny sing me a song and hug me into slumber. It would actually be worse than that. She’d hum with a deep voice and cling tightly all over me with her breath and her rubbery lips brushing against my nape till I sleep. I couldn’t think of anyone who can actually fall asleep in that nightmare-while-awake. Numbered nights from now, I won’t be able to sleep and probably commit suicide. I thought killing Kyla would do the trick, but she just had John, the most enthusiastic among us in horror, commit suicide right after I killed her. Killing her couldn’t stop the lullaby… What can?! I don’t know which of the police, the mental ward, or the old contralto-pitched bony lady will get me first, but I know I’d rather end my life than be forced to literally lie with her. Not in an iron-barred cell, not in a padded room, not in my bed. Might as well let her sing her lullaby to me in the afterlife.
I saw the picture I took when I found Kyla on the floor. I wish I didn’t. That image of her pale, wrinkled and loosely hanging flesh, those thick black veins around her eyes, that slowly balding long and wet hair and her long and frail structure just became yet another obstacle that keeps me from falling asleep.
Once she exhausts every single one of us, with Kyla unable to get her attention for us, you know what to do. When you hear a deep voice humming a haunting lullaby, might as well try your darned best to fall asleep. She knows when you’re awake, but not quite as easy to sleep in, compared to Santa knowing. Make sure you fall asleep before she decides to share her song in your house. I haven’t felt her bony arms and feet cling ever so tightly all over me as she breathed that sanity-breaking lullaby on my nape, but I never want to know. Might as well hope these sleeping pills help before she lulls ME to sleep.
Credit To – 2k13Ghost