Two white vans waited on the street while our luggage was being fetched and dragged into our new home. I, my eight-year-old daughter Sue and my wife Megan had traveled across the USA to a state which provided better work opportunities for both of us. I worked as an editor and my wife – a librarian. The change was tremendous and like everything tremendous it transformed our world. There would be laughter as we settled comfortably into the old white house built of brick and stone which was to be our home. It was a good house, or so we thought at first.
There were two rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs. The former proved a kitchen and a living room and the latter – two bedrooms. We settled the baggage in the lower rooms the first day and with time spread it across the upper floors and everything went into its rightful place. The first time I went upstairs and glanced preliminarily at the room on the left, which was to be our daughter’s bedroom, I took notice of a portion of wallpaper curled upward on the edge of the wall and a musty blue spot surrounding it. The house was pretty old, perhaps a century old, and the rooms gave off a vibe of staleness and condensation, so I suppose that’s why I brushed that memory off as something within the normal sway of things. Moving along into our bedroom, we had set up the luggage neatly and in a way the room seemed a little airy and inviting, at least that’s how things were for the first two weeks after we dropped in.
Work at the office proved prosperous although tiring and I had come to enjoy returning back from work to greet Sue smiling and her mother, having come back from work herself, reclining over the divan in the living room and reading a magazine or browsing on the Internet. Things went smoothly for a while. I had good dreams, the food was good, and although the house wasn’t new or anything, there was nothing to disturb our calm throughout the evening or the day.
Things began changing though. Things started to change after the first fortnight had passed. I began having awkward dreams. I remember after I turned off the light and kissed Megan goodnight and slid into bed and closed my eyes a continuous dragging sensation as though I was being pulled deeper into the bed by unknown forces. Things were like that for awhile until I think I got into deeper sleep. Then I started hearing light voices. They were minute and frail and lingering. They seemed to be the voices of little children – mumbling and chanting and fading off and becoming louder again. In my dream I tried to get up from the bed and once I did, I started toward the door of the room, however, there was no door. I stumbled further into nightmare as I continued walking forward and the only thing I saw were walls to my left and right. It felt as though I were walking in an endless tunnel, strange writings covering both walls on my sides and the chanting of the children continuing in murmurous, subtle tones. That went on for a while. Finally, I came near a door. On its right there was a light switch. I hit it and the darkness around me disappeared. However, a moment later, I felt terrified to the bone. I heard sobbing. Sobbing that came wetly as a continuous protraction of incoherent sounds. I heard the sobbing of my daughter. It was just on the other side of the door. I trembled for a second, contemplating. Should I run away or open up the door to be met with a bone-chilling scene? A scenario as gruesome as it is loathsome, an inexplicable and horrendous thing. I thought about this for some seconds and then swiftly pulled the door handle. What I saw would haunt me for the rest of my life. Two spiderlike arms protracting from the curling wallpaper on the edge of the wall were coming closer and closer to Sue. She was standing remote and unmoving, staring and occasionally letting out a tear-filled sound of despair. It clotted my mind and stung my brain. I felt helpless watching the awful black arms twist and snap and come in touch with her frail body. I wanted to scream, to run, to shout. Nothing came out. I just stared and stared until the arms caught her in a firm grip and started pulling her tightly toward the wall; with each second my heartbeat rising until as her form almost fused with that awful blue spot on the wall, I let out a terrific scream and jolted toward her.
The next thing I knew I was awake. I don’t know for how long I stared in the chilling silence of my bedroom, my wife sleeping soundly by my side. When I finally regained my composure, I decided to check upon Sue and breathing softly made my way to her room. I opened up the door and noticed her sleeping soundly on her bed. My lips curled into a smile at the sight. However, as I quickly slid my gaze to the piece of curling wallpaper at the edge of the room, I saw it was not curling anymore. It had been ripped off. And the blue spot had gotten darker and bigger, as though within it were hidden those hideous spidery arms, left stifled and unseen. As I came closer, I felt terror grip the core of my body and distribute itself evenly over my skin. I took a peek at Sue and saw her arms were lined with tenuous dark marks and bruises while she slept soundly in her bed. I wanted to scream, to wake her up, to ask her. All I did was stare vaguely, then close the door, lie on my bed and try to imagine everything was just an awful dream.
Next morning the bruises on my daughter’s skin were vaguer, yet still noticeable. We went to a doctor and I kept my mouth shut and didn’t say anything at all. I didn’t even mention I’d come in her room that night. I hadn’t even told Megan that I knew where the marks had come from because I did not want to frighten her. I did not want the scenario filled with terror and mind-chilling fear be left to leak out into the real world. I kept my dreams to myself.
The next few days were uneventful, although a growing numbness and lack of emotion was manifest over our daughter. She seemed almost as though she was slipping away, fading soundlessly into a world of her own, far out of arm reach and into the same darkness that lingered over the old house at night, a darkness covering continuous walls and strange writings and dissipating with the chants of draggy children’s voices and decrepit scenes.
About a week after that something happened. Something that I will never forget.
I had woken up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat and felt like getting some water. I walked down the stairs, into the living room and from there headed toward the kitchen. As I got there, I thought I heard faint whisperings. They were just on the edge of coherence and I could almost make them out, but not quite. I poured myself the water and came back up the stairs I had previously descended. However, when I reached the landing I stopped and turned left, toward little Sue’s bedroom. I heard whisperings as soft as incantation and mild sobbing. I opened up the door and what I saw rivaled my worst nightmares! There, in the corner of the room appeared Sue, looking at the torn piece of wallpaper, mumbling incoherent words to the wall. However, her mumbles weren’t the only sound in the room. There were many indefinite little sounds protracting across the walls. Disturbing and faint sounds, sounds meant to produce a chill up your spine and a numbness toward anything but the slithering taints of horror they brought along. And then, suddenly, a big spider-like hand protruded from the wall. Quick as a flash I jumped over and grabbed Sue’s hand, dragging her away from the wall. Then, before the thing had time to react, I closed the door and called my wife.
We didn’t sleep at the house that night, we went to a cheap motel a couple of miles down the road.
The last time we made contact with the house after that was when the white vans came again to take up our luggage. We were moving. And I am sure for the better. I did not know what this thing was and what it wanted. All I knew was it wasn’t getting my daughter and I would do anything in my power to stop it.
Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I wake up for no reason just to make sure the door is there and there aren’t any noises around our new home. I feel my way to the door and make my way to Sue’s room. And I’m just happy she lay there undisturbed.
Credit : Victor Grant
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