01 Aug The Agoraphobic Journals
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"The Agoraphobic Journals"Written by Nick Botic
Estimated reading time — 19 minutes
My friend recently bought a foreclosed home, and while helping him clean it out of the previous owners leftover belongings, I came across a box of journals in the attic. What I learned in the early entries was that the man who lived there, Allan, was agoraphobic. For those unfamiliar with the term, agoraphobia is the fear of places or situations that might cause panic, helplessness, or embarrassment. In its most extreme form, agoraphobia can lead to the sufferer being confined to their home, fearful of the entire outside world. Allan fell into this category. I thought it would be interesting to get a peek inside the mind of someone who confined themselves to their home, so I decided to read them. I noticed they started when he was somewhere in his late 30’s. At first the entries were pretty normal, and gave a little insight into the man’s psyche. It’s quite sad, actually. Anything he would have to go outside for, be it food, home necessities, etc., his sister takes care of and then delivers to his house. But towards the end of the first journal, and mainly beginning with the second, the man started talking about really weird happenings, and it seems he was under the impression that his home, his only safe place in the world, was haunted. Without further ado, let me transcribe these journals. The following are from 2012. They become more frequent in the following years, if you are interested I will continue to transcribe them.
May 12th, 2012
Today was difficult. I promised Mary [his therapist who visits him at home] that I would try to walk into my backyard today. After throwing up a few times, I finally mustered up the courage to try. I opened my back door, unlocked the screen door, and stood there for about 15 minutes. I hyperventilated more than I care to admit, but finally I opened the door to the outside. After another 10 minutes, I took my first step outside in about 8 months. I immediately felt dread flood over and through my body. I brought my second foot out and planted it on the concrete. My hands began shaking violently. I jumped when I heard the screen door close behind me. I immediately turned around to go inside, but then, the main door slammed shut. It doesn’t really make sense, but I’m chalking it up to the wind. Anyways, I felt like I was trapped outside. I flung open the screen door and tried opening the main door, but it wouldn’t budge. I began hyperventilating again, and eventually passed out on my back porch. When I awoke, my back door was open again. I rushed inside and closed and locked the door behind me. Part of me wonders if the door was ever even closed, or if it’s something my mind made up to justify the panic attack. Either way, I won’t be going outside again any time soon. I’m now waiting for Anne [his sister] to get here with my groceries. I highly doubt I will get any sleep tonight, as my nerves are at an all time high.
June 8th, 2012
My birthday was today. Anne stopped by with some cake, that was nice. After she left, though, I went to use the restroom, and on my mirror, in red lipstick, was written “Happy Birthday”. This didn’t seem like something Anne would do, and when I called her, she claimed she had no idea what I was talking about. I’m sure she’s just playing a joke on me though. She always has been a jokester. My third year in my home for my birthday actually somewhat made me miss the outside world. Not enough to ever think about returning to it in any regular capacity, but I do miss spending my birthday around people, with no offense intended to Anne. I know I’m safe here though. I don’t mind it.
October 31st, 2012
I always hate Halloween. In my neighborhood, houses who are participating in trick-or-treating are supposed to leave their porch lights on, and houses who are not, leave their lights off to let children know to skip that house. But every year, without fail, kids seem to “forget” about this rule, and I get my doorbell rung about a thousand times. And if that’s not enough, some of the more free-spirited children choose to yell at me from outside, angry that they see lights on inside and yet I’m not handing out candy, like I’m supposed to feel bad about that. I’m glad I never had kids, but if I did, I would certainly teach them to respect the wishes of another man who chooses to not interact with the outside world. Not that the kids know that about me, but they don’t have to. I’m rambling now. Something of note, though, is I’ve been hearing strange things since last night.
I woke up at around 12:30am to what sounded like footsteps coming from my attic. I grabbed my gun from my bedside drawer and quietly walked to check each door. Both doors, as well as every window in my home were as I had left them before bed, closed and locked. There is a chute that opens and has a ladder fall down for one to ascend into the attic, but it was closed. It can’t be pulled back up from the attic, so it didn’t make sense that anyone could be up there. The sounds stopped, and I attributed them to an animal, which I would take care of when I woke up later that morning. I went back to bed, but when I did, I heard what were unmistakably footsteps travel from across the attic, to directly above my bed, and stop there, and they ceased to pick back up. I have to say, it made me feel very uneasy. I eventually drifted back off to sleep, and had no further problems until I woke up later this morning.
When I awoke, my alarm clock had been unplugged from the wall, causing me to wake up late. I checked my phone, and it was 9:40, a full two hours and 10 minutes past my normal wake-up time. I know I didn’t unplug it, and I can’t definitively say what did. As I went into the kitchen for breakfast, I heard more footsteps, but this time they seemed to be coming from directly behind me. I would stop and turn around, but there would be nothing there. They seemed to follow me all around the house, but every time I looked back, they would stop, and there would be nothing there.
I’m sure I’m just going crazy….er than I already am. But it’s quite unsettling. Trick-or-treating went as it usually does, with a significantly increased number of asshole kids yelling things at me from outside. Little bastards.
November 1st, 2012
Today I went up to my attic to make certain there was no one there. I heard footsteps again last night, but only for a brief moment. I was sure I was going to find an animal when I went up there, but I found nothing. Instead, I found a large number of my belongings outside of their boxes. Not in a mess, mind you, but neatly organized next to their boxes. Part of me wonders if Anne was doing some organizing at some point and I forgot about it; it has been quite some time since I’ve been up here, but I don’t recall her ever being up here. What happened next I can’t explain. My ladder to the attic was pushed back up and the chute closed and locked from the bottom. I heard footsteps run away from below, and a faint laugh echoed through the ceiling to my ears. I immediately called the police, who had to break my door to enter, and when they arrived, they let me down. I did a search of my house, and I found that nothing was missing or altered in any way. Also, not one of the doors or windows were open or unlocked, leaving me to wonder how the intruder was in here in the first place.
November 5th, 2012
These footsteps won’t stop. I have been hearing them every night since I was locked in the attic, and that’s where they’re coming from. I had Anne go up and check this morning, but she found nothing and no one. They’re usually most prevalent in the night house, between around 11pm and 6am. I’ve been losing sleep over it. They seem to walk around the attic in no discernable pattern until finally, they travel to directly over my bed and stop. Then they pick up the next day, every once in a while seeming to be behind me as I walk through my house again. I remember back when I tried going outside, the door slammed behind me, and now that I think about it, I believe it to be related to this.
I just want the footsteps to stop. I am certain no one is up there, but I hear them, I know I do. I’m not crazy. Well I am, but not auditory hallucination crazy. I haven’t gotten a decent nights sleep in a week. I got so frustrated a little while ago that I screamed at the top of my lungs for it to stop, and much to my surprise, they did. When I yelled, they were at the other end of the attic, and they never made their way above my bed. Not that it helped me sleep at all, I was too anxious from expecting them to resume.
December 8th, 2012
The footsteps have stopped. I’ve resumed my normal sleep schedule, and it feels fantastic. I’m beginning to think that everything was just in my head. I think I was under a considerable amount of stress, and I think that that stress manifested itself in auditory hallucinations. The whole attic thing must have been a fluke. I’m not crazy though, I really just think it was all stress related. I feel good today. I feel optimistic.
December 19th, 2012
Last night. I’m so scared. I don’t know what it was. I don’t know if I was dreaming or not. I don’t know if it was real or not. I just don’t know. But last night, at about 3am, I woke up, and when my eyes adjusted, I saw someone standing in the doorway to my bedroom.He was very tall; the top of his head was covered by the doorframe. He had yellow eyes that sparkled even in the dark. He didn’t do anything, just stood there, breathing in and out slowly, but loudly. The only movement he made was when he put his hands on each side of the doorframe. But he never tried to enter, and never tried to communicate. Which I think was more terrifying. I sat in my bed paralyzed with fear, and just stared at the…thing while blinking as little as possible. I didn’t know what else to do. At about 4:30, he simply turned around and walked down my hallway. About two minutes after that, I heard footsteps in my attic, walking from the point where the stairs drop, to directly above my bed, and then silence.
I have never been more scared in my entire life. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried when the ordeal was over. I have no clue who it was or what it wanted. I almost feel as if it was some sort of horrible nightmare. That’s the only explanation. It couldn’t have actually happened. It was a nightmare.
January 2nd, 2013
Another New Years spent alone, watching TV, wallowing in my own self pity. On top of that, I’m fucking terrified. The visitor stayed in the attic since the first time he appeared in my bedroom doorway. Until about 1am this morning. I woke up again, and this time, he was in my room. The moonlight shone through my window and partially illuminated him. He has long stringy hair, abhorrent yellow eyes, and his lower jaw hangs down, much farther than it should. It looks almost like it’s unhinged. He has rotting teeth and if I’m not mistaken, putrid breath. He was wearing tattered clothing, I actually think his apparel was some of my clothes from the attic. He stood there for two hours, at the halfway point between my bed and the doorway. I tried…I really did try to say something. But I couldn’t. The only movement he made besides his chest heaving in and out from breathing was his eyebrows arched, giving him an angry look. Just when I thought he couldn’t get any more terrifying, he changed his expression to mad. When he was satisfied, he turned around and went back to the attic. I don’t know how he gets up there, because the attic chute doesn’t come down (it’s very loud), but he always ends up standing directly above my bed.
January 18th, 2013
He comes every night now. Since the last time I wrote in here, he’s been here every night. I don’t sleep anymore. I tried going to my couch, but he just came to the archway in my living room. He just breathes very heavily, watches me, and leaves. Then goes up to the attic and ends up directly above wherever I’m lying. I can’t deal with this. I don’t know what to do.
January 20th, 2013
Anne spent the night at my house last night, and of course, nothing happened. I don’t know what the hell to do.
February 19th, 2013
I have to leave the house. I can’t leave the house. I have to leave the house. I can’t leave the house. I have to leave the house. I can’t leave the house I have to leave the house. I can’t leave the house. I have to leave the house. I can’t leave the house I have to leave the house. I can’t leave the house. I have to leave the house. I can’t leave the house.
February 28th, 2013
Whatever this thing is has become more malevolent. At about 3am last night, I got up to use the bathroom. When I walked out, the hallway light bulb exploded, and a chair flew across my hallway from the living room to my kitchen. I spent the rest of the night in my bathtub with the light on. I got up this morning and walked into my kitchen, splinters of chair littered the ground. As I was cleaning, all of my cabinets opened and one by one, my dishes were pushed out onto the floor. I had a panic attack and woke up face down on my living room carpet. I don’t know how I got there. He probably put me there. He probably moved me. I don’t know if I’m just going crazy, or if this is really happening. It doesn’t make sense. I wish I knew.
March 9th, 2013
Last night, something that hasn’t happened before happened. People started walking by my windows. Slowly. Looking in. They all had the same yellow eyes as whatever the thing is that harasses me inside my house. They all had the same weird hanging jaws. After about 3 hours of them just walking back and forth, they stopped. Two at each window, and stared at me until the sun rose. Then they just walked away. The one inside the house just wandered around in the attic all night, stopping right above me every 15 minutes or so.
On top of that, my television kept going on and off. Even after I unplugged it. It kept going on to the channel I had it on, CNN, stayed on for about five seconds, and then shut off. Today, I stood at my front door for four hours, contemplating leaving. I don’t know who I’m trying to kid. I’ll never leave. I’ll die in this house. Nothing can change that. These things are going to kill me. I can’t do anything about it. Maybe I should just kill myself.
April 1st, 2013
They filled in my living room last night. Everybody came from some unknown entrance into my home, and they gathered in my hallway, right up to my bedroom. And if that wasn’t enough, they hummed. Not a song or anything, just a barely audible, monotonous tone. For two hours. Then they all left. WHAT THE FUCK WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME I DONT BOTHER ANYBODY WHY CANT I LEAVE I WANT TO LEAVE
June 8th, 2013
The big 4-0 today. And I’m a huge pussy who can’t leave his house. I’ve boarded up all my windows and barricaded the back door. I put a board over the attic chute, and it still doesn’t help. They still show up, they still hum. It’s like I’m living with roommates. I now sleep during the day and stay up at night, staring into yellow eyes and being overcome with the gut-wrenching stench of their breath.
June 13th, 2013
Mary said I have to try to figure out where my “irrational” fears are coming from. Irrational….bullshit. But I was thinking about it, and I remembered a nightmare I had when I was a young boy. I would start off in the pitch black, but I would already know I was in my childhood home. I would feel my way around, and the walls would be sticky with an odorous grime that would cling to my fingertips when I removed them. I would then reach the door to our enclosed porch and exit to the almost-outside. When I finally got out there, the pure darkness before me would little by little start to be lit up by yellow eyes. Once I realized what was happening, I would get scared and try to find my way back inside, but in the dark I wouldn’t be able to find where to go. The walls would become soft and collapse into a sea of the filthy sludge that was the walls. I guess the only applicable part to take from this is the yellow eyes. I don’t know if they mean something, but they are the same eyes I see every night by the crowd that gathers to watch me (attempt) to sleep.
July 5th, 2013
There was a part of me, deep down inside me, that KNEW I was just being crazy. It has been over a year of being terrorized by these things, and I’ve gotten used to only sleeping a few hours a night because of them. But part of me knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are not real. Mary said so. My sister said so. I knew it. Until last night. I was laying on my couch, I don’t know if I mentioned it but I do not sleep in my bedroom anymore, haven’t for some time. But I was laying there, and only the one, the very first one I ever saw, showed up. I sat up and looked him dead in the eyes. Then he started inching closer to me. It took some time for him to reach me, but I couldn’t do anything about it. This was a whole new fear for me. This hadn’t happened before. I closed my eyes and repeated to myself that it wasn’t real, that I was simply just crazy and seeing things. But then I felt it. It rested a finger in my arm and dragged it along my skin. It felt wet. Sticky, slimy. My closed eyes flooded with tears but I still was unable to move. Then it stopped. I opened my eyes and saw nothing. I heard the footsteps in the attic above me, but he was no longer in front of my face. I looked at my arm, and the light layer of hair that covers it was caked in a thin line of black grime. I was sure I was just hallucinating once more, and went to sleep, still too scared to get up. I slept for what felt like days. In reality it was about 5 hours, far and away the longest solid block of sleep I’ve had in months. I woke up feeling so rested. But the line on my arm was still there. Now a dried, chipping line of black sludge. The smell was too much to handle and I vomited. I have to leave this house today. That’s all there is to it.
July 7th, 2013
It has been two days since I tried to leave my house through my front door. I have been on the floor of my living room since it happened. I haven’t eaten or slept since. I am not safe anywhere. In my house or out of it. I opened my front door just a crack and saw the sunlight pour in, something I hadn’t seen in over a month due to my blocking out all my windows. I felt the cool breeze of summer slip in through the slight opening, and it chilled me to the bone. I opened it a little farther, and that’s when I heard it. The breathing. I took a peek out and saw him. I finally saw him in full light. He was disgusting. The breeze brought the smell inside and it attacked my nostrils once again, this time even more putrid, which I attribute to it baking in the hot summer sun on my porch. I was transfixed on the man’s dripping body until I got my bearings and slammed the door shut. I got inside and collapsed from a panic attack. And I’ve been here since. I only moved to grab this notebook. I can’t do this anymore. I just want to die.
July 9th, 2013
I got up last night finally. It was late at night, I don’t remember what time, but I hadn’t seen any of the visitors. Just heard the one up in the attic. I was feeling decidedly brave after what was basically an eternity curled up in the fetal position, so I poked at the ceiling of my kitchen with a broomstick three times. Whatever the thing up there is, responded in kind. Tap. Tap. Tap. I tapped three more times. Once again, he did the same. Tap. Tap. Tap. His responses frustrated me, being so calm and nonchalant. I jammed the broomstick up to the ceiling, creating a much louder tap. What happened next is what I would refer to as “an unreasonable response”. There was a slam from the attic, that broke the glass outside of the boards that covered the windows in my kitchen. The light hanging from the ceiling dropped down to the floor, shattering everywhere. Plates and other dishes that were resting on the counter next to the sink fell to the floor; all of this creating a cacophony of sound that sent me right into another panic attack. I came to from this one fairly quickly though. I’m so tired.
July 18th, 2013
He spoke. He finally spoke. He told me I’m not allowed to sleep anymore. That’s not right though, is it? I mean I have to sleep. I guess I’m going try to stay up as long as possible, and only sleep when I absolutely need to. Since I can’t leave my house, I feel compelled to obey him. As stupid as that is. I don’t know what else to do. I hate this. I just want to die.
July 21st, 2013
He can the tell me to awake..Not fairr. Why me when can’t leave my house WHY ME WHY ME WHY ME WHY ME WHY ME WHY ME WHY ME
July 23rd, 2013
I’m pretty sure my body forced me to sleep after that last journal entry. I just woke up, and I slept for over 24 hours. I see my punishment for disobeying him. I have dried, smelly black sludge covering my feet. And it hurts. It stings. It’s disgusting. I wish I could leave. But I know I can’t. While I stay awake now all I can think about is slitting my wrists, while gripping a gun and blowing my brains out, while stepping off a stool with a noose around my neck, in a house that’s been filling with carbon monoxide. If only the world were so perfect.
Whatever he is, is angry. He’s been tearing my pictures and things off the walls, tore the ceiling fans out of my two bedrooms, and broke the glass on the rest of the windows of my house. Next time he comes down from the attic, I’m going to try to talk to him, even though when he appears I get a wave of fear over me that’s utterly paralyzing. I think since I’m so nihilistic now I just don’t care. If he kills me, good.
July 25th, 2013
My feet feel like they weigh a hundred pounds each. It takes everything I have to walk just across the room. I soaked my feet in the bathtub and the dried, cracking grime came off, but it must have seeped into my skin because it still feels like there’s small boulders attached my ankles. I basically drag myself around the house. I accepted long ago that this house would be my tomb, but I never thought it would be under these conditions.
Whenever I move about my house, the thing in the attic follows me up above. I can hear the creaking of the floorboards follow me wherever I go. This is the first time I’ve ever wanted him to appear, so I can try to speak to it. I have to find out what it wants. I need it to take the grime out of the insides of my feet so I can walk properly again. I am in this position because of it, and I now need its help. I’m so pathetic.
July 27th, 2013
He finally showed up. And I was happy. I can’t believe it, but I was actually happy. He slowly entered my living room from around the corner of the hallway, He dripped black grime as the odor of rotting…everything permeated the air, filling the space between my walls and ceiling and floor with a nauseating stench that threatened to further empty my already empty stomach. I forgot if I wrote down that I don’t really eat anymore. Getting to the kitchen is too arduous of a process. When I do go, I bring out a few days worth of food so I can just stay in the living room. I have a bucket I use for relieving myself that I empty into the toilet twice a week. I’m off topic though.
I gagged as he turned the corner. He leaves a trail of black sludge wherever he goes. It’s disgusting. But anyways, he walked into the living room, and after I calmed down my hyperventilation, I managed to squeak out some things that passed for words. I asked him what he wanted with me. His response was simple. He just said he was “hungry” and that I “feed him well”. I don’t know what to make of this because he’s never tried to eat me. Then I asked what happened to the rest of the things like him that were terrorizing me months earlier. He said something along the lines of “You are mine. Not theirs. Now they know”. I sat there not knowing how to respond. All of the sudden, from his foot began a puddle of the black sludge that coated his body under his clothes. The puddle got bigger and bigger until it reached my feet, and then bubbled up, before bursting, getting all over me. My face, in my mouth, all over my clothes. Then he simply turned around and walked away, leaving his mess behind him. Since then, every hour or so I’ve been vomiting this black sludge. I don’t know where in my body it’s coming from, but it’s there. Trust me. It’s there.
August 14th, 2013
I finally stopped vomiting. I’ve lost 36 pounds since the last time I wrote in here. I have a headache. He visits me every once in awhile. He doesn’t say anything. He just comes to me, wherever I am, and traces his finger along somewhere on my body. He leaves a line of the grime on me, the smell of which I’ve gotten used to. I chip it away, and sometimes it takes some skin off too. He then comes back and collects the chips and pieces of skin. I don’t know what he does with them. I have a really bad headache. And I’m hungry. I wish I did not have this headache!
September 1st, 2013
I have lost all the skin on my left arm and hand, up to the elbow. He’s been leaving a much wider line of grime on me that adheres to my skin, and each piece that chips off pretty much just takes the skin beneath it with it. My left arm is a mess. I’ve never quite seen that hue of pink before. I asked him what he was doing with all of it, and he ignored me. I’m getting tired of this. I think it’s time to go outside.
September 8th, 2013
I don’t know why I forgot what happened the last time I tried to go outside. After standing at my front door for three hours, I finally got up the nerve to leave. I swore I was going to do it. I couldn’t live like this anymore. Anne had brought a doctor friend of hers over to check on my arm, I was all bandaged up properly. They tried telling me I had to go to a psychiatric hospital. And I would’ve, were I actually a crazy person. They didn’t know what I was dealing with. They didn’t see the grime that I spend 6-8 hours a day cleaning up from his previous visit. They don’t have to deal with the smell that I use 4 cans of Febreeze a day covering. My sister thought I was crazy for needing that much Febreeze. She’s the crazy one. But I digress. I opened my door, fully prepared to leave. I think. But there he was. He pushed the door open, knocking me to the ground behind it. He then loomed over me. He told me I had to stop seeing my sister or he would send his “friends” to her. As mad as I was at Anne, I wouldn’t do anything to put her in harm’s way. Then, as punishment, he traced a line across my forehead. Pretty much covered my whole forehead in the grime. I had a small panic attack as he left. I closed the door behind me, all my confidence flew away in the outside wind.
September 12th, 2013
The lack of skin on my forehead has gotten rather infected over the last few days. It burns quite badly. But he needs it. And he can have it. I don’t want it anymore. What is it? What is he? What this? Why
October 1st, 2013
My entire upper body is skinless. My face, my torso, my arms and hands. I am in constant pain every day. I can’t continue this. He wins. I give up. And that’s what I told him. He said we will be ending everything tonight. He told me it will be quick. That’s all I ask. This life is not for me anymore. I’ve kept myself imprisoned for so long, and I don’t care to be like this anymore. I’m done being haunted. I hope no one ever has to go through what I went through. To the poor soul that lives in this house after me, good luck. To Anne, I’m sorry I could never show you what’s been haunting me for so long. I wish he would’ve slipped up even once covering his tracks. To Mary, thank you for your help, I made it much longer than I would have without you. Goodbye.
And that was it. That was the last page. Now, we checked out the whole house, the attic included. There was nothing and no one there. All the windows were boarded up, and the broken windows lined up with the windows that were broken in the journal. There was a SHITTON of garbage that filled up half the kitchen and smelled awful. A bunch of broken dishes. Everything seems legit. The one weird thing about the journal was that the last page of the notebook was stuck together with the back cover, with a black, chipping substance that seemed to be whatever Allan was talking about. It had a smell to it too. And I assume it’s just my friend fucking with me, but tonight is his first night in the house, and I just got the following text:
Dude not even kidding….there’s footsteps coming from the attic.
I called him right away and his phone was off. It’s probably a joke.
CREDIT: Nick Botic
(“The Agoraphobic Journals” is being expanded into a novel. Click HERE to learn more)
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