Estimated reading time — 17 minutes
Think of all the faces you’ve seen in your lifetime. The brain memorizes these faces. Shapes, eyes, other features. Down to the smallest detail, we remember. Some faces we recognize in dreams. For me? In a nightmare…
I have a daily routine of filling up my kurig, taking my medium roast coffee upstairs into my home music studio, and sitting at my computer. I carefully sip my foldgers with two hands, as I listen to my favorite bands. I await a spark of sudden inspiration. Today was an off day for me. A light blanket of snow on the ground, under an overcast sky, Gloomy, and cold. My fingers seemed to forget how to play chords on my guitar. I staired blankly out the window during a short break.
My girlfriend and I moved into this newly renovated home about 4 months ago. It is a quiet neighborhood. We rarely see our surrounding neighbors. She works at the local coffee shop, while I make a living as a freelance jingle writer. Life is good. I have the girl of my dreams, a warm home, my cats, and my dog, Sabbath. Our lifes together arent exciting, but they are loving and comfortable. We sit on our cheap sectional together watching the latest thrillers released on Netflix as a nightly routine.
As we sit on the couch, she turns to me asks, “Why were you breathing so heavy in your sleep last night?” “I’m not sure. Next time wake me up”, I replied. I have had trouble sleeping since we moved in. No reason, I just wake up at odd hours of the night. I didn’t think anything of it, being that we are in an unfamiliar house. She takes my hand and turns back to the TV with an unsettling look on her face.
“What’s Wrong?”, I ask. She hesitates for a moment. “Is everything okay?”, I inquired. “there’s just….something….” she studdered. I put my arm around her in a comforting manner. “baby, seriously. You can tell me” I calmly stated. “I just…think I saw…” she struggled to say. “What did you see?” i persisted. “I think I saw Someone walking up the stairs out of the corner of my eye last night.” she stated. I scratched my head feeling puzzled for a minute before I let out a obnoxious laugh. “Its not funny!” she exclaimed. I said i’m sorry and that she could continue with her story. She said “Nevermind” and we continued out nightly thriller binge.
The next morning i open my eyes to see hers staring back at mine with horror.
Her eye’s filled with blood red webs of inflamed cappalaries. She was wrapped in a thick blanket and had condensation lightly seeping from her breath. I jump up and yell “Whats going on?” in excitement. “I saw it….I saw….him…” She tripped over her words. I couldnt find the words to reply. The room was ice cold. It felt like a grocery store cooler. I jumped up, Threw on my ripped Levis, and slowly exited the room. I grabbed my old Smith & Wesson 12 guage shotgun I enherited from my Great grandfather, and pumped a Double ought buckshot into the chamber.
I tactically investigated each room with my finger on the trigger. Being early morning, each room was dimly lit, sunshine peeking through the blinds. My heart beating on a fast paced tempo, I cleared the ground floor, and made my way upstairs. I arrived at the closed door of my home studio. I carefully placed my hand on the doorknob, making sure not to make a sound.
Suddenly I hear a crash from the other side of the door. I kick the door open, and sweep the room with the sights of my gun. There was no one there…
I figured the noise was our little orange cat, the youngest of the 3, who loved to make trouble around the house. “Get it together, Jay” I whispered to myself. I laughed to myself and made my way downstairs. “lori!” I yelled. “Don’t do that to me!” i said while laughing. I put the gun away and walked to the thermostat. It read 72 degrees. “this thing must be broken” I said.
I called our landlord to have someone fix whatever was wrong with the heat. He was able to get a repairman over at around 10:30am. Lori, didn’t say much for the rest of the day, and seemed to stick close by. I finally turned to her and brushed her hair behind her ear. “It’s a new house, sweetheart. Theres nothing to be afraid of! especially ghosts!” I insisted. “it’s all in your head, babe” I assured her.
I made my way down to the basement where the repairman had the furnace slightly apart.
“Find anything?” I asked. “Everything looks normal to me, and the thermostat is brand new.” he returned. He flicked a switch, and the heater roared healthily. “Well thanks anyways for your time” I said sincerily. I walked him to the door, shut, and locked it behind him. I made a quick loops around the house making sure all the windows were closed tight, and went to check on Lori. Although consumed in her morning show, She still had that same unsettling look on her face. I went upstairs and began working on a jingle for a small local grocery store.
Later that night, I indulged in some video games as Lori had picked up an extra late shift.
I figured that it’s good that she spend some time out of the house. Hearing my stomach angrily growling, I set down the controller and set course for the refridgerator. Ugh… nothing good.
We hadn’t been grocery shopping since last weekend. Lori calls me the garbage disposal, Cause I get random eating fits, clearing most of the food in the house in one sitting. I call it “the green Diet” hehe. I warmed up my car for 5 minutes as I grabbed my leather jacket from the hook, and slipped on my shoes.
I arrived at the local gas station that serves delicious fried chicken with all the fixin’s.
Grabbed a 99 Cent pop from the dispenser before paying for my order. I walked out, almost slipping on a sheet of ice that formed on the yellow painted curb. I played it off cool hoping no one noticed, and get in my car. I put my food in the passengers seat, lit a cigarette, and began adjusting my mirrors. I pulled my rearview mirror slightly to the left for a better view out of the back windshield, while being blinded by two red stoplights. I put my car in reverse and closly checked my rearview camera for any incoming cars. I got a chill up my spine when I noticed that there were no stoplights behind my car….
I looked into the rearview mirror and my mind turned to mush. My stomach dropped to the floor. My gaze met a black human shapped figure staring right back at me. Two peircing red eyes…A body which looked like melting black candlewax… I was Frozen in position. It didn’t move, or make a sound. Just stared. I suddenly felt a light tingling on the back of my neck. Terrified, I quickly turned around to see an empty back seat. Nothing… I looked back into the rearview mirror….Nothing… I rubbed my eyes vigorously, and made my way back home.
Hours later, Lori arrived with my favorite ice cream, with a smile on her face. “I’m sorry for scaring the shit out of you” She appologized. “it’s…..It’s ok” I replied. I kept to myself for the remainder of the night, trying not to raise a red flag in her head. I confined myself in my studio as I ravagely searched google for what I had seen. The two red eyes still haunted my thoughts.
I kept away from reflections, and periodically checked behind me until I felt tired enough to fall asleep once my head hit the pillow. After reading about all of these crazy stories about shadow people, I shook my head, and chalked it up to lack of sleep. I have been very tired lately, on top of all the scary movies we binge watch every night.
Things went back to normal after a week or so. I thought about what I had seen less and less.
Lori had seemed to completely forget what she thought she had seen. Back to our normal routines, we slowly got used to the new house. For some reason while sipping my coffee in front of my computer, things seemed off again…
I decided to take a quick smoke break and take the dog out for a stroll through our large 1.5 acre backyard. I hit my marlboro and could feel the warmth of the cherry on my face. Sabbath clumsily played in the snow, and chased the sticks I would throw. I entertained him for 15 or 20 minutes, and lead him back to the back door of the house.
I released him from his leash, and he chased one of the cats into the livingroom out of sight.
I filled the animals bowls with food and water, and noticed that the house was silent. Sabbath being a puppy, thats the last thing a puppy owner wants to hear. When we cant hear him, he is usually chewing up a shoe, our socks, or a remote control. “Sabbath!”, I called. No pitter patter of puppy paws could be heard. I quickly started to search for him. I poked my head around the corner and peered into the living room. No puppy to be found. I searched the rest of the ground floor with no luck. The cats lazily laid around the house cleaning themselves, as I made my way to the stairs leading up to the studio. I reached the top steps and saw sabbath sitting at attention staring angrily at the closed studio door.
Goosebumps seemed to cover my body, head to toe as I approached him. He continued to snarl and show his teeth to the door. I reached out my hand to pat his head asking “Whats wrong, boy?” as he suddenly turned his head and bit my fingers. I pulled back my hand and held it in the other trying to nurse the pain. “Sabbath, What the fuck!?” I shouted. He imediately seemed to realize what he had done. He put his ears all the way back and laid down at my feet looking sorry. I patted his head as he licked the hand he had bitten.
I sent him downstairs, and slowly opend the door to my studio. I swore to myself that I left it open… As I walked in, fast paced breath had turned to visable vapor. It was freezing cold. I stood in the middle of the room and swept from corner to corer with my eyes. I saw nothing.
I quickly ran downstairs and hit my bowl to relax a little bit. “things are getting too weird”, I thought to myself. I entered my studio to investigate with a clear head. The window was closed and locked. heat poured through the vents like normal. The tempurature returned to normal in just the 5 minutes I was downstairs. I returned to my computer chair and opened Google again.
After hours of research, I got a call from Lori, at the end of her shift. She seemed deeply bothered. She said that she would explain once she got home. She pulled in 20 minutes later. I met her at the door with a cup of hot chocolate. We sat down on the bed in our room, as she began to tell me what was on her mind. “I got into my car after work, and as I checked my phone, I saw a reflection of two red lights”, she said. I began to break into a sweat and my heart beat out of my chest. I tried to remain calm as she continued. “I looked into my rearview mirror and saw…” she paused for a what seemed to be a lifetime, and finally described the black entity that i had seen two weeks ago… I acted as calm as possible and told her “You are probably just exausted, babe. Im sure it was just your mind playing tricks on you”
“It wasn’t my fucking mind, it was real!” “You never believe me!” she shouted, catching me off gaurd. “I’m sorry” I said as I wrapped my arms around her. She burried her face into my shoulder. I could fell the moisture of her tears through my t-shirt. I calmed her and lead her under the covers, kissed her forehead, and sat with her until she finally fell sleep.
I left to the living room to catch up on The walking dead and have a glass of whiskey.
Twenty minutes later, I paused the show to grab a snack or two out of the fridge.
I sat back down, and just before i pressed play on the remote, I heard what sounded like a slow motion moan, and scratching coming from upstairs.
I jumped up, grabbed my shotgun and ran upstairs. I busted into my studio barrel first, and there in the far corner of the room i saw it. A smokey hunched over black figure with those familiar blood red illuminated eyes. It had long pointed fingers, and toes. It seemed to sway back and fourth in a way that looked like it was about to make a move. I pointed my shotgun stright at the figure. “don’t move” I shouted. “I’ll blast a hole in your chest”, I assured.
The creature dropped to all fours, and let our a gut wrenching wail as it darted towards me. I squeezed the trigger as I felt it Woosh right through me knocking me to the floor. The door slammed shut. I quickly jumped back up and tried to open the now seemingly locked door.
My heart raced and adrenalline coursed through my veins as I heard Lori scream, and the dog howl. I used the butt of the shotgun to knock the door handle off. I ripped the door open, and ran down the stairs. I found Lori backed into the corner of the bedroom with a thick black smog surrounding her. Knowing the gun wouldnt do any good against the creature, I dropped the gun and slowly approached lori. i reached out my hand, she reached out to mine. i grabbed her hand and pulled her quickly through the smog. I quickly lead her to the back door to escape. The unlocked door wouldn’t open. We both held each other, frozen in our stances.
The power in the whole house shut off. She let out a scream that I can still hear to this day.
We then heard sabbath growl, whimper, howl in pain, Then silence.
I pushed Lori behind me and awaited what seemed like our demise. The next room slowly illuminated a erie red light. It seemed to get closer and closer. The lights flickered briefly and not but 10 feet away, the creature stood staring at us. lori’s nails dug into my skin as she wailed “JASON!”. The creature then began repeting that disgusting moan. trapped in darkness, all we could see were those haunting red eyes slowly creeping closer. suddenly Lori was able to open the back door. She pulled me out behind her, i caught my breath and called 911.
When the officers arrived 15 minutes later, we were in my car with the heat on.
They approached slowly with their hands on their unsnapped gun holsters.
I slowly exited the car with raised hands. I told them what we had seen in the house, and after a quick chuckle from the two officers, they entered the house. I stayed outside with Lori so she wouldnt be alone. The officers exited the house after a 15 minute investigation. without saying much, they told me to put my hands on the front of the cruiser. They thouroughly frisked me, and refused to answer as to why. Then slapped cuffs tightly around my wrists.
They finally began to explain what they had found. our 6 month year old puppy, Sabbath, was found in the hallway ripped to shreads… His fur and skin completely removed from his body as if done slowly and carefully. Lori began to heavily tear up in fear. The cop explained that there were scratches all over the walls and wooden floor. The other officer took Lori to the side and seemed to interrigate her. After being reassured that I was not a threat, they released me from the cold cuffs. Lori joined me in front of the police cruiser, and one of the officers pulled something out of his pocket. A lone rock arrowhead flilled his hand. They had found it on the tiled floor exactly where the entity stood.
The officers called for backup to investigate the scene further. Our house filled with officers, provided no track of the “intruder”, they called it. We were transported to a nearby hospital for a check up. Of course, nothing was found by the doctors.
We were left without answers, and left with animal cruelty charges. After arriving at a dirt cheap motel, we immediatly called our landlord demanding answers. This seemed to entertain him as I explained what happend. He was of no help, and assured me that there was nothing wrong with the house. “FUCK YOU!”, I shouted as i hung up the phone.
Days later, I left Lori at the motel room to pick up my car. I took an UBER back home. I warmed up the car, and reluctantly entered the house to get some necessities. I stepped over Sabbaths shredded body towards the bathroom when i noticed dirt clumped on his little paws.
I didn’t think anything of it. I grabbed a large trashbag and enclosed his little limp body. and proceded to carry him outside to the woods. I went back to the house to fill a dufflebag, and grabbed an old shovel. I walked through the snow covered grass, back to the little clearing in the woods where I left Sabbath. I broke the cold, hard ground with the shovel, and proceided digging. After a couple minutes of struggling to dig through the hard dirt, heard a *TING* as my shovel hit something hard.
I kneeled down, removed my gloves and dug out the object with my fingers. “An Arrowhead?” I asked myself in disbelief. Almost exactly like the one the officer found in the house. I stood up and looked around, trying to figure out where it had come from, when i noticed a little crator of on the edge of the brush I had accumulated throughout the months of yardwork. I cleared the snow with my foot to find a hole which looked to have been dug by little puppy paws.
In the hole were several arrowheads scattered throughout. I instantly got the chills and made my way back to the car. As I backed out of the driveway, i looked into the livingroom window, and saw those intimidating red eyes staring at me without a body to hold them. They seemed to taunt me. I pulled out my phone to take a picture to prove what we saw was real.
Before I could snap the picture the eyes dissapeared. The flash went off, i locked my iphone, and put it back into my pocket. I stopped at the corner store to get Lori a bit of comfort food, and cigarettes. A mysterious man stopped me in an aisle. “Are you the man who lives in the yellow house with the red porch on walker street?” he asked. “y-yeah” I replied. “I’m Marty, a local historian, studying northern ohio”, He stated. “I’ve been searching for a rumored indian burial site in the area, and came across your police report in public records.”. With my mouth hanging slightly open, I just stared at him. “Can you show me where everything happend?” he asked.
“Go look for yourself. I’m not going back there” I said with anger. I stormed out of the store, back to my car. When I arrived back at the motel, There lori was. Huddled in the corner, rocking back and fourth. I immediatley ran to her, and asked what was wrong. “I f…fell….I fell asleep, and could see myself from outside of my body” I squeezed her tighter as I saw her get more emotional. she continued. “I heard that moaining sound the red-eyed thing made”, she gripped my shirt tightly. “It was on top of my body…Licking…me.”, she said. “Maybe it was a dream? You’ve been through a lot…” I insisted.
She Pulled down her shirt to reveal a branding-like shape of an arrowhead. A swollen and puss filled outline on her chest. I quickly grabbed supplies out of the motel first aid kid on the bathroom wall. As I treated her wound, she began crying. “What are we gonna do?” she asked.
“We’re getting the fuck out of that house”, I replied. “But its….following us” she stammered.
I stroked her temple with my thumb, and said “I will figure this out”.
The next morning i rose from the bed, put on my dirty clothes, and jumped in my car.
I pulled into the same corner store where the mysterious man had approached me.
I walked in, checked every aisle, and finally walked to the counter. The same cashier from the night before greeted me. “How may I help you?” she asked. “Do you know that man I was talking to last night? His name was Marty.” I asked. “He’s that guy from that TV show Ghost Diaries on channel 8” she then explained she didn’t know where to find him. Thanks to the internet, I pulled out my Iphone and found his email within a few minutes.
My Name is Jason. We Spoke last night at the speedy mart on the corner or northfield road.
I would like to take you to my house and hopefully find some answers. Please get back to me ASAP.
Within 5 minutes he replied…
I am very glad to hear from you. After much research, I have knowlege that I think you would like to hear. Meet me at your house at 9am tomorrow.
I arrived 15 minutes early the next day to meet Marty. 9 o’ clock on the dot, he pulled into my driveway. He parked and stepped out of his clean black escalade without taking his eyes off of the house. he pushed up his dark black aviator sunglasses and looked at me. “Lets Begin”, he said sternly. I oppend the back door, the cats surrounded us demanding to be fed, and we walked in. As I fed the cats, I let him explore the house. “hmmm”, he seemed to say over and over again. “Jason”, he called. I met him upstairs in my studio. “Do you see these scratches here?” he asked. Before I had the chance to say “yes”, He went on… “These arent just scratches, these are indian markings dating around 300 years ago.” “This house isnt even 100 years old” I stated. “Yes, But the ground it’s built on is.” he returned.
“This area was inhabited by a massive cult-like indian comunity.” he explained. “They believed by animal sacrifice , they could summon their gods, and absorb certain powers.” They dipped arrowheads in the blood of the animal being sacrificed, and cut their wrists vertically with them.” “The ritual consisted of tribal dances around the one to absorb the god-power. The chosen indian would be bled out, and through death, be reborn as a god.” “They described the summoned entities as Black humanoid creatures with the blood of the sacrificed animals in their eyes.”
Astonished, I lost my breath. “Thats….Thats…exactly ….what we saw!” I exclaimed.
“How do we stop it?” I asked. “HAHAHA, stop it!?” he laughed.
“I’m glad you think our suffering is so fucking funny”, I shouted. “We can only divert it away from you and yours”. he said. “You are it’s current host. Somehow the creature was released and it latched onto your energy” he explained. “SABBATH!”, I shouted. I explained what I found out in the clearing in the woods. “Ah”, he said. “Take me there” he demanded.
We reached the hole that the puppy dug up. As I brushed the snow from the hold again, i was confused at the sight. “They’re gone!” I said “There were around 10 arrowheads burried here!”
Marty, studied the site, and without saying words, he stared off into the woods. I looked in the same direction to see the creature watching us from a distance. “Fuck you!”, I shouted in anger.
At that moment, more creatures started appearing from behind distant trees. There must have been 20 of them with those same red eyes peering at us. They all had different shapes, like spikes, humps, and one even had wing like masses potruding from is back.
We heard a crack from a branch, and instantly ran for the street.
I finally made it to the street where my neighbor shouted “Are you okay?”.
Unresponsive, I turned to look and marty was nowhere to be found. I slowly peeked around the corner of the house, and saw a spot of red snow 10 yards away from the clearing.
I called Lori immediately. “Babe, where is that arrowhead that the cop found?”
” It’s here on the table” she replied. his escalade sat unlocked, blocking my car in the driveway. I opened the driver door and pressed the push start button. Luckily the keys were in the cupholder. I put the massive SUV in drive, and sped to the motel.
I rushed through the door and grabbed the arrowhead without saying a word. As i made my way back to the cadillac, lori shouted “Whats wrong!? Whats happening!?” “Stay here, I shouted back. I pulled into our driveway 15 mins after, with the arrowhead in hand. I found my old shovel buried in snow where I had left it, and made my way to the clearing. There was no sign of morty, Just the blood stained snow. I entered the clearing, threw the arrowhead back in the hole, and covered it with the dirt that sabbath had piled up. I then filled the hole where i was to bury sabbath. The overcast covered the sun, and it became oddly dark.
Cold sweat dripping down my face, I ran for the opening of the woods. I was stopped in my tracks by all of the creatures, morty and I had seen earlier, blocking the entrance.
“what do you want!?”, I screamed fiercly. one of the creatures let out a haunting moan. The others followed. They inched closer to me. I backed away slowly until my back was against, a white oak tree towering over me. I closed my eyes in fear as they slowly approached me. I opend them and saw them all just one foot away, surrounding me. I let out a ear piercing roar, swung my fist with all of my might at the creatures. as my fist wooshed through their bodies, the poofed into black smog and instantly dissapated.
I was still alive…Shaking, I dropped to my knees. My hands numb, my face red and burning from the winter breeze. I lost conciousness. I awoke handcuffed to a hospital bed. A nurse was in the room checking my vitals. “Why am I handcuffed!? Whats going on!?” I shouted with no response. Two detectives entered the room and asked me my story. I explained to them what had happend. “Stop bullshitting us”, one detective shouted. “We want the truth”, the other stated angrily. “I told you all I know”, I shouted back.
“Marty Richards was found dead just yards from you in the woods! No arms, legs, or skin, you sick bastard!”, he Screamed. “And how to you explain your poor girlfriend!?” “LORI!” I screamed. “NO! Let me the fuck out of here!” I shouted at the top of my lungs!
She was found at the motel, with a slice down her wrist, and bled out in the bathtub. The missing arrowheads from sabbaths dug hole, were found at the bottom of the tub where she lied.
I’ve been locked up for 12 years now. Ill never forget her face. The perfect girl and the comfortable life I had was ripped right out of my grasp. I don’t sleep much anymore…
When i close my eyes, that thousand mile stare from those blood red eyes still stare at me. It stalks me in the darkness. I can still hear its distant moan in the echos of the cellblock at night.
I lie and wait for it to make its move. I pray, rather, that it will make its move and end my misery. There is no more fear, there is no more pain. I am just an empty shell awaiting the sweet release of death. As I slowly decay in my cell, my mind dwells on that single arrowhead, and how such a simple piece of rock, could end a happy life.
CREDIT : Jason Slawinski