Estimated reading time — 10 minutes
You’d be surprised at how certain things trigger these subconscious responses from deep inside you. Involuntary cues that bubble to the surface whenever that certain thing strikes that precise note. For me it was the creak of that damn door. It’d drive me insane, and no matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried, it would never be silent… And just like that, it became a part of my life. Ingrained in my mind, the sound would haunt me from the day we first moved in. I haven’t slept completely for three years because of it.
Three years ago, give or take a month or so, Karen and I moved into our new apartment. The floor plan was simple, a bedroom that’s connected to a bathroom, a kitchen, living room, and designated washer room. Simple, yet effective… Moving in was one of my fondest memories. We ran around the mostly empty space for the majority of the first few hours. The hype of being free and independent in “our” own space was exhilarating. It was later that same night that I first noticed that creaking sound the door to the bathroom made when moved ever so slightly.
“God that’s a horrible sound,” I remember remarking, “The hinges probably need to be greased.”
“Dearest, you nitpick the strangest things, you won’t even notice it in time,” Karen said with a teasing chime.
She always knew how to deal with my quirks.
In time the creaking didn’t subside, nor did my perception of it. Whenever the door was opened or closed the sound would pierce through my ears and dilute my thoughts. Though Karen was wrong about it leaving me, she probably knew that I’d adapt to it. The sound never became less annoying, don’t get me wrong, I still hate it, but my patience for it grew out of necessity. Though even with my increased tolerance the creaking was enough to stir me from slumber whenever Karen rose to use the toilet. Maybe I’d never fully adjust after all. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sprayed grease into those old hinges on that seemingly older door. The owners of this complex must’ve cut some serious corners to have recycled doors, but the price for rent was cheap enough. You get what you paid for.
Now aside from the creaking of this door everything else was perfect, that is until I started to notice the door was taunting me. Sometimes Karen would leave the door open, and the air conditioning would kick on only to move the door. The door would sway slowly and the slight movements were enough to sound the alarm… to make that drawn out creeeeeeak in the dead of night. That sound would scratch at my brain until I rose from the bed and closed the door. Sure enough, like some sick joke, the door would seem to open itself by some force of magic. With one long creak it would torment me… but how? I closed it. The door must not be catching. So, more firmly, I’d close it, and that’d be the end of that.
Every time I had to do this dance with the door, and I’ve done this frequently, I felt a strong sense of unease well up in my chest. It was as though I was five years old again and I was peering into a pitch black hallway. The fear felt reminiscent of those days, and so I pushed it out of my mind… I’m too old to be afraid of the dark still. I’d talk to Karen about these occurrences and my unease with the situation and she’d just jokingly dismiss it, teasing me.
“Oh hunny, should I start checking the bathroom for monsters and oogey boogey?” She’d say with a smile, which faded when she’d see my expression wouldn’t change.
She meant well enough, and usually her humor would be returned with a quip of my own, but this… this was different. I could not shake this feeling. So it was then that we got into the habit of securing that door at night, though that never actually worked. Every night was the same. I’d never fully sleep because of the creak. During the day it posed no threat, outside of annoying me.
Life moved on and so did we. It became easier with time, but from time to time there would be instances where I would hear the creak once more and neither Karen nor I were up to open the door. When I would groggily glance up to see if the door somehow forced itself ajar I’d see a closed door. Maybe I’m just imagining things, or maybe not.
One time, on a restless night, I heard the creak, and without sleep to blind me I jolted up to see what I can only describe as a slate white face… but it had no discernible features. I reeled back hard enough to smack against the headboard of my bed, which caused me to choke on the gasp of air I had drawn in. The choking noise, or maybe the back of the headboard crashing against the wall, or maybe it was just the sudden movement of all of this happening at once woke Karen up with a start. When she turned to me she saw my face pale and my eyes unsteadily staring at the door… which was closed.
I could tell that Karen was concerned, because she started to treat me with tender care. It was a little insulting. I wasn’t fragile. I know I saw something… or did I just dream it all up? I hadn’t slept well since we moved in.
No other incidents occurred after that. The door still creaked. Sometimes it’d pry open because it was on a crack. Nothing like that night though…
By the third year Karen went to a conference for something or another in England, and I was alone in the apartment for a month. All went by smoothly, perhaps because I expected the worst. With work and games to keep me busy the first three days sailed by like a gem. I hardly noticed the creaks, though they did wake me. Then there it was, without fail, a long, drawn out, high-pitched creak.
I had been playing games all night. It probably was a bad idea to delve into the horror genre when I’m all alone and paranoid, but it was the newest “Quiet Rise” game, and it was scary as hell. Just as I laid my head to rest it sounded. Like the devil’s very own grinding teeth it tormented me with its wicked shriek. CREEEEEEEAK. It let out a second shrill note as though daring me to glance up. Click. The door closed.
“Wha-What the fuck was that…?” I managed to utter softly.
“A-Am I just dreaming things up again…?” I remember thinking, or rather praying. My chest ached as I drew rapid breaths from under my blanket. I could feel every single strand of hair on my neck and arms prick up at once. I felt an overwhelming, yet cold, pressure bear down my throat and crush my chest. I wanted to believe it was nothing more than my overactive imagination jumping into extremes in the dead of night, because I stayed up a little too long. So I didn’t dare move. I was safe in my blanket, this I’d like to believe. Eventually sleep caught me, though it was fitful, and before I knew it the light of the morning breached my eyes. I lived to see another day. No more horror games though.
I didn’t tell Karen about what happened, I didn’t want her to worry. I just ignored it. The next night nothing happened. So my mind must’ve played a foul trick on me… right?
The night after, I managed to get to sleep quickly. I was exhausted after work and the day went well. Sleep was going to be rewarding, I could feel it taking me already. A few hours into that unfulfilling rest I felt something tug at the back of my mind. It felt sharp, like a little clawed hand was pinching the softest part of my subconscious and pulling firmly. It was uncomfortable. The feeling was enough to break my already frail slumber and make me painfully aware of my environment all at once. Creeeeeeeeak. Reluctantly I opened my eyes and dazedly lifted my gaze to the door. The door was wide open. Wide fucking open… but nothing was there. At first my sleep deprived mind made me call out, “Karen?” but the inquisition was fruitless. It dawned on me she had been gone for nearly a week. I felt like I wanted to cry out, curse whatever cruel person installed this demonic door. Instead I just rolled over. I didn’t have the energy to fight it.
The next day I studied the door thoroughly. Nothing made sense. There should be no reason for it to open every night. I looked around the bathroom area and tried to find some source that could be causing this. Maybe someone was playing a prank on me. Maybe Karen had been up to something the whole time. I couldn’t find a thing.
The days went on after that and days turned into weeks. Three weeks in and still I couldn’t sleep peacefully. My mind grew frenzied. I was reaching the tipping point. What was going on? In time this question, and lack of an answer, consumed me. It got to the point where the fear was overridden by madness. I hated that door. I hated that creaking. I needed to end it. I went out and bought two cameras that day, if I couldn’t see anything, maybe they could. I set up one camera just above the headboard so that it would face the door. The other was on a desk parallel to the bed against the wall. I placed a camera there to watch me.
That night I slept. It was a miracle. I didn’t wake, but I didn’t feel rested. I felt empty, but at least I didn’t hear the creaking. Ironic that this would happen when I set out for the truth. It would have almost driven me insane if it wasn’t so funny. Now wasn’t the time to dwell on this though, I had to view the tapes. First I removed the memory card from the camera affixed to my headboard and uploaded the video onto my computer. The first few hours were tame, and I felt my skin flush. Had I been acting nuts this whole time for nothing? Was the lack of sleep the cause all along? Maybe all I needed was a good night’s rest. I fast forwarded the video. Nothing for the next couple of hours… then there was movement. I hit pause, backed up, and played it a few minutes before the movement began.
My skin felt like an army of ants with needles for feet marched across my entire body. The door opened with that earsplitting creak. At first I wondered why I hadn’t woken up. Every other time the sound of the door was enough to take me from sleep. These thoughts were washed from me instantly as I saw it. The door had not opened on its own.
A black… entity, formless and slightly translucent held onto the doorknob with what I can only imagine to be a hand. It was… a shadow. No. That’s not right… but that’s the only word to describe it. It was like a shapeless silhouette, humanlike in make, but with no definition whatsoever. Its “body” melded into one long mass as it reached from the floor to the ceiling. It had no legs or feet. As it moved it glided slowly across the floor. The top of it extended and narrowed slightly, forming a round top, which leaned forward and away from the rest of it. Periodically something would bubble at the end of what I would call its “head”. It looked like melting flesh when it happened, just black and almost see through. This melting motion seemed to create a face in great torment.
If I focused on it hard enough the face would seemingly stared pleadingly in despair straight past the camera and into my eyes as it continued to melt. At that moment my ears began to ring. I thought my ears would burst. I tried not to look at those faces after that.
It moved toward my bed… Why didn’t I wake? The shadowed thing finally took a spot by my bed. It hovered over me as its “arms” sank into its body. There it stood idle. I felt my stomach churn violently. I retched, nearly falling over as I fought back the heaves and continued watching the video. The only movement was from the continual emerging and melting of that tormented face. Its eyes never left me through this cycle though, and that unsettled me most of all.
More appeared through the opened doorway now. One after the other and with each one that passed through the door cried out with another howling creak. I never budged. I never moved. I was completely oblivious. They all had continually melting faces which all bore a different face of agony, pain, anguish… all of them were different, and yet they all inspired the same feeling of dread deep inside of me. Each one would take a place standing next to the one before it until they circled my bed completely.
They stared… never moving for two whole hours.
Just as I thought I could stomach no more I saw something emerging from the back. The translucent blackness that made up these things covered the figure that was appearing like a veil, but I could still see it moving. It moved through the doorway at a snail’s pace. I could clearly see long… limbs? It was slate white, devoid of color. The arms that emerged from the darkness of the doorway were wiry and very… very long. The muscles pulled at the visible bone from under the skin as it moved. It began to pull itself through the doorway more and more.
Then its face made its way through the dark. My eyes blistered as tears immediately swelled past the surface and began to fall freely. My breath was ragged and spiteful as each attempt to breathe set my throat aflame. That face… it was the same face I saw so long ago. That featureless face moved closer and closer. Everything about it was elongated. It moved like a sloth, slowly reaching out with a hand and digging its gnarled claws into a grip to pull itself along. When it made it to the shadowed things they let out the most gut wrenching wails. With an indolent swipe it dragged one of its long arms through each and every one of the black entities. Their wails grew so loud that my ears burned. I felt sorry for them for some reason.
As they all screamed at their demise they faded into wisps in the dark, disappearing from sight. The white one continued to claw and creep over me. Its claws dug into my headboard and its legs lifted it over me from the end of my bed. I could hear its bones crackling with every move it made… That’s how close it came to me and the camera. Its neck extended further, growing as its vacant face met mine only inches away. The face began to crack and tear, opening up to reveal a “mouth” as blood seeped from the newly torn rip. A guttural growl gurgled through the blood that pooled in its “mouth”. It lifted its head to the camera and cocked it to the side before letting out a terrifying screech.
The camera was overwhelmed with static and the image began to corrupt and break as the screech drew out. It lasted maybe ten seconds before the video cut to black. Minutes passed and it remained black. Then the video flashed back to show a mostly empty room, save for me sleeping soundly.
For the longest time I sat there. Was I going crazy? Was this just a dream? Was it a hallucination from sleep deprivation? Maybe, but when I started the next video it was the same thing. I didn’t watch the second video… I couldn’t. I sat there for a while before I actually focused enough on my hands. There was blood, and not just on my hands, it was all over me. I got up and dashed for the bathroom slamming the door behind me. The mirror showed blood steadily streaming from my eyes, ears, nose and mouth… I glanced down at my shirt through the mirror, which was drenched in blood. I lifted it. A “bite mark” bled freely from my side. It bit me and I never stirred. I didn’t even feel it until now. My body was shaking uncontrollably. What the fuck…. What the fuck… What the fuck.
Creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak. I could have sworn I closed the door behind me…
Credit: Aron Hunt
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