Estimated reading time — 9 minutes
I’ll never forget the first time I saw the girl. It was mid-October and it was unusually cold for the area. The air was biting at my feet as I stood outside barefoot. The smell of smoke filled the air. I put out my cigarette, prepared to walk back inside. I could sense there was something lingering in the corner of my eye, but when I looked there was nothing to be seen. I felt as though someone, or something was watching me. I thought I must be tired from a long day of work and chalked it up to that. I turned to open the front door, determined to head upstairs and get some much-needed rest. Then a chill cascaded through my spine and I knew something was wrong. I looked back to the spot I thought I saw something before. I couldn’t see anything, but I could feel a presence. My body began to shake, and I decided to take a few tender steps in the direction from where it came. As I approached the blackness, the form of a young child started to become clear. I couldn’t see its face, only a wicked smile of rotten yellowed teeth. A dark black jacket cloaked the figure; long, straight black hair making its way from the top of its head down to its waistline.
I knew immediately it wasn’t friendly, whatever it may be. The child’s left arm slowly raised from its side as it drew its index finger to point at me. In that instant I was frozen still. Despite my best efforts to turn and run inside, my feet wouldn’t budge. My life felt as though it was being drained from me and I knew I was trapped. The smile grew larger and the child began to move toward me. The blackness of its soul consumed me, and I knew nothing but despair. My mind was clouded with visions of the most horrendous scenes I could have ever witnessed. Dozens of children being tortured, beaten, and left to die in a pitch-black room, only a single light swaying back and forth overhead. They were huddled against the wall, their backs turned to the light, their arms covering their heads. Some laid lifeless on the ground, others trembled vigorously, crying and begging for it to come to an end. An ogre of a man stood over them, watching them as he twisted a rusted chain in his gloved hands. He clenched his teeth as he pulled back his arm to strike at the girl in the front of the heap. Just as the chain was about to strike her, I felt the scene fade away and I was instantly back in my front yard, staring into the shadows.
I jumped back in fear of what was about to happen to me, but I could no longer see the child where it once stood. All common sense and logic told me to flee, but something drew me to stay for a little longer. Could it have been the same girl from the vision? I looked around be to see if she might still be nearby, my feet still barely able to move. I no longer felt her presence and I didn’t see her around me. As quickly as my body would allow, I ran inside and locked the door.
I couldn’t sleep that night. I replayed everything that had just happened in my mind, trying desperately to make sense of it all. Was she trying to show me what happened to her? But then why would she be smiling? A pressure began to build in my eyes, causing me a severe headache. I had turned on every single light, brought in every flashlight. I even lit the few candles that I had. There would be no more shadows near me this night. Sitting in bed with my legs pulled up tight to my chest, I had the feeling that this was only the beginning of something terrible.
The sound of the chirping birds outside my window at the break of day brought me back to reality. Their incessant sing-song communication brought me some respite from the terrors of the night. I gingerly placed one foot on the carpeted flooring of the bedroom. Once I knew it was okay, I slowly brought the other down and stood for what felt like the first time in weeks. That was easily the longest night I had ever known. The clock read 6:07. I was supposed to be at work at nine, but there was no way I was going to be making it in today. I briefly considered going for the comfort of having people nearby, but I knew that the way I looked would only raise questions and concerns. And I needed answers. This feeling was nagging at me, forcing me to want to understand. I decided I had to do some research. Something that could shed some light on this. I ran to my computer and typed in my address. I’d heard of places being haunted before, perhaps some spirit lingering to carry out unfinished business. Or a graveyard that once stood here had been sullied. I wanted to know anything.
Dead end. Before this home was here, there was nothing but acres of wooded area. I scoured the internet, looking up articles about nearby hospitals, psych wards, orphanages. I even looked through the famous murderers and criminals from the area. Nothing. All my attempts to cure my relentless obsession with finding out what was going had failed. A chime came from the clock sitting on a desk behind me. I looked back timidly only to see my fears confirmed. All this time I’d been sitting there, pouring over the facts and figures, I had let time slip away from me. It chimed again, bringing my eyes to focus in on it. 8:00. The dark had overtaken the day. Everything I knew in that moment was fear. The chair swiveled as I bolted upright, determined to run back to my illuminated fortress. But it was then I felt the chill I had known the night before. My spine locked in place, my legs trembling so hard I could barely stand, cold sweat beginning to drip from every part of my body. The child had returned. I could feel its wicked eyes locked on to me.
“What do you want from me?” I managed to say, my voice barely above a whisper, each syllable shakier than the last. I turned to face her, determined to get the answers my mind needed so intensely. Behind me only shadows, but I knew she was near. I could feel that she was coming.
“Why have you come here? Why me?” I tried again. There was only silence in return. I stepped out into the hallway against my better judgement. I had to find her. Every thought I had overcame my body’s overwhelming desire to turn tail and run. Curiosity overcame common sense as I stepped down the hall, looking in every direction for some sign of her. And then I was frozen again.
She appeared from the darkness, her finger pointed at my chest. This time there was no smile. Her other arm reached up to her face. She pulled the hair away to reveal her scarred and shriveled face. Tendrils of shadows made their way from her empty sockets and into my mind. What I experienced was the most intense pain I had ever known. It was as though the tendrils were wrapped around my brain like a vice. They pulled and twisted, squeezed and wrenched. Each movement hurt worse than the last. It felt as though it went on for hours. Then it stopped as her face turned toward mine, her hand releasing her hair to cover her face once more.
“You never should have tried to find me,” a whisper sounded in my mind. Her mouth hadn’t moved but I knew I could hear her speaking. She withdrew her finger into her hand and slowly brought it back to her side. I collapsed immediately. I was free from her power, but the pain was still so intense I could hardly move. “I have no choice but to bring you to him,” she said softly as the smile returned to her face.
I looked up to see her, but she was gone, her words lingering in the air. My lungs gasped for air, my head felt as though it might explode, and my legs couldn’t move. As quickly as I could, I began to crawl back to my room, each pull of my arms dragging my broken body closer to the light I was certain could save me. Each attempt to crawl become more difficult, my labored breaths slowing me down until I was only able to move a few inches at a time.
At last I reached my bedroom. I had to use every bit of my remaining energy to prop myself against the door frame to turn the knob. I fell in face first, landing directly on my chin. In one last desperate attempt, I pulled my legs up and kicked the door shut behind me. I heard a decisive snap before my head collapsed back onto the carpet and my mind faded to black. The girl appeared to me in my dreams that night, but every time I tried to see her, she would move just out of my sight, lingering in the corner of my vision. “You shouldn’t be trying to see me. It will make him angrier,” she would whisper. She repeated the same thing over and over, but I couldn’t help but try to focus on her. Even through the fear, I was acting on my ludicrous impulse to understand who or what she was.
I woke up with my face covered in dried blood, my tongue pulsing with pain. I must have bit into it when I fell into the room. I was severely fatigued, probably dehydrated. Soreness rang throughout my body. The lights felt as though they were piercing through me as my eyes struggled to adjust. I knew that I needed someone to help, but I had no idea where to go. The only thing that made sense to me in that moment was to go to the police to report to them what had happened. Maybe they could refer me to someone who could help with this sort of thing. I picked myself up off the ground and threw on some clothes to make sure I was covered enough to be seen in public. My eyes could barely focus, and my limbs could barely move, but somehow, I managed to get myself into the car. I couldn’t tell you how I got there, I can’t even remember what streets I took or how fast I was going. Once I arrived, I rushed into to tell whoever would listen what happened, what the girl said to me, and how I would cease to exist if I ever saw the dark again. It turned out to be a huge mistake. The police just stared at me as I explained myself. They forced me into a tiny, dank cell until an ambulance arrived to take me to the hospital.
I was strapped to a hospital bed; my meals being spoon-fed to me like I was a newborn child. The restraints gnawed at my ankles and wrists, leaving behind raw skin and painful memories. I tried several times, in different ways, to explain myself to make them see I wasn’t crazy. To no avail. Paranoid Schizophrenia. Delusional. A danger to myself and others. They threw around this medical terminology and jargon to try to convince me the only threat to my life was me. I knew the staff was snickering at me as they walked by. Their egos wouldn’t allow them to believe in something so terrible. I managed to fall asleep after hours of writhing uncomfortably in the bed, but it was short lived. I was jarred awake when I realized they had turned the lights off in the room. The chill had returned to me like an unwanted disease. That’s when I heard her whispers again.
“He’s coming for you now,” the voice cut through my thoughts as I looked through the window into the hall. There was her evil, yellow smile staring back at me. What I heard next terrified me more than anything I’ve ever known. Huge, lumbering steps began to resonate down the hallway of the hospital wing. I couldn’t see anything but darkness, but I knew I was alone. The ground shook with each large, calculated step. Every inch of my body trembling, the involuntary urination soaking my legs and bed sheets. I screamed at the top of my lungs, begging for help. My throat closed, and I could no longer speak. I was frozen once more.
The girl had taken control of me. The immense footsteps making their way closer, the sound growing louder and louder. For a moment I saw a glimpse of the large, rusty chain wrapped around two over-sized, gloved hands.
“What’s wrong. What’s going on?” The lights flickered on, blinding me momentarily as my eyes adjusted to the sudden, unexpected brightness. Two young nurses rushed to my bedside, checking to see what had happened.
“They’re here,” I said hoarsely. “They’ve come to take me.” They both looked around quickly before glancing at one another.
“There’s no one here but you.” The girl who spoke sounded irritated. “Go back to sleep.” I tried to tell them what happened, but they seemed to have no interest in what I had to say. They scoffed and walked out of the room, turning the light off as they left. I screamed as loudly as I could until they turned it back on. It probably made me seem even crazier, but I knew at that point they weren’t about to believe me anyways.
Even at the faintest hint of shadow, I can still see her. Smiling, waiting for me to be surrounded by the darkness so she can take me once and for all. I refuse to succumb to their evil, no matter the cost. Those horrid beings lie in wait for their opportunity to take me from this world. All I see now is the bright lights reflecting the white of my comforting surroundings. The padded cells of my new sanctuary protect me from the terrors that they seek to impart on me. Never again will I allow myself to be covered in shadows.
CREDIT : Steven_C