Estimated reading time — 9 minutes
I remember when I was about eight years old I had an imaginary friend. I never saw it, I only talked to it. I wouldn’t remember what, but I know we would have conversations about games and end up playing them. I soon realized that I was speaking to another girl and she shared my room with me, I just never knew about it until she mentioned it.
Around that time, small things around our house would move – cups, figurines, sometimes plates. I even remember my entire bookcase had been emptied and the books laid in stacks on my floor, only one picture book open to the middle page. My imaginary friend was reading, I recall.
One night, I had woken up from sleep and decided to get a glass of water. I went down the hall to the bathroom and turned on the light. I reached for our plastic cups in the corner before something in the mirror caught my eye.
It was me – or, really not me I should say. My reflection was another person – a girl. She was weary red pajamas that looked splotched and wet. She had dirty blonde hair and black eyes. It didn’t bother me for some reason. I was intrigued. I turned my head to the side, the girl that was my reflection followed. I raised my arms, touched my knees, and poked my face. The reflection did the same. Then she smiled, and faded until my own sleepy reflection was once again as it always had been.
I had always watched horror movies and ghost hunting shows. I had read scary stories and listened when my dad tried to scare me. It never really worked. I was a pretty naïve child, I barely got scared. The supernatural wasn’t really something I was afraid of, more of losing my family and bring all alone.
I had dreams for about two weeks. They weren’t bad or scary. I was looking out eyes that surely weren’t my own and walking through our house. At first, I thought I had been sleepwalking, but I realized that the rooms in my dreams weren’t the same. They were the rooms, but they had different decorations and add-ons. I would sometimes look down, but all I saw were my hands, the rest just a nonexistent nothingness.
I didn’t tell my mom what I was experiencing, but I did ask her questions.
“Mom,” I asked. “Who lived in our house before us?”
She gave me a surprised look. “Who? Why?”
I shrugged. “I was just curious.”
“Well,” she said. “A man lived here.”
“Just a man?”
“Yes, he had committed suicide in 1968.”
“Why?” I asked.
She pursed her lips. “Well, he had kidnapped a girl for about two months before the police finally decided to search his house. They found him, but they never found the girl.”
“Yes,” My mom said, looking uncomfortable. “She was about your age, I believe.”
“Yes.” My mom’s voice had become tight, and she didn’t look away from the road, only glared at the cars in front of us.
“I don’t think she left the house,” I said.
My mom didn’t say anything after that. I had a suspicion that she got what I was hinting. If she thought I was crazy, she didn’t say or do anything. She used to ask me about my imaginary friend when she first showed up, but she had always assumed it was my child mind making her up.
But my mom did take precautions. She tried to act nonchalant, like they were normal. She would tuck me in and make sure I said my prayers before she left and I went to sleep. She wanted me to text her every time I got home walking from school every day. At first, I thought I was ridiculous; I was in the sixth graded and walked with my friends to the end of my street, but I could see where she was coming from with strangers and kidnappers. It was something that every mother worried about, and she worried even more than others when my dad had passed away when I was six years old.
I didn’t see the girl in the mirror after that one time. When I got into the seventh grade, she seemed to drift away. I didn’t talk to her because she wasn’t around. I wasn’t really upset because my mom had actually convinced me that the girl was just a figment of my imagination, even when she acted strange that one day I had brought up the previous owner.
One night, I was doing homework in my bedroom on my bed. I had my textbook out along with unfinished papers and my calculator. I remember I had heard a knocking on my wall. I thought nothing of it since it stopped. Then it started again a few minutes later, only louder. I assumed it was my mom messing with me and I called out to her to stop so I could concentrate on schoolwork. The knocking stopped, but my bed made a deep creaking noise, like the springs were shifting slowly. But I hadn’t felt anything, and the bed didn’t sink. I ignored it and it stopped.
Then there were icy fingertips threading through my hair. My heart jumped into my throat and I turned around only to see nothing, just my white wall. At this point, I thought I was just going crazy or I was extremely stressed out.
The knocking started again, only on the wall behind me. I felt irritated, cursing my mom under my breath. But then I realized my mom was working late at her office. I was home alone.
I didn’t dare turn around. I stayed calm and closed my textbook, stuffing all my homework into my backpack and slinging it over my shoulder. I walked calmly out of my room and into the hallway. But something happened. My backpack felt ten times heavier and the air around my seemed to get thicker. A feeling of complete dread pooled in my stomach. Something bad was going to happen.
I ran, grabbing my phone off the counter on the way. I got out of the house as fast as I could, my feet sprinting on autopilot to my friend’s house across the street. I hadn’t gone home until I saw my mom’s car pull into the driveway.
I slept in my own room that night, not wanting to worry my mom. I told her that I just needed some help on my homework and that’s why I went over to my friend’s house. She believed me.
My room seemed eerie. I had a feeling I wasn’t supposed to be in there. I had a nightmare, but this time I was watching from afar. I saw a pale man, his features haggard and tired. And I saw a girl, the same girl I saw in the mirror. The same girl I had been talking to when I was nine and suddenly disappeared. I saw the man kill the girl in the basement. He slit her throat with a kitchen knife and let her bleed out, writhing on the floor, choking on red.
When I woke up, my room was freezing. I looked to the corner and saw a black shadow. It was tall and lanky, just like stature of the man in my dream. But the shadow was holding another shadow by a puff of swirling black hair. I realized it was the girl. I screamed and ran into my mom’s room, hoping to God that the shadow wouldn’t follow me.
I jumped onto my mom’s bed, shaking her shoulders. She immediately woke up, looking startled and concerned and downright scared at my behavior.
“He didn’t leave, mom!” I screamed. “He never left the house!”
My mom tried to get me to calm down, but I was not going to listen, not while that being was still hovering in the corner of my room. I was not going to calm down while that thing was still in the house.
I managed to scream and sob so much that my mom let me drag her out of the house. She obviously knew something was wrong. I never got scared, I barely cried, even when I was a child.
My mom drove to her office. It was about five minutes away and I cried silently all the way there. I had to of been three in the morning, but the security guard let us in because he knew my mom. We slept there in chairs using extra blankets from the car.
My mom asked me what had happened the next morning and I said, “He was coming for me, too, just like the girl. She never left the house, either.”
I had never seen her looked so spooked. She said we could sleep at a hotel, but I didn’t bother. We would’ve had to go back at some point anyway.
I slept in my mom’s bed, not feeling shameful in the slightest. I didn’t have any dreams, any nightmares. I didn’t see any shadows of dead people in the corner of the room. The house didn’t feel as heavy, but I could still tell they were there.
I realized the girl was trying to warn me.
Weeks went by and nothing happened. It wasn’t until one night I woke up and a face was hovering only centimeters above mine. I was paralyzed with fear. The face disappeared not even a second later. I didn’t see it entirely, but I remember the blank, dead stare of the eyes.
If I was in my house, I always felt eyes on me, following me everywhere. Who eyes? – I’m not sure. It could have been the man who was out to get me, or it could have been the girl. If it was the latter, I wouldn’t have felt so scared inside.
I spent more time at friends’ houses. They didn’t mind. I didn’t tell anyone about the face above mine that night. The only person who knew anything that was going on in the house was my mom, and I only shouted at her about the man never leaving. I knew she got what I meant and I had a feeling she had seen him as well from the way her face turned pale and she looked uncomfortable. She wasn’t one to get scared either; I had inherited that from her.
Sometimes I would see a creeping shadow in my peripheral vision, but, if I looked at all, there would be nothing there, though I knew what I had seen. Objects continued moving, even more than the years before. My diary was taken for a few weeks and I found it on top of the fridge. My mom and I are too short to reach up there and my mom was that obtrusive of my privacy and she had no reason to hide my own diary from me.
Doors started slamming and cupboards would open right in front of us. At first, we tried to avoid it, but it became a regular occurrence and we got used to it. We didn’t want to piss off whatever was in our house.
Light bulbs would flicker on and off and the TV would turn channels right in the middle of shows. It wasn’t us, the remote could be five feet or sixteen feet away from my mom, and I never saw her do it. I sure as hell didn’t and my own mother isn’t that cruel to mess with me like that.
I never invited anyone over, which seemed odd to them because I did it all the time when I was little. I just told them it was either messy or my mom just said no.
Most nights I would wake up to unnatural shadows during the night. I started dreaming again, but they were the same dreams I had when I was nine, which weren’t disturbing to me at all. Feeling a presence in the corner of the room or in my closet was.
I soon was graduating high school, somehow managing to keep my sanity. I moved out of state after I convinced my mom to move as well. I wasn’t comfortable leaving my mom in that hell. She moved a few miles away from my college campus and life seemed normal.
Not even two months into my freshman year of college past before my dorm started to feel a bit heavier. I lived with four people. They didn’t seem to notice, probably because they lived normal teenage years without a dead girl and a homicidal spirit living in their home.
My room was the worst; it felt like my room back at home; eerie and unnerving. I saw the shadows again and I would walk in after a class to find all my drawers open. The pictures of me and my friends on shelves would begin to move. They would just change their placement or be set face down. One had my face scratched out.
One night I woke up to see the man in my corner again. I was terrified and ran out, shaking. I spent the night in one of my roommate’s room. She didn’t question it when she saw my expression. She probably thought I had a nightmare or something.
The year kept moving by. I saw the man everywhere in the dorm. If I was watching a movie with my friend’s, he was there standing where no one except me could see him. If I was studying, he would hover over my shoulder, his cold fingertips brushing my hair away from my neck. I usually swung my arm back, trying to knock away nothingness.
I visited my mom for a night during spring break. I had extra-curricular activities scheduled and couldn’t stay the entire night. That night, she and I were sitting, half watching a movie and half lost in thought.
“Is everything going okay in school?” she asked.
“Yeah,” I said immediately. Then added, “Mostly.”
“Oh? Is it a boy?”
“No,” I said, not feeling embarrassed at all. “It something different.”
“Care to elaborate?”
“He left,” I said lowly. “She stayed. He left the house. He’s living in my dorm.”
My mom went white as a sheet and looked sick. “Are you going to be okay?”
“Yeah,” I replied. “But he’s getting closer and closer to my bed when I wake up and see him.”
My mom started crying. She wanted me to stay at her house, for spring break at least. She didn’t want to know what would happen when he finally got to me, and I didn’t want to know either, ever.
“I’ll be fine, mom,” I said. “He’ll die down after a while like in the old house.”
It didn’t die down. It got worse and worse. Last night, I woke up to his face above mine, just like that night at my old house. I had screamed in horror and woke up the entire dorm.
“It’s nothing,” I told them, starring at the shadow in the corner. “Just a bad dream.”
One of my roommates’s looked back to where my eyes were trained on, and she looked perplexed for a moment. She shuddered, and then shook her head, as if she was seeing things. She was seeing things; she just thought it was her mind playing tricks.
So now I write this. I’m in my room. Since he was above my face last night; I don’t know what will happen tonight. I called my mom and told her what happened. She’s visiting me tomorrow.
I can see him now. He’s standing in the corner. His eyes are brighter than usual; a deep black abyss that only seemed alight with malicious intent. His long, gnarled fingers are twitching.
He’s smiling now. His teeth are as sharp as kitchen knives.
In fact, he’s holding one in his hand.
Credit To – Gabby Roberts