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The lurker outside

The lurker outside


Estimated reading time — 16 minutes

For the grand majority of my life, I lived in a small European country in this tiny university town with my mom where nothing really happens. Everybody knows each other and when you go outside, there’s a fifty percent chance some random person is starting a conversation with you just because they know your grandma. It was the common European city where the highest building is a gothic church and that’s it. If you’re lucky, there’s a McDonalds somewhere but don’t count on it. But yeah, I’m not hating or anything. It most definitely has its charm. It offers this kind of safety which I like. I had some friends there and every Friday night we hit the pub. Life was just good there.

I lived in this medium sized house. My mom and dad build it 25 years ago when I was born. I always thought our house was special because I never saw that kind of interior anywhere else. When you’re sitting in the living room, you can see everything upstairs and vice versa. You could compare it with a big two story mall where you can see the top story floors from the bottom floor. It took away some of the privacy a teenager wants, but I kinda liked it. It resembled the open household we had. There were no secrets at home and you could say my mom was my best friend. When I was 7 years old, my dad met another woman. I just remember there being a lot of fights, screaming, yelling and everything bad. He and the woman moved to the coast, 200 km further and I never saw his face again. Guess it was for the better. My mom never wanted another husband. “They were all the same. All vile creatures.” I just nodded every time she started one of those rants, but she promised me I would be different. I would be the kind of man all women in town would fight over. Yeah right, I guess…

I just lived a very normal life. Some would say it’s was just plain boring, but I didn’t need anything else. My life was in that town. I had my mom, friends, school and hobbies. I studied economics in high school but I didn’t really care for it. I really didn’t hit it off with my fellow classmates as well so I tried to find my friends elsewhere and with success. My life just existed off pure joy and happiness. After high school, I started my IT studies and I loved every bit off it. I finished my first year flawlessly and that summer was a blast. I travelled to the United States and worked in a little shop in our town. Goddamn, I’m getting nostalgic thinking about it. If I got the opportunity to go back to that summer, I wouldn’t have to think about it. But there’s a saying about rain and sunshine afterwards. Well, for me the true horror began afterwards.

During fall that year, my mom got diagnosed. I remember sitting in the waiting room. Feeling numb. You sometimes have that feeling something bad is gonna happen. Well, I had the worst feeling ever. I went inside the doctor’s room with my mom and I just blacked out there. I heard the most cruel words ever spoken… “Terminally ill”, “tumor”, “6 months”. My world ended there while my mom kept strong. I knew she did it for me. That’s how she just was. Always making people laugh and smile at the expense of her own being.

Against all odds we celebrated Christmas. We called it a Christmas miracle. Winter went by and spring came. My mom was on a strict chemotherapy. I’m not a believing man, but I prayed. I prayed to the big Man to spare her. That’s what people do when they’ve lost all hope I think. In summer I graduated. And she was sitting there. Joy filled my heart. We took these cute graduation pictures together and hanged them all over the house. We were truly happy. But at the end of summer, our jar of luck was depleted. Her health took a dive and a month later she passed away peacefully. Well I think it had to be peacefully, even though these awful tentacles of doom were crawling inside her head.

It was tough… For months I lived in pure darkness. I can’t honestly remember what happened back then. My mind was clouded. I organized the funeral with my best friend and after that… I was just alone. I went to work, came home, made dinner (often junkfood), played videogames and drank until I could barely stand on my feet anymore. My friends were worried but frankly, I couldn’t give a damn. I couldn’t give a damn until that one night happened…

I got this job as a system admin at our town hall. I worked in a small team and I liked it! It wasn’t all that difficult and my co-workers were awesome. They were very comprehensive about my situation. I really tried my best and that was good enough! And honestly? I looked forward going there every day. The house I lived in felt so cold since all the warmth left when my mom passed away. And now I was a stranger in my own house.

So yeah, I left work that winter evening and darkness had already fallen. I grabbed myself some food on the way home. Think it was doner kebab or something with some garlic sauce. If you’ve never tried it, it tastes like heaven! I remember it was freezing so I put my hat as far over my ears as I could and I was happy I brought my woolen scarf with me. There was this shortcut I always used to take. It was through this dead-end street where only pedestrians and bikes could pass. And my house was just at the end of that street, looking straight into that dead-end street. I’m not someone who is easily afraid, but walking through the darkness in a street where not a living soul can see me, sends the shivers down my spine tho. There were a lot of villas in that street and they were all hidden behind bushes or long driveways. Sometimes the moon was visible through the thick sea of leaves from the trees. So the only light was from these ancient street lights. And in between them, there was pure darkness.

I was just glad I could close the door behind my back. Well yeah, not for long, because the coldness of the empty house was depressing. Like always I put some wood in the wood-stove. I tried to enjoy my meal while watching some Netflix show I couldn’t care about. I “called” my best friend, Jack Daniels because he was the only one who could make me forget things. He was always waiting for me in the liquor cabinet and so I poured myself a big glass and decided just to take the bottle with me. Would spare me a couple of walks.

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It was when I wanted to close the shutters that I saw him for the first time. He was just standing there in the dead-end street. It was just weird. I took a big sip trying to comprehend what I saw. It wasn’t all that weird actually, but who the hell was just standing there at 9 p.m. during winter on the road. He was surrounded by an aura of light from the light post, but I could not recognize him or see some facial features. He wore this big hat and a shadow was cast over his face because of it. I decided not to pay any more attention to the man and I closed the shutters.

The evening went by slowly and I finished the show. It wasn’t all that spectacular, and the thoughts about the figure that was standing there slowly faded away. It was only when I entered my mom’s old bedroom to close the shutters there, that I saw him again. What in the hells name was this guy’s problem? He was still standing there. On the same fucking place. It was like he hadn’t even moved a muscle. But the most frightening thing to me, was that he faced my house. Like I felt he was watching me or something. Who the hell was he? Why was he standing there?

I ran downstairs and made sure the door was locked and every shutter was closed. There was that strange tingle on my back. I don’t know if I’m the only one who has that, but I always get it when I feel in danger. I had that weird feeling that I just wasn’t safe. But of course it was ridiculous, right? I went upstairs and fell asleep immediately.

I woke up and I felt like nothing really happened. I had the sweetest dream I remember about being on a holiday with my mom. And the strange figure slipped away somewhere in the back of my mind. And during the day I just forgot it. Work was pretty boring. Just the usual stuff.

I went to the supermarket to grab myself a bottle of gin. Diversity is key I guess. So yeah, I went inside, heated up a lasagna and poured myself a drink. I launched Netflix and saw there was this fun looking show about squids or something. For the first time in months I felt really engaged in the show. It was until I was already at episode three that I remembered I hadn’t touched the bottle anymore. Well I had enough for that day, but once I looked outside my heart skipped a few beats. He was there again… Standing there in the light. With the same ridiculous hat on his head. I uttered some words in the trend of “what the fuck”. I was just puzzled. Why was he standing there again, just on the same place? Wait… Yesterday he was standing in the light of the last light post but now he was standing… closer? Yeah, he moved 50 meters closer now. And I felt his gaze… I was horrified.

I ran outside and started yelling. I had to know who he was. “Who the hell are you? What are doing in the middle of the road?” Things like that. But he didn’t respond. I could only hear the wind. He didn’t even flinch. What the hell… I tried one last thing. “If you get on my property, I will call the police!”

I went back inside and laid myself on my belly on the couch, looking at the man with the hat. Minutes turned into hours and all of a sudden I woke up. The faint winter sun shone on my face and I heard children playing outside. I must’ve fallen asleep. I quickly stood up and looked outside the window, but of course there was nothing to be seen. I went outside to investigate the place he was standing, but there were no tracks. Nothing, nada, noppes… Was I becoming delusional?

I went inside and lived my life. Did the dishes, made the house clean, all that shit. But the only thing I could think about was the man. The weird man in the street. This time, he didn’t escape my mind.

Since it was Saturday night and I hadn’t seen my friends in weeks, we decided to meet up in the local Irish pub to have some fun. I knew they were just concerned, but yeah, one day the healing of a trauma must begin. Guess I had to come outside one day…

And honestly I had a blast! It was like I had seen them only yesterday and they were so supportive. I was finally brave enough to talk about the hell I went through the last couple of months and they just listened. It felt really therapeutic. At around midnight, while walking home, I was really curious to see if he was still standing outside. The snow was cracking under my feet and I with every breath I took, my lungs were filled with painful cold air.

I entered my street and guess what… He wasn’t there! You can’t even comprehend how relieved I was. My house was standing there all lonely without peeping Toms. I just smiled and giggled out loud. I know it was weird, but not then. I just felt euphoric. It was probably also the alcohol, but maybe he got scared yesterday. I went inside and like every night, I had to close the damn shutters. It was right then the feelings of pure euphoria left. And I just started yelling. Tears filled my eyes. I don’t remember what I said anymore. But he stood there… On the street right in front of my house… Creeping…

I never panicked more. I immediately closed the shutters. I moved all my furniture towards the two doors that led outside and all my windows. That motherfucker wasn’t going to play any tricks on me. Oh no… not today. I called the police and told the woman on the phone I was being harassed by someone and that he was on my property. She was going to send a patrol through my street to see if he was still there. I had to stay on the line and after a couple of minutes she told me the officers passed, but nobody was around my house. I was just too afraid to open my shutters again. If he showed up again, I had to call them again and the police would drive past my house a couple of times that night. I felt a little bit relieved but still…

I didn’t sleep that night… I never felt more anxious. Who the hell was that guy? What did I do to him? And when the first rays of sunlight entered my room, my eyes closed and I sunk in a delirious sleep. Somewhere around 4 p.m. I woke up. It was already getting dark again. My chest was beating and sweat beaded on my forehead.

I went out to grab some food and decided to watch a Disney movie. Just to calm down. Maybe he was gone now? I couldn’t help myself to keep looking out the window. It was dark as a puddle of oil, but nobody was to be seen. I put the tv off and goddammit… I saw him standing there in the reflection . My world crashed. He was standing right in front of my window. My legs moved towards the window and I didn’t want them to, but they still did. I kept making eye contact and dialed 112. “Yup, he’s here again… Standing right in front of my window…”

What happened next were the longest 5 minutes of my live. Nothing happened… There was only silence. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the lights of the police car driving through my street.

“Yes thank you ma’am, they’re here. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much. They’re gonna get the bastard”

I saw the lights of their flashlight shining on me.

“Sir? Are you okay?” asked the lady on the phone.

“Well, I am. Everything’s gonna be alright now, isn’t it?”

“Sir… Are you under the influence?”

“Wh… What?”

“Please sir, I need you to answer me.

“I don’t understand what you mean.”

“Nobody is standing there…”

I felt numb. She was wrong. He was just half a meter apart from me. I could fully see him.

“Sir? Are you still on the phone?”

“Euh, yes, I’m sorry, he’s gone now. Thank you.”

I dropped my phone in disbelief.

That night was the worst. The police didn’t saw him. How was that possible? I felt sick. I was nauseous.

A sense of relief befell me the moment the first rays of sunlight entered my room. I spend my whole day doing research on my computer to see if others had the same experiences, but apparently I was the only one… And as the night was getting closer, I became more anxious. I was all alone. Nobody did believe me. The man seemed to be invisible of some sort.

And as the sun crept away, my fear grew. But I made preparations that day. That motherfucker wasn’t gonna do anything harmful. Oh no! I went to the shop earlier that day and bought lots of lightning. Everything I could get a hold on. My house looked like a football stadium that night. Lamps, Christmas lights, I even turned my car on so my head lights would light up the whole driveway. I was never more prepared. I felt combative.

I actually looked forward to the night. He couldn’t dare to show up again right? Like always I checked out my series that night and when I wanted to close the shutters I looked outside. Nobody to be seen. I fucking beat him. You can’t believe how I’ve felt that moment. I won! I scared him away.

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I went upstairs, brushed my teeth, looked at some memes and when I put my phone away, I had this outer body experience. The man… The man was standing in the darkness of my living room. I saw his contours. I felt disconnected from my own body. I wanted to scream, but I kept my cool. Tears welled up. After some time I stood up, closed the door and locked it. Don’t ask me how long I was sitting in the dark. I think I nearly fainted or something. I didn’t have any clue what it was. I only knew it wasn’t human.

Thought after thought passed my memory. I considered so many things. Trying to attack it, running away, calling the cops again…

In one of my brave moments, I decided to confront him. It was still my fucking house, wasn’t it? I didn’t have any weapons with me, but I believe they weren’t gonna do shit against him. I slowly stood up and unlocked the door. Slowly I opened the door and immediately put on the lights that lit up half the house. He was gone… Again…

I couldn’t bring myself to go downstairs and take a look. Maybe I didn’t see him? It could’ve been a reflection. Yeah, it must’ve been a shadow from the coat rack. I was just making things up probably in my mind and from the lack of sleep, I saw things.

It was hard to fall asleep, but after a while I did. Somewhere around 3 a.m. I woke up again. I grabbed my phone to take a look at the time and because I still wasn’t sure, I shone around my room. My heart was pumping like a wild machine and my back was wet from all the sweat. My room seemed to be safe. But goddamn, fucking goddamn I wanted to yell all the air out of my lungs. The man stood on my staircase. I was too numb to react. I dialed 112 without hesitation again.

I started rambling on the phone.

“Sir, keep calm. This is the third time you called us and our officers never saw anybody.”

“Please ma’am… He’s in my house. He’s watching me.” I cried.

“I’ll see what I can do! Can you confirm he’s still standing there?”

I moved the light from my phone so I could see through my door.

“Ma’am? He’s standing in my door. I can only see his head. I… I think I’m gonna die.”

“Can you describe him to me?”

“No… His hat covers his whole face.”

“That’s because you’re a stupid little piece of shit. He’s gonna get you boy. The boogeyman will catch you” replied a demonic voice.

“What the fuck are you talking about?” I yelled surprised.

I looked at my phone and just saw a black screen. I wasn’t even calling anybody. Then who the hell was on the phone?

I hid under my sheets and cried for an eternity. Eventually I’d hear the birds again and I knew it was morning.

I survived… I don’t know how or why. But I survived. That was the only thing that mattered.

I just knew I had to get the fuck away from here… Something evil was living in this house.

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Our church was just a few steps from our house so the local priest lived in my street. First thing I did was bringing him a visit. I sat down at his table and starting telling. He must’ve thought I was a lunatic. But nonetheless he kept listening without interrupting. When I finished I was kinda scared he would find me insane. But he told me that throughout history there were some occurrences that couldn’t be tied to normal, everyday things and were classified as paranormal. We both grabbed our stuff and went home.

It was the first time I felt not at home anymore when I entered. There was just this feeling like you would enter a motel room in the middle of nowhere and there was a chance a dead hooker lied dead on the bed with an empty bottle of whiskey next to her. I showed him around the house and we went in my mom’s room.

“Boy, could you please make me a coffee? I will go wait in the garden!”

I made him a coffee and brought it outside.

He told me he was very skeptical because a lot of times, people contacted him because they watched a scary movie like the Conjuring and there was honestly nothing wrong. But from the moment he put a foot in my mom’s room, he said he felt its presence. It was pure evil, but not strong enough yet. He wasn’t even long inside, but the vile feeling grew stronger with the minute. He said something like this:

“I felt like a clouded arm was trying to strangle me. It tried speaking to me, but he needs a physical form to do so. The longer you stay in this house, the bigger the chance he will try to get you. I really don’t want to make you afraid, but I believe honesty is key here. When I exited the room, I could even see him standing in your room. But don’t mistake his passivity for innocence. He’s just playing with you right now! He’s consuming your fear.”

I was speechless. He continued to cleanse the house, but urged me to get out as soon as I could. This should’ve kept the man out for a limited time, but it was highly dangerous. I was just living on borrowed time.

I decided to be brave and stay in the house one last night. Big fucking mistake. It was the worst night of my life.

It was around 6 p.m. and it was dark as hell outside. But that day, I had taken precautions. I’d hang up some crucifixes and carried a bible with me everywhere I went. Hell, I even put up a Christmas tree, just for the lights. I also wore a small bottle of holy water around my neck. My house was lit up like the biggest Christmas tree in the world. Rockefeller center was nothing compared to my house! The nerves were raging through my body so the best thing to do for me, was put on one of my comfort movies, Home Alone. Even tho I was watching the best movie ever created, I’d never been more nervous. My heart was pounding and every couple of seconds I was scanning the house and the outside. Seemed like the priest did an awesome job. Half way through the movie I seemed to have calmed down and I started enjoying it more.

Somewhere around 11 p.m., the credits rolled over the screen… It was time to be brave and enter the night. If Kevin could protect his home, I could do the same. I kept the lights on… Every little light was on. The fucker wasn’t gonna get me. I headed upstairs with the crucifix in my hand. I just had to do anything to protect myself against him!

I was laying in my bed and kept guard. My book was next to me, but I was way too stressed to start reading. I was sitting in my bed and was scanning the stairs and living room since I had this nice little view of the living area from my bed. After half an hour, I calmed down a little. I grabbed the book and started reading. It was from my favorite author, so after a while a fell into a sort of trance.

It was at around 1 a.m. that I noticed something… It was just a small sensation. But I was pretty sure the intensity of the lights diminished on the ground floor. Or it was just me being tired after all these restless nights. I continued reading, but after a while I was pretty sure not all lights were on anymore. A small voice in my head told me he was present. The man with the hat was coming. But I didn’t want to believe myself, but the voice was so strong…

I laid my book on the nightstand and just saw the lights flickering. This couldn’t be possible. All of a sudden one of the lights went off. And the lights went out faster and faster. In a couple of seconds I was surrounded in darkness. The whole house was covered in pure darkness like there was some electricity outage. I shone around with my flashlight… I think I sat there for an indefinite amount of time and I don’t even know for how long. But he didn’t want to show up… I can only say I was very confused.

But then this one evil thought from the back of my mind fought its way to the front. There was only one possibility left. A shiver went down my spine as my body started to shake uncontrollably. I slowly turned around. The man was standing right behind my bed. Less than a meter from me. He had been standing there for maybe the whole night.

Whatever happened next is kinda cloudy. I jumped out of the bed and started running to the front door. I unlocked it and went out into the night. I wandered through the city for the entire night in my pajama’s and it was freezing. My fingers were blue, but this one thought kept me going. I had to get away from this god forsaken place.

When the first rays of sunlight showed up, I went back to the place I once called home and prepared myself all day. I didn’t have any rational thoughts left. I booked a ticket for the USA and left the same day. I pulled the door behind my back and didn’t look back anymore. I got on the plane and lived in motels and Airbnb’s for the next couple of months.

I worked my ass off but after years of living on the brink of anxiety and insanity, I managed to get a stable job and got American citizenship. I’m currently still learning English and thanks to my inheritance, I managed to get a loan to buy a small house. I was happy! For the first time in years, I could say I was truly happy. I left behind my old live and started a new. The panic attacks started to slowly fade away.

I met my wife and a couple of years later we’ve got beautiful twins. Two girls. And they’re just perfect. My life was stable again. I still miss my friends from my town in Europe, but the only sane thing to do was leave that place.

Last night, I tucked in my two baby girls. I read them a little story and gave them a goodnight kiss. But the moment I threw a glance outside, I could swear I saw somebody standing there. A man with a hat… A man who used to lurk around my house… I think after all those years it just followed me… And every night it came closer and closer and closer… And now it found me… again!

Credit: robinswolfs

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