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When I was little I always had an overactive imagination, had frequent nightmares, and always thought I saw things going on during the night.
I told my mum that every night, as I was trying to get to sleep, my bedroom door would shake. Not very obviously, but just slightly. I always slept with my door slightly ajar, and outside of my door I had my own staircase because my bedroom was in the attic. I would lay in my bed and just watch the door kind of vibrate and shake really quickly. I’d go and tell her and she would come up to my room and have a look for herself, only every time she did, the door would have stopped shaking. It irritated the hell out of me, and I was determined to prove to her that I wasn’t lying.
Each night, as soon as it started to shake, I would sprint down the stairs and tell my mum to come quick. It didn’t matter how quickly I did it, the door would always stop by the time she had got there, as if it was trying to anger me.
In the end I gave up. If the door wanted to shake then it could go ahead. I tried my best to block it out, but I couldn’t. It got to the point where I would dread going to bed because of the stupid door. I would examine it during the day to see if there was something causing the shaking, but I could see nothing that stood out. It was a complete mystery.
One night, after many weeks of hellishly annoying shaking, the door began to shake more vigorously. I was laid in bed with my covers pulled up almost over my eyes, scared stiff. Through the slight gap in the door where the hinges were, I could see something moving on the other side. I told myself it was my dog, but I knew that was ridiculous. My dog was white, whereas this thing seemed to resemble smoke. I would have run downstairs for my mum, but that would mean I would have to pass whatever was on the other side of the door.
The next day I told her about it and she just put it down to my imagination or me being tired. I was tired, that was true. I was tired because of the stupid door.
The next night I watched the door again, and sure enough I could see the smoke through the gap. I decided to take action into my own hands, and I bought a scarecrow to put at the other side of my door. The scarecrow would scare away whatever was messing around outside of my bedroom. Scare was in the name. It was fool proof.
I felt more relaxed knowing the scarecrow was outside, and for once I thought I was going to get a goodnight’s sleep. No such luck. I was just dozing off when I heard a weird shuffling noise and then a gentle thud. I jerked wide awake, feeling my heart drop when I saw that the door was shaking again. I could no longer see the reassuring shape of the scarecrow on the other side of the door, and I realised that it must have been moved. The thud had been the scarecrow hitting the floor outside of my room, and now the smoke was back. I was in complete despair. If the scarecrow didn’t work then nothing would.
I tried explaining this to my mum, and she actually seemed to believe me for the first time. She must have seen how concerned I was. Also, I was almost falling asleep at school due to lack of sleep. The whole thing had spiralled out of control.
We didn’t own a camera back then, but I did have a karaoke machine. Mum came up with the idea that we should put the machine outside of my room and set it to record, so even if we couldn’t see whatever it was that was outside of my room, at least we would possibly be able to hear it. It was better than nothing. This plan had to be fool proof.
Of course not. The next day when we checked the recording we found that it was completely blank. We had definitely set it to record, so whatever it was behind the door had obviously turned off the machine. I felt like I was going mad. At first the thing had just been annoying, an inconvenience. Now, I was beginning to feel threatened. How long would it be until the thing opened the door and entered my room? If it was capable of knocking over the scarecrow, turning off the machine, and shaking the door, then surely it was capable of opening it. And when it did open the door, what would it do to me? What did it want?
Every day from then on, all I could think about was the fact that I didn’t want to go to bed. I was sleep deprived and felt like the energy was being sucked out of me more and more each day. Or each night.
My mum expressed her concern to my nanna who, being religious, gave me a rosary to hold as I slept. My mum usually rejected religion point blank, but in this case, she agreed and said that it was worth a try. That scared me more than ever. My own family thought I was in danger.
Mum had said numerous times that I could sleep in her room with her in order to try and get a goodnight’s sleep, but I refused; I was almost twelve years old, and sleeping in her room would mean that I had let this thing win. As scared as I was, I wasn’t going to let whatever it was take over my life any more than it already had.
The rosary didn’t work. Nothing worked. My mum, the biggest sceptic in the world, even began burning sage around the house to try and cleanse it. My nanna encouraged me to pray every night, and I did, despite never having quite believed in God. I prayed that whatever was on the other side of the door would go away. Or that if it wouldn’t go away, that it would at least stay out of my room and not hurt me.
Things got worse and worse. My school had called my mum several times expressing their concern. I had lost weight, I had dark circles under my eyes, and I barely ever participated in class. They wondered if I was having problems at home. They had called me into the office to ask if everything was ok, and each time I would say that it was. I could hardly tell my teachers that my bedroom door was shaking and the smoke behind it was driving me mad.
One day, I completely broke down. I told my mum that we had to move out. I couldn’t keep living like this. She actually looked like she was considering it. I wasn’t the happy, bubbly girl that I had been just a few short months ago anymore. I was miserable, nervous and was struggling just to eat a meal without wanting to throw it all back up.
Then, one night, it all stopped. Just like that. The door didn’t shake. The smoke wasn’t there. That almost scared me more, because that meant it was somewhere else. In my room? I didn’t sleep for that whole night, and when I told my mum and nanna about it the next day my nanna suggested that we get a priest in to look at the house and possibly bless it. My mum suggested that we wait a few nights, and I agreed.
The next night, nothing. The night after that, nothing. Three weeks later, nothing. The thing on the other side of the door had disappeared without a trace. I slowly but surely began to sleep again. I began to enjoy school again, and finally I was eating normally. I became the girl that I used to be again.
My nanna swears it was the rosary and my prayers that drove the thing away, but I disagree. I think that it left because it had taken what it had needed from me. It had pushed me to breaking point and couldn’t possibly take anything else from me. So it simply moved on. I have no idea where it went, or why it came to me in the first place. This all happened around ten years ago, and I no longer live at home. I haven’t seen anything of a sort since I broke down and the thing left. I still keep my nanna’s rosary hung in my room, and my scarecrow still sits outside of my door. My mum regularly burns sage, and my nanna still prays. Even though none of those things had worked, they keep us reassured.
We don’t know why that thing chose me, or if it will ever come back. All we can do is hope with all of our might that it doesn’t.