I think this started just after the car crash. I've never been quite well since then. My girlfriend died in the crash, about a year ago. The car I was driving hit the curb and flipped.
The police said it probably wasn't my fault, something about oil on the road, but I don't know. I don't remember what happened anyway. All I remember is waking up upside down in the car and seeing my girlfriend's face, staring at me.
She never put on her seatbelt. The ambulance guy said she died immediately, but he lied. She was still alive. I know. I could tell by her eyes.
I was pinned by the steering wheel and couldn't move, and had to watch the desperate pleading in those eyes fade, and finally vanish. Her body slowly relaxed and fell on top of me in the compacted space of the crushed vehicle. It was a full fifteen minutes before anyone found us. That, I guess, was pretty scary in itself.
Anyway I was in the hospital for a few months. I was morphiated pretty good most of that time, which wasn't as pleasant as you might think. I kept having these visions, I was never really sure whether I was awake or asleep. Sometimes at night I'd wake up for no reason, convinced someone was in the room. Then I'd listen in the absolute stillness of the dark ward for the slightest sound, the tiniest echo of a squeak far away down the corridors. I usually ended up scaring myself and hiding under the covers like a sissy.
I'd been living by myself before all this, and working as a mobile phone technician. When I got released from the hospital my girlfriend's parents kindly offered to let me stay with them for a while. I guess it brought them a sort of comfort, being close to the person who was close to their daughter. They treated me nicely, but with a kind of reticence, which I figured was fair enough, due to the cause of the accident having never been firmly established.
I got to stay in her old room. It was full of ugly old teddy bears and trinkets. The first night I slept there, something weird happened. I was having a troubling dream, in which I was walking through a house, my house, except all the furniture was gone, everything gone, stripped bare.
I was calling her name, but I was too late; whoever had lived here had moved long ago. A terrific feeling of sadness overwhelmed me and I woke up. I blinked, remembering where I was. I lay a while listening into space. Somewhere in the distance, a baby was crying. I rolled over to check the time on my mobile phone. It was 2 am. Disinterestedly, I noticed there was a message waiting on the phone for me.
When I checked the message, it was blank. The sender's name was 'B'. Just 'B', and nothing else. There was no callback number. Despite the innocuousness of it all, I felt suddenly cold. As I erased the message, the distant baby stopped crying. Not slowly, like it had been comforted, but cut off, in an instant... leaving the night painfully quiet. In the shadows of the wardrobe, something shifted. I pulled the covers over my head.
With daylight came the dissolution of my fears, and I cheerfully said goodbye to her parents as they left for work for the day. I mooched around a while, then decided to do some weight exercises as part of my recovery. I did some good leg work, thinking all the while how stupid I was to be scared so easily by what amounted to primitive instincts, a basic fear of the dark. I paused to rest for a while, lying back on the weight bench; and that's when I received another message.
It was the same thing, blank, but this time the sender's name came up as 'Ba'. This annoyed the hell out of me. It was obvious that someone was playing some kind of sick joke, since the next message would undoubtedly be from 'Bab', and then 'Baby', which was the pet name my girlfriend and I used for each other. (Not an imaginative pet name I know, but then hey.)
I frowned, staring at the phone. I knew what I was going to do. I'd get this bastard, whoever it was... like I said, I worked in the mobile phone industry. I made a few calls. Soon, I had the equipment I needed to track and trace any outside contacts coming into my phone. The legality was dubious but I didn't give a shit.
That night, I stayed up late, excited by the prospect of hunting down the perpetrator. It was a nice clear night and very still. I loaded up all my equipment into my girlfriend's parents' car, which I had explained to them I needed to borrow for a special phone company investigation.
They were apprehensive, because it was the first time that I would have driven since the accident, but I was persistent. Then I made up a little pot of coffee, played some video games, and waited.
It came in at 1 am. My phone started blinking and beeping and I grabbed it reflexively, knocking it off the counter. When I checked the message, it didn't say 'Bab', like I expected, but was just garbled numbers and letters. No matter. I ran to the car and drove to the highway, activating the track and trace as I went. The initial response from my equipment indicated an area out in the south, so I headed that way. It felt good to be behind the wheel again and there were very few cars on the road.
As I drove, I got another message. Once again it was just a jumble of numbers and letters. Strangely, my equipment reported an originating location entirely different. I had to turn right around and head in the opposite direction.
When I reached the area, I had to pull over and stop. I knew this area. This is where the accident took place. My phone was now registering messages every 5 seconds or so. I turned it off. I parked the car and got out. There was no one around as I approached the scene... no sign that anything had taken place here. I knelt down and examined the curb and ran my fingers along a deep groove in the concrete. I felt a profound sense of regret and the lonely depths of time.
I just want to say that I wasn't scared, at this point. I found it fascinating actually. It was like a real criminal investigation. I wasn't even upset or annoyed by the nature of it all.
I turned around and surveyed the neighborhood. Then, and only then, did I remember. We had been driving along in an upbeat mood, gossiping about friends of ours fallen recently pregnant. She had raised the topic and driven the conversation. I had been making my usual comments about how having children was stupid and pointless. She had become suddenly quiet. Then she had told me. She had told me... and I had grown angry, really angry and yelled at her for the first time. And that of course is when things had got out of control, and the car had got out of control, and I had solved all our problems.
I felt weak at the knees. I bent down, but I didn't cry. I just breathed heavily. And then I heard something.
A baby. Crying. Somewhere... in the park. To the right.
I stood up. I felt the anger rise within me again. I was not scared at all. I charged down into the park, slipping over wet grass and knocking into uprisen paving-stones, fuming all the way, pushing tree branches aside, heading for the source of the cries.
Then the cries stopped. And I stopped. It was dead quiet. I peered into the darkness, seeing...
Something knocked me down, something incredibly powerful, something that was more a force than anything, upending me onto the wet grass. Something pressed against my chest and my face, suffocating me, pinning my arms and legs against all hope of rebellion. Something held me there while I panicked and exhausted all the options of panic, until I stopped trying to thrash and just screamed, except something pushed itself down my throat and stopped that too.
I choked, and it allowed me to breath again.
There was a horrible silence.
The thing pushed close to my face.
"I miss you," it said.
I screamed and thrashed around again, to the utmost extent, and somehow got free, and got to my feet, and ran and ran, scraping against tree branches and the rock walls of the park, and got to the main road again, and into my car, and drove out of there at full speed, talking to myself - 'what the fuck, what the fuck was that' - over and over again. And sort of choking, and laughing even, 'oh my god. what am i going to do. what am i going to do. i can't believe it.
I can't believe it, driving with pretty good precision considering, looking around into the back seat to make sure nothing was in there, until eventually I calmed down a little and started explaining to myself, in a voice that was odd and high-pitched to me, 'that makes no fucking sense. none at all. no fucking sense. you're stressed out. You need to relax. relax. take some time off. You need to fucking relax... you're crazy... you're crazy... you're crazy... hee hee! crazy motherfucker... crazy mo-ther-fuck-er!... ahhh...'
When I reached her parents' house, it was dawn. My stomach ached terribly. I stumbled out of the car and reached the porch, before going into violent convulsions and throwing up in the garden. Her mother, who was in the kitchen, heard me and came out. Finding me in such a state, she took me upstairs to the lounge, laid me down on the couch, and woke her husband.
I felt like if I just focused hard enough, I could return to normal. I breathed deeply and tried to contain the waves of nausea that were washing over me. Clearly, it was post-traumatic stress disorder. I'd known friends who had become psychotic, and now, unfortunately, it seemed to be my turn. So this is what it was like. The difference was, I knew what was happening. Therefore, I could contain the psychosis and control it. All I had to do was relax... just relax...
Her mother pushed a bowl of what looked like chicken soup into my hands. 'Eat this,' she commanded, not unsympathetically. The father leaned over her, looking rather put out at having to be up so early. Seeing that I was being complacent, he made a 'hmmph' sound and sat down, picking up the morning newspaper. I felt my neck muscles loosen and I sighed, smiling softly.
There was a creak in the hallway. I half-noticed it. Houses creak all the time. Then, there was another creak. It wasn't the usual gravitational settling sound. I raised my head. Something was coming down the hall. No. It couldn't possibly -
Something appeared around the corner of the hall.
I screamed and pointed. They had to see it, they had to -
The father continued reading his paper... he smiled and smoked his pipe...
I thrashed and screamed... I rose to my feet but I couldn't move...
The mother calmly watched television...
IT SAW ME. It glided towards me...
I fell in a heap covering my eyes...
The next thing I knew I was here. In the hospital. The nurses tell me it has been a week since all this happened. I'm not sure if I believe them. For one thing, they all smile slyly when they tell me anything. Plus, I think they are drugging me surreptitiously. I feel so woozy all the time. I hate this place, it is so barren and lifeless. But to be honest, I like the fact that there are bars on the windows.
Sometimes, I wake up at night. It is always very quiet and there is no one around. I often hear babies crying in the distance. A couple of times, I heard tapping on the windows. But I took some more pills so it doesn't matter. The only thing I don't like, is that there is no lock on the wardrobe. Please get me a lock on the wardrobe? I don't like what's in there so please do something about it. Please close it off.
Please help me.