My friends, this story is absolutely true. The identities have been changed to protect the individuals within. But the story itself remains true. This is the testimony of one of the only two people on this planet who witnessed these events. Me.
In the summer of 2005 I met a girl.
Emma was my first serious girlfriend, and I found myself caring for her a great deal rather quickly. She had a personality unlike any other girl I had met, and it intrigued me. She was smart, pretty, and kind of odd in some ways, but I liked it: you could say it was her most endearing factor. The first three months went along without a hitch. We spent a lot of time together, we laughed, we talked, we shared dreams and fears. I told her my fear of the dark, and of my overactive imagination.
She told me about her fear of dead people. I kind of laughed when she first told me, it was kind of lame I thought at the time. Just… dead people? Certainly JUST ‘dead people’ aren’t so scary by themselves. We kind of had a laugh about it, and continued hanging out with each other and just generally loving every single minute we had together. Things went on like this for three months, and I honestly could not have asked for anything more perfect.
She was the girl I didn’t even know I was waiting for, and I was the guy she had always wanted.
About a month later she called me on the phone, which was nothing new. We spent a lot of time talking on the phone. It was our favorite thing to do other than physically being near each other. She was telling me about her day at school. At her high school, she didn’t really have a lot of friends, which I found hard to believe. She was having a bad day and she was just glad to be home and on the phone with me.
I was glad to be on the phone with her too. I wasn’t having the greatest day myself. Around six pm, we were watching the same show on TV while talking on the phone (something we did whenever I wasn’t allowed to come over. Since she lived with her mother, and her mother worked nights, I would come over after she left for work so we could actually spend time with each other.)
Her mother had just left and Emma was talking to me about what had just happened on TV, then the commercials stopped and the program resumed. After another two commercial breaks, I noticed neither of us had said anything for a while, so I made some stupid remark about the ridiculous commercial that was on at the moment. She didn’t say anything. I called her name.
She didn’t answer. I called her name like, six times before she acknowledged me. She just kind of grunted. I asked her if she was alright, and she said… something. It was a sentence alright, but it was seemingly gibberish.
At first I thought she was just trying to freak me out, or was playing some kind of elaborate joke. She was breathing heavily and erratically, and her words seemed difficult for her to form. She seemed very distant, and not at all like herself. I cannot remember exactly what she was saying at first, it was muffled and distorted. And there was this noise.
A banging noise, that the longer I listened, the louder it got. I eventually asked Emma what the noise was I was hearing. She got silent for a second before responding,
“… Y-you can hear that?”
“Of course I can hear it, it’s loud as hell... what is it?”
She paused for a long moment. It seemed to drag on and on.
“It’s them…” she said.
That’s all she said. I was genuinely kind of freaked out, but somewhere in my mind I still thought she was messing with me as a joke.
“You’re joking right? This is all some kind of game, and we're going to have a laugh about this later-”
“Don’t mock them!” she interrupted fiercely.
She sounded worried, almost panicked.
“They don’t like it.”
I thought this was funny. She was really going through a lot of trouble to play a joke on me. I laughed audibly.
"... They’ll find you...”
Her voice sounded almost unnatural, as if it were someone else talking. She hung up the phone right after that. I called her back a few times, but no one answered. Now, worried out of my mind, I put on my jacket and left my house. I hoped she was okay, and I rushed to her apartment.
When I was half a mile from her house, my car battery died. I was too worried about Emma to let that stall me. I had to know she was okay, and I would worry about my car afterward. I locked my car up, and began running the rest of the way to her apartment. The sun was almost set after a short bit of running, and my lungs were starting to burn from the crisp cold air I was forced to inhale.
I still don’t know to this day if what happened next was from some kind of trick on my eyes due to the low amounts of light or if I was just worrying so much I hallucinated. I’m actually not sure that I what I saw even happened. Maybe I just imagined it. These… things, with long gangly limbs that bent backwards, crossed the street, as if leaving her house.
I jumped. My heart was racing. I now thought she was in serious danger and mustered up all the courage I had to run to her front door. It was left ajar. I went in, calling her name. My heart now felt like it was going to burst through my chest. Surely I was hallucinating. Lack of oxygen, that’s all. I was breathing heavily as I searched for her in the house. I found her in the living room, curled in a ball. Her skin was paper white, her pupils were enormous. She was shaking and seemed to be in a sort of comatose-like state. I called her name, but she wouldn’t respond.
She wouldn’t respond to anything, not even when I touched her, shook her: nothing. I picked her up and took her to her room. As I laid her down onto her bed, I noticed her eyes were darting across the wall behind me. Not in a random kind of pattern, but as if following something. Her eyes reached the space on the wall directly behind me, and they stopped.
Her eyes widened and she began shaking. Her mouth was wide open, as if screaming, but no actual sound escaped. Leaning over her, frozen in pure unadulterated fear, I tried to make myself turn around. Part of me didn’t want to meet whatever it was she saw, but the other part of me, the survivalist in me, forced me to turn around. And as I did, I saw another… thing. This thing was grey, its limbs bent backwards. It hung from the place where the ceiling and wall meet, clutching with all four claws.
It hung there and stared at me with its sunken eyes. I couldn’t make out if they were holes or the blackest eyes imaginable, because all that was there was blackness.
The loud sound I heard over the phone earlier was back. The wooden blinds that hung from her window were banging themselves on the windowsill, as if someone were lifting them and throwing them against it, again and again and again. The sound was very fast and very loud. My ears were starting to ring as the thing slowly inched its way up the wall and across the ceiling toward us.
Every second the ringing got louder. Soon, the thing was directly above us, and as it clutched the ceiling, its face zoomed in at us. Its neck stretching, I saw the black eyes, and the stitched mouth coming closer. My chest was hurting now, most likely from how hard my heart was beating. I started to black out. I… don’t remember what happened.
I remember waking up next to Emma and seeing her there, still curled up, eyes still darting across the room. I looked around but saw nothing. I called her name and of course she didn’t respond. It took me about ten minutes of sitting there, holding her, calling her name, talking to her, singing to her, before she started to respond. Thankfully so, too. I was scared to take her to the hospital with the story I had. I called her name and she blinked suddenly, and looked at me. I asked her
“Emma.... What the hell is going on?”
She looked at me with genuine surprise.
“What are you talking about? When did you get here?”
She didn’t remember a thing. She couldn’t even explain where she got the marks on her arm. A week after that, I was at her house, and I decided to ask her about what had happened. I wanted some answers. She still didn’t remember what had happened, but she did have something to say about it.
She told me that her fear of dead people stemmed from the fact that she used to see what she thought were dead people. Sometimes she did still see things, but she learned over the years that they weren’t dead people. She couldn’t say what they were. But she explained how some would talk to her and others wouldn’t. Some would stare at her, and others would avoid her. Ultimately, some were nice and others were malevolent. She said that the face in her ceiling told her most of what she knows of “them.” He explained that not all of them are good.
He had also warned her of a tall dark man who wanted her all to himself. He explained to her that the freaky limb things were the tall mans, and they were there to protect her from anyone else, but also to keep her in check. She told me about how they would hurt her sometimes, and that her bed was the only safe place most of the time. Whenever she had her “episodes,” her bed was surrounded by water, and the things couldn’t get to her.
She also told me that they made her cut herself when she had been bad. I loved this girl. Despite all the crazy stuff she told me, I wanted to be there for her. I wanted to help her. It didn’t take a very long time for me to figure out that being with her was harmful to her. After three years, I had witnessed episode after episode. I had learned how to calm her down within a few minutes.
I had even got her to stop cutting herself. The last few months of our relationship, she didn’t see anything at all. No cutting, no episodes. I felt ashamed that I didn’t get her professional help, but I admit I felt happy and a little proud that she seemed to be getting much better. This all changed when I proposed to her. Of course, she said yes. It was the happiest day of our lives.
That night we went to a concert to celebrate. I took her to see her favorite band (which was secretly also my favorite band.) The band came on last, and I stood there, holding her, and we both sung the songs at the top of our lungs. She turned around during one of their slower songs and put her arms around me, and I did the same. I looked at her, only to see her eyes looking in the distance behind me, toward the back of the venue. I looked back, but saw nothing. No! No no no, not now God d****t! This was the perfect day, the perfect night! I grabbed her chin and pulled her face to me.
“Just look at my eyes, nowhere else,” I told her.
She struggled, but she did just that. I stood there holding her as we looked at each other. I kept telling her “it's not real, remember that.”
She would just nod her head, tears in her eyes. The song ended, and so did her episode. I dropped her off at her house, and after the world's longest kiss, I got in my car and headed home. Once home, I took a quick shower and readied for bed. I was completely exhausted! After drying off, I laid down in bed and went to sleep. At least, I started to.
I was jolted awake by the sound of my blinds banging. My heart stopped as I saw one of those things right above my bed. The last thing I saw was its face coming at me. I woke up from the blackness the next morning with a cut on my arm. My mind instantly jumping to Emma, I raced to my phone to call her. I never got a response. When I stopped by her house, her mother answered the door and told me she didn’t want to see me. I didn’t know what the f**k was going on.
After a week, I was in a severe depression. I didn’t hear a damn thing from her. No replies from her Myspace or Facebook. No entries in her Xanga or Livejournal. Sadly, I didn’t hear anything for two years. I saw on her Facebook that she was in a relationship. My heart sank. It more than sank, it felt like it withered and died right then and there. I messaged her, very formally, asking how she was etc.
I also asked what happened between us. She didn’t respond for three days. When she did, she told me that she was heartbroken for a whole month when I broke up with her. She said that she cried in her mom's arms for weeks and weeks, and thought she would never stop. She told me she even made me a card and a painting, both of which she had been working on for months without me knowing, and sent them to me the week I “broke up with her” to get me back.
I told her I never received anything. I was about to argue that I never broke up with her. It was a ridiculous idea, because I was in love with this girl. I STILL was. I still AM. I would NEVER end what we had. But something stopped me. I got the thought: perhaps she was happy now. I asked her about the guy she was with now. She replied. He had proposed to her.
She said yes. She was truly happy. I then asked her about the things she saw. She remembered nothing at all. Her episodes were gone. I felt completely lost. Destroyed from the inside out. We spent the next month or two talking about the past. She didn’t recall most of our relationship. I would ask her about some of my favorite memories with her, and she wouldn’t remember a thing. She didn’t remember that she used to be a cutter.
She didn’t remember ANYTHING she used to see, good or bad. And she didn’t remember that she was once engaged to me, nor did she remember that amazing night we had at the concert. All she knew was that she and I were together once, and that I “broke up with her,” which broke her heart for months. I still love Emma with every fiber of my being, and I want to figure out what happened, what went WRONG? I think I deserve that much: an explanation.
I honestly thought for a while after everything that happened that perhaps she had a type of mental illness. I mean, everything she experienced was practically textbook paranoid-schizophrenia. It would be easy to chalk it up to that, even after explaining these symptoms to my professor of my Psychology class. Or after the five years of research that I have poured into trying to find a way to explain these events. Almost everything adds up to Schizophrenia. Everything but one thing. I still can’t figure out why I still see that figure on my ceiling some nights.