Everyone is familiar with the feeling. At one point or another, during some point in your life, you have felt it. You stepped out of the comfort of your bed, down the dark hallway—possibly turning on a light or two on your way—to grab a cup of water from the kitchen or use the facilities. Perhaps you’re at a friend’s house, or your parents', but the situation always comes back to the same thing.
You stop as you exit the room you’re in, and suddenly feel terrible about having just turned off those lights behind you. The first few steps you took were filled with confidence, just a simple stroll in your nice safe surroundings to get back to your room and settle in again, but now things aren’t so simple. You play it cool at first, fighting to stay calm and collected, but it never lasts.
You hear a sound, a thud in your home that seems to come from all directions, and your instinct kicks in. You’ve seen nothing, felt nothing, and what you’ve heard could be entirely in your head, but none of that matters. You pick up the pace, trying to act cool even still while you tread the thin line between a walk and a jog, hurrying down your hall or up the stairs.
You don’t even bother turning the lights off; it would only slow you down. As briskly as you can, you get into your room and shut the door as quickly as you can behind you. As you turn your body to shut the door, your mind fills with macabre images of what you may meet. Things with no face, and long arms, standing at your door complacent about chasing you. A face with no eyelids, and a smile that runs from ear to ear. Even a ludicrous little statue from a game of your childhood, looking at you with soulless eyes and an empty grin.
But… there’s never anything there. Just the darkness of the house, which lingers just as menacingly as before when you were trapped within it. You shut the door and lock it if you can. You may curl into bed and spend the next 15 minutes just… laying there, hoping you hadn’t accidentally let anything in, or you may check every nook and cranny of your room to ensure that nothing did get in.
You climb into bed, possibly after a cursory glance around your room with light on to make sure nothing was… there. You knew there wouldn’t be, but better safe than sorry. With that completed, you climb into bed and slowly relax, trying to drift off.
Yet, it’s hard to close your eyes for longer than a minute or two without whatever scary you expected to find at your door popping into your mind, taunting you and keeping you conscious. You tell yourself it’s nothing, and shift your position ever so slightly so you can face the door. Just so you’re ready for whatever tries to come through it.
You sit and rest, barely content but ready for sleep after the ordeal. You may drift off, you may not, but the next unpleasant bump in the night comes either way. A knock on your door it seems, or a whisper. You open your eyes, startled by the sound, but simply blame it on the window.
And now, the worst realization of all… you have a window. You’ve turned yourself to face the door, but the window still looms over you, out of your direct eyesight. You tell yourself it’s silly. You tell yourself to go back to sleep. But now, you feel the eyes of something watching you. Maybe from the street if you’re lucky, though with your life this evening it’d likely be right up against the glass. It wants to see your fear before it breaks the glass and kills you. It wants you to regret ever turning around.
You sit in bed, paralyzed in decisions and fear, not knowing whether you should look out the window or not. Maybe whatever you feel watching you is just trying to find someone to hurt, to see if you’re still there, and if you lay still enough it’ll go away. Maybe it’s out in the street and it won’t see you if you just keep your head down. Of course, this act doesn’t last long at all. You see the shadows moving against the opposing wall, taunting you. You still feel it watching you, maybe even getting closer. If you can see it, maybe you can at least know what’s coming, or defend yourself. You say a prayer and a wish, sitting up and looking out that dreaded window to the rest of the world.
The street is as empty as you expected it. You turn your head back to your room, seeing nothing again, and then back out to the street. A cool breeze drifts across your face, and you calm down. No more noises, and you can see the branches of your neighbor’s tree moving back in forth in front of their porchlight, the looming shadows making a lot more sense to you now.
You turn the light on one more time, just to make sure you did in fact lock the door, and then slide in to the covers. You have done it, worked yourself up over nothing at all and lost anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes of sleep, possibly even more. But it’s over with, and you can’t help but feel a sense of victory as you fall asleep, still alive and breathing.
That’s the end of it for you, until next time. Though, you can’t help but wonder as you drift wistfully to sleep… “What caused all of that? Why did my gut feeling so vehemently insist that I run away in my own house? My gut never lies…
“Oh well,” you mutter. You’ve made it. At the very least, you’ve made it. There were no evil men out to get you, no spirits or demons, no Creepypasta tropes, just the darkness of night and your imagination.
Though I’ll tell you now, you weren’t thorough enough.
So as you finally close your eyes, your breathing slows, and your muscles relax, you may hear a little laugh.
You almost got it this time, but almost isn’t good enough. I’m a VERY good hider. As your breathing slows and your mind wanders, I’ll quietly slip in to your room, smile, and whisper a message just for you.
"You’re such a beautiful thing when you’re sleeping. I can't wait for our next date."