The following takes place in Santee, California, from the evening of July 20th to the morning of July 21st, 2012.
I'm unable to sleep at the moment. I'm not sure when or why, but I've had this weird feeling that there's something... different, tonight. Something not quite right. So, I've come down to the living room, and have sat down at my dad's desk to kill some time on his computer - to get my mind off of this mysterious feeling that's bugging me.
I've been trying to think of ways to occupy myself, like... checking my Facebook status, watching funny YouTube videos, texting a few of my friends. Yet, nothing is making me feel any better or different. The sensation is still there. I really have no clue what's going on, but... well, all I can do is hope that the feeling will soon dissipate.
I'm sure it's nothing to worry about. I mean, I've had moments of evening paranoia before; many times, in fact. Although, it usually doesn't kick in until I've postponed my sleep for several hours, so maybe -
(A door creaks open in the distance.)
I just heard a door open upstairs. Heh, why am I getting so jumpy? Dad must have woken up... But I don't hear any footsteps - no shuffling of any kind. And now that my eyes have adjusted to the darkness, I can see over the balustrade that his bedroom door is still shut.
That can only mean that the door I heard was... mine.
The quiet - the stillness of this room - is almost unworldly. I haven't noticed until my sense of hearing became more acute, possibly due to the minor adrenaline rush after being startled by the creak of my bedroom door. Chances are, a draft caused my door to swing open; it's happened a few times before. Although, I could have sworn I heard the doorknob turn before... Heheh, it's pretty late. I guess I could have imagined the doorknob twisting. But I digress.
Even with my alerted senses, I hear nothing. Usually, there'd be noises outside, at the least. Even at this hour. Hell, especially at this hour! There'd be sounds of airplanes flying by; kids skateboarding through the driveway; a spoiled child crying; dogs barking in the distance. The usual stuff you'd hear in a neighborhood. But tonight, I hear none of that. Just total silence.
The fact that I've been shrouded in total darkness doesn't really help either, so I've turned on some of the lights. I'm a bit frustrated over this insomnia, because an hour has gone by and my eyes are still not the slightest bit heavy. Which sucks, because the options I have to occupy myself are thinning now! There's no further need to be on my Facebook, since the majority of my updates consist of comment likes and game requests, so I logged out just a few minutes after I logged in. My friends have stopped texting me; they must have gone to bed. Lucky them. And I've stopped watching my favorite comedy sketches about 15 minutes ago, after having to deal with annoying buffering issues and choppy audio. Basically, all I can really do is force myself to go to sleep. But I don't know if I want to. I don't know if I should get out of this chair.
I feel as if there's someone standing behind me. And I know it's not dad.
I've been looking over my shoulders a lot. I feel uneasy. No, no, uneasy isn't an accurate enough term for what I'm feeling. More like... haunted. I had texted my brother, Mark, about what's been happening to me. A half hour of waiting, and still he hasn't replied. And to make things worse, my phone is on the verge of dying. I know the charger is plugged into the outlet next to the desk, but seeing that I'm literally scared stiff and cannot move, I stay glued to the chair.
All the while, that feeling of someone - maybe even something - standing behind me, remains as strong as it was when I first felt it at 10pm. Have you ever had those moments where you become so full of fear, that you begin to see things you cannot perceive with the naked eye? Things you see in your mind which become so vivid, that you begin to believe it's real? Well, I have. I am. And what I see causes my blood to freeze and the hairs of my neck to stand up:
In the reflection of the computer monitor, I see a tall, thin woman in tattered clothing, covered in smears of blood and dirt. Her skin is gray and cracked, as if her body is made of ash, ready to crumble and whither away at any second. Her long, singed, dark brown hair dangles over her mangled face. Her arms are limp, but her fingers... They keep twitching, causing her jagged, blood-coated, clawed fingernails to click. Her eyes are as black as the night itself, glistening like the eyes of a spider, and gazing toward the ceiling. Her teeth are chipped, twisted, and stained with a hideous, yellow tone. As if her lipless mouth is infested with fossilized maggots.
The only reason I take note of the horrendous features of her mouth... is because she is smiling! I think she's playing games with my head, waiting for me to go insane. And I can tell - I can feel - she's winning.
The lights are bringing no comfort to me anymore! I can see her in my mind's eye, but she's hiding from me in plain sight! Just standing there! Standing with those twitching, clicking fingers, and smiling at nothing! That smile hasn't gone away since she appeared to me two hours ago!
I don't know what to do. I can't even move my body! I want to run, but I can't feel my legs! I want to reach for my phone, but my arms have gone numb from the fear! I want to scream, but I've gone mute; the very words I speak are in my mind! I can't even move my head to look at the bitch!
I hope to God that I fell asleep and that this is a nightmare. And if this is a nightmare, I want to die so I can wake up. I want her to stop smiling and get it over with already! I want her to at least move, or touch me, or LOOK at me, instead of staring at the fucking ceiling! I want to scream out, "DO SOMETHING!!" But I can't! At this point, I can't do a damn thing except whimper and let the tears slide down my petrified face! I want this to be over. I want her to stop smiling! I -
(A door opens in the distance.)
Th-that-that sound again! A door opening! But this time, I hear footsteps! I sense that the apparition is gone now. I can feel my body again.
I cautiously turn my head and see my dad, standing by the stairs, a look of concern on his face. And the next thing I know, I begin to weep.
My dad has given me a Xanax to help calm me down. And even after the drug, I cannot stop myself from crying uncontrollably. I've never been this afraid. I take a moment to calm myself down before I tell him everything: how I couldn't sleep, how I felt the presence of someone standing behind me, what I was seeing, how I couldn't move, everything. All he can do is drop his jaw, in shock of what I've said, and tell me to pray. And that's exactly what we decide to do for the next 10 minutes. Afterwards, he gives me a consoling hug and tells me that I'll be okay. And with that, he lets me go and heads back to bed. Now the tears have finally stopped, and my eyes are beginning to feel a little heavy.
I want to believe what he told me. But you see, I'm not sure if I'll ever be okay anymore. Not after what I've gone through tonight.
And it's funny, because not once did I ever think about praying. You would think that a 22-year-old Christian would do this by instinct, especially in situations like mine. But I didn't. The idea never crossed my mind.
Now that I think about it, I can't help but turn my gaze toward the heavens, and smile a lipless grin.
Written by Midnite Marshall