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Gassed

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WWI Gas mask with bag

Gas mask with bag from World War 1.

My family and I have recently been cleaning out our garage, as we're going to prepare to move into a new house soon.

We've found tons of cool thing while cleaning it out. I found my old Pokémon cards, my father's antique camera, and a load of old MAD Magazines; however, there was something that stood out from the clutter.

It was a bag for a Gas Mask, issued WWI. Yes, World War One. Surprisingly enough, both the mask and the bag were in very good condition.

The mask looked grim and sad, as a matter of fact. There were scratches on its eyeglasses, facing inward, making the eyes of the mask look somewhat panicked and blood-stricken. There were a few cobwebs inside it. I cleared them out and (quite foolishly) tried it on. I took it off immediately.

My paternal and maternal grandfathers were both involved in WWII; however, the only grandparent I ever knew involved in WWI was my paternal grandfather. My father kept many of his father's things. My paternal grandfather seemed like a very burly man. According to my father, he was fast, strict, and very smart.

I looked to him with much respect. My maternal grandfather (the one I'm more familiar with) was serving in WWII involved in the Air Force. My father refuses to tell me about my paternal grandfather's purpose in the war, no matter how much I ask him.

A few weeks ago, some strange occurances started in my household.

It started out with a shuffling noise. You see, my living room is currently filled with clutter and moving boxes. The couch I was sitting on was facing the television, which faces the rest of the room. I had positioned the couch so that I was closer up to the television, leaving the entire room behind me out of my view. It was about 1:45 AM, another one of those lonely nights playing Skyrim. I began to doze off in the light the television was emitting.

I shot up from my daze when I heard a shuffling noise behind me. I know I'm overreacting. I have a problem with anxiety and paranoia, especially paranoia. The shuffling noise sounded as though someone was rubbing two small pillows together, mixed with someone rubbing their fists all over a sewn fabric. I comforted myself with the thought that it was my cat or dog and I refused to turn around.

The shuffling sound continued.

I couldn't ignore it. Between the sound of the silent house and the small sound of Dragonborn's Theme flowing from the television, the shuffling was the loudest thing in the room. My parents were upstairs, asleep, and quite frankly safe from whatever this was.

Suddenly, it stopped.

I then frantically shot up from the couch, ran through the unusually cold room, up the stairs, and into my room. I barely made it to sleep with every single light on and my door tightly shut closed.

Two nights after that, one of the most disturbing events occurred.

The room was colder than usual. I woke up to hear the shuffling again. It was louder and it was coming from downstairs. At that moment, a sense of courage rushed through me. I got up from my bed. I didn't want to, but I did. My body was going against my will, yet I still felt in control of its groggy movement.

I walked closer to my flight of stairs, leading down to the living room, where the mask sat. The sound was getting more violent as I glided down the stairs.

When I got to the living room I saw a shadowy figure wearing the mask, staring at me. Its head looked bigger than its body. The scratched eyes of the mask were almost hypnotic.

After that, I remember nothing. I woke up on my kitchen floor.

A few nights later, after I had calmed down from the event, something that I'm still shivering from happened.

I often like to sleep with my door open a small crack. I don't know why, I just do. I woke up at about 2:50 AM that morning, as I usually do. Insomnia is a problem with me. In the night, if I fall asleep successfully, I'll wake up by about 3:00 AM or so.

The room was darker than it usually was. I noticed the small nightlight that I kept by my bedside (yes, I keep a nightlight) had shattered. The exterior was now a series of shards on the wooden floor next to my bed. I had been sleeping on my side, as usual.

I sat up on my back and looked throughout my room.

The figure appeared in my doorway. With it came a distant, almost muffled sound of exploding capsules slamming against the skeletal remains of a once thriving town. Without movement of its arms or legs, it glided toward me. Complete silence.

The figure, at the edge of my bed, leaned over to me, its eyes now glowing in a yellow light.

"It's been a pleasure meeting you."

I can't describe to you what I felt at that moment. It wasn't fear. It wasn't anything close to fear. As a matter of fact, it was warmth and comfort.

I shot up again in a pool of sweat surrounding me. The house was still intact; the town was peacefully quiet that night.

The figure didn't return to me after that. All activity stopped.

The gas mask and the bag now lay on a desk in my room. I strangely feel protected with him watching over me.

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