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Getting Closer

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I haven't attended class in 3 days. I'm pretty sure I've got the flu, but I can't be certain. So far it's just a cough and fever, a runny nose and some mild breathing problems. I've been stuck in my apartment a few blocks from campus, and all I have to keep myself entertained during the day is the TV.  Now the only reason I'm even telling you all of this is because starting yesterday, I haven't been able to sleep properly, and it's because of something I saw on the closed-circuit security channel that's accessible on our TVs.  

The concept is pretty simple, it's just a special channel that all of the tenant's rooms have access to, and it shows the foyer/lobby security camera feed.  The idea is that you can see who's ringing you up when you have visitors, as there's an intercom type thing that you can use down there to dial a room's phone.  I'm sure many of you who have lived in a dorm or apartment have encountered a similar system.

Now, the feed is pretty blurry, and it's digital so there's even a fair amount of pixel distortion, but yesterday morning, as I was flipping through channels, trying to find something to keep myself entertained, I decided to check out the security feed.  I do this regularly when I can't find anything to watch on actual TV, but this time, as I stared into the TV, something unusual caught my eye.  The view is pretty straight forward, almost level with the doorway, and so I can see a little past the street right outside the big glass doors that make up the entryway.

The thing that caught my eye, was something that looked like a person, trying to hide behind a tree on the other side of the street.  I didn't think anything of it at first, in fact I flipped away from the channel for a few minutes, trying to find something else, but after a little while I came back, and I noticed the person was still there, perfectly still, unmoving as the world around them went about its business.  Cars went by, people strolled on past walking their dogs, and no one seemed to pay them any attention, though I was certain it was a person, I still got up out of bed and checked out the window to see if I could catch a glimpse of it.  

Sure enough, I could see the person creeping out slightly from behind that tree, staring directly at the entrance.  I thought maybe they were a vagrant or homeless person, but it was hard to see details of the figure given how far away it was.  They didn't seem to acknowledge the events happening around them and those that came close to them didn't seem to acknowledge them either.  It was as if I was the only one who could see them.  

Now, what I've described so far isn't inherently creepy, but I lost interest in the figure fairly quickly and I eventually found something on the television to keep my interest for an extended period of time.  It wasn't until much later, when my roommate arrived home that I checked the channel again, not even thinking about it.  This was hours later, and so I was somewhat astonished to see that the figure was still standing there, staring into the entryway of the apartment complex.  

In disbelief at the fact that the person hadn't moved an inch in over five hours, I called my roommate over to look at the television and I explained to them that I had seen the figure earlier.

"I don't see anything, dude."  That was his only response, and I assured him that there was something standing there on the other side of the street, and insisted that he must have passed it on the way in, given its location.  

"I didn't see anything when I came in, at least I'm ninety percent sure I didn't, and I sure as heck don't see anything right now."  

I couldn't believe him; I thought he must have been messing with me, and that maybe the figure itself was some prop he had set up as part of an elaborate prank.  I pleaded with him to check outside the window and when he swore again he didn't see anything at all I forced him to go outside with me and check the spot.  Against my better judgement I went out sick in the cold, with my room mate, just beyond the entryway.  Whatever or whoever the figure was I didn't really want to get too close.

I couldn't find it though.  After I went outside, I could no longer see the figure, and my room mate laughed at me, telling me in a teasing manner that this flu must be getting to my head.  

"Maybe he's right..." I thought.  Maybe there wasn't anything there; after all, there hadn't been enough time for someone to have removed it if it were a prop, we got out there pretty quickly.  I thought to myself that it must have been some distortion that I became fixated on in my boredom.  I had nearly reassured myself, until I got back into bed and flicked on the television.

I had left the TV on the security feed when I went out so it was what came up when I turned on the television.  I noticed this time that the figure was missing, and I felt relieved for a moment, until after a minute or two of scanning the screen I came upon what I'm sure was the same figure, only this time close enough to make out some detail, illuminated by the street light that it was now attempting to hide behind.  I knew it was the same thing because of the silhouette from before; it had a fairly distinct outline, like that of a person, only somewhat jagged and seemingly malnourished, which is why I had thought before that it might be a homeless person.  There were a lot of homeless people in the area, always trying to bum a couple of dollars off unsuspecting college students.  

I could tell now it was no vagrant, but instead something that I believed was entirely otherworldly in nature.  It was pale, about the height of a man, but with a slim figure and very sharp-looking joints.  Its body was black and looked bony, even in the low light and limited resolution, and it stared wildly into the entrance of the building with a pair of deep, sunken black eyes.  The rest of the facial features were either completely disproportionate or severely distorted as a result of the camera, but either way the thing's appearance was enough to send a shiver down my spine and call out to my room mate.  

He still swore up and down that he couldn't see anything, and I called him crazy.  He laughed at me and went to his room.  I didn't see him for the rest of the night, he said he had homework and then he would go straight to bed.  I sat up, watching that thing with an intense fear, both for myself and for those around me.  Why couldn't they see it?  Was it a threat?  What did it want?  I became concerned that they couldn't see the impending danger, or at least it felt as if there was an impending danger with whatever this thing was.  If they couldn't see it, how could they defend themselves against it?  So I took it upon myself to watch the thing, ever vigilant against whatever threat this creature might pose, after all, it was getting closer...

That was yesterday, and I didn't get much sleep, as I was watching that television with the focus of a hawk.  I knew that a lack of sleep wouldn't help me get over whatever illness I had, but I felt obligated, out of concern for my friends and my own sanity.  If I could see it so clearly now, it had to be real, didn't it?  

Now, I did say I didn't get much sleep, but I did doze off for a few minutes at about four-thirty A.M.  When I awoke, the thing was closer, this time on our side of the street, hiding haphazardly behind a group of bushes by the curb.  I jumped when I saw that it was closer, and this time the details were even more clear.  I was certain now that aside from the eyes, the face was actually warped in the middle where the nose and mouth should be, and instead there's a sort of twisted, swirling mass of writhing flesh that was far too smooth to be pixel distortion.  I clenched my bedspread in my fist, terrified at what I saw and angry at myself for having fallen asleep.  

I stayed awake for hours, and eventually I heard my room mate's door open and close, and then the apartment room door, and I saw him leaving through the lobby for school, walking right passed the creature and those bushes.  Neither of them acknowledged one another.  He didn't see it and it didn't seem to see him.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing and toyed with the idea of checking myself into a psyche ward.  I got up and looked out my window, down at the thing behind the bushes and I was shocked at what I saw.

As I looked down on the thing it slowly turned its head and looked back up at me.  This was the first time I had seen it acknowledge anything at all, and it was looking straight at me.  Dread filled every inch of my being as I ducked back into bed, and I saw on the TV as it directed its gaze back at the entrance of the apartments.  Only this time it wasn't staring at exactly the same spot, it was looking slightly upwards, as if it was looking directly at me, through the screen...

That was 4 days ago, and I've been sick for a full week now, including the weekend.  My illness seems to be getting worse, and each time I warn my room mate about the thing outside he just laughs at me and tells me I need to get some rest.  

I can't rest though, I have to make sure it doesn't get closer.  I don't think it gets closer when I'm watching it, but I've been getting tired lately... I can't always keep myself conscious...  And in those short moments where I shut my eyes and drift off, the thing gets closer, and closer, and one of these days it'll be right at my doorstep...  I've checked out the window, and each time it looks back... I look at it, and it looks at me... It never blinks, never rests, always plotting, always staring...  It's just outside the entrance now, it's not even attempting to hide, it's got one hand up on the glass, standing directly in front of the door.  So many people pass by it daily, and none of them can see... and it's as if he can't see them... but I can see, and the sight of it seems to allow it to see me as well, where before it seemingly had no interest of me, I've began to think that it must be targeting me for something.  I cant imagine what, I don't want to imagine, but each time I do drift off now I close my eyes and all I see is that twisted, pale face, with those gigantic, gaping black eyes.

I hear a noise now.

I can't stay awake, I don't feel well enough and I don't seem to be getting any better at all.  My room mate says it's from a lack of sleep, but even if I wanted to sleep lately I couldn't because of that noise...  I don't know what it is, but as the thing gets closer I swear I can hear it clearer... like a whistle, but deeper, and less consistent in tone, jolting occasionally as if it were playing through an old transceiver.  

I can't stay awake any more... it's been 11 days now since I first saw it, and I can't keep myself awake any longer... I've already made too many mistakes, slept long enough for it to get just outside...

I can't keep my eyes open...

As I close them now, as I drift off to sleep, not even this intense fear, nor that horrid tone can keep me awake... and as I begin to close them, I blink once, and the thing is still standing there, only now... only now it's on this side of the glass.

It's inside, and I can't stare any longer.  

-Logan C.

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