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It's Always Watching

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This isn’t my story, but my friend’s. His name is Alex and he’s turning 20 this year. I’m writing this for him because he…can’t and I need to get this out of my system. He told me everything not long ago and that explains why he was acting crazy for so long. And what he did. I didn’t really believe him at the time, but, now I wish I had. Or at least was there for him. He needed somebody and I wasn’t there…

Alex said it started six months ago. He was at the local college and was walking to his car when he looked up to see someone at the end of the parking lot. Now, the parking lot is pretty big so Alex couldn’t make out any of the features, but it seemed like this guy was just standing there staring at him. He shrugged it off as nothing, got in his car, and drove home.

From then on, Alex said that, every once in a while, he’d look out a window at a restaurant or in the rear view mirror while driving and see the shape of what looked to be a person, just standing and staring. Alex started to get nervous but more confused than anything.

As time went on, he’d see more and more of this person, always in the distance, never moving, and always looking like he was staring at him. I remember one time that the two of us were walking down the street to get some food when he motioned behind us and down the road. He had mentioned lightly to me about these weird occurrences, but I never noticed anything. Alex motioned for me to look and I turned…and saw nothing. Alex swore and looked frustrated. He said it was gone. The moment he looked away to get me to turn and the two of us looked back, it had gone. I’d like to say I was a good friend, but Alex was starting to freak me out. It worried me. I thought he might be starting to go crazy.

I didn’t hang out with him much after that and I guess it was my mistake then. After that day in the street, it seemed to get closer to him. A week later, for the first time, Alex saw him from his bedroom window, standing down the street. It was close enough that he couldn’t make out any real features, but he said that it didn’t seem to be wearing any clothes. He could just make out that there didn’t seem to be anything covering a really scrawny body but that was it.

And it just kept appearing.

The few times I hung out with Alex after that, he seemed nervous. Kept looking over his shoulder and off in the distance. He seemed to be looking at something, but, after what happened last time, he never mentioned it to me.

I remember the night Alex finally got a good look at it.

He had been home by himself making some dinner, when he happened to glance up out the kitchen window. There, standing across the street, was that thing. It was dark, and the distance still rather decent, but Alex could make out enough details to be terrified.

It was naked and its sickly, skinny body seemed barely held together by stretched, yellow skin. Its fingernails hung down in long, dark curls that rolled up to its palms. He could even see the things ribs, not because of its skin being so tight, but because it’s skin had broken there and it’s ribs gleamed in the street light. Its face is what got to him though. It was barely more than a skull with yellowy skin stretched over it and a mouth that looked like somebody had taken a knife and cut it into its head. The eyes though…he could barely talk about the eyes. They were the only thing that seemed alive about it.

Two, wide eyes reflected the light of the street light and seemed intent on only one thing: him. Alex looked away, gasping and biting back tears before he looked up. There it stood. Not making a move. Not twitching. Just staring. He closed the curtains and then grabbed the phone to call me. He said he didn’t care if I believed him but that he just needed to get this out. I didn’t know what to think. I tried to comfort him and tell him it was all right but what was I really going to say? That he needed help because he kept seeing some skeleton staring at him?

I didn’t talk to him for a long while after that. Probably another month. I hadn’t heard anything so I eventually came over. When he answered his door, he looked beat. He looked tired and exhausted. It seemed he lost a lot of weight too. The house was a mess with trash all over the place. When I asked him what was wrong, he motioned to the back window. I looked and…saw nothing. Alex just threw up his hands and yelled “Of course not!” and then slumped onto his couch.

I asked him what he meant by that and what he said really sent a chill down my spine.

“It’s all over now,” he said as he glanced back to that window. “Every time, I turn around I see it. It’s just standing at a window, or behind a tree, or in a doorway…just staring at me.”

“Alex,” I tried to sound calm, but the worry came out in my tone. “You really need-“

“And you know what it does?” he said in anger as he shot up from his seat. I visibly gasped and drew back. I thought he might hurt me. God, I felt like a terrible friend that day.

“Nothing!” he yelled in frustration. “Not a god damn thing! It just stands there and fucking stares! I’ve tried to ignore it. I’ve tried to piss it off. I’ve tried to be nice to it. Not even saying anything to you is making it do anything! Look!” He threw his hand up toward the front window this time. It took me a moment before I brought my shocked gaze away from him and to that window. Again, nothing.

“Oh and that’s right. The moment someone else tries to look at it, it’s fucking gone!” He groaned and fell back into his chair, head in his hands. “It’ll be back though…I don’t know what to do.” I wanted to say something to help him then. I wanted to do something to bring his mind back to reality but I had no idea what to tell him. What could I say? He was far beyond any help I could give him. When he turned and locked himself in the bathroom, I left. I know, I’m a terrible friend, but he was scaring me and I felt so…useless.

I called the hospital that night and told them what happened. They asked if he was in immediate danger of himself and I said I didn’t think so. They told me they’d contact the police the next morning to see if he was dangerous and then they’d go from there. I felt like the worst person alive. I basically called the police on my troubled friend.

I got my last call from him that night. I’ll never forgot it.

“Hey, Alex?” I answered.

“It’s in the house now,” he said in a quiet, dull voice.

“Alex, you need to stop this.” I was getting frustrated and scared. I didn’t know what he was capable of like this.

“It’s standing in the kitchen, just staring at me. If I go into another room, it follows me but I don’t see it walk,” he explained in that dull, monotone voice. “Just kind of appears.”

“Alex, you need help. Look, sit down, calm down, and I’ll see what I can do.”

“I tried to record it you know.” He ignored me. “Every time I point the camera where it’s at, it’s gone and standing somewhere else. Same thing when I tried to stab it.” Now he was officially dangerous.

“Alex, stop!” I yelled into the phone. “Stop talking about this or I’m going to call the cops!”

“It wouldn’t be so bad if it’d just kill me or something.” It was like talking to an insane wall. “But it just stands there. I’m staring at it right in the face now while I’m talking to you. I can see its big, yellow eyes just looking back. It doesn’t even care.”

I just held the phone in silence at this point. What could I say? Though I was calling the police after this. I didn’t want to hang up on him though…who knows what he might do then.

“I’m so tired of looking at it. I got a way to get rid of it though.” That was when his tone finally changed. It was determined, angry, and dark.

“What are you going to do?” I asked slowly, terrified of the answer.

“I don’t want to look at it anymore.” He said and I heard the beep of the phone disconnecting. I tried to call him back but he never picked up. I was nearly in tears when I finally decided to call the police.

They came to his house quickly and, afterward, picked me up for a statement. I told them everything. That he’d been seeing something and it was getting worse and I detailed the phone call. I don’t think they knew what to make of my story but a look of understanding seemed to come from the cop afterward. I asked what he had happened to Alex and the cop leaned in and whispered.

“We found him lying on the floor with a kitchen knife in his hands and blood everywhere. He stabbed his own eyes. He’s alive at least but the damage was done.”

He stabbed his own eyes? What kind of crazy does it take for a person to stab at their own eyes to stop from seeing an imaginary stalker? Whatever Alex’s condition was, obviously I shouldn’t done something about it sooner. Instead, I waited and stood back until it was too late. I blamed myself for everything.

I visit him in the hospital every once in a while. It doesn’t seem like he’s coming home any time soon. His mind’s too far gone. Most of the time, he’s silent and seems to stare off, even with the roll of gauze that’s wrapped about his head, covering the empty sockets where his eyes used to be. The last time I saw him was a couple of days ago and, for the first time, his mood seemed to change. I said hello and he let out a big, long laugh and leaned back in his seat. His grin was big, wide and plain…crazy. I asked him what he was laughing about and he turns and seems to look straight at me even through rolls of gauze and with hollow, empty sockets then says one thing:

“Finally! I don’t see him anymore.” I left right after that. It was too much. I turned and went outside and right to my car.

This was my fault. Maybe if I did more or believed him. Hell, maybe if I just stayed with him rather than running away like a coward every time he freaked me out, maybe he’d be OK. Now he was a muttering, blind mess stuck in a hospital.

I sighed and opened the door to my car. I just wanted to get home, close my eyes, and pretend this never happened. As I began to pull out of the parking lot, I glanced into my rear view mirror and paused. I could’ve sworn I saw the silhouette of a man off in the distance, just staring in my direction...

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