The digital clock humming quietly on my nightstand was the only sound my ears could detect. The night was dead quiet, yet I knew he was there. Right on schedule, he would be lurking there, outside my window. He would knock. I, for reasons I wish I could explain, would open the blinds, a sense of dread flooding my body. He would stare at me, and I would stare at him. He would leave soon after, and I would stay awake until the sun began to rise. This was our routine. My mind was wandering a thousand miles away when he knocked that night, though my eyes lingered on the window. I told myself I wouldn't open the blinds. I told myself that tonight he wouldn't scare me and that I would get the rest I so desperately needed. He knocked twice more. I grabbed a pillow, squeezing it tight over my head, and began humming some old nursery rhyme from a childhood which, at that moment, seemed so long ago. He knocked once again, and this time, it was a helluva lot less courteous of a knock than usual. It morphed into a loud thumping noise.
I finally threw the pillow off my head and opened the blinds. His pale, wrinkly face leered in at me. His lifeless, black eyes that shone despite their darkness peered into my own. His stringy hair fluttered a little in the wind. He seemed to be breathing somewhat harshly, and though it was hard to determine his mood as anything other than emotionless, I could sense an amount of animosity I had never felt before.
After what seemed like hours, he turned around and was on his way. I faced the ceiling and wept. This had been going on for more than a month. I had tried to talk to others about it, but I could never finish my sentences. They'd degrade into quiet mumblings and whispers. I was so tired, and I had even begun to wonder if I was losing my mind. I had tried sleeping pills but even they couldn't help me to sleep through the night. The weirdest part is that I always woke up about five minutes before he knocked. I knew, instinctively, that he would be there. I was so tired. The next night, I told myself that under no circumstances would I look out that window, I didn't care if he was on the verge of breaking the glass, I would not give him what he wanted. I would not feed him. He'd have to find someone else to haunt, someone else to steal sleep from. He'd have to leave me alone.
I woke up, and I instantly knew what was going to happen. It's funny, I always anticipated his knocks, and yet I still jumped a little when I finally heard him. I lay in my bed quietly, as if I hadn't heard anything. He knocked again, and I hid under the pillow once more. He knocked again, even louder than he had the night before. I whimpered, but remained under the pillow. He knocked twice more. After that, things got quiet. I no longer had the feeling I was being watched. I pulled my head out from under my pillow and slowly looked out the window.
Nothing. Just my backyard.
I laughed. I laughed so hard that little tears began to slip out of my eyes. He was somebody else's problem now. I looked at the clock, noticed that I had only been awake for about fifteen minutes, and turned over to go back to sleep. I had just fallen into that uncertain stage where dreams mingle with reality, when I heard the distant click of a door. My back door. Someone... something... had just entered into my house from the outside. Something from my backyard. I knew it was him. I listened quietly as his footsteps made their way from my kitchen, to my dining room, to the short hallway outside of my bedroom. He was walking slowly, patiently, making no attempts to hide his presence.
When he knocked on my door, I almost vomited. I had to do something, anything. I was paralyzed with fear. He knocked again. Trembling, I pulled the pillow back over my head. All that could be heard was the sound of weeping, knocking, and a digital clock humming quietly to itself.
I was so tired.