Let this stand as a record of what happened, should anything happen to me. You will understand by the end and I apologise in advance for what may occur. Read on only at your own risk. You have been warned.
I forget exactly how old I was but it was still the 90's so I'd say around 8 or 9 years old. I've always been a big fan of stargazing and my parents had bought me a telescope for Christmas the year before. I was struggling at school so they thought it might help my grades if I took an avid interest in something scientific. I was sceptical at first, but upon seeing how beautiful the universe could be through the wonders of Doctor Who, I was hooked.
It was mid-summer and the stars were out in abundance that night, littering the sky like diamonds. My clock said it was around 9pm. I had already been gazing for some time when I came across a rather bright star in the night sky, I zoomed in for a closer look. As I did, the light dazzled me. I lost my balance, fell off my stand, banged my head in the process and blacked out.
When I came to, it was 1:30 in the morning, the first thing I saw was my mother’s tired, worried face welling up with tears as I came around. She had no idea where I’d been for the past 4 hours. Escape without detection was virtually impossible; believe me, I’d tried. To leave my home, I’d need to go downstairs, past the living room where my parents were the whole time and go out the front door into a cul-de-sac where everyone knew everyone. But nobody had seen me leave or heard me leave, I just vanished.
To this day, my mum won't speak of it and I have no idea whether it happened or not. Either my mum is just trying to bury the memory or I imagined it.
A couple of nights after this, I was lying in bed trying to get to sleep. I was an only child and pretty lonely, so I wouldn't sleep until both my parents and my dog were upstairs and heading to bed too. I got so used to this regime, that I could recognise who was ascending the stairs based on their way of walking.
For my father, it would be a brisk pace, stomping on the steps as he hurried up. For my mother, it was a slow shuffling. For my dog, it resembled the sound of a horse galloping.
The structure of my room at the time meant not only did the door open towards my bed so that I could not see who came through until they had passed the width of the open door, but that the cupboard was directly opposite my door, so shadows would be a good indication of who was entering my room at night. I knew my families outlines very well, making it easy to distinguish who was coming in.
My memory from this event is fractured, but I remember it being very late at night, my door was open a crack, as usual, to allow some light in. I began hearing thuds downstairs; even that young, I naturally assumed it was my Golden Retriever, Barney, stumbling around. Then I heard someone ascend the stairs. But it wasn't a shuffle, it wasn't a brisk stomping, nor was it a galloping.
It was a series of laboured thuds, like something being lifted up and successively dropped, though not with much impact. These thuds got closer and closer to the top of the stairs, before ceasing. As they did, a dragging sound started. When it approached my door, it was gently pushed open.
The last thing I remember is three joint tall shadows slowly rising up my wall.
I never saw what came past my door, or rather, I don't remember. This was the only incident from my childhood, shrouded in mystery. Fast forward nearly a decade and it's now October 2008, my family had gone away on holiday for the first time without me and at 17 years old, and I certainly wasn't complaining. I had the bungalow to myself for 2 glorious weeks and despite a busy filming schedule, I could still enjoy having my music as loud as I wanted and having friends or my girlfriend Ellie over. I got to have all manner of things a teenager craves when still living with family.
Around four in the morning, I was woken by to the high pitched ringing of our home phone. Despite being half asleep, I knew what a phone call in the middle of the night meant; someone we knew had been in an accident, or worse. My friend Stew had been staying the night and was closer to the phone so he picked it up.
“It's for you man, why are they calling so late?”
I took the phone from him, shrugging. As I placed the phone to my ear, I could hear an odd tapping sound in the background, it wasn't loud enough for me to figure out what it actually was at the time, but it was prominent nevertheless. I simply dismissed it as the rain and carried on.
There was another long pause, broken by the sound of an almost forced giggle.
"Hehe, hi! It's Jenna! I wanted to ask you if you wanted to be my boyfriend?"
"Sorry...Jenna who? I don't know anyone by that name...how did you even get this number?"
She giggled again.
"You gave it to me when I met you at college, silly!"
One thing I've never done is hand out my home number to anyone that wasn't a classmate, childhood friend or someone I knew very well. Everyone else I wanted to keep in contact with would either get my mobile phone number or my MSN address.
I was getting confused and stressed about the situation, but I had a feeling it might be some kind of stupid prank so I nipped it in the bud quickly. I could feel my bed calling me already.
"Look, I’m sorry but I have a girlfriend and I'm not interested."
I put the phone down and walked back to my room.
The phone began ringing again before I'd even stepped foot through the doorframe. This was getting a bit much now, even for a prank. I sighed and picked it up, hoping for a solution to this.
"Look I don't know who you or your little friends are, but I have to be up in a few hours and so does my family, so why don't you just tell me what you want or if this is just a prank so I can spare us both the trouble and disconnect my phone for the night?”
She was silent on the other end for about ten seconds, the constant tapping the only sound breaking the awkwardness.
"I'm sorry; will you come and meet me? I'd prefer talking to you in person."
Her response took me aback a bit.
"Right now? It's four in the morning and I have no idea where you live, let alone who you are."
What she said next made my stomach contract.
"Oh that's okay, I’m outside."
It was then I realized what the constant tapping was. It wasn't the rain; it couldn't have been the rain. I slowly turned and walked towards my front porch and my suspicions were confirmed.
It was a tapping at the front door...and it got slower and more laboured as I turned to stare.
I have paned windows for my front door, so you can't see who's on the other side properly, only silhouettes. Now it wasn't clear, but I could see no silhouette on the other side of the door.
My blood ran cold.
"Who the fuck are you and how did you get my address?"
"I'll tell you if you come outside."
I felt dizzy, not sure of what I was going to be greeted by when I opened that door. I shakily placed my hand on the doorknob and twisted the lock, a myriad of horrifying scenarios played out in my head as I opened door to come face to face with...nothing. There was nobody there. I took a look to the top of my driveway, it’s around 30 ft long and pitch black so I couldn't see much, but there was nobody in sight.
"I got nervous, I’m sorry."
I jumped slightly as I remembered I had the phone to my ear.
"Will you come and meet me at the top of the road? Please?"
I slammed the door shut and decided this was enough for one night, I was terrified and tired.
"No, I'm fucking done with this shit, I don't know who you are but I will be calling the police if you call here again, got it?"
Then she did something that has not left my mind since that night. She started to cry. This in itself isn't a strange thing, but it was how she sounded when crying. It started off as an almost forced, mock crying. As if she didn't even care. But then after a few seconds it got more intense, more full of pain and hurt. She began wailing in between breaths, almost bringing herself to vomiting as she coughed and spluttered. It was awful to listen to. <
Then, as I went to apologise, I heard something in her voice that made me drop the phone. It started getting deeper. Much deeper. I daresay it began to sound like a man, but I put the phone down and unplugged it at the wall before anything else could be said.
My mobile phone rang 16 times that night, no voicemails. When I woke up in the morning, I checked my answering machine. All the voicemails were exactly the same, just her repeating "We've been here before."
I tried to put it out of my mind and hoped it was just a lame prank by someone I used to go to school with. A few days passed without incident and I started to get back into normal life. Stew offered to stay longer if needed, but I declined, saying it wasn't worth it. We'd only be giving them satisfaction if he did.
It was late one night in the week, i'd just gotten back from London having been on set all day shooting for an end of year project. I got in, put some food in the microwave and settled down for the night, knowing I'd have an early start the following day. I fell asleep in my chair watching a film, when I was rudely awoken by my home phone. I didn't even bother checking the time, but it was undoubtedly late.
"Maybe Mum’s calling from abroad..." I sleepily thought to myself.
Silence on the end except for a heavy breathing.
"C'mon whoever this is answer up, I gotta be up early tomorrow and I don-"
"Do you remember me?” An angry, female voice snarled.
"What? No, who is this?"
"You'll remember me after tonight."
There was a long pause, and then she giggled.
"We've been here before."
Tap, tap, tap.
My heart stopped and I slowly turned around.
They were outside the front door. Three shapes, on the other side of the door.
My entire childhood nightmare was slowly coming alive right before my fucking eyes.
"What the hell do you want with me?" I croaked, my body shaking, unable to even blink, staring at the shapes at my door.
"Let us in." She said maliciously.
“Bang, Bang, Bang” A pair of hands aggressively hammering against my front door.
"You're crazy, you're fucking crazy!" I shouted. I could even hear myself echoing through the other side of the door thanks to the phone.
"Did you remember to lock the back gate?"
I ran like a bat out of hell to my back door, I’m glad the blinds were down, I didn't want to see what the fuck they were, human or not. I twisted the lock and immediately started hearing banging. But it was accompanied by something else...it was the sound of groaning. I heard an awful, aggressive groaning.
I couldn't keep the phone to my ear anymore, she was now shrieking to be let in. I could hear her through the door. I didn't even think to call the police at this point; I knew if I wasted time, I'd be dead. I raced back to my room and climbed out the window, I'm fortunate my car was parked right on the front lawn by my bedroom window.
I jumped in and drove off without even putting my front lights on, I was lucky I didn't get caught for speeding; cars were honking their horns, flashing their lights and drivers animatedly pointed at me as I drove past. But in that moment, all I could think about was getting away, I was genuinely afraid for my life, nobody else mattered.
I drove for a couple of hours, deep into the countryside surrounding my town. It sounds cliché, but I wanted to be completely sure that I had ditched them, whatever “they” were. My hands were aching; I’d been gripping the steering wheel so tightly that my joints were locking up. I decided it was time to pull over and calm myself down. I found a small embankment off the side of a long stretch of road and pulled in. The gate to the adjacent field was bolted shut and there was absolutely no sound aside from a gentle breeze. It was eerie, but comforting for me considering the circumstances.
I sat back and took a deep breath in, contemplating what my next move would be. Going home was not an option, I knew that much. But my family would be home within a couple of days, what was I supposed to say to them?
I jumped out of my seat and felt my heart punch through my chest. My calm atmosphere evaporated and was replaced by sickening fear. My iPhone was signaling me to let me know I had a new message in my inbox. Even before I checked my phone, I knew who it would be from. With shaking hands and bated breath I unlocked my phone and watched as the feeble signal loaded up the email.
To: Tom Lever
"Three hungry beasts, three hungry beasts, See how they feed, see how they feed. They always capture their prey, someday, Be it today, April or far away. Just when you think you've escaped and are free, You forgot, not two, but three hungry beasts are we."
I froze as a grave realisation came over me. There were three. How could I overlook something like that? I heard two of them banging on the front and back door, I didn't even think about the third. My survival instinct had kicked in and I just got out of there...just like they wanted.
I heard a scuffling coming from behind me in the backseat as a figure slowly rose up and placed its hands around my eyes. That sickly giggle once again ringing in my ears. Only this time, it was much closer. I couldn't even bring myself to scream, I was paralysed by the fear. Instead, I did the only thing I could do; get an answer out of it.
“What...what are you?” I stuttered, afraid any breath I take might by my last. The figure wheezed and giggled like a child as it answered.
“We tried once before...on our last cycle...but we were not as...hungry back then...”
I felt the figure lick up my cheek as it ended its sentence. Its breath...I recognised the smell...
“We have gone by many names and titles in the days of man...”The Ale”, “The Beasts in the Pit”, “Those who dwell in the dark”, “The Nameless Dark”...man has always known us best as fear incarnate.'” “What do you want from me?” I quivered, trying my best to keep my nerve, knowing that the likelihood of me getting out of this was slim at best. "We want you. You are our prey and we will have you.” It trailed off, giggling in an almost inhuman manner.
...but not yet. Fear is a paralytic and a season to our meal. So we will give you an opportunity to live, but it comes at a cost. When I remove my hands from your eyes, you will no longer be able to open them for the rest of your existence. To do so will be to gaze upon us. Should you do that, you will become ours and the hunt will end.” I didn't know how to respond, nor did I want to know any more than what I’d been told. I simply nodded and kept my eyes shut as its hands slid away and it cackled into the distance.
It's been 6 years since that night and I’ve not opened my eyes since. The Doctors say it's psychosomatic and that if I listen to them and apply myself, I can open my eyes. But in all that time, I never have. It's been difficult to say the least; at night they still haunt me, taunting me and daring me to open my eyes.
Tonight, I decided that I will open my eyes and let whatever happens, happen. I'm sick of living in fear. Let this be a record that I was a man who tried, maybe that's why I’m telling you about it. I'll leave you with one final piece of information...and an apology:
When they came to me at night, they explained that it was through my own innate curiosity about the universe and Greek mythology that brought them to me. That a curious, intelligent and creative mind is like a huge light in a dark world to them and they can sniff them out from anywhere. When they hone in on that target, they plague it for years, decades even until the fear is too much and they succumb to the beasts. They do this, because, the hunt in their mind is far more satisfying when the prey is racked with fear. But by reading this, you have now been marked as their next target.
As soon as I open my eyes, they will go for you and you won't even know they're there to begin with. Every creaky door, unexplained bang and movement out of the corner of your eye, that's them. They're lying in wait, baiting you while getting hungrier all the time. I'm sorry. But this was the only way I could guarantee that I might finally lead a normal life. They said if I opened my eyes, they might let me go. I can only hope you have more success than I did. If you ever find me, you will know of my struggle. I'm about to open my eyes... Let the hunt begin again. We've been here before and we will have you.