I remember the days when I sat in my room, on my bed, curled in the fetal position while I cried for my mommy or daddy. They came back saying those shapes were only shadows, only toys and clothes. Yet then I knew not the same malefic things I know now and had I at the time I would have run as far away as I could. Little did I know that those shapes... were not merely shapes. That those dark patterns on the wall weren't the shadow of a tree branch scratching against my window, nor was that eerie sound of tapping the limb hitting the glass. Something more... something more... Now I know, and it's a shame I can't spread my words. For with words like these, one would be called mad, shut away in the shadow of loneliness. Disbelief, as it crushes you down and makes you feel weak, as if the world is tumbling onto your shoulders. Slowly your legs crack, shatter, and you're nothing under all the weight.

My story; it begins late on a Friday night. The sun was just beginning to set over the trees, a shadow throwing itself on the ground. I was getting out of my car, meeting up with some friends as they sat on the porch of this large white house, and greeted each other. I quickly joined the group as we went inside. It was the Fourth of July, and we always had a big party and some fun with firecrackers. I sat down with my friend Haley, who I hadn't seen since high school. After plummeting into the world of college, and so far away, I had little time for my friends. Though it was summer, and I was able to come home for this.

Haley informed me that she wasn't doing well, being in therapy a while now. I was rather worried after my discussion with her. It shook me so bad I wasn't able to sit calmly for a while. But after dinner we began to play around with firecrackers, pulling immature daredevil stunts like we always had before. That's when things took an unexpected turn. Haley chased Amy off somewhere behind the house when we heard a peculiar noise. It sounded like a scream but muffled and forced down. So several of us ran back to check. We only found Haley back there.

"She ran back in the house, cut her hand on some glass," Haley said, pointing to a broken bottle of beer, supposedly Amy's. I went inside to see if Amy was alright. I came into the kitchen, found some drops and dabs of blood on the counter... and I heard someone crying, sobbing. I turned my head, seeing some silhouette move back into the hall, somewhere near Stuart's bedroom. I moved back there, calling, "Amy?"

No answer. I called again, "Amy?" Still nothing. Rather nervously, I stepped forward, rounding a corner and pushing a door to emerge in Stuart's bedroom. Amy was standing at the window, sobbing. Her back was turned to me, but I could still see the blood running down her arm.

"Amy?" I said. She turned around, holding her arms out in a defensive position. Her eyes wide with fear or shock or... something else. I couldn't read past a certain wall of madness instilled in them. Her eyes seemed to twitch, bloodshot. She was gritting her teeth, mumbling something under her breath.

"Come in here! Come in here!" she uttered, her voice a whimper. I began to back away, slowly. She kept stuttering, but I could understand her.

"Don't go out there! Don't go out there! Don't go back out there!" she cried. Her eyes were watering now. I wanted to look back over my shoulder, but she gave a yelp before I could so much as turn my head. I eased back into the room, doing as she said, holding my hands up, as I had no weapon to defend myself with. I chose to surrender. She quickly closed the door and locked it.

I looked at her oddly. She seemed to sense my judging her, and calmed down, facing the window. I was silent for a while before I grew impatient with her and asked her why she was acting this way. She turned around, looking at me with a gaze... I could never, ever describe it in words. But tryingly, it was one of absolute horror. Dread, some sort of madness or despair flooded over her face and drowned out any sign of normality. I saw nothing but wide eyes, white pools of fear. She said slowly, in a weak voice, "It's watching. It's watching."

Before I could say anything, something about her caught my eye. It was over her shoulder, outside the window. Something had moved. I saw some dark form... that I cannot describe as anything but some unearthly, inhuman monstrosity. I saw a hood-like shape. Dark clothing that slid over the figure's head. Its face was gray-skinned. Though the black hood blotted out most of what could be seen, I distinctly remember its horrifying features. Two, big white eyes that had no pupils, no irises. Only pale, snowy sclera. Dark shapes emerged from the eyes, slicking down in a cracked, mottled, greased fashion. Nearly looking like tears smeared or dark shadows slipping out from under the eyes. Its nearly skeletal face lacked any visible nose. Its mouth... dripped, with blood. Blood, at least, that's what I called it. It was certainly a dark red, a fluid that dripped down its chin and fell to the dark soil below. I stood in my spot, froze and unable to move. The creature had a crimson smile, a stretched, morphed smile. It tilted its head to the side, nearly touching its shoulder. Then, I heard the shattering of glass.

I remember sitting there, holding my eyes shut, against the wall. The lamp buzzing on and off. The wall in front of me... adorned in blood, the blood seeping from strange claw marks in the wall itself. I tried not to look, but sometimes it was impossible. Amy was nowhere to be found. I kept saying to myself it wasn't real. Maybe one of the others had hit me in the head with a firecracker and I was having medicine-induced nightmares on a hospital bed. But things became all too real. It was when I looked up, finding the face of the figure right in front of mine. The figure bent over, inspecting me closely. I had screamed, shaking and curling into a ball against the wall. I heard a faint murmuring sound, like that of many whispers, but louder and darker and increasingly by the moment. I heard them saying something... my name. "Michael."

I shouted, screaming at the top of my lungs at last. I swatted my arms, trying to throw the creature away. But when I looked back it was already gone. It was then that I noticed the markings on the wall were gone, the blood somehow dissipated. The light still buzzed on and off, distorting my vision. I was breathing heavily. But oddly... I could still hear the murmurs. The strange, animal-like noises that on occasion bent to form my name. And as I held my hands over my ears, trying to stop the noise, I felt something touch my shoulder. A poke, a pinch, a small press. I lifted my gaze, letting it fall on the broken window. Out there, out there it stood... the figure, the abomination. It tilted its head again, raising a long, bony gray hand as it waved at me. Its fingers long and gaunt, and reminding me of snakes, claws on the ends. I didn't remember it leaving, only that it was gone the next moment. The light was off, only to be turned on by someone entering the room. It was Haley, with some look on her face. A smile that to me seemed dangerous. She whispered to me, "Michael, are you alright?"