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I hate selfies.
I can't even begin to explain how much that term gets on my nerves. Seeing people take them or even speaking of them irritates me. It doesn't aggravate me or anger me, it merely irritates me, and there is a specific reason why.
It was my sixteenth birthday, and my parents had finally given me the phone I had been asking and begging for. Though it was also the summer time, so I wasn't too eager to spend my days peering into the screen of a device. Most of my days were spent in the forest adjacent to our yard. I liked to spend time there often due to the serene and quiet feel of nature. There was a soothing creek that echoed through the woods. The intriguing aspect is that I could never seem to find this creek. It had always evaded me, I only experienced the unforgettable noises of it.
As I sat by my favorite tree, I drew up some of the forest landscape around me. My hand traced the textures of the lofty trees, but soon made an unexpected scribble. I was alerted and my hand jutted out uncontrollably. Someone had messaged me. The text read: "Where are you?" One of my friends was asking. I decided that rather than replying I should send a picture.
I decided to pull out my phone and take a selfie. I decided not to send it to him as I soon became engaged in the natural beauty surrounding me. I swiftly began snapping pictures of myself all over the woods. I was in trees, in the leaves, and even by some odd looking plants. Before I noticed the clock I recognized the daylight escaping me. It had hastily become dusk and I had to head back home.
After eating dinner I headed to my room to look through the pictures I had taken. I plugged in my phone and opened the folder with ease. I scrolled through each picture, laughing at some of the faces I had made. When I got to the twenty-seventh picture I was startled by something peculiar. All I could see was a black screen. There was no image, not even a time stamp in the lower left corner. I found it quite odd, because even if I had just left my finger over the lens there still would be a time stamp.
I continued to scroll through, but still all I could find were more and more of these all black pictures. At number thirty-nine I could once again view my pictures. However, instead of them continuing where I had left off it had skipped every picture that was replaced by a black frame. I specifically remembered taking those pictures, but yet they had become black squares, completely unidentifiable.
I came to the conclusion it must have been some glitch and I passed out on my bed.
The next day I spent going out with some of my friends, and I took a couple pictures with them in the mall. The rest of my day I spent once again in the woods, and this time sound of the running creek had grown louder. I looked in eager excitement for it, but was disappointed when I had no luck. I continued taking more pictures in the woods, and once again returned home by twilight.
I scanned through my pictures this time happy to see all of them present until I got to the photos of the forest. Again, several of the pictures from the woods were blotched spots of darkness. I began pounding my keyboard in frustration. My mall pictures showed up, but I had no luck with the ones from the woods; only a few had come through.
As I almost gave up, I remembered something. It seemed odd and inexplicable, but none of my pictures had shown when I was within listening distance of that eerie creek noise. I was puzzled, "How the hell could that noise have anything to do with my phone?”
The next day I returned to the woods in an attempt to resolve the issue. I felt confident, and I entered the area with quite a presence, almost with anger I stomped in with determination at this point. I began snapping pictures of the environment surrounding me. All of the photos were visible, but I wasn't anywhere near the sounds of the creek. I searched for hours, but had trouble pinpointing the echoing sound.
As I was soon ready to leave I heard the sounds of trickling water meander its way through the woods. My head stood higher in excitement. I loaded my phone's camera and took a good look at everything to ensure there weren't any issues. It appeared to be in perfect condition. Reluctantly, after taking several pictures, I scrolled through a gallery of black photos.
I looked at my camera once again as a sigh escaped my breath. I screwed around with the toggles and filters. I had put my camera on the shutter setting which takes multiple pictures at once. I clicked the button in hope of different results. After shooting the images I looked down at a screen that differed from the rest of the snaps, though I wish it hadn't.
No longer a black screen, I looked down at image I preferred not to peer into. It was hard, but I forced myself to keep my gaze directed where it was. On the screen of my phone I looked down at a picture of myself. I sat there with my stretched grin accompanied by the colorful trees in the backdrop. There were several leafs on the ground, nothing out of the ordinary. I had looked normal, the forest looked normal, everything about the image was normal. Everything but the man behind one of the trees that is.
Somewhat blurred due the shutter, I saw no more than twenty feet behind me, a slim dark figure. Lofty in size he stood, looking as if he were on the move. It was hard to recognize much about him. I couldn't really explain in much more detail what I saw other than that. In reluctance I tried scrolling through the rest of the images. He remained in the other pictures, and continued to move across the screen. In the last couple of pictures he halted.
By the end of the roll he was no longer mobile, he stood in an eerie static stance. Disturbingly his head was turned, and his unrecognizable face was directed straight towards the lens. He looked as if he knew I was taking a picture, almost as if he were posing for the camera.
My attention on the phone quickly broke once I heard the rushing waters of what had transformed from the noises of a creek to a river. I can't exactly explain why, but I felt discomforted at the growing sounds of the river. I turned and darted home.
I didn't sleep well that night. I tossed and tumbled in bed unable to shake the sounds of the rushing river. The entire night it was the only noise I could hear in my room, what once soothed me had now consumed my ability to think straight. Finally once I fell into slumber the noises faded. When I awoke in the morning I felt rather groggy and tired. I stood from my bed when I noticed something.
There was an edge from a slip peeking out from under my pillow. I was curious to see what it was, perhaps my mom had left me a letter. I held it in my hands as my emotions shifted from eager to disturbed. An unnerving feeling had filled my stomach once I read the caption written on the pamphlet. "Look inside," it said. Seeming as if it were inviting me into danger, I had no other choice but to look at the papers the envelope contained.
I held a bundle of pictures in my hand, but not any pictures, these photos made my stomach drop. With little ability to move I flipped through the photos. I wasn't looking at repulsive images of gore, or scary faces from a movie set. Instead these images were so powerful they had numbed my emotions, they disturbed my mind. The photos I was looking at were photos of me, not selfies, not from Facebook, but from last night.
I looked down at them and saw myself sleeping in bed fully vulnerable to whatever stood behind the camera. Stretched over me was an elongated shadow of the photographer. Several of these pictures were similar, but I began to have trouble looking through the rest as the photographers motives seemed to change. He began holding up tools and weapons, leading to suggestions of torture.
I felt rather unsafe and knew I had to tell someone about this. Just before going to inform my parents I noticed a white sheet at the bottom of the pictures. The piece of paper read, "How does it feel? Having pictures of you taken in your own home by some invader.” I was filled with confusion. I now wondered who possibly could have taken the pictures.
Regardless I ran to my parents to show them the images. I was disheartened by their response. Apparently to them all they saw were blank images, similar to the ones I had earlier seen. I decided no one would believe me and I returned to my room. From that point on I never felt safe again, I took extra precaution in everything I did. I didn't return to the woods that day; I didn't leave the house.
That night I locked my door. I sat in bed all night unwilling to shut my eyes. At around 2am I heard the subtle sounds of the calming creek echo down the hall to my room. it resounded and grew louder and louder to the point where I heard a river outside my door. Something stood on the other side of my door, I knew this because I saw a moving shadow swaying and covering the light under the crack.
I got under my sheets, and pretended to be asleep, as the entity began pounding on my door in frustration. I saw the knob of my door twist and turn back and forth as it struggled to break through. There was a loud pop as it undid my lock and the door sluggishly creaked open. My defense was down and now nothing stood between me and the intruder.
The sound now louder than ever soon morphed from the noises of a river, to the realization of what it really was. This creature, whatever it was, created the noises of the creek. Its mucus-filled mouth and runny nostrils set off the sound every time this being struggled for breath. I saw its battle to breathe as it wheezed its slimy gasps for air out. It almost sounded as if the creature were dying.
I had only at this point heard the entity, but soon would see it. I cracked my eyes open as little as possible to get a visual on it. I saw standing in my room, the same black scrawny figure I had viewed in the woods. It surprisingly didn't move it only sat there as if it were attempting to take advantage of my oblivious state. It looked just the same as before, even blurry in person it had no recognizable features, only it was skinny tall and fully black.
That night would be the first and last time I had seen the creature in person, but it wasn't the last time I had heard him. I am still unsure about a lot, but I can say to this day the noise of his breathing has never left me and only grows louder and louder. My belief is that thing lived in the woods, and now is seeking some sort of revenge as I invaded his home.
I try not to take pictures anymore, because I see him in every single one, and he gets closer and closer each time. He began around twenty feet out, but in the last picture I took he was just inches away. The noises that once sounded like a calming creek have now morphed into the extremity of a rapid gushing waterfall.
Even though I can't see him I know he or better yet, it is getting closer, and I can only hope I have a little time left each day. I haven't taken a picture in months and I still don't plan to, but as I sit here typing the sound of the waterfall is only getting louder and louder...
Written by Pacersnation16