Every night was the same, the same damn routine. Every night when I would lie in bed I was haunted by her screaming. Who is "her"? Even to the present day I am unsure. I don't know who decided to do this to me, nor why they tortured me like this, but every night would remains the same way. I’d go to bed at 11:00 and lay there. I would lie completely still, only slightly breathing, until I heard it. It echoed throughout my bedroom like a banshee sweeping the walls, searching for as many dark souls it can find until it finally took to its victim and brought it to death. The devilish cry would last at least two minutes, but the more it happened, the longer those minutes felt.
Not long after, it began to feel like years, maybe even decades. Again and again in my head the screaming noise would pierce my eardrums and travel throughout my body, freezing my blood and chilling my organs. Every now and then when I felt it, it would sometimes wrap its cold, dead fingers around my heart and clutch it so tight, I thought I would never see the morning. My breathing would slow down to a desperate gasp. My heartbeat would stay still for a few seconds, giving the illusion I was dead. Then again, every night when I heard the screaming, I may as well have been dead. I would feel nothing.
Not the cold of my skin, nor the feeling of my hairs on end. My senses would fail me as I could hear nothing but those deathly screams, I couldn't see anything whether my eyes were closed or open and all smells that were native to my room would immediately leave me. I was sure that if there was a hell, it would be very similar to this.
After hearing the screaming for those two minutes I would not sleep for the entire night. I would only stay awake in my room and replay those screams in my head until the sun came up. I was only 16 years old when it all started about two years ago, when I was sitting in my room on my own.
My parents were out for the weekend and a few days afterwards, I was getting ready to sleep but stayed up on my phone for a while, just swiping through Facebook when I heard a knock on my window. I got up and approached the window, not prepared for how much my life would change. As I opened my blinds and looked out I saw nothing except the empty street and the street lights shining out on the road. I scanned the road up and down as far as I could just to be safe and saw nothing except next door's cat sat on a brick wall opposite my house and Mr. Jameson pulling up outside his house, just three doors down.
I thought maybe it was him knocking on the front door but then it occurred to me that he had just got out of his car. I studied my surroundings for a few more seconds before giving a friendly wave to Mr. Jameson who had just noticed me peeking out of my window.
His worn and tired face managed a smile as he waved back up to me before retreating to his own house, most likely aiming to get straight to sleep. Mr. Jameson was a politician by day, working for the Liberal Democrat party. It bored me when we were talking and he would lecture me on recent events and what his party was doing. I could have done with a chat around about now since his lectures would always make me half asleep.
I closed the blinds and looked back at my bed. There was something different about it. When I got out of my bed the top right corner of the cover was swept fairly neatly over the top and the two pillows were set neatly beside each other.
After turning around I saw the cover lying half on the floor on the right side of my bed and what remained on the bed was roughed up and bunched together, exposing most of my mattress. The pillows were different as well. One of my pillows was lying in the middle of my bed with the pillow slightly peeking out of my pillowcase, but the other pillow had somehow managed to propel itself across the room as it lay just about a metre away from the end of my bed on the brown carpet. I wasn’t scared by this but more puzzled. Whilst making my bed and placing my pillows back in their place I heard another knock on the window. This one was only slightly louder, the change of force almost imperceptible but still noticeable to me. I left my bed half done to address this strange occurrence. I opened the blinds and once again, nothing.
I scanned the street again for any sign of life but was met with the same response as before, a quiet street, the only difference being the absence of Mr. Jameson’s warm greeting. At this point I became slightly concerned but eventually closed the blinds again and turned my attention to the bed which immediately left me in shock. The cover was crumpled up in the centre of my bed and both pillows lying outside their pillowcases at the end of the bed. I tried to bring myself to a rational conclusion over how this could have occurred since I was only away from the bed for at least ten seconds.
I was slightly afraid of approaching my bed but dismissed my fear and began to clean up again. Five minutes passed and I was finally in bed. As the clock begun to edge toward midnight I could feel my brain shutting down and my body numbing until I heard an extremely loud BANG. I shot into an upright position like a soldier responding to the sergeant. I whipped my head left and right, frantically searching for the source of the noise. My eyes were blurred from waking from my half sleep, and my head was pounding as I felt extremely dizzy. After spending a few seconds gathering myself I approached the window, wondering if the noise I heard came from there. I looked out once more and still saw nothing. I turned to approach my bed and froze where I stood. Lying on my bed, completely still was a pale skinned, black haired young girl. I was both scared and confused until I noticed she was wearing only a black and purple laced bra and underwear of the same design. Her skin was completely pale apart from her lips which were the normal light pink colour. Her eyes were closed and most of her face was covered by her long black hair.
I rubbed my eyes, thinking that perhaps the shock from being awakened was causing me to hallucinate. When I opened my eyes again she was gone. Who was that girl? And why the hell was she in my bed half naked? I decided to forget these questions and I made it up in my mind that it was only me being very tired. I walked toward my bed but felt the urge to turn around. I really didn’t want to but I had to be sure there was nothing actually in my room with me.
As I turned around to hopefully see the closed window above my drawers I saw the same girl staring straight into my eyes. Even if I did look at her, I was unable to do the same as her eyes were all black. No colour, no white, just darkness. Her head turned to the side as if curious or looking for something before I heard a piercing scream echo through my head. The sound must have come from her but I wasn’t sure as her mouth was clamped shut and as soon as I heard it I felt almost knocked back as I fell on to my bed.
Before I could raise my head I was forced back down by the girl. It was only a few seconds before she was completely on top of me, clamping me in place with her nails digging into my wrists. The burning and stinging of her nails tearing my skin was almost unbearable but her surprising strength stopped me from moving at all. After a minute of struggling I looked up into her empty eyes and she leaned in close beside my ear whispering to me, “Goodnight.”
She then raised her head and smiled at me, proceeding to open her mouth slightly. Upon opening her mouth, blackened red blood spilled from her lips and stained my t shirt. I shook my head vigorously as hers drew closer until her lips touched mine. I could feel the blood covering my mouth and even seeping past my lips and running down my throat. It was the most horrifying experience of my life to date. I closed my eyes, hoping for this to end but could still feel a cold liquid slowly trickling down the side of my mouth.
I was reluctant at first but eventually I opened my eyes and I saw nothing above me or around me. I was lying on my bed with my right leg hanging over the edge and my head only just reaching the top corner of the bed. Cold sweats rolling down my forehead and neck, slowly reaching my upper back. My shaking hand moved slowly toward my face to touch the damp spot at the corner of my mouth and moved my hand toward my line of sight. I wanted to confirm that it was blood, that my mind wasn’t playing tricks on me and that I wasn’t possibly going crazy. Then again, I didn’t want to be right either. I really didn’t want to face all the questions I would have if I really did just go through whatever that might have been.
As my hand became more visible to me my heart was racing until I saw what it was. The liquid on my hand was transparent and sparkling in the light shining through my window. It was my own saliva. I leapt out of bed and looked in my mirror to see myself drooling from the corner of my mouth and my eyes had large bags underneath which seemed to show, what would looked like, years of very little sleep.
I was so confused when I saw this. Did it not happen? Was it a dream? Or maybe I was going crazy. I couldn't wrap my head around it, or even think straight. I refused to attempt to go back to sleep that night until I looked at the clock and saw that it was 8:00 in the morning.
From that night onwards I would hear screaming from that girl every night at five minutes to midnight. I was fully convinced that it was her, there was no other explanation. These screams stayed with me for the next two years, tearing me apart both mentally and physically. My once fresh skin became slightly more pale, even if I spent all day outside. My eyes became baggy from a lack of sleep and my hair seemed more coarse and scraggly than it once was. I came to realise that the person I saw looking back at me in the mirror was my future self giving me a warning to act soon, before these fears consumed me and turned me into the waste of a human I seemed to be.
I thought that I would eventually die from the insanity until one day when I received a message on Facebook.
I wasn’t sure if I should answer, since I knew the dangers of talking to someone online, but then I figured, they can’t physically harm me over the computer.
“How are you?”
I was still puzzled over why this random person was talking to me, or even how they got to my Facebook profile without knowing anything about me. Before responding I decided to check the profile. Harley Tate. She had dark brown hair and staggeringly blue eyes. She looked amazing, but I had to quickly snap myself out of it since it could have easily been a 50 year old dude in his basement. I carried the conversation on nonetheless.
After exchanging pleasantries and talking a little about her interest in something called “memory collecting” I was ready to end the conversation until she asked a very odd question.
“So do you hear it too?”
“A girl screaming at night”
I was still for a few seconds as this question was revolving around my head over and over. How could she possibly know about what was happening with me? Although a better question would be, is it happening to her as well? After a minute of no talking she continued to talk for me.
“Look at this news article. It seems we’re not the only ones who can hear her”
I clicked on the link and saw a gruesome headline on the Daily Mail website. ‘Manchester boy, 17, mauled to death in rehabilitation center’.
Apparently the kid was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression and was sent to a hospital center to live and hopefully become a bit better until an unknown killer tore his body apart at midnight. Exactly the same time we would hear the screaming. The pictures were awful, the kid way lying on his room bed with blood covering every single inch of his body and sprayed across the bed headboard and the wall behind. His torso and face were covered on long scratches that looked almost like the work of a mountain lion. The face looked much worse as all his facial features were completely ripped off. I decided to type back to her.
“That’s awful, but why are you showing me this?”
“Just keep reading it, it gets much worse”
Worse indeed. The article showed that the kid was sexually active before he died. I had no idea what to think about that. It was far from funny and much more unnerving.
“What the hell kind of sick freak does this?”
“Idk, all I know is that one of us might be next. He told his therapist that every night he could hear screaming at midnight. Then this happens”
“Okay, well what do you suggest?”
“Do you think you can meet up with me tomorrow at Stretford Mall?”
I froze again. I was never really good at talking to girls and this was a very sudden request.
“I know we don’t know each other but I know that I’m scared and we have something in common. I don’t want to die like this and the police will never believe me. We have to depend on each other”
I had to take time to think about this. I wasn’t sure if I could trust this girl, but the more I looked at the picture of the killing, the more I thought it was my only option. Maybe we could help each other.
“Alright then. I’ll meet you at stretford at 12:00, okay?”
“Sure, see you then :)”
After the conversation ended I sat on my bed replaying the whole exchange in my head and the picture I saw of her in my mind. I needed to know how she found out about me and how she knew about the midnight screaming.
The next day it was cold and raining. I decided to get myself something hot from Costa Coffee. I hated Starbucks. I had my black trenchcoat and gray hoodie on to protect me from the rain but my hood was down as the rain poured on to my head, causing my black hair to stick firmly to my face. I waited on Chester Road, leaning against Ladbrokes, waiting for whoever might be meeting me.
As I finished the last of my coffee I saw a girl very similar to the one I met yesterday. Long, dark brown hair, covered by a brown hood. Ocean blue eyes hiding under her hair and rose red lips. I was unable to focus on anything except her, but then again, she may have just been a stranger passing by.
I thought that until she saw me and and waved with a smile. I just stood there staring at her, mesmerised, and completely unaware that my arm was waving back to her. As if my mind had decided to greet her for me since I was in a completely different place. I quickly snapped out of my trance and brought my arm down in a swift motion to rest in my jacket pocket.
“Follow me, I live just around the corner, we can talk more there.”
I was still unsure about her intentions and so kept cautious but it would be a lie if I said I wasn’t glad she was actually the person I was expecting. We walked up the street around the corner and crossed the street to Cyprus Street. She invited me into her house, in front of which was an old Peugeot 206, giving the impression that she lived on her own. This was confirmed when she opened the door and there was only one bedroom and no sign of other people being in the house. For an old and small house it was extremely clean. A sofa facing a medium sized TV, possibly a 40” screen, maybe smaller. The carpet was a regular brown colour but looked very vibrant, probably from very good housekeeping. The front room was connected to the kitchen which was separated by the black and white linoleum flooring.
All the dishes were shining in the sun from the window and arranged neatly on a drying rack next to a few tall pint glasses. We proceeded up the stairs and I waited as she opened a panel in the ceiling and a ladder slid down, hitting the carpet and shaking slightly at the impact. She didn’t have to say anything to me, only giving me an expectant stare before glancing at the ladder and back at me. I proceeded up the ladder, feeling a distinct temperature change. The atmosphere was distinctly colder and somewhat damp, as if I were entering an old mortuary that was crumbling and covered with moss. As I reached the top of the ladder, the contents shocked me.
The walls were completely covered in news articles and ripped book pages on killings and horrifying murders. Page upon page of articles from various newspapers like the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, the Evening Standard and much more, all showing murders of boys of 16 - 20 years old. In the middle of the room was a desk with a laptop, a notebook, three pens and a lamp. The attic had no lightbulb and so the lamp was the only source of light available. It was a really creepy environment for such a pleasant looking house. I looked back at Harley to see her already sitting at her desk and opening the laptop.
“I’ve been keeping track of all the killings involving victims hearing screaming before they died.”
This felt like something out of a CSI episode or some other spy movie but the most I could think about was the gory pictures all around me.
“So what have you found?”
“Nothing, I can’t find any connections between the victims, except for one thing.”
“They’re all in England. There’s really no other connections. None of them knew each other, they didn’t have any defining similar features, nothing.”
“So where does that leave us?”
“Well, from the killings up to now it looks like the murderer has been in the North a lot, mainly around Lancashire but if I had to guess where they would be next, I would go there”
Harley pointed toward a giant map of England she had placed on the wall with red circles on different towns with lines connecting the, together and dates across the lines. I looked back at her finger and painted a mental line that pointed me to where she predicted the killer would be next. Warrington.
“Okay so what do we do?”
“I think we should go to Warrington and try to find them”
Nope, suicide. There was no way in hell I was going to go after the person or people who might kill me or her next. Then again, maybe this person could tell us why we were hearing these screams and what we were being killed for.
After careful consideration I looked at her and nodded as we set off for Warrington in her car. Harley was clearly tired, so I decided to drive for her to Warrington. It was 6:15 pm and we didn’t know where we could go so we decided to stay overnight at the Premier Inn. I felt like an asshole not paying for it but she was very insistent on paying for our room.
We went up the elevator to the fifth floor and went into our room. It was a really nice room with an LG flatscreen TV and a small kitchen area with a kettle and some bowls and utensils neatly placed beside the sink. In the room was a wardrobe and two beds, one single and one double. Harley went into the bathroom for a bath while I sat on the double bed and watched some TV. As the Simpsons was playing I kept thinking about so many things. The man we were hunting, staying in the room and indeed Harley herself. I didn’t want to doubt her since she was just as determined to get to this killer as I was but I couldn’t help reminding myself of how she mysteriously got my Facebook information and why she suddenly decided to talk to a complete stranger. Even now, we know nothing about each other and yet we were sharing a room together.
She came out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her head and wearing the white vest and sweatpants she bought earlier at Asda. The distinct smell of strawberries emerged from the bathroom and followed her into the room. I figured now was as good a time as any to ask her my questions.
“How did you know?”
Her voice was very innocent and she gave me a look while she wrapped up her hair. It looked as if she genuinely had no idea what I was talking about.
“How did you know who I was and how did you find me on Facebook?”
“An article I saw in the newspaper, I think I’ve still got it with me.”
She went to her jeans pocket and pulled out a folded up piece of paper which was an article from the Telegraph. It read “Local boy Luke Warner, age 17, arrested for assault on an officer”. It was me. When I was 17 I had a hallucination where I thought I saw the black haired girl again, standing behind a police officer. The officer, PC Darren Kent, tried to ask me what was wrong and I pushed him off me and then him and his partner restrained me when I punched him in the jaw. The article wrote about how I said I saw a girl standing behind the officer. It made me look like a mental patient.
I looked over at Harley and she just gave an expression as if to say ‘Don’t worry if you look crazy’. I handed her the paper back and she continued to explain herself.
“I knew that if you were seeing this it might connect to the screaming I hear I might be able to get to a living person who could help me.”
I thought on this for a few seconds while she paused. Admittedly, I felt exactly like she did, just not brave enough to pursue answers and try to find a solution.
“Besides, I was scared. Living on my own and hearing screaming every night was almost too much to bear.”
“Do you want to sleep in the double bed and i’ll take the single? You look like you could use the extra space.”
Her eyes immediately darted toward mine and even in the darkness I could tell she was blushing. I didn’t mean anything in a flirtatious way but as soon as I figured out that she might have thought it that way, I began to blush as well. Her next sentence made my heart freeze for a brief second.
“Would it be okay if I lied down with you? It’s just that it’ll be midnight soon and I don’t like being on my own.”
I had no idea what to think of this but nodded as she got out of her bed and walked toward mine.
My heart was pounding, the closer she was, the faster it would be. Eventually after a few seconds that felt like hours, she was lying down next to me with little space separating us both. I had been in bed with women before so I couldn’t explain why I was so nervous. Suddenly, she turned on her side and her face was looking up to mine.
“Are you scared?”
“What do you mean?”
“When you can hear it, do you get scared?”
It was a stupid question, really. Of course I was scared. I was about to say until I thought that maybe she was asking this to hear me say no and to feel like she was safe from any harm as long as she was with me
“Yeah, it used to be, but now it feels like routine. I’ve gotten more used to it.”
She smiled and closed her eyes and she was lying down pressed against me. The warmth of her body made the whole bed feel ten times more comfortable and safe. I didn’t know what to do at this point, whether to put my arm around her and keep her close or just stay in my current position and go to sleep.
Before I could think about any of that I took notice of the clock. The time was 11:55 pm, the screaming would commence. I looked back at Harley who had also taken notice of the clock and looked up at me with a fearful expression on her face, as if she was ready to cry. I put my arm around her and held her closely as we prepared to hear the terrifying shrieks. The clock struck midnight and then it happened.
Silence. We were stunned. I looked around the room but saw nothing except her. Harley looked up at me with damp, shining eyes and smiled. For some reason we began to laugh as we were hugging each other. I didn’t know why we couldn’t hear the screaming tonight but I didn’t care and neither did she. As we were laughing she grabbed my head and pressed her lips against mine. I had no idea what was happening and I didn’t care. I felt a huge rising sensation fly up my chest from my belly and my head began to buzz erratically as we shared the kiss. After a few seconds she slowly glided away from my mouth and opened her eyes to look into mine. A moment was shared at that point. We said nothing but just smiled at each other and pressed our bodies together again for the rest of the night.
The next day I woke up next to Harley, her long brown hair was unwrapped and spread across the pillow. I got out of the bed wearing only my jeans and I approached the window to look out on the view of Warrington. It was raining and thundering which was a shame but nonetheless we had to keep up our mission before we forgot why we came here. I got myself ready and left Harley to sleep a little longer. Soon enough she was awake and she looked at me with a smile and pink filled her cheeks. I looked back with a smile in return and led her downstairs to get breakfast and continue into Warrington for our search.
At near nightfall we were walking through the alleyways when Harley started to feel uncomfortable. I looked down one of the alleyways and saw what I thought to be a tall man in the darkness. Rain still beating down on me I decided to proceed toward this silhouette and as I did I spun around hearing a blood freezing scream shatter the silence.
As I turned I saw Harley being dragged into a second alley next to the one I was on. I ran as fast as I could to the entrance of the alley and as I swerved around the corner I saw the very last thing I ever wanted to see that night. I looked down the alleyway and saw another silhouette at the end of the alley. I ran toward it yelling Harley’s name over and over again and as I got nearer to the form I looked at my feet to see shades of red on the floor. My heart raced and I began to think the worst.
As the puddles splashed under my shoes, I saw crimson red shine on the bottom of my trouser leg and a very distinct scent coming from the end of the alleyway. It smelled like someone had filled a swimming pool with blood and intestines from various farm animals, it was awful and unholy. I got to the end of the alleyway and a movement detection light shone on to Harley who was against the wall. She was dead.
I stood for a few seconds looking at her body hanging a few inches off the floor. She had four long rods sticking out of her forehead, both shoulders and her torso. Above her was a most terrifying message from the person out to kill us; “I’LL NEVER STOP SCREAMING”. I was going to stay a while and mourn her but there was no time. I could hear heavy breathing behind me and I saw a deformed man emerge from the shadows. His face looked like it had been nearly burned off and he was very badly hunched as he carried a large black bag which I assumed was a body bag.
“I finally found you.”
“What do you mean?”
As soon as I asked this he lunged toward me. I decided there and then that this was the man who killed Harley. I jumped out of the way as he slammed face first into the wall. He spun around and leapt on to me, trying to grab my face. I managed to keep his arm off me and I pushed it to the side, causing his hand to be crushed by the floor. He let out a demonic, anguished scream that echoed through the dark night and he ran toward me again. I had to think fast. On instinct alone, I drew one of the poles out of Harley’s body and struck him in the side of the head, almost knocking his jaw out of place. I looked back at the rod and saw that the end had been sharpened to form a large spike. Without second thought I plunged the spike into the man’s forehead. He stood for about three seconds before his eyes rolled into the back of his head. I watched the corpse fall to the floor and blood pour out of his skull and down the dark alleyway.
I couldn’t believe what had happened. Two dead bodies in the alleyway. I knew I couldn’t call the police, so I took Harley off the wall and put her in the bag. I still wanted to bury her. She deserved it. I drove her car back to her house and laid her body on the table in the kitchen. I got some water and cloths and cleaned her body, gave her fresh clothes and let her lie there. I searched the house for a box to put her in and, thankfully, found one in her attic. I placed her in and dug a hole in her garden and lowered her in. I went back to the house and wrote a letter for her to keep. I knew she’d never read it though.
I went back into the living room, sat down and proceeded to cry. I cried for about ten minutes. I couldn’t help myself. It wasn’t one of those silent, tears only cries but the kind of cry that could be heard by Satan himself. After spending another few minutes to gather myself I took some time to think about what was next. As I was contemplating I heard a knock on the door which made me jump a few inches off my seat. I looked at the front door and then looked at the clock. It was near to midnight. I was sizing myself up for whatever was coming for me. I took up a meat cleaver in the kitchen and slowly approached the door. Again, the door was knocked, but this time slightly louder. I grabbed the handle and immediately felt a cold chill run up my arm and down my back.
I swung open the door and couldn’t believe my eyes. It was Harley. She was standing right in front of me, staring right into my eyes.
“I’m so cold.”
I tried to open my mouth but before I could, she jumped on to me and started to strangle me. I desperately reached for the weapon at my side while holding on to my life. Eventually I got to the gleaming cleaver and with the last wind in my lungs, plunged the cleaver into her heart. Harley’s lifeless body flopped onto my chest and we both lay there on the floor. I couldn’t move an inch, my body was paralyzed after what I did. Did I just kill Harley? Is what I saw in the alley a hallucination? I had no idea what just happened.
Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder. Harley was still alive. She had bitten into my shoulder and torn a chunk out of my shoulder and neck. I kicked her off me and ran up the stairs, hearing her thumping following right behind me. Without thought, I pulled down the ladder to the attic, ran up and closed the door with the ladder following me. I could hear her screaming my name and jumping up, scratching at the door. I looked around at my surroundings and glanced at my shoulder as I was bleeding. I covered my wound with some torn cloth on my shirt but I knew I couldn’t escape what was coming next. I looked at the laptop, sat down and began to type.
I can’t stop the killings but I can at least release myself. I know that whatever is underneath me isn’t Harley but I will be joining her soon. I don’t know who may read my story or who may share it with the world but if you hear screaming at night, end it. Don’t persist and don’t look for it, just get rid of it as soon as you can. I hope Harley will see my message, or I can deliver it myself. I know she won’t stop screaming, but at least we won’t hear her anymore. I’m coming Harley.