We've all done something in our lives which we shouldn't have done: something that we knew was wrong but somehow evaded punishment - maybe it was something as trivial as dipping one's hand into the cookie jar when mom wasn't looking or sneaking into that movie you ended up hating anyway...
Maybe you cheated on your test or got a promotion you didn't really deserve. Maybe you even managed to place the blame on some unfortunate fool who was either unwilling or unable to defend himself and thus took the fall for you.
Most of us experience guilt over such things, sometimes years after they happened - in fact, we've become accustomed to associating lack of guilt with mentally disturbed or vicious individuals to the point not feeling guilt is almost a crime in itself.
I was about twelve when I committed such an act, not that it was the first by any means - it just sticks with me the most because it was during the aftermath of this act that I first became aware of the thing I call "That Which Watches".
It was my grandfather's birthday, and we had a family get-together at his place. Most of my relatives were older than me at the time and I wasn't particularly close to my grandfather, making the party a somewhat boring, tiresome experience for me, though I was under strict orders to "be nice" and be on my "best behavior".
While the others chattered away in the lounge I made my way to the kitchen to see what was on offer, to my surprise I found my grandfather's wallet sitting on the counter - some notes sticking out in the open.
That was when I made the foolish decision to snag myself one of the notes. It was such a petty and senseless thing to do - had I really wanted the money I could have easily asked my dad or even grandfather himself, yet in a moment of blind stupidity, I did the deed and stashed my hollow prize into a pocket.
I spent the next few days growing increasingly worried despite everything going on as usual. I kept having the awful feeling of being watched and I often broke into a cold sweat - grandfather's stolen note remaining in my pocket the whole time. I was fearful of removing it in case my parents saw it yet knew I had to spend it sooner or later.
It was one day while walking home from school that I suddenly froze. The sensation of being watched suddenly intensified and I felt my knees beginning to shake as an unexplainable fear washed over me. I couldn't run away and I began to seriously freak out as I stared straight ahead.
My vision became blurry and I felt a horrible headache begin to assault my mind as everything momentarily blacked out: when the darkness cleared I saw a horrible image of a writhing, unfathomable mass - a single glowing eye staring at me without blinking.
"..I.. a.. M.. w..A..t..C..h..I..n..G.."
Suddenly I awoke, lifting myself from the street - having seemingly collapsed. Strangely, no passerby had arrived to assist me, the street pretty much empty. I didn't know how long I had passed out but after clearing my head I dug my hand into my pocket and found grandfather's note, crumpled up.
I raced home and soon told my parents all about the note - I was grounded for a week, but I felt a relief inside myself as the feeling of being watched finally passed, as if a heavy burden had been removed from my shoulders.
I have never again experienced an encounter with "That Which Watches" - though I know that a lot of people feel like they are being watched when they are hiding a past misdeed. To these people I can only offer one piece of advice: confess what you did. You may be scared or ashamed, but the more you try to hide, the more it watches... always watching...