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My parents always tell me the stories about my childhood that, for some odd reason, I cannot recall. Stories about how I used to have an imaginary friend named Bilbo who supposedly, according to my childhood self, lived in the walls with his pet snake Axel. Wherever the hell I came up with this, I have no idea, but apparently I spent a lot of time with Bilbo and Axel, because my parents always tend to bring it up whenever I visit them.
I decided that I’d go on a little vacation over the week of Christmas in 2009. Having been working in Manhattan in the business world making a lot of money and being a part of the upper middle class for the past several years I decided I’d take a break from it all and stay at my childhood home in Pennsylvania. By the twenty-second of December, I had made it to my parents' house where they immediately brought me up to my old room.
The moment I entered the room a chill went down my spine, but not because of a weird, supernatural, or unpleasant feeling, mainly just a nostalgic chill, which was odd considering I didn’t remember the room at all. I could barely remember anything from my childhood years. I can only remember back to being a teenager, which was the time I was sent to live with my aunt because of my bipolar disorder which my parents couldn’t handle anymore, but since I have that all taken care of now, it’s nothing to worry about.
Aunt Janice was coming over for dinner at my parents’ house tonight, so I could see her for the first time in nearly four years. I won’t lie, I did feel a little emotional thinking about how I barely ever saw my old, aging, lovable relatives anymore since I got the job in Manhattan, but my personal life was going good, despite my so-so love life. I was seeing a girl named Amanda around this time, but we hadn’t seen each other in a few weeks due to her having to fly out to California to attend her uncle’s funeral.
A roast was tonight’s meal, specially cooked by my mother. Another small thing I remember from my childhood somehow: my mother’s cooking, giving a true meaning to the old saying “Just like Mom used to make”. I wish Amanda could cook like that. At the dinner table, Aunt Janice told me some humorous stories of my childhood and events at the house, mainly from holidays and other family gatherings. Sadly, I couldn’t remember anything from these events, but they were humorous and entertaining to hear.
After dinner, Aunt Janice had to leave so I kissed her on the cheek and she left. She still looked good despite her growing age, now being well into her early 70's. It put a smile on my face to see her, which gave me a remembrance of my pleasant teenage years living at her home in Pittsburgh. She now lives close to my parents’ house since her husband, my uncle George, passed a few years ago.
At around 11 PM, my parents went off to bed and told me I could stay up and do whatever I wanted as long as I kept the noise down. I decided to go into my old bedroom and watch some television for a bit until I got tired, so I did just that, flicking through the channels to find practically nothing entertaining. I ended up just having a look around my old room.
I opened up the closet and found the typical objects you’d find in a young boy’s closet: action figures, Lego, coloring books, all the good, fun stuff. What caught my eye was a brown cardboard box in the back of the closet, obscured by a pile of child’s clothing. I dug through the clothing and took the dusty box out, opening it up to reveal several VHS tapes, about six of them, all labeled with numbers that were crudely drawn on with crayon, in the handwriting of a small child.
At the bottom of the box I found a folded piece of paper that was torn from a notebook. I took the paper and unfolded it to find, written again in crayon, “The Adventures of Bilbo and Axel”. I recognized the names as being those of my imaginary friend and his pet snake. I found this extremely interesting and possibly could help me remember my childhood. Luckily in my room there was a VCR hooked up to the TV, that hadn’t been used in probably ten years.
Digging through the tapes, I dug out the one labeled “#1”, and put it into the VCR. The VCR spit out the tape a few times, but after the third or fourth time it finally popped in and started to play. There was just some static mess for about thirty seconds until finally it came on: a very young me standing in the middle of the same room I was in, which was in exactly the same condition. I was just sitting, with my head in my hands, in the middle of the room, facing the wall and muttering incomprehensible blabber.
I figured I was playing hide-and-go-seek or something of that sort, so I didn’t think of it as strange at first. After about two minutes of the blabbering, I began to get concerned since the younger version of me got a tad bit louder, but it was still incomprehensible and almost like gibberish. The sound completely cut out and the quality started to get really choppy, and the colors started to distort, and I could hear faint whispering playing over the tape.
I put the volume a bit louder so I could make out this whispery sound, but suddenly an ear-shattering shriek came from the tape and the static turned to extremely loud white noise. I shot up and ran over the VCR to eject the tape, but of course the VCR ate the tape, completely destroying it. I looked in the box to get the second tape, and found it conveniently on the top of the pile, the “#2” written on it with red crayon.
This tape began like the last. When it finally came in, there was absolutely no sound at all. It seemed to be a continuation of the last, but I was now faced in the other direction, actually looking at the camera, and my head was no longer in the shoulders. My eyes had deep black rings around them, and I looked exhausted, scared, and extremely tired. The whispering came in again, but louder and more clearer than before. I could faintly make out, to my horror, a name being said in the whispers: “Patrick.” My name.
The tape ejected fast out of the VCR on its own, behind it a string of magnetic tape shooting out and twisting and snapping. I won’t deny the fact that I was nearly pissing my pants at this point. I didn’t feel like this house was normal at all. That these walls literally could talk, and that I had locked my childhood away in my mind for a reason. Was this also the cause of my teenage bipolar disorder?
I grabbed the box of tapes and ran outside to my car, not even saying goodbye to my sleeping parents, and drove off. I was tired, but I had to get out of that house. I drove off to Aunt Janice’s house and told her everything, showing her the box of tapes. Her smiling face turned into a blank stare, looking almost frightened, and nervous. She told me to sit down and relax, and she sat next to me, holding my hand in hers, and told me the truth behind it all: the tapes were actually a psychiatrist’s test of my actions due to a demonic possession that occurred in my childhood. An exorcism was performed which nearly killed me, and when the demon left my body I had experienced amnesia, and thus was the reason why I was sent to live with Aunt Janice in the first place.
I ended up returning back to Manhattan, and by the next Autumn, Amanda and I were married. I didn’t invite or tell any of my family members about the wedding and I haven’t seen my parents or Aunt Janice since that night on December 22nd, 2009. I still have the remaining tapes with me, but am still too scared to watch them all. All that I do know is that a demon is still lurking within the walls of that house.