The spot had just appeared overnight, which was odd considering it hadn't rained that he knew of. It was just a small thing, no bigger than a silver dollar, but Travis knew the sooner he took care of it, the less damage that would occur. He dragged himself out of bed and walked over to his computer desk to check the message he'd heard come through last night. He wasn't up for checking it the night before because he was tired, and he knew it was just his brother checking up on him since he was basically the only person he had any contact with these days. As he sat down and flipped open the screen, sure enough, there was a message from his brother Tom.
- From: Tom1972@gmail.com
- Date/Time: July 1, 2012 /11:23 P.M.
- Hey Trav, just checking in to see how everything's going. I know you've been cooped up in that house for weeks now since work's been slow, and was just thinking that maybe you need to get out and do something. Kim and the kids are wanting to have a little cookout and maybe set off some small fireworks this weekend, and we'd love it if you'd join us. The kids are always asking about their Uncle Travis, and I know they'd love to see you.
- Hope all is well,
Travis shut the computer and walked to the bathroom to start his morning routine. He had no intentions of going anywhere any time soon unless it was to work. His brother worried about him like he was a little kid, and it had come to really get under his skin. Travis was an adult, and he didn't need big brother worrying about how he was living his life. He splashed some water on his face, brushed his teeth, and headed into the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee. He walked back to his room to put on some clothes when something froze him in his tracks. The spot on the ceiling had easily quadrupled in size and was now starting to sag down slightly.
Travis jogged to the garage to grab a keyhole saw from his toolbox and quickly returned to the strange scene. He couldn't be sure, but it almost seemed as if it had grown a bit more in the few seconds it had taken him to run and get his saw. He dragged his bed across the hardwood floor, causing an unfortunate cacophony to ring through his early-morning ears. After the bed was out of the way he grabbed his little wooden desk chair and sat it below the spot.
He knew using a chair as a stepping stool wasn't the best idea, especially when you live alone, but this wasn't his first rodeo. He eased himself up on the chair, placed the saw against the drywall, and drove it home. It was as soft as a rotten tomato, but when the saw was sunk to the handle, he found it wouldn't budge. No matter what he tried, he couldn't move it. He even put all his weight on it and ended up hanging from it for a moment before easing his feet back onto the chair. Must've wedged it in a crack in one of the rafters, he thought to himself. He tried wiggling it back and forth, and it finally felt like it was giving a bit when the handle broke off, sending him flying into the wall to his right.
Travis lay there stunned for a moment before getting up to assess the damage. Sure enough he'd cracked the drywall with his asinine antics. Just as he was about to start hitting himself over the head for his stupidity, he heard a slight noise coming from the ceiling. He looked up to see the last inch of his saw-blade slip up and out of sight.
"What the..." he said aloud. He stood there staring at the spot where the impossible occurrence had happened. He knew there had to be a reasonable explanation, but it wasn't coming to him fast enough. He decided to do the only thing he knew to do when worst came to worst: grab a sledgehammer. In the thirty seconds it had taken him to get the sledge, the spot had noticeably grown. It was now about as big around as a basketball and was hanging down at least six inches, slightly forming a rounded point.
He took a deep breath, trying to calm down and trying to reassure himself that this was just a leak, but he couldn't shake the feeling that there was something off about the whole thing. He climbed back onto the rickety little chair and heaved the ten-pound sledge as hard as he could right on the point of the spot. The vibrations pulsed through his forearms like an electric shock, and he dropped the heavy hammer, nearly smashing his toes. The reaction to hitting the spot had been like hitting solid concrete. Travis's heart began to speed up rapidly as the sudden realization of all his worst fears came crashing down on him. He'd lived his whole life knowing that there was no such thing as the supernatural, but there was no denying that he was facing such an occurrence at this very moment. In reality, the wet drywall should've broken away by simply pushing on it with his hand, but a ten-pound sledge hadn't left so much as a scratch. The fact that he'd just managed to push his saw through it a few minutes earlier confused him that much more.
He ran to the kitchen to drink some coffee and clear his head. He was trying his best to come up with a reasonable explanation, but there were none. He sipped his coffee, hoping to calm his nerves, when he heard a creaking sound coming from his bedroom. He sat down his cup and went to investigate, terrified of what he might find. As he reached the door he peeked his head around the corner like a frightened child and discovered he had good reason to be scared. On the ceiling, where the otherworldly brown spot had been, was an arm. The arm was coal black and only stuck down to just above the elbow, but there was no denying what it was. He couldn't believe his eyes, but before the initial horror of what was happening could find a seat in his psyche, a new one quickly rushed his system: the hand turned to him and waved. Not a friendly hello or goodbye wave, but one of those awkward I see you waves where the person sort of rolls and flits their fingers.
Travis actually started seeing stars at this point and quickly ran out of the house to get some fresh air. "This can't be happening. This can't be happening. This can't be happening," he repeated over and over to himself. His mind was racing trying to wrap his head around the events he'd just witnessed. He wasn't sure how he could go on living knowing that things like this exist. How will I ever sleep again? he kept thinking.
As terrified as he was, he knew he needed to go back in. The thought of calling the cops briefly entered his mind but was removed quickly when he considered the likely outcome if the hellish thing had somehow disappeared. Being hauled off to the nearest psych ward was the last thing he needed right now. He knew that he needed to take a picture or something so everyone wouldn't think he was crazy. He cleared his head the best he could and slowly entered the house. The thought of seeing that thing again was almost too much, but he didn't know what else to do. Although he usually tried to keep life's troubles to himself, he knew that in some instances it was best to not go it alone.
The worst part of this plan was that his camera was in the bottom drawer of his computer desk. Sticking his arm in the room and snapping a picture was one thing, but he didn't know if he had it in him to actually walk in there and grab the camera. He stood at the door for several minutes trying to work up the courage, and then made a mad dash to his desk, yanked open the drawer, and snatched the camera. He ran out of the room without even looking up; he didn't think he could handle facing it again. Travis turned on the camera and eased it through the doorway, pointing it in the direction of the abomination, and snapped a picture.
Quickly he jerked the camera back and brought up the picture he'd just taken. There was nothing there. He started to breathe a sigh of relief, but it was hampered by the thought that he might be going insane. The thought of losing his mind had been one of his worst fears since childhood due to watching his grandfather slowly slip into the crushing grip of senility. They said the dementia had no history in his family, but that didn't keep him from thinking he was destined for madness, even at his young age.
Another deep breath and he slipped his head through the doorway. His legs nearly gave out when he looked up and saw the arm was still there, and this time, it quickly flipped him off while holding the missing saw blade in its grasp. He spun around quickly, putting his back to the wall, and slowly slid down to the floor. Burying his face in his hands and praying was the only thing he could think to do.
"God, I know I haven't believed in you until now, but I'd really like some help. I don't really know how this works, but if you could just make this thing go away I promise I'll believe in you for the rest of my life."
Travis didn't really think this would do much good, but he didn't know what else to do. As he replayed the image in his head, dizziness overtook him, and he slowly slid sideways until his head hit the floor.
He came to, and it was dark. Apparently he'd been sleeping all day. The memories from the morning came flooding back quickly, and he wondered for a moment if it had all been a dream. As badly as he hated to look and risk confirming that it was indeed not a dream, he knew he had no other option. He stood up and stretched, preparing himself to look, hoping that maybe his little prayer had been heard and answered. The room was dark, so he reached around the corner and flipped on the switch before sticking his head in. As his eyes met the dreaded spot on the ceiling where the evil entity had recently resided, he fell to his knees and thanked God that his troubles were over. The ceiling was just as it was the night before, and there was no obscene arm to be seen.
Travis didn't know if he'd just imagined the whole thing or if God had answered his prayer, but he was eternally grateful either way. He walked into the room and placed the chair back at the desk before pushing the bed back into place. He decided the crack in the wall could wait the rest of his life if it had to; he was just happy to have his room back after the events of the day.
Travis sat down at his desk and raised the laptop screen to message his brother telling him he wouldn't be able to make it this weekend, when the open door to his bedroom started to silently creep away from the wall.
- From: TAllen32@gmail.com
- Date/Time: July 2, 2012/8:35 P.M.
- Dear Tom, I'd love to come over this weekend. I have actually been thinking we don't spend enough time together, and I definitely miss your kids. Let me know what time, and I'll be there.
- All the best,
- From: Tom1972@gmail.com
- Date/Time: July 5, 2012/8:15 A.M.
- Hey Trav, I'm so glad you made it over for the cookout. The kids won't stop talking about how much fun they had with you. You seemed like your old happy self again, and I was glad to see it. I know you were just over here, but if you wouldn't mind, I'd like you to come back ASAP. When we woke up this morning, there were some brown spots on the ceiling in all of our rooms. I guess the roof has finally started to go, so I guess we're gonna need a whole new one since it appears it's leaking in several places. It's weird, because I don't think it rained last night, but the spots are there regardless. I figured you could use the work, and it would give you a chance to be around the kids a bit more. Anyway, let me know.
- Hope all is well,
Written by Jay Ten