“NOOO! NO!” he screamed loudly, unable to contain himself. What he saw horrified him.
He had lost again.
Harry sighed heavily and turned away from his computer screen, where the little archer character Ashe danced over his dead body in League of Legends. Six matches straight, and every single one she had killed him a dozen times, at least. He knew he was getting better at the game; he just wasn’t getting any better at surviving that character.
Frustrated, he closed the game’s window and left Cracked opened before getting up and going to the kitchen for a glass of water; he didn’t think he’d be awake much longer, it being past 3:00 am already. He pushed open his bedroom door and ventured into the TV room, directly outside. The room was illuminated well enough, thanks to the light spilling from his doorway. In the entrance room beyond that, there were only the unidentifiable black blobs that make it their duty to agitate one’s imagination. If Harry weren’t the sensible, skeptical type, he might have actually been the smallest bit afraid, but even if the paranormal existed, he figured he wouldn’t find anything that interesting in Saida, Lebanon, of all places.
He walked through the aforementioned black and put his hand on the wall when he reached the kitchen, searching for the light switch. He found it, flipped it on, and turned his gaze across the kitchen, past the glass door that led to the balcony.
He turned back and focused on that door, unsure of what had startled him.
What the hell? Harry thought.
He turned away, unconcerned, and fetched a cup from the nearby cupboard. Once his cup was filled from the dispenser, he turned the light off again and headed back for his room. He turned the corner into his TV room again-
-And found himself face-to-face with an elderly woman. She had-
She was there for half a split second and then gone, before Harry even had time enough to blink, and certainly before he had time to make out any features. He wasn’t even sure how he’d been able to tell she was an old woman.
Alright, so maaaaaaybe sleep isn’t such a bad idea.
He entered his room and closed the door behind him. The Cracked window he had opened on his desktop shone at him from his desk, the dark red wallpaper easily distinguishable from where he stood. A bit reluctantly, he closed the tab, shut down the computer, and climbed into bed.
Logically speaking, Harry shouldn’t have been able to see anything in the near complete darkness, but for some reason he could see the reflection of his bed in the computer’s monitor, and convinced himself he hadn’t seen a figure standing behind it. That would be ridiculous.
“Apache! Jump on it! Jump on it! Jump on it!”
Harry stirred groggily out of his slumber and looked at his phone, ringing on the table beside him. Seeing the name on the screen, he knew what to expect. He answered the call and pressed the phone to his ear, propping himself up with his other arm.
“Hello?” he said.
“…Diiiiiiing dong!” he heard an overly high-pitched mock-frightening voice cry on the other end, followed by ridiculous maniacal giggling. The line went dead immediately after.
Closing his eyes momentarily in a “you have got be kidding me” expression, he got up, got dressed quickly, and headed to his front door. He opened the door to find his friend, Diego, standing there with a neutral expression. His other close friend, David, stood a foot or so behind him with his usual lack of expression at all.
“About time,” Diego said in a flat tone.
“You couldn’t have just rung the doorbell?” Harry asked.
“Where’s the fun in that?”
David rolled his eyes and sighed.
Harry let them in and closed the door behind them, and they got about watching random crap on YouTube. It happened to be rather too rainy to go swimming that day.
Two hours and two dozen videos later, Harry found himself a bit bored with YouTube.
“Let’s play Ninja Storm,” he suggested to the other two.
“Alright,” Diego replied.
Harry motioned at him with two hands.
“Set up the Playstation,” he said simply.
“Screw you! I’m not setting it up!”
“Well, I’m not setting it up either,” Harry replied. They both slowly turned their heads and looked at David.
David sighed heavily again and got up. “Fuck you both,” he said.
Laughing, Harry followed David and Diego out of the room a few seconds later.
There she stood again.
This time, he managed to get a fair look at her. She was clearly very old -- 80, at least. She had an unhealthy look to her; she was very thin, almost emaciated. The rather dirty dress she had on was spring green with a floral pattern, and was badly torn at the hem. These details unsubtly spoke of a person well into her last years, but her hair wasn’t stark white, as one would expect. It was drawn into a tight bun on the top of her head and black, as black as a raven’s wing. Dull and dry looking, it matched her murky, cataract-afflicted black eyes quite well. Most disturbing of all, though, were her teeth. She did not have the teeth of an elder; they were huge and uneven, like the teeth of a teenager, and had a faint red tinge to them.
She continued to smile widely at Harry until his instincts kindly reminded his brain to get the hell away.
“GAH!” he let out a shocked gasp and fell back into his room, dragging himself backwards with his hands.
“I thought you’d be well used to your reflection by now,” Diego cracked from the TV room.
It was a few seconds before he answered; he was still in shock.
“N-No! Didn’t you guys see her?!” Harry finally said, getting to his feet and standing in the doorway.
The other two looked at each other.
“‘Her?’” Diego asked. “Your mom and sister are up in your home village visiting relatives, aren’t they? They won’t be back for about another week or so?”
“You’d never have any other girls in your house,” David added in a “that’s silly” tone.
“No, the old lady! She was standing right here!” he said, angry that his friends were acting like they hadn’t seen anything.
“Usually his random statements are at least slightly funny,” Diego said to the other casually.
“Too much League of Legends,” David decided. Diego burst out laughing at that. Harry breathed deeply to avoid losing his temper.
“Dude, we’ve been sitting here for the past 15 seconds or so,” Diego told him. “I think we would’ve noticed an old lady standing directly to our right for no apparent reason. It was probably just your imagination.”
“Don’t tell me I set up the Playstation for nothing,” complained David.
Harry called upon his wits for a second and decided it had to be that. That’s the only logical explanation…
For the rest of the day, until Diego and David left, Harry managed to forget about the old lady. As he was opening the door for them, though, Diego turned and said, “Alright, I’ll see you. Enjoy your quality time with the phantom granny.”
Harry closed the door behind them, and for a long time, he just stood there. He wasn’t sure why. What was the matter? He wasn’t afraid, was he?
Yet, he was afraid. For some reason, he was afraid he would turn around and see her again. He was afraid of what might happen now that he was alone.
This is freaking ridiculous! Diego’s the one who believes in this supernatural bullshit, not me!
He scorned his past behavior and took his hand off the doorknob.
Before he turned around, he noticed the reflection of a peculiar old lady behind him in the brass of the doorknob.
Do you know that feeling where you’ve been staring at a screen in a poorly lit room for several hours and feel like your eyes are starting to liquify? Harry learned that five hours of Battlefield online does that to you.
Realizing it was past midnight and he was starting to see double, he turned off the console and headed for the bathroom. He stopped in front of the door. He had just remembered his…“experience” earlier that day, and while Harry knew it was just his imagination, he most certainly didn’t want a repeat. Tensing himself, he threw the bathroom door open and thrust an arm into the darkness!
He felt…nothing. Wait-what was he expecting to feel?
…I’m an idiot.
Shaking his head with a small smile, he closed the door behind him and flicked the light switch.
No more than seven inches away smiled a set of large, uneven, red-tinged teeth. The eyes above them were wide and shining with a sort of hunger.
Harry’s breath caught in his throat. He couldn’t move. He couldn’t blink. But…but surely it was only his imagination?
It’s…it’s not real…
As if in response, the old lady’s smile stretched…just a little wider.
Harry let out a yell, whirled around, flung open the door, and dashed out as quickly as possible, slamming the door behind him. As he was trying to calm his grisly imagination, he heard something coming from the opposite end of the hallway, in his mother’s room. An oozing sound. Harry turned. And he screamed.
From where he stood, his mother’s dresser was easily visible, and the mirror on the wall along with it. She stood in there, in the mirror, staring right at him. To his horror, she began to move towards the surface of it. When she reached it, she began to drag herself out of the mirror, slowly…
Harry looked on, petrified, as the old woman’s hands pulled at the wooden frame, her fingertips actually poking out of the smooth silver face. As her face began to drag through, he noticed a jagged red ring in the surface of the mirror, surrounding her. It began to drip as the hideous, smiling head forced its way through…blood. That’s what the dripping was. The mirror was bleeding.
Why was he imagining these things?! That’s what it was, wasn’t it?
It’s-it’s just my imagination…!!
Harry retreated into his room, closing and locking the door behind him.
Please, n-no more…
He flipped the light on and looked around his room in a panic. To his great relief, the old lady didn’t seem to be-
The oozing sound. He slowly turned around and was greeted by that wrinkled nightmare once again, one bloody claw-like hand dragging out of his computer’s monitor. For a few seconds, Harry was frozen there, in horror, before he managed to act. He quickly ripped a bed sheet free and threw it over the monitor, instantly silencing the oozing.
He turned off the lights and crawled up against the wall.
For what seemed like hours, Harry sat there, in silence. In darkness. His mind, a chaotic frenzy. He didn’t know why he was seeing this. He was fine just two days ago!
My imagination…my imagination…my imagination…my imagination…
He curled up, hugging his knees, making himself adamant on that one thought.
My imagination...my imagination…my imagination…my imagination…
And then it worked. Harry was almost afraid to believe it, but it was true!
He was so happy, he began to laugh! Softly at first, but he laughed, and laughed, and laughed until he was practically screaming in laughter!
Now he knew it was nothing more than his imagination! He was sure it was only that, he knew it! It was, it was, it was, it was, it was!
Amazing thing, the human imagination! Harry realized that now. His mind was even giving him the sensation that someone was breathing right into his face!
Written by JustAnotherScarecrow