Many children have irrational fears. The dark, monsters in the closet or under beds, hearing strange noises from the attic. These are all examples of the types of fears that we usually dismiss as irrational because they do not have any real reason to be feared and thus we tell our children to ignore their fears and tell them not to trust their senses because sometimes the mind can be deceiving. But what originally inspired these fears? Is it really as simple as a fear of the unknown? If so many children around the world talk of the same experiences and experience the same fears isn't it a little strange how nobody ever truly encounters the beings that are the source of this fear?
It began 6 years ago in the winter of 2007. I was 19 years of age and lived in the small town known of Langport, Somerset. Like most people my age, I had just finished college and was in search of a university that would allow me to study Mechanical Engineering. My mother had suggested that I should attend a local university and live with her for a few more years to avoid the living expenses and need to travel. But the truth is, living with my two brothers makes it very difficult for me when it comes to studying as the house is always in utter chaos. In all honesty, I could not wait to leave this house and live independently away from all the strife where I could actually study in peace. I had applied for several universities and had been accepted by two. The closest of the two was the university of Bristol which was supposed to be the third best university for mechanical engineering in the country. Of course, I was incredibly happy that I had been accepted into such a high standard university. But I had not yet told my mother of the news in case she took it the wrong way. Maybe she would think that I didn't love her or need her any more.
I was contemplating how I should break the news to her but I foolishly left my letter of acceptance on the table in the dining room. She had read it before I had even managed to tell her that I was leaving. She called me downstairs from my room where I was studying and I bolted quickly down the stairs to meet her. She stood, letter clutched to her chest with tears rolling down her face. She had took it badly. I braced myself for the onset of guilt that I would feel if she broke down in front of me because I was leaving her. However, no such event occurred. Instead, she wrapped her arms around my shoulders and hugged me tightly. "I'm so proud of you", she said, tears still rolling down her face as she let me go. Relief washed over me as I realised that she wasn't upset that I was leaving. She had even offered to drive me with all of my things to my new rented-house in Bristol where I would continue to live for the next few years while I studied at the university. I will never forget how supportive she had been with me, but sometimes I wish she hadn't. Maybe if she had begged me to go to a local university, I would have stayed.
Maybe it would have been possible to avoid the horrors that I experienced while living there.
My brothers warned me that I would get nervous and would be likely to panic once things became real. I would feel isolated and alone and immediately dread making this decision. However, I did not feel this at all. At least, not until I was outside the front door of my new house. The door was made of some kind of dark, heavy wood which appeared to be rotting at the bottom due to years of rainfall barraging the doorway. The house itself was not much to look at either. The walls were made of old, grey stone and it seemed that my street was the only street without renovated buildings. It may have just been my imagination, but as I stood there and glanced up at the tall structure, it seemed to loom over me. In all honesty, it intimidated me. But I could not complain as the price of rent was cheap. £35 per week wasn't much to pay in the grand scheme of things. I turned to my mother and explained to her that I had feelings of uncertainty about living away from home. She smiled and brushed my hair away from my eyes as she used to when I was a small child and simply said "You will be fine". I had always found her soft, grey eyes comforting and her voice was reassuring. I gave her one last hug and she drove off into the distance. I unlocked the door and entered the house.
Two weeks had passed since my enrolment in the University of Bristol. Aside from feeling slightly lonely, everything was fine. Most of the day I spent either studying or on my laptop talking to friends from my old college on video chat. Although it had only been two weeks, seeing familiar faces comforted me greatly. But as I spent many hours studying from a text book, I could not help but notice the eerie silence of the house. The streets outside of my window were usually completely vacant and it was rare to even hear the sound of birds overhead. Many times I would turn the laptop on just to hear the low gentle hum of the fans as they whirred inside of the machine. Anything to break the silence. There was also a rather large crack in one of the walls in my bedroom and despite how silly it may sound, I could never shake the feeling that I was being watched while I slept.
Although the walls were fairly thin, the crack appeared to be a few feet deep. I could not explain it at the time, but something about the dark abyss that peered out instilled a fear into me that I had not felt since I was a child. The crack had bothered me so much that I decided to board it up with wood so it was no longer visible.
That's when it started.
Ever since the night I had decided to board up the crack in the wall, I had heard strange things coming from inside of the wall. I laid in bed, facing opposite the boarded-wall, and heard scratching coming from the other side of the wall. At first I assumed it was mice and made a mental note to set up some mice traps around the house. But the longer I left it, the louder the scratches became. On the first night, a tiny scraping noise every few seconds, like the paws of a small animal. It was fairly easy to ignore and sleep through as I am usually quite a heavy sleeper. Then the scratches intensified until the point where it sounded as if somebody was digging a knife into the stone brick wall and scraping it down in an attempt to break free. This was causing me to lose sleep and as I was attending university 5 days a week, it was having quite an effect on my performance. Some nights I would have a mere 3 hours of sleep because of the incident with the wall. I had reported it to the council in the hope that they would fix it, but they said that the closest time they could come and take a look at it would be the following month. I didn't have time to wait that long. But I didn't have to.
Or so I thought ...
After a week of the noises persisting every night, they had suddenly seized. However, they were replaced by low groans and rumbles from the other side of the wall. This was not normal. I recognized this and so I called my mother. I had explained the situation to her and she had told me that it was probably just auditory hallucinations as I was falling asleep. Apparently I would hear all sorts of things as a child and it was quite common for me to hallucinate as I was going to sleep and in a strange environment, it was likely that they would start again because I was in an unfamiliar place. From then on, every time I heard the groans, I told myself that they were not real. I told myself that it was all in my head and that all I needed to do was ignore it. To my surprise, it worked. Perhaps my mother was right. Perhaps it was all just because I was anxious about being isolated and living in a new environment and everything.
But that does not explain the events that would follow ...
Two months had passed since I first moved in to the house and I had begun to establish relationships with other students in my class. I had three new friends and a girlfriend named Sarah. She had fair blonde hair that flowed down to her shoulders, almost like water, and her emerald green eyes always sparkled. I had forgotten about the crack in the wall and considered it part of a silly phase I was going through. I can truly say that I was happy. My life was peaceful, I had the perfect girlfriend, the perfect friends and my grades were of the highest of standards. But slowly, everything began to go wrong ...
I lost everything. My perfect girlfriend, my perfect friends, and the rest of my life. And the worst part is, it was all over a stupid kiss.
Just a kiss ...
I had discovered that Sarah was cheating on me. I found this out when I had walked over to her house and saw my best friend making out with her on the couch, but they had not seen me. At the time, this meant everything to me. I could have sworn back then that my heart had split in two, though there was no sound. I left without saying a word and shut myself away from the outside world. I didn't turn up to class for the following week and instead sat in my room cursing her for what she had done to me. I checked my phone. 5 missed calls. All from Sarah. I threw my phone at the wall and let out a scream of anger as it smashed to pieces against the boards that covered the crack.
That's when the "hallucinations" started again, only this time, they were visual.
I spent most of my time wrapped up in a ball in my bed sheets. All I could think about was how Sarah had betrayed me. Nothing else mattered to me anymore. You may think that it is kind of pathetic to be so worked up about such a short-lasted relationship, but it was the first real bond of affection I had made in a long time. My dreams were focused on us getting back together with scenes such as taking a romantic walk with her alongside a beach, but each time I would wake up even angrier and curse her even more. Until one night, I awoke to the sound of wood splitting with a ferocious force.
I tried to turn my head toward whatever had made the sound, but I could not move my body. I was paralysed. I began to panic as thoughts raced through my mind. The only thing in here that could have made that sound was the wood that I used to board up the crack. Something had broken it. Something had gotten out. I heard the all too familiar groan of whatever it was that had broken out of the crack in the wall, only this time it was at the bottom of my bed. A hand reached up and some kind of creature began pulling itself up with my bed covers. The hand had only three digits and each one was equipped with an incredibly sharp claw that tore at my bed sheets. My heart was in my mouth. Whatever this thing was, it was certainly not a hallucination. The creature came into full view as it climbed onto my chest. Its skin was almost entirely grey and it had long black matted hair which hung down by the side of its face. The creature gazed straight into my soul with eyes as black as coal and tears of blood began to fall down its cheeks.
It opened its mouth and revealed a pit darker than the rift that had disturbed me so much beforehand and spoke in half-formed sentences.
"Your desires ...", its voice was rough and was comparable to the sound of shattering glass. The creature pointed to the rift in the wall and turned my head towards it. The creature hopped over to the rift on all fours and began to haul something out of it. Through the darkness I could make out a humanoid form, though it was limp and lifeless. A single clean cut had been slashed across the neck of the body and the clothes were stained with blood. I caught a glimmer of gold as the creature dropped the body to the floor. My body filled with dread.
It was Sarah.
The creature saw the fear in my eyes and began to laugh in a mocking tone. I willed my body to move with all my strength, but I could not. The creature took its claw and dug it deep into the eye socket of the girl and began to twist violently. I could see spurts of blood shoot out from the socket as it began to feast on her eyes. The stench of rotting flesh filled my nostrils and caused me to sit upright to vomit, but at least I could now move. I dashed across the room and tackled the creature to the ground, but its skin was too slimy for me to hold on to. It took a slash at my face and drew blood from my cheek. I lunged at the creature once again, but it disappeared through the crack with a blood curdling screech. I collapsed to the floor.
The heavy cloth of darkness enveloped me.
The police found us after Sarah was reported as missing by her friends. I was huddled over her corpse with the eye sockets hollowed out when they detained me. Of course they did not believe my story, and I can't really say that I blame them. I was branded as insane and sentenced to life imprisonment for first degree murder. My friends, my family, they all think I am a psychopath. I've had countless therapists try to tell me that whatever that creature was, it did not exist. That it was all in my head. They tell me that I did it out of anger because she cheated on me. But I would never do such a thing. I know what I saw ... I know that whatever killed Sarah is still out there. And most of all,
I know that it is real