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The Stare

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The time of this particular event was approximately 3:31 AM. I remember this well, as this is one of the few things that I can remember clearly anymore. My mind was kept in a state of half consciousness due to the maelstrom of ideas and half-thoughts that one gets when trying to sleep. I had tried to sleep for hours, with no luck. ‘Maybe I need to eat something first.’ The first logical thought I had in a long time. I arose from my bed, and found that the air around me was cold. It was clear to me that I would have to at least turn up the heat or grab an extra blanket if I wanted to keep warm. I advanced to the closet where the blankets were stored. Strange, none were there. ‘Perhaps someone that had stayed over had moved them? No matter, the thermostat is just down the hallway,’ I thought. As I began to step out of the room, the air turned from cold to downright frigid. This was not normal, even for the middle of a January night, mind you. However, the air that night was not the only thing that was amiss...

I arrived at the thermostat, and began to turn it up, when I felt a cold, dead stare on me, as if someone had stuck pins into the back of my neck. ‘Settle down, it’s just your imagination,’ is what I told myself. I decided what I needed was a cigarette to calm my nerves. I grabbed my jacket and stepped out to the patio. The first calming attribute of that night; the fresh snowfall from just hours previously was glistening in moonlight. I sighed a breath of relaxation, and from what I remember, it may have been the first time I even breathed that whole night. Taking the cigarette out of the pack, I placed it in my mouth. I reached into my pocket, feeling around for my lighter. Why were they always so impossible to find when you needed them the most? My fingers grazed the side of it, and like a snake catching his prey, my fingers darted back and caught it with such strength. I guess I was more stressed than I thought. I took my hand out of my pocket, to see that it was shaking. Tremoring, if you will. Just as the flame leaped out of the lighter, I heard what sounded like a door closing inside.

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‘Must be the cat,’ I thought. Then, moments later, another thought occurred. ‘I don’t have a cat...’ I dropped both and ran inside.

The air inside now was even colder than before, and even colder than the air outside. Did I not just turn up the thermostat? It was cold enough inside now for me to see my breath. I kept my jacket on, and searched around for what might have caused the sound. I searched around and saw that everything was just as I had left it, but that still did not assure me. I keep my doors closed all the time, how could a door that is already closed close again? I called out ‘Hello? Is anyone there?’ The call was followed by a silence, but I felt a presence stir. I had acknowledged its actions.

The silence was something I did not want to hear, so I kept shouting, as if to comfort myself in some strange way. ‘I already called the police, so you better get out of here now!’ A lie even a child could have seen around. The silence continued. Whatever it was that was there that night clearly did not want to go. At the time, I would have called it my insanity playing tricks on me. But was I truly insane at the time? I know I am now, after all this was over, but was I really truly crazy then? Did it even matter? The fact is, the only thing that I could be sure of was the fear I felt. I did my best to ignore it.

In lieu of my original intention, I went to the kitchen. Along the way, I passed by the stairway to the basement. The door was wide open now. At the time I was too scared to even try to close it, so I ignored it like it had always been like that. As I walked past, out of the very corner of my eye, I saw a shadow run past me out of the basement. I spun around to see where it went, but it was gone. ‘It could have just been my shadow,’ I told myself. Why did I always have to tell myself things I knew weren’t true? I arrived at the kitchen and attempted to turn on the light. I flicked the switch, but the light itself did not turn on. I sat there, flicking on and off this switch, as if one time the light would turn on. ‘Was it a power outage, maybe?’ I looked at the microwave clock. 3:33 is what it said. The power had not gone out. I deduced that the light bulb had just burnt out, but upon closer examination, I noticed that the bulb was not even there. Someone, or something, had taken it out. I figured the TV would give me enough light to at least see for now.

Turning it on, I sat and watched it for a bit to try to calm me down. The first picture to show up on the TV was of some medieval painting of a demon slaughtering a girl, foaming at the mouth and cackling manically. The very image made me jump. It was not what I needed to see at that moment. At that moment, I felt the pins return in the back of my neck. Frantically, I changed the channel. Every station I went to seemed to show something similar in some way. Had every cable broadcaster decide to play a sick joke? I went to the one station I knew for a fact would be different: the Christian network. Soothing music and pictures of rivers lifted my spirits, for all of five seconds. As soon as that had come on, I heard... no, I FELT the presence cry out in what seemed to be a half pained-half mocking scream and in a flash, the TV turned off. I got up to turn and run away, and that’s when I saw it...

I saw first a darkness, darker than the blackest black humanly fathomable. I was not aware that eyes could even see that dark. The darkness seemed to extend up to about my shoulder height, but it was not bound by earthly restrictions, so it was constantly changing shape. It was like a terrible, evil black smoke that spun around and then began to form into the shape of... something. Not a man, but very similar. First to form was the feet, which as the smoke spun and weaved itself, turned into hooves. Up the legs it formed, which were shaped like a crane’s legs. The body revealed itself and it was very big, looked to be strong. However it was pure blackness so no exact detail of it could be seen. In some strange manner, some smoke had dropped and covered the legs in what looked like a black robe.

Then up the smoke continued. It created the head and cowl of the dark robed figure. But nothing could have prepared me for what came next. It opened its eyes. Its terrible, horrible eyes. They were milky white and narrow, with one slightly bigger than the other, with a very narrow red iris, and while they did not glow, in contrast to the darkness around it, they seemed to be brighter than the sun. Those eyes seemed to pierce my soul, and as I gazed into them, I could hear screams and feel fire in my head. By looking into its eyes, I knew hell. Paralyzed by fear, I stood and stared. I found it impossible to breathe. Had it taken the very air from my lungs? I did not want to gaze at those eyes any more, but I couldn’t compel myself to look away.

Seconds passed, what felt like years, and I realized that this thing was after my life. I awaited it to strike, but it never moved. It simply stared at me with those evil, piercing eyes. Oh god, why did it have to stare? Why couldn’t it have taken my soul away to burn in the Hellfire forever? Why couldn’t it have mangled me to shreds, leaving a disgusting bloody mess for some unlucky folk to find? WHY DID IT HAVE TO STARE!? The very notion began to drive me insane. I eventually mustered up courage to run away, and fled from my house. With nowhere to go, I walked around the town till morning.

Walking the streets did not protect me, however, as this thing continued to follow me. Not physically, but in my head. I would walk by windows and see my own reflection, with its eyes where mine should have been. I dipped my head and walked faster. A couple walking up the street had passed by me. They originally sounded cheerful and happy, but when I looked up, their eyes were his too, and their once cheerful laughter turned to an evil cackle. I screamed and ran away. Without thinking, I ran into the middle of the street, and the cars that passed by... Even their headlights were those terrible eyes. There could be no more beauty in the world; everything I gazed upon became that terrible visage. It became apparent to me what must be done.

I continued forward and found a glass bus shelter. My reflection and his eyes gazed back at me, however my reflection was grinning. I can assure you, I was most certainly not smiling at the time. Even my own reflection was betraying me, mocking me. I searched around me and found a rock. Picking it up, I hurled it at the glass, and it shattered into smaller shards.

Even looking down, the reflection laughed at me. But it would mock me no longer. I picked a shard that was to my liking, and I began to gouge my own eyes out. If I could not see, then this thing could no longer haunt me... Or so I thought. After all was done, the pain of bleeding out of my own skull was nothing compared to the seconds I spent staring at this thing. But now I can never escape it. His eyes have already branded themselves onto my brain. His eyes will be with me for as long as I live, constantly watching me, mocking me. In an attempt to escape it, I took my own sight, and now they are the only thing I will ever see again.... Ironic, isn’t it?

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