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Visitor

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Since I was about five years old, I've always had a peculiar visitor in my bedroom each night. I don't really know what it is or where it came from, but it was always there and never did anything to me, so I never attempted to get it to leave.

I still recall the first night I noticed it; I'm not sure if it was actually the first time it was there or if I had just never seen it before. I had just woken up from a nightmare and was looking around my room when I saw it sitting on top of my bookshelf in the corner of my room.

It was an odd creature, not too much bigger than I was at the time. Its limbs were unusually long and emaciated, with dark skin clinging tightly to every bone, and its body seemed to be wrapped in unpierceable darkness. There were white bandages wrapped tightly around its head so that none of it was visible.

As far as I could tell, it seemed to have no neck at all. Frightened by this disturbing sight, I immediately ran from my bed to get my mother, but when I returned to my room with her the creature had gone. Of course, she dismissed it as a figment of my imagination.

Eventually I gave up on trying to convince my mom the creature was real, and instead I just learned to deal with its presence. It always sits in the same spot atop my bookshelf, and I never see it come or go. Anytime we rearranged my room, it followed the bookshelf. Once, we took the bookshelf out of my room entirely, and then it was sitting on my floor. I couldn't stand the thought of it being so close, and so I begged and begged until I finally got the bookshelf put back into my room.

The only time I ever saw the creature react to anything was one night when I shined a flashlight on its head. When I did that, it let out a low, irritated groan and turned its head slightly away from the light, so I never did that again.

Every night was the same: the creature sat there, doing nothing. As time passed, I grew more accustomed to it, but it never ceased to be an unsettling sight. But on one night, there was a change in its appearance. It still sat silent and motionless as always, but now the bandages at the front of its head (where its face would be, if it even had one) were colored bright red.

I honestly didn't think too much about it, and in time the red dulled to a dark brown and forgot the change had ever occurred. However, the following year, on the same day, the bandages were once again dyed a much brighter red. It took me a few years to realize that this always happened on the same day, and it took a few years more for me to notice another disturbing event that occurred around that time. Every single year, just before the creatures bandages became bright red again, one of our family's pets would go missing, never to be seen again.

Now, it's almost that time of year again, but for the first time in my life since this creature made my room its nightly home, my family doesn't own any pets.

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