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A ghostly figure, staring at me from my toilet.

That's all I saw of the thing. I can't say when it entered the room or why it was there, but I knew something was watching me the instant I stepped into the shower. I tried to ignore the feeling, telling myself that it was all a silly game in my head. You read too many creepy stories, I told myself. There's nothing wrong.

But I knew that wasn't true. After some time, the feeling that I was being watched grew stronger. Still I did not turn to see what horror awaited me. I knew I was vulnerable, naked and alone in the shower. No one else was home, and there was no use grabbing my phone while I was still sopping wet.

Besides, the mind is a strange thing. It makes monsters out of shadows and demons out of random noise. Surely that was all that I was experiencing. Surely nothing more lay in wait for me in my own home.

I continued to shower as every hair on my body stood on end. I could almost hear a faint growling noise in the very back of my mind. The sound didn’t seem physical at all; instead, it seemed to reverberate only in the realm of my own mind.

My mind had played tricks on me before. This was nothing new, I told myself. Yet, the instant I thought this, the sound increased in volume. As I finished the shower, I could feel buzzing in my skull. It wasn’t a benign feeling. I knew that this was the effort of that...thing to try and kill me. Whatever it was, it was doing a pretty pathetic job. I laughed aloud at myself for being scared of such a wimp.

I stopped when the thing slammed me to the ground, leaving me gasping for air. “What the hell is going on?” I demanded. Nothing happened. I waited a few more moments, but the thing didn’t respond.

Feeling stupid, I got to my feet and dried myself off. What had just happened? Was the buzzing totally unrelated to my falling, and I just connected the two out of paranoia? Was there some sort of weird neighborhood-wide phenomena going on?

The buzzing started again, and this time I knew it wasn’t fake. At the same moment the buzzing returned, I saw the shadow again and smothered a scream. The scariest part was that it didn’t have any features. It was just...shadow, molded into the faintest imitation of a person.

“Who...are you?” I asked.

The buzzing in my head grew louder in response. I opened my mouth to ask another question, but the thing shut my mouth with a flick of its hand. I blinked hard, not wanting to believe my eyes. There was no denying it now: The thing was real.

Terrified, I attempted to leave the room but found myself unable to move. Whatever the thing was, it sure was powerful. I had a feeling that the only way to get out of my bathroom alive was to try and beat the thing at its own game. But...what kind of game did it want to play?

I had no choice but to try and play along. I shut my eyes and tried to shut out the roaring buzz within. Maybe it wants to see how strong I am?

This response was met with more buzzing. Still, I kept trying to fight. My lungs felt like they would explode as I focused every fiber of my being on trying to squelch this monstrous thing. Every time I felt like I was getting the upper hand, though, the thing fought back three times as hard. It clearly didn’t want to test my strength. So what did it want?

Tell me.

Oh god. Now it was talking back to me in the most hideous voice. It’s almost impossible to describe how awful that voice was, but it was something like hot murderous breath combined with a sound like the scraping of a wall. That voice was ancient, and powerful...and, yet, somehow totally inexperienced.

What do you want? I said, using my mind instead of my voice this time.

Tell me.

I choked for air. The buzzing was almost unbearable now. What did that mean? Had I hurt it somehow in the past? Did it want me confess whatever wrongdoings I had inflicted upon it? Or was it a riddle I had to answer to prove I was worthy of survival?

You. You are the one. Tell me now.

I felt cold, slimy, lifeless, invisible tentacles wrap around me. I could almost feel its breath on my face, and yet, it hadn’t moved an inch from where it sat watching me. What do you want? To kill me? Go ahead! I screamed in despair.

It cocked its head and loosened its grip for a moment. No. Tell me. Girl. Why?

Huh? It was acting like I had something to do with this whole predicament. But I was totally innocent. All I’d done was try to take a shower, and then this thing showed up. I had nothing to do with its appearance, right?

Girl. No. Tell me. Truth. WHY?!

It was positively shrieking. My ears almost burst with its unbearable high-pitched shriek. I was really scared now. I was about to die in my own house, not knowing why I was being punished in this way.

But…

But the monster seemed like it was being punished too, somehow.

Just as I had that thought, the invisible tentacles finished wrapping themselves around my body. I knew with a sinking heart that I wasn’t going to make it out alive. Dear God, help me, I prayed as my vision blurred.

Before the light flickered out, I heard the creature say, Some stories. Not meant to be told. Stop. Telling. Mine.