My brother joined the military when he was still in his senior year of high school and that’s when he really began to buckle-down and started taking life more seriously. He’s married now, with two step-daughters of his own and he’s doing well. I suppose it’s how well he’s doing and how serious he has become that makes his story all the more disturbing.

We lived with our grandparents and the house never seemed right, it still doesn’t seem right. When you walk in during the day it feels so warm, happy and comforting – but something happens when the lights go off and you’re left alone. The house changes.

The feeling could be so intense that I was sometimes too scared to even walk down the hall to go to the bathroom. I always felt like something was watching me or worse, following me. I can’t count the number of times that I would be walking down that hall, even when people were still awake and up, and I would get the sudden urge to run. There were a few times I would run, sprinting into the nearest room with another person in it – laughing my behavior off as just being silly. Sometimes I would talk to my grandparents about the feeling but they would just brush off my concerns but I could tell that even they were sometimes frightened. When I was about sixteen I was a huge fan of the movie Scream – so much so that I had the mask hanging on my door.

One morning I woke up to find that the mask had been taken down and when I asked why, my grandpa snapped that there were too many weird things that happened in the house as it was –he didn’t like that the mask would look at him at night. I could tell that he was embarrassed but not enough to just let it go. He was and still is a very tough old man and I could hear in his voice how much he disliked admitting that the mask scared him. I can’t blame him though.

I amazes me that they still live in that house. They say that I will inherit it when they pass because I’m the one that’s closest to them but I don’t think I’ll ever take up residency there. For a small amount of time I did consider it though – it’s a nice house and large property. I was even willing to write off all my unusual experiences there… till my brother came it visit.

It was just him, his wife and daughters didn’t join him and he decided to stay with my grandparents. At the time my Uncle was also living there, staying in my brother’s old room – the middle room. One night, at the end of my brother’s stay, he came to my house and asked if it would be okay if he stayed there with me that night. He said that it was because he didn’t feel like we had spent enough time together but I knew there was something else there, something he wasn’t telling me. We’ve always been close with absolutely no secrets between us, so I thought it was weird that he wouldn’t just tell me what was on his mind.

It wasn’t until we were about to go to bed that he finally broke and told me the real reason for his stay. Now, keep in mind that he is military – I won’t say what branch or what he does but it’s not a basic position. He was a little high strung when he was younger and he’s still goofy but there is a seriousness to him now.

That night, after we said goodnight, he paused and sat down on the couch. I didn’t know what to think so I sat down next to him. I expected to hear that he was having family issues or maybe that he had gotten into a fight with my uncle but that wasn’t it at all.

He said, “Do you remember when I was little – how I would sometimes wet the bed?”

I wasn’t even sure what to say or why he was bringing it up but I did remember so I nodded. My brother had wet the bed until he was nearly twelve and even after that he would occasionally have accidents. My grandparents had been dumbfounded by the behavior; they had even taken him to the doctor to make sure nothing was wrong with his bladder. The only thing that they found was that it was a little weak – from habitually holding urine in for long periods of time.

“Do you remember me talking about what was in my closet?” he asked.

This memory was a little more difficult for me. We would talk about the things in the house all the time but there were only a few instances where he would mention his closet.

“A little, I guess – why?” I asked.

My brother took a deep breath – his hands beginning to shake a little bit.

“I didn’t like talking about it because when I would talk about it, it made it worse but it’s still there.”

He was looking me straight in the eyes, like he was pleading with me. For a second it was like he was eight again, just a little boy asking his big sister for help. The look was heartbreaking. I was so stunned by what he was saying though that I couldn’t manage to say a single word.

“Uncle XXXXXX went out last night,” my brother continued in a strained voice. “I was trying to get all my stuff together so I wouldn’t have to spend as much time today, getting everything packed. Well, he had one of my CD’s for that game he wanted to play and I had to go into his room to get it. Grandma and Grandpa were already in bed, so it was just me. Right, so I walk in there and I’m looking for it and then I hear it. God, it sounded just like it did when I was little – it was talking to me – it said my name.”

“You came back, I missed you,” he whispered, mimicking what he had heard. The voice he used was soft but gurgled, gentle but malicious.

I looked down at his arm and noticed he had goosbumps forming. I was still too stunned to speak, so I just stared at him with wide eyes.

“I booked it out of there and I swear I’ll never set foot in that room again. I don’t know how Uncle XXXXX stays in there. I guess it doesn’t bother him like it did me.”

“What…what happened when you were little?” I asked slowly.

I guess he took my tone the wrong way because he pushed himself back against the couch and growled in frustration. “I’m not crazy,” he huffed.

I assured him that I wasn’t thinking that – that I just wanted to know what happened. He looked skeptical but it was enough to get him talking again.

“For as long as I can remember, from the moment they moved me out of your room and into that one – whatever is in there would sometimes talk to me at night. It sounded like a kid at first but there was something wrong with the voice but as I listened to it more it was like there were two voices – a kid one and a…I dunno… a demon or something. I would ask me to go into the closet and play with it. It said it had toys in there but it was lonely. It would just do that but then it got worse. It would say that if I didn’t go inside and play then it would come out and that I didn’t want for it to come out. It would describe what it looked like…”

My brother started to look pale – like he was about to be sick.

“It said that it could twist its head around, move its arms out of place. I remember the day I told grandma about what was going on, not all of it, just that something was talking in my closet. She said it was just a toy. But that night it said that if I said anything else it would come out and eat the whole family. But the bed wetting… I… I was scared to get up at night because it… it did…it did come out.”

I could see tears starting to form in his eyes and I could tell that he was having difficulty retelling what had happened. For comfort, I wrapped my arms around him and shushed him. I told him he didn’t need to say anymore if he didn’t want to but he shook his head, sniffled and pulled away from me.

“I want to,” he said sternly. “I haven’t told anyone about this, I want to get it out. I just have to. Right, well it came out one night. You know how dark my room would get so I couldn’t see all of it – it looked human but not, it didn’t move right and it was crawling like a spider across the floor – like, not on its knees, on its toes. It was about as big as I was but it was skinny. It just didn’t look right. I couldn’t even scream, I was too scared. I crawled over to my bed and then went under it.

Then it told to go to the bathroom. I knew what it wanted to do; I just knew that if I put my feet on the floor then it would grab me and pull me under with it. I stopped drinking water before bed but sometimes I would still have to go – sometime I could hold it, sometimes I lost it because I was scared, sometime because it hurt too much….you remember when Uncle XXXXX hid under my bed to scare me?”

His voice was cracking and I could see that he was just barely holding in the tears but that didn’t stop mine from overflowing when he mentioned my uncle's prank. It had happened when my brother was about seven. I was in my room, my grandparents in the living room and my uncle had disappeared. When my brother got into bed that night, he started to hear scratching coming from under his bed. My uncle said, at the time, that he thought it was funny that the scratching wasn’t enough to scare my brother out of bed so he had gone a step further. He began to shake his bed and growl but by brother still didn’t move. It wasn’t until my uncle growled that he was going to eat my brother and started crawling out from under the bed that by brother finally jumped up.

He ran so quickly from the room and was so frightened that he didn’t see where he was going and ended up slamming into the wall across from his door. It was so forceful that he knocked out one of his front teeth.

At the time I thought the prank was hilarious but when I heard the whole story I felt like a monster for laughing at him.

The scratching, the growling, the shaking – my brother hadn’t moved because these were things that happened to him almost every night. Whatever was in his closet had conditioned him to stay still, to not move as it did these things to him – threatening to eat him if he moved.

I began to sob, telling him how sorry I was – how I wished I had known. I was his big sister and I felt that I had failed him. I had even mocked him for wetting the bed all the time.

He, of course, forgave me and we sat there and cried for a while. As I sat there with him many things about him as a child started to make sense. He hated playing in his room, he hardly ever used his closet and he would keep his toys and other things organized throughout the room. It also explained why he was always so tired, why he slept in class and why he was always on edge with scary movies.

He said the thing eventually stopped coming out of the closet and then the whispering stopped – tapering off into a rare bump that would come from the closet. But he did say that he would never sleep in that house again and I can’t blame him. When the time comes, I don’t think I would ever live in it but I wouldn’t feel right selling it or renting it.

I would hate for another child or even an adult to have to go through the things that by brother did. Yeah, when the times come I think I’ll demolish that house.