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Why the Lights Flicker

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Transcript from note found in Wright hall, room 919. Names have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.

I first noticed the lights flickering a few weeks in to last semester. A friend and I often wander campus at night. It has a completely different feel then, desolate, open, and lonely. I always found that appealing, just the darkness to accompany you, with the occasional stray walker or lamppost to contrast the void.

It was when we were walking by the math academic building that I noticed something strange happening. One of the first floor classrooms had the blinds open, and every light in the room was flickering, all in unison. It was really bizarre, and curious, we tried the doors to see if we could gain entry.

We did. The door to that particular room was wide open. It was almost surreal, dreamlike in a way. I had a class in this room the semester before. The air was thick in there, and I didn’t realize it then, but that would be a feeling I would soon come to know very intimately.

That wasn’t the last time that night I encountered the lights. My friend and I saw two deer almost immediately after leaving the building, and we decided to follow them, just to see if we could. They were bizarrely calm. We would be able to get within 20 or 30 feet of them before they would look at us and calmly walk away. During those times, we would stand motionless, afraid to scare them away. We never did though, and we followed them for a good while, probably ten minutes, before coming to a building that had a strange stigma attached to it.

Stewart Hall was originally a dormitory, but it was left abandoned for years and for the longest time. Over the time of neglect, vines had grown over the walls, and into the smashed windows and decrepit hallways. Recently, however, they had decided to renovate and reopen the building, though we had no idea why.

There were hardly ever cars parked outside the building, and the only indication of its purpose was a standard university sign that hung outside the doors. It simply read Information Services. The doors are always locked and I have never seen anyone in the building.

The deer moved around the back of the building, but when we tried to trail them they were gone. We had let them out of sight and they had likely fled hearing us approach. What waited instead of the deer was disturbing though. Out of all the windows on the back side of the building, we could see flickering lights. Something just felt wrong. I can’t really describe the feeling, but if you ever had it, you will know what I am talking about. It just feels as if some terrible being, some horrible abomination is there, watching, or that things are about to take a turn for the worst. It was a feeling of immense dread.

For a while we stood there in silence, and then decided it was probably time to part ways and head to bed, as we both had class relatively early in the morning and it was nearing 1am. That night though, I couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t the draft coming in through our open dorm window, my roommate on the bed above me occasionally rolling or snoring, nor was it my loud neighbors. I stayed awake that night because I couldn’t shake that feeling. I knew there was more to it than just mere coincidence, and that bothered me because I knew there was no way to prove it wasn’t.

The next few weeks proceeded as normal, though I occasionally noticed flickering lights when I was with the friend I had been with that one night. Eventually, I brought it up and we both agreed that we needed to venture out into the darkness again.

That night was very different from the first. The air was thick and heavy all around, and we jumped at any small change in shadows. It took quite a while before we said anything, as we were both practically holding our breath, hoping nothing horrible would happen. Finally, I spoke up.

“So, I was thinking about this weird light thi-“

Before I was able to finish, the nearest lamppost blew out, and violently. My heart leaped out of my chest, and for a brief moment I thought I was about to die. The tension was so thick you could almost cut it. It was choking me; I was so afraid I felt as if I couldn’t breathe. The glass on the lamppost had shattered, and a few remnant sparks from the electrical overload still sat on the ground where they had fallen.

Everything was silent except for an eerie electrical buzzing coming from the other lights in the area. I could barely believe what had happened. I was terribly frightened, more so than I had ever been in my life. We left, heading back to the lobby in my dormitory as quickly as possible, too afraid to look behind us, and too paranoid not to.

At this point, I was too afraid to speak about it again, but every time we met up, even just to talk or grab food, there would always be a flickering light, and with it the terrible sense of dread. It was never as heavy as it had been in the past, but still there almost like it was letting us know it still existed.

It felt as if some sort of entity had gotten our attention and didn’t want to let us go. I guess in hindsight that wasn’t too far from the truth.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the lights. At the same time, I couldn’t prove any sort of correlation between me and them. It was maddening, and infuriating. I now knew how the protagonist of the story The Call of Cthulhu felt at the end, knowing some being existed, and knowing it was terrible, but unable to prove its existence. I felt as if I was going wildly insane, I thought I was delusional or some form of schizophrenia had taken hold of me. I wish I had been right

It wasn’t until months after the light explosion I learned of the true origin of the flickering, but I couldn’t stop obsessing over it. I couldn’t just drop it. I had done far too much research on the internet and in the library. My grades were falling, and any social ties were falling to the wayside. I had to know, I had to regain a grip on reality.

It was during one of these study sessions that my friend called me. I was hesitant to answer. We hadn’t spoken in a while, mainly because of my own neglect to our friendship. I was ashamed of what I had become and didn’t want it to change the memories of myself. I didn’t want to ruin other people. It stopped ringing and I resumed looking through the book I was reading. It was about ancient deities, and I was reading about the relation of darkness and spirituality.

The phone rang again. It was him. I figured it was important, so I finished the paragraph I was reading, and answered.

“Hello?”

“Michael? Hey how have you been?”

“Alright,” I lied.

“What are you doing later?”

“Not too much…”

“Well, we should hang out; I have some things we need to discuss.” I could tell by the way he phrased the last few words that he was talking about the lights.

“Well, as I said, I have no plans. Just text me when you want to meet up.”

“Alright, I will see you later then.”

“Later.”

I met up with my friend later that day, immediately after leaving one of my classes. He appeared distraught, but kept saying that he just had a bad day. When we sat down to eat, he finally started talking about why we really met up.

“Listen, I think we should just drop this whole light thing. I mean, there is probably no way we will ever figure out what it means anyway. Think of all the variables that we haven’t even considered.”

“I know but-“

“Just forget about it.” He had cut me off. The way he said that bothered me, but I just decided to not bring it up again. We ate and then wandered campus for a while. When it started getting dark out, he quickly bade me farewell and hurried back to his room. He seemed worried, but I didn’t give it too much thought.

Our friendship started to drift apart after that. I was still engrossed in my research, and he had become a recluse. We would go days without any contact at all, and while it concerned me my mind was too focused on delving in to old tomes to think too long about how distant we had grown. Weeks passed, and then I stopped hearing from him all together.

That is when the disappearances started to happen.

They didn’t believe me when I told them they were related. People go missing. It happens all the time. But, it had become too much of an occurrence on campus for it to be coincidence. I kept seeing articles about it in the campus newspaper, and there were missing person flyers all over campus. It didn’t concern me until one day I was passively looking through the paper when I saw my friend’s picture. He too had gone missing.

I regret what I did next. Hell, I regret it all.

That night I decided to go back to Stewart Hall. I had a hunch that the disappearances were related to the lights, though I still to this day have no idea why. Even from a distance, I could see the lights in the building were all flickering in unison. The sound of electricity buzzed rhythmically to the flashing.

I almost turned back. I was terrified. I should have obeyed my basic instinct. I should have turned around and forgot all about it. But, I saw my friend, standing on the pathway. He was nearly behind the building, and facing my direction. He seemed to notice me and give a look of surprise, and then quickly darted behind the building. I followed, not realizing I was about to fall into a trap. As I turned the corner, I gasped.

I saw the thing there, standing on the raised stone patio leading up to Stewart Hall. I immediately felt ill as I realized what was actually going on. My friend’s face was just a small part of a monstrosity almost as immense as the building itself. My eyes refused to focus on the entire thing, but I could see black tendrils protruding off of a center mass in several directions. There must have been at least a hundred. On the end of each tendril was a face, but not all of the faces were human. Two of them were deer. One was an owl. There were a few dogs, and a few animals I couldn’t immediately recognize as local. The majority, though, were human, and their mouths moved up and down and their faces changed expression in an unnatural and unsettling way. The only noise I heard was the buzzing of the flickering lights in Stewart Hall.

I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe, and for a while I stood there, in shock. Slowly, my friend’s face neared me, conveying a look of shock and horror. It must have gotten within inches of me before I ran. I ran as fast and as hard as I could until I reached my room, the flickering lights and the abomination almost certainly right behind me.

I shut the lights off, closed the blinds as quickly as possible, and then emptied the contents of my stomach. I could still see a shadow moving around outside my door, the thing with a hundred faces stalked back and forth, waiting for me. I heard my neighbor’s door open, and a blood curdling scream immediately followed. I vomited again.

Eventually, the lights stopped flickering. I didn’t sleep that night, but I didn’t try to call the police either. Nobody would have believed me. In all likelihood, nobody probably still believes me, even though I have written all that happened down here.

I no longer travel at night. I have forced myself to become secluded, and I have broken all of my friendships off. I don’t use the lights in my dorm anymore, and I always leave the blind closed. I haven’t left in days, but I know it is only a matter of time before I encounter that vile creature again. I am not afraid of death, but of the perversion of my own body that it will cause. I can’t bear to think of what it could do, or how it could reach people.

This is why I have decided to end my life tonight, and why I am writing this all down. I don’t know if it can help, but I only have one word of advice to those listening: Do not acknowledge the flickering lights. Do not strive to find the truth, as there are horrors out there not meant to be found by human minds.

I wish I had never encountered that thing. I mourn the death of not my physical being, but of the life I could have had. I will never have a family, and never again will I be able to experience joy, or even sadness. I will never grow old with the ones I love. Even now I only experience fear. This is why I must die. So that others can be saved and so that my face is not used to destroy others, like my friend’s was.

Goodbye. I hope you are saved by my actions. I wish all of you the best, and I ask that you live your life to the fullest, if only for me.

While the note implies suicide, no body was found in the missing person’s room.

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