This story is by Jess Bagnall and was part of our 2019 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
It started with a small feeling. Drifting out into a sea of nothing and yet, I couldn’t help this sense of wrongness. My limbs became heavy and tight. A tingling sensation crept over my weighted body, causing shivers to explode over me, head to toe.
The surrounding air changed, becoming charged with some kind of energy. It grew cold but my body became a fever, burning bright like a beacon for others. They had heard the call and brought forth a night full of reckoning.
This wasn’t the first time for this visit. Some nights I’d sit up and wait for them, but it was like watching for the tooth fairy, you will never see them, only know that they are there.
A pressure began on my chest. At first, I thought my cat had gotten into my room and decided I’d make a great pillow; but when I’m able to open my eyes, I see nothing; at first.
The pressure becomes a burning weight of asphyxiation. I try moving to shift the feeling; only to find my body frozen in place.
Overwhelming oppressive fears wash over me in a cool rush. My body sweats with unshed tears. I hear a whimper in the distance. Only to realise it was my own.
My hearing had tunnelled, everything sounded distant and faded.
My heartbeat was oddly slow like my body felt no threat and did not need to worry. Until a shadow slithered through my slightly ajar door.
My heart pounded as if my body had finally caught up with its surroundings.
Trapped inside my mind, able to see everything that happened around me, unable to move or prevent the oncoming slaughter that this inevitably becomes.
I close my eyes, hoping to combat it as I had done with everything as a child. Close your eyes and hope it goes away. Not this time.
Someone snored loudly in the next room. I concentrated on that familiar sound, my father had always snored it comforted me to know I was still home and not sucked into a world of unknown.
My body relaxed, my galloping heart slowed, and I latched onto that familiar feeling.
I tuned the snoring out as I slowly became unaware of my surroundings.
I hadn’t moved, nothing had changed and yet everything had. There was no sound anymore. My eyes flew open. I felt something brush my fingers; I heard a slight growl of anticipation.
There, just outside the door, was the shadow. It walked back and forth taunting me. It knew my fears; It knew how to scare me. Did I let it?
It eventually stopped right at the crack and slipped its bold blackened head inside my door.
It had no eyes, yet it knew exactly where I was. It had no nose, yet it lifted its head as if it could smell me. All I could smell was sulphur, the acidic scent burnt my nose, gagging me more. Its mouth was a slit across its face, from a pointy ear to ear, full of sharp green teeth. A forked tongue slipped out, throwing spittle everywhere. It had no neck only shoulders attached to long thin arms that moved like legs. Its body was long and spindly, and it moved like a spider, creeping slowly through the door.
It looked right at me and smiled, its mouth grew larger and reminded me of a clown.
I closed my eyes hoping in vain it hadn’t realised I’d seen it. Stupid mistake, but it knew I had. My body sweat betrayed me. Tears streamed down my face and soaked my pillow, rolling into my ears and soaking my hair. I wanted to move so badly; I tried concentrating on my toes, wiggle damn it.
I lay still and thought of nothing, blanketing my mind with peaceful thoughts, lavender flowers billowing in the wind, my favourite scent, distracting my mind.
Nothing had moved in what felt like an endless moment. I slowly peeled my eyes open. I still couldn’t move but it felt different. Was it over?
I relaxed and my eyes and travelled the room. Without the movement of my head, I could only glimpse out my peripheral. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw nothing and brought my eyes back to my ceiling with a smile in my mind. Finally, some peace.
My eyes collided with the mysterious teeth and the foul smell of sulphur. It was level with my face and I hadn’t seen or heard it move, Its body clung to the ceiling and its head turned all the way around, like an owl at the zoo.
My body tried to buck. But I still couldn’t move. I couldn’t escape its tongue. It was so close but never touched. I shrieked. Only for no-one to hear me. No-one was coming like every night before. No-one ever hears my screams or my tears. I plead for my father to come rescue me from the demon that had crawled down and onto my chest.
It whispered things to me and crawled around my room tormenting me for months. This was the first time it had sat on my chest. It felt like when I first woke up. A burning suppressive weight. Had it been sitting on me this whole time?
This was the first time I had to see it on me. My face burned with heat and I felt myself urinate. I couldn’t stop it; my body had reacted to the level of fear and just let go. It laughed at me, enjoying my discomfort.
I felt my face heat with humiliation.
My room grew dark as the creature became the only thing I could see. Everything around me spun as it lifted its long arm-like legs. In place of fingers, there were razor-sharp blades. Blades that were hovering just above my right eye.
My breathing sped up. That was all I could do, breathe faster. My desperate need to move overwhelmed me, I felt dazed. With dizzying speed, the blade flicked down my cheek. I felt a searing pain but this can’t happen in real life, things like this just don’t happen. This has to be a dream. Only I can see everything like a clean film. I tried bringing my room back into focus and everything was fuzzy; the creature filled most of the space. The blade moved down my neck and I about swallowed my pulse and bile rose. It continued down to my arm digging as it went; It was then I noticed blood oozing under the blade. Amongst the blood was black moister that leaked from the blade.
Finally, it brought the blade off my skin. I was trembling, I could feel it, but I was also perfectly still.
The demon smiled while sitting there; It laughed loud and menacingly, releasing another bout of sulphuric breath. I swear I saw flames at the back of its throat.
It looked directly at me, with its eyeless face flicked its forked tongue out and licked my blood from its blade.
“You’re ripe with fear and doubt,” it whispers into my mind. “I’ve been feeding your fear long enough, tonight I shall feast!”
All too quick it plunged its blades into my chest with a squealing laugh.
I screamed loud, long and hard. Jerking upright and lashing out at air. I threw myself out of my bed, I landed hard on the floor and hit my head. I lay there a moment trying to catch my breath. I could feel the sticky, now cold pee drying on my pyjama bottoms. I curled into myself and cried.
The demons were real. I saw them but no one believed me. I looked at my arm and saw a long blistering scratch where the demon’s claws had bled me.
I lay there curled into myself as the tears stopped. There was no use looking for the demon. It only appeared when I’m trapped inside a prison of my physical state of mind. It would be back, the night isn’t over and I’d succumb, eventually.