This story is by SilverRose and was part of our 2022 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“You don’t think I should worry about it?”
“Nah,” Beth shrugged. “Your parents leave for a few weeks every year, right? I’m sure they just forgot to call.”
“I know that, but I was more worried about, you know, seeing and hearing things in my house, even though I’m completely alone.”
She shook her head with a disinterested sigh. “I think you’re just stressed; maybe the heat is getting to you.”
If you say so…
It had been over a week since I’d heard from my parents. Usually, I wouldn’t be bothered by it… however… at night… I can hear footsteps outside and see faces in the windows, but nothing is there when I stop and look.
Sometimes I hear laughter in the halls…
It could all be in my head—no need to deny the possibility.
Perhaps I am just losing it.
“Hey, you zoned out again,” Beth flicked my forehead. “I asked if you wanted me to walk you home since it’s getting dark; you live like fifteen minutes out of town, so…?”
“Well,” I laughed, “how could I refuse?”
The air grew heavy as the early evening rolled in, with dark clouds eroding any light from the skies; even the moonlight could not bleed through the darkness.
Beth and I walked along the winding dirt trail in silence. She may have been my closest friend, but that didn’t mean we were close.
It wasn’t until we heard the sky rumbling that she finally spoke up. “I brought an umbrella just in case we didn’t make it in time.”
“At least someone is well-prepared; I’d have gotten soaked with my luck.”
We’d only been walking for around five minutes when Beth spoke up again.
With a twirl of the unopened umbrella on her shoulder, she asked, “You live in that new house on Wolf Road, right?”
“Yeah, I do, but why?”
She never answered.
I pondered her delayed response when I noticed something rather odd.
There was a black truck approaching us from behind.
No, that wasn’t it… it was a black truck engulfed in a dark fog: something had completely blacked the windshield and headlights out.
My heart sunk to the depths of my stomach; the truck was not driving all that fast, slowly…it had been creeping up behind us, but for how long.
Something doesn’t feel right.
Words eluded me as it stalked closer, slowly rolling towards us; chills ran up my spine as the evening breeze turned to violent winds.
I’m being watched… I can feel it.
With a bit of courage, I turned to look at the vehicle.
As it grew closer, the passenger window rolled down, revealing an eerie figure leering at me with a smile.
It was as though time had slowed; those dark empty eyes bore into my soul as their smile twisted, mouthing incomprehensible words.
I stood paralysed and heard a deep ringing in my ears.
You shouldn’t have been seen.
The mysterious vessel vanished into the night as time sped up rapidly, leaving me frozen with thick sweat pooling off me.
Panicked, I stepped away from the road, my ankle hooked on something, and I collapsed in the dirt.
What… what was that?
Reaching out, I grabbed hold of the culprit…the umbrella.
Rushing to my feet, I looked around, but Beth was nowhere to be found.
I called out her name repeatedly… there was no one to answer my calls.
She left me…
In my confusion, I found something far beyond peculiar.
“My house? But how… I shouldn’t even be halfway home yet.”
Trembling, I picked up the umbrella and ran inside, hurriedly locking the door behind me.
Yet the dark, empty house left me without a crumb of relief.
I don’t feel safe. I don’t feel right; something’s wrong, something’s wrong…
I turned on the outdoor spotlight for comfort when something at the end of the driveway caught my eye.
No, not just a person… it is the one… from the truck; I can’t see them clearly, but… it’s a gut feeling.
Why are they here? How do they know where I live?
They’re smiling at me, watching my every move… but why?
Who cares why? I need to lock the doors right now.
With a goal in mind, I ran from one door to the next. As I passed the window, I noticed the figure had moved closer to the house in an entirely different area.
Closer and closer, they appeared at every window.
Why do there have to be so many doors in this house?
Finally, I race to lock the last door in the basement, flipping the light switch; I nearly slam into the wall before hurriedly latching onto the final lock.
Taking a deep breath, I felt my muscles relax for a moment; I felt safe until the backyard spotlight turned on, revealing a shadow that crept beneath the doorway, and stood at my feet with an ominous grin.
I quickly covered my mouth as I heard something akin to laughter from the other side.
The door is locked. Relax.
It can’t see me.
It doesn’t know I’m here.
Please… no more.
I stood as silently as possible, my body trembling beyond my control. I waited and waited for any sign that it might leave.
Then it went quiet…
“I… See… You,” a distorted voice whispered through the cracks.
Looking down at my feet, I saw the shadow… was smiling… watching me.
Tears threatened to spill as I bit down on my lip until…the shadow vanished.
Collapsing to the floor, gasping for air, I hugged myself, trying to get a grip.
“It’s okay now; it’s gone, I’m okay, I’m okay.”
I repeated these words for over an hour before I could stand again.
Curiously, I peeked out the window to find the familiar sight of the person… no… that creature standing in the torrential rain… as dry as one could be.
Closing all the curtains and shutting down the light, I curled up under my blankets and begged for sleep to overtake my racing mind.
I awoke that morning to the sound of footsteps and mindless chatter, something I’d never been so relieved to hear.
Running upstairs in a panic, I hugged my mother as tightly as possible.
My good mood, however, was torn away from me within seconds.
“We just found out about Beth; I’m sorry, hun,”
“What about Beth?”
My parents looked at each other, unsure what to say before my father spoke up. “She committed suicide… about a week ago.”
What? How… I saw her yesterday… sure she barely spoke, but…
Thoughts of Beth’s supposed death plagued my mind; however, my concerns about the ghastly figure remained.
Day turned to night before I could even blink; I had continued to search outside for the mysterious figure without success.
Was what I had experienced throughout the week related to Beth? Was she the figure in the truck? Was there more to this? Or had I been overthinking it all?
Without an answer, I made my way to my room in the basement.
It was not there, but I knew it was somewhere; somehow, I could feel their eyes… watching me.
I felt something behind me as I descended the stairs. I dared not turn around as the extra footsteps followed me.
Trying to shake it off, I continued forward.
It must have entered with my parents; they were the ones to unlock the doors.
Just keep walking…
The sensation of something breathing down my neck became too much for me. I was quickening my pace. I sped into my room, closing my door without turning around. Only then did I let out a sigh of relief.
Ignoring the sounds outside my door, I curled into my bed and was lulled to sleep within minutes.
*Tick* *Tick* *Tick*
I awoke to the clock’s ticking, opened my eyes, and adjusted them to the dark. I rolled over to find something amiss.
The door cracked open; I could have sworn I closed it.
Adjusting my gaze, I froze.
There is something there; something is poking its hand through. I could barely see the pale, gangly fingertips wrapped around the trim above my door.
The door slowly opened, creaking ever so sweetly. I could no longer move, no longer think, I couldn’t, after all… that deformed creature is so familiar.
“I… See… You.”
There is nothing to worry about.
Isn’t that what you said, Beth? So I won’t think anymore.
The enormous creature dragged itself through my doorway, barely squeezing through it. It came closer, and its eyes, void of color, met with my own.
Was this creature the same as the one from before? Had this one been here even longer? I had no way to know, no way to run.
So I closed my eyes, waiting for the night to end.