By MissShadowLovely (2016)

You know that feeling you get when you see something that you weren’t supposed to see? That gut wrenching churn that you feel in the pit of your stomach when you realize that you can’t “unsee” whatever it is that you’ve witnessed? That feeling where it almost feels like you’ve made a mistake by witnessing whatever it was; but yet, it was completely beyond your control… Yeah, I know that feeling. In fact, I’ve definitely seen something that I shouldn’t have. And now, that “something” is watching me.

I doubt I have much time, so I’ll try to make this quick. I don’t know what use it is to me to give you any warning… Should you find yourself in my situation, there’s nothing you can do anyway. At least, nothing that I know of. I don’t know why it chose me. I don’t know why it “chooses” anyone. But should it choose you, the only thing that you can do is pray that you manage to avoid looking at it; no matter how hard it tries to get your attention.

I don’t know when or how it first saw me. I guess probably one of the many nights that I was walking home late after class, when I cut through the park by the lake. That’s where it seems to be most of the time, so if at all possible, avoid that park… or… any park, at night… I guess… That seems like a pretty good rule of thumb to follow anyway, so it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to follow. But, whenever it was that it actually saw me, must have been when it chose me. I don’t know if it chose me because I took that route on a regular basis, or if I’m just lucky… but either way, all it took was 2 weeks of me taking that same way home every night before it had made it’s decision.

Anyway… 2 weeks. At the 2 week mark is when it decided that I was it’s target. “Target” probably isn’t a good word for it.. “prey” is a more appropriate term. That night felt just like any other night. I was exhausted from a long day, and had my earphones in as I made my way through the park. The park has a lot of trees along the lake and sidewalk. Not enough to be considered a forest or anything. But enough that against the dim orange glow of the street lamps; they created dozens and dozens of tall, dark silhouettes. It was a little eerie, but it wasn’t enough to keep me from taking that way home for the last 2 weeks straight. On that particular night, about halfway through the park, is when it first tried to get my attention. It started with a sound that made me take out my earphones, confused, and searching all around me for the source. Have you ever been wearing earphones or headphones and thought you heard someone say your name, but you couldn’t tell for sure? That’s what this was like. It was subtle, but enough for me to notice and freeze in my tracks. I can’t really describe what the noise was. It sounded like a whisper, but I couldn’t make out any of the words. The sound was gone as soon as I took my earphones out, and after a quick 360 to assess my surroundings, I came to the conclusion that my mind was playing tricks on me due to exhaustion. A little spooked, I made the second half of my trip through the park a lot quicker than the first. Fortunately for me, I hadn’t been paying enough attention to notice it standing about 500 feet away from me, beneath one of the street lamps.

The next night was different. My morning classes had been canceled, so I wasn’t nearly as exhausted on the trip home. My mind was on the new video game that I had tucked into my backpack that I was planning on tearing into when I got back to my house. I didn’t have my earphones in, this time, so you can imagine my discomfort when I heard the sound again. The bizarre part about it was that even without the earphones, the sound was the same. Something resembling quiet murmuring, just slightly too low to make out the words. It was so brief, like someone saying my name to try and get my attention, but so quickly and quietly that I just couldn’t be certain. The hair on the back of my neck stood on end, and I cautiously looked to the right and left of me, expecting to see a hobo or possibly just someone on their smart phone mumbling under their breath to themselves as they lose yet another game of Words with Friends.

When I didn’t see anyone, I got the gut wrenching feeling that I was being watched. Thoroughly freaked out, I slowly took a step forward to continue my journey. Without skipping a beat, the sound of a branch snapping on the ground echoed from about 500 feet behind me, off to the side of the walkway. Now genuinely frightened, I began to sprint as fast as I could from the source of the noise. After putting an additional 600-700 feet between me and the noise in question, I made the mistake of turning around to look behind me. Although it was too far to see clearly, I was able to make out a tall, thin figure against the glow of the street lamp that it stood under. From as far away as I was, it could have looked like a person. But, I didn’t give it a second look as I booked it out of the park. Little did I know… that first glimpse was enough for it to get closer to me the next time around.

I got out of class early the next day. And, chalking last night’s events up to either my imagination or some weirdo who wanted to sell me drugs in the park; I decided that since it was still daylight that it would be safe for me to take my normal park route home. I figured there’d be people in the park at that time of day, and no shadows to play tricks on my mind. Feeling totally at ease, I decided to swing by the ice cream cart that the local sweet little old ice cream man would push around the lake during the afternoon. I ordered my favorite, an ice cream sandwich, but felt a cold shiver run down my spine as the old man lifted the shiny glass cover of his cart to retrieve it. That familiar, unsettling noise echoed through my ears, and in the reflection of the glass, I caught a glimpse of the same tall dark figure from the night before; this time about 400 feet away from me. I froze, terrified for the brief few seconds that the old man had the cover of the cart lifted to retrieve my ice cream.

My mind scrambled to remember what I had seen, but what my memory provided back to me didn’t seem humanly possible. The figure was easily eight, maybe nine feet tall. Whoever… or whatever… it was, was dressed in a long black… cloak, for a lack of better words. The face was the hardest part to remember. By this point, I still hadn’t focused on it’s face; not that it made a difference. My thoughts raced, trying to comprehend why the ice cream guy wasn’t freaking out with me at whatever that thing standing behind me was. The old man cheerfully handed me my purchase, raising an eyebrow and asking me if I was okay. I guess I must have nodded, because he didn’t press the issue. After a short moment of silence, and no terrified reaction to anything behind me from the ice cream cart man, I mustered the courage to look behind me. Nothing there.

I took my ice cream and proceeded on my walk home, my brain reeling for an answer as to what just happened. I took note that finals were next week, and dutifully chalked up the alleged hallucinations to the underlying stress. I tried to shake off the uneasy feeling, but it never quite went away, even after I made it home. I didn’t know why, but I had felt like something followed me home.

I wasn’t as lucky the next evening. The park was closed for maintenance, my second option being to walk around the outside of the fence; an extra 20 minute walk down a quiet thoroughfare with an iron fence on one side, and a poorly lit street on the other. I let out an aggravated sigh and began to make my way along the fence. I wish I had remembered my earphones instead of leaving them at school, because after about 10 minutes of walking in silence; a sound made stomach sink. It started out so softly, that I didn’t hear it over the sound of myself walking. But eventually, it became audible enough that I could clearly make out what it was; the sound of a hard object being drug slowly across the iron bars of the fence…one by one… slowly, but quickly enough to match the pace that I was walking… only about 300 feet behind me. I didn’t look behind me, but the hair on the back of my neck told me that something was there. As soon as I stopped walking, the clanging behind me stopped as well. My heart was pounding so quickly that I couldn’t even breathe. I don’t know which was worse, knowing that something was behind me, but not what it was… or the idea of turning around and actually seeing it with my own eyes. Deep down, I had a sinking feeling in my gut about what I would see if I turned around, and not a single fiber of my being wanted anything to do with whoever or whatever it was.

But the decision was made for me, it seems. Out of the silence from behind me, a new noise, similar to the murmurs from before, filled my ears; draining my face of color. A low, gurgling moan, like the wail of torment of someone drowning, echoed from behind me. Instinct caused me to quickly turn and evaluate the source of the noise, and what I saw instilled a terror in me that I didn’t think was possible. The feeling that I talked about earlier… the feeling of seeing something that you shouldn’t have seen… That’s the feeling that rushed over me as I stared at the creature in front of me.

I had focused on the face this time, but out of my peripheral vision I could see the long, thin, black arms that hung almost to it’s knees… attached to those arms were hands with slender, bone-like fingers; easily 3 to 4 times longer than any human I’d ever seen. The body was inhumanely thin and the proportions were unnatural. The torso and legs were ghastly and long, the creatures posture crooked, as if it had a kink or a hunch in it’s back that caused it’s shoulders to hang forward in front of it’s face. And oh… it’s face… if it can even be called that. The first thing I saw were the eyes. Small… very small… tiny…. beady little white eyes… sunken into large gaping black holes. The top of the creature’s face was covered by what looked to be a mask made to resemble a white porcelain doll, but broken in half; missing everything from the nose downward. Around the eyes and eyeholes of the mask were cartoonishly painted black eyelashes; like the ones you’d see on a Raggedy Ann toy. But the mask and the eyes beneath, were nothing compared to the horror that hung beneath them. A grotesque abomination of a mouth hung loosely from the edge of the mask. It swung freely, as if the creature’s jaw had been severed on both sides; allowing it to fall open, revealing a crudely removed tongue and three rows of human teeth along the bottom jaw. Behind the mask and around the mouth was smooth black skin, torn brutally around where the jaws were once connected to the skull of…111 whatever it was. From the nightmarish orifice it had for mouth, the gurgling moan emanated once again; still resembling a wail of despair.

The sound was enough to snap me out of my state of shock, because I was able to realize that the creature had begun moving towards me. It’s movements turned my stomach. The sound of bone on bone and every joint in the creature’s body popped and jerk in various directions grew louder as it closed the distance between us. My fight or flight instinct finally switched into gear, and I turned and bolted in the opposite direction; but not before it had closed another 50 feet of the remaining 300 foot gap between us. That’s when the realization had finally sunk in… the longer I looked at it, the closer it would get; and it was doing whatever it could to get me to look at it.

I kept running towards wherever I thought would be the safest, downtown. Lots of people around, even at night. I didn’t know if this thing cared about witnesses, but suddenly my memory was brought back to the incident the day before with the ice cream man in the park. It became obvious that it could only be seen by whoever it wanted it see it. Which in this case, regrettably, was me. I made it to the heart of downtown, stopping to catch my breath outside of a trendy nightclub with a long line of people waiting outside to get in. I leaned on the wall of the building on the opposite side of the entrance from where the line was formed. After a few moments of gasping for air and getting my heart rate under control, I turned to look at the line of people hoping to see someone that I recognized, or maybe a police officer nearby that might help me out. Instead, amidst the line of people, what caught my eye were those cold, piercing white eyes, and that smooth, haunting porcelain face… It towered high above any of the other patrons; it’s blank stare fixed on me from behind the people. It began to move along side the line of people, barely giving me a chance to react before it had closed another 100 feet. By the time I stopped looking at it, it was only 150 feet away; making that stomach churning wailing noise. It gained another 50 feet when I accidentally turned and saw it’s reflection in the side mirror of the taxi parked outside the night club.

Fast forward to now. I had made it all the way back home, but it gained another 50 feet when I saw it standing in the yard outside my bedroom window. If it keeps moving at the same pace, then I estimate that I only get one more look before it gets to me. You see, I’ve locked myself in the bathroom, and the door faces the mirror… so no matter whether I walk backwards or forwards out of here, I’m sort of out of luck. I can hear the noise coming from outside the door, and even if I do make it out of this room; it’s only a matter of time until I pass a reflective surface. So, hopefully this message reaches you before it’s too late if you find yourself in this situation.. And be sure to mind your manners… it isn’t polite to stare.

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