Please help me. I don’t know what to
do. You probably won’t believe me. I don’t think I would believe me if I was
removed from the situation. You have to be in it, you know? You have to see it.
The first time it happened was like
any other day. The sun rose. Seconds and minutes and hours passed by as I sat
at the desk in my apartment, clicking away on my keyboard. I ate. The sun sank.
A modicum of happiness sprang into my heart when my shift ended, and I settled
into the groove of my couch for the remainder of the night. I tried not to look
around at the stark apartment, tried not to long for more. More
space. More furniture. More voices filling the rooms than my own when I “talk”
I knew that if I allowed myself to wallow, to sink into the abyss of
my isolation, I would never crawl out again. So I turned up the volume of television,
basking in the escapism of society`s projected images. The television was so
loud that I don’t know how long they were there. I only remember sensing a
distortion in my peripheral, but I ignored it at first. I dismissed it as
click, click, click
I heard it during a silent moment in the program I was watching, I was unable
to cover myself with a veil of ignorance any longer. I turned my head to the
door that led out to the hallway, and they were there, sticking out through the
crack between the door and the tiled entrance.
set of human fingers, waving at me, its nails hitting against the door.
No, not waving. That`s not right. It
was more like a rolling wave of fingers, a beckoning. I couldn’t see a palm, or
a wrist, or even a thumb. Just four fingers pulsating beneath the door. I
couldn’t move. I sat on my couch, knees shaking, sweat forming. I could hear
myself screaming inside my head, willing me to spring up from my seat and
approach the door, but my heart was pumping cement into my limbs. I managed to
croak out a set of words, a question. Wh—-who’s there?
fingers stopped, just sat there for what seemed like an eternity, fingers wide
apart as if frozen. Then in a flash they whipped back out from underneath the
door into the hallway. The sudden movement broke my trance, and I sprang up
from the couch and ran to the door. I turned the handle and yanked it open. I
threw my head out into the hallway, but there was no one there. I breathed out
a sigh of, what, relief? Maybe. If it was relief, it wasn’t content relief. It
was more like the relief of narrowly missing an oncoming car as your car
swerved into the opposite lane. I wanted to step out, to go knock on my
neighbours’ doors and ask if they saw or heard anything.
I wanted to run to the
end of the hall, to the stairway leading out of the building, to outside where
surely I would see some kid running away, laughing with his friends, savouring
the bravery of following through with a youthful dare.
of course I did none of those things. When the adrenaline drained away, I
retreated back into the safety of my home because nothing could get me there.
next morning felt surreal. The harder I tried to remember what had happened,
the more my memories felt like they were trapped in a whirlpool. I stared at
the hallway door for a long time that morning, trying to piece together what I
remembered. What colour skin did those fingers have? Did they have long nails?
Were they from a man or a woman?
it even happen?
last thought scared me more than anything sticking out from underneath the
door. If I couldn’t trust my memories….
I chose to move on. Kids acting on a
dare, I decided. That was the most logical thing. What else could I do but hang
onto the solidity of logic? I set down to another day. The sun rose. Hours
passed by in a haze as I tried to type away on my keyboard. I tried to eat, but
could barely stomach more than a few mouthfuls. The sun went away again, it’s
warming glow extinguished for another day. The television bloomed to life as I
sat down on my couch.
Despite my attempts to retain some sense of normalcy, my
eyes couldn’t help themselves. They kept darting back to the door, to the crack
beneath it. In my head it wasn’t fingers that came through the crack, but
instead a whole arm. It expanded, stretched, slithered up the door
and to the handle. Before I could stop it the door opened and I couldn’t close
my eyes to the horror standing in the hallway.
closed my eyes and counted to ten, an old trick to calm myself down from such
thoughts. When I opened them I only saw a door, and this time my sigh of relief
was one of content. Hours of passively watching the television went by until I
could stay awake no longer. I killed the images with the remote, stood up and walked
into the bathroom. I closed the door, not really thinking about the absurdity
of wanting privacy in an apartment with no one but me in it. Some habits, I
think, are so deeply ingrained that to break them requires a level of
concentration I was not capable of at that point.
After washing up I buried my
head in my hands, trying to will away the ache that had sprouted and taken root
in the back of my brain. It was a pulsating pain, coming at me in waves, each
crest bringing a fresh dose of stinging hurt. Flashes of images burst into my
head: a long finger curling upwards, a decaying fingernail being ripped away,
rotting skin falling off and revealing the bones of ghostly knuckles.
click click click
froze. My breathing quickened, short shallow breaths pushing out of my mouth.
click click click
had to look, even though I knew what I would see. I removed my hands away from
my face and looked to the bathroom door, to the crack beneath, and they were
there, pointed nails hooking towards the door, hitting the wood.
click click click
As I sat there, I heard something
else. Breathing, long wheezes, like stale air being pushed out of an air
mattress. Someone was behind the door, in my apartment. My home.
Something about the intrusiveness of it all, the idea that this person would
enter my space, encroach upon what was mine, brewed a boiling anger within me.
I screamed at the door, at the thing behind it, and wrenched it open.
No one. Just empty space and the fear that now inhabited it. On every level this
was worse than finding the devil itself standing in my living room. Were the
demons really in my head after all?
I tried to sleep but it proved to be
an elusive partner, dancing and weaving around me. I kept the door to my
bedroom open all night. If I could I would have left the hallway door open, but
my paranoia of a real person coming in outweighed the fear of the demons that
had clearly infested my brain. The next day the sun rose, but I didn’t get out
of bed. I didn’t eat. The sun fell away and I hadn’t left my bed. I thought
that if I didn’t see them, no fingers would be there. I almost convinced myself
this was the truth, but somewhere deep within I knew something was happening on
a level I couldn’t comprehend. Logic told me I was experiencing a withdrawal so
complete that I could no longer discern from reality and the fiction my mind
But what kept my eyes open on the crack beneath the open door,
what really scared me, was the notion that I was sane after
all. If my mind was truly broken, that was something I could come to terms
with. If however the plane separating us from whatever lurks beneath the
surface had really been penetrated, then I was standing on the precipice of a
giant’s mouth, a gust of wind away from falling in and being swallowed up.
took over when days passed and nothing happened. I returned to a sense of
normalcy. I managed to sleep. The sun rose again. I found my appetite. I even
thought that maybe I would leave my home and go out into the world, interact
with actual people. I went to bed last night with some hope coursing through my
Still, underneath it all, I kept the
door open. Before I closed my eyes, I waited for it. For the click of
fingernails hitting the door. Seconds ticked away, then minutes. I was almost
click click click
No, it couldn’t be. The door was
open. The door was open. I turned on the lamp beside me, and for a
brief second I saw them. Fingers, pointed nails curled around the bottom
of my bed.
click click click.
know I should have gotten out of bed. I know I should have confronted what was
there, end it either way. But I couldn’t. I threw my blanket over my head.
Willed it to go away.
click click click
click click click
They were there all night. When the
sun rose up the clicking stopped, and I found the courage to bring throw the
blanket off and get out of bed. This time I found something. There at the
bottom of my bed frame were scratch marks, nail marks.
Together they formed something: a word. Got you.