Child’s Play

If you were asked to describe fear, how would you? Most people will tell you they freeze up, don’t know what to do, and feel a great sense of vulnerability. For some it’s quite different, I know those are the initial feelings, but they can quickly switch over too much more serious effects, if one were to try and muffle the fear.

I’ve been living away from my parents for about a year or so now, I managed to land a great deal for an apartment in the city center. At first sight, the apartment showed great potential, being close to night life hotspots, and just generally being in a good area of the city.

Actually, the apartment building itself used to be a private school. My apartment, which was on the 3rd floor, used to be the art class, having a high ceiling, and being covered in paint slashes, gave it a very artistic and warm look.

Now I’m quite a critic when it comes to haunting stories about Poltergeists and things of that nature, since most people just want to attract attention with a cool story to tell around a campfire. All those with supernatural stories, if only they were telling the truth without decorating it with scarier factors, we would already know more about it now then we actually do. So my goal in this story is to be as honest and as clear as I can be.

For the first couple of weeks I did not experience anything out of the normal except for an occasional rattling old pipe in the building but nothing more than that. The first signs that I noticed were pretty shy and innocent, nothing that really concerned me that much. It would start by noises like muffled chatter or indistinctive mumbles of some sort whenever I was close to falling asleep or close to waking up, I always naturally assumed it was just part of a dream that I had forgotten by the time I woke up.

Soon enough I realized that my easy minded response was far off. Day by day the signs grew stronger, little by little, step by step, I felt more of a sinister atmosphere hanging over myself. I would blame my lack of sleep for it, or maybe my unhealthy life style, but that assumption also seemed mistaken. Things would go missing and end up somewhere else where I hadn’t left them, something I knew for sure. It made me pay attention to my surroundings, trying to understand what I was experiencing.

I wish I never tried so.

As I tried paying attention to it whenever it would happen again, the once shy noises quickly turned into a cold chill running through my spine, rising the hairs on my neck in shrivels. Often followed by a futile hiss or a faint buzz behind me, getting closer each time it would happen. At first, it didn’t bother me that much, being young and stubborn. Up until the gut feeling became stronger each time, making my heart race at an incredible rhythm. Unfortunately, I had no idea of how strong it grew over time, until one night.

I was gaming online, wearing my headphones, I enjoy being submerged so my headphone volume was close to being overwhelming. In the blitz of gunshot and explosion sounds, it happened again. This time being more deafening than it has ever been before, to the point of completely submerging the gaming sound effects. Not only was the ominous sound clearer in my head this time, it was also closer, I could feel the vibrations on my cold skin. It almost felt as if someone took a deep but slow gasp of air next to my face, as one would do before taking a big bite of food.

I jumped up, throwing my headphones off and violently spinning around halfways to look whoever was behind me in the eyes, quickly realizing I was alone with an overwhelming silence. Cold sweat hit me, swiping the fear off my face, I tried making a sense of what had just happened.

With a still dwindling mind, I turned my back and picked up my headphones, there it was again. Turning around to face my fear, I became as frozen as every hair on my body, standing with my back against the wall. The sound and feeling seemed to gradually move away from me as I had turned my head.

The first that came to my mind, for an at the time unknown reason, was that it felt as if someone was playing with me in an innocent way. As innocent and playful children are, hiding from your sight, in plain sight, this presence felt the same. It didn’t happen again that night, needless to say, I did not want to close an eye.

During the long night, the loneliness was far away. Refusing to turn to a side, facing away from my room, I got more tired by the minute. Minutes which made seconds feel like hours, my eyes became heavier and heavier.
I was quickly awoken in fear and cold sweat, feeling extra weight on my bed, as if someone was standing there, watching me.

Peeking over my clinched fists, into the pitch black darkness, I could barely make out a shadowy figure. Surprisingly small, for the presence I felt so close to me. A sharp pain flew into my chest, causing my sweat to pour even faster.
I pinched my eyes closed and took a large gasp of air in panic, when I opened them, the gentle morning light was fading through my window.

An overwhelming feeling of comfort and safeness warmed my sheets. A little later I got dressed, still feeling a faded presence with me, I called my landlord and asked to see him right away.

That afternoon, we sat down in the living room and had a conversation I will remember until my last days. Once I told him I wanted to put an end to the contract, and move out that same day, he gave away an impression of being battered and angry. I asked him what made him react that way, he slowly got up from the table, without turning his back. After a few seconds of silence, he explains that he started rented out this apartment many years ago, but never managed to find a fitting renter despite its beauty. Refusing to say anymore, he slowly shuffled his feet backwards to the door, all the time facing me and the apartment. Before sharply turning around and walking away, I could just make out the mumbled words, “You should leave before they want another game.”

  • Puddin Tane