Have you ever heard the idea of spirit guides or divine protectors? How about the idea of long deceased family members watching over you and guiding you through life? I’m sure you have, I mean haven’t we all?
Well mine is, different.
For the longest time I assumed I was the only one who could see it, no one else I had mentioned it to, had any clue of what I was speaking of. Friends and parents just assumed it was a childish fantasy or the desperate desire to see and experience the spiritual realm. Others thought me crazy.
I’m not crazy. I know that sounds like something a crazy person would say but someone else saw it. That thing, my guide if you were to call it that is not an angel. It’s a monster. It wasn’t until I reached the age of twenty-two that someone else finally noticed it. For the past twenty-one years I was the only one who spotted the damn thing lurking around watching me. Tormenting me.
It all started the day I was born, I wasn’t meant to live past childbirth, something wanted me dead and has been trying ever since. My birth was unpleasant to say the least, especially for my mother. Upon finally giving birth she watched the doctors cut the umbilical cord from around my neck and rush me away from her waiting arms.
I was essentially dead, strangled to the point I no longer sucked in the bleached air. After around half an hour they wheeled me back into the room in what I can only assume to be an incubator of sorts. If not for the technology of modern day I would likely have been dead.
Like all people I don’t remember that day, that is except for one thing, a voice. The first true voice I heard only moments before my heart restarted.
I no longer know what it said and truthfully I don’t think I want to know what it said when it chose me. However, I remember the sound like wheezing breaths mixed with a sickly gurgling of puss and blood. It plagues me every night and has for the past twenty-two years.
Skip ahead to my second year of stolen life and once more death came for me. Being the adventurous and curious kid I was I suckled a marble like a bonbon: of course this was incredibly dangerous and stupid of me.
From what I know the marble had become lodged in my throat and my frantic parents tried everything to free the glass orb slowly draining the life from their child before them; from my throat.
They tried everything, even going as far as pushing their fingers into my throat in a vain attempt to make me puke the marble out, only to watch it slide deeper down. Until unexpectedly I spat it out without issue. To this day they are still bewildered by the miracle I performed but it wasn’t me, I know it wasn’t because that’s when I first saw it.
Not fully, I think that was its decision as to not scare the living daylight from me. I saw its hands on my shoulders: long bony fingers curled down gently tapping my tender flesh with prodigious claws, grey skin stretched tightly across the scrawny bones tightening and groaning with each stretch and tap upon my skin. I don’t know why but it calmed me rather than scaring me, possibly due to my lack of glimpsing the creature.
Time passed relatively safely after that I had no close calls or near-death experiences and everything seemed normal. Well there was one odd disturbance on my third birthday but it’s completely coincidental.
I guess I should explain this rather than bypassing it: on my third birthday, the thirty-first of October, only one child knocked on our door to trick or treat. One child was unusual back then but not uncommon, yet the strangest part was what he said to my parents when they asked where the other children were.
The boy around five or six simply pointed to the roof just near the chimney which was now highlighted by the full moon and said. “The strange man on the roof is scaring them away.” Of course no parent wants to hear this from anyone so logically my dad checked the roof. He found nothing of course which only made things worse causing them to blatantly ignore the door’s rings later that night.
The next couple of years passed relatively safely with no real close calls or near-death experiences nor any suspicious instances.
That was until one autumn morning, me and my sister: three years older than me and born on Friday the thirteenth; were going to primary school on the bus with our mum. I was sucking on a sweet: those red and white swirly ones that are hard-boiled and taste of strawberry and cream. Anyway as I was saying I was sucking on one of those and suddenly death saw his chance again through choking.
As the sweet flew down my throat and lodged itself within its confines I lunged forward trying to spit it out as my eyes began to water. My sister panicked, slapping my back furiously as my mum rose, pulling me up to smack my back.
Smacking it harder with each strike she grimaced trying to force it out by pulling her fists into my stomach and slamming me into her; at this point my head had begun to swell slightly with pressure and my skin started to turn blue. I could feel my lips growing colder as tingles almost like icy rain danced across my hands and fingers, my sight blurred and the sounds around me faded out except for two things. The terrified screams of my sister and the high-pitched clicking of a tongue.
People on the bus stared in silence as the driver continued his route, men and women watched as my mum struggled to save me, as she watched her son dying before her. Tears streamed from her face pouring down her cheeks to soak my neck as she tried to remain composed. Spinning me sharply she apologized before ramming her fingers down my throat and holding them there.
Heaving and lurching I gagged feeling the contents of my stomach move and gargle as my vision grew darker, the slight glimpse of grey skinned hands on my mother’s flooded my vision as they pushed her fingers deeper. Suddenly and violently I vomited spraying my stomach’s contents across the floor and myself to the ridiculous chorus of cheers from the other passengers, who were quickly silenced by my mother’s hatred filled glare.
Her arms wrapped around me embracing me despite the sick coating my uniform as I gasped gulping in air greedily watching the hands slide from my mother’s shoulders, to creep back down the bus; each long digit slipping over the seats plastic gum covered handlebars before scraping down the fabric of the last set of seats.
After that death seemed to have given up trying to deprive me of oxygen instead choosing to try to hit me with cars or ravage me with dogs and push me off steep hills and into lakes. Time passed like it would for any child yet that near-death experience on the bus followed me like a stray dog emitting a necrotic stench.
I only think back to it in the third person like I’m watching myself die. Yet strangely enough the creature is vacant from the memory but I know it was there saving me once more, but why? Does it feed on my energy? My soul? I honestly don’t know but it’s keeping me alive and I don’t know why.
Years passed by friends came and went and I caught glimpses of the creature, always glimpses never the full thing. It wanted me to know it was still there but not let me see it. On days, I would catch it behind trees just peeking round watching me, its grey skin seemingly darker in the sunlight than at night. Large milky white eyes stared at me as long emaciated arms hung down touching the ground. Each one twitched slightly as the seconds passed.
Other times I would hear it whispering or muttering as if talking to someone else only to grow silent when I glanced over at the direction of the sounds. At times, I would feel it. Like that feeling you can’t quite explain when you know someone is watching you but they’re in the same room as you just not visible.
Eventually nights became nightmares, shadows danced on the walls of my room, flickering like jittery creatures constantly twitching and convulsing as they dry heaved and scuttled about on spindly legs covered in wiry hairs. The light of the street would suddenly dim, making me glance at the window only to find a shadow quickly vanish from the ominous glow of the moon that would crawl in through the blinds.
Then came the knowing; the sensation of it watching me, not from across the room but directly behind me. I would awake from sleep absolutely terrified with wide eyes and trembling lips as I forced myself to act like I was still sleeping, only to lay staring at the wall and the shadows upon it. I would lay there watching as the shapes moved, rising higher, depicting a head slightly elongated and almost crescent shaped in appearance like a moon tilted sideways.
A black mass would move rising higher along the wall reaching over me before splitting in half, the dangling appendages and tendril-like veins snapping together to entangle and create elongated fingers that stretched and crept closer.
I could feel its breath on the back of my neck, not hot like a living creature but cold, ice-cold, no freezing cold. Cold to the point chills would run along my spine and my hairs would stand up with the goosebumps coating my skin like blisters. Strange arcane whispers seeped from its jaws accompanied by the stench of fermented water and damp leaves tainted with a foul pungent odor of rotting flesh.
Squishing my eyes shut tightly was the only reprieve I had from that torment as it plucked and fed upon my fear, likely suckling down the sweet nectar in delight. Its dripping tongue swirling and lapping at the droplets dangling from its claws.
These instances though were quickly replaced with vivid dreams of torture performed by nightmarish ghouls and demonic beings. Each one of an otherworldly nature bearing vaguely anthropomorphic statures with crowned skulls riddled with rivets and spines of twisted metal.
Dreams of being burned alive and eaten by bark covered figures with glowing crimson eyes holding tiny black irises that orbited smouldering orange pupils haunted me. Their jaws chomping down on my exposed muscle and nerves pulling it tight to stretch it out and ring it of its juices as it tore away, snapping with unnatural elasticity.
Small beings like spiders covered in bony bristles crawled across my naked body, jabbing it with tiny pincers as they moved burrowing into every orifice. Their tiny forms squirming under my eyelids and chewing through my eardrums to pull webs across my brain, blanketing it in a foggy haze comparable to a hypnotic trance.
The worst was the haunting spectral visions of the tree that plagued me both night and day; its form rising up into a deep purple and red sky housing eclipsed suns of green flame. Bat-like creatures hung from its branches screeching with silver eyes and frilled pointed ears, membranes of human faces hugged their bodies as they stared at me with silvery eyes that boiled the blood pumping throughout my physical form.
Giant eight legged beings sat in webs strewn from human intestines that constantly dripped blood on the bundled up children below trapped like flies. The beings laughed, muttering in alien tongues or ancient and arcane languages causing images of cyclopean cities to flash within my frontal lobe. Their arms waved around, each one coated in severed human hands that twitched and writhed in agony. Eyes of empty black voids stared down on me from atop the sticky traps and bulbous bodies.
The tree breathed deeply sucking in the red mist of blood from the air, its roots pulsing and flickering with ghastly green and pink light mixed with a hue of magenta and red. Fell voices called out singing lullabies into my ears urging me closer as a hand rested on my shoulder, heavy and grey guiding me toward the tree.
My eyes would snap open with a scream as sweat poured from every possible pore, soaking my clothes and drenching my bedsheets as I panted feverishly, quivering in abstract horror. Sleep served me no sanctuary from the creature. Nor from its masters and minions.
I visited a shrink once, he told me it was a phase and just signs of an overactive imagination. I have that but this is not that, this is hell itself taunting me. Some sort of divine punishment for living, for escaping death and surviving. Of making a mockery of those who would call themselves gods.
Recently though I found camping eased my mind more than my own room. Something about being exposed to nature somehow calmed my dreams and visions along with my suffering mind. Well it did for a time but it led to something worse, much worse.
A few weeks ago I invited a friend to camp with me in a forest, this forest however is said to be one of the UK’s most haunted forests with several murder cases unsolved and dozens of missing reports. Being the paranormal and cryptic lovers we are, we thought it was the perfect place for a ghost hunt and paranormal investigation.
We brought what we needed: tents, sleeping bags, torches etc. You know the usual camping supplies. I also managed to get my hands on an emergency survival kit that held rations, a flint and striker, water purification tablets, you know that sort of stuff. Made me feel like I was preparing for an apocalypse having all this stuff but nonetheless it was worth buying.
After travelling to the forest we spent the day walking around laughing and generally being stupid, picking up twigs pretending to have sword fights or trying martial art moves. Which we failed badly and I mean badly. We tested the tablets to find the water surprisingly refreshing despite the slight metallic taste left within the water. I guess these tablets only do so much and haven’t been upgraded to make it taste better.
We took pictures on a disposable camera hoping to catch a picture of Bigfoot or a ghost. At the time we hadn’t noticed but we caught things I can’t explain, in nearly every picture there were figures that were definitely not there when we took the pictures themselves.
The figures appeared almost transparent which honestly scared the s**t out of me but also really got me hyped. I mean we actually caught evidence of ghosts! The night came quicker than we anticipated and so we set up camp making a fire in a small set of trees shaped in a circle, we laughed and joked despite the creep factor washing in like a thick fog.
The highlight of our trip actually came from discovering a bag of sweets in the emergency survival kit, childish I know but they were a mix of boiled and soft sweets.
Then things got weird, really weird, eerily weird. Firstly it was just the feeling like we were being watched, then something terrifying happened. We heard a scream. not just a simple old. “Ow my toe!” Kind of scream, this was someone screaming bloody murder type of scream.
To make matters worse it was a blood-curdling woman’s scream coming from somewhere deep in the woods. My friend jumped up shining a torch in the trees as he whispered. “Did you just f*****g hear that?”
Sitting up slowly and hiding the fear flooding through me I answered telling him that I obviously heard it and that it was likely just a fox. If you’ve never heard a fox at night it’s scary, no joke they sound like babies crying or women screaming.
He refused to believe my comment despite me having more knowledge on animals than him, but I’ll admit I was just as scared as him and glad he was alert but not so glad he was shining the torch in the woods. Now we don’t get wolves here or bears so when he said. “I think I see eyes over there.” I s**t myself.
Jumping up I swallowed the fear lodged in my throat following his pointed finger and the torches light, low and behold there was something reflecting the light like eyes. Now this terrified me to my core, nothing should be doing that out here and those weren’t deer eyes, these were too close together for that. This was clearly predatory, my mind raced thinking to the tales of big cats in the UK countryside and The Rake: that thing scared the crap out of me.
We watched the eyes for at least an hour before they just vanished into the trees without a sound, sharing a glance we decided that maybe we should leave and not risk staying the night. Making up our minds and gathering our things we ignored the distant screams of possible foxes or women as the woods grew silent, too silent.
If you know anything about woods it’s that when they go quiet it’s not a good sign. It means something is around that’s dangerous. Noticing this I straightened staring off into the trees as my friend stuffed everything into the bags with a messy rushed action; not that I blamed him. Then my heart dropped, my friend no longer stuffed the bags as I glanced at him instead he was staring off into the woods, his eyes wider than I have ever seen to the point I thought they would burst out.
His body trembled violently and not to shame him but he had pissed himself, if I had seen what he told me I would have done the same. Leaning forward I asked him what was wrong before shining my light into the trees he was transfixed on; tears streamed down his face as he whispered. “We need to go.”
“Okay?” I said helping him grab the stuff as he cried, grabbing my hand.
“We need to go now, leave this crap here we need to go!” Concerned and terrified I obliged, grabbing only what was necessary as we moved, practically holding hands as we glanced around.
Moving toward the direction of the car we heard footsteps and twigs snapping making us move faster and more frantically as we rapidly went into a sprint practically diving into the car and whacking the headlights to full beam illuminating the car park.
“What’s wrong? What did you see?” I asked fearing for my friend’s life and my own as he continued to cry slightly.
Now my friend never cries out of fear so to see this really made me nervous. Waiting for his reply I scanned the trees for movement only just catching a glimpse of something moving behind a tree, the shape of a human leg in its claws dragging along the ground behind it. My eyes widened as my friend muttered to himself pressing his face into his hands as the creature paused turning toward me with a smile, it was at that point I noticed its full appearance.
The creature stood around eight feet tall at least. Its skin was pale grey, almost translucent revealing the organs below and the pulsing hearts of black muscle beating within. Glowing white eyes stared back at me as a thin smile revealed the needle like teeth jutting down from its jaws. Its face was slim, gaunt and tight yet oddly human. Long scrawny arms hung by its side touching the ground as long digitigrade legs covered in tight flesh supported its emaciated body. Large black feathered wings tipped with clawed fingers hung down from its back partially folded to hide the row of spiny protrusions sticking out along its spinal column.
My eyes refused to blink as they burned screaming at me as it stared at me smiling. Its free hand rising toward its mouth to wipe away the dark patches of moisture glistening around its thin lips. My body trembled as the creature smiled wickedly forcing the skin to split along its face allowing its jaws to reveal the full majesty of the maw stretching halfway up its head.
I stammered trying to speak as the creature turned waving over its shoulder to walk into the woods with the body of someone. It would only be a week later that I learned that the man it had was a known r****t and murderer who had escaped police in the area.
Knowing this now makes me sick to my stomach and has stopped me from going anywhere near any more woods. We drove home trembling and silent until my friend managed to tell me what he saw, I never told him what I saw. I didn’t want to scare him any more than he already was.
“I, I saw something. A creature.” I glanced at him speaking.
“What, like a fox or a wolf?” He refused to turn as his eyes grew redder with his tempered words.
“No not a f*****g fox!” He swallowed loudly. “It was a human at first.” That made my jaw sag as I thought back to the body the creature had.
“He was watching us, just smiling like a creep. Then…” his words trailed off as he sucked back the tears and snot threatening to leak from him once more.
“Then something came out of the trees behind him. Just picked him up by the neck.” I sat silent and filled with fear of what would come next. “It didn’t even look at me, just lifted a hand, and dug a finger right through his eye pushing it out of the back of his head!” My friend paused briefly, sucking in a shaky breath before stuttering.
“I, I guessed he died instantly as he didn’t scream but then he tried to fight back. That only made the thing smile.” He turned to me. “It f*****g smiled!” My heart skipped a beat as I imagined it running up alongside the car to tap on the window to smile at me with that awful grin like a demonic shark.
“That’s when it gripped his arm tearing it off like, like, IT TORE IT OFF!” his sudden yell broke my train of thought as I glanced at the moon shining down on us with silver light. “It then clasped its jaws around his face crushing it, I heard the bone crack!” he whispered, peering over at me as I rubbed a shaky hand across my brow.
“Just keep driving and get us out of here and to the city, it’ll be safer. Then we can go to the police,” I said, trying to stay as calm as possible as he snorted, gripping the wheel with a white-knuckle grip.
“They won’t believe us, they’ll say we are on drugs or that we killed him. We’ll be sent to a nut house and locked up.” As much as I hated to admit it he was right no one would believe us.
We remained silent for the rest of the journey home, each one of us anxiously staring out of the windows snapping our heads round at the slightest sound or light of a passing car. We were petrified and it showed evidently when we got pulled over for speeding.
A couple of cops asked us the usual questions. “Have you taken drugs, have you drank alcohol this evening?” We lied telling them we had a family emergency but they didn’t fully buy it. I could tell when they went off to talk to each other about our panicked state and clear terror filled eyes.
Eventually they let us go on a warning stating they would shadow us to the next city then we were to go to our “emergency” then straight home. Hmph home, like that will do anything that knows exactly where I lived. I only hoped it didn’t know where he lived.
Luckily my question was answered when my friend called me telling me everything is fine and he is getting over the night as best he can for now anyway. I’ve been to check on him but he refused to answer the door and has stuck to keeping every blind or curtain shut.
I haven’t told him that I saw the thing on his roof once. Mainly because I don’t know how to tell him but also because I think it was just following me. I had watched it stalking me from the rooftops, leaping from each one with a strange grace before peeking over the chimneys.
I haven’t mentioned this to anyone either but I’m having a new dream and I think it’s my death, or at least my limbo? Hell? I don’t know. I don’t even have to sleep to see the dream either, I just shut my eyes and there I am.
Imagine a field or vast open expanse of land, now shroud that land in a thick grey fog like that on an autumn morning. Now imagine black trees naked and devoid of leaves appearing in the fog but remove the trunks and gaze at the branches stretching out like veins of black blood across the sky. That’s where I am and there’s no sun, no light and no sounds except one, the wheezing breath I first heard when I was born.
I know the creature is behind me in the dream waiting. Expecting me to run but I think it’s pointless, this thing has followed me all my life and now if I die I will greet it like an old friend. Hopefully.
It’s past midnight now as I write this, I’m terrified. The dreams have stopped only now replaced with something worse, much worse. I’m trying not to look at it but it knows I know it’s there watching me write. It’s in my room, sitting on the desk by my window.
I can see its wings clearly now from my peripheral vision. The things I thought were feathers are actually human hands with hundreds of fingers coated in finely placed feathers. Its eyes are dim sucking in the light from the landing and the street outside, no not the street. The street is gone, replaced with a crimson sky. I can see the moon eclipsed in the sky, spilling a red hue into the air. I can see the tree and hear the bat-like creatures. I’m terrified.
Please if you read this don’t look for me or it. Once you have been chosen there is no escaping. If you have never suffered a near-death experience you are lucky. I think it feeds on the life I shouldn’t have had. The more I try to resist looking the harder it gets.
It’s shifting now, rolling its shoulders and rubbing its neck like it’s bored or aching from just watching me. Its teeth are chattering, oh god it’s eating a baby!
I can. “Oh, no, no, no it’s still alive!” I can’t help myself. I have to look. “No! I’m not ready to die, I don’t want to go!”
It’s five in the morning now. It stopped eating around three. I looked at it and it just smiled at me and spoke. Its voice was putrid, slow and whispery yet gruff like gravel grinding together and stone breaking bone. Gargles of blood and puss accompanied the wheezing as it spoke, dragging out each word as it savoured them telling me.
“You are safe, my child. Father is here.”