I was no ordinary child. I saw things, heard things, that haunted me well into my adult years. My gifts have faded from lack of practice, but once I share my experiences, I believe you will understand why I chose to close off my consciousness. The following story is entirely true, and confirmable.
I love interior design. While other children my age dreamed about their perfect wedding, I was dreaming about the perfect furniture arrangement. They spent hours playing with dolls, and I spent the same hours rearranging dollhouses.
When I came across this lovely pair of pale, white sheer curtains, I was obsessed. I pictured them glittering with sunlight on a summer afternoon while I read in my new bedroom. I knew they’d compliment my dark furniture, and make my space feel airy and bright.
My mother, brother and I had just moved into a small ranch home, built into the hill above a small pond. It was nestled into the overgrowth, and although the neighbors were not far, you couldn’t see their crumbling cottages through the trees and reeds that consumed the land. Our home was technically waterfront, but the water’s edge was hidden in the thick marsh. Beyond, the blue water glittered.
In the back of our houses, a dirt trail lead to a boat launch where local fisherman would pass the time. Plainville was a small town between 4 large, sloping mountains, most of which had been chipped into for mining. There was a deep rift where the mountains met, where the water pooled and became Hamlin Pond. When the rain fell, the pond wound it’s way into a stream, and then began the Quinnipiac River just around the bend.
At first appearance, the pond seemed quaint and quiet. But multiple attempts to collect data proved that it’s depth was immeasurable, and peculiar things often occurred. Swimming was forbidden, as was ice skating, as the pond rarely froze solid due to it’s everflowing nature, and those who dared trespass on the fragile ice risked plunging into the black water below, never to be found.
The population of snapping turtles was excessive, and a pair of wild swans intimidated the few that wandered to close to their marshy nest. I watched through my window at one of the fishermen, who had unfortunately made that mistake. The swans spread their wide white wings, splashing violently and snapping their sharp black beaks. They rushed toward him.
“Get out! Get OUT!” The loud screeching squawks threatened. The man fell backward, and stumbled to his feet, leaving his fish spilled and flopping out of his metal pail. Shadows beneath the water rose, breaking the surface of the glistening pool. Ominous beady black eyes pierced the water as the turtles craned their necks in unison to witness the commotion. My bedroom window, in the back corner of the house where the hill dropped down, overlooked the budding wildlife.
There were moments where the fish jumped from the lake, early in the morning to catch breeding mosquitoes who wandered too close, breaking the glass-like reflection of the orange and rose sky. In those moments, the world stood still and serene. I’d wake with the glow shining through the sheers, make myself a fresh brewed espresso and lounge on the back deck on some early mornings. But this world was a different place when the sun set.
Although we had moved here recently, we were settling in gracefully. There were a few challenges, we had little help to move and spent a few months between properties to prepare for the sale of our old home. There were too many memories there. We finally settled mid-October. My attendance was improved and I had begun making friends in class. There was a boy who’d call me every night after 9 when the minutes on our virgin mobile cell phones were free. My brother found his click and began impressing his friends with his knowledge on computers, and even my mother had started talking to the man that used to live next door. For a while, we were all comfortable and happy.
The man had helped us move when it got difficult, and he was there for the newly widowed mother. She soon fell for every charm, but I learned quickly that I could not see past the darkness that enveloped his aura and made his vile intentions churn my stomach. It didn’t help that I was coming into my rebellious teenage years after the death of my father, but the presence of the man who stared at my body behind my mothers back and pinched me whenever I passed him in the hall deeply disturbed me. As their relationship developed I developed into a recluse, hardly leaving my room or socializing save for my late night telephone conversations.
My window became my complete perception of the outdoors. A crisp breeze shuddered through my curtains and I peered through them to watch barren, skeletal trees quiver against the grey sky, twisting in the gust of wind. Long dark branches scratched against the siding. The noise made an eeery comparison to the cityscape that had played consistently in the background of our old home.
When my mother became pregnant, the man’s demons came to life.
It was 3:33 on my alarm clock and I jumped awake from a sound sleep, as if I had fallen in a nightmare. A strange sound filled the air. It was a groaning, and a hissing, and a churning. A steady boiling that rumbled and echoed through the mountains. I convinced myself that it was somehow related to the mine nearby, or it was just trapped air bubbles beneath the mud. I felt for the tremble of an earthquake that could have stirred up a noise of this magnitude but nothing came. I turned over in bed, disturbed and confused, but eventually found my way back to rest.
I dragged through school the next day, sneaking some time on google to research bubbling ponds and turned up next to nothing. I couldn’t explain it away, despite my efforts, and I wandered, dazed, from class to class, wondering what I could’ve witnessed, wondering if I had some kind of hallucination. My day rambled through. I ate dinner. I talked to my friends. I did my best to ignore my mom’s new boyfriend. I hid in my room, did my homework, and watched television until my eyes drifted off into the blurring colors.
At 3:33, the groaning began. It sounded like thick slime and muck popping under the water. It was dark, like the black sky had swallowed everything it touched. I felt my hands along the walls in my house, trying not to wake my family, and grabbed at the outline of the doorknob in the dark.
On the back deck, I could see shapes in the night, edges of foliage and the reflection of the pale moon barely lit the water. It bounced around violently. It was as though hot tub jets had been activated, rolling through ink. In the pitch darkness, the pond writhed and seethed.
The animals were silent, and the bubbling was deafening. This was not real. Was it? I was mesmerized. The air was still, but wet with dew and chilling my skin. I could feel the vapor on my lips. Cold, wet, bleak. Nothing moved or made a noise except for the loud, smacking, deep gulps of the pond. Droplets formed on the fine hairs of my arm, glittering moonlight as I backed inside. It was getting more difficult to find peace in the night. In the darkness that I usually slept through, it was ironically too dark to fall asleep.
For a few nights, nothing happened. The owls and crickets were loud and happy. I was finally able to fall alseep and cuddle up in my blankets. If I opened my eyes and saw 3 on the clock, I’d shut them. I did not want to witness anything that seemed unnatural. It got to the point where I was comfortable laying in bed and making phone calls.
I will never forget this night.
I was sitting upright in my bed, next to my window. I had rearranged my room yet again, and the side of my bed pressed against the windowsill, holding my phone against my ear. My bedside light was on but out of the corner of my eye I saw a beam of light, a flashlight, sweeping across the front yard. Left to right. Right to left. Back again.
“I think the neighbor might’ve had a party. Maybe some drunk guy lost his keys?” I asked myself out loud.
“What?” asked my best friend, on the other line.
“I’m sorry, I just. I saw something. Someone’s got a flashlight.”
Slowly, and quietly, the darkness outside thickened. A low rumbling began in the background and the crickets went quiet. The air felt still and cold. It felt …dead. My breath was the loudest thing in the world, and my eyes watched the swaying beam on the ground. It got closer to the back of the house, closer to my window.
“Hello? He-” My phone went silent.
3:33 on my alarm clock, blinking red digits.
At first I recognized the silhouette as a lanky, tall man. My eyes did not adjust well and I could barely make out his shape. He wore a hat, and a long coat. He walked stiffly, and my second understanding was that he was a circus performer on stilts. His bones wobbled but his posture remained upright. Left to right. Right to left. Back again.
The light disappeared as he got closer to the house. I could tell he was against the wall right next to my window, right out of sight. I could feel it. Then he walked slowly, within the frame of the window. Enough for his pinstriped jacket to be illuminated, with it’s cartoonish lapel. His clothes were not of this time. His bowler hat had a wide brim and he adjusted it, then turned his head and saw me. Then he smiled.
He was not a man. Not like any human man I’d ever seen. His eyes pierced me, and I was stuck. I do not know how long we stayed, locked in a stare. I could not turn away. I could not scream. I was frozen and my veins were pulsing with adrenaline. His face was pale, a whiteish grey. His thin upturned lips revealed a row of short, sharp teeth. His nose was bent and crooked, and his eyebrows thick and wild. His eyes were not human. The irises were small against the whites of his eyes and they were penetrating. The stripes on his jacket were purple.
I knew what he wanted. He told me he wanted to come in. I felt the evil radiating through the window, and I could not move. But I had one thought in my mind, maybe from reading too many stories as a child. The churning pond gathered momentum in the background.
‘A vampire can not come in unless he is invited.’
Vampire or not, he seemed to need an invitation I wasn’t going to give him. I stood my ground, staring. I was in the light. My bedside lamp illuminated my room. He couldn’t come in, unless I turned it off. I saw him realize it was a no and his smile faded. He could read my mind? It wasn’t like I could speak.
Apparently he had no problem speaking at all. The word he spoke was both growled and hissed, but I did not understand it. It was not English. Latin was my best guess. He sounded like an animal. It echoed in my head and although I saw his lips pronounce it, I do not know if I heard it with my ears.
The next thing I remember is waking from my trance, hearing crickets and staring out the window at nothing but darkness. I did not see him vanish, but the energy his presence had brought was completely dissapated. Hands shaking, I grabbed my phone from my lap and texted my brother.
Please be awake please come upstairs please be awake
A few moments later, the stairs pounded as my brother ascended. I could tell he was hurrying, obviously concerned by my message, which was incredibly out of character.
“What’s up?” he poked his head in. I was pale. I still could not speak aloud. Seeing my brother brought me back to our world, but the chill still ran through my gut.
” I saw. something. I saw something. bad.” I begged him not to go outside and look. Not until morning. I couldn’t describe the suited man. I didn’t want to haunt my brother with what I had witnessed. I told him I thought I had seen someone, leaving wide gaps in my description.
The next morning my brother and I walked around our house, looking for footprints or evidence. There was none of course, but what I realized was that since my window was at the back of the slope we were built into, it was two stories high, whereas the front of the house was only one story. And the man in the hat walked as though the ground was even terrain, right up to my window, with no difficulty.
We came back inside, discussing our observations, when my mother’s boyfriend emerged from her room.
“Hey!” He drunkenly mumbled at me, clearly a six pack in by 9am, “You gotta stop talking to those boys. Don’t think I didn’t notice the one peeking through your window last night! You aren’t going to get away with it this time!” My brother’s eyes widened.
It meant something different to me. I dealt with strong intuitive feelings my entire life, but visions were new and it seemed peculiar that he had seen what I had and it didn’t disturb him. The again, I had also orignally mistaken the man for a person.
That very day, I took down the sheer white panels, and hung heavy, thick drapes. The last thing I wanted to see, ever again, was the window man.