In honor of Halloween and the premiere of Stranger Things 2, I’m going to tell you the creepiest thing that’s ever happened to me. I’m no Stephen King–I don’t write horror and I’m kind of a chicken–so let’s build a campfire and roast some marshmallows and keep it chill.
Okay, maybe not that chill. Can we ditch the instruments please?
It hadn’t been so long ago that I had started college, so I was probably eighteen years old? That means this happened almost ten years ago, and still it’s burned into my brain as if it just happened last night. I was pretty grounded in reality by then–well, as grounded as I’ll ever be. After all, I am a writer! It’s my job to keep my head in the clouds at least part of the time. But I also have a degree in psychology and make every effort to poke holes and explain the illogical when it happens right in front of me. With that said, everything I’m about to describe happened exactly the way I perceived and continue to remember it. The most logical thing I can come up with is that it was a night terror, but even that doesn’t quite add up because I hadn’t fallen asleep yet.
All I know is I was ready for bed. It was an ordinary night. It wasn’t stormy, cold, blizzarding, or ominous in any traditional way. C’mon, this is Tucson. The only thing we have to fear is heatstroke.
The first thing I remember was being settled into bed but not quite ready to drift off yet when I felt a tap on my foot. That’s what started it all. I always kept my bedroom door locked, and nobody was in the room with me, but something tapped me on the edge of the bed. Sure, I was a little spooked. I turned the light back on, sat up for a while, and watched some TV. I got over it a few minutes later, shut everything off, and made a second attempt to sleep.
My eyes hadn’t been shut for long when I heard a sound on the roof. Onomatopoeia isn’t going to cut it here, so stay with me:
For the most part, it sounded like somebody was running, but so much faster than any human could run. Think about a helicopter and the individual beats you sometimes hear when the blades are spinning. You might also imagine a woodpecker, or a jackhammer, and that’s how little space there was between each footstep.
“It was a cat!” you say. “Or a dog jumped up on your roof and got startled!”
No. Not unless this cat or dog weighs about three-hundred pounds. I’d heard my stepdad walking around on the roof before, and not even he was as loud as the sound I’m trying to describe to you. So imagine these LOUD, extremely rapid footsteps starting in one corner of your room and zipping all the way to the other corner until it’s just above your head. Now imagine that whatever the source of the noise was, it tripped and fell when it was over your bed. BAM!
All of this happens in less than two seconds. So I snap my eyes open, my heart going at least the same speed as that jackhammer I described to you, and just like that, everything’s quiet again. My fan’s still going, but that’s it. There’s nothing on the roof, there’s nothing outside my window, and Scrappy the family boxer puppy isn’t barking.
But there is a shadow in my room. It doesn’t have any particular shape, but it seems to be oozing in like water in the very corner, and it’s a different corner than the sound came from. Mind you, my room was already dark, but if you can imagine a hole growing in the darkness, or a sort of “negative space” that makes shadows even darker, that was pouring into my room and expanding like a cloud.
I’d had enough crap for the night, so I jumped out of bed, punched the power button on my TV, and let that glorious static glow fill the room. The shadow was gone.
*cue Stranger Things music*
I can’t say anything like that ever happened again, but to be fair, I usually have the TV on now . . .
What’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you? And do I really want to know? Comment if you have something!