Bedtime II: The Aftermath :
After writing my account of an horrific experience I had as an 8 year old child, many have encouraged me to speak about the aftermath. I’ve been hesitant to do so as I have felt unsettled since I broke my silence. Sleep has not come easy to me these last few nights. My scepticism, however, remains resilient and as such I will tell of what I experienced in the other room.
This won’t be as long, as what occurred only took place over a few days but that was more than enough for me.
If you recall, after that unwelcome nightly visitor left me, I was moved into another bedroom a year later. This room was much larger than the previous one and had a warm and welcoming atmosphere to it. Some places feel bad. The room before felt foul, but this one did not.
Thankfully I was given a normal bed, the previous one was taken apart and thrown out (a welcome sight I might add). I loved my new room, I enjoyed the space for all of my toys, I was happy that the place was large enough to have my friends drop by, but most of all I was relieved to just be out of that uneasy, foreboding part of the house.
On the first night I slept more soundly than I had done for a long, long time. Of course I still moved my bed several feet from the wall. I told my mother that I and my friends liked to use the gap between the bed and wall as a hiding place when we were playing.
I awoke the next day feeling refreshed and relaxed. As I lay there watching some of my favourite cartoons on a small portable television, I noticed something odd. An old dark brown armchair which had always been there, sat at the foot of my bed, large and looming. It was frayed and worn, having been given to us as part of a suite by my cousin, but it had been used many times even by then. The chair itself was not unusual, but what unsettled me was that I could have sworn that before I had went to sleep, the chair had been facing away from the bed. Now, in the cold light of day, the chair was facing me. I assumed one of my parents had moved it while I slept, probably looking for something which had been left their before we switched rooms.
The second night was not as restful. It was around 11pm and I could hear my parent’s television from the other side of the house. The room was largely in darkness, the only illumination an orange hue drifting through my window from the street lights outside. I lay there content. Content, until I heard something quiet, yet unmistakable.
At first I thought it was the sound of my own breath exhaling and inhaling as I rested, but when I stopped for a moment, the quiet almost inaudible sound of someone else in the room breathing in and out did not cease. It continued, rhythmically and without pause.
I lay there in the darkness, but while I was still recovering from the terror instilled in me from my experiences in my previous bedroom, I was not entirely afraid. The breathing was so distant and unlike the wheezing I had heard during my encounter with that thing in the wall, that I remained calm, and even at that early age I believed that it was so subtle, that it was probably my imagination playing tricks on me.
Still, I took no chances, I stepped out of bed, walked across the room and turned the light on. The sound had gone. I stared at that old worn armchair facing the foot of my bed, which was within reaching distance of where I slept, and turned it around to face the other way. I had no real reason to do so, but something about it sitting there filled me with dread.
The third night I was not so fearless. Again, I awoke in darkness. Lying on my back I stared up at the ceiling which seemed to happily absorb the dim orange light from the street. The tree outside my window swayed in a calm breeze casting a strange collection of improbable moving shadows across the room.
I could hear nothing but the long and distant hum of the city’s night traffic. Just as I began to drift back into sleep, I heard it; a creak from the bottom of my bed as if something had moved, or shifted its weight on the floor.
I raised my head, peering through the darkness, but saw nothing strange. Everything sat as it had done throughout the day, nothing was out of place. I cast my gaze across the room; some comics on the floor, a few boxes which had still to be unpacked, the armchair unmoved still facing away from the bottom of my bed; there was nothing sinister here.
I was now fully awake, glancing over at my television considering whether or not to enjoy some late night TV. I’d have to keep the volume low of course as my older brother would hear it in the next room and no doubt tell me to switch it off.
Just as I sat up fully in bed, I heard it again. A low creak, accompanied by a sound. The sound of the slightest of movements. I looked again at the room. The dim orange shadows cast by the leaves hanging by my window now took on a more menacing form.
I still saw no reason to be afraid. I stared at the chair at the end of my bed and saw nothing unusual about it. It’s quite common for the mind to take a moment to fully come to terms with what it is seeing. It takes time to put the full horror of what is in front of you together, into a moment of cold, bitter realisation.
Yes, I was staring at that old worn armchair in the dark, but what I was also staring at was the person sitting in it!
In the dim light I could only see the outline of the back of its head, the rest obscured by the spine of the chair. I sat motionless, staring, praying, hoping that my eyes were being misled by their surroundings. The slow creak of movement as it shifted in its battered throne chilled me to my very core; this was no mere trick of the dark.
Then, it shifted onto its right side. I knew what it was doing, it was turning to look at me. It was difficult to make out, for even in that room it seemed darker than everything around it. I saw what looked like a collection of long fingers slip over the crest of the chair, and then another. The room was silent but for the sound of this thing shuffling in its seat, and the crash of my racing heart.
At first I could only make out the outline of its forehead, but then it began to rise up revealing two pin points of light in the dark recesses of its deeply set eye sockets .
It was staring at me.
I screamed, and within a moment my brother and mother came into the room, switching the light on, asking if I’d had another bad dream. I sat speechless, barely acknowledging them, staring intently at the now empty armchair.
I was only in that room for another few days before we suddenly moved. I saw nothing for the remaining nights, except for my last sleep in that room where I awoke to the warm air of something breathing into my ear. I jumped out of bed, turning the light on. The slow rhythmic breath of something unseen remained, louder than before. I spent the rest of that night on the couch in the living room.
Two years later I slept soundly in my bed, in our new house. There had been no other incidences, and I was sure I had left behind whatever strangeness had plagued me, in that little average suburban home.
I was, however, left one parting gift. My tormentors (and in my opinion the watcher in that armchair was a different entity to the thing in the elongated room) had one last surprise in store for me. Like an animal claiming its territory, I was not entirely out with their grasp.
For one last, terrifying moment I felt the presence of those, things. I lay their sound asleep, two years since those horrifying experiences. I was in the throws of a nightmare and suddenly, happily found myself awake, safe and sound in my bed. The room was darker than usual. I breathed a sigh of relief as one does when waking from a nightmare.
But the room was so dark.
I could see nothing at all, as if something had snuffed out the light. I chuckled to myself, realising that I must have pulled my blanket up and over my face while sleeping. The cotton blanket felt cool against me, but the air was a little too warm, almost stifling. Just as I was about to remove the blanket for some air, I heard it: For the last time I heard it.
The rhythmic breathing of the watcher at the end of my bed.
Fear gripped me, followed by anger and despair. Why could I not be left alone? I then did something most peculiar. I decided to speak to it. Perhaps this thing did not mean to harm me, perhaps it was unaware of the terror it had caused. Surely a young boy deserved some mercy?
As the breathing grew louder and closer, I began to cry. I could feel its presence on the other side of the blanket, its breath hanging over me like a stagnant wind.
Through the tears I uttered two words, words which surely would put an end to all of this:
The breathing began to change, it became more animated, quicker somehow. I could hear something shuffling next to me, standing close by. The breathing then moved, first back to the foot of my bed, and then slowly across the room, through the door, into the hallway, and then gone.
Half crying, half elated, I lay in the still darkness, my face still covered by the blanket. You may consider this a victory of some sort, but I do not. If those things were real, I know now beyond a shadow of a doubt that their intentions were not misconstrued, they were twisted, filled with malice. I would normally never use such a word to describe anything, but it’s as close to evil as I hope I ever come.
How do I know that? I’ll tell you how. Moments after that thing seemed to have left the house, something pressed forcefully down on top of me, pushing the blanket with great strength against my face. I could feel a large hand with long thin fingers wrapping the covers around my skull, its nails imprinted upon me like razor sharp ridges. I managed to slide down into the gap between the bed and the wall, quickly making my escape, clambering and screaming out of my room waking my family.
Make no mistake, that thing in the darkness tried to smother me, smother me to death.