Symptoms of a Haunting: Part III

“Katie, I swear I saw someone,” I murmured aloud as I typed, the clicks from my keyboard my only company.

I had met Katie on a paranormal abilities forum where she had been posting about the emergence of her abilities. Katie was clairsentient, which meant that she could perceive future events. This wasn’t “seeing” into the future; she would get feelings about certain people or places, and these feelings always turned out to be accurate of the events that would take place there. That said, Katie had confided in me that she had often had dreams that had come true. This kind of premonition was frowned upon in our little paranormal community; it was considered a form of deja vu, which had already been explained as the brain’s response to certain “puzzle pieces,” as it were.

My computer chimed as Katie’s message came in.

I believe you, Emma. But you know how the community is. You need ~proof~ … *eye roll*

I sighed. She was right. For a group of people who believed in the paranormal, they were surprisingly anal about evidence, especially in a field where the scant evidence is rarely tangible.

I know, I know. Sigh. I know if I went to Jan with this, she’d laugh me right out of the forum.

My computer chimed again.

LOL. You know that’s right.

I smiled, suddenly very grateful for my virtual friend. I’d never really trusted anyone in the real world after my family abandoned me, but my friendship with Katie felt safe. She was a kindred spirit in a way, though her family has accepted her abilities with far more grace than mine had.

Katie, what do I do?

There was a long pause in which I watched the words “Katie is typing…” appear and disappear several times over in the chat window. It seemed that she was just as lost as I was in this situation.

Well, I don’t know, Em. You could always do the typical teen horror movie thing and do a Google search of ghosts or hauntings. 🙂

I rolled my eyes

Ha ha, Katie. Very funny.

Yet, I was curious. I opened Google in another tab in my web browser. I looked over my shoulder, half expecting to see the man staring back at me in the darkness, but I was alone.

My nails clacked against the keys as I slowly and apprehensively typed out “symptoms of a haunting” into the search bar.

Symptoms of a Haunting: Part II

Knock, knock, knock.

I groaned, rolling over in bed and pulling the covers up to my chin. I was too warm to deal with visitors. Who would be coming by this early on a Saturday?

Knock, knock, knock.

Persistent, aren’t they? I lay in bed, eyes still closed, trying to pull myself from the sleepy fog and gain my bearings. I’m a solitary creature, so going out to parties or having friends over are not my ideal Saturday activities. Saturdays are reserved for getting caught up on sleep and laundry. I pity the soul that comes between me and my sleep.

Knock, knock, kno-

My eyes snapped open and the final knock stopped short. Silence hung in the air, pressing the oxygen from the room. I reached out for my cell phone, pressing the home button to wake it and consequently temporarily blinding myself with the light from the home screen. When my eyes adjusted to the onslaught of light, I was finally able to read the time: 3:18.

I blearily rubbed my eyes, puzzled. No one would be knocking at my door in the middle of the night. Mentally saying farewell to the warmth of my blankets, I swung my legs out of the bed and onto the floor with a heavy sigh. The wood below my feet was ice cold — very odd for an early autumn night. I shivered and glanced toward the window across the room. Trees rustled in the wind, dead leaves and branches occasionally scraping the glass.

I raised my hand to my face to rub the sleep from my eyes, then froze. There. Next to the window. There was someone standing there. And they were watching me.

***

Eternities passed. Was it the man I had seen before? I couldn’t tell. Darkness staunchly impeded my vision, daring me to move to turn on a light. My breath came in short puffs before my eyes. I wanted to see who or what was next to the window. I needed to. But I couldn’t. Fear and a survival instinct held me in place, like a rabbit hiding from a predator.

Finally, there was movement in the shadows. The figure was coming toward me. My heart quickened and leapt to my throat. It sauntered across the room, footfalls making no sound. I blinked, and it was as if my movement was a cue. The figure rushed toward me, streaking across the room and no longer touching the floor. In the split second it took for this thing to reach me, I took in its features.

Mottled skin hung from a man’s skull, grey with age and rot. Jaundiced eyes bulged from their sockets, huge in the sunken face and filled with untold rage. His mouth hung open at an odd angle as if his jaw had been broken, and sharpened teeth dotted the aged gums within. As he came toward me, the air was filled with the white noise of a person who has no voice attempting to scream.

I closed my eyes tightly and braced for impact. When it came to fight or flight, my instinct was to forgo those options altogether and freeze. After a few moments, when no impact came, I cracked open my eyelids.

I sat bolt upright in bed, eyes straining against the sunlight streaming in through the window, looking frantically around the room.

The man was nowhere to be found, gone as if in a dream.

Symptoms of a Haunting: Part 1

I saw him again today.

At first it was just a flicker at the edge of my vision. A dark shape, a shadow. Something that I always wrote off as nothing, despite the constant feeling of foreboding. You know that feeling you get when someone is watching you across the room? That itchy feeling sitting in the back of your skull and needling at your nerves? I’ve felt that every day since moving into this house.

I’ve had incidences before. Seeing things that weren’t there. First it was a little girl who was looking for her mother. We loved to play hopscotch together. I was six, so my parents and older brother just thought I had an imaginary friend. When I was eleven and still talking about Madeline and her yellow dress, I was met with anger and annoyance. When I met David, the man with the gunshot wound still gaping in his head, I was met with fear.

I’ve been dragged to countless psychologists and psychiatrists, been hit with every diagnosis in the book, but the feeling and the shadows never disappeared. My family, the people who are supposed to support you through everything, left me at an asylum when I was seventeen and never looked back. The only things that place taught me were to trust no one and pretend everything is normal. The asylum was full of shadows and apparitions; they knew I could see them, even when I pretended to see nothing.

But I don’t see nothing. I see things that could not possibly be there. Horrible things and beautiful things alike. This entity, this man in my house… I don’t know which category he falls into. I don’t feel threatened, but I don’t feel safe either. He hasn’t spoken to me yet, but I’m sure it’s coming. I can only hold my breath and wait.