Contemporary Fantasy Suspense

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

It was the feeling of being watched in the night that I first noticed. I would awake in the night, the joy of getting older I suppose. The house was silent, but then living out here it always is. I’d stagger through to the bathroom for a pee, and just get the feeling there was eyes on me.

I brushed it off as remnants of a dream, or a light paranoia of living alone and someone breaking in. The daytime never bothered me until later. But at night, no matter how hard I tried to rationalise it I couldn’t shake that feeling. I couldn’t hear or see anything in the dark corners, but still I had that creeping sensation that starts like a light pressure on the back of your neck, that something was there.

Come morning I would be fine, the unease of the night fading away with the coming of the dawn. I’d lay there in bed, looking around, and the fear would seem so distant as to be completely irrational.

I continued my life as normal, I worked during the day, driving my van, and in the evening I’d watch TV, and eat. Cooking is one thing that has always brought me joy, and I reveled in it.

Then after the meal was finished, and the washing up was done, I’d sit and watch TV.

It started with one or two nights that I felt I was being watched, but as summer became autumn and the nights started to draw in the sensation became more frequent until it was every night when I got up that I would feel my way through to the bathroom, expecting at any time for a hand or worse to reach out and touch me.

The hair on my neck and arms prickled everytime, until I got back to the safety of my bed and the blessed return of sleep.

I do remember the first handprint on the mirror. Especially as it seemed to be on the inside of the glass. I stood there in front of the mirror, brushing my teeth. I’d slept well and hadn’t woken up in the night. It was then I saw it. A small handprint, but it seemed to have weirdly long fingers. I wiped at it with a towel but it wouldn’t budge. I moved my face closer. It was not on the surface of the glass, but behind it. Deeper in. I recoiled, the night terrors coming back in a rush. I slipped on the wet floor and landed badly. I felt a sharp pain on the back of my head, then nothing

The black enveloped me. I imagined I felt fingers brushing my skin, before I passed out.

When I regained my senses my vision swam in and out for a minute. Something seemed off, the light was wrong, and the floor felt off. I shook my head and realised I was in a wood. A small glade with old trees reaching their thick branches across to each other.

The light was dim and it felt cool. I reached my hands down my body, glad to find I was dressed.

Across from me was the ruins of an old dwelling, nothing more than a few walls and a boarded over well. I sat up. I was in the woods behind my house. They went on for miles, but I knew this glade, I’d been here before and had sat and had a small picnic here a few weeks back.

Maybe that’s where it started. I tried to think back to see if I could remember waking in the night and being watched before that, but I couldn’t be sure. Night time memories evaporate like morning fog come the daylight

I do remember cutting myself opening a bottle of beer. Slipping with the bottle opener and skinning my knuckle as I did.

I stood up, checking my pockets to see if I had anything with me. My pockets were empty, and at this point I noticed my feet were bare as well. The dry branches snapped and crackled under foot, making me wince as I walked to the path. I stumbled home, pulling the thin shirt I was wearing around me. My feet sore on the gravel and dirt road.

Eventually I arrived back to my small house. I brushed my feet on the mat and let myself in. I checked the clock and found it was heading towards evening.

That night I slept fitfully, drifting in and out of dreams, unable to tell reality from the the fantasy realm. The morning arrived in a glare of sunlight through the gap in the curtains. I opened my eyes, groggy and stiff, my feet aching from my barefoot walk. I checked the time on my phone, barely 7 in the morning. I headed for the shower.

When I got out I could see there were fresh prints alongside the existing ones. I shuddered, suddenly cold and wrapped my towel around myself.

As I headed to work the terror of the previous day and the fresh prints on the mirror evaporated with the sun.

It was a few days later when I awoke in the night again. Something had woken me, a sound, a footstep? I couldn’t be sure, I hugged my quilt around myself and listened. I could hear nothing except the ticking of the clock in the lounge.

I reached for the knife under my bed and crept into the still darkness, the silence filling the space like a wild animal.

I crept through the rooms in my house, seeing and hearing nothing. I plodded through to the bathroom. Not wanting to turn the light on I sat and waited. As I did I felt the absolute certainty of being watched. The shadows in the doorway of the other bedroom looked wrong, I’d seen them every day and night for years, but tonight they were different. Was something pressed up against the bookcase there?

Then I felt as if I was being watched from behind, from inside the mirror again. The faintest of breezes touched the hairs on my neck as I sat rooted to the toilet, naked and vulnerable. I didn’t even dare breathe at that moment. I could hear nothing, not a single sound in that instant. The blood in my ears pulsing seemed dull and far away. I knew I couldn’t stay where I was, and gently rose from the toilet, sure that at any moment I was going to be grabbed and pulled backwards through the glass.

I slid my feet forwards, barely daring to lift them from the cold tiles. Putting my back to the door I slid around the corner of the bathroom and into my own room, nearly screaming when the hinge creaked.

As soon as I was able I dived into my bed, and pulled the thick quilt over me. I strained my ears, listening for any sign of movement, gripping the knife tight.

I awoke that Saturday morning still gripping the knife, and gritting my teeth. The fear that had so gripped me had once again faded with the daylight. I sighed and placed the knife on the floor under my bed. Breathing deeply I stared at the ceiling. I got up and went to the bathroom. Looking in the mirror a scream caught in my throat, three large scratches, not deep but long, ran down my chest.

From the angle they ran down my chest there was no way I could have made them myself, and I knew they weren’t there when I went to bed.

Shakily I gripped the sink and steadied myself. I felt light headed and needed to sit down. I knew I had to get out the house for the day, and I knew I wanted to get drunk. I called my friend and asked if she fancied a drink.

Could I explain this, how could I explain it?

I was standing at the bar getting a pint when she walked in. Lightly disheveled and wearing odd socks she never failed to make me smile. We hugged it out,I bought her a drink, and we headed to a table in the corner of the beer garden. It was nice and quiet at that time of day, and I let her talk at me. She was glowing about her new girlfriend and I was genuinely excited for her, she’s such a great person, but needs other people. It’s the one thing about me she doesn’t understand and that is my need to live alone

So after we had drained and refilled her drinks I started to tell her about the weird events that had been happening to me recently. I started with waking in the woods, and finished by showing her the scratches on my chest.

She was determined to see the marks on the mirror, and we soon found ourselves walking back to my house on the edge of town.

I opened the door and we both caught a faint whiff of something like sulfur passing us by, it faded but we both caught it. I looked around, smelling the air trying to find the source of it, but nothing smelled, the milk in the fridge was fine, the eggs on the counter were fine even the bin wasn’t too bad.

I then showed my friend the mirror, where you could quite clearly see the handprints. Smaller than human ones, with lengthened fingers. She dabbed at one with some toilet paper, breathing in the cool glass to try and use her breath to get rid of the stain. I said to get close, it looks like it’s on the other side of the glass.

She leant her head in close and looked at where the freshest prints were. Then suddenly she jerked her head back. As she did a few strands of her hair stuck to the glass. She cried out and we looked closer. They weren’t stuck to the glass, they looked stuck through it. She had seen something move towards her she said, it looks like it had tried to grab her but she’d been too quick.

I pulled at the strands of hair and they were stuck fast. I let them go, and we both watched in horror as they were pulled through the glass and disappeared. I threw a towel over the mirror and we left. We both agreed we needed a drink and headed back to the pub. We proceeded to get drunk and I slept the night on her sofa.

A few days later and I returned home, driven by an urge to see my house, and what state it would be in. I cautiously opened the front door to be met by silence. I hung a towel over the mirror in the bathroom and made food for myself. I sat in front of the TV and turned some trash sit com on. Sitting eating my food I kept getting the sensation of being watched. And then I’m certain I saw something move that wasn’t one of the actors on the screen. I whipped my head around and saw only my kitchen behind me. Empty.

I focused back on the TV and carried on with my food. Again I thought I could see a reflection of something moving behind me. I lowered the volume but couldn’t hear anything, so I slowly turned my head. Again there was nothing there.

I finished my food and walked my plate through to the kitchen. I parked my plate on the side and went through to my bedroom. I undressed and got under the covers. I lay in the dark, tinny music playing quietly from my phone. I could hear something crashing about in the woods outside. Something big. Probably a deer I told myself .

I managed to get off to sleep eventually and slept through until the morning sun awoke me

I went through to the bathroom, and uttered a small scream as I saw the towel I’d hung over the mirror on the floor, raggedly torn in two.

I looked at myself in the mirror and noticed fresh scratches on my chest and stomach

How I’d slept through that I had no clue

I brushed my teeth and went and got ready for my day. The dark circles under my eyes belied the fact I’d been asleep all night. I

I dressed and stepped out of my house. I turned from the woods and walked across the car park. For some reason I felt compelled to turn back and look at the dark brooding green of the trees. A tall man decked in a dark suit stood there. He raised his ancient looking hat in salute and walked into the trees and disappeared into the forest.

I shivered and headed into town to work.

I stopped at the chemist and bought some pain killers, these scratches were starting to sting. I looked down and noticed a small spot of blood on my shirt. I pulled my jacket tight and carried on to work

That night I returned home tired and afraid. I’d left the towel where it fell on the floor, and I didn’t want to see that tall man in the dark suit again. I opened the door to find that strange dank smell, faint in the air. It reminded me of soil, soil that hasn’t seen sunlight in years. Like I imagine a fresh grave would smell

I felt cold and quickly shut the door behind me. The towel was still where I had left it, but the edges of the tear looked singed and burnt, and the material looked much older than it actually was. Like it had aged over the few hours I’d been out.

I didn’t feel hungry any more so I sat on the edge of my sofa and watched TV with the lights on. Not wanting to move I pulled the blankets on the sofa over me, and fell into a fitful sleep. I awoke a few hours later with the sound of that same something crashing through the trees again. It ran past the house and off it into the woods. Then it howled and screamed, a savage and pained sound rending the night like a serrated knife. I whimpered and pulled the blanket over my head. I could hear it moving off, deeper into the woods, howling and screeching as it went

The next morning I awoke as the light fell through the window, limp and pallid at first, but brightening as the early hours moved on. I went into the bathroom to see the towel had curled into two balls of almost completely rotted and burnt fabric. Right in the middle of the mirror was an ear print, horribly disfigured but still there it was. I didn’t even bother brushing my teeth I just turned from the room and left.

If slept in my clothes and felt no desire to change them. I was so exhausted I simply stepped out of my front door and went to head to work. But there on my doorstep was the corpse of a half eaten rabbit. Left displayed on my doormat, the back half gone and it’s dead black eyes staring at me. I looked up and the tall man in the dark suit was there. He wiggled his fingers in a greeting, and I noticed the blood smeared over his face. It was that moment I lost touch with reality and collapsed on my front doorstep.

It was some hours later when I came to. My feet were bare and covered in mud. I was lost deep in the wood again. No idea where I was or how I’d gotten there. I felt out of control. My hands were spattered with dried blood. I had no idea if it was mine or not. My clothes were torn to shreds, as if I had been attacked by a pack of wild animals. My body was scratched and bleeding in places. Bit my mind was spinning out of control. I no longer seemed to care what was happening to me

I looked around and seemed to see the world with fresh eyes, I could feel my own thoughts in my head but they seemed muted, like the volume had been turned down. There was another presence inside my head. Something gross and alien. I’d gone into the woods and come back haunted. Had it hunted me? Had it always been inside me and recently awoken?

It didn’t seem to care for questions and it started to walk me further into the woods. I tried to turn around but I was no longer in control. It seemed I was doomed to sit here inside my head and watch as the other controlled my body.

Soon we came to a clearing and I recognised the ruined house I’d woken up in all those weeks ago.The tall man in the dark suit was there, standing in the corner floating an inch above the ground, dark tentacles reached up at him from the packed earth floor of the ruined house. They enveloped and caressed him, writhing over him, entering him in their ceaseless movement over him

He turned and looked at me with the same dead black eyes as the rabbit He’d left on my doorstep the other day. It was then that the first tentacle reached out and touched my foot. I screamed but no sound came out. The other had complete control and I couldn’t make a sound. I had to sit inside my head, screaming as the dark tentacles writhed over my body, until I could take no more.

July 09, 2023 07:17

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Mary Bendickson
01:05 Jul 17, 2023

Fear of the unknown. Very scary.


Show 0 replies
Brad Simmons
09:43 Jul 15, 2023

Love this story. The kind of open ending is both frustrating and intriguing. I want to know what it was, was he eaten, was he transported to another dimension....but it's fun to make my own ending as well.


Show 0 replies
RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.