I know, I know. It’s a Halloween post that’s a couple days late. I was too busy binge watching Stranger Things 2 in all it’s and nostalgic splendor and glory, so FREAKIN’ SUE ME!!!
Anyhow, it being the Fall season (which, honestly, it only started feeling like Fall yesterday. Thanks, California), where the wind starts picking up at night time, creating that haunting whistling noise as it maneuvers around the trees, causing those long, finger-like branches to scratch up against your window pane, begging to be let into your room as you attempt to sleep comfortably, I figured nothing would suit this season better than a true scary story from my own life.
We are going to rewind the clock twenty-one years back to when I was nine-years-old. I was a pretty eccentric kid, and very sensitive (I still am pretty sensitive for the average thirty-year-old dude). I do like my fair share of scary movies, but I hate being scared. I remember every single time we would go to the video store, I would always feel drawn to the Horror section, but the mere look at a horror movie cover would be enough to give me nightmares for weeks, and I would wake up in the middle of the night screaming and crying. Seriously, ask my parents. I’m surprised they didn’t agree to some gnarly, unorthodox parenting methods to shut my crying butt up so they could get a good night’s sleep.
I remember one night in particular, though, that has been forever singed into my memory as one of the most terrifying experiences I have ever had to this day. This was no nightmare. I was wide awake for this one.
The house I lived in was an old house built in the 60s or 70s that liked to make creaking noises as the night went on. And me, being the super sensitive nine-year-old who had trouble going to sleep and staying asleep, was feeling particularly restless that night, and the creaking noises definitely didn’t help the situation. My younger brother and I shared a room together, and he was out like a light at this time. I always envied how heavy of a sleeper he was. Seriously, one time my mom had to douse cold water on him to get him up for school. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that on nights where I got really scared, I would ask to sleep in his bed with him.
My bed was positioned at the end of the room facing the door, and the door was left open, leading into the hallway, so that our parents could hear us if something happened. I can’t remember if I was asleep and was awakened by the house making the creaking noise, or if I was restless like usual and was trying to get to sleep, with my army of stuffed animals surrounding my bed like a protective shield against evil night time visitors. I, myself, was buried deep under the covers, with only a small opening to keep an eye on the door left open. That’s how I always slept. It’s the only way I felt safe to sleep.
There may have been a particular loud creak that startled me as I tried to get myself to sleep, but I just remembered feeling very on edge, like I was sensing something off. My heart started to pick up speed and I used my finger to lift up the edge of my covers to create a small opening, peering at my opened door. My night light was on in my room, but outside my door was just pure black nothingness. I stared at that nothingness for a moment, and then I felt my entire body freeze, as I saw something that still sends shivers down my spine as I recall it.
On the door jamb of my bedroom door, out of the black nothingness, a long brown, hairy finger crawled across it.
Those long, brown, hairy fingers were attached to a hand that grabbed the door jamb.
I had a scream ready, but it seemed so stuck in my throat since my heart had momentarily stopped, that I couldn’t get anything out. I could only gasp. That’s all my body was capable of doing at this moment.
The long, hairy hand lingered there for a beat. Since I was frozen in fear, too horrified to scream, and too numb to jump out of my bed and shut the door on that hand from Hell, I did the only thing I could in that moment, and that was close the peeping hole in my covers and stay perfectly still for as long as possible.
I remained frozen still for what seemed like an eternity, sweating profusely from lack of air inside my protective blanket casing, until I had to open up another peep hole to breathe. Carefully, I lifted the blanket with my finger once again and reluctantly peered out into the black hole that was outside my room. The long, hairy hand was no longer grabbing at the door jamb. It was just a door, once again.
I don’t know if I ever got back to sleep that night. I’m pretty sure I did, but when something like that happens, you don’t really sleep. It’s more like an 8-hour terror meditation. I remember trying to tell my mom what happened when she was driving me to school the next morning, but she dismissed it as a dream.
We’ve temporarily moved out of our old house in my hometown while my dad is performing some renovations on it. But, I’ll be damned if every time I come home for a visit and find myself in my old room, I don’t feel the slightest goosebumps on the back of my neck as I look at my bedroom door.
Happy belated Halloween, everyone! Sleep tight tonight!