How much do you care about things like sleep and your ability to stay sane? If the answer is not at all, hello, hi, hey there, welcome to the absolute fright fest that is Reddit’s /nosleep scary stories, here to completely and permanently eff you up.

Obviously, watching horror movies and mining through urban legends = scary. But these stories are written by real people who have verrrrry active imaginations. You can’t get over these gems with a therapeutic episode of The Office, that’s all I’m saying!

On that note, consider yourself warned. These are some of the scariest stories you’ll ever read. *Deep breath.* Let’s get this over with.

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Identical Skin by Starflashfairy

My twin sister Mallory and I are completely indistinguishable, right down to our overly sensitive Irish skin. The only visible difference is a small burn on Mal’s forearm, from overexposure to the sun.

We used to be really close, but ever since Mal started dating Sam, she’s been spending less time with me. But two weeks ago, Sam came over when Mallory wasn’t home. I was about to tell him she was at Jessica’s for an overnight cram session, but he kissed me before I got the chance. He thought I was my sister.

Then he started talking. “Molly isn’t here, is she?” he asked me, looking around.

Obviously I was there, not Mal. I was wearing long sleeves, and he wasn’t looking for the burn anyway. But I’d never been kissed before, and he was good at it, so I played along.

“No, we’re alone,” I smiled my sister’s best smile.

“Good. I know you’ve been fed up with her lately. It’s good that you’re not spending so much time with her anymore.”

Fed up? I knew I was becoming a third wheel with them. But then Sam’s mouth met mine, harder this time, and I found myself swept up in the urgency of his kisses.

I realized, in that moment, that I wanted everything Mal had. I was fed up as well. I was sick of coming in second place in the eyes of the other half of my soul.

The next morning, Mallory came home looking especially tired, complaining of a headache.

“You look like you’ve been working really hard!” I said sympathetically. “It’s Sunday. You should rest, and let all that material sink in.”

“You’re right,” she agreed, looking thoughtful. “Maybe I’ll go lay out on the beach for twenty minutes, to relax.”

“That sounds like a great idea! Here, you should use my new spray-on sunscreen. SPF 120, for our delicate skin.” I handed her the bottle, and two tablets. “Here, take these aspirin, too, for your headache.”

She looked at me strangely, eyes flashing guilt and then turning grateful quickly.

“Thanks so much. I’m gonna have my earphones in, OK? I’ll be in our usual spot if you need me. But I’ll be back in a half hour max.”

“Right, if you’re not, I’ll come looking.” She’d once stayed in the sun too long and the small portion of her arm outside of the umbrella had burned.

I helped her get coated in a thick layer of the spray-on sunscreen and made sure she took the pills before she left.

I followed and watched her fall asleep. It was a sunny day, and my forearm stung where I’d smudged some spray. I grabbed the umbrella and toted it back to the house.

At around sundown, I heard footsteps. I greeted Sam, who glanced at my burnt arm and asked where Molly was.

“No idea,” I said, kissing him and pushing the cooking oil under the table with my foot.

The Chandelier by The_Dalek_Emperor

The year my mother and father were wed, my father bought his wife a very beautiful Baccarat chandelier. It weighed one ton and hung down two entire flights of stairs. Because it was so large my father searched high and low for a home that could accommodate it. He chose a very old palatial home in the Welsh countryside. The mansion was six stories tall and in the middle of the home was a tall, spiraled atrium with a glass ceiling. The stairs wrapped around the walls of the spire, encircling the great chandelier at the top.

As far back as I can remember I would spend my days lying underneath the cascading crystals far above and watching the twinkling prisms catch the sunlight and cast vibrant, breathing rainbows across the walls. My mother would smile at me and giggle to my father behind her hands. I was a romantic, she said, a dreamer. Father would smile knowingly but never bother to glance my way. He only had eyes for my mother, at least until my brother George came along.

But I wasn’t a dreamer, no, I fought sleep with every breath. I much preferred to spend my evenings dancing in the star fields that twinkled in the spire on clear nights. If moonlight shone into the great atrium, it was transformed by the Baccarat into a million shimmering, glittering tiny stars. The chandelier was always gently, gently swaying even without a draft in the house and it would make the crisp, vibrant celestials dance upon the wall to a song I could almost hear. And I would dance among them.

One day I awoke from an afternoon nap to the sharp sound of a protesting metal groan. I arrived at the bannister just in time to see the Baccarat’s metal supports snap in two. The chandelier fell half a story until it was brought to a violent and abrupt halt by its last remaining support—a thick, nylon rope. George was playing with a train set far below and I screamed at him. He looked up at me for just a moment and then he was obscured from my view as the nylon snapped and the chandelier went crashing down five stories to the first floor where my mother had thrown herself protectively over George.

My father would only shed his tears for them behind closed doors. A week after their deaths, Father had the Baccarat repaired and rehung. It had been my mother’s and he loved her deeply. Perhaps he liked to look at it and think of her. But I like to think he rehung it for me because he knew how much I loved it.

But the chandelier wasn’t the same. The gentle cadence it had loyally kept was now replaced by a stillness as absolute as death. The rainbows were dull, almost colorless, and the dancing stars that had once glittered upon the walls at night were absent and the spiraled atrium remained as dark as the heart of an onyx.

I still spend my days and nights lying on the floor looking up at the chandelier and hoping its magic will return to me. Some days I can almost see the vibrant colors and speckled starlight. Most days I see nothing at all.

But nothing at all is better than the nightmare that peeks through the veil sometimes, cruel and uninvited. Sometimes I can feel the cold and the hunger and the pain in my chest. Sometimes the dark nights and dull days make sense. Sometimes I can see the chandelier for what it really is. Because sometimes I remember that it wasn’t the Baccarat that my father hung at the top of the atrium that day—it was himself.

Body Cast by Iaa

My therapist suggested I write this out. I guess reliving that night and putting my experiences on paper will help me get over the trauma.

A few years ago, I was in a motorcycle wreck. Broke my left tibia and fibula, shattered my right patella, got a greenstick fracture of my left femur, multiple fractures in my pelvis, breaks in almost all my ribs, and two broken collarbones. I was immobilized from the shoulders down by a heavy body cast. They told me I was lucky.

My wife, Violet, was supportive and nurturing. She never once complained about having to care for me. She cooked all my meals, kept me company, and emptied my bedpan without grimacing. About two weeks into my convalescence, Jenna called us, bawling, because her college roommate died. Vi had to leave immediately and be there for her. Vi’s sister, Kathy, was going to take care of me.

When I woke up the following morning, Vi was off to get Jenna. Kathy was there, cheerfully making breakfast and talking up a storm as she helped me with my more embarrassing biological needs. Like her sister, she never made me feel ashamed. She left around 11 that night and told me she’d be back at dawn.

I like to sleep with the TV on. For some reason, I find it comforting. I’d drifted off while the game was finishing and only woke up when I felt something thud against the cast on my chest. In the flickering light of the television, I saw a huntsman spider staring back at me. She was bigger than most of the ones I’d seen around here; maybe the length of a rugby ball. My breath caught in my throat and every muscle in my body fired in an attempt to push the thing off me. I couldn’t move.

I started yelling at the spider, hoping it might scare her away. She wasn’t frightened. She turned around, exposing her abdomen to me, and I gasped. Her back and belly were covered in babies. They rippled like windblown fur as they moved over their mother’s body. The huntsman turned back toward me and walked closer to my face.

Before then, I’d never thought about spiders having a scent. This one did. It smelled like wet dirt, sort of like how outside smells after a rainstorm. The smell intensified as its long legs reached my face. I squeezed my mouth and eyes shut. Its prickly legs advanced, first to my lower lip, then my nose, my eyelids, and finally my forehead. Its leg-span stretched from ear-to-ear, hairline to chin. Its thick, heavy body ran from my chin to right between my eyes. And it stayed there.

I tried to hold my breath. To say I was horrified was an understatement. I wished I was dead. I prayed to be dead. My prayers went unanswered as it walked a little higher, letting its abdomen brush against my nose.

I sneezed.

The huntsman immediately buried its fangs into my forehead as her babies streamed from her abdomen onto my face. I shrieked. Tiny spiders crawled over my cheeks, squirmed through my beard, and hid in my eyelashes. I thrashed my head back and forth in an attempt to get them off me. The mother moved onto the pillow by my right ear and bit my cheek. It felt like a wasp sting. Then she ran over my shoulder and pushed herself through the tiny opening of the cast by my armpit.

At this point, I was screaming uncontrollably. A sea of baby arachnids explored my nostrils, hair, and were starting to find my ears. I felt a tendon or ligament or something snap as I thrashed, sending white-hot pain through my neck. Trying to move my head after that was excruciating.

As the babies dispersed throughout my face and head, the mother explored under the cast. To this day, I have no idea how she was able to compress herself to fit underneath the thing. She wandered over my chest to my stomach and down to my groin. She exited the cast by the hole nearby, only to move back inside by my legs. She stopped at the underside of my knee. And that’s where she stayed.

When Kathy arrived in the morning, I’d somehow fallen asleep. I guess the exhaustion brought on by the horror I’d experienced forced my body to shut down even though my mind was still soaked in terror. Oblivious to the events of the night before, Kathy shook me awake. I started screaming again. I felt the huntsman behind my knee. She must’ve been sleeping too and was startled awake by my yelling. She bit my leg over and over as Kathy tried to calm me down and tried to get me to fill her in on what was happening.

By the time I was able to tell her, she looked like she was about to faint. I’d always considered myself somewhat of an arachnophobe, but Kathy’s fear of them was light years beyond my own. She called emergency services, and they sent a couple guys who were able to coax the thing out and kill her. In the end, it was anticlimactic.

Vi came home with Jenna later in the day and Kathy and I told her about my night. Neither of them were able to listen to the details. A family of arachnophobes. Time went by and my broken bones knitted together and healed, and eventually I was back on my motorcycle. Every night, though, I dream about the huntsman staring at me. I feel her young streaming across my face and up my nose and around the gaps of my teeth. Whenever there’s a quiet moment, I hear them scratching at my eardrums, and I’d swear that every time I clean my ears, I’m pulling out eggs.

We Got a Strange Call from a Lost Girl by Mattspire

Hi, everyone, this is my first time posting but no one else has been able to help me. I work the morning shift (usually) for emergency dispatch in a very small, rural county. I’m new to the area and thus the job. Last week, my closest friend was getting off the overnight and was spooked about a call they’d taken. He didn’t hear any of it until the very end. Apparently, they were only able to record our end of the call. The caller’s part was transcribed from memory by the operators and supervisor on duty. They’ve been very quiet about all of this, but that’s not uncommon for any calls we get. Because he’s been unable to shake it off, my friend was able to sneak a copy of the transcript for me. Now I’m just as weirded out. If anyone has any explanations for any of this, it would make us feel a little better.

[CALLER]:Somebody, I need help. I’m lost and homeless and my dad is — well, I think I know where he is but—

[OPERATOR]: OK, calm down, and—

[CALLER]: OkK. My name is Natalie. My dad, his name is Salvador, and we’re from Pennsylvania. We boarded a train at …Union Station. Pittsburgh.

[OPERATOR]: Natalie, what’s your emergency?

[CALLER]: Everything was OK. We were going to Cincinnati. I fell asleep, and I — I woke up at night. We were switching trains. Daddy was mad because he said we were in Detroit and that’s nowhere near Cincinnati. But the men there kept saying to sit down, to wait. I was still tired. Everyone was tired and lying down. But I couldn’t fall asleep because it was so cold

[OPERATOR]: Natalie, do you know where you are now?

[CALLER]: The men — they must have been worried about people being sick. They kept going around with instruments and sticking them in people’s ears and mouths, and had little paper cups for everybody to drink out of. My dad was arguing with one of them when they got to me.

[OPERATOR]: Natalie, do you know where — Natalie?

[CALLER]: They didn’t explain what they were looking for but it only took a second. When I went to drink out of the cup—

[OPERATOR]: Do you know what was in the cup, Natalie?

[CALLER]: It was real bitter. But the train came and the man had to hurry to finish so he didn’t notice me spit half it out.

[OPERATOR]: Do you have any symptoms? Do you feel—

[CALLER]: It was so cold and my teeth were chattering. We all crowded to get in and — the train was so dark inside, but warm. Daddy picked me up, and I just remember barely keeping my eyes open ’cause it was so nice and warm and I was tired. I remember somebody saying, “Natalie, that’s a nice name. I’m Jaspar.” But I was already half asleep.

[OPERATOR]: OK, Natalie, are you still inside the train?

[CALLER]: I woke up in the middle of the night thirsty. My throat was like cotton from that bitter stuff. I was in a really nice bed, I never had sheets like that before. There were a lot of doors. I was trying to find the bathroom but the first one took me outside.

[OPERATOR]: Is that where you are now?

[CALLER]: It wasn’t dark this time. It wasn’t right. It was so big, much bigger than a train could be. It was huge, like, I’ve never been to one — I’ve seen pictures though — it’s how a ball would be, I guess. And there were tables of food on shiny metal trays and so many people. Everyone dressed nice. Men in suits. Women in dresses, like shimmery, with veils

[OPERATOR]: Natalie?

[CALLER]: Smelling the food, I realized how hungry I was. I went to the table and picked up some stick with fruit and cheese, and there was the voice again. “That’s good,” it said, “I’m glad you’re feeling better, Natalie.” I looked up and saw a lady in a long black dress, and I dropped the food ’cause she wasn’t using her mouth to talk. She just stared at me. “Such a pretty name,” she said.

[OPERATOR]: Natalie, I need to know where—

[CALLER]: I looked around and saw — saw everyone was like that, talking without their mouths. All the laughing. So many voices but they just stared out, blank faces. A man with a white flower in his suit pocket looked at me and I heard someone say, “I have all the time in the world, Natalie.”

[OPERATOR]: Do you know any of these—

[CALLER]: At the bar, I saw my dad. I ran over and he put his drink down, just turned to me on the stool. Don’t worry, he said. You’re safe here, Natalie. But he didn’t move his mouth either, and I started crying.

[OPERATOR]: [To supervisor: She can’t hear us.]

[CALLER]: The man behind the counter was staring at me, and I couldn’t even tell who was talking to me, but someone said, “Natalie’s such a pretty name.”

[OPERATOR]: [To supervisor: Can we check the connection?]

[CALLER]: I ran back to our room and hid under my covers crying until I hurt all over. I thought someone would come in but no one ever did. I just kept crying until I woke up, and I realized the whole thing was a dream. Except it wasn’t nice. I was in a bunk with hard sheets and it smelled really bad, like sweat and pee. I just sat up, scared to feel for anything in the dark.

[OPERATOR]: [Talking in background] Natalie?

[CALLER]: Then I heard voices — voices from outside, and I heard a scraping sound. They were opening up the train again. It was still really dark but I could see people started coming in. I don’t know why, I was just so scared of being in there, I jumped up and pushed through the people and ran as hard as I could out of the station. I know people were yelling behind me but I didn’t stop until I was near the edge of the forest. I don’t know why, I — I just ran — my daddy was still there, but when I turned I didn’t see him, just other people yelling and running toward me.

[OPERATOR]: Natalie, can you hear me?

[CALLER]: I just kept going. I don’t know how long, hours I guess, until my legs burned and my arms were all scraped up. I fell asleep again in the middle of the forest, freezing

[OPERATOR]: [To supervisor: What do you mean we’re not connected?]

[CALLER]: I kept hearing this voice, and I realized I was dreaming but I was still right there in the forest. Just like when I was on the train. I got off the moss under me and started following it. It just kept calling me, Natalie, until I found this big hole in the ground. Nothing down there but dirt and leaves, and a girl, 8 years old, I guess. “Come down here, Natalie,” but her mouth didn’t move.

[OPERATOR]: Natalie, where are you calling from?

[CALLER]: Ever since then it doesn’t matter where I sleep. I always dream I’m right where I am, and there’s someone calling me into some hole in the ground, or some dark closet. They always say, “Such a pretty name,” or, “I have all the time in the world, Natalie.”

[OPERATOR]: Natalie, how are you placing this call?

[CALLER]: I don’t know where I am. I was in the forest two days, I think, and then I found this town. But no one’s here. Not for a long time, even the grocery store, all the fruit and vegetables aren’t just rotted, they’re dirt. There’s some dog and cat bones, but not many, and no people bones either.

[OPERATOR]: [To supervisor: Not recording?]

[CALLER]: I miss my daddy so much. I try to find the train station but I get lost in the forest and have to come back. There’s no one here but me and Jasper. I’m afraid they killed Daddy. Sometimes it’s him in dreams, telling me to crawl down the stormdrain, but it’s not Daddy, it’s Jasper, his face doesn’t move.

[OPERATOR]: OK, Natalie, I need you to describe—

[CALLER]: I call a different city every night but no one answers.

[OPERATOR]: Natalie, can you still not hear me?

[CALLER]: [Crying]

[OPERATOR]: Natalie?

[CALLER]: I don’t want to go to sleep.

[OPERATOR]: Natalie?

[CALLER]: [In background: Such a pretty name.]

Took a Snapchat for My Friends…. by Skinna555

Hi, guys, this is my first post here. I know a lot of the stories here (whether made up or not), are very well written and suspenseful. I am pretty much flipping the fuck out right now because of what has just happened, and I am not the best writer — so those two elements might mean you’ll have to bear with me.

OK, so here are the events that have transpired in the past two hours or so, and a little backstory as to why this is freaking me out so much. My fiancé and I have recently moved back into my childhood home with my parents while our own house is being built to save some cash and not have to move instantly from our rental when it’s complete.

My parents own three Australian native birds, and earlier tonight, I was updating my Snapchat Story to show my friends, as many of them always ask what the birds names are and what they look like. I took three Snapchat videos one after the other and just put them on my story without worrying about retakes or what I looked like (so please forgive me for the uploads, haha).

Anyways, within about 15 minutes of uploading, I received an SMS message from one of my good, but not great friends that said, “Ahahaha. You bearded beast those birds are mad. BTW the fuck was that in the window behind you in the last one? haha”

Message I Got

I had no idea what he was going on about, so I went and watched my own Snapchat Story a couple of times. On the third or fourth watch, I saw what he was talking about and my stomach sank and I almost started to have a panic attack, and I am still pretty shaken up. I immediately saved my story videos and put them onto my computer to see them larger. In the last Snapchat video I sent, it kind of looks like someone is at the door, looking in, with their hands cupped against the door. It is hard to tell, because Snapchat videos are very poor quality and the door is only in frame for probably one second. Whatever is in the third snapchat video however, is definitely not in the first video when the door is in full view. I was the only person home at the time, and that particular door leads to the backyard, which is only accessible via a single locked gate. Here are the three videos I saved from my Story:

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3

Here are two pictures comparing the screen door from the first video to the third video:

First Vid vs. Third Vid Stills

To add some backstory as to why this has me freaking out so much — to do that, I have to quickly talk about my childhood/teenage years up until I moved out with my partner in 2009 (age 18). From about age 8 until age 10, I had episodes of sleep paralysis (one or two times a month) where it felt like a weight was sitting on my chest and I could not breathe for about 40 seconds at a time. This led to insomnia and anxiety about bedtime, as I dreaded feeling helpless. I ended up seeing a child psychologist, and whether that was or was not the reason — the episodes largely went away (only once or twice a year until age 13).

At age 12 or 13, for seemingly no reason at all, I started to get chronic episodes almost every night that lasted minutes to tens of minutes at a time. During these episodes I could breathe but could not move. The worst thing about these episodes however is that I felt like something was in the room with me and meant me harm (common for people who experience sleep paralysis).

At roughly age 14, things really took a turn, and I started to hear and see things during maybe 1 in 10 of my episodes (also pretty common for people who experience sleep paralysis) . The things I heard were never too crazy and over-the-top — and were usually just thuds and creaks. However, when it came to SEEING things — there was always one recurring thing: A faceless “person” looking into my bedroom window with their hands cupped to the glass. For the course of a one- to 10-minute episode, this “person” would just stand there and look at me. Whenever the episode ended, the person would just be gone. Over the course of four years, this occurred quite regularly — but it always really made me feel totally helpless and terrified. I never got used to it.

When I moved out at age 18, I never had another episode where I saw anything. I’m 26 years old now, and I VERY, VERY occasionally (once a year) have small (<30 seconds) episodes, but only those in which I feel heavy-chested.

To cut a very long story short. Whatever is there in my snapchat video looks almost 100 percent like what I used to see as a teenager during my sleep paralysis episodes, and I have been a nervous wreck all night over it. To me, it kind of looks like a face to the glass, and two hands on either side. It has scared the CHRIST OUT OF ME.

Something Walks Whistling Past My House….by Grand_Theft_Motto

Every night, no matter the weather, something walks down our street whistling softly. You can only hear it if you’re in the living room or the kitchen when they walk by and it always starts at exactly 3:03. The sound starts faint, somewhere near the beginning of the lane near the Carson place. We’re towards the middle of the street, so the whistling moves past us before fading away in the direction of the cul de sac.

When I was younger, my sister and I would sneak into the kitchen some nights to listen. Mom and dad didn’t like that and we’d catch Hell if they found us out there but they were never too hard on us since we always stuck to the one Big Rule.

Don’t try to look at whatever was whistling.

My neighborhood is a funny place. I’ve lived here since I was six and I love it. The houses are small but well-kept, good-sized yards, plenty of places to roam. There are a lot of other kids here my age, I turned 13 back in October. We grew up together and would always play four square in the cul de sac or roam around from back porch to back porch in the summer. This was a good place to grow up, I’m old enough to see it. And there’s only the two strange things here; the night whistling and the good luck.

The whistling never bothered me much. Like I said, I couldn’t even hear it from my bedroom. But mom and dad don’t like talking about it, so I’ve stopped asking questions. My dad is a strong guy, tall and calm. He has an accent since he moved to the US as a kid. His family, my grandparents, they’re from the islands. That’s what they call it. My dad, the only time he isn’t so calm is if the whistler comes up.

He talks a little quicker then, eyes move faster, and he tells us not to think about it so much and to always remember the one rule, the Big Rule: don’t try to look outside when the whistler goes past.

Not that we could look even if we wanted. See, there are shutters on the inside of every window, thick pieces of heavy canvas that pull down from the top and latch to the bottom of the window frame. Each latch even has a small lock, about the size of what you’d find on a diary. My dad locks those shutters every night before we all go to bed and keeps the key in his room.

My mom…I don’t know what she thinks about the whistling. I’ve seen her out in the living room before at 3:03 when the sound starts; I could see her if I cracked my door open just an inch to peek. She’s not out there often, at least I haven’t caught her much, but once or twice a month I think she sits out there on our big red couch just listening.

The whistler has the same tune every night. It’s…cheerful.

Da da dada da dum. Da da dada da dum.

Remember how I said there are two odd things about where I live? Well, besides our night whistler, everyone in my neighborhood is really lucky. It’s hard to explain and dad doesn’t like us talking about this part much, either, but good things just seem to happen to people around here a lot. Usually, it’s small things, winning a radio contest, or getting an unexpected promotion at work, or finding some arrowheads buried in the yard, you know, the authentic kind.

The weather is pretty good and there’s no crime and everybody’s gardens bloom extra bright in the fall. “A million little blessings,” I’ve heard my mom say about living here. But the main reason we stay here, why we moved here in the first place, is my sister Nola. She was born very sick, something with her lungs. We couldn’t even bring her home when she was born, only visit her in the hospital. She was so small, I remember, small even compared to the other babies. A machine had to breathe for her.

We moved into our house here to be closer to the hospital. As soon as we moved here, Nola starting getting better. The doctors couldn’t figure it out, they chalked it up to whatever they were doing but we all could tell they were confused. But my parents knew, even I knew, Nola getting better was just another of the million little blessings we got for living in our neighborhood.

So that’s why we stayed even after we found out that, for every small miracle that happens here every day, now and then…some bad things happen. But they only happen if you look for the whistler.

See, our neighborhood has a Welcoming Committee. They show up with macaroni casserole and a gift basket and a manila folder whenever someone new moves in. They’re very friendly. Four people showed up when we moved in seven years ago. The committee made small talk, gave me a Snickers bar, and took turns holding Nola. It was her first week out of the hospital so they were extra careful.

Then the committee asked to speak to my parents in private so I was sent to my room where I still managed to hear nearly every word. The Welcoming Committee told my parents about how nice the neighborhood was, really exceptionally, hard-to-explain kind of nice. And then they told my parents about the even harder-to-explain whistling that happened every morning at 3:03 and ended at the tick of 3:05. The group, our new neighbors, warned my parents that the whistling was quiet, would never harm or hurt us, as long as we didn’t look for what was making the sound.

This part they stressed and I pushed my ear into the door straining to hear them. People who went looking for the whistler had their luck change, sometimes tragically. A black cloud would hang over anyone that looked. Anything that could go wrong, would. The manila envelope the committee brought over contained newspaper clippings, stories about car crashes and ruined lives, public deaths and freak accidents.

“Not everyone dies,” I heard the head of the committee tell my dad. “But the life goes out of ‘em. Even if they live, there’s no light in them ever again, no presence.”

My mom, I could tell she wasn’t taking it seriously. She kept asking if this was some prank they play on new neighbors. At one point my mom got angry, accused the committee of trying to scare us out of our new home, asked them if they were racist on account of my dad being from the islands. My dad calmed her down, told her he could tell our new neighbors were sincere and they were just trying to help us. He explained that he grew up hearing these kinds of stories from his mom and that he knew there were strange things that walked among us. Some of those strange things were good and some were bad but most were just different.

After the committee left, dad went out to the hardware store, bought the canvas blinds, the latches, and the locks and installed them on every window in the house after dinner. That first night in our new house, I crept out of my room at 3 a.m. only to find my dad awake sitting on the living room couch, holding my baby sister. My dad held up his finger in a shh motion but patted the couch next to him. I sat and we waited.

At exactly 3:03 we heard the whistling.

Da da dada da dum. Da da dada da dum.

It came and it went just like our neighbors said. The whistling returns each night and we never look and we enjoy our million little blessings every day. Nola breathes on her own and she’s grown into a strong, clever girl. My dad even joined the Welcoming Committee. We don’t get new neighbors often, why would anyone want to leave? But when a new family moves in, my dad and the committee bring them macaroni casserole, a gift basket, and the manila folder. I can always tell by the look on my dad’s face when he comes back if the family took the committee seriously or if we’d be getting new neighbors again very soon.

Not long ago a family moved in directly next to us. The previous owner, Ms. Maddie, passed away at age 105. She’d lived a good, long life. Our new neighbors seemed like they’d fit in just fine. They believed the Welcoming Committee, took my dad’s advice about the locking shutters since they had a young child of their own. Whatever newspaper clippings were in that manila envelope, whatever evidence, my dad never let us see. But I imagine it must have been awfully convincing since our neighbors got along with no issues for the first month.

One night, when our new neighbors had to leave town, they sent their son, Holden, to stay with us. He was 12, a year under me in school. I didn’t know him well before that night but as soon as his parents dropped him off after dinner I could tell it was going to be a bad time.

“Do you know who is always out there whistling every night?” Holden asked the moment the adults left the room.

The three of us were sitting in the den, some Disney movie playing idly on the television.

My sister and I exchanged a glance. “We don’t talk about that,” I said.

“I think it’s that weirdo that lives in the big yellow house on the corner,” Holden said.

“Mr. Toles?” my sister asked. “No way, he’s really nice.”

Holden shrugged. “Must be a psycho killer, then.”

Nola tensed.

“We don’t talk about it,” I repeated. “Let’s go in my room and play Nintendo.”

We spent the next few hours playing games, eating popcorn and then watching movies. A typical sleepover but I could see Holden was getting antsy.

After my parents had wished us a good night, locked the blinds, and gone to bed, Holden stood up from his bean bag and walked over to where Nola and I were sitting on my bed.

“Have you ever even tried looking?” he asked. “It’s nearly time.”

Like most sleepovers, we’d conveniently ignored any suggestion of a bedtime. I was shocked to see he was right; it was almost 3 a.m.

I sighed. “We don’t-”

“See, I can’t, I can’t even try to look because my dad locks the blinds every night and hides the key,” he continued, ignoring me.

“So does our dad,” said Nola.

“No,” replied Holden. “No, he doesn’t.”

“You saw him do it,” I said, a little sharper than I meant to sound.

Holden grinned. “Your dad locks the blinds, yeah, but he doesn’t hide the key. He keeps it right on his normal key chain.”

“So?” I asked, worried I already knew what he would say next. Because I had noticed that my dad didn’t bother hiding the key anymore after all of these years. Because he knew we took it seriously.

“So, after your dad locked up but before your parents went to bed, I went to the bathroom. And on my way, I may have peeked into their room, and I may have seen your dad’s key chain on his nightstand, and I maybe went and borrowed the key to blinds.”

Nola and I stared and his grin only grew wider.

“You’re lying,” I said.

Holden shrugged. “You can check if you want. Just open your parents’ door and look, you’ll see his keychain right there on the nightstand.”

“Stay here,” I told both of them. “Don’t move a muscle.”

I hurried over to my parents’ room but hesitated at the door. If Holden wasn’t lying…my dad would be angry. Beyond angry. I was scared thinking about it. But more scared of an open window with the whistler right outside. I opened the door, barely an inch, and looked in but it was too dark to see. Taking a deep breath, I walked into the room.

Two steps into the dark I froze. The whistling started. And I could hear it clearly…from my parents’ room. I never realized but they must have heard the sound every night since we moved into the house. They never told us. I don’t think I could have slept through it.

I stood there, listening to the whistling come closer, unsure whether I should turn on a light or call out for my dad. Soft sounds from the living room brought me back to reality.

“Nola,” I yelled, running out of my parents’ room.

Holden and Nola were standing near the front door next to a window. Holden wasn’t lying. I could see him fumbling with the lock on one of the blinds. I heard a click. He did have the key.

Holden let out a quick laugh. Nola stood next to him, hunched up, afraid but maybe curious. The whistling was right outside our house now.

I think I made a sound, called out. I can’t remember. Time felt frozen, clock hands nailed to the face. But I found myself moving. I’m not fast, I’ve never been athletic. Somehow, though, I covered the space between myself and Nola in a moment. My eyes were locked on her but I heard Holden pull the blind all the way down so it could release. I heard the snap of it start to raise, and I heard the whistling just on the other side of the window.

But I had my arms around Nola and I turned us so she was facing away from the window. At the same time, I jammed my eyes shut. The blind whipped open.

The whistling stopped.

I felt Nola shaking in my arms.

“Don’t look, okay?” I told her. “Don’t turn around.”

We were positioned so that she was facing back towards the hallway and I was facing the window. My eyes were still closed. I felt her nod into my shoulder.

I reached out with the arm not holding Nola and tried to touch Holden. My hand brushed against his arm. He was shaking worse than Nola.

“Holden?” I asked.


I reached past him and gingerly felt for the window, eyes still sealed shut. The glass was cold against my fingertips. Colder than it should have been for the time of year. I moved my hand up the window, searching for the string to the blind. The glass began to get warmer the further I reached and there was a gentle hum feeding back into my fingertips. I tried not to think about what might be on the other side of the window. Finally, I touched the string and yanked the blinds shut.

I opened my eyes. In the dim light leaking out from the kitchen, I could make out Holden, pale and small, staring at the now closed window.

“Holden?” I asked again.

He turned towards me and he screamed.

Everything became a flurry of motion. Lights sparked to life in the hall, then the living room. My parents’ footsteps thudded across the hardwood floor. I didn’t turn to look back at them, my eyes were glued to Holden.

He was pale, had bit his lip so hard there was a thin red line of blood running down his chin and he’d wet himself.

“What happened?” my dad asked from behind me.

I managed to swivel away from Holden and look back. “He looked.”

I’d never seen my dad scared before but I saw it that night, in that moment, an old, ugly terror stitched on his face. A parent’s fear.

“Just Holden?” he mouthed to me.

I nodded yes.

My dad let out a breath. He looked so relieved I nearly expected him to cheer. But then he turned to Holden and my dad’s face changed. I wondered if he felt bad for feeling good that Holden was the only one that looked.

There was a knock at the door.

We all froze. Holden whimpered.

“Don’t answer it,” my mom said.

She stood at the threshold of the hall. I’d always thought she was a skeptic and just humored my dad about the windows and the whistler but that night we were all believers. I noticed that both of my parents held baseball bats they must have taken from their bedroom.

The knock came again, a little louder this time.

“Please don’t open the door,” Holden whispered.

My dad walked over to him, hugged him close.

“We won’t,” my dad promised, still holding his bat. “Nothing is coming in here tonight.”

Thud thud thud

This time the knocking was loud enough to rattle the door. Holden screamed again and Nola clutched her arms around my neck. My mom came over and knelt down next to us, wrapping my sister and me close.

Thud thud thud

“Call the police,” my mom whispered to my dad.

The knocking instantly stopped. My dad looked over his shoulder at us.

“Do you think-”

He was cut off by frantic knocking that trailed off to a polite tap tap tap.

Police,” something said from the other side of the door.

The voice from outside sounded exactly like my mom, like a parrot repeating the words back to her.

Police. Call. The police.” tap tap tapPolice.”

My mom pulled us closer.

Police. Police. Police. Police.”

“Please stop,” I heard her whisper.

“I don’t think calling them will help,” my dad said. “How will we know when they’re the ones at the door?”

The knocking came back harder than before. The door shook. Then it stopped. After a long moment, I heard the knocking again but it was coming from our backdoor.

We all turned together towards the backdoor but the knocking immediately returned to the front door. Front to back, back to front, loud then quiet then loud again. Suddenly, the sound was coming from both doors at once, big, heavy blows like a sledgehammer. Then something started rapping against all of the windows in the house, then the walls. It was like we were living inside a drum with a dozen people trying to play at once. Or we were a turtle and something was attempting to claw us out of our shell.

“STOP!” Holden yelled.

The knocking died.

“I won’t tell,” Holden said, staring at the door. “I promise I won’t tell anyone what I saw. Just please go away.”

We waited for nearly a minute. Then we heard it, a soft tap tap tap coming from the window Holden had looked through earlier.

Holden started to cry, sobbing like a prisoner watching gallows being built outside their cell.

My dad held him, brushed his hair but never lied to him, never told him things would be okay.

The tapping at the window went on for the rest of the night. We huddled together in the living room for I don’t know how long. Eventually, my mom tried to take us kids into my room while my dad stayed to watch the door. But the second we moved into my bedroom the knocking came back, so loud it was possible to ignore. I was afraid the door couldn’t take it.

We went back to the living room and the knocking stopped. Only the tap tap tap on the window remained. None of us slept that night.

The tapping stopped around 7 a.m. That’s about the time the sun comes up here. We waited another two hours before my dad opened the blinds from one window. He made us all go back to my parents’ bedroom first. I heard him open the door then come back in.

“Okay,” he told us. “It’s done.”

Holden’s parents came back around lunchtime. My mom and dad walked Holden over to his house and they all went inside for quite a while. Nola and I watched from the window. She stuck to me the whole day, right at my side, sometimes holding my hand. When my parents came back they looked grim but wouldn’t tell us what they said to Holden’s family. It was a Sunday so we all spent the day together, ordered pizza and watched movies.

That night everyone slept in my room, Nola and my mom in the bed with me, my dad in a chair he’d pulled over. There was no knocking that night or any night since.

We didn’t see much of Holden or his parents for the rest of that week but by Thursday there was a moving truck in their driveway. Nola and I watched them packing up the whole afternoon after school. What sticks with me most is how tired Holden and his parents looked. All three had the same pallor, grim mouths and light-less eyes. Even from across the street I could tell something was very wrong. Holden and his family were gone before sunset.

I remember what the original Welcoming Committee said to my parents when we moved in. Not everyone who looks at the whistler dies, but even those that live have the light go out of them and the rest of their lives are full of misfortune. A million little tragedies.

I think Holden’s parents must have looked, either to comfort him if they didn’t believe or share the burden if they did. I watch Nola some days, happy and young and alive, and I wonder if I’d been slower, if she’d looked out the window that night…would I have looked too? To comfort her? To share that burden? I’m glad I don’t have to find out.

We still live in that house, in that neighborhood. We still hear our whistler walking past every night. The blessings, the luck, the good things here are too good to leave. But we’re careful. We don’t have friends over to spend the night anymore. And my dad hides the key to the blinds very, very well. Not that I’ve gone looking. Some things you just don’t need to look for.

I Knew a Woman Who Never Took Off Her Wedding Dress…. by Poloniumpoisoning

Please note that this story contains mention of suicide. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.

Pauline was a sweet woman who lived across the street. We weren’t close as kids or teenagers because she was around five years older than me, but our parents were friends. I think she babysat me when I was younger too.

When my mother learned that Pauline was engaged, she sent me to help on the bridal shower. Poor mom, she thought I was like that because I was too often around boys and needed to learn to be more feminine, but she’s got that backwards.

That’s when I first learned that Pauline and her soon-to-be husband had made a blood oath.

“The first to die comes and takes the other as soon as they can”, she explained to me, swirling the ruby ring gently around her fingers.

“Isn’t that too dramatic? What if you end up divorcing and marrying other people?”

“We won’t. We are soulmates!” she assured me. Her naïveté made her incredibly beautiful, but it felt really wrong being 21 and thinking that I was so much more mature than a 26 years-old.

I didn’t pursue the matter, but she kept talking about him in a dreamy tone. Aiden would like this, I wish Aiden was here, and so on. Her dreamy tone almost made me believe that soulmates existed and that you could make the person you love the most follow you in death by just willing it.

I met Pauline’s friends, and we all ended up having some quality girl time. Pauline explained to us all how she believed that you can wake up in the afterlife and start controlling things with your mind.

“Of course your memories will be hazy”, she clarified. “But that’s why we made the blood oath. So we can remember.”

“And how will one get the other back?” I asked, entertaining her.

“I like to believe that we’ll both grow wings!”

It was all terribly silly when I think back, but Pauline had something about her that made everyone pay attention and marvel at her words.

Despite the age gap, we ended up becoming good friends; I think we were finally at an age where it didn’t matter anymore. Since I was in college but lived with my parents and didn’t need to work, I had a lot of spare time to accompany her to wedding dress fittings, cake tasting and all the little things that were the world for brides.

But Pauline was a pleasant bride-to-be and never freaked out; she was just thrilled about marrying the man of her dreams, and wanted to make it pretty if possible.

Little by little, I grew to understand her devotion to Aiden. And he was just as crazy about her, if not more. When they were together the world felt like a brighter and warmer place. Like marshmallows slowly melting over my heart.

The day of the wedding came, around half a year after her bridal shower.

It was neither a big nor a small wedding – it felt like both Pauline and Aiden were able to invite exactly everyone they wanted around on their happiest day. Not one more, not one less. I felt somewhat honored to be there.

Still, the happiest day never came.

When Pauline arrived, belated as any bride should, there was whispering and disquiet; Aiden wasn’t there yet.

Her smile didn’t falter, because she was completely sure that he would never bail on her. But I could tell she was worried. The bridesmaids – her two closest friends since high school – started making calls to try to find out if the groom had a sudden illness.

Soon they realized that Aiden’s parents were there, but not his brother. They informed that their other son was supposed to drive the groom as part of his best man’s duties.

When the devastating news came, everyone wanted to comfort her, everyone wanted desperately to protect her precious heart, but it was too torn apart to notice anyone else.

It was all too fast and scary. (…) A sports car ran a red light straight into the Mirage. (…) The man in the passenger seat was dead on arrival. (…) The driver was taken to the hospital but his state was critical.

It was all so hard on everyone. Aiden’s brother ended up surviving, but he’ll be tetraplegic for life due to severe injury on his spinal cord. As far as I know, he’s also miserable because he wished he could be the one who died.

Right after the wedding that never happened, Pauline and Aiden’s parents dealt with selling the house they had just bought, and Pauline continued living with her parents. They both still worked office jobs, so her other friends and I started taking turns keeping her company while they weren’t home.

I did my best to be there for my neighbor and friend, but she wasn’t there. She was living in delusion, and the only thing you could see leaking into reality was her desolation.

I never saw such a deep and heart-wrenching sadness. Pauline refused to take off her dress. She would spend the whole day by the window waiting for Aiden and the whole night crying because she missed him desperately. Every single day.

She was hopeful it was a matter of time until he woke up on the other side and remembered to bring her along. That’s why she wouldn’t take off the dress – he had died on his wedding suit, so it was only natural that she was up to par.

Her parents and every single one of her friends tried to coax her into changing her clothes. We promised she could always keep the dress close for when Aiden came, but she knew that we didn’t really believe he would. It was like promising your kid that you’d buy them a Happy Meal some other day.

No one dared to penetrate her grief and force her out of the dress. She spent the day in it, slept in it, even bathed in it; since we live in a warm and arid weather, having it dry wasn’t an issue, only everything else.

The once beautiful organza and silk were now ragged, grimy and smelling. But she still refused to take it off. She started to believe that Aiden wouldn’t be able to spot her in the crowd if she wasn’t wearing it.

It was impossible to change her mind, and even though she was seeing a therapist three times a week, she wasn’t improving. Her mourning and PTSD were turning into a darker, more permanent mental illness.

She started talking to Aiden, then explained to us that he was nearby, so she could feel him coming. He was just taking a while because flying is really hard when your wings are newly-acquired.

Then one morning, she disappeared for good. No one saw her leaving, and no one saw her at all after that.

The only thing that we were able to find, in the small grove behind the house, was her filthy wedding dress. It had two large holes poked on her back, like it had grown wings.


After finding the dress, everyone who loved Pauline was relieved; her mother readily admitted that she actually believed that Aiden somehow had come back to take her. Others weren’t so fond of the supernatural explanation, but thinking that there was a chance that it happened brought us a sense of closure.

It’s not that we were happy about her death, but we conformed to the possibility of her finally finding her peace.

She was an angel, after all. Why wouldn’t she grow wings and escape her flesh prison?

The family held a beautiful memorial service in her honor, and slowly we all started moving on with our lives.

Now, you might ask what I believe in. I would laugh bitterly because I don’t have this choice to begin with.

Being the person who spent the most time watching Pauline those days, it was only natural that I was the one to found her dead in the bathtub. Hiding and subsequently getting rid of her body was the hardest thing I have ever done; tampering with the dress, though, was eerily healing.

Still, I think that she would be pleased to know that I faked her rapture.

A romantic and mystifying death fitted her way more than suicide.

A Package Marked Return to Sender by Manen_Lyset

My neighbor is one of those annoying wannabe YouTube personalities. Over the years, I’ve seen him cough out cinnamon, lay flat on the hood of his car as it slowly creeps down the driveway, and douse himself in lukewarm water, all the while screaming epic win, epic fail, or, fuck, epic maintenance of the status quo, for all I know. It can get tiring to watch him go about his shenanigans in the pursuit of viral fame. So, when he knocked on my door the other day, told me he was going away for a few weeks, and asked that I get his mail, honestly, it was a relief. I can’t explain the peace of mind I had knowing I didn’t have to brace myself for any of his stupidity for a while. I was always afraid his stunts would wind up bleeding over into my life.

Things were pretty normal for the first couple of days. He received a few bills, a bit of spam, and what I could only assume was a birthday card. Then, one evening, I got home to find a cardboard box waiting on his front porch. In big red letters was written “Return to Sender”.

I’m no small fry, but I admit I had trouble lifting the box on my own. It was really freaking heavy. Lugging it across the road to my house was even harder, and I quickly realized there was no way I was going to drag it up the stairs and through my front door. I decided I’d leave his package in my garage. It wasn’t like I kept my car in there: the garage door was a piece of shit that refused to open without a good thug and a whack. It was less trouble just leaving the car in the driveway than it was to fight with the garage door every morning and night. In hindsight, I should have set the package down while I struggled to open the tricky door, but you know how it is when you’ve got a good grip on something, no point in setting it down if you don’t have to.

It was as I kicked the door for a third time that I lost my grip on the package, and it fell to the ground. I heard a light crack inside.

“Shit,” I cursed.

I hoped I hadn’t broken anything important, but figured I just wouldn’t tell my neighbor about it and let him assume the break happened en-route.

Hands free, I finally managed to get the garage door unstuck, and boy did it screech in protest as it rolled up and over me. I dragged the box the rest of the way, setting it in the corner for whenever my neighbor would come back to claim it. And then, I forgot all about it. Until a few days passed, that is.

I’m not sure exactly how long it took for the smell to waft in from the crack under the garage-to-house door, but it came in in slow progression. It was a sickly sweet odor similar to a skunk, and for the first few days after I smelled it, I genuinely assumed that’s exactly what it was: roadkill that had left its mark on my house. It was only when I realized the scent was growing more intense instead of fading that I went looking for a source. That’s when I opened the garage door, and that’s when the odor knocked me back, holding my nose.

The culprit wasn’t hard to identify. The only change in my garage was the box in the corner. I remember thinking it must have been one of those meat-of-the-month subscription boxes. The meat must have gone rancid from being left out of the fridge for so long. How much meat could have been in there for the box to have been so large and heavy? An entire freaking cow?

I covered my nose as I approached the box, a pair of scissors in my hands. I probably wouldn’t have needed them to open it, as it had become soggy enough at the bottom to poke through with a finger, but I wasn’t about to poke my finger into spoiled meat juices. That soggy bottom was the reason I had to open the box in the first place. If I tried to drag it out whole, everything would spill onto the floor. I was going to have to dump the pieces of meat one garbage bag at a time, and take them down to the dumpster, a process I wasn’t looking forward to.

My scissors tore through the tape along the top of the cardboard box. I thought the smell couldn’t get any worse, but as I flipped the flaps open, I discovered a whole new gamut of stink. It was like opening a burning oven, but instead of a heat wave, I was met with waves of piss, sweat, shit, and putrefaction. It was so bad that I staggered back and had to force down the puke begging to guzzle out of me. I don’t think I could have handled that scent mingling with the horrors coming out of the box. I’m not ashamed to admit I ran out the door for a breath of fresh air, but in the short time I’d spent in the garage, the smell had become so ingrained in the fabric of my clothes that it clung to me like a shadow.

Nothing I tried could keep the smell out of my nostrils. Not air fresheners, not a face mask, not three showers and a change of clothes. Every second that box lay open in my garage was another second the smell was allowed a foothold into my home. I had to bite the bullet.

I returned to the garage, the flaps of the box still open as though inviting me to look. I was prepared, a clothespin pinning my nostrils shut, a garbage bag in one hand, the strongest cleaner I could find in the other, and long rubber gloves to keep my skin from having to touch what was inside. But, as it turns out, I needed none of those things.

I wouldn’t have to touch or clean the contents of that box, I would only have to suffer the nightmares every night. You see, there was meat in that box, but it didn’t come from a cow or a pig. No, it was worse than that. It was my neighbor. Dead. Still in one piece, but dead.

I called the cops, and naturally, they took me in for interrogation. It’s kind of hard not to suspect the man with a corpse in his garage, after all. Thankfully, they soon realized I wasn’t involved. My DNA might have been all over that box, the smell might have left a mark throughout my house, but there was one piece of irrefutable evidence in my neighbor’s own hands that proved my innocence: a vlogging camera.

They showed me the footage only once. I’m not sure if they were allowed to, or if they felt so bad for me they figured it couldn’t hurt. Either way, I saw it.

My neighbor was sitting in the box outside of a shipping facility, laughing as he told the world how he was going to mail himself across state lines. He’d brought pee bottles, food, a pillow, and a few flashlights. His friend – a guy I’d seen at his place several times to help with his stunts –, closed the lid and presumably dropped him off for shipment. Throughout the next couple of hours…or days, I’m honestly not sure, my neighbor recorded a few short clips about his progress. ‘I think I’m in a truck now, I can feel it moving’, ‘Must be in a warehouse. Pretty warm here. Still got plenty of food!’, that kind of stuff. And then, on the last entry, the box toppled over. He broke his neck, and that was it. The camera recorded until either the memory card got too full, or the battery died.

There’s one thing I didn’t tell the police after they showed me the video. One thing I heard in the footage that will haunt me to the day I die. Just after the tumble that broke his neck, I heard the familiar screeching sound of my garage door.

My Son Asked Me to Check the Closet for Eigengraulogy

I recently went through a pretty nasty divorce, but I got the only thing that mattered out of it: full custody of my 4-year old son.

Lost nearly everything else in the process so we had to relocate to a new house with barely any luggage or furniture.

Truly a fresh new start.

I heard him call for me during our first night at our new home. It was a little after midnight, I think. I went to check on him to see what was wrong and sat by his bedside.

He was wide awake and asked me to check the closet for monsters, which wasn’t surprising given the circumstances.

He’s still just a little kid, and without even taking into account all the crap he’s been put through thanks to my shitty marriage, moving into an unfamiliar, barely furnished home must be a lot to take in for someone his age.

And you know how they say that your brain always stays half-awake when you’re sleeping in a new environment, right?

That’s all pretty much what went through my mind in a flash as soon as my son spoke.

It was no big deal. It was all normal, I thought.

But something else almost immediately clicked inside my brain, before I even got to look at where my son had pointed to while he made his innocent request.

Something was wrong.

I turned my head and looked, and it took everything I had in me to not give in to fear and terror, all for the sake of my son.

When you become a parent you have to protect your children no matter what, always putting yourself in harm’s way if necessary and spare them any and all kinds of things that might hurt them.

That’s why I didn’t freak out. I couldn’t, not when we had barely just started our new life. I had to protect him, and at that point in time as I sat on his bed I only knew one thing:

We had to leave the room

We had to leave the house immediately.

“Alright champ, of course” I said, faking bravery.

Then I made a request of my own as I lowered my voice and got closer to him:

“Hey, how about you step outside for a minute? If there’s a monster in there, I’ll have to kick its BUTT all over your room!”

He chuckled and said “okay”.

I made sure to put some extra emphasis on the word “butt” because it’s something that always cracks him up when I say it. Fortunately he got stuck on that and not the fact that I was indirectly admitting to the possibility of there actually being a monster.

As soon as he left the room my mind raced as it started to put together the best and most efficient route to take him out of the house while picking my car keys and phone on our way out.

When I heard the closet doors slowly creaking open behind me I knew it was time to go.

I jumped out of the bed, exited the room and grabbed my son. We were out of the door and inside the car and moving in under a minute.

I told him I couldn’t sleep so we were going out for some ice-cream to celebrate. He was a little taken aback and asked “celebrate what”, to which I replied “just us two together, I love you buddy.

It was by no means a lie, but I just had to make sure that he was alright and wouldn’t think of anything else as we literally fled our new home.

As I mentioned earlier, the house was a new environment for the two of us. I’d been there a couple of times before, cleaned it all up by myself and assembled what little furniture we had, so I knew for a fact what belonged where and what didn’t.

And I know his room didn’t have a closet.

I’ve Been Trying to Leave My Bathroom for the Past 30 Minutes by V0ids

I can’t leave my bathroom.

About 30 minutes ago I got out of the shower and dried off, put on my pjs, opened the door and walked out, only to find myself back in my bathroom, staring at the closed door.

I stopped, and tried to rationalise what had just happened to me. I convinced myself that I had simply imagined that I had opened the door and stepped out, so I tried again. I pushed the door handle down, opened it, stepped out, and yet again found myself in my bathroom, standing in front of a closed door.

This has happened every single time I’ve tried to leave. I keep my phone in the bathroom with me when I’m showering- I live alone so I keep it with me just in case, for safety. The first thing I did was call my parents – my dad didn’t pick up, but my mum did. I tried to explain the situation to her, but she couldn’t seem to understand how I was trapped in my bathroom if the door could open. She seemed convinced that I must mean that my bathroom door’s lock was broken and I was trapped inside. Regardless, she said that she would be over asap. She only lives a 15 minute drive away, so she should be here any moment.

I’m sat leaning against my bath tub, looking out the open bathroom door into my landing. I opened it this time, but didn’t try to step out. Everything looks normal. My bedroom door is closed just as I left it, the airing cupboard door closed as well, the stairs leading down to the hallway and the front door, all normal.

The door’s shut. I don’t have any recollection of how it shut, when it shut- only that it must have happened in the last few seconds after I wrote that last paragraph. I’ve just reread and reread that paragraph, it’s proof that I’m not going crazy and imagining this.

My mum just text me to ask if I’m in the house. I said yes, of course I am, I’m trapped in the bathroom, that’s the whole reason that I called you here. This is what she has sent:

Mum: Why aren’t you saying anything?

Me: What do you mean

Mum: Are you even in there?

Me: Yes I’m in here! Are you here?

Mum: I’m outside the bathroom door. I’ve been calling your name

I don’t understand. I can’t hear anything through the door. I’m going to open it.

I can see my landing, my stairs, my front door, but no mum. I tried to walk out, but it was fruitless. Back staring at the closed bathroom door.

My mum tried the handle of the door from her side, but it won’t open. She brought tools to unscrew the lock. She says she’s doing it now, but I can’t hear anything, and I can’t see the handle moving.

Okay, mum text me to say the lock is taken out, but the door still won’t open on her side. She looked through the circular hole in the door where the lock was, but just saw my bathroom. Empty.

There’s no hole on my side of the door. The handle and lock are intact.

I have no idea what’s happening, or how I can get out. After much convincing my mum that I am in fact in here, she said she is calling someone to possibly knock the door down. I’m worried that once they do that, they will find an empty bathroom, and yet I will still be here, trapped in my bathroom. There’s no plug sockets in here, never mind my phone charger. My phone will die at some point, I’m already on 24%. When it runs out, I might lose my only point of contact with the rest of the world.

I don’t know what to do.

Mum’s left now to get help. I’m sat wondering what I can do. I tried to break the door down myself, I knew it wouldn’t work, but I had to try. I remember reading once on Reddit that you shouldn’t use your shoulder, you should try to kick the door by the lock because it’s the weak point. It didn’t work. I’m not sure any part of this door has a weak point now.

The window is small, and I’m not sure if I’d actually be able to fit out of it.

Scratch that – the window won’t open either. There are locks on the windows in my house, you can lock them with a little key, but I never received any when I moved in, so I’ve never been able to lock them. It’s locked now though.

It’s got one of those white plastic cheap blinds covering it. I ended up ripping it down. It’s pulled some plaster down with it, but now I can get at the window better. It’s straight above the toilet, so I am kneeling on top of the toilet lid, yanking at the window handle. It won’t

Wait, it opened. I didn’t notice how dark it was outside. It shouldn’t be dark, it’s midday.

I looked around, desperately trying to see anyone. No one’s around. Everything looks kind of… muted. I can’t describe it. Nor can I describe the deep seated feeling of dread and wrongness as I look out into my neighbourhood. My instincts are telling me not to, but I stick my head out to look down to where I could possibly drop to.

My window’s closed. I never felt myself move, but my window’s closed. Even the fucking plastic blind is back in place.

I’m sat on the floor now, as far away from the window and door as I can get. I feel sick.

Mum came back, along with her work friend. He helped her unscrew the hinges and remove the door. I’m not in there. They can’t see me. My mum sent a photo of her inside the bathroom, with no me. She thinks this has all been a joke, and is refusing to reply to my texts or answer my calls. I’m on 14% battery, I don’t know if I will ever get to leave. This might be my only chance to say goodbye to my mum, but she won’t answer her phone.

Edit: I’ve ripped down the shower curtain, and yet I’m staring at it right now, hung up, hanging over the side of my bath.

I looked out the window again. I think I heard a rumbling. Low, quiet rumbling. I haven’t opened the window since.

My phone’s on 1%. If I get out, I will update this post. If no edit comes, assume I’m still here.

Okay, I can’t take anymore of these. Read more super scary stories on Reddit (and there are tons of awful/wonderful ones on Jezebel too!). Now I’m off to turn all my lights on even though it’s daytime. Help.

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