I’ve always been somewhat of a social outcast. This was of my own design, I suppose. At an early age, I decided that I wanted to throw myself into my studies. You have to get good grades to get into college. You have to get into college to get a good job. You have to get a good job to have a good life. At least that was what I had always been told.
When it came time for me to graduate from high school, my mom promised me a big party. She was really proud of me because I would be the first person in the family to go to college. My grades were good enough that I got a scholarship to one of the local colleges. This would work out great for me because I could get a good education and still live at home. Since my brother moved out a few years ago, it was just my mother and me and although we weren’t exactly poor, we did have to do without some of the things we wanted and greatly appreciated the value of a dollar.
My mom invited practically everyone to my graduation – family members, people from church, a lady I used to take piano lessons from as a child and even her hairdresser! When graduation night came and I walked across the stage, I heard a loud cheer from the audience. It felt good to know so many people were pulling for me. But, I couldn’t help but think that these people were really my mother’s friends, and not my own. No matter, they were all invited to celebrate at my mother’s house afterwards.
At the party, there was cake, punch, snacks, and lots of conversation. Also, everyone gave me graduation gifts! Most of them were cards with small amounts of cash tucked inside, ranging from $10 all the way up to $50 from a particularly generous church couple. My brother, who had driven over a hundred miles for the occasion, gave me a brief case. An aunt gave me an antique rocking chair. The pastor gave me a new bible. Apparently everyone thought I was a 50 year old lawyer with a passion for antiques. But, I did appreciate the sentiment.
I took everything to my room. I sat the heavy rocking chair in a corner, slid the briefcase under my bed, set the bible on my dresser and stashed a total of $185 in my wallet. However, I was not through receiving gifts. A few days later, a small package arrived in the mail for me. It was from an uncle on my mother’s side who had moved to Alaska of all places. I sat on my bed and looked it over. I was fascinated because it wasn’t simply a cardboard box all taped up like you usually get through the mail. Instead, it was wrapped in brown paper and there was a thin piece of twine that was encircling the whole thing and tied into a bow at the top. For some reason, I picked up the package, held it under my nose and inhaled sharply. “Ahhhh, Alaska!” I said to myself, imagining the cool Alaskan air wrapping itself around me.
Carefully, I unwrapped the package and found a small, blue box. I opened it to find a silver pen and ink. Immediately I thought, “Great. There’s another relative who doesn’t know me.” My thoughts then turned to one of the few memories I had of my uncle. Back when my father was still around, my uncle babysat me once while my parents went out of town. He was a thin man with pale skin and sharp features. The lines on his face told of a hard life that belied his cheerful smile when he saw me. I remembered how we stayed up late that night and watched a scary movie. It was great!
I took the pen out of the box, held it in my hand and then adjusted it into a writing position. It actually felt really good. It wasn’t too heavy or too light and seemed perfectly balanced. I put the ink in the pen and scribbled some lines on the brown paper that had been wrapped around the package. Dark ink flowed smoothly and evenly onto it. “Not bad,” I thought.
It wasn’t long before my summer classes at college started. I figured I’d get a jump on my required courses and going in the summer would give me a little time to adjust to college life without the campus being completely full of students. One of the first assignments I got was in my creative writing class. We were supposed to write any story at all as long as we could finish it during the class time provided. I looked around the classroom and could tell that no one else was prepared for this either, but everyone pulled out their notebooks and hurriedly wrote their tales. I decided that I would write about the gifts I had received for graduation and how I would rather have video games.
The next time our class met, the professor handed back our papers and I got a C. A note in the margin simply said, “Boring.” After class, I asked about my grade. The professor said that it lacked inspiration and wasn’t very creative. We talked about ways to think imaginatively and he ended up suggesting that I keep a dream journal to use for ideas.
When I got back home, I put a notebook on my nightstand, found the pen my uncle sent me and set it on top. That night I struggled to get to sleep, but once I did I had a dream. I was a child in a strange house. I crept into a room and picked up a blonde haired doll wearing a pink dress. There were voices coming from another room so I sneaked down the hall to avoid them and went out the back door. Once I was outside, I looked around to make sure no one was watching. I looked down at the doll and gently stroked its hair before wrapping my fist around its head and violently pulling it off. I heard a giggle that did not sound like my own. Next, I pulled off the doll’s arms and legs. Feeling panicked, I looked around and saw a rose bush. I went over to it and dug at the roots, accidentally pricking my finger on a thorn. I tossed the dismembered doll and its body parts into the hole and quickly covered them up. When I woke from the dream, I turned on the light, grabbed my notebook and pen, and stumbled toward the rocking chair where I recorded it in my journal.
The next morning, I yawned as I told my mother about the dream. A look of astonishment washed over her face. “Something almost exactly like that happened to me when I was a girl,” she said. “One day I found my favorite doll torn apart and buried by a rose bush in the back yard. I always thought your uncle did it, but he never admitted to it.” In my next creative writing class, I wrote a story about the dream. It earned me a B with the note, “Better.”
My journal lay silent the next few nights as I didn’t have any dreams, at least none that I remembered. Then, one morning I woke up and looked at the notebook. There, written in all capital letters large enough to cover the entirety of the page was, “WAKE UP!” At the very moment I read it, there was a loud banging on my door and my mother shouted “Wake up!” My head snapped toward my door. “You’re going to be late for your class!” she added.
“I’m up!” I yelled at her. “Go away!” I felt bad for being so abrupt, but she had just about given me a heart attack after all. I looked back down at the paper. I didn’t remember writing anything in my journal. I must’ve awoke in the middle of the night, wrote it and simply forgot.
That night I had a slightly disturbing dream. I saw someone crouched down on the floor of a room. He was busy scribbling something into a notebook. Words were creaking onto the paper as his hand feverishly flew across the page. When I tried to look over his shoulder to make out what he was writing, he moved so that I couldn’t see. However, I did notice that he was using my pen. This infuriated me, so I reached out and put my hand on his shoulder. He quickly stood up and turned to face me. It was me! My eyes were completely white, with large, dark circles underneath them. I had a crazed grin on my face and my hair was a mess, sticking up like horns. I gasped as I took a step backwards in shock and then looked down at the notebook. There was one phrase written all over it in various sizes: “He has you!”
Once again, I recorded everything in my journal. For my next assignment, I wrote about the inner self and how we should look at ourselves as others see us. My attempt earned me a D with the note, “This is not Psychology 101.” At this point, I was starting to get annoyed. My grammar was good, I tried really hard, and I was even using the damn journal as inspiration. Maybe I wasn’t ready for college. I wasn’t doing very well in my other classes lately either.
After a long and frustrating day, I stared angrily at the blank page in my journal before I went to sleep. As I drifted off, I dreamed that I was in an old house. I walked down a long hallway and then down into the basement which had a dirt floor and walls. There was a hole in the wall that I crawled through. I found myself atop a stone stairway. I walked down the stairs for what seemed like ages. Eventually I was in an empty room. I looked behind me and the doorway that I came through had disappeared. There was an odd, loud creaking as a large stone platform rose up from the floor in the center of the room. Its surface was as smooth as glass and looked like it was wet. Light from an unseen source shined down onto it. I took a step forward and reached out to touch it when black lines suddenly appeared on the surface. They then moved around and formed into three separate symbols. I had never seen anything like them before and when I tried to focus my eyes on them, they shook violently and settled into different shapes.
I woke up anxious to write everything down in my journal. However, when I reached for my pen, I screamed in shock when I saw that my notebook was covered with the same strange symbols I saw in my dream. I stood up quickly and backed toward my door, keeping my eyes on the journal. As I moved across the room, the symbols seemed to change shape and eventually looked like a pair of eyes staring directly at me. I turned on my light to get a better look. As I walked back toward my nightstand, the symbols seemed to scurry around on spider legs as they rushed back into their original shapes. Maybe I had just been looking at them from an odd angle. Maybe I was still half asleep and my eyes were still blurry. I had to be imagining the whole thing. No matter, surely this would make for a good story.
The next day during class, I took care to write exactly what had happened in my dream. I felt accomplished. Finally I was turning in something that Professor Thomas might find original. But, my victory was short lived. At the end of our next class, I got my paper back and immediately saw a large F at the top with “Is this a joke?” in the margin. Furiously, I almost crumpled the paper and then I looked at the rest of it. My name was at the top of the page, but gone was the story I wrote in class. Instead, it was replaced with the strange set of repeated symbols from my dream. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I ran out of the classroom and into the bathroom. I splashed water on my face and looked at myself into the mirror. What the hell was happening to me? Did I really write that or was I just seeing things?
A few nights later, I had a terrible nightmare. I dreamed that I sneaked up behind Professor Thomas and smashed him in the head with a rock. He fell to the floor with a loud thud. Then, I turned him over, sat on his chest and choked him with my hands until he stopped moving. Next, I took some rope, fashioned it into a noose, and slipped it over his head. I could hear the bones in his neck snapping as I hoisted him off the ground. The rope creaked back and forth as Professor Thomas’s lifeless body swung side to side.
The nightmare startled me so much that I woke up in the middle of the night. I fumbled toward the light switch and when I turned it on I saw a drawing of a hanging man sketched into my journal. The pen my uncle gave me sat on top and gleamed silently.
The next morning, when I went to school there were several students standing outside the building. Three police cars and an ambulance were parked outside. I walked up to a classmate, a fairly pretty girl with long, curly, blonde hair who was wearing a green cardigan sweater, and asked her what was going on. She looked at me, eyes full of tears, and said, “Professor Thomas killed himself!”
I blinked my eyes in disbelief and frantically asked, “What? Are you sure?”
She tilted her head to the side slightly and opened her arms wide. The next thing I knew, I found myself in her warm embrace. Her sadness somehow made the vanilla perfume she was wearing smell bitter. I thought it odd that she would hug me when I barely knew her. Then, she fought through her tears and said, “I know this will be hard for you. You were his favorite straight A student.” She became quiet for a moment and solemnly announced, “He hung himself.” Immediately, I pushed her back and looked at her in shock. I turned around and ran toward my car.
As I sped home, I just kept saying, “This can’t be real. It can’t be.” My mind was racing almost as fast as my heart was beating. What the hell had just happened? Did this have something to do with…me? I thought back on everything that had been happening – all the weird stuff that started just after graduation. When I got home, I ran to my room and grabbed my notebook off the nightstand. I flipped through the pages and then dropped it to the floor. They were all blank. Nothing I had written was there. I sat down on my bed and covered my face with my hands. My eyes were now stinging and wet with tears. When I opened my eyes again, I saw the pen my uncle sent me sitting there and shining at me happily. I picked it up and looked at it closely. The initials “AWH” were faintly visible, inscribed in a cursive font. Why had I never seen this before? Who the hell was “AWH?” Why would my uncle give me something like this? Determined this evil thing – this cursed object – was the source of all my problems, I tried breaking it in half to no success before finally taking it outside and throwing it into the trash.
When my mom came home, she asked me about Professor Thomas. I brushed her off as we sat there watching the news for any information. Honestly, I half expected to hear the police knocking at the door. Surely I would be a prime suspect if they had seen my drawing, my stories, and my…dreams.
That night I lay in bed with my eyes wide open, everything in the world going through my mind. How could I sleep at a time like this? I felt like I didn’t deserve rest. However, my body betrayed me and I once again found myself in a heavy slumber.
In the middle of the night, I was awakened by a stinging sensation. Something like this would normally cause me to sit bolt upright in bed and find out what was wrong, but I was just so tired. I lay there with my eyes closed. The thick blanket of silence that was draped over me fell when I heard a faint scratching sound. I strained my ears to listen closely. It was coming from my nightstand. Finally, I managed to open my eyes. I could see that my arm was stretched straight out. My hand was on my notebook and I was drawing something with my finger. As my eyes focused more, I could see that my fingertip was dripping blood. My eyes focused yet again and I could see large pair of hands, almost too dark to be seen against the darkness of my room. They were holding my hand and guiding my finger across the page.
Frozen with fear, my eyes moved slowly to the source of the hands. A massive, dark figure towered over my bed. Three horns crowned its head. Its twisted features were visible in hues of black and gray. The body appeared to be made of a thick smoke, impossibly both solid and wispy at the same time. Suddenly, it released my hand and peered into my eyes. Chills went through my body as a wicked grin revealed sharp teeth. The thing opened its mouth slightly to reveal yet a second row. It drifted backwards silently, toward the rocking chair and sat down, still staring into my eyes. The thing pointed a long, wispy finger at me before disappearing into a cloud of black, translucent smoke as the rocking chair creaked loudly.
Credit To – Escaped Null