Jerry woke up with another cold sweat. He panted, shaking his head as he wiped his forehead. He was getting tired of these damn nightmares he’s been having. It all started with the death of his close friend, Gage.
The two had planned a camping trip weeks in advance. They brought everything needed for the two of them. A tent, lanterns, food, matches, flashlights, batteries, anything you could think of having with you on a camping trip, they had. It was supposed to be a great vacation in the most spookiest part of town. Friends and neighbors told them not to enter the grounds of the old campsite but they didn’t listen.
There was an old tale about the campsite stationed near the lake. A bunch of friends had hung out there years ago and experienced horrifying things that were indescribable. It was said some of them had been killed on the site. Now whoever went there would wake up to their stuffed packed up. A sign for them to leave before anything horrible happens and another victim is claimed. Since this was an old tale, the story didn’t bother either Gage or Jerry.
When they got there, they instantly unpacked their stuff to set up their site. The tent only took a few minutes to hitch, and the fire took less time to start. Once they finished, it was near ten at night. The dark didn’t scare them as they laughed by the fire. Since stories are usually told around campfires, Gage offered a story Jerry happily listened to.
“I don’t know if you’ll believe me, but sometimes when I’m alone I feel like someone is still there with me. Like I’m never alone.”
Jerry laughed and shook his head as he sipped his mountain dew. “You realize that no one is ever alone, right?”
“You’re one of those skeptic believers, so of course you’d say that, but this is different.” Gage picked at the fire to keep the flames alive. “I’ll be sitting in my living room, watching random movies and then I’d feel a gust of wind on me. The gust is frickin’ powerful too. I probably would have fallen over if I wasn’t sitting on the couch.”
“Come on. This sounds like a cliché ghost story.” Jerry laughed.
Gage ignored his friend and continued. “At first I thought I had forgotten to close a window and would check all of the windows in the room. They were shut and sealed. Not a crack or crease was emitting drafts such as the one I could have felt. I would shrug it off and continue watching movies.
“Later, I noticed that noises were coming from the kitchen. Frying pans clanging against pots. That’s what it sounded like. I know how much of an imagination I have, so I let it go, figuring that my ears were playing with me. I know I wouldn’t be the only one to say I’ve heard weird things. Hell, sometimes I feel like someone is calling my name but I don’t see anyone when I turn towards them.
“Usually around this time I will get up off the couch, turn everything off, lock every door and window, because you know how I’m paranoid about burglars getting in by an open door and window, and went upstairs. Now, you remember how you used to point out about the dark bags under my eyes?”
“You looked horrible and exhausted those days.” Jerry bit into a slim jim. “I figured that you just stayed up really late watching movies.”
“Well, I would stay up late, but it wasn’t because of movies.” Gage looked at his friend, the light from the fire causing his face to look dark and menacing as he told his tale. “I was fine. Sleeping soundly and everything. Then I would wake up from a nightmare I couldn’t remember, panting in a cold sweat. Then I would hear things again, but this time scratching and light pounding from downstairs. The pots and pans were loud as cymbals too. I would shake my head and try to sleep.
“The noises would die down around 3:28 in the morning. Nothing would make it peep. It’s always such an eerie silence though. My skin crawled with goosebumps as another draft floated from my feet to my shoulders. I don’t know how, but I would soon fall asleep.” Gage stared at the fire again. “That kept happening for a few more weeks before I moved into that apartment closer to my family.”
“But it followed you?” Jerry gazed at his friend, kidding and jokes forgotten as he listened to his sleep deprived friend.
“Yes and no.” Gage let the stick in his hands fall into the fire so he could change his sitting position. “I say yes because the draft still bothered me every night. I say no because the noises were different. Instead of pots and pans, I would hear the clicking of the stove’s gas wanting to ignite and the sputtering of the dispenser in the sink.”
Jerry cringed as he thought of the masher in sinks. He hated those things since he remembered horror movies where if you stuck your hand down it and it turned on, your hand or even your entire arm would be chewed off. He always made sure those things were uninstalled from his sinks if he had any where he lived.
Gage paused to think as Jerry did. “I hated the sound of the dispenser, so the fifth day in, when I could acquire the right items to take it out, I ripped the thing from my pipes.” He shivered and rubbed his arms. “Though I took it out, the noise stuck around.”
“That’s…creepy…” Jerry commented quietly.
“You have no idea.” Gage tried to chuckle but it was dry. “The other thing that stayed the same was 3:28 in the morning, every noise that bothered me would stop and the draft would come to my shoulders. Every time I feel that draft, I could swear a pressure is going up my body. It feels like a fucking hand is coasting up my leg to my arm and soon rests on my shoulder before letting off.”
“How the hell can you sleep after feeling that?” Jerry’s complexion was pale, but not as much as Gage’s.
Gage shrugged. “I just do. There’s also this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that right as I fall asleep, a voice calls out to me or says something.” He shivered again.
“So the noises… They usually start up when you try to sleep?”
Gage nodded. “Yeah.”
Jerry glanced at the flames, thinking up more questions. He himself shivered, but blamed the chill in the air. “When did all that start?”
The other male was silent at first. He thought it over and sighed through his nose. “Honestly? I think it’s been happening ever since my mom’s passing.”
“Could it be your mom?” Jerry of course believed in the unknown, but had no experience with any such things as ghosts.
Gage shook his head. “I thought that at first but I remembered my mom never did any of those things at night. She was always the first to bed and sleep. She also was the first to be awake though she looked exhausted and didn’t get any sleep.”
Jerry hummed and mulled over that bit of information. “Do you think she could have experienced those things as well?”
“How the hell would I know?” Gage’s face scrunched up in annoyance. “She barely left her room, too paranoid sometimes to the point where Dad and I thought she was going through some sort of depression.”
“Did a relative pass away at that time?”
“God dammit, stop asking questions!” Gage glared at Jerry.
Jerry raised his hands in defense. “I’m just trying to figure out if it’s a trait in the family or something.”
“You’re trying to find out if I’m crazy.”
“Dude, everyone is crazy. There is not one sane person on the Earth.” Jerry glowered. “I believe in the shit people say don’t exist, remember? And when the hell did you get easily angered?”
Gage continued to glare until he blinked, realizing it wasn’t like him to get annoyed or angry at Jerry like this. He frowned, sighing. “Sorry Jer. I think this…sleep deprivation is getting to me.” He leaned back and stared at the starry sky. “To answer your question, no. None of our relatives or friends had passed during that time. It’s just so…weird. She could have gone what I’m going through and I don’t even know…”
Jerry patted his shoulder. “Don’t feel too bad about it…and who knows? Maybe since you’re not in any sort of house and with someone else, you won’t hear or feel those things.”
“Yeah… Maybe.” Gage didn’t peel his gaze away from the sky.
Jerry sighed through his nose. “Let’s get some sleep.” He suggested, standing from the ground and wiping the dirt from the back of his jeans. He quickly got into the tent and changed into some warm night clothes. After five minutes he popped his head out of the tent. “Gage? Are you going to sleep?”
“Soon. I just want to look at the sky right now.” Jerry nodded and receded back into the tent.
Hours later, Gage had joined his friend in the tent to sleep and no sooner did he shut his eyes did he hear it. The guttural sound of the kitchen sink dispenser and clicking of gas. His eyes snapped back open and saw Jerry. He was passed out, snoring. No luck getting him up. Right as Gage slowly sat up, the noise changed instantly. Now he heard splashing and the popping of flames. He feared he would never be rid of these noises.
Two hours after dawn, Jerry woke up and yawned, stretching his arms out. He looked around the tent and saw Gage was sleeping. Awkwardly. The inside of the tent felt chilly as well. “Morning air.” He mumbled quietly to himself.
He slipped out of the tent, trying not to wake Gage up and stood shocked at what he saw. Their stuff that was unpacked had been packed up again and put in the pickup truck they used to drive here. A smile etched its way onto his face. “Maybe our neighbors were right about a lurker being here.” He was full of energy and excitement.
Jerry unpacked everything again and when he finished, Gage exited the tent with a yawn. He looked at Jerry with a confused expression. “Are you packing up?”
“No. Unpacking.” Jerry panted a little as he tapped the cooler’s top, smiling at Gage. “Someone packed our stuff up except the tent. They must want us to leave or enjoy watching us work.” He chuckled. Gage tried to smile. “So,” Jerry started, sitting on the ground near the extinguished fire from last night, “did you have any nightmares this time? Sleep well?”
Gage shook his head and collapsed on to the ground. “No. Since I went into the tent very late, I didn’t wake up from a nightmare. I didn’t even get a chance to sleep and the noises started up. I wish I could sleep like you do. A frickin’ rock.”
Jerry chuckled a little, frowning. “What about the draft?”
“I thought it would be hard to distinguish the draft from cold night and morning air, but I was wrong. The pressure was still there. The hand…” He shivered. “God, I wish this could stop. I need sleep.”
Jerry sighed through his nose, ruffling up his friend’s hair. “Well, let’s get you something to think about other than what happened in the night.” He smiled. “Wanna go swimming in the lake?” Gage shook his head. “Fine, but you’re missing out.”
The energetic man quickly changed into some swim trunks and didn’t hesitate to run on the dock and jump off the end. Gage shook his head again, this time with a small smile playing at his lips. He walked over and sat on the edge, feet in the warm water.
Half an hour passed. Jerry was still in the lake, floating on the surface and letting the sun hit him. His ears were covered by the water, so when he heard something fall into the water, he didn’t pay any attention to it. He was a ways out from the dock so if Gage decided to jump in, he wouldn’t have heard it. He popped up straight and shook his head, looking around as he moved his arms and legs so his head stayed above the water.
Gage wasn’t on the dock. He smiled and looked around the water. Jerry couldn’t spot his friend. He soon worried for him and swam back to the dock.
“Gage?” He called out. He pulled himself up on the dock and grabbed a towel before checking the tent. He wasn’t in there. He stood out and turned around. The pickup truck was still there so Gage didn’t leave him behind. He was puzzled. “Where could he have gone?” That’s when he heard a splash.
Jerry’s eyes glanced at the water again. He still couldn’t see anything. He walked closer to see if there were any ripples in the water. There were some coming from the dock in the water but nothing else. He scoped the entire lake, making sure his eyes weren’t fooling him.
Another splash. This time is sounded like an object was washing up on shore. Jerry check the shore line. Suddenly, he jumped at a thunderous thud against the underside of the dock. He stared, frightened. His body reluctantly stepped closer so he could inspect the water through the breaks between the wood. His eyes saw something in the water, but he wasn’t sure what it was. He leaned closer to where his eyes were closely pressed against the gap. When whatever it was resurfaced, his eyes widened and he backed away.
“Gage!” He dove into the water and tried to fish his friend from under the dock. When he pulled the drenched, paling body of Gage, he turned it over and gasped, pushing himself away from it. Gage’s face was wrought with fear, mouth open wider than a mouth should open. His eyes were rolled back because Jerry couldn’t see any sort of retinas, just old blood vessels. The neck muscles were pushed in and stretched, marks of fingers around it. Gage was drowned and Jerry didn’t know how.
Horrified, Jerry packed everything up and placed it on the back of the truck. He wanted to leave Gage’s body there, but felt horrible and guilty at the idea. He searched around and reluctantly pushed Gage back under the dock. No one went to this area so it was unlikely anyone would find him.
When Jerry was back into town, the neighbors instantly noticed his pale skin and horrified, scared looking face. They also noted how his friend hadn’t returned but didn’t question him what happened. They had their assumptions that Gage must have been dealt a bad hand and suffered from that. Jerry would have agreed with them.
Shaking his head again, Jerry cradled his head as he relived the memory. After gaining enough courage to tell Gage’s father that his son was dead, he learned that Gage’s mother had also been found in such a way. She wasn’t drowned though. The man told Jerry that she mumbled nonsense about noises in the night keeping her up, and the last noise he remembered her saying she heard was static and water splashing. She died by electricity.
Jerry didn’t want to think the water splash could be a coincidence, or the static. Gage never mentioned the noises he heard during that night and was thankful he didn’t. He still wondered if the first noise Gage heard was water splashing.
The last thing he didn’t want to dread upon was the idea that Gage was right. Jerry lived alone like Gage did, and when he returned from the camping trip, he never felt alone again. There was always that feeling that someone was there with him, watching him. He felt he was being toyed with.
His ears twitched at a door slam and glass shatter. He covered them, chanting words of “Leave me alone.” or “Shut up.” but to no avail. The noise progressed. It was when he heard a spark of fire and ripping of a lawn mower that his head instantly shot up.
This noise was different. Was this significant? The noises of fire and the lawn mower looped until everything stopped. Eerie silence. He glanced at the clock and saw it was on 3:28. He gulped. His ears twitched as he heard something again, but it was different from the noises that were deliberate. He turned his head and sniffed.
Jerry’s smelt smoke. He panicked and leapt out of bed to his door. “How the hell did my house get on-?!” He pulled his hand back when it connected with the doorknob. He shook his head, slowly putting a hand on the wooden cased, metal door only to feel heat. “Oh my god…” He ran to his bedside table to call the fire department, coughing as smoke and fumes entered his room. “Dammit, where is the phone…?” Realization hit him. He left it downstairs again. Such a stupid, forgetful action.
He pulled out a cloth and wrapped it around his nose and mouth to keep the smoke and fumes from choking him to death. He crouched down and felt a chill. A gust of wind pushed him over and pulled the cloth away from his face. Jerry freaked as he tried to get back up, but the pressure put on him wouldn’t let him move.
Then he felt something grasp his ankles. The door to his room burst open as flames pushed their way in. He kicked at the invisible force, trying to pull away. It was all futile.
The next morning, an article in the town news mentioned how a house was burned down to the ground. The source of the fire was still a mystery but they knew one thing. One body was found in the charred mess of the first floor living room, grasping the leg of a broken table that held odd dents punctured into the wood. The dents were said to form a wide curricular shape. A bite. But the marks were not human based. When the fire fighters had entered the only room with less damage to it, they found a strange message written across the wall in red that made most of them feel a chill run down their spine. The message read, “You’re Never Alone.”
Credit To – ChamirianBels