It was late, right around 8:00 P.M. For November this meant that the shadows of the night were already engulfing the world. It wasn’t cold out though. The wind was gentle and carried with it the smells of foliage thanks to the various gardens that littered the campus grounds.
I sauntered along the sidewalks while admiring the weather. I loved the night, especially when the stars were out. Unfortunately they couldn’t be seen from here even on the clearest of nights since the college was located just outside the city.
A friendly squirrel suddenly crossed my path, coming mere inches to my feet before looking up at me and chattering as though I had done it a misdeed. It didn’t appear frightened at all so in a sudden motion I stomped at it. The creature, rather than skittering off, lay flat on the ground. I felt that I could possibly kneel down and pick up the creature had I wanted to. However I had been attending this campus for months and knew from experience that the little thing would run off just sort of contact.
So instead I continued on my way. I had a destination in mind and could not be delayed any longer.
Just ahead along the outer edge of the campus was the only women’s restroom left open at this hour. The campus itself usually shuts down early on Fridays so I was lucky there was at least one left unlocked, especially considering I had an hour’s drive home ahead of me. Quite honestly I didn’t feel like stopping at a gas station for such a purpose this late in the day.
Turning the last building I finally arrived at the lonely structure. It could have served as a concrete outhouse in my opinion, but then again I have no knowledge of such things. It was just a small building with a single purpose.
I looked behind me as a gust of wind caught my attention. The parking lot was a few yards away, surrounded by the flat green lawn of the college. The campus buildings themselves were dark and shadowed, most of which were no longer holding classes at this time. When I saw no one there I continued on my way.
The door screamed in protest as I entered, rust covered hinges flaking away in a flurry. The sound reverberated in the small room. As was normal for bathrooms the floor was linoleum, the walls a bare white and a single yellow light illuminated the six stalls aligning the back wall.
There were only two sinks and a single roll of paper towels hanging above a trash bin. I passed by and as per usual chose the stall beside the handicapped. I always felt bad whenever I entered the handicapped stall since it was designed for those who had trouble using the regular toilets. When I was younger I took delight in the more spacious stall, but now I knew better.
Regardless of popular belief, women’s’ restrooms don’t exactly smell better than the men’s room. For various reasons it always smelled worse. I would know. In high school I had once been dared to enter every men’s room on campus. I did of course, being the dare devil I was.
This time it smelled worse. As though something had died and been left to rot in the small hanging trash box along one of the stall walls. Knowing the sorts of things that would have normally been thrown in there I didn’t feel the urge to investigate and set my mind to finishing my business.
It wasn’t until I was finished that I heard it. A slight gasping sound, as though someone with asthma was in the stall beside me.
Not having heard anyone enter the restroom I did the immature thing and looked. I leaned forward and tilted my head until I could see under the wall to my left, allowing me to peer into the four stalls beside mine.
At first I didn’t see anything. They were all empty, so I figured the sound was probably coming from the handicapped stall beside me. Before I could turn my head however I noticed a pair of legs drop down from the stall at the far end.
That’s when I realized someone had been standing on the toilet in the first stall. The legs were bare, probably meaning the owner had on a dress or shorts. As for the missing shoes, I wasn’t certain. People don’t just wander the city shoeless. Not that I knew of anyway.
Relieved at finding the culprit I sighed and closed my eyes, ready to sit up and leave when something else happened. A head popped down from the last stall, obviously belonging to the same person as the legs, although something had seemed off about her.
She seemed to be a brunette with wild, unkempt hair. Her skin was very pale, as though she hadn’t seen the light of day in years. The features on her face were more prominent, thin and shadowed. She looked rather young to be attending college, maybe a high school freshman?
Either way her cheeks and eyes were unnaturally sunken in. Her eyes however appeared to be pure black.
Now I was four stalls away from her and making all kinds of judgment calls on the girl when I realized I had just been caught peeping at her. This was rather embarrassing so I immediately sat up blushing furiously.
Should I apologize? Do people do that in public restrooms? And what about her eyes?
I shrugged off the last question, figuring it was just a figment of my imagination. They probably only looked that way because she was so far down that I couldn’t see her properly. She most likely had some really dark brown eyes or something.
I stood, prepared to leave the stall and promptly walk my embarrassment off when I heard something else. Something…Unusual.
It was a shuffling sound, as though someone was sliding under the stall walls.
The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end realizing how strange this situation had become. Why would she be climbing under the stalls? Was she autistic and lost? That certainly would explain her appearance. Maybe she wandered away from her guardian and decided to play in the women’s restroom? It was never locked after all, even after hours.
I decided I’d call the police and report her in case she was a missing person. I also didn’t want to scare her off since she looked sickly and the poor thing was probably starving.
So, resolving myself I sat back down and leaned over, only to find the girl looking at me from one stall closer. I originally was going to try and get her name but stopped dead as my eyes took in the sight of her.
Her eyes were black alright. Black as coal. Her skin was pale and cracked in places as though it had dried up and no longer held a drop of moisture. Her throat, which I didn’t notice before, had what looked like a slit along it with some sort of dried darkened residue along the edges. However I couldn’t make out the rest of her since it was only her head peeping out from under the stall. I could not identify the rest but at that point I didn’t want to.
This thing wasn’t human.
Fear gripped me as I sat up. My nerves were put on edge and my breath had begun to quicken. I had felt as though my heart would pound right out of my chest.
If I had tried to run out of the bathroom I would have had to run past that thing.
I closed my eyes as images of it leaping upon me and tearing me to shreds started to fill my head. How could I get past it?
I don’t know how long I had sat there panicking, but I did notice when it started moving again. Although this time I heard thumping sounds, as though it were hitting the walls gently. My heart beat skyrocketed as I had tried to remain calm, happy to have already done my business. For a moment I considered just running past it. It was my only chance since I had no other options. Then I realized something.
I began to strain my ears to locate the creature by sound but heard nothing. The gasping noises were gone and I no longer heard the thing shuffling or banging along the floors and walls. Was it still there?
I knew I had to look. There was a chance that it was standing by the exit now. Or worse, it could be just outside my stall.
I had to make my mind up quickly as I contemplated the possibilities. Eventually I ‘manned’ up and took one last look under the stalls. I glanced to the left to find the thing missing. So, having unconsciously held my breath I glanced towards the exit.
A wave of relief washed over me in time for a shuffling sound to my right to catch my attention. Before I could process what it was I whipped my head around, fearing it to be staring back at me just inches away from the stall I never bothered to inspect, only to find a pair of hiking boots.
It took me a moment to register this. There was someone in the handicapped stall. When did they get here?
Oh who cared? There was someone else there with me! And although I had no idea who this other person was, in the wake of that…Thing…I felt at ease knowing I wasn’t alone anymore.
As usual my sense of relief was short lived once I noticed the gasping sound coming from inside my stall.
I froze for what seemed like an eternity before I managed to glance up.
There she was.
A blast of fetid air washed over me, much stronger than the original stench from before. Her face was contorted in anger. Her wild hair was knotted up and flying about her head as those dark pits sneered into my very soul. Her mouth was molded into a fierce grimace, cracking her lips and revealing rotted teeth. It was then, while looking into that monsters eyes that I came to a revelation.
It was hungry, and it wanted me.
That thought was the only motivation I needed to make a bolt for it. I slammed so hard into the stall door that the lock broke clean off as I stormed through the exit.
I wanted to run to my car, to drive home, to curl up in my bed and pretend it was all a bad dream, and I would have if it weren’t for the girl I nearly ran into.
We nearly collided but I managed to swerve out of her path just in time. This girl was wearing a rather trendy mini jacket, slightly torn jeans and a white tank top. She gave me a strange look before going into the restroom.
I should have said something, maybe warned her of what awaited in there. But as I stood, once more straining my ears to hear the slightest of sounds, silence fell upon me.
A few more moments and I began to piece everything together. Realization flooded my thoughts as things began to make sense. Whoever was in the handicapped stall must have had their feet pulled up when I first walked in. They were probably recording the sounds, hoping for screams. Or worse, they were filming me in the stall. The other girl was probably some really well dressed actor who was there to scare the crap out of any poor soul who wandered in.
Well screw them!
I turned on my heels and hurried to my car, cell already out. I informed the police of the dirt bag who had been filming me in the stalls. I knew that filming anyone in the bathroom, prank or no, was illegal.
They said they’d look into it and I was able to drive home, worry free.
Oh how I regretted that…
The next day I arrived on campus only to find it locked down and swarming with cop cars and officers. A girl had been murdered in the women’s restroom last night. Estimated time of death, 8:34 P.M. It was the girl I had run into.
Apparently there had been a series of murders in the city. A man had been spotted on some of the sites leaving the women’s restrooms where the girls were found. He would apparently wait in the handicapped stalls until the girls headed for the sink to wash their hands, then he would come out from behind them and slit their throats.
Whatever that thing was in the bathroom, it had saved me.