Screaming. I woke up screaming. Looking around once again to a completely empty room. I panted in the dark, and stared around wildly to make sure I was home in my room. Looking at my bedside table at the clock, it was the same time as before; the dreams were getting worse. 3:30AM. I closed my eyes, when I did, I felt hot breath on my face and the crooked mirthless laughter rang in my ears. The alarm clock went off, and I sat up slowly. Blinking myself awake and looking around the room. The sun came in through the window, bright and appalling to someone who was still waking up. Rubbing my eyes, swinging my feet over the edge of the bed, standing up, and making my way to the bathroom. The toilet flushed and I went to the sink, looking into the mirror. My eyes had dark rings under them, only 13 and my face looked like an adult after what they call a “graveyard shift”.
My name is Jenny, I live with my mom and dad, and go to middle school. Another thing to know about me, is I also suffer from night terrors. Every night there are nightmares, and lately sleep has almost become a chore. Looking a bit more closely in the mirror, my chestnut brown hair was tousled from rolling around in bed, sticking up in random angles. An iconic piece of proof of how much actual “sleep” I got. After wetting my brush in the sink, raking it through my hair, trying to get it to lie flat, I shrugged and walked out of the bathroom. Pulling on clothes and grabbing my book bag before running down the stairs. I snatched a piece of toast from the kitchen and ran out the door.
I walked to school on the usual route, the sidewalk was busted up in some places, and roots protruding from the ground cracked the concrete, so I had to watch where I walked to avoid stumbling. My eyes were fixed on the uneven ground, causing me to walk straight into a kid. Falling back onto my butt, I looked up and started to apologize when he turned and grinned at me. He was short, red hair and large dark eyes. He was carrying a small blue book bag over his shoulder. He looked like just the average elementary school kid. All he was missing was the Power Ranger lunch box and the small group of giggling friends. I couldn’t speak though, for some reason I couldn’t get the, “I’m sorry for bumping into you” out. He grinned and then ran off. Standing up, I watched him go, “What the heck was that all about?” I thought to myself, then, shaking it off I went to school.
The bell rang and I started home, it was midafternoon, meaning my parents wouldn’t be home, and I would be bored. Letting out an aggravated sigh, and continuing to my house. The small sound of footsteps behind me caught my attention as I turned down another path home. Peeking over my shoulder, and there he was. The little boy from this morning was following me, blue book bag still over his shoulder, and his dark eyes fixed on me. He was still smiling. I stopped walking and so did he.
“Do you want something?” I asked. He stood there and stared at me, grinning still. It pissed me off. “Get lost kid. Go home.” I shouted and then stomped off. I glanced back and he was still grinning. He waved at me as I left, and I quickened my pace. When I got home I locked the door behind me, panting a bit from the partial run home. “What a weirdo…” I thought to myself as I fixed a snack and sat on the couch.
“THUNK, THUNK, THUNK!”
I jumped as someone banged on the front door to my house. I stood up slowly, and walked to the front door. The knocking continued, but it was unrelenting.
“THUNK, THUNK, THUNK, THUNK, THUNK!”
It was louder and they were knocking faster than before, I was getting mad again, I ran the rest of the way to the door, unlocked it and threw it open. Nothing. No one was at the door, I stepped outside and looked around a bit.
“H-hello?” I said. “Is anyone there?” No answer. I walked back into the house and locked the door. I made it to the couch and the knocking started again. This time I was frozen. I stared at the door, the wood shaking on its hinges from the force of the knock. I wasn’t imagining it. Someone had to be there. I walked over slowly this time, then instead of opening the door, I raised up slowly on my toes to look out the peep-hole. Eyes. Large dark eyes grinned at me through the hole, I jerked back and stumbled. The knocking stopped.
“Who, Who is it?” I yelled, my voice cracking a bit. Once again there was no answer. I looked through the peephole again slowly, the eyes were gone. I opened the front door and peeked around it, on the walk in front of the door, was a small blue book bag. I gritted my teeth. That little shit! What the hell was he playing at?
“Not funny you little jerk! Get lost!” I shouted, slamming the front door and locking the bolt with a loud click. I stomped back into the living room, and the front door jerked open behind me. I screamed. Nothing was there? I shifted feeling a bit shamed, wondering, “I did lock it just now… didn’t I?” I walked back over and locked the door after shutting it. Laughter echoed behind me and I spun. Again, nothing there. I shivered, then went to my room. I grabbed out my flashlight, and climbed in bed. I woke up again at 3:30AM, this time to the soft sound of laughter.
This continued for days, the boy followed me to school, and then on the way home. He was grinning at me the whole time. Silent, keeping far enough back that when I tried to confront him he would run off grinning with an echoing giggle.
“What!? Do you want me to play with you or something!?” I shouted one day in frustration. It stopped him, his smile slipped a bit and he asked softly.
“D-d-d-do y-y-you w-w-want to p-play with m-me?” He stared at me.
I lost it.
“Who the fuck would want to play with a stuttering little stalker like you! Get lost and stop following me!” I shouted giving him the designated, and what I thought was a well-deserved single finger salute.
“Y-y-you s-s-shouldn’t s-s-say stuff like t-t-hat to m-me.” He said softly. “M-m-my f-f-friends d-d-don’t like w-when p-p-people are m-mean to m-me.”
I snarled, “Well tell your friends they can bite me!” I turned on heel and again stomped home. This time the boy stood still for a second, and when I glanced back he was grinning again, I glanced back a second time and he was gone. I went home and locked the door, went to bed clutching the flashlight. I closed my eyes to the soft sound of laughter. Something jerked at my blanket and hissed laughter at me.
“Let’sss play! Lettt’ss play!” the voices echoed.
“Who’s there!?” I shouted. Sitting up with the flashlight, as soon as my body left the blanket something slashed at me. I woke up in the hospital with my mom and my forehead with a set of stitches. They told me I had fallen out of bed due to my night terrors, and sliced my head on something. They hadn’t found what it was. I told my mom about the laughing, and the little boy. I told her about the voice in my room. She just stared at me with a disapproving look and took me home. That night I pulled the blankets around me and waited in the dark, except of course for my flashlight that I clutched to.
There was a loud thunking noise.
“Who’s there?” I whispered into the dark.
“Come outttt, come outtt and play….” Something giggled outside the covers.
“Why should I come out?” I whispered back, answered with giggles and hissing.
“W-w-e can’t comeeee insidddeee, hehehehehe. It’sssss againsstttt the rulllessss…” the voice said, echoed by others now as if to highlight that it used the word “we” instead of “I”.
“Fuck you…” I said softly. There was no way I was coming out if they couldn’t come under the covers. I tried to force myself into believing it was a dream, but the voices continued all through the night and into the morning. When the sun came up the voices and had gone, and I went through with my usual routine. The boy didn’t follow me to school or home. But that night the voices were back, and again I stayed up through the night clutching the flashlight until the sun rose.
It had gone on for 4 nights in a row now. The laughing and the voices. I had told my mom, and she told me to stop it. That I was too old to believe in monsters. I shuddered and went to my room. I climbed into bed with my flashlight as always and my eyes were like lead weights. I pulled myself further under the blankets and held tight to my flashlight and my eyes shut slowly. I made sure that the blankets were tucked in around me, so nothing was sticking out. The flashlight stayed on as I slept.
The next morning I jerked awake at the sound of my Mom shaking me.
“Jesus Christ! JOHN!!! Jenny is bleeding! John hurry!!” She shouted to my father, looking towards my bedroom door.
“Jenny! Jenny what happened?! What happened to your arm?!” She begged at me.
I looked down blinking slowly. Blood soaked the side of my bed. It was everywhere. Sticky, sweet. No one ever really says how blood is in real life. In the movies it’s red and thin, runny like water. In real life, it wasn’t even close. And there is so much more in real life. The copper smell choked me as I made myself look down at my arm. Slices upon slices covered my upper forearm and hand, pieces of flesh dangled, and my fingers were twitching on their own showing the muscle and tendon writhe. I felt dizzy and I tried to sit up, falling onto the floor. My eyes were trying to focus as I stared under the bed. Eyes grinned at me. Large dark eyes, with huge dilated pupils, but the space around showing to much white. Large happy eyes. I heard a strange slurping, sucking and the sound of something being swallowed. I watched a piece of skin disappear under those smiling eyes. Then there was darkness.
I was released a few days later. My parents had me committed to the hospital for an attempted suicide. The doctors had told my parents my mental health seemed perfectly fine, and to take me home. I had screamed and fought. The eyes weren’t at the hospital. They were at home. I blinked heavily, the doctor had given a heavy treatment for anxiety, and the medication made me feel tired and lethargic. I tried to protest as my parents led me to my room to “rest”. They put me in my bed, and tucked me under the covers.
“Mom! Mom, you can’t leave me alone in here! Believe me! Mom they’ll get me! Mom please!” I sobbed at her as she turned to leave. She turned and looked at me with a small smile and tilted her head.
“Now Jenny… You know you are to old be believing in monsters under the bed. Now get some rest okay?” She slowly pulled the door closed behind her.
I shivered, and pulled myself into the center of the bed, pulling the covers closer around me with my good hand, making sure that this time I wouldn’t let anything slip out on accident. I swayed and tried to keep my eyes open. I heard rustling around my bed, and slow laughter.
“What’ssss herrr nameee?”
“Jennnnyyyyy, Jennyyyy they call herrrr Jennyy”
“Yesssss, Jennyyyy…. We want you to play with ussss Jennyyyy.”
“Yes Jennyyyyyy We missssseedddd youuu, heheheheeee!”
The voices surrounded me and continued to plead at me to come out. I squeezed my eyes tight, trying to block out the voices.
Suddenly the voices stopped. A large “thunk”, rang out in the room, and then the sound of something dragging. Soft giggling followed. I slowly opened my eyes to see the happy eyes staring at me under the edge of the blanket.
“H-h-h-hiiiii J-j-jennnyyy…. I-I—I- missssssseddd you…. hehehhehe” The voice hissed at me soft and sweet.
I got back from the doctor the next day. He had upped the dosage and now I could barely talk. My hand was still bandaged up, and I couldn’t move it. I felt heavy. My mom carried me to my bed this time. Supporting almost all of my weight, before setting me into bed. I held back tears begging at her.
“Please Mom… don’t leave me with them… they are here! They’re real! I’m not crazy! MOM!!! PLEASE!!! NO!”
The door shut behind my mother leaving me in the dark. I jerked the flashlight out and held it tight, the light on and cutting through the dark. I huddled under the blankets and the voices started again. I prayed.
This continued for a few days, the voices surrounded me every night. But they stayed out from the covers. All of them coaxing and calling to me.
“Jenny! Jennnyyyyy! Hehhehehehee” They whisper at me, so soft. The voices call to me in sweet undertones. Small hands reach out to me pulling from every direction.
“Jenny, come play with us!”
“Yesss Yess, come play with usss Jenny…”
They echo over and over grabbing hands jerking at my pajamas tearing. Small bright faces glowing with smiles that start to point.
“Jennnyyyyy, comeee on Jennyyyy.”
Their laughter comes every night. I always pull myself further into bed, and under the blankets. They can’t come inside. I watch the shadows dance around me as I hide, a flashlight gripped tight in my hand like a sword. Their shadows dark around the blankets as the pull at it.
Laughing. They laugh and laugh and call to me. I can’t sleep, if I do they can pull me out. I don’t want to play with the laughing voices.
“Jenny…. Jennyyy… Jenny” the voices are rasping now. They are still laughing but its hoarse and drawn out.
“Come out Jenny… Come play with us… we are lonely Jenny… come play…” the blanket shifted around me.
The flashlight gave out on me and I screamed.
“Jenny! It’s time to play now! Let’s play together Jenny!”
They blanket was gone and then silence in the dark. I cussed and banged the flashlight on my hand.
“Damnit! Turn on! TURN ON! FUCK!”
The light jerked back on, and I looked up into those grinning eyes.
The voice was so soft.
“I-I-I-ii missssseeddd youuu J-j-jennyyyy,… hehehehe”.
Police cars surrounded the house across the street. Flashes of blue red and white.
“Hey, what happened over there?” Said a man to the woman across from him.
“Shhh!” the woman whispered. “There was a murder!”
“What?! Who died? What happened?” He said.
“They found the little girl dead this morning…” She leaned in towards the man. “They are saying she was torn to shreds…but there were pieces missing! Like something had eaten her!”
“Jesus… that poor girl” He shuddered. “What was her name?”
A little boy nearby giggled to himself, huddling on the curb and turning around to look at them with large dark eyes.
“H-h-her name i-i-isss Jennnyyyyy”.