Whether or not you do it yourself, surely you’ve heard of the fact that some people don’t like having their feet hang over the edge of their bed at night. I am one of those people, and I believe I have good reason.
I was 10 years old, and we had recently moved into a new house. About two weeks in, I inexplicably started feeling very uneasy at night when I would go to bed. There was nothing outright scary happening, it just seemed as if the normal bumps and creaks in the night were amplified, like the darkness seemed darker, the shadows more pronounced. In the following weeks, my parents were going to order me a new, bigger bed, so unfortunately for the interim, I had to deal with my current bed, an old, worn out hand-me-down that was too short for me.
It first started on a Tuesday night, I don’t know why I remember that but I do. At this point, I’d never had any experiences that would have made me afraid to have my feet hanging off the edge of the bed. But that Tuesday night, I must have fallen asleep with my toes just past the threshold. At some point in the middle of the night, I was awoken by what felt like a pinching at the tips of my toes. It didn’t hurt, per se, but it wasn’t exactly the most comfortable thing to have going on.
I whipped my feet up onto the bed and as soon as my eyes adjusted to the darkness, inspected my toes. Everything seemed fine. I went and looked over the edge of the bed and found nothing out of order. I convinced myself that I must have been dreaming and quickly fell back asleep. I woke up the next morning and checked my toes again, finding no evidence of anything having happened. I put it out of my mind and went on with the rest of my day. That night I crawled back in bed again and attempted to go to sleep, not even realized I had let my feet dangle off the edge of the bed.
At some point during the night, I was again awoken by some sort of feeling on my feet. This time it felt like a tiny nibble, like a bug bite. I quickly got my feet up and inspected them, this time noticing a small discolored mark on the tip of my big toe. I again rationalized that it must have been a spider bite or something of the sort, and went back to bed, this time being sure to keep my feet within the confines of the bed.
After doing my best to keep my feet at the threshold of the bed for a few nights, I began to realize how much I missed stretching out completely, and told myself it was just a random happening that I got bit by a spider. That night, I stretched out and voluntarily let my feet hang off the end of the bed. I fell asleep quickly, and slept solidly until I was jolted awake at some point in the night.
I drew my feet up onto the bed and inspected my toes. This time, there was something more than a simple spider bite. Each of my toes except for the two pinkies, had small incisions at the top of them, slowly dripping blood. I felt something moving around inside of my toes, like something had gone into the cuts and was moving around inside them. I tried to scream but I couldn’t seem to find my voice; I was stricken silent with fear.
Suddenly, through the blood coming out of my toes, emerged a small, tick-looking bug. When I say small, I mean small. There must have been 30 that came out of each toe. I felt them travel from the middle of my foot, and though they were small, I could just barely see them under my skin, crawling over my veins and the bones in my feet. From the inside, they all headed to the bottom of my foot and exited through the small but painful cuts on the ends of my toes. They first swam through the small pool of blood that had formed from my cuts, proceeded to crawl to the end of my bed and dropped to the floor, forming a line and heading to a shadowy corner in my room. That’s when I saw it. Maybe the size of a Raggedy Anne doll, this…thing…was engulfed in the shadows in the corner of my room. The only thing I could see was a set of big green eyes. It’s shape was boxy, in that it didn’t have the outline of what a humanoid figure normally would. Its shoulders were squared, its head bigger than what would regularly be considered proportionate. It had thin legs and seemed to wobble, as it was top heavy. The only motion besides it’s light swaying was a barely visible shaking, which I somehow was able to discern as it laughing. The tiny bugs crawled in a single file line to the small figure.
It was as if it waited for me to notice it, because once I did, after a few seconds of what I’m certain was laughing, it moved. It made sure to stay in the shadows presumably to hide its features, but it slowly, awkwardly made its way to my now partially open closet, which I have no doubt in my mind I’d closed the door to before bed that night. Once it was fully inside my closet, I saw it peek its head out, and heard a barely audible, scratchy chuckle before it retracted back inside and my closet door slowly creaked closed, through some manner of which I’m not privy to, as there is no way that thing was tall enough to reach the doorknob. The small bugs continued to march in line, only now they were travelling under the door into my closet.
I eventually found myself able to scream, and you better believe I did. I screamed until long after my parents were in my room and my mom was squeezing me in her arms. My dad frantically searched for the source of the blood that now stained my sheets while I was too hysterical to tell him. I finally calmed down and presented my feet to him. He looked horrified as he saw the incisions on my eight toes, by now bleeding somewhat heavily. My mom checked the closet on my insistence, and found nothing out of place. She even furiously sorted through the small pile of belongings I had stuffed in there during the move and didn’t see anything even closely resembling what I told her to look out for, neither a small laughing man or bugs. My parents took me to the hospital where I got 18 stitches total on my eight assaulted toes.
I never saw the tiny, invasive bugs again, nor did I ever see the small, laughing little man-thing that hid himself in the shadows that night. I often find myself wondering what or who he was, and what the ultimate goal was in sending his legion of bugs after my toes. What I do know, however, is that since that night, I have never once slept without my feet securely within the confines of the edge of my bed, and I never will again.