In The Shadows

It started with a recurring dream. Nightmare, really. Not sleep paralysis, mind you. A good old-fashioned nightmare.


*I wake up in a cold sweat. It’s dark except for the TV, which I leave on at night. My wife is fast asleep to my left. Then I see something to my right in the periphery of my vision and I look over to the window. A figure stands there, more than six and a half feet tall by my guess. I can’t tell any of its features, as it is just a silhouette showing through the blinds, lit from behind by street lights and the moon. It doesn’t look as if it has any hair. It stands still for a few moments before it starts lightly swaying side to side.*


*I slowly stand up from the bed, my eyes locked on the figure outside our window. It suddenly stops swaying, and I can tell that it begins breathing more heavily. Its chest heaves in and out, but it’s not as if it had just run a great distance, but rather like it was angry, and it was breathing heavily from a surge of adrenaline.*


*The TV’s low volume is the only thing I can hear, until the grinding. I can hear it through the window. Whoever is out there begins grinding their teeth, and it’s like nails on a chalkboard. It’s so loud, so pronounced, that I think the teeth making the noise are going to shatter. I pick up my phone, and while still staring directly at the figure outside my window, dial 911. A noise from near our bedroom door startles me and I break my gaze and look over. Our son is standing in the doorway, and he asks what the noise is.*


*I look back to the window, and the figure is gone. I look back towards my son, and he’s standing where he was only a moment prior, but now behind him is the same shadowy figure from the window, breathing heavily, its head nearly touching the ceiling. I still can’t make out its features due to the darkness. It places its hands, the fingers of which are crooked and sharp, on the six-year-old’s shoulders. My son looks up, as if to check who it is behind him. Then, an ear-shattering grind of the teeth permeates the air.*


And I wake up.


I had this dream every few weeks for about six months, but I didn’t think much of it. I’ve never been into dream analysis, I just thought a dream was a dream was a dream. What gave me pause was when my sister came to our home for dinner one evening. I think we were talking about scary movies, or something of the sort, and the subject of nightmares came up. Before I had a chance to bring up the aforementioned dream I’d been having, my sister, Jenna, told a story quite similar to my own.


*”I wake up and have the feeling I’m being watched. From my bed I can see down my hallway and into my living room. The moonlight is coming in through the drapes over the living room window, and there’s something standing there. It’s big, like tall, and skinny I think. I hear this sound like teeth grinding, but really intensely. I can hear it all the way from the living room.”*


*”As I look at this thing, it sticks out its right arm, but at the elbow, if that makes sense. Like its upper arm is flush with its body but below the elbow is horizontal. Its hands have these like, claws. It does the same with its left arm, then takes a step forward. I hear something to my left, like a dog barking outside, and it breaks my concentration. I look to my left for a split second, then look back down the hall and its gone. Then I feel a warm, wet breath on the right side of my face and hear the teeth grinding noise right in my ear. I reflexively look to my right and whatever it is is leaning over, face to face with me, and I wake up.”*


After dinner, I took my sister aside and spoke to her about the dream I’d been having, and we discussed the similarities between the thing that had been sporadically haunting our dreams. We reasoned that there must have been something in our childhood that was creeping its way back into our subconscious, some scary movie, some Halloween decoration. Something. The night ended and Jenna left, and I had the nightmare maybe two more times in the following month.


Then the nightmare changed.


*I wake up, TV on, wife sleeping. I hear some rustling in the next room, our son’s, and get up to see what he’s doing up in the middle of the night. I’m perturbed when I find that my son’s door is not only closed, but locked. I knock.*


*”Alex? What are you doing up, buddy? Why is your door locked?”*


*”Come in, dad. We’re waiting.”*


*Panic sets in. Who is “we”?*


*”Alex, open the door, right now.”*


*I hear the teeth grinding noise coming from inside my son’s room, then, under that noise is a faint laughter from Alex. I slam my shoulder into the door, then again, and again. Finally the door bursts open, and I see Alex in his bed, somehow not even phased by the noise caused by my breaking his door down. I check on him, and find him to be sleeping soundly. I turn around to survey the room, and at first glance I don’t see anything. Then I notice that the shadows in the corners of the room seem more pronounced. I hear the grinding teeth sound quietly begin, and I look in the direction the noise is coming from. From the shadows in the corner to the left, out reaches the arms, the same long, crooked, pointed fingers that rested on Alex’s shoulders in the other dream, and once again, the teeth grinding booms.*


And I wake up.’


Naturally, I thought it was strange that whatever this thing was was so prominent in my dreams, but what was I going to do about it? My family wasn’t in any actual danger, this thing wasn’t *actually* in our home. Then, two nights ago, I had another dream.


*I woke up, the only light being from the TV and the moon and streetlights outside, even all together not very bright. I immediately hear a heavy breathing, but it sounds like it’s coming from all around me, mixed with a subtle grinding of the teeth. I sit up in bed, unsure of how to proceed. Kimmy is asleep next to me. I feel a breath on the side of my neck and whip my head back around, but see nothing out of the ordinary. For whatever reason, I look back towards Kimmy, but she’s no longer in bed. Now, she’s standing next to her side of the bed, with her left arm stretched out, pointing to something on my side of the room.*


*I turn my head again, and I think I see a slight movement in the shadows in the corner. An arm suddenly bursts out of the shadows and places its palm on the floor, as if it’s climbing out of a hole. Then another arm. Though it’s dim, the combined light from the television, moon, and street lights give me a better look at the texture of this thing that’s been hiding in the corners of my subconscious. It looks…wet, almost slimy. Rather than being jet black, as it had been every time I’d previously seen it due to the darkness, it had more of a dark blue tint.*


*It pushed itself up, still 95% covered in shadows. Once it was fully…above ground(?), fully up from the depths of whatever shadowy hole it was apparently in, it reached back down from whence it emerged, and pulled up what looked like a large bag. I noticed it dripping, the condensation on its body hitting the carpet underneath its feet, which I also found to be mangled, its toes sharp like its fingers.*


*The grinding teeth sounds were suddenly amplified. They became so loud that I covered my ears. I looked towards Kimmy and found that she was now back on the bed, but haphazardly, as if she’d fainted and landed on it. The grinding sound suddenly ceased, and a deep silence covered the room; I couldn’t even hear the TV’s low volume. Then, I heard a voice. It was choppy, and decidedly guttural. It sounded like it was speaking from its stomach, almost like someone who was burping the alphabet. I couldn’t make out what it said, it was unlike anything I’d ever heard before.*


I woke up the following morning, and laid in bed looking at the ceiling, going over what had happened in my dream. When I finally got up, I stopped in my tracks almost immediately. In the corner of the room, the corner where that thing had emerged in my dream, there were dark blue stains on the carpet, as if something had been dripping. I went and talked to Kimmy, who complained that she had slept terribly that night, which is notable because once Kimmy is asleep, she’s asleep. She also mentioned having a creepy nightmare, but not being able to remember what it was about.


I eventually took my phone off its charger from my nightstand and unlocked it. Instead of my home screen, the phone opened and I saw voice recording app, something I never use. There was something recorded, so I listened, [and I uploaded it, because I can’t really describe the words. But the breathing and the grinding teeth sound is exactly like it was in my dreams](


If anyone is any good with audio analysis, your input would be much obliged, because I have no idea what was said. I’m going to talk to my sister in the morning, and for now, after speaking with my wife, we’ve decided to keep our lights on all night, because my dreams indicated this thing is in the shadows. I know how stupid this sounds, believe me.


I’ll be back with updates, should there be any.

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