Darkness is not what scares us. It is far more primal than that. When cavemen were lost in the night they were afraid of what was lurking beyond the light. They knew that at any moment a predator could leap out and take them down. That is what we are truly afraid of, the unknown. When you lie awake at night staring into the abyss and you hear a creak or groan from your old house, you try to imagine it away. The truth is, somewhere inside, you fear what may be beyond the light. Your mind creates monsters and demons but you close your eyes and wish them away. The truth is, evil exists in the dark and none of us are ever truly safe from it.
It started with a conversation with a late friend. It was nearing midnight and I found myself browsing the Web to keep myself awake. I had always been somewhat of a night owl and tonight was no different. Music blared into my headphones as I scanned a horror fiction web site. A small text box abruptly blocked out the text I had been reading. It was the username of a girl I had gone to high school with. We had not spoken much since then, so I found it odd to get a random message from her. My eyes squinted in the darkness of my bedroom, attempting to read the text, “PurpleRainbow397: Are you awake?”
EmptySouL13: Hey, Heather. What’s up?
PurpleRainbow397: Oh thank God! Mike, listen, you have to help me!
EmptySouL13: What’s wrong???
I sat staring at the message box intently, the indicator at the bottom showing that she was still typing. It took several minutes for her to finish and when it finally came through I could tell it was a panicked attempt to tell a long story. She said that a few weeks earlier she had started feeling as though she was being watched. Heather tried to brush it off but when she felt as though whoever was out there could see her within her room, she became really worried. My first suggestion was for her to call the police but apparently, she had already tried that, with no results. The authorities had found no evidence of someone stalking her but the feeling remained.
EmptySouL13: Well, do you have someone you could stay with?
PurpleRainbow397: I tried that too, whatever this is…it follows me.
EmptySouL13: Hmm…do you think they are watching you right now?
There was a long delay before Heather even started typing again and I could only imagine she was frantically searching her room. Just the thought of it had started making me a bit anxious as well. I had no idea what I would do in her situation and honestly had no clue as to how to help her but I thought it best I stay online with her. As the seconds ticked by my worry forced my fingers to start typing again but as soon as I did, so did Heather.
PurpleRainbow397: Yes…I can’t see them but I can feel it.
EmptySouL13: You have a webcam?
EmptySouL13: Turn it on, let me look around.
The message box went blank for a few more minutes and I only hoped she was prepping the camera. My eyes were focused on the screen as an invitation to view her webcam came up. I quickly clicked accept and the small view screen opened. The first thing I noticed was how pale Heather seemed to be. Her eyes were wide and staring directly into the camera. I scanned the image and noticed I could not see around her, which seemed odd.
EmptySouL13: Why can’t I see the rest of your room?
PurpleRainbow397: I’m hiding under my blanket.
EmptySouL13: You’re what?
PurpleRainbow397: It is the only way I don’t feel like it is watching.
EmptySouL13: Well…um, stick the camera out and let me see the room.
The image became distorted as she fumbled with the camera. When it finally became clear I watched as the camera scanned the room. I could see that she was sitting on her bed and that the lights were off in her room. The dorm was a mess, almost as if she had stopped trying to keep it clean. There were bedsheets tacked up over the windows where my friend had tried to block out the possible stalker. Trash scattered the room but that was all I could see. The image shook again as she pulled the webcam back into her makeshift tent. It took her a minute to get situation but she began typing immediately.
PurpleRainbow397: So? Did you see it?
EmptySouL13: Sorry…Heather, there is nothing in your room.
PurpleRainbow397: There has to be…I mean, I know this sounds crazy. I mean, I know I would think it was crazy too if it were not happening to me. There is something watching me, Mike.
EmptySouL13: Well, since I’m a few hours away I can’t really come to you right now but what if I just stay on with you until you fall asleep?
PurpleRainbow397: Would you??? Thank you! I have had trouble sleeping for the past few days.
I had only assumed that she needed rest. The dark circles under her eyes were a dead giveaway. I sat there chatting and watching her screen for any sign of an intruder but I never saw anything. I don’t know when I actually fell asleep but I had noticed the light beginning to peek in through my windows. When I woke up the next day it was almost lunchtime and the chat session had been closed on Heather’s end. I sent a quick message to make sure she was alright and hoped she would get back to me. The thoughts of my late night conversation were a cloud within my thoughts all day.
My first couple of classes were missed due to me sleeping in. I was able to make the last one but rushed home right after. My things were tossed onto my bed as I opened up my laptop. Heather had sent me several messages while I was away so I quickly read them to make sure everything was fine. The first was just a simple reply to my question. She had wanted to let me know that everything was alright and to thank me for staying up with her. The others were sent hours later, back-to-back, and she was obviously frantic.
PurpleRainbow397: Mike? You there?
PurpleRainbow397: I think something is in my room…please be home.
PurpleRainbow397: Come on! Please be there!
PurpleRainbow397: I’m going to sit right here under my blanket until I hear from you, please message me as soon as you get this.
I began typing but was stopped by the notification to view Heather’s webcam. I clicked the button to accept again and her face was pressed to the camera. I could tell she was breathing heavily and her eyes seemed bloodshot. I could only imagine she had spent the last few hours staring directly into the glow of her computer screen. Something about how she looked scared me so I began typing again.
EmptySouL13: What is going on???
PurpleRainbow397: It is here…
EmptySouL13: It? What do you mean?
PurpleRainbow397: The Watcher.
That was the first time she had ever given it a name and something about that made it worse. Just reading it sent chills up my spine. The whole thing just seemed insane and as I watched her shiver under that blanket it started to scare me too. My mind raced with ideas of what to say but nothing useful came. Heather simply stared at the screen as tears started to form at the corners of her eyes. That was when I noticed it, the blanket was moving behind her. The fabric drug backward across her hair, pulling it away from her face and I watched in horror as he eyes grew even wider. She cupped her hands over her mouth to hold back her sobs. When the blanket was gone, however, I saw nothing but the darkness of her room. I enlarged the image but there was nothing behind her.
PurpleRainbow397: WHAT DO YOU SEE???
EmptySouL13: Nothing…there is nothing there Heather, please calm down.
PurpleRainbow397: No…no it is here, I can feel it. Like it is breathing on my neck.
My eyes almost pressed against the screen trying to see anything that could make sense of what she was telling me. I had almost missed it, the slight movement was barely visible in the grainy footage. At the corner of the screen I noticed Heather’s hair was shifting slightly. It would push away from her body then fall back into place. This happened repeatedly, much like something was standing right behind her and every breath made her hair move. My fingers began keying words before I had any real idea what to say.
EmptySouL13: Heather, what…where are you?
PurpleRainbow397: In my dorm room…
EmptySouL13: Give me the address I’m coming.
The message box indicated she was typing and I began getting dressed. I knew she lived a few hours away but it was the only thing I could think to do. If she had no one else and the police did not believe her I had to do something. Once I was ready I sat back at my computer and waited for the information with a pen and paper in hand. That was when I noticed it. It was faint within the shadows of the room behind Heather, but I could see light from her computer reflecting on what appeared to be eyes. They stared past my friend and almost looked directly at me. The message box stopped as Heather looked up at me.
PurpleRainbow397: It’s 5001 Beaumont Street….wait, you see it don’t you?
EmptySouL13: Which dorm room? Just tell me and get out of there, go to a neighbor or something I will find you.
Heather began typing again but stopped abruptly and looked to the camera. I stared back, trying to see the creature that had been tormenting her but I could not even make out the eyes anymore. She leaned in close to the screen and for the first time she was looking at my camera footage. She finally looked back to me, tears rolling down her cheeks. She pointed at the screen while sobbing and suddenly I felt as she had felt. There was something in the room with me and I could feel it breathing on my neck, deep steady breaths.
PurpleRainbow397: The Watcher is behind you.
EmptySouL13: I can feel it, has it left you alone?
PurpleRainbow397: Um…not really.
She searched the room around her and shook her head towards me. This thing had noticed me watching and decided to come to pay me a visit. My body trembled as I slowly turned in my computer chair. There was nothing behind me, nothing I could see anyway. It was just the darkness of my dorm room. Everything was just as it had been when I had come home. I stood up and walked the space with Heather watching from the camera. When I returned to my desk I finally heard it, “I see you,” in a deep growling voice. Again I looked to the room behind me but found nothing and finally I could see what had put so much fear into my friend. Whatever this was, had no intentions of just letting either of us have peace now that we had seen it. Maybe this is what it had always done, watched and waited until it was seen. When I turned back to my computer Heather’s hand was covering her mouth again and she had left another message.
PurpleRainbow397: Mike, I think it is back in here with me.
EmptySouL13: Run! Just get help! I am coming!
Heather shot up from her seat, almost knocking her computer over in the process. She ran for the door and grabbed at the knob but it would not open. A large dark figure emerged from the shadows and slowly rose to tower over her. She turned to look at it, her body falling back against the door. She screamed in terror and slid to her knees. I grasped my computer and called out to someone who could not hear me as whatever this thing was engulfed Heather in its darkness. When someone from next door finally opened the door to Heather’s room and flicked on the light the space was empty. I had no idea how to explain what had just happened so I quickly closed out of the message box and shut down my computer.
It has been a week since Heather disappeared and I have tried to explain what happened to the police. I know they do not believe me, I barely believe it myself. I wish I had recorded the webcam footage as proof but it is too late for that now. I showed them our chat logs and gave them any information I had on Heather, which was not much. I wish I had been a better friend to her after high school and maybe I could have been more helpful. I could have been there before it all went this far. As for me, I spend my nights hiding under a blanket like a child. I can feel them watching me, even now. Perhaps by writing this, I can help someone else before it is too late. Something in the shadows is patiently stalking us, lurking in the darkness until we see them.
As I said, that fear you feel when you are alone in the dark is not just in your mind. The “Watcher” is waiting, and eventually, it will come for you too.
Written by L0CKED334