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The first ten minutes of my showers are usually spent just standing below the stream of hot water, various fantasies of my boyfriend and pondering of life flowing through my head as the water runs through my hair and down my back, and this shower was no exception.

So, standing there in the shower, my head turned towards the ceiling, droplets of water pelting across my face, I let my mind wander across topics like morality and religion. I’d already made my mind up on both of the topics, mind you, but it’s always fun to toss an idea around in your head again. Time passed as I had no perception of it, being lost in my thoughts it was as foreign a thought to me as Hinduism to a Mormon.

Finally dredging up enough motivation to break from my self-induced trance, though, I grabbed the bottle of shampoo and uncapped it, letting a dollop of the slimy material fall into my open palm before lather, rinse, repeating as the instructions would say. Okay, I skipped the repeat step, but when you have hair that reaches past your shoulder blades, your yearly shampoo costs could afford you a new gold watch or something of the sort.

I reached for the conditioner this time—I like my hair to be smooth and shiny on top of clean—but stopped. I could swear I heard a sound but..... no, just my imagination. I knew well enough by now that if I did hear a sound without a definite source that I shouldn’t trust it to be real regardless; I used to hallucinate until about age 14, and I’ve been leery of them starting again. I reached again for the conditioner but stopped again as well. No sound this time, just a feeling. I can’t even claim that I thought something would happen if I grabbed the bottle, it was just that, in the back of my mind, I could feel something was off.

So I stood there, the water still raining down onto me, running over my breasts, down my back, on my feet, ending its short journey in the drain of the shower, unable to shake the feeling. Maybe I did hear something? I couldn’t just let it sit, turning over in my head. Running an idea through your mind on repeat is usually fun.

I abruptly ended my shower, turning the flow-valve to off. If there wasn’t a sound, which any sane person would know there couldn’t have been, I could condition my hair then. Grabbing a towel off the rack next to the shower, I wrapped it around my torso, covering anything a prospective peeping tom might want to catch a glimpse of. Reaching for the bathroom door handle so that I may investigate the living room—but just like the conditioner, I couldn’t bring myself grab it. There was a noise, and it’s been reverberating throughout the room this entire time, I just hadn’t been paying attention. My senses heightened by the adrenaline running through my veins, though, I could hear it as clear as day, now. It was just a simple hum. Low, quiet, but there, emanating from beyond the door from God-knows-what, and thick in the air like fog.

I had to know, though, where it was coming from. What started it. Why it was in my living room. I closed my eyes and stood there in front of the door, my hand hovering above the knob for what felt like a short eternity, though I’m sure it was a whole of ten seconds; it’s amazing how your perception of time can distort when trying to work up the nerve to do such a simple task. I dropped my hand onto the knob, exhaling, my grip on the towel covering my body tightening. And I flung the door open, and what I saw unnerved me.

Nothing. I saw nothing. Absolutely nothing about my living room as abnormal, because everything I could see was in its normal place.

The humming was louder now, though, with the door opened. It sounded reminiscent of a fluorescent light in some old factory, but louder. I wanted nothing more than to close the door and lock myself in the bathroom, because suddenly nothing about my unchanged house was the same, an alien land with the buzzing noise only intensifying the more I tried to ignore it. Everything in my body told me to retreat into the relative safety of my shower, yet unwilled by my, my leg moved, and I took a step forward.

So I dropped my towel, and I walked across my living room, the loud humming sound encompassing my thoughts. There was no point in trying to stop myself, maybe I had accepted defeat, but any attempts to control my legs at this point were completely futile; whatever was causing the noise now owned my legs, compelling me to come to it, wherever it may be.

Passing through the door on the other side of the living room, I finally did see something awry with the house. It was the windows. No eyes staring at me or anything you might expect in some cliche horror movie, and that’s actually why it was all the more horrifying to notice. On the other side of my windows sat only blackness, so dark it couldn’t be natural. After all, it was only 7:00 PM, the sun should have still been shining, or, at the least, I should’ve see a street lamp. Nothing, just black.

Apparently my legs had decided that it was time to wander up the stairs. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared out of my mind, each step up the noise seemed to grow twice as loud. I tried my best to calm myself, though. It was just a hallucination. Where was I going, the bedroom, or the sun room? The cat had turned on the radio by mistake.

I didn’t have a cat, though. At the top of the stairs, I went left, which was the way of the sun room, though I was sure like the rest of the windows I’d seen up until that point, there would be no sun peering in onto my bare skin. Each step closer to the door was agonizing, it felt like I was walking on lava, each bolt of pain shooting up my leg an imagined one, trying to stop myself. I didn’t know what waited for me on the other side of that door, but I knew I didn’t want to find out.

No matter how hard I protested, my legs continued taking me closer to the door, and I started crying. That damned humming was deafeningly loud, now, calling to me. It wanted me, and I knew that whatever it wanted me for was far from benevolent. My hand reached for the door, I begged and pleaded to myself that I could stop like I did with the bathroom door, and with the conditioner, but my body ignored me and grabbed the handle, turning it slowly, like it was taunting me, trying to be dramatic before the big reveal....

The door opened, very unlike a horror movie in that it didn’t creak, and the humming came to a screeching halt, replaced by silence. The windows were still black, but from them light still poured into the room. It seemed normal enough, though it was by no means sunlight. I glanced around the room, and it was as empty as it should have been. Why was I so afraid?

The windows, though. The humming. The—the thing sitting in the middle of the sun room. When I finally saw it, I realized many things. It was very calming to look at, yet doubly it was the most horrifying thing I’d ever seen. The two emotions were disconnected from each-other, though. I was looking at two things, occupying exactly the same place in space and time, but my mind couldn’t decide which to focus on, which was the true being. I couldn’t even properly describe them, either. Eldritch abominations to the letter, so wrong to look at that it hurt my head to try and build a mental picture.

The figures, figure, shifted slightly, if they could get anymore grotesque, moving was the way, because as they did an assortment of sounds echoed in my head, bones cracking and flesh mangling itself.... it had a mouth. Or perhaps I was imagining it, but when I saw it open, all I knew is that I didn’t want to hear it speak. I closed my eyes, tears running from the corners again, too afraid to look at it anymore, or to hear it speak.

And I opened them, still in the shower, my arm outstretched for the conditioner. It—it was a hallucination after all. Their return wasn’t exactly joyous, but it was easier knowing that it was all just imagined, the remnant mix of emotions still flowing through my mind. I sighed, my hand closing around the conditioner.