Everyone else had just gone to sleep, when the thumping started.
The long-since abandoned radio station’s owners in the outskirts of Oslo didn’t own a cat. Or a dog. Or any kind of animal he could remember seeing. Dan wrote it off as some kind of rat or rodent in the walls – that’s where the sound was coming from. He let himself relax again, closing his eyes and slowly drifting off to sleep.
Less than a few seconds before he would’ve passed the threshold between sleep and wakefulness, and the sounds came back. This time it was more discernible. Instead of a dull thumping it was now more like a pitter-pattering, a distinct repetition of noises that was more irritating than anything. Dan wrote it off as the wind, or weather, or the old house. It could’ve been anything.
But, then it began to get louder.
Dan’s irritation became concern at around this point. The thudding became pounding. He was certain it was coming from within the walls. As the pounding got louder, he heard the volume increase from within the hallway.
A wave of relief came over him when he heard the toilet flush, but that respite was gone as quickly as it had arrived when he heard the footsteps were clearly different from the pounding.
“Greg,” he rasped. The footsteps stopped. The pounding stopped.
He then heard footsteps rapidly and quietly approaching the living room. In the dim light of the kitchen, he saw Greg appear at the threshold of the hallway.
“Greg!” He motioned for Dan to come closer, holding the blanket up near his chin and looking frantically about. “Greg!”
“What, why do you look so freaked out?”
“Did you hear that?”
A look of terror instantly washed over Greg. “Oh no.”
Greg sighed, looked over his shoulder, and leaned in to whisper in Dan’s ear.
“If you don’t ignore it, it will get louder.”
Dan’s concern transformed into full-on dread and hysteria.
“The more we talk about it–”
Dan was interrupted as the dull pounding became rapid scampering, like something running quickly across the floor; down the walls, out into the hallway. Greg’s features distorted fitfully as his mouth downturned into a terrified frown and his eyes bugged out and began to water. Dan had never seen someone so afraid in his entire life, let alone ex-Marine Greg Nathan. He turned slowly around and Dan followed his gaze.
He caught a glimpse of a silhouette with a large oblong head peeking out from around the corner before it dipped back into the hallway – and then the power went out.
It was pitch black.
A sound similar to a gurgling seeped into his eardrum, growing slightly louder until it abruptly stopped.
There was no sign of light, or even the faintest glow from the kitchen or outside. Dan began hyperventilating until he found his backpack next to his bed and felt his hands wrap around the cold steel of his flashlight. “Shit,” he heard Greg rasp next to him, and he quickly reached out and grabbed Greg’s shoulder, eliciting a scream from him.
“Sorry, sorry, sorry,” Dan quickly said as he flicked on the thin beam. “I just… I wanted to know you were still there.”
“Yeah,” said Greg. “It’s okay.”
“What the hell was that thing?”
“I don’t know, I’ve never actually seen it take form before.”
“What’s that mean?”
Greg sighed and began explaining his experiences since buying the station out a year ago.
Greg had found out about the ‘black knight satellite’ through the web, tracing its origins to a radio station outside of Oslo. He didn’t tell anyone why he was going, beyond wanting to ‘travel’ and ‘see the world’, but Greg had another reason in mind.
The station had been abandoned in the ‘60s, with its occupants claiming it was haunted. Greg didn’t believe in ghosts or poltergeists or anything of the sort, but the previous owners certainly did. They sold it to him for cheap. Greg thought it was a steal, for the station was well-insulated and had a top and a bottom floor.
It didn’t take him long to get the station to living standards, although it was dirty from where it hadn’t been occupied in decades by anything living. Greg camped out on the ground floor while he furnished and refurbished the old building. For the first month there his experience of it was peaceful, just beyond the inverted reclining “Y” of the Oslo metropolitan area and the sounds of civilization.
But in the first week of May is when bad noises began.
Gregory Nathan had moved into the bedroom upstairs, and was working on his novel, when the power went out. Greg thought nothing of it, but when it went out a few more times throughout the week, he ventured outside in an attempt to locate the source of the outages, finding nothing.
What Greg hadn’t realized was that gurgling noise wasn’t coming from a damaged waterpipe, as he had initially suspected.
In fact, it was coming from the abandoned radio in the attic.
Greg removed the batteries, hoping the situation would resolve itself, until the sounds continued.
They were coming from the attic, again.
The top level wasn’t a traditional attic in the sense of one room on the roof, but a network of corridors which largely remained unexplored. The radio station was a squat, square-rectangular building with each floor occupying roughly the same area, and there were even parts of the second floor that he hadn’t been in.
Concluding that the sounds weren’t coming from the radio, he decided they had to be coming from elsewhere in the attic – namely, one of the rooms he hadn’t yet been in. Greg determined to go on the hunt in the middle of the day, when he’d have access to the most light. When he went searching, almost as if it knew, the noises began once again.
They got louder as he entered through a back door into a rear corridor made of stone with no doors leading to the various rooms. The light seemed strained in this part of the complex, as if there were no windows either. His speculation was confirmed as he entered the first room to his left. It was completely bare as he turned on his flashlight.
The next room is where it got weird. There was an old doll lying face-down on the floor, a mannequin it seemed, with no discernible features. Greg felt as though he was being watched, and he quickly exited the room. When Greg entered the room at the end of the hall, he caught a brief glimpse of something that made his skin slither before the power went out on his flashlight and he booked it top-speed back out of the hall, certain that it was right on him.
What he had seen couldn’t have been alive, what appeared to be another mannequin. This one was in the shape of a large dog or other quadruped, but with the face of a grinning dead man with what had looked like clown or mime makeup and wild eyes.
Despite the impossibility, Greg was certain those eyes had an owner.
And he was positive that they were looking at him.
Greg locked up the attic after that, and when the power went out again after wards, this time it was during the day, and he knew at that time that what was going on had to be supernatural, or have some sort of otherworldly origin.
The blackness was all-encompassing, and as Greg made his way through the upper floor, the ground became something else. It sloshed and squished beneath his feet, and when Greg reached his hand out to feel his way through, he yanked them back in disgust and terror.
Gregory Nathan, a grown man of 42-years, began to weep. What was going on? He attempted to get his flashlight working, secretly hoping it wouldn’t work and he wouldn’t have to face this terrifying nightmare reality head-on.
As he struggled with the light, he felt slimy substances brushing against the skin of his arms. He felt hands grabbing at him. Then, claws - scraping against his arms and shoulders. A long tendril brushed across his leg and another up the back of his shirt.
"Oh my God!"
Another wrapped around his arm, jerking him backward, almost dropping his flashlight. Others similarly did this, with one even protruding down the back of his pants and along his crack, threatening entry.
"Oh God, what the fuck!?"
His light worked for a second.
Greg screamed in terror and fainted.
Greg couldn’t bring himself to tell Dan about the being things that came with the aggressively strange and different darkness, different from any other darkness he had experienced, and he couldn’t remember what the things looked like, or even what he’d seen with his flashlight. “So, what is it?” inquired Dan shakily.
“I don’t know,” he said, “but, it’s a theory I have that this satellite is broadcasting a wavelength that directly interfaces with the consciousness of the occupants of this station. It happened with Nikola Tesla back in 1899. It happened with Jorgan Hals here three decades later. Both reported ‘natural extraterrestrial repeating sources’ and ‘long-delayed echoes’ heard during the 1899 radio experiments and again thirty years later, here. To this day those reports remain a mystery.”
The darkness almost seemed to respond to Greg’s explanation, appearing to grow deeper and more prescient, as though it were alive. The gurgling snarl returned, closer. It was in the room.
“Ignore it. You have to ignore it,” Greg rasped. The snarling escalated, steadily increasing until it ceased once again. “See? That’s the only way to get it to go away. You have to focus. Focus on me, Dan.” Dan did so, even going so far as to look in Greg’s direction.
“Why did I let you talk me into this?” Dan asked after a few moments of silence. Another minute or two elapsed before Dan asked, “When is the power going to come back on?”
He felt Greg’s breathing, but he wasn’t answering.
Then… gurgling. Snarling. Right next to his face.
The lights came back on.
A towering, monstrous humanoid stood over him, grinning.
Written by D. Compton Ambrose