I am terrified of waking up at night. Not because I can’t go back to sleep but because I know that if I do, he’ll be there. Watching me.
I first saw him a year ago, after going into a musky antique shop in town with my friends. The wrinkled, old woman shop keeper noticed that I was a fifth wheel and that my two friends seemed to be picking on me insistently. She pulled me to the side and asked if there were any improvements I was looking to make in my life. Slightly weirded out, I told her of course, and that I hadn’t realized I was being so obvious. She went behind the counter and grabbed me this vial of liquid and then told me to put some on my hands. I was definitely suspicious, but she put some on hers first, so I figured why not. It had an odd scent to it like a strong lavender. Ready to leave I walked outside and was going to tell my friends about what the lady had done. Turns out they had forgotten about me all together and left to the next location. No big surprise there. Then around a corner came Carrie, a girl from school I had had a crush on for months and to my surprise she actually approached me to say hi.
I mean I wasn’t ugly or anything, just average I guess, but this kind of thing was definitely not normal. Sadly, I was too nervous to get her number or anything, but it still gave me a nice little boost.
Then later once I got home my mom who had been sick for months with a suspicious illness that doctors hadn’t been able to diagnose said she was feeling way better. This was amazing but I still chalked it up to coincidence. That was until I was lying in bed later and saw that I had a Facebook notification. It was from Carrie. She had Facebook stalked me, found my profile and added me. This was getting downright suspicious.
After that her and I started texting and things were going surprisingly well. I also found out that I had gotten one of the highest grades in the class on one of my math tests which, I mean I was terrible at math. So I actually seriously started considering whether this oil was actually doing all of this.
I got home later that night and after taking a shower and going to bed I sent out a good night text to Carrie. I waited a half hour or so and got no response. Considering we had been exchanging texts like every couple of minutes for the last day this was weird.
Then I sniffed my hand and noticed that the scent was almost completely gone. Frustrated I laid down and tried to sleep but then began to hear the sounds of my mother coughing through the walls. Lets just say I didn’t sleep much that night.
The next day I noticed that Carrie still hadn’t responded. That was it, I couldn’t explain why this was happening, but I definitely had to figure out how to get more of that oil. So I showed up later at the shop that day and looked for the owner.
She was in the back organizing shelves and I approached her. I asked her if I could possibly purchase some of that oil she had given me the other day. “It works well doesn’t it?” she said with a grin. She then went on to tell me that it had been given to her by her deceased husband who was an archeologist and she was unsure of what it was or even where it had come from. So she told me that she could give me a little bit more but only to be used sparingly. “Otherwise they’ll take notice” she said with sort of a nervous grin. Not really understanding what she was talking about and really not caring I agreed.
She put a single drop on my hand and I rubbed it in thoroughly. Upon smelling it I immediately felt a sense of calm come over me. It seemed my mind had already associated good things with the smell. I told her about what had happened with my mom and how the oil was literally changing my life. Then she said she wanted to show me something and walked to the back of the store. But she left the vial sitting on the table and the temptation to take it flared up inside me. It was just too easy.
I started to hear her walking back from the storage area and impulsively grabbed the vial off the counter and ran out of the store with it. Totally expecting her to come out after me I turned back to see the store. However, she never came out. I didn’t even have to really run. I immediately poured a generous amount on my hands and rubbed it in.
Not surprisingly Carrie started returning my texts, and we actually began dating soon after. By the end of the week it was like I was a completely transformed person. I had the girl of my dreams and other kids were finally starting to see me differently.
However, the night I first tried to kiss Carrie was when things began to take a turn for the worst. I had walked her home and while at her front door I tried to kiss her and she shied away nervously, leaving me for the night. Down and defeated, I noticed I couldn’t smell any scent from the oil. So, I went home and immediately rubbed a bunch of it onto my hands. Then Carrie immediately texted me saying she was sorry and that whenever I was ready to kiss again, she was. This stuff was almost too good. After that I just laid back in bed with a smile and dozed off for the night.
I had a weird nightmare that night though where the wrinkled old shopkeeper was giggling and playing in the street like a little girl then she looked at me and started laughing hysterically. Laughing until she cried even. Then her tears became blood and I woke up.
My eyes still blurry, I blinked a few times and noticed something beside my hand. It was dark but it looked like a man or something on its hands and knees sniffing my hand. I screamed and turned on the lights but there was no one there. Truly horrified I turned the tv on and put on some cartoons. I figured I must have not been fully awake yet and somehow imagined it.
Later that day I went to school and everything was pretty much normal. I was still pretty shaken up though. Carrie started texting me again and I was excited to see her later that day. Once the school bell rang, I bolted out to my bike to rode straight to her house. Then when I got to her front door she immediately came out, smiled and kissed me. She then invited me in, so I went to park my bike but when I rolled it around the house and put it up against her garage, I got the distinct feeling that someone was watching me. In the corner of my eye I saw a man across the street. A man with a car accident face, just staring at me. But then by the time I turned my head towards him he was gone.
I went inside and tried to forget what I had seen but I obviously couldn’t. So the next day I went back to the shop and that was when things really started getting weird. The shop was closed, permanently. I got a cell phone number off google and called the number for it. And much to my surprise, the shopkeeper actually answered.
I began to apologize furiously and I told her that I would give her the oil back. The next sound I heard over the phone sent chills down my spine. She started laughing. “You’ve began to see him haven’t you?” Too scared to respond I just stood there on the phone. “They’ve taken an interest in you.” “What do you mean?” I asked fearfully. “It seems they can improve your life… because they want a better story but you must entertain them at least that’s what my husband thought.” Shivering and almost in tears I asked if I could make it stop. She told me flat out that I needed to try to give the oil to someone else before it ran out. Then she rudely hung up the phone and I was left staring at the empty shop.
I got back home later, pulled the bottle out and to my horror it was empty. Clearly stressed beyond belief I woke up again that night. My room was dark but in the corner I saw a figure his arms at his sides. His head slightly tilted with a bizarre empty grin on his bag-like face. His eyes two little black holes. I closed my eyelids tight and pretended he wasn’t there. Waiting for something to happen. To my surprise it never did. At least not yet.
I haven’t really slept a full night since then. Only now when I wake up and I know its still nighttime I don’t open my eyes, and I know I never will again.
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