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I enjoy taking baths, soaking in the warm, bubbly water and washing away all the stresses of the day. I have this bad habit of taking around 3 baths a day, not just to get washed, but just to have some ‘me’ time. I normally take a bath around midnight,just before going to bed. It had become some sort of a routine. It just relaxes me before going to sleep. Sometimes, I fall asleep in the bathtub, comforted by the feel of the warm water.

The night it happened, I had just awoken from a short snooze in the bathtub. The water had turned slightly cold and I shivered as the bathroom heater turned off, plunging the room into an icy coldness. Rubbing my arms, trying to warm myself up, I almost screamed as I heard a deep, gruff voice from underneath me. “Do you wanna play a game?”

Now, I live alone, so imagine my shock when I hear a voice coming from underneath me, from the pipes. I was temporarily paralysed in fear, but I soon got over myself and decided that the voice was my imagination playing tricks with me, it was half one in the morning after all and I was tired. A few seconds passed and nothing happened. Relieved, I sighed and laid back into the bathtub. My relaxation didn’t last long, as I was once again awoken by that voice; “Do you wanna play a game?”

My brain screamed at me to get out of the bathtub right now, but my body was once again paralysed in fear. Although I was frightened to hell and back, I was also intrigued.

“What game is it” I asked, my voice shaking. A few seconds passed before the voice replied, “A fun game. Very fun.” The silence was deafening afterwards, as my brain processed the reply. The game sounded ominous, I didn’t like how the voice pronounced the “fun” of the game. A minute passed so slowly that it felt like an hour. The voice hadn’t said anything else so I threw out another question, “What’s the game called?” The voice replied instantly, “The game is called the bathroom game. It’s very fun.” The deep voice echoed around the bathroom, bouncing off the tile walls. I thought for a second, before replying, “How do you play it?”. Once again, the voice replied instantly, it sounded excited this time though, as if it was getting excited at thought of playing the game, which was probably twisted and evil.

The voice replied, “You want to play it?”

“ I don’t know how to though” I responded, terrifying thoughts flying through my mind about what the game could be about. “Don’t worry. Just tell me you want to play the game.” The voice had gotten louder and more commanding.

“Will you play the Bathroom game?”

Worried at what would happen if I declined, I answered, “Sure, why not”

Almost instantaneously, a heard the voice let out a laugh and then say, “ let’s play!”

I gripped the sides of the bathtub, shaking in terror, anticipating what was about to come. “How to play the bathroom game,” the voice began, talking as if he was reading from a set of instructions, “ you must start to let the bath water out and you must get dry and dressed and have left the room before all the bath water has drained down the plug” The voice lapsed into silence. Expecting more, I asked, “is that it? I thought there would be a catch or something “ The voice laughed and said no more.

I wasn’t sure about this, there had to be a catch somewhere. “What happens if I don’t get out of the room in time?” I asked, thinking I had stumbled onto the catch. “Well..” The voice grew quieter, “if you don’t manage to escape before the water drains, you will have every single bone in your body broken, one by one... by me.” The voice laughed another, deep grating laugh, sending a shiver down my spine. I wanted to get out of the room as fast as possible, but that meant I had to play the game. I sighed, and sat up in the freezing water, bracing myself to jump out of the bathtub. The water was full to the brim, so I knew it was going to be easy to get out of the bathroom before the water had drained. Reassuring myself that I could play this stupid game, I let the bath plug out with my foot and then leapt out of the bathtub.

Quickly, I dried myself, getting that tingling feeling at the back of your brain you get when you feel like somebody is watching you. I hardly touched my back when drying myself and I was rewarded with the voice saying, “ no cheating, dry yourself properly.” I gulped and looked at the bathtub, it looked hardly drained. I dried myself properly and got dressed as fast as I could, getting dressed before the bath had drained halfway. I walked to the bathroom door, opened it, turned off the light and stepped onto the landing, glancing back into the darkened bathroom. As I closed the door, the voice rasped, “Good game, huh? We’ll play again next time”.

I played the bathroom game again and again day after day, I didn’t have a choice, really. One night I completely forgot about the game, it had been a bad day after all. I had spilt coffee down my new shirt, my car had been smashed after someone pulled out in front of me and I had lost my phone at work. All I needed was some me time. The bath was only half full, up to my hips, and I wanted just to get in bed and sleep my worries away. I let the bath water out and got dry and dressed slowly. That was my big mistake.

The bath was completely drained in no time, and I was in my own little world. It was when I was putting my socks on that I realised that the bath was drained. Realisation washed over me. I couldn’t believe I had forgotten. On the other hand, I hadn’t heard the voice, so hopefully, it didn’t think that I was playing tonight. My hopes didn’t last long, as I saw a clawed, black hand coming out of the plug hole. It looked impossible, as a long arm and shoulder followed. My heart was pounding in my chest, so hard and so fast, it felt as if my heart wanted to burst out of my chest.

Running to the door, I pulled and tugged in desperation on the door knob. Somehow, the bathroom door was locked, I didn’t even know how, as my bathroom didn’t even have a lock. My breathing got more frantic and faster with every passing second. Eyes widening in fear, I watched as the thing pulled its torso through the plug hole. It’s body was skinny and black and its face was distorted and out of place. It’s eyes were on its forehead and it’s slit-like nose was to the side of its head. All of its facial features were off centre and its mouth dribbled a black gooey slime.

I tugged harder on the door, my heart in my throat. The creature gave one last tug and pulled the rest of its body through. The creature was grotesque and covered in black slime. I noticed that its legs were like a spiders, with 2 spindly legs at either side of its torso. The creature gurgled and spat out some of that black goo on to the bathroom floor. It then spoke in that deep, gravelly voice that had spoken to me for the past few days. “You lost the game. Bad luck.” It smiled revealing row after row of sharp fangs. I screamed at the top of my lungs, almost ripping my vocal cord. I gasped for breath, tugging at the door handle in a mad frenzy of panic and terror.

It crawled towards me, making slow movements, torturing me by taking its time. “I wasn’t playing. That’s not fair. Please. Please, have mercy. I wasn’t playing”  I frantically tried to backtrack. The creature laughed. “It doesn’t work like that. Once you play the Bathroom game once, you have to play it for the rest of your life, until you lose.” I let out another scream, my scared animal side of me bursting out. In one last act of desperation, I gave a last tug on the door and to my surprise and relief the door burst open. I rushed out of the house and drove and drove, not even paying attention to where I was driving to.

I stayed at a motel for a week, just outside the town where my office job was. I could hardly sleep as I had vivid nightmares of that creature. I awoke every night to my throat sore from screaming in my sleep and the motel receptionist eventually kicked me out as I was awakening all the other sleepers.

After I had mustered enough courage, I returned to my house. The house was deathly silent. When I entered the bathroom, there were black goo stains all over the floor. I didn’t stay for long.

Not long after, I moved to my parents house whilst I tried to find a new house and put my old one up for sale. I avoided taking baths for a long time, and was rewarded with a constant stench coming from my unwashed body.

Yesterday, I took a bath for the first time in weeks. As I soaked in the warm water, I tried to relax. I’m back to my same old self now in my brand new house. Today, I spent a whole hour in the bathtub, enjoying the warmth, that didn’t last long as my slumber was cut abruptly short by the deep,gravelly voice I had had nightmares about, “Hey you. Yes, you. Do you want to play a game?”