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I don't know how long I have been here.

I don't know how long I will be able to remain.

I have hidden myself in the depths of the building, away from the windows, away from the doors. 

I can no longer stand to look out of them and see the visage of what I know now will be the end of me.

I did not know at first what I was dealing with, and my naive response to it has led me to be where I am now.

A week ago, Friday, around 8pm. I first looked out of one of the huge windows in the side of the golf and country club in which I work and saw a vague, brownish shape making its way with a slow, shambling gait across the grounds in the dim light of the moon. I assumed at the time that it was nothing more than a hiker who had accidentally ended up in the wrong place. A golf course is an unlikely place to get lost, but this was right at the edge of it, and it certainly would not be the first time I had known it to happen. In this part of the world, people walk a lot. There is a lot to see, it is a green and scenic place, and even in the winters possess a certain charming, whimsical nature. Strange things happen here often, and people easily become enchanted by the wild, enigmatic countryside. So it is not beyond belief that someone could have ended up off the beaten track and lost on a golf course.

 I am so accustomed to thinking nothing of 'slightly out of the ordinary' occurrences that I barely gave thought to the brown shape, other than a momentary thought that the way in which it moved was unusual for a hiker. My thoughts idled away from the hiker, and back to the ironing of the starchy white tablecloths that I was laying out in our largest event suite, preparing for a wedding the following night. I only remember the time of the happening so clearly because it just so happened that I had to go and fetch another packet of cloths moments afterward, and in my quest to do so, glanced at a clock, making a note that in two and three quarter hours, I could swap over to my much-preferred position within the golf club of night porter. I often did these twelve-hour split shifts, four hours working for the events team, then eight as a night porter. Money is scarce you see, and I take all the hours I can get over any department that will have me.

 I spend a lot of time in darkness as a night porter. As such, I have no fear of it. I have always worked comfortably with it on the basis that the most dangerous thing I will ever face is another human, and another human will be just as blinded by darkness as me—if I were to be attacked in the dark, it would lend me a great deal more chances to hide or escape than broad daylight. If it hides dangers, it also hides their prey from them. I am well aware of predators who have superior night vision, or senses of smell that this would not apply to, but I am equally aware that the chances of being hunted by a leopard in a small golf and country club in rural Cornwall is largely unlikely. I can see Bodmin moor from where I work, and where I live, but the Beast of Bodmin certainly would have little reason to stray so far from its home to terrorize night porters. There are no sheep or similar flock animals surrounding the resort to attract a predator of that size either, only cows, which, generally, would be too much trouble for a small hunter such as the celebrity black cat of the moors.

 But now, as I sit here, the darkness does scare me, an entirely new experience I admit. The hairs on my neck are all standing to attention in a prickly, terrified manner, and every sound I hear shoots through me like a shock of electricity. 

I became aware of the shambling guest a second time several days later, after I had had two days off, as I was performing a routine internal walkabout of the building, checking that fire doors were sealed correctly, ensuring windows were closed, and that non-fire doors were locked. These patrols are undertaken three or four times a night, time allowing, and are handled in turns by the two on-shift night porters. We are a small department of three, who work closely together, and have a sense of trust and even like-mindedness in our night shifts. We are alone in the building at night. Though the hotel is filled with sleeping guests, up to two hundred, there are no other staff there, and though you are surrounded by people, it is easy to think that you are alone on patrol. 

The rural nature of the golf club's setting lends a feeling of isolation, despite its relative closeness to the main road. This can often creep into the back of your mind, and make you look over your shoulder when you know, full well, that nothing is there. It seems to affect visitors faster than staff, who perhaps are more accustomed to the sensation, living nearby and for the most part having grown up in similar circumstances. People are spooked more easily when they are sleeping in a strange place, and more than once I have known a small panic to break out among the guests on the ground floor when a vixen is wandering the nearby 17th and 18th holes, directly adjacent to the hotel's front, screaming her siren song of almost demonic tones. 

Now, I will grant to you that an unfamiliar sound such as that is alarming if you are not aware of the source. I have never once laughed at someone for such fears, as I am well aware how strange this county can be sometimes.

However, that night, as I was giving the restaurant fire doors a hearty yank, for a moment my gaze passed from the glass, through to the other side. I felt a trickle of icy coldness run down my back as I spotted the same, slow-moving, slouching figure, all brown to my eye. It was a fair distance from the building still, so detail was rather difficult to make out. My guess was that it was larger than an average man by a fair bit, but I cannot stress enough that it was still on a hill some distance from me, at least two hundred metres, and in the darkness, lit only by the lights along the path through the golf course, and a halfhearted moon.

Still, colour and vague humanoid shape I could make out, and the same movement pattern as the one I had spotted on Friday. The way it moved seemed even stranger now that it was a little closer. It walked as though it was empty somehow, and made of something soft, like a puppet made only of tubes of cloth. It sort of slumped every time it took a step, its entire body flopping visibly, then lifting itself up for the next one. Its arms, from the elbow region, were out in front of it and looked 'droopy' almost. I only was able to notice the thing, because, by chance, I happened to see it as it was passing over one of the paths, near a light—I must have stared for at least ten minutes, and in that time, it had barely moved over a quarter of the path. Its movement was slow, laborious, as though it was making a lot of effort to be mobile at all!

I shook my head a few times, uncertain what I was looking at. Could I have imagined this? Surely not, it was still right there!

For a moment I thought that perhaps I was mistaken, that what I was looking at was just not real. A trick of the light? I am quite well accustomed to seeing odd things out of the corner of my eye, and even experiencing things I could not explain, but not a one of those was something I could stare at, directly, pointedly and for an extended period of time, without it disappearing. The mere fact that it persisted in simply existing was enough to give me a chilling sensation. By this point, the shambling whatever-it-was had made it far enough away from the light that it all but dissipated into the darkness of the golf course, making no attempt to follow the path. I stared out at the blackness for a while, chewing my lip and generally feeling a sense of malcontentedness in my gut. 

After my blank stare failed to pierce the darkness, and reveal the reality of the strange thing I had seen, I headed back upstairs to the reception floor, where it was well lit and well heated, to help push my fears away. I mentioned to my colleague that I had seen something strange out on the course, and was not sure if it was someone lost or drunk, I tried to make a joke of it even, in an attempt to thaw the icy feeling still resting at the back of my mind. He offered to do a drive-around, or an external patrol, to make sure there wasn't anyone around looking for trouble, but again, feeling frightened by what I had seen, I told him it had been a long distance from the building, and that I was sure I had imagined it.

After all, what could walk like a person, and look like a person in form but be so entirely not person-like? The more I thought on its shape, the more convinced I became that I could not have seen it. That said, I did not venture outside for the rest of the shift, though I did occasionally glance out over the golf course from one of the higher floors of the building. I did not see our shambling guest again that night. Perhaps I had imagined it after all, or perhaps it really had been a person, lost and wandering. Then again, an awkward little voice in the back of my mind was all too quick to remind me, it was equally possible that it had made its way down into the manufactured 'valley' that runs along the centre of the courses, dividing the nearest and furthest holes, and existing primarily to spite careless golfers. As such, it would be quite impossible to see the 'whatever it was', from inside the building. I shook this off as paranoia and forced myself to finish my shift. When daylight came, it found me looking out over the course from the top floor, trying to confirm my sanity in my own mind. I had no idea whether seeing it or not seeing it, would clarify for me whether or not I was sane. I suppose my main goal was to determine what I had seen, whether I had seen it, and if I had, what it was.

Neither question was to be answered that morning, as absolutely nothing was visible even in daylight. The course looked dewy, grey and devoid of all life other than grass. I drove home a lot more gratefully than usual that morning, though the trip home was always a welcome one, this morning it felt as though I was running to safety.

 I continued to deny these thoughts and wave them off as paranoia as I settled down for sleep, but I still peeped out of both the forward and back windows of my home to check for monsters before I was satisfied to let myself rest.

The following night, despite my self-indulgent consideration that I should call in sick, I returned, and went about my shift as normal, pretending all was well. As my fear had aged, I had grown a deeper sense of it, and this time, chose not even to look out of the windows as I did the internal patrols that night, not genuinely wanting to risk seeing anything strange a second night running. I dodged doing the external patrols altogether, claiming that I was feeling the cold very badly, and playing my one-use-only 'can you do them just tonight' card that one gets with each colleague. Reluctantly he had agreed, and I felt I had staved off what might have been (but most likely was not) certain death. I knew at the time I was overreacting, and when my colleague returned from his patrols each time, unscathed, and stating that the course was quiet, with no sign of trouble, I began to realise how foolish I really was being.

It was with a slightly invigorated sense of safety that I returned to work the following night and went about my duties in a slightly more normal manner. Agreeing with myself that I was not going to see anything odd that night, I fought through my hesitations about going on an outside patrol, but as I had used up all my excuses on my colleague the previous night, I had little choice. Of course I did consider just pretending to patrol, and going to hang out by the bins for half an hour instead, but the voice of good sense in my head scolded me for my overreaction, and I went on my way around the hotel car parks, around to the front of the building, where my experiences had all taken place. The darkness consuming most of the grassy course did little to quell my fears, the lights from the hotel failing to light more than about twenty yards from the building, or where it turned into rough before dropping off into the valley.

 I found my heart thudding pretty heavily as I walked along the slender tarmac path that led along the course's 18th hole. It was a quiet night, the breeze soft, so I was permitted the luxury of being able to hear very clearly as I walked. Only the familiar tap tap of my polished black work shoes on the hard ground kept me company. Even as I passed right in front of the doors I had been looking through to see my monster two nights previous, pausing, of course, to give them a tug and ensure that they were sealed, I neither saw, nor heard, any sign of trouble. I considered the possibility of walking across the rough to look down the hillside and make certain that the creature, which had been shambling at an incredibly slow pace, was not still making its way up the hill, hidden from view. However, on that thought, my courage failed me before following through, and I hurried around the rest of my patrol before returning to the safety of the building. 

My fears now quelled by not dying on patrol, and by a solid sense of reasoning, I felt more at ease as I finished my shift, and returned the next day with my concerns now almost completely cast aside.

 I was on my indoor patrol, passing the immense glass windows of the second-floor event suite, the one from which I had first seen the unnatural guest when a strange little chill down my back gave me pause. Whether I had spotted something out of the corner of my eye, I do not know, but I felt a definite sense of threat as I slowly turned my head and saw it beginning to crest the tump of rough at the top of the hill that led onto the 17th of 18th Holes. It was back. 

I do not have a word for the sensation I experienced at that moment. It was a dizzying rush of terror, disbelief, dread, and the physical sensation of a twenty-pound hunk of ice dropping from my chest to my gut. I was transfixed. It was real. Had I ventured to look down the hill the previous night, I would surely have seen it on its slow climb. As I stared, it became all too clear as the hotel lights lit its form entirely for the first time, that I had been correct about it not being entirely normal for a person. What I was looking at indeed had two arms and two legs, but it was not a human. 

It looked like a man made out of hollow, somewhat flexible tubes. Every part of its body was uniform in width, even the arms and legs. It had no visible head, only a long, hunched, drooping neck which almost faced the ground, as though it was heavy and unable to lift it. It had no hands or feet, the roundish tubes just seemed to end. The arms drooped a manner similar to the neck, making what was at the ends of them invisible to me from above. Every inch of the thing was draped in thick, drooping hair, long and matted, brown in colour, making it impossible to determine any features beyond that. Every movement it made was that of a puppet on a slack string, a flopping, laborious movement that appeared to take great effort. The footprints it left in the grass were not like footprints at all, merely hollow, misshapen rings, shallow, indicating that the creature had no significant weight to it despite the effort it exhibited in attempting to move. What I was looking at was real. It was solid. It had a shadow, and it was leaving a trail of footprints as it moved persistently towards the building. There was no longer any hiding behind the belief that I might simply be going mad.

I stood and stared at it, and noticed, to a second, unpleasant chill, that it was not just heading directly for the building, it was, in fact, moving straight towards me. Granted, at the speed it was moving, I felt no great need to dodge out of the way, but that knowledge alone brought out a primal, prey-like fear in me. I wanted to be certain though, a morbidly curious piece of my mind wanted to know that it was not a coincidence. 

My legs began to move underneath me, carrying me numbly to the other end of the same event room, some fifteen metres, not a huge difference, but far enough that this shambling abomination would be forced to change direction at least a little bit if it wished to pursue my new position.

I looked back, disappointed to see it still remained, and as it slouched along, began to slowly adjust its course to follow.

Questions flooded my mind. Why was it following me, was I merely the nearest living thing? The nearest source of food? It was definitely not looking at me with any eyes that I could see, and behind an inch of golf-ball proof glass, it had no way of catching my scent. How had someone not seen it during the day, was it not visible or present in daylight, did it have some way of hiding? Its lank, brown hair looked a lot like the long grass in the rough on the course but was far more drooping and flat. Perhaps showing some means of concealing itself through camouflage.

As I stood, somewhere between wetting myself with fear and pondering these questions, I realised how stupid I was being, standing there like a lemon staring at it. I had to warn my colleague, and call the police or something like that! It was still faintly possible that this was a prank, but, it was clear from its shape, persistence, and method of movement that this was no man inside a suit. 

I found myself, and dashed out into the reception area to find my colleague and draw his attention, but was surprised to find he was not behind the desk. I looked around the office and listened for the familiar sound of him vacuuming the foyer downstairs, but neither of those proved fruitful in my search. Puzzled, I returned to the reception office and checked the key-safe, as we had three sets of keys for different patrols, and vehicle keys as well. I assumed whichever one was missing would inform me where Steve was.

As I stood, staring into the key safe, I spotted the empty hook and felt my heart thudding once again—uncomfortably hard. I glanced at my watch, but I was unfortunately not wrong, it was due time for an outside patrol, and my colleague's turn to do so. I moved like lightning, dashing through the hotel, giving little mind to waking up guests with creaking floorboards as I went from stairwell to stairwell along the length of the hotel, looking out into the car parks, hoping that I could intercept him before it was too late. I found nobody. Empty cars stared back at me from the darkness, reflecting the unenthusiastic lampposts in their windscreens. No sign of life.

I considered the possibility of going outside and shouting, but found I was too afraid to open any doors or even windows. I dashed back to the second-floor event room, my breath fogging the cold glass as I stared out onto the dark golf course, looking at the slender tarmac path beneath me that ran alongside the 17th and 18th holes. At first, I could not see anything. I could not see the creature, and for a wonderful, blessed moment, was treated to the belief that I might again have imagined it. Then I heard a sound. Laboured, heavy breathing. Thick, whistling as though it was coming through enormous nostrils. It was faint through the glass, but audible, and I dared to look down closer to the foot of the building, and there it was. 

There was still no sign of Steve, but the creature was somehow right up against the side of the building now, almost below my feet, exactly beside the doors I had spotted it through the other night. It was just, standing there, rocking back and forth slightly on its unsteady legs. I spotted what might have been mud on the path in the half-light a few feet from the creature, but the greasy stain looked darker, and much more liquid. I covered my mouth with my hand. Praying, please let me be wrong.

I did not dare to move for some time after that, lest letting the creature out of my sight would allow it to get into the building. But it just stood there, still vacantly rocking on the spot. 

After some minutes of this terrified standoff, the creature seemed to decide it was time to move once again, it raised its arms a little bit and pressed them against the door that stood before it. 

First of all, this door was locked by a pressure bar inside, and secondly, it was a fire door, so it only opened outwards, and could not be pushed from the outside. Still, I heard a soft creak as the Shambler pressed against the glass, and began to worry that it would actually manage to break through from sheer force alone.

After a few moments of consistent pressing though, it seemed to give up, keeping its 'hands' against the glass, but no longer pressing. Instead, I could hear a light, soft tapping sound. As though it was tapping the glass, but with no digits that I could see. I thought again of calling the police, but I did not have my phone about me and did not want to leave to use the one in reception. As though taking my eyes off the creature would somehow increase the danger. 

After what was likely ten minutes of the creature tapping here and there on the glass, it stepped back slightly and began to turn to the left, before starting to shamble along the side of the building with slow, repetitive, slumping movements, still making those heavy, huffing breaths. My eyes must have all but rolled from their sockets as I realised that the creature was moving to the next door along. I knew the next door was locked because it was, like the first, a fire door, and I would have been able to see if it was ajar from where I was, as it would not have been laying true to its partner or the frame. My fear stemmed from the knowledge that the double doors along one more, beside the cellar door, were a twist lock, manual, not a fire exit, and the restaurant staff had a terrible habit of leaving it unlocked as they returned with arms full of wine and beer from the cellar.

Every fibre of me did not want to go downstairs to the same floor as the creature. But I found myself scrambling to do it anyway. Fear of the creature gaining entry to the building was clearly greater by a significant measure.

Dashing down the stairs that I had traversed a million times before, I dashed through the back corridor into the restaurant, dodging over the lounge chairs stored there stacked on top of each other, desperate to get to the doors faster than the creature. I slammed into them with all my weight, thankfully, they were hardy doors that opened inwards, and I was able to twist the lock with a satisfying click, securing them.

It happened in less than an instant. My hand did not have time to leave the twist-knob for the door locks before there was a dreadful, effortsome heaving noise of breath and the creature was suddenly before me at the doors, its hair still swinging from the speed of its movement to the source of the sound. I fell backward, away from the door with an unconcealed shriek, covering my mouth. 

Its figure was imposing against the glass. Seven or eight feet in height at least, even in its slouched posture, the tube-like neck contained no face at the end, merely darkness. The same for the arms, extended against the glass in exploration, the matted, thick hair on the ends of the arms sticking to the glass with some kind of slickness, leaving slimy trails as it moved.

 I stared, and perhaps it stared back, I could not tell. It just swayed slightly back and forth in an almost relaxed manner as it began to press against the door with its arms, as it had done the one before. The doors creaked in objection, but just as they had taken my weight, they defied this attempt as well, and the creaking stopped as the creature ceased its attempt.

Then, as I stared from my undignified position on the hard wood of the restaurant floor, it happened. In one of the openings at the end of its arms, a faint pink shape became visible, a hand, human, carried down to the end by some unseen force, began to tap on the glass with a nail. 

Tap. Taptap. Tap.

 Moving from spot to spot on the glass, the finger began to explore, like an animal with a mind of its own looking for weak spots. I noticed after a moment or two of frozen terror that the hand looked wrong. The finger it had extended seemed okay, but there were thick red streaks running between and along the other, still-curled fingers, several of which were hanging strangely in place, as though they were broken, and the entire thing was coated in clear, yellow slime. That was no normal person's hand. I do not know why I had thought it might be. Perhaps some little bit of my now-traumatized mind had hoped that it was a normal guy in there, pranking me. 

Tap. Tap. Taptap.

It carried on, then slowed, as if for thought, and made an angry huffing noise, its breath fogging the glass with a faint yellow tinge as a new movement began. Deep in its heavy, tube-like body, around where the chest or belly would have been, a bulge appeared and began to travel slowly upwards. I was helpless to do anything but watch as the shape traveled up to its 'head' and slowly came into view in the black void, supported by something I was unable to see in the darkness. Greyish pink, streaked with red.

  The face was very much familiar, but something was so wrong. The face of my colleague was almost hard to recognise, his eyes, closed loosely, looked unnatural, hollow, as though nothing was within the sockets behind them. There was a wide split on one of his cheeks, and blood had poured all over the face. I knew in an instant that he was not alive. The grey tint to his flesh, the hollow eyes and every inch of the face was covered in the same thick, clear slime as the hand.

 I was still attempting to digest this information when the eyes began to open. I pressed my hand over my mouth so hard that my cheeks scraped on my teeth as the eyelids were pushed upwards by what was clearly not the normal muscles, strings of slime on the top and bottom lids refusing to separate completely as they did so. What looked out of them at me was complete darkness for a brief moment. Then as it moved a few inches closer to the glass, as though it was trying to peer inside, I saw the glisten of rounded, black shapes. No pupil, no iris, just a blob of pure blackness. These were not normal eyes though. They were not rounded, they were an elongated, oval shape that fitted poorly into the socket of the eye, sticking out slightly at the top corners in an uncomfortable, unsettling manner. 

The lids of the eyes never reached a uniform height, and as I was stared down by this blank monstrosity, wearing my colleague's face like some kind of mask or trophy, a few drops of blood trickled down from the mouth, the lips of which hung slightly open, revealing more darkness beyond. It was as though the face had been sliced clear off, and nothing behind it remained.

The huffing, yellow breaths continued to steam the glass, but they were not coming from the face, but rather from around it, as though the face were being held before something else, some hidden breather whose true face I had no desire to see.

 I could do nothing but stare at this point. My body's ability to move had been stolen away by fear, I simply sat there on the floor, staring, like a rabbit in headlights, useless and paralysed.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

 It began again, still staring at me from behind the once-familiar face. The tapping began to grow more rapid, more intense, as though the creature was more insistent to get into the building now that it had laid eyes upon me. 

After a short while longer, the face slowly withdrew, the figure bulging once again as it disappeared, and without stopping to pause, something else began to make its way up the body.

At this point, I was well past the point of fear, my brain's defense mechanisms had kicked in, and I was flooded with a combination of disbelief, and the desperate urge to run. I could not run though, my legs still numb as I watched the matted fur distend and shift around something. Some unknown horror.

I began trying to stand, pushing my hands against the floor in an effort to lift myself as something finally reared into view through the dark neck.

This was much larger than the previous face it had chosen to exhibit, so long that the nose was well out through the end of the tube before I recognised what it was.  

Recognition is an inaccurate term for what I experienced, it was merely the size and shape that told me what this new head was, as the hollow eyes were once again pushed open by those black, ill-fitting shapes.

The nose had all but rotted clean away, leaving an empty, gaping blackness behind it, through which I could see fleshy tubes and lumps. The upper lip was gone with it, but the lower remained, slack, and dangling, displaying broken and rotted teeth, half-open, with pus and hunks of gritty, dried blood trickling from them along with the clear, sticky-looking slime, it dangled from the teeth and jaw in thick globs, trickling down, dropping to the ground, or into the entrance of the pipe-neck.

There was no fur remaining until at least halfway up the face, light bay, with a white diamond on the forehead, though it was faded, and a small amount of black hair hung forlornly over the front of the face in strands. Behind that, there was nothing. No ears. No neck. As though it had been sliced in a neat, clean line.

I shuddered, frozen in my half-getting up position as the face leaned in, giving me a much clearer view of the ragged, rotting skin, the rivers of pulverant, yellow-brown liquid running from the eyes like tears. The slow decay of the horse's head, combined with the fact that it was looking me right in the eye was finally too much. I scrambled, flopping to my feet as the head suddenly withdrew, with the entire tube-like body behind it, and drove forwards, the bone protruding from the tip of the nose striking the window with a terrific crack, shards splitting off the skull itself and falling into the dark hole where the nose should be. The golf-ball proof glass held up against the blow but shuddered in the frame. 

As I began to back up, the jaws widened, and a thick, black, wriggling object extended from between them. Covered in warty lumps and dripping the transparent, thick yellow slime, the glistening thing splatted itself against the glass and travelled up and down in a licking motion.

I had seen enough. That was the tongue of whatever lay behind the skull, and the yellow substance was its saliva. I wanted the assault on my eyes and mind to end, I began to run, unbalanced with nausea and confused to where I was even going, I headed the only way I could think of as another loud crack sounded out. It was only going to be so long before the creature broke that window, or found some other way in.

I stumbled into the changing rooms for the pool area, and fell against a row of lockers, panting, little caring for the keys digging into my back.

This is where we began. 

I am still here. Waiting, listening. My colleague is gone, I cannot get to a phone without passing where the creature was trying to get in, or going outside, morning light will not come for another four hours. The hotel is quiet tonight, about thirty guests, sleeping, currently unaware. What will happen to them, I do not know. Perhaps they will sleep undisturbed, never knowing of the horror. Perhaps it will find them before it finds me. 

Sometimes I think I can hear it. Moving through the building. Sometimes I think that sound is just the air conditioning.

I think perhaps if I am quiet enough, it will not find me if I do not draw its attention. But I saw how it travelled towards me before with no means of knowing where I was over the past days. Why it did that, I still do not know. Likely I never will.  

Perhaps it was merely travelling in that direction, and only became drawn to me as a source of food? When I was visible in the window. Sure it had changed to hunt Steve fast enough when he had been out on patrol. Perhaps that was it. We were merely convenient for it.

 I know there's not a lot of hope... but I don't know what I can do. 

I would run for my car, but the speed at which it travelled when it heard me lock the door, I cannot outrun that, and the staff car park is some quarter mile away.

My legs are numb again anyway.

It's only a matter of time.

 It will find a door it can break through... maintenance here is not what it used to be. and if it does not?

The reception doors are automatic. 

Written by Slenderhands
Content is available under CC BY-SA


The Shambling Guest - My own Creepypasta!