I follow a very routine-based life. I wake up at six o'clock in the mornings on week days to get ready for work. I take a shower, brush my teeth, comb my hair and put on a suit and tie. I go downstairs; I eat a bowl of cereal, put my dish in the sink and walk out the front door to get into my car. This is all over the course of about an hour so I usually leave around seven. Getting to work usually takes about forty-five minutes, even with traffic. The traffic is almost always bad due to everyone going to work at the same time. Once I get to work, I sit at a desk and work on computers all day. Lovely day, right? I get off work around 5:30 o'clock, traffic is almost always worse than it is in the morning. I get home in about an hour after I get off work. I change my clothes, make dinner, maybe watch TV or a movie, and go to bed.

It was a Wednesday when the strange occurrences began. I had just gotten home from a long, excruciatingly painful day at work. There was a box on my front porch. I found it odd because I hadn't ordered anything online in almost a year. I got out of my car and walked to the front porch, picked up the box and brought it inside. I turned the box over and over in my hands, it wasn't a very large box but it was a good size. As I examined it, I noticed it wasn't addressed to anybody; there wasn't even a label that said where it came from. It was just a blank brown box; however, it did have tape that sealed it.

I walked into my kitchen with the box in hand to grab a pair of scissors. I used the scissors to cut the tape. I pulled the tape off and opened the box. It was empty. “Must’ve been an accident,” I said to myself. I threw the box into the garage to later put it in the recycling.

The next day was the same routine. I was startled to see a box on my front porch again when I got home. I got out of the car and brought the box inside. It was the same box as from before. I opened it with the scissors again; it was empty. I threw it back into the garage, and that was when I wondered how it got from my garage to my porch. I shrugged it off and figured it was one of the neighbor’s kids pulling a prank. This thought soon left my head though, as I remembered none of the homes around me had children, not even teenagers. Again, I thought of it as a mistake.

I went to work the next day, just the same. I was so glad that it was Friday. My boss was in a good mood and decided to let me off work an hour early. On my way home I stopped at a little coffee shop to buy a well needed cup of straight black coffee. I was surprised to see one of my old college friends inside. “Hey Clarisse!” I said as a smile crept onto my face. She turned around and got out of her chair.

“Hey Matt, what are you doing here?”

“I could ask the same to you.”

“Me? I’m just doing some work,” she gestured to her laptop sitting at the table she was seated at.

“I see, I’m just grabbing a coffee, mind if I sit with you?"

“Yeah sure!” she said with excitement. “I could use a little chit chat.” I nodded and went to the counter as she sat back down.

The woman at the counter looked at me and asked, “What can I get for you today?”

“22 ounce Americano would be great,” I smiled. She nodded and turned around to make my coffee. I went to go sit by Clarisse. “So how have you been?” I asked.

“Well, I've been okay. Work has been stressful, and my dad is in the hospital again, sick.”

“I’m so sorry to hear that,” I put my hand over hers. She looked at me for a few seconds before the lady came to give me my coffee. I slid my hand away, a little embarrassed.

She smiled, “It’s fine, what about you?”

“Things could be better. Weirdest thing happened to me over the past couple of days though.”

“And what was that?”

“Every day when I get home from work, there’s a box sitting on my porch, taped up; there’s no label on it, nothing to tell me where it came from or if it’s to someone, and it’s empty. It’s just a plain box. Two days ago, I pulled off the tape and when I saw that there was nothing in it, I threw it into my garage. And yesterday, I got home and it was on my porch again. I figured it was one of the neighbor kids who were playing some sort of joke but then I saw that it was same box as the day before, just re-taped. There aren't any kids in the area.”

“That’s really weird,” she said looking at the table.

“Yeah, but lots of things are weird,” I smiled. “We haven’t hung out in a while, what do you say, you come to my house for a bit?” I winked at her. We used to be big time sweethearts in college. Things changed when I had to move. We hadn't spoken in about five years since.

“That sounds nice, I’d like that,” she got up and closed her laptop. We walked out of the coffee shop and I waved to the lady at the counter. Clarisse got in the passenger seat and I stepped into the driver seat. We sat there for a moment in silence. I had missed her so much; I’d never lost feelings for her. I turned to look at her and she looked back at me. I leaned over her and I kissed her.

She smiled, “I missed you.”

“I missed you too,” I said as I gave her a more passionate kiss. She took off her jacket and smiled.

“Come on, let’s go home.” I turned the ignition and we started to my house. As soon as we got to my house, a sense of, I don’t know a better word for it but dread. A sense of dread came over me. I got out of the car and ran to the other side to open the door for her. She stepped out of the car.

“Is that it?” she asked.

I nodded, “Yeah, that’s it.” I walked to the porch and picked up the box, put the key in the lock and opened the door. “But don’t worry about it.” I walked a little faster than her so I could put the box back into the garage. I closed the door and held my hand out. I pointed to the stairs that went to the second floor, “This way.” I followed her up the stairs. We walked into my room and shut the door. I pressed her up against a wall and she took her shirt off. I kissed her down her neck as she took my shirt off.

I picked her up and set her down on the bed. I stood over her and as she took her jeans off, her eyes wavered to the door. "Didn't you shut the door?" she asked.

"Yeah, why?"

"It's open," she whispered, her voice shaking a little. I sat there, not moving. I heard her swallow as her eyes widened.

"What," I whispered back when I saw how scared she was.

She leaned up so her face was next to mine. She whispered in my ear, "It's there."

"What's there?" I asked.

"Shh, it'll hear you," she was trembling quite violently now. I turned my head to the side to look at the door. What I saw was not something that should be alive. It was grotesque in such a way that made you think it should be dead. Made you think it was dead. It was as skinny as a twig, almost human in shape; but not quite. Its breathing was loud, very loud. In fact, it sounded like a smoker's breathing. It wheezed disgustingly. It was dirty and its skin was hanging from its bones, if you could even call it skin. It slowly started walking through the door, a blank look on its face. It stared right at us. Its eyes were very large, nocturnal-like. "Oh my god," her voice was shaking so much I could barely make out what she was saying.

I breathed in heavily and turned to look back at her. I kissed her cheek and slowly stepped out of bed. I turned to look directly at it. I grabbed the pocket knife that I had on the nightstand beside the bed. It slowly lurched forward with a limp. It let out an inhuman groan, as if it were in pain. And then it smiled, it fucking smiled. A thick liquid dripped from the corners of its mouth and it picked up its pace. It was now scurrying across the bedroom floor.

In a panic, I jumped onto the bed and stood on my hands and knees. It had gone under the bed; it was digging through the bottom. I grabbed Clarisse by the arm and yanked her out of bed. There was no way I was letting that thing get to her. I flung her off of the bed and she ran out of the room and I followed. The creature released a horrid scream of agony and anger. I followed her out the door as fast as I could and I slammed the door shut. It ran into the door and it stopped, stopped screaming, stopped making noises, I could hear nothing from the other side of the door.

I looked to Clarisse and whispered harshly, “Get to the car, now!” She ran down the stairs and I heard her go out the front door. I stayed there for a moment, holding steady; and then I too ran for the car. Once we were both in the car, I put the car into gear and got the hell out of there. I haven’t been back to that house since. In fact, we’re at the airport right now, waiting to get onto a plane. It doesn't matter where to, as long as it’s away from here… away from Oregon.

The thing was a sneak. It knew when I left for work, knew when I got home; it knew everything about me. It had been watching me. The box, it was just a distraction. Hell, I never want to see another box again. There is no doubt in my mind that it wanted to kill me, that it would've killed me. I don’t even know if it’s still in my house. I wouldn't be surprised if it was out on the loose again. Just be careful, if there’s a box on your front porch, make sure you know who it’s from.

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