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It was in the dead of night as my computer shut down. I was in the middle of researching a important topic for my upcoming novel since the deadline slowly crept closer. Not that I was the person who always does things when the time is pressing but this time... I simply lacked inspiration. Maybe that was what someone would call a writers blockade. Until now I never had to deal with something like that, feeling that helpless and insecure about something I should knew better. Normally.

This time it seemed to have hit me like a bullet train - all inclusive. Slowly I reached for my head, massaging my temples slowly. I felt a headache coming up, building slowly. By now I was getting sensitive for things like that. Maybe a cup of coffee, the third in a row, would fix...

I reached for my cup, realizing it was already empty - again. A sigh left my lips before I started looking around. Should I really get another cup? My laptop was already shut down and all my thoughts went into nothingness. There was nothing to gain within this state of mind. It was probably the best if I just got to sleep but I just didn't felt tired at all.

My eyes stopped at the sight of the door leading to my small balcony. Some fresh air could maybe do the trick. Maybe it would even wash away all those empty thoughts about the storyline I certainly wasn't going to write if I just dumped all the ideas I had short after finishing to think about them. A quick look to my computer, the uneasiness going along with it almost led me to stand up instantly. For a moment I couldn't even stand the look of that small device. I felt like it was mocking me. Soundless. Voiceless. Just with its bare existence.

A quick smoke...

That thought almost rushed my brain. Many memories faded over a cigarette within the past years. At least it was worth a try. Almost automatically my hand reached out to the small package of cigarettes, taking one of them out and making my way to the balcony.

Somehow the night seemed gloomy. The air felt way too cold for summer and the smell was weird too, almost as if it had rained within the past hours but I knew it didn't. I would've seen the rain from my window right behind my work desk if it really had rained.

With my cigarette pressed between my lips I searched for the lighter, sat down for a moment on the small chair placed on my balcony. My back hurt. I didn't even realize it till now but in that moment it felt like my senses came back to me. Maybe I really was to catch up with my work, a break was probably my best bet but my mind still couldn't rest. I couldn't even get away from the thoughts. Another sigh left my lips. It almost felt like a relief to finally get a grip on my lighter, lighting my cigarette instantly. For a second I was blinded by the bright light. I just had to shut my eyes.

It was this moment I noticed all the sounds were gone. The traffic was never that silent, not even in the middle of the night. There was a highway nearby that never slept. Probably that was the reason it felt so weird while the thought crept into my mind that it felt right to keep my eyes shut. I wanted to know why all the sounds were gone and it felt almost right to investigate with closed eyes. My mind was playing tricks on me for sure but a part of me just wanted to know even if I couldn't even get myself to open my eyes.

The silence felt colder by minute while the cigarette between my fingers slowly burnt down, without a single purpose, without...

A sudden sound let chills ran down my spine. Out of shock I almost opened my eyes but somehow my body refused as it grew colder. I was almost shaking, still couldn't make out what that sound even was. Somehow it sounded like something heavy was dragged over metal but that didn't make sense. There was no metal grind around, only roads, sidewalks and balconies There wasn't even a construction site nearby.

I swallowed almost painfully, wanted to move but suddenly felt something heavy on my shoulders, weighting me down. Sudden panic spread through my body as I felt the weight move up my shoulders, along my neck, over the sides of my head until the burning cold reached my eyes. It almost felt like fingers, long, cold fingers. I held my breath. Something was still moving.

"Don't open your eyes."

A disembodied voice whispered right into my ear. It sounded so far gone while I could swear I felt breath at my ear. That voice alone was enough to let me freeze. I never thought my body could react like that, not after I wrote so many horror novels but the moment something like that happens...

My mind was blank for the first time within the last ten hours. It was finally empty, the same second the weight lifted and I almost felt some kind of relief. Taking the first breath after holding it for so long felt like I was being reborn. In a reflex my eyes opened almost by themselves and the cigarette fell from between my fingers. Again my body was frozen. I couldn't even understand what I was looking at.

Something was standing at the end of my balcony. It was the most crooked creature I could even imagine. It was slender, huge and had long arms. All the Skin was black, almost looked burned and the head... The head of that thing just hung from a broken neck while it smiled. It smiled at me from empty holes that weren't even recognizable as eye sockets anymore. My mind must have made that up. Many horror authors suffered from hallucinations, right? I blinked. But as I opened my eyes again the crooked face, the tilted, loose head of that thing was right in front of mine, still smiling as if that impression was the only thing it could do. And than I heard the voice again, the same disembodied voice... Without even moving its lips, just smiling.

"You shouldn't have opened your eyes."