For the past week, I've seen oddities about my house. Little bits of rope by my bed when I've never owned one. The knives from my kitchen drawers are out of place. Doors are open that I swear I had shut. Even the floorboards seem to creak a bit more with each step these days. But I try not to question these things. I'm not one for paranoia, and I'm too busy to dwell on little curiosities.
My car tires crunched over the gravel as I pulled into my driveway. I had developed a pounding migraine and wanted nothing more than a couple of Advil and a permanent residence in between my couch cushions. Stepping inside my house tonight, it felt extra quiet, and for a second I longed for someone to come home to; a boyfriend, a dog, a housemate. "Maybe I'll visit Mom soon," I thought out loud to myself, and the silence answered with more silence.
Suddenly, too tired to eat or even check a single text (if there even were any waiting) I trudged to my bed and laid down in the dark. A house light flickered outside my window and moths circled its hazy ring. The window was smudged with oily fingerprints and I struggled to remember when I last cleaned it. I also struggled to remember when I last opened it. It didn't matter, I was sure.
Looking back on myself, moments ago, dwelling in the darkness of my room I should have noticed it. The signs that I wasn't alone, and that I hadn't been for a long time. The hidden presence in my home occupied the shadows but left signs of their intrusion and weighed me down with their always-watching eyes. But really thinking about it, was there ever a way to escape? Was this inevitable even if I had packed my bags and run away to a far-off room to sit in silence? I think he was always waiting and always would be.
As I stared at my ceiling, the complete blackness of my room engulfed me. I couldn't tell if my eyes were open or closed, or maybe I was floating in space. But then he came. The cold metal of a kitchen knife leaning into my neck, a heavy weight across my body, and a hand across my mouth. All I could see in this seemingly pitch-black room was the glowing white eyes staring into me from above.
Frozen in fear and shock, he wouldn't have needed the sock to muffle my screams; they would have never come. He was so swift I thought, actually, I think, he might not even be human. He might be some sort of devil. His eyes stayed there, pinning down my soul and daring me to dream up any other reality. Somehow, while his hovering eyes stripped away my cognizance, he had bound my entire body by rope. I was elevated, moving, quickly, without my feet because they were well bound. I heard the sound of dry materials scraping against each other and had no idea where we were except that we couldn't have left my bedroom so soon.
For the first time, I was shocked into reality as my body was pressed and manipulated between two boards. Panicked I started to let out muffled screams and twist in the rough ropes around my body. The broken bulb flickered outside my bedroom window. I had never seen it from this angle. When had it gone out earlier? Its quivering glow showed me the faintest silhouettes of my room and the eerie figure of a man as he shoved at me. His silhouette had no boundaries. He blended into the night. And I could see that as he pushed my body, it made no sense for me to be anywhere but between the walls of my own bedroom. As the rope cut into me and beads of sweat rolled down my forehead into my eyes, I began to shake with uncontrollable fear and my breaths became so short that the blackness of my vision became tangled with static grey.
My vision is again that of a black void. Between these boards and sheetrock is nothing but a silence known only by the dead. It might not have been moments ago that I lay in my bed and challenged the darkness. It might have been years. There's no such thing as time between these walls. Somehow, I know that I'll exist here forever. In some time, months, or decades, a new resident will move into this house. It won't just be my body, but also my mind that stays in these drywalls. I'll always wait, and I'll always watch because now I know I'm the man.
Do you know what's between your walls?