It Comes At Night by John P.
Maybe you’ve seen what I’ve seen… Probably, you haven’t, but just maybe you have. Either way, I know what I’ve seen, and that’s what matters most, as far as I’m concerned. Believe what you will, I’ve never cared about that part of things before. I know it’s out there, and you should too, in case it decides you’re next.
I have no recollection of when the first time I saw it was… as far as I can remember, it was always there. I do know that it first started while living with my grandparents, but actually nailing down when its first appearance was is a bit difficult. We (my little sister and I) were taken into state custody when I was 4 and were finally returned to our mother a month after my 10th birthday. I can honestly say, those years where probably the best of my childhood. But everything has a price, and the price for those years of bliss always came at night.
I remember the first time I saw it. I was woken out of a dead sleep one night. I couldn’t figure out what woke me, and I sort of laid there in a groggy stupor, trying to gain my bearings. I quickly noticed the urge to pee, so I got up, walked the 5 steps or so it took to go from my bedroom to the bathroom and did my business.
As I returned to my bedroom, I froze in the doorway. I scanned my room, a feeling a dread slowly welling up inside my small, child frame. Seeing nothing out of the ordinary, I shrugged it off and climbed back into bed. See, I’ve always had the habit of falling asleep to horror movies or scary shows (usually Tales from the Crypt), so I chalked it up to a vividly wild imagination and that damned Crypt-Keeper.
As the toilet ceased filling it’s tank and the hissing of running water died out and eventually went mute, I noticed a distinct tapping noise. It sounded like a dog’s nails on hardwood floor… Except the dogs were all asleep, in the front yard, and our floors were carpeted. I was shaken by the noise for a second, but quickly tried to reason in my young mind that I was hearing things, all fueled by my addiction to scary shit. So I pulled my pillow over my head and tried to go back to sleep. That’s when the tapping got louder, and it’s tone changed. It no longer sounded like dog nails on hardwood. It sounded like fingernails tapping on glass. And it sounded like it was coming from above me. Coming from my bedroom window.
Tentatively, I pulled the pillow from my head and slowly shifted my gaze to the window. What I saw chilled me to the bone. Red eyes glared at me from the other side of the window, malevolence bleeding from them like a stuck pig. Sharp fangs lined a pair of lips that were pulled back like a snarling tiger. It’s face was covered with short black fur and it had a pair of twisted horns sprouting from its forehead. I could make out the shadow of huge, leathery wings, coming off its back. When it caught my stare, it’s snarl quickly shifted to the most evil grin I could possibly fathom.
I was paralyzed as soon as I made eye contact, and in my head I could hear a strange, deep, gravelly voice speaking to me, but the language I didn’t and still don’t know. All I know is it sounded ancient and felt cruel. I don’t know how long we stayed that way, but all of a sudden, I was able to break my stare and immediately screamed like a little girl.
“Jon, Jon! What’s wrong???” my grandmother pleaded with me when she entered my room. I just sat there, blubbering like a baby, pointing at my window, and occasionally letting out an indecipherable squeak as I struggled to regain my composure and remember how to speak.
“The devil is on the roof,” I was finally able to say.
Now, before I continue, I must explain. I have always been agnostic. I absolutely believe there is a higher power, though I refuse to label it/him/her/they with any conventional names. A name is simply a way to identify someone, and we should be able to identify the higher power on a spiritual level. Just my belief. I DO NOT believe in the devil. Just a scapegoat for the ugly side of humanity. Again, just my belief.
“The devil is on the roof.” I repeated after Grandma gave me a quizzical look.
“Jon, you were dreaming. I keep telling you to stop watching those stories before bed. This is why… You just had a very vivid nightmare is all.”
I wanted so badly to believe Grandma, but I knew what I had seen. Still, I laid back down and Grandma sat in there with me until I was asleep again. I woke up to a bright morning and no more incidents…
The next night, I’m lying in bed, watching, you guessed it, Tales from the Crypt, when I hear the tapping again. This time I know it’s not a nightmare, as I still haven’t fallen asleep yet. I tried to ignore it, but the tapping got increasingly louder the longer I resisted. I was afraid the damn thing was going to break the window, and in my fear, I quickly glanced toward the window.
As soon as my eyes landed upon its horrible visage, I was frozen in place again. This time, the voice either spoke in English, or it gave me some way to understand it, but I clearly heard it say, “Come with me. You have been forsaken. We will never forsake you.”
“We? Who the heck is we?” I thought to myself.
“We are many. We are one. We are here for you. And we aren’t leaving without you.” It responded, and that’s when I realized it could hear my thoughts. “We can do more than just hear your thoughts. We can watch your memories. We can taste your fear.”
And with that, I felt a horrid pain in my head, my vision flared stark white, shifted to bright crimson, and finally faded to black as I lost consciousness.
I awoke lying on my floor in the fetal position, although the last I could remember I had been laying on my back in my bed, having a telepathic conversation with what I truly believed to be a demon. I was soaked in sweat and was shivering uncontrollably. I pulled myself off the floor and wobbled to the bathroom. I stripped out of my sweat-drenched clothes, climbed in a shower and just let the hot water run over me, warming my still chilled flesh and bones.
I didn’t feel like me… It’s hard to explain, but I was an energetic, happy, exuberant little boy… That morning, however, I felt a dark, brooding energy hanging over me. I didn’t want to be around people, and even though it was starting to terrify me at night, I didn’t want to leave my bedroom all that day.
This continued nightly. Every night I would either be awoken, or summoned to look, by a persistent tapping on my window. And when I finally would look, I’d get locked into the trance like state that instigated our mental exchanges. And every day I’d become more and more introverted.
One particularly hot summer night, I woke up to an entirely new sound. The tapping had been replaced by a scratching sound. As I slowly opened my eyes, I felt a draft come through my open window.
WHO OPENED MY WINDOW?!? And then I remembered… I remembered my Grandma coming into my room and saying how hot it was. I remembered begging her not to open the window. And her begrudgingly agreeing to leave it closed.
She must have opened it when I fell asleep… And the scratching continued, louder, closer to my head.
“Come with me.” The gravelly voice, but this time it was audible. I hadn’t looked toward my window, using every ounce of willpower I could muster in the hopes of avoiding that trance like state. But the shock of actually hearing that voice with my own ears was enough to snap my head around out of surprise, my eyes immediately fixating upon this beast that tormented me nightly.
It opened its mouth and a barbed, forked tongue slithered out and flicked the air like a snake. It reached an un-proportioned, sinewy arm covered in short, black bristles through my window, and tried to grab at me. In the process, it broke our stare, and I was able to look from the window and move my body again. As I lunged off my bed and toward the door, one of its razor sharp (who knew?) claws sunk deep into the meat of my shoulder. I screamed out in sheer agony as its claw tore through skin and muscle, splashing blood across my bedding and one of the walls.
Grandma came running to my room, opened the door, and froze. I don’t know if it was the blood, the beast, a combination of the two, or something else entirely, but she too let out a scream. I heard the hard flap of leathery wings and felt a hard breeze push against my back from the window. Grandpa arrived at my bedroom door, glanced around the room, saw the gore on the bed and wall and immediately had me up in his arms, rushing me to the truck and then rushing to the hospital.
The doctor said I must have snagged my shoulder on a nail in my sleep, but couldn’t understand how I could get cut so long, deep and with such a “clean” cut from a nail. 14 stitches in my shoulder, a tetanus shot, and we were sent home with a preventative antibiotic to keep my shoulder from getting infected.
That was the last time I ever saw that thing. I know it exists. What it is, I don’t know. What it wanted though, seems clear. It wanted me.
Occasionally, I’ll still here a tapping on my window, like fingernails on glass, despite it being over 20 years since the incident I just wrote about. My skin crawls and my blood runs cold when I hear it. But I keep not only the window closed, but the blinds stay closed at night too, just to be sure that I’ll never get caught by its hypnotic stare again, never hear that horrible voice playing around inside my brain again.
It’s out there, right now, looking for victims. This much I know for sure… Because, some nights, after I’ve fallen asleep, I’ll dream things. I’ll be gliding over houses, and land on the roof of one. I’ll lean over the edge of the roof and tap on the window with claws that are clearly not mine. And then I’ll hear, clear as day, MY voice purring, “Come with me.” before my eyes snap open and I wake up…