September 28th, 2020
It wasn’t unusual for me to be up at two in the morning, on my computer, watching Super Mario game speedruns. What was unusual was the person staring at me through my bedroom window.
I spotted them out of the corner of my left eye, across from the desk my computer sat on. Any sense of fight or flight left my body along with my breath. I couldn’t move. They didn’t move either, though. I figured they might not have noticed me noticing them. I couldn’t see them clearly; they were glazed over with the darkness from outside. My computer screen was barely bright enough to illuminate my shorts. Not only that, but they only penetrated my vision through the very thin corner of my left eye.
In that brief moment my heart ate its way into my throat, I realized that I might be able to get a better look at them if I glanced over. But by that point, they would have definitely realized that I saw them, and there’s no telling what would happen after that. What if they had a gun? What if they tried to smash the window? I couldn’t risk that, so I decided to keep my eyes forward, locked onto the computer screen, as if I was still glued to my YouTube video.
My window was closed, so was also unlikely that they could hear the fluctuations in my breath. If I tried to make a run for it and they did have a gun, then it would be all but over for me. My phone was all the way over on the nightstand right next to my bed. So, even if I tried to get up and walk over to my phone nonchalantly, as if I was just going to text a friend, they might suspect what I was actually doing — which would be texting my parents and then calling the police. Even the act of walking at all, whether to my phone or out of my bedroom, might cause them to suspect that I was up to something. So, calling the police or going to wake my parents was also out of the question. The window was shut, but not soundproof, so they would know if I screamed for my parents as well.
Part of me didn’t want them to attack if I did make any sudden moves, but also part of me recognized that I didn’t want them to run away either. I wanted to know who they were. I wanted to see their face.
Another agonizing minute dragged by. The person had still not moved. If they were going to shoot me, why hadn’t they done it already? Did they want me to see them? Did they have some crazed fantasy where their face was the last one I saw before my life flashed before my eyes? Or maybe they were just some crazed stalker that didn’t want to hurt me at all? Had they been there before and this was just the first time I was noticing them?
Either way, I had to know who it was. Even if they didn’t have a weapon on them, I couldn’t trust that they wouldn’t come back or try to do something worse, like break in, stalk me during the day, or try something worse, like kidnap me.
I immediately started to regret my decision to own an Android phone and an iMac desktop computer. Why would I ever need to sync the two? I have my phone on me at all times, anyways, I stupidly thought six months ago. My best bet was now to think through where someone might be awake at two in the morning. My mind went to a Discord that I shared with my friend group.
I opened up the Discord app. The little icon jumped at the bottom of the screen. I was screaming internally for the app to open the fuck up, all the while trying to keep the tired and zombified expression plastered on my face.
The person had still not moved by the time the app finally opened. I opened up the direct message feature and typed in “Are You There?” to every single person I added as a friend. I waited for someone to respond when I noticed a small black shadow graze down from the ceiling over the light illuminated by my computer screen.
I looked down at my right hand. Hovering just above it was an inky black spider almost the size of my palm. I knew it was dangling from a thin web that came from the ceiling, but it looked like it was just levitating over my hand. Like it knew that if there was one thing that scared me more than unknown figures watching me at night through my window, it was spiders.
God, please go back up, I thought. I knew if that thing landed on me it was all over. I wouldn’t be able to keep my cool any longer, and the person would use the opportunity to either run away or kill me. My heart was caught in my throat. The same feeling as before. I couldn’t breathe.
Like a bullet coming at me in slow motion, I watched as the spider lowered itself. I only felt the tips of its tiny legs tickle my knuckles like little hairs, when all sense of what I was staying calm for left my body. I threw myself out of my chair, causing it to slam onto the ground. I alternated between shaking my wrist so violently that it would have seemed like I was trying to shake my entire wrist off my body and slapping my right hand. I spun around with no sense of direction, little high–pitched squeaks exiting my body, begging myself to “Get it off! Get it off! Get it off!!!”
My senses finally came back to me, and I realized that the spider (if it had even landed on my hand at all) had vanished. I sucked in a shaky but relieved breath, before it came to me what I had done. I snapped my focus back to the window. They were gone. So was the split second of relief I had felt.
There was no point in staying quiet or even keeping calm anymore. I started shouting for my mom and dad to wake up while running over to grab my phone. I must have screamed their names over four times before I made it to the door.
I swung it open and whipped around the hallway leading towards my parent’s bedroom. And there they were. At the very end of the hallway. The same shadow that was pressed up against my window.
They weren’t facing towards me however, but instead towards the closed door that separated them from my parents. I didn’t scream. I don’t even think I could if I wanted to. My body was frozen in place.
I prayed that my parents wouldn’t open that door. I still had no idea what this person wanted or if they had a weapon on them. Maybe they didn’t even want me. Maybe they wanted my parents. I had to take a gamble. If I turned their attention to me, I might get hurt. But if I didn’t do anything, they might hurt my parents.
“What do you want?” I asked. My voice was a small, faint whisper.
The figure, who appeared to be about my height, turned around. Their movements were slow and mechanical. Every neuron in my brain and sharp, desperate breath I took told me that I should run back to my room and throw myself out of the window. But I didn’t move. Instead, I watched the figure as it dragged its foot forward. And then another. And another. They were coming towards me.
The only light on in the hallway came from the end where my bedroom was, which is why I still couldn’t see them. They just needed to take a few more steps forward. Just a few more, yet they were taking twice as long to walk a third of the distance as it must have been from my window, around my house, and to my parent’s bedroom door. It was like they were in no hurry at all. Did they know that I wouldn’t try to run away or attack them?
A new feeling started to fester inside of me. An indescribable feeling of dread. Like I wasn’t supposed to see them.
As the dull, yellow light started to cast down on them, their features became clear. My body felt as if all the blood was being drained from it. My muscles went limp. My vision blurred. Standing only a foot away from me was my mirror, my replacement. My —
September 28th, 2020
Today I woke up very late, probably because I stayed up super late. I asked my mom if I could skip school today because I wasn’t feeling well. I had eggs with buttered toast for breakfast. Today is going to be a great day!