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The corners of the room create a shadow, while my night-light illuminates the room just enough to see my sinister nightmare. He stares down at me, towards the end of my bed. His cold shadow just stands there, with no movement, and the only sound made is his heavy breathing. Two steps are made to the left. My eyes never leave his body. With a fast movement, he cocks his head to his right. I realized that I wasn’t breathing, I couldn’t. My tears form and flow down my fearful face. I try moving, running away, but the fear pulls me under. He’s closer, breathing against my wet face. His smile appears from his concealed face as he roars with laughter. The man’s facial features appear; half of his face is burnt away, and the other half is torn with blood running down, while his teeth are perfectly straight and pure white. The man jumps on top of me and I try to scream, but nothing comes out.
I jolt up, my chest rises with my deep breaths, and my shirt is soaked with sweat. The dreams are coming back again. I thought they were gone. I look over towards my dorm roommate and see that she’s still peacefully asleep. My clock shows that I have another hour left to sleep, but I know I won’t be able to. His face runs through my memory again, sending shivers down my spine and covering my whole body with goosebumps. This happened so long ago, my encounter with him, and every single night I relive this horrid nightmare. The three scars run down my right arm. I remember what happened, what he did to me.
His lips part as he says, “They won’t hear you scream, no one can help you.”
Then I felt his nails dig into the top of my right arm and he drags them down. He was right. I didn’t scream. My mouth opened and nothing but a whisper came out of me. I hear him laugh at my pain, then he disappeared and I came out of my paralyzed state. I could finally scream. I let it out as I felt blood drip down my arm and pool around my body. Fast footsteps were made in the hallway and my door swings open. There stands my dad panting as he turns on my light. Then his face goes pale when he sees the blood pooled around my body. Everything went dark, and that was the day I thought was my last.
Beep-beep-beep screamed the heart monitor in my room. My eyes flutter open and I see my dad crouched up with his hand holding up his head. His loud snores bounce around the room, and I smile. I look down at my right arm that is now covered in bandages, no more blood. I remember what happened, the way he laughed and dug his hand into my skin. Then my dad found me, but from there on it was a blur. The door creaks open and my mother walks in with two coffee cups. She looks over at me and the cups drop to the floor. Her footsteps thud against the hospital floor, which wakes my father, and she comes to my side. Her worried smile made me happy, and my father jolts up with excitement. Soon it became a party when the doctor came in the room and he expressed a pained smile.
“I see that you’re awake Ms. Blinson. Mr. and Mrs. Blinson, may you leave the room so I can talk to your daughter?”
Both my parents nod their heads and leave the side of my bed. The doctor closes the door and turns towards me, then sits down in the chair next to my bedside.
“Good news, we controlled your blood loss and you’re not bleeding anymore. Bad news, we’re concerned about your state of mind.” He looks down and fumbles around with his pen. The doctor looks me in the eyes again and parts his mouth saying, “Your parents talked about these night terrors that you’ve had since you were a kid, and you must know that these night terrors are psychological. These scratches on your arm, they came from you. You scratched your own self, but was not aware of doing it.”
I opened my mouth to correct him. I know I didn’t do it, I would never harm myself, even if I didn’t know what I was doing. His words came out before mine did, and he continues. “I have diagnosed you with, what we like to call, sleep tremors. Basically during your sleep you self harm, which probably has occurred throughout your life but was never thought of, until now.”
He’s wrong, he has to be. Sleep tremors? I know that’s not what it is. This happens to people, I read it. There’s night terrors, sleep paralysis, that man who stands at the end of my bed and torments me. I know I didn’t do this to myself, but why does it seem to be true?
“I’ll prescribe you some medication for this. It should help with your sleep, and what happens during your sleep.” He scribbles down a note for the pharmacy, then sets his pen on top of his board. “I’ll discharge you right now so you can leave. I’ll explain to your parents about what’s going on outside. Your clothes are right in the top drawer, then you can go home and finally get some sleep.” The doctor picks himself up from the chair and walks towards the door and opens it. His body disappears and I push myself out of bed and walk towards the dresser. Just as he said, the first drawer, as I pulled on it my clothes were revealed. My white ILWU sweatshirt is on top of my black leggings and I pull it over my head and a draft of comfort swept over me. I pull my leggings up and walk over to my green converse to sit down and put them on. Finally I get to go home, and hopefully this medication will work.
“Terra!” I know that voice, her voice. I turn around to see my best friend Luna running frantically towards me, shoving everyone that was in her way. “You ready for the final? I’ve been studying all night.” I just nod my head as my reply to her. She stares at me, the wind caused her brown hair to fly all over the place, but she held her stare. “Why did you leave early this morning?”
I look down at my right arm, remembering the pain I went through, and him. “I just had a bad dream, that’s all.” Luna knew what happened to me. We were best friends when it all happened. I feel like she knows that the dreams came back, but she chose to ignore what I said and went on about the final.
My first class just consisted of a lecture. “Why did I come here?” I ask myself. A yawn escapes my mouth just to remind me of the nightmare I had of him again. His words run through my mind over and over again. “I’m back.” I never got sleep after that, I lost an hour of sleep because of my psychological capabilities. Ever since that night, when I had to go to the hospital, I was better. The pills the doctor prescribed me pushed away my psychological senses and I finally slept a full night. I kept up on my medication, refilled them, and consumed them. My eyes became heavy, and my professor's words slowly blurred out of my hearing. Run, run to the closet, he won’t find me here. “Oh Terra? Where are you?” his deep voice rumbled through my room and a giggle escapes through my lips. His footsteps came closer towards the closet door, my heart races and sweat rises out of their pores. The knob turns to the right and the door rushes open.
“Boo!” my dad screams.
“Daddy!” I giggle, and he laughs with me. He lifts me up and holds me in his arms, and we walk to my bed. My stuffed animals surrounded the sides of my bed, my soldiers ready to protect me through the night. I lay down next to my teddy bear and my dad pulls the purple covers over me. He and I begin our prayer, “Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name… And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil… Amen.”
My father looks down at me and moves down to kiss my forehead. “Good night, sweet dreams,” he says as he walks away from me and out my door. This was when the true fear settled in. This was when I went under my covers and I was safe.
I wake up from my nightmare, this time it was about aliens and they took my mom and dad. My heart was racing and I couldn’t breathe so I jolt up from under my covers but then I saw someone. There was a man covered in black. He just stood there and stared down at me, but no movement. I stared back, and I felt my pulse race and my heart jumped to my throat. I push myself back under my covers and wait for a few moments. A minute later I peer over my blanket and see that the man is no longer there.
“Terra Blinson! Is my class too boring for you?” Mr. Rose yells across the room waking me from my memory.
“No sir, I was just closing my eyes.”
Everyone snickers, but Mr. Rose continues with his lecture. Why are the dreams coming back? They shouldn’t be back, my medication isn’t having an effect on me anymore. I should go to my doctor, see if there are any other medications I can take. Oh what am I thinking? I don’t need new medication. I’m 20-years-old now, I am old enough to control my dreams.
Classes were over, and I was done with finals and the year. The walk back to the dorms are long, dark, and cold as the winter wind blew against my face. I passed the dark alleyways and turned down 42nd street which leads me to the dorms. The red door appeared under the light that was cast above it, and I quickened my pace to get out of the dark. Once I reached for the knob on the red door something made me stop my action. Breathing, heavy breathing that was blown against my neck. A whiff of mint and mold was mixed together, it was him. I don’t move and all I do is stare at the red door that stood in front of me.
“He’s not real, he’s not there. You’re not dreaming,” I whisper to myself and repeat over and over again. His deep, wretchedness laugh rumbles against my back and my breathing is cut short. “Not real. He’s not there.” I whisper to myself again. I felt his hands against my back and my tears form in my eyes, “Not real.” One tear, two tears, then three tears fall down my face. His hands, still placed on my upper back, push me forward into the red door. A scream escapes my lips when I hit the door and he snakes his arm around mine and turns me, facing him. The blood drips from his face, and his smile smears across his face, sending shivers down my spine. The fear worked its way in again and I had no choice but to work with it. The brisk winter wind blew across my face, which felt as if one hundred ice cubes were dumped on me.
His deep black eyes look me up and down, his torn mouth opens, “You’ve grown up, Terra.” He looks down at my arm and he drags his hand over the scar he gave me. “I’ve missed you, we had such great times together. The way you slept, the way your fear swung over you when I appeared. The way you couldn’t scream because you were so, scared.”
He threw his head back and laughed again. I look down at where his hand is placed on my arm and he takes notice of my action. His grip tightens and he digs his sharp nails into my skin, making me scream out in pain. “Shhhhh, it’s okay. It’s just a scratch.” Those lips of his create a smirk and I just stare at him. The tears fall down again. I couldn’t control my sobs and my croaking sounds. I was scared, he was real, and there was nothing I could do about it. There was an opening of escape when he shifted on his right foot, and I saw my opportunity and took it. My body jerked forward and he tried to pull me back, but missed. I ran down the sidewalk until I tripped. My body slammed against the pavement and I felt my head trickle with blood. His body slowly appeared, but things became dark and fuzzy. The night stars blurred out, and all I saw was his shadow above me. “I should have killed you a long time ago.”
The beeping in the background was what awakened me. I try to open my eyes but all I saw was a blur, so I close them.
“Mrs. Blinson, your daughter should soon wake from her coma. She hit her head pretty hard, just give her some time.” A deep voice bounced around the room, and that’s when I realized that I was in a hospital. I wonder who grabbed me off the street. If someone did, then did they see him? The last thing I remember was him saying, “I should have killed you a long time ago,” and it just repeated in my head. I force my eyes to open and that’s when I see my dad crouched up on the chair with his hand holding his head up. This feels like deja vu, the last time I was in here my dad sat in the same chair, and it looks like the same room. I look at my father more and see that he looks younger, healthier, and his cane isn’t with him. What’s going on? My mother stands in front of the door just staring at it, then she turned towards me. Her eyes go wide when she sees me staring at her, and my eyes go wide because she died three years after my last time in the hospital. Is this another dream? Some kind of sick twisted dream that my mind wants to play? My mother runs towards me with tears running down her face. Her hands work their way around me and she stands over me sobbing. I don’t know what to do. She’s dead. Am I dead?