Let me get this out of the way first. This really did happen to me. This is a one hundred percent true story, especially the part where I upper-cutted a ghost through Heaven itself. As with most true stories, do not expect some great shocking ending. I can only relate to you what I know. This is a mystery to me and probably will remain so for the rest of my life. I am only writing this because I feel like it highlights a concept I want to discuss. If you are willing to accept that fact then let me tell you what happened to me one night when I was home alone.
It was back when I lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I no longer live in Michigan so I have no qualms with stating that little fact. I was a teenager at the time. My sister was in college and my parents were taking my brother out to look at colleges in the mid-west. I want to say I was fourteen or fifteen at the time. It was the summer and I had been at football camp. I told my parents that I would be there for a week rather than the actual five days so I could be home alone for a few days. Looking back, I realized if I told them the truth they wouldn’t have been all that concerned, but I guess I just wanted the excitement of pulling one over on them. I did manage to get some excitement out of it all, but not in the way I’d hoped.
I got home and set about doing what teenagers are wont to do. I blasted heavy metal, climbed out my window onto my roof to smoke cigarettes, and other illicit things that are best left unsaid. I enjoyed the freedom and took advantage of the opportunity to watch some horror movies. A few of the movies were John Carpenter’s "The Thing", "Wrong Turn" and a few others. They weren’t really all that scary, but I do think they set up a certain atmosphere. I even ordered a pizza to eat while I watched my marathon.
I must have forgotten to close the door when I paid for the pizza because when I was getting ready for bed, I found the front door to my house wide open. I don’t mean open by a crack, I mean completely open for anyone and everyone to walk in uninvited. I would have normally thought nothing of it, but of course, I was alone and I had just watched four horror movies back-to-back like a genius. I had visions in my head of a crazed vagrant hiding in a closet with a box cutter waiting for me to fall asleep before carving his murderous manifesto into my chest.
I decided to arm myself with what I had on hand, a BB gun we used to spook off squirrels and raccoons. (Yeah, we lived in a rural area.) It was made to look like a handgun and was so realistic that it would probably get you shot if you started waving it around in public. You even loaded the BB gun by pulling back the slide, which gave it a very similar appearance to a real handgun. I hoped that any razor blade wielding base-heads could be intimidated with this imitation. I would hope that they wouldn’t call my bluff because I had a crystal-clear mental image of a BB bouncing ineffectually off his chest before he vivisected me with a chainsaw.
I proceeded to sweep my house, looking in every closet and under every bed. I even checked the attic. Each time, the tension within me grew tighter and tighter in my chest like I would pull open a door to see a man with a knife-sliced smile and butcher’s knife grinning at me. I had the pants-shittingly terrifying mental image that he was slowly stalking behind me and hiding in the places I had already searched, biding his time and sharpening his Freddy Krueger-style knife gloves in anticipation. I swept the house once, twice, thrice without any sign of an intruder. I put the BB gun back and went to bed.
I undressed down to my boxers and hopped in my bed. I don’t remember at what time I drifted off exactly, but I do remember what time I was woken up. It was 2:30 in the morning because I remember thinking to myself. Who the Hell is making that noise this late at night? It took a few seconds for my sleep-addled brain to register that I was home alone and another few seconds to place the sound. It sounded like someone or something was tapping on my window.
I was facing away from the window and had that childish thought that I should just ignore it and it would go away. It was the thought that the sound might not be coming from outside into my room, but from inside my room itself that made me roll over and look around my room. There was no recently escaped convict in my room gazing at my sleeping form with some sort of murder erection. That was a good start. The tapping was still going on throughout all of this.
Tap! Tap! Tap! It was definitely coming from the vicinity of my bedroom window. Just for shits-and-giggles, tap on a nearby window or glass surface. Using that as a frame of reference, imagine hearing that sound coming from your bedroom window late at night. Now imagine remembering that you lived on the second floor of a house; the nearest tree was fifteen feet away and out of range for its branches to be smacking against the window.
Tap! Tap! Tap! My mind painted images of hockey mask-wearing men sitting on the three-foot space of the roof outside my room tapping on my window with their machetes. I slept with the blinds down to prevent the sun from waking me up too early so I couldn’t just simply look out my window. I would have to get out of my bed and open the blinds.
Tap! Tap! Tap! I was genuinely terrified that someone was outside my window. I got out of bed as quietly as I could. I thought any sound would incite my brutal death. I crept towards my closet and opened the door. I was no longer imagining home invaders waiting in the dark closet with their sickles sharpened. I was certain that there was a clear and present danger feet away from me outside my window.
I searched my closet for something to defend myself. The only thing I could find was a wiffle bat. I almost laughed at the absurdity of me tearing open the blinds threateningly wielding a plastic bat at the intruder. At least they would have some decent comedic fodder for my tombstone. He died in his boxers, swinging a plastic bat against a sword-wielding undead samurai. I found nothing else even remotely feasible for a weapon. I crept over to the window with the plastic bat in my fist.
The tapping was still emanating from the window. I cautiously raised my hand to the pull string. I hesitated for a full minute in paralyzing fear. I reasoned that I could try and peek out at whatever was still making the noise. I was debilitated by the fear that I would peek out only to see an eye staring back at me.
Tap! Tap! Tap! I had been standing before the window for ten full minutes now. The prospect that as soon as I opened the blinds, I could incite my violent and bloody death gave me considerable pause. I had and have so many dreams and goals that I didn’t want to be interrupted by whoever was toying with me outside. I managed to pump myself up enough to grab the pull string. I listen to the inconsistent, but continual noise coming from inches away. Tap! Tap! Tap! I decided to open in on the tenth tapping sound. Tap! Tap! Tap! Tap! Tap!- The noise stopped.
The lack of noise was so much worse than the incessant tapping. The silence seemed to be pregnant with malicious intent. Were they planning to blitz me now? Was the game over? Would they come crashing into my bedroom through the window? I held onto the plastic bat so tightly that my cuticles must have gone white. I decided that it was now or never. I grabbed the drawstring for the blinds and pulled. Nothing… There was nothing outside.
Had they fled? Had they tired of the mind games and moved on to more responsive targets? The sudden thought that they had had dropped down to the lawn and were entering the house made me go to my bedroom door and lock it. My back was to the window and my hand had just touched the door lock when- Tap! Tap! Tap! The sound was back.
I whirled around and my heart was hammering in my chest. There was nothing outside. I remembering thinking that this must be what insanity felt like. Tap! Tap! Tap! The sound was coming from the window, but there was nothing outside. I got close to the window and listened for the wound. My mind raced trying to attribute the sound to something. I couldn’t explain it. There was absolutely no reasonable explanation, but the tapping continued.
I must have examined every inch of the window and the area around it to discover the source of the sound, but I had no luck. The sounds stopped after a few minutes and I decided that I was too tired to try and piece it all together. I lay back in my bed. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep, but just as I was drifting off- Tap! Tap! Tap! I didn’t sleep at all for the rest of the night.
I half expected the sound to come back the next night, but there was nothing. I don’t know what would be worse, if the noise came back or if it vanished without any explanation. If it started up, I could reason that it was the house settling or the wood shifting and expanding in the cold summer night. It didn’t return and my mind is still unable to think what had caused that sound. Was it some fiendish monster toying with my mind, was it the spirit of the least threatening ghost possible?
My parents came home the day after that and I lived in that house for a few years before I went to college and my parents moved to another state. In that time I never heard that tapping sound again. It’s almost weird how clearly I can remember all of this. I guess it’s because this memory had such a profound impact on me. It helped me realize that sometimes the scariest thing in life isn’t a corporeal thing. The scariest thing is a mystery, an unexplainable occurrence. The scariest thing is something incomprehensible to the human mind even if it is something as miniscule as the sound of tapping on your window late at night. Tap! Tap! Tap!
Written by EmpyrealInvective