Tag Archives: figure

The Yin of Love, the Yang of Truth

They were a wonderful couple. He loved her and she loved him. They never argued.

Priya and Justin seemed like yin and yang – different to the extreme, but still one heart and one soul. There were weird quirks about them; like that they never had guests. But the strangest thing for Nadine and me was that they never fought. They lived next door to us for more than a year and my wife and we never heard any angry words or banging doors. Since they moved in Nadine and I even had arguments about whether or not we were a good couple – and Priya and Justin were our measure of a good couple; they were the ones we compared ourselves to. No fights; perfect harmony.

Priya was the talkative one; she kept Nadine bound to the fence for hours, talking without break. Nadine didn’t mind the distraction and seemed to enjoy the conversations; I avoided Priya. I liked her, she was nice and fun to spend time with, but her endless streams of words gave me headaches.

That’s why I understood Justin. I never felt like he could be blamed for locking himself in his room all day. She was a team leader in an ad agency and involved in several dance clubs; Justin, as far as we knew him, was involved nowhere. I don’t think I ever saw him have friends over or even go out.

The only thing Justin did was to sit in his tiny upstairs office. Sometimes, when the sun was at the right angle, I saw him hunched in front of his computer, likely coding on a new software project for a client he found online.

I remember the day that Priya and Justin came over with champagne and a cheese platter. Nadine and I had planned a romantic meal – instead we had a celebration and a far too long conversation about what it’s like to be a parent. Justin looked uncomfortable, as if the chairs were too hard for him; Priya sat back with grape juice in her champagne glass and laughed.

“I think Justin and I should leave you two alone,” I said. “Looks like you have a lot of X-chromosome talk to do.”

“Sure, sure.” Said Nadine.

“Oh, no.” Said Priya. “Don’t leave!”

Justin looked at his wife, then at me.

“I think –“ he started.

“Fine.” Priya said. “Let’s get going then.”

And with that they left; Priya with her platter and Justin behind her with empty hands.

On the way out Justin stopped and leaned over to me.

“Thanks.” He said.

The next weeks and months Priya was often at the fence; showing us her belly and discussing with Nadine about details that I never wanted to know about the female physique and the wonder of birth.

“I won’t eat before the birth.” Priya said to Nadine. “The doctor told me that’s a bad idea, but, you know, I don’t want to shit myself while giving birth.”

Nadine laughed, but her head didn’t move.

“Priya is a bit crazy,” Nadine said at night. “Isn’t she?”

“Definitely.” I said. “Sometimes I feel sorry for Justin.”

Nadine punched my arm.

“Hey, they love each other.”

“Sorry.” I said.

“Sometimes you’re an ass.” Nadine said.

Not another argument. I thought.

I stayed quiet.

Nadine rolled to the other side.

Priya was always there; Justin never. Once we even invited them for dinner – and only Priya came.

I saw Justin a few times – when he checked the mail, when he mowed the lawn. But mostly I saw him when the sun was just right, usually around 5pm, sitting behind the closed window in the small office.

These days he seemed to hunch more; as if some weight was on his back.

Scary to have a child. I thought. And then with her.

Once, behind the window, I saw him crying.

“Do you know how they met?” Nadine asked me.

“No.” I said.

She rolled onto my shoulder.

“Priya said they met in a bar and that Justin chatted her up.”

“He doesn’t seem like the bar type to me.” I said.

“Maybe he was different in college?” Nadine asked.

“Maybe.” I said.

The thought stuck with me.

Two days later I saw Justin getting the mail. His pale figure emerged in the doorway and I quickly went out too.

“Hey.” I said.

He flinched.

“Hey.” He said.

“You’re also getting the mail?” I asked.

“I thought I saw you getting yours earlier already?” He said.

“Oh.” I said. “Sometimes I forget that I did it already.”

“Okay.” He said and turned to go back inside.

“Listen,” I said. “If you want someone to talk, you know, someone that’s not your wife – you can come over anytime.”

“Thanks.” He said.

Justin took another step back towards the house.

“Just a second.” I said.

Justin stopped.

“I was just wondering,” I said.”Can I ask you a question?”

“What?” He asked.

“Nadine and I have a bet going,” I said. “How you two met.”

Justin turned towards the door.

“You know, was it in a bar or something like that?” I asked.

He pulled the door open.

“Sorry,” he said.” I’m in a hurry.”

“Was it a bar?” I asked.

He stepped inside.

“Was it?”

“Maybe.” He said.

The door shut.

I didn’t see him outside anymore since then. Priya began to collect the mail at night, when she came home.

Priya asked Nadine whether she could have the baby shower at our place.

“Our house is not that nice.” Priya said. “And I want to impress my friends.”

Nadine agreed – and I wasn’t asked.

I went upstairs when the high-pitched voices arrived in our living room. I heard the “Oh, so cute’s and Thank you, I love it’s and the It’s so big already’s and understood why Justin hadn’t come.

They named her Manpreet. We visited in the hospital with a pack of rompers and a small teddy. Priya and Nadine laughed and rubbed Manpreet’s belly. Justin pulled me aside.

“Can I have your number.” He whispered.

“I’m sure Priya has it.” I said.

“I need it.” He said.” Your mobile.”

I scribbled my mobile number on the back of a business card. Justin quickly stashed it in his pocket and walked back over to the laughing ladies.

Two days later a call woke me up at 2am.

Nadine rolled over to the other side.

“Please, I need a favor.” He said. “Come quick. And don’t tell Nadine.”

“What, where?” I asked.

“The hospital.” He said. “Please, quick.”

Nadine was asleep again, which made it easy not to tell her anything.

Twenty-five minutes later I drove onto the hospital parking lot. I wanted to drive close to the entrance and hurry to Priya’s room.

Instead a dark figure jumped in front of my car.

“Stop!” He screamed.

I stomped on the breaks.

“Are you crazy?” I asked Justin when he opened the door.

“Drive.” He said. “Please, fast!”

He held a bag in his hands and was struggling with his seatbelt. Only then I noticed the baby in his arms.

“The airport.” He said. “You have to go there fast.”

I stopped the car.

“What the hell are you doing?” I asked.

“Please, drive.” He said. “She took my credit card and I can’t pay a taxi. But my family sent me a ticket. Please, I beg you.”

I slowly let go of the clutch and the car began to roll forward.

“What the hell is happening?” I asked.

“She is crazy.” Justin said.

“And you steal the baby?”

“It’s the last chance.” He said.

“Last chance for what?”

I noticed a figure in a white dress running out of the hospital entrance.

“To get away and save Manpreet.” He said. “Please, drive. Drive!”

The figure was running towards us.

“She forced me.” He said. “She forced me to stay.”

“Are you serious?” I asked.

“At first she drugged me.” He said. “And then she locked me inside a basement for months.”

I recognized the running figure as Priya.

“Please, please drive.” Justin said. “I won’t have another chance.”

I hesitated. The car still rolled slowly.

“I just couldn’t leave anymore.” Justin said. “It was as if I wasn’t myself and Priya always made me stay inside.”

The baby in his arms moved.

Priya was screaming and still running closer.

“Please.” Justin said.

He pulled his shirt up. There were hundreds of small, black scars on the pale skin.

“She will kill Manpreet.” He said.

My foot sank on the throttle; the car gained speed just as Priya reached the window. She was screaming and her eyes were wide open. She threw her fist towards the window, but she missed; the car was past her.

We pulled out of the parking lot.

“You can’t get away.” Priya screamed behind us.

We drove silently for a few minutes; then I called Nadine to get out of the house. When I ended the call Justin was crying.

“It’s been two years,” he said. “Since she killed our first child.”

He looked at Manpreet.

“She did it to punish me for leaving the house. That’s why she made us switch states.”

“What the hell.” I said.

“After you drop me, call the police.” Justin said. “The body is lying on our couch.”

This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.

A Child I Loved

The building works stopped about half a year ago. I think the developer went bankrupt, but that might just be a myth going around our apartment block.

Either way, the building shell has been empty for months; bare gray walls, six floors, no windows or doors or decoration.

The crack addicts came about two months ago; at least I thought so. I saw the lights during the night, the thin shadows moving on the dark walls.

Carolyn disagreed. She called me over – one of those days when she asked me to babysit Sophie and I just couldn’t resists her charms – and we nearly had an argument about it. I meant it as a joke.

“Did you see the crack addicts already?” I asked.

“No. What?”

“In the skeleton over there.”

“Nothing there.” She said. “Definitely not crack addicts.”

Carolyn opened the door.

“Watch Sophie closely, okay?”

“Sure.” I said.

“Really, I mean it, closely.” She said. “Please.”

“Don’t worry,” I said. “She’s such a sweetie.”

Carolyn smiled; then she left for her date.

The parking lot between our apartment block and the unfinished shell was nearly triangular; Carolyn’s apartment was closer to the urban ruin than mine; I knew that she would have seen more than I did.

After our weird discussion I wanted to pay special attention to the people on the other side of the parking lot, but Sophie didn’t give me any time to do so. She ran around, folded and threw paper airplanes and somehow always managed to grab my attention.

At 22:30 I finally managed to get Sophie to go to bed; she made me sing for another ten minutes.

Back in the living room I tidied up the toys and dirty plates. I looked to the other side only for a moment, only for a few seconds before the lights went off – and still, the people I saw looked wrong. They looked too thin, too unhealthy.

Crack is horrible, I thought.

From my apartment they looked mostly normal. I saw them running on the fourth floor, running left to right – only the guy at the most left window didn’t run. He seemed to stay in place and the others bent down in front of him.

About a week later I babysat Sophie again. Carolyn was out; another date and I was already expecting her to come back and say that it all went horribly wrong and that the guy was just a pervert. She always said that and I wondered whether it was them – maybe the men she found were all perverts, or Carolyn’s cute face and tender figure with large chest made them wild – or whether it was Carolyn herself and her strange, quick changes in discussion topics that alienated the men and whether Carolyn’s “he was a pervert”-defense was just a lie.

That night Sophie went to bed early. Still I stayed. I wanted to read and finish my book – something that I somehow never manage to do at home when the laptop is around – but instead I ended up on the window. I watched their movements and behaviors. I felt like a voyeur, analyzing the addicts’ hierarchy and rules.

There were different things I learned that night – they had different levels of respect, those that ran the most bowed the most too. They bowed to someone in a right window, then a few seconds later they appeared in a left window, bowing to their leader. And also that really all of them were thin, there was no exception but one. Later, around 22:00, I saw a figure with long hair emerging from one of the few curtained rooms. She brushed something off her dress and then went to the leader.

The leader made her kneel and she kneeled longer than the others, as if she wasn’t sure how long she would have to stay. It looked as if she was a new member, a new victim of the drug – and the group was riding her hard so that she would obey to all commands.

Half an hour later Carolyn was home. She smiled and laughed, but she didn’t seem happy.

“He was a pervert.” She said.

“Where do you find all these guys?” I asked.

“The good guys aren’t single.” Carolyn said. “Or at least not many.”

“Oh.” I said.

“They all just want me for my looks.” She said.

I didn’t argue with her; half because I pitied her, half because I understood. She was nice, as a friend, but I couldn’t imagine being in a relationship with her and her good friends paranoia and OCD. Whoever she got – well, even if he accepted the child he would suffer from constant criticism. From the way her last boyfriend hit on every woman in the building I felt that maybe she also wasn’t exactly willing to offer her body even to those that were willing to offer their souls. Not that I blame her for it – no woman should feel forced to do that – but Carolyn was not easy to be with and I felt the frustration any partner of hers must feel; to have a pretty woman but not even be able to hug or kiss her, much less to do other things. That doesn’t justify anything, but it makes understandable that the guys that got too close ran away very quickly.

At home I didn’t see many new things; I still watched the group in the other building occasionally but there was not much to see. Running, sitting, bowing to superiors. I quickly realized that it wasn’t just an addict house, rather it had become a dealer house. That also explained the occasional appearance of new, less skinny people. They too bowed too long and then disappeared somewhere in the building – likely either on the floor to hit their drugs, or they might have gone out straight after their shot.

Another week; another of Carolyn’s dates.

Sophie was on edge. She kept running between her room and the living room. The teddy elephant was tightly in her arms. Not even Pocahontas managed to stop her from running around.

I gave up after a while – and instead I watched the other house. There was a new figure again, a more sturdy and thick body compared to the long and thin frames of the usual inhabitants. The new one, long hair again, bent down in front of the leader. The leader stepped towards her and placed a hand on her hunched shoulder.

Sophie slept tightly; I read my book. Carolyn came back around midnight with her head held high.

“A good night.” She said.

“Nice guy?” I asked.

“Well,” Carolyn said.” Not nice, but at least satisfying.”

She winked.

“Good you finally have some fun.” I said.

“I think I really deserve it.” She said.” Life is so hard right now, with Sophie and everything.”

I spent another week watching the other side. The same visitor came back, with long hair and no clothes. Seeing the naked frame made me feel strange; I hadn’t noticed that most of the regulars were flat-chested males. Watching the exchange – a kneeling for a hand on the back – made me feel strangely aroused; I thought about starting my own drugs-slash-sex organization but I quickly laughed the thoughts out of my mind.

Still the woman stayed, with her head and chest bent forward and her breasts hanging down. I felt guilty for looking, but I couldn’t look away either. The scene wasn’t erotic per se, it was my imagination that made it erotic – my thoughts of what I would do if I was in the leader’s place with my hand on the naked back of a pretty woman.

I asked Carolyn whether she would like me to babysit again; I liked to babysit Sophie with her bright smile and the cute way she handed me things and told me to play with them. But it was mostly some voyeur drive, some instinct to see more of the events in the other building that made me offer more of my time.

Carolyn accepted. She said she had planned another date but likely could schedule it earlier.

Sophie was active that night; she handed me puzzle pieces and I finished her puzzle. Yet I kept looking out of the window; yet I saw the guest arrive again; bare-chested and pretty as before.

That the guest had the same body as Carolyn made me feel aroused and guilty. Sophie still handed me puzzle pieces and I thought about her mother’s body. I slapped myself when Sophie was asleep. What the fuck are you doing? I asked myself. She wouldn’t be good for you.

Sophie liked me; but Carolyn seemed cold. When I moved in it always felt as if she was interested, but over the months of babysitting Sophie that all seemed to have faded away. My desire was left; hers was gone. All she cared about were her Friday or Saturday night dates.

At least she cared about those until she began to refuse my offers to babysit. Those nights I saw the addicts’ female guest later. I didn’t make the connection; it seemed too absurd.

And still, I think I could have saved Sophie.

Carolyn always allowed me to play with Sophie if I wanted to do so; if anything she encouraged it. But from one day to the next it stopped.

Maybe she noticed that we all are perverts. I thought. Maybe she noticed that I stare when she bends over.

I felt guilty and yet I felt as if there was nothing I could do. Genes are destiny; that’s the way we are programmed, for good or for bad. Unconsciously women assess virility and men fertility. Unconsciously women check chest and back and arms and men check breasts and behind and waistline. We can avert our eyes, consciously prevent ourselves from looking – and still we analyze it, process it. Humans are like that; humans are made for that – to reproduce.

I was sad that I couldn’t see Sophie anymore. A few times I saw them in the corridor or in the lobby and each time Sophie ran towards me. She hugged me and I enjoyed the knowledge that I had made at least one person in the world happy. But Carolyn pulled her away.

“She needs rest.” Carolyn said.

“Can I come over tomorrow?” I asked.

“I think we have visitors.” Carolyn said.

They didn’t have visitors. Carolyn knew that I could hear her through the thin walls and that I particularly could hear her laugh. She always laughed loudly when guys came over; she always laughed softly when women came over. When she was just with Sophie she laughed in a different tone – with her voice higher and each laugh more abrupt.

Those days and nights I didn’t hear Carolyn laugh. I still heard Sophie – laughing, and humming in the way she hummed whenever she was bored or scared.

That too stopped on the Friday that I saw the guest again.

I hadn’t seen the guest for about a week. Maybe Carolyn was right with all men being perverts; I certainly felt like one while I watched the thin figure in the building on the opposite side of the parking lot.

The leader was just standing in the same place. I never saw any of them during the day – but at night the leader was always in the same room and in the same position. He only changed his position whenever somebody else entered.

Sometimes he seemed angry, sometimes loving, sometimes supportive – but most of the time simply controlling; just like the way he placed his bare hand on the naked back. That wasn’t a sign of gratitude or care, it was a sign of power and control. It said “Your life and body are mine.” – And I suppose that’s what happens with addicts, they give their minds and souls away to the drug and the sources for their drug. That’s why addicts can steal – because they don’t steal for their own soul; they steal for somebody else.

The woman came and knelt down. The leader placed a hand around her throat – or maybe just on her shoulder, my view wasn’t clear – and pulled her up. He pulled her high, as if he pulled her feet off the floor; but still only with one hand.

I saw the woman shaking; even from the other side of the parking lot I could feel her desperation and I could see her begging for another loan or forgiveness or whatever it was.

He let the woman down and she sank to the floor; it looked as if she cried. Then she slowly moved out of the room. She cried in the next room; then she seemed to go downstairs.

I could call it an accident; honestly I waited until I heard Carolyn and Sophie pass. I just wanted to see Sophie again, to feel her hug around my neck and know that there was a life I affected. It was evening already and I had noticed that Carolyn left that time. I noticed it from Sophie’s bored humming.

I didn’t expect them both to be on the corridor. I thought it would be Carolyn on her own; I wanted to ask her whether I could take care of Sophie. I wanted to tell her how bored Sophie was withot her.

Instead, when I opened the door, I heard a high squeak and Sophie ran towards me. She hugged my leg and I pulled her up to give her a kiss on the forehead. Carolyn forcefully pulled her away.

“Hey.” I said.

“Stay away.” Carolyn said.

“What, why?”

Carolyn pressed the elevator button.

“You make us feel bad.” She said. “I should have done it long ago.”

“Do what?” I asked.

Carolyn pulled Sophie in the elevator. Sophie waved with sad, big eyes; I waved back with wet eyes and a fake smile.

“A fresh start.” Carolyn said.

That night there was light on the roof of the unfinished building. But inside the building most lights were off – all except the ones in the room with the leader.

I didn’t want to look at the house; I felt like crying and just wanted to look outside – but in a city there is not much else to look at except houses.

I saw the bare-chested woman enter the room. She pulled something along that was hidden behind the window frame.

The leader rubbed his thin, long arms.

The bare-chested woman bent down and picked something up.

The child was nearly still; only her legs moved as if she wanted to walk away. Her arms were hanging limb.

The leader took the child from the woman’s hands.

Then, for the first time, he ran.

The woman sank to the floor.

The lights in the room went off.

The lights on the roof glowed stronger; then, without any warning, they got very bright and then disappeared.

The next day there was no light in the unfinished building.

Another day later I saw the landlord entering Carolyn’s apartment. He told me that Carolyn had moved out; he said she had moved the furniture and her stuff long ago.

“They left only the mattresses.” The landlord said. “But she said she got some money.”

He smiled.

“I think it’s good for her. She said something about a fresh start.”

I never saw Carolyn again.

But I saw Sophie again:

First I found her toys in the trash, then her teddy elephant – then all her pictures.

This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.

Dark Holes in Bright Paint

Amber’s eyes were fixated on the keyhole.

“Can we get started?” I asked.

Hesitantly she turned towards me, nodded and brushed the short blond hair out of her face.

“Sure.” She said. “Can I just say something first?”

I smiled. “Go ahead.”

“Really, this, I mean, this is new to me. I’ve never been so panicked, and definitely not from simple holes.” Amber’s eyes darted towards the keyhole, then to the power plug next to the door

“It’s okay,” I said. “That can happen to many people. We just need to understand why you want to be admitted.”

Amber smiled and nodded.

“Okay. The thing is, honestly, I always felt uncomfortable with them, with holes in the wall. During the day I was fine with them, although I avoided touching them and plastered my walls in posters instead. My mom always ripped them down. For years we had this battle where I bought new posters and she ripped them down a few days later. We never actually spoke about it, until now at least.”

Amber paused.

“I think it was I never liked holes because there were so many in my room. I must have been around six or seven when we moved in, and they were always there. During the day there was a slight draft, but it was dark behind. I tried a few times to look inside some of the bigger ones, those that were around the size of a sharpie, but I could never see through, there was always just black and I couldn’t figure out where the draft came from. And when I tried poking through the holes there was something solid behind, so I was sure that the holes didn’t go through the whole wall.”

“The holes were mostly on the wall at the foot end of my bed. But when I got older my bed broke and we got a new queen-size one. We didn’t think of it in the shop, but when we got home the bed fit only in exactly one spot in my room, right next to the wall with the holes. The first night with the new bed I couldn’t sleep at all. Most of the holes were above me, but two or three were right near my head, and a few others were near my feet.”

“The holes next to my bed kept me from sleeping. It was as if, periodically, there was cold air pushing through the hole. It was summer, but the air from the holes was freezing. The first night was so bad that I complained to my dad the next day and he went and spackled the holes shut. That lasted for a few weeks, but he had used some cheap material and by autumn some of it came crumbling out. I felt the cold again afterwards, but I was okay then. I guess I was used to it.”

“You didn’t mind the holes afterwards?” I asked.

“I still did,” Amber said. “Especially during the evening and night, when it was dark. I pushed pillows on the holes and covered myself under the blanket. I didn’t think about that, it just came natural; I always fell asleep with my whole body rolled up under the blanket. I usually woke up with the blanket kicked away, but for falling asleep it needed to be on my body, particularly over my head.”

Amber pressed her teeth on her lower lips.

“Those holes, I never liked them but they weren’t that scary. They had always been there and I didn’t really think about them, except when I was feverish and lying in bed all day. When I was sick the draft bothered me, and in darkness they looked somehow menacing. But as said, usually I was fine. They were just a feature of my room.”

“Amber, you said that you feel panic when you see holes. Can you tell me when that started?”

“I’m not sure,” she said. “It’s been building up for the last weeks, since I moved to university.”

“Your new room also has many holes?”

“No, I mean, not at first.” Amber said. “When I moved in the room was fine, except maybe a small hole in one of the corners and some ripped-off paint. But it was a cheap private accommodation, so I didn’t think of that as unusual and the apartment was an amazing deal.”

“But since then, I’m not sure how to say it, but these holes started to appear. One day I noticed that there were small cracks in the paint, then a day later some paint was broken off and the wall behind it had a small hole in it. And a few days later another two opened up.”

“I explained it with the heater running for so much; I thought the heat simply broke the paint over some holes that the cheapskate landlord hadn’t bothered to close. But then, over the weeks, the numbers increased. Nearly every day another crack appeared, or another piece of paint fell, or –I thought that was just my imagination and I still think my mind might be playing tricks on me – it seemed that some of the holes kept getting bigger. They never got as big as the ones in my old room, they were mostly just slightly bigger than a pencil; still I felt the draft again.”

Amber shivered. “I was rarely in my room during the day; only at night, when I went to bed, I felt the cold air moving over my face and my back. I thought once I left home I’d never have that problem again, but I ended up sleeping with several blankets again. My room was boiling, so that I sometimes even slept without clothes, but still I needed the blankets over my head. And in the morning I usually woke up with my blankets on the floor. I think my body kicked them down because of the heat; I was just really thankful that my room had a strong lock so that my roommates couldn’t walk in on me like that.”

“You were scared because of the holes appearing?”

“No,” Amber said. “I thought it was strange and it made me a bit uncomfortable because I didn’t know the neighbors on that side. But there was no light from the holes, so I thought it was just something with the walls, like at home. One of my roommates, David, said such holes can happen if there is a leaking pipe for a long time and it washes the gluing stuff out of the wall. David said I was really unlucky to get the wrong room, because the others didn’t have that problem.”

“Amber, if it’s not the number, why do those holes scare you?”

“Because I think now somebody must be making them. I mean, it all seemed rational, like a coincidence because I thought they had been in my room in my parents’ house when I moved in.”

“I was skyping with my mom and she suddenly screamed at me, like out of nowhere. She shouted things like ‘stop plucking at the wall’ and ‘the landlord will make you pay for it.’ It took me a minute to figure out that she was talking about the holes and I explained to her that it wasn’t me, that they just appeared. But mom got even more angry and scolded me. ‘Stop lying’, she shouted and ‘You did it in your old room and now you are doing it in your new room too! You’re not a child anymore, stop it!’”

“I argued with my mom, told her that it wasn’t me and that the holes had just appeared, but she was having none of it. Then I mentioned that the holes in the old room had been there when we moved in – but mom laughed sarcastically and she said that she wasn’t stupid, that I would have to pay for the damage to my rented room myself, and then she hung up.”

“I called dad afterwards to complain about mom. But he said that mom was right. He said the holes hadn’t been in my old room when I moved in; he said that I had made them!”

Amber shook her head.

“It wasn’t me! It definitely wasn’t me, I’m sure of it. And since then those holes made me really uncomfortable. I stuck posters over the holes, but the next day they were on the floor, just the way my mom had done it at home. I couldn’t sleep in my room anymore. I begged David to switch rooms with me, but he refused, he said that my room was too hot for him. At least he allowed me to sleep on the floor in his room.”

“Sleeping in his room was okay,” Amber said. “I didn’t sleep well on the hard ground, but it made me feel safer to know that he was there, snoring right next to me on his bed. David was a bit pervy in the way he looked at me when I was sitting on the floor in my pajamas, but I just wore some extra layers. I still caught him staring a few times, like when I bent over or something, but at least he never tried anything weird.”

“I slept in his room for a week. But then, during one night, the paint started cracking on the opposite wall. It was not one spot like in my room; it was all across the wall, as if the wall was ripping from the inside. And the next night half the paint was broken off and there were holes all over the wall. It must have been at least twenty, and some of them were pretty big.”

“David kicked me out of his room in the evening. He said that my mom was right and that I must have ripped it. He said that I was probably some crazy sleepwalker and that I would have to pay for it. I would have gone to a friend’s place, but it was already late and I didn’t want to bother anyone. I felt like crap, as if they were all right, as if I was going crazy and walking around at night, scratching walls.”

“I went to my own room that night.”

I saw the moisture building in Amber’s eyes.

“I was lying in bed, with my head towards the wall, punching these stupid holes and crying myself to sleep.”

“I nearly succeeded, you know? I already felt the sleep taking hold of me and my body getting stiff. But then there was this faint sound. I couldn’t pinpoint it; it was a bit like a scratching sound. I opened my eyes a bit, just to see what it was. And, in a hole right in front of my face, I saw this thing moving. It looked a bit like an orange worm, winding and pushing its way through the hole, towards me. I moved my head away from it, but the thing sped up and the tip came out of the hole; and only then I recognized it as a finger.”

Tears ran down Amber’s face.

“I screamed and ran out of the room. The police said that I must have dreamt. I’m sure it wasn’t a dream! I saw this finger, complete with the nail, pushing through the hole. But the police said it was impossible, that the house on the other side was vacant and they didn’t find anyone inside, and that none of the holes went completely through the wall, and that even then the wall was far too thick for a human finger to reach through it.”

This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.