Worser Things Than Shadows

I do not know what is going on. The curtains…the walls. Somebody is knocking in the walls ! And the air ! It is so chill…

It all started one night. I was sitting in couch watching TV, in my apartment, on the highest story. Soon, I became very sleepy. I closed my eyes and went to sleep, with the TV still on. I think I slept no longer than a few minutes. I know one thing, though : when I woke up there WAS SOMETHING AT THE EDGE OF THE COUCH ! I did not belive in ghosts. That is why I began to go to my psychologist after that event. I started to belive I had hallucinations. I thought I had seen a ghost. The psychologist agreed with me. He said I had hallucinations. I belived him, because that was what I had thought, too. So, I returned home, having another appointment with the psychologist the next week.

The night after that, I again fell asleep and awoke. But I did not see the ghost any longer, altough I could still feel it’s disturbing presence. In fact, I awoke because of a rush of chill wind. A wind so cold, I could hardly breathe. But, as I said, I did not belive in ghosts, so I went to the windows to see if any were left open. As I soon noticed, they were all closed.

Until the next appointment with the psychologist, there were no more “paranormal occurences”. The man, when I went to him, told me this was all my imagination, and that there was no cold wind. Once again, I belived him and promised myself that I would learn to make the difference between reality and imagination. Thus, I returned home.

A few days later there was one of the most frightening occurences. It was night, as usual. I did not seem to hallucinate during the day, but that was not really important. Anyway, this is what happened : I went to the kitchen for a snack. I picked up a knife, or at least I tried. I COULD NOT. It was as if it was…glued. Immediatly, I heard laughter. Children’s laughter… I decided to control myself. Not only was I seeing things, but I was also hearing things and feeling things. Nothing was true, I said to myself. It all was just my imagination. But there was ONE THING I COULD NOT EXPLAIN. At once, the window open, releasing into the room a cold wind. I rushed to the window to close it. But, as soon as I closed it, it opened again ! Then, I heard odd sounds, as if someone was having trouble to breathe. Then, I heard knockings on the walls. “You are really crazy, David” I said to myself. I tried to control myself. I tried to make the sounds stop. The room was filled with a fume that clouded everything. And then, in front of me, appeared a person. It was a little girl. The same that had appeared at the edge of the couch that night. She looked at me and then dissapeared into the thick fume.

I told my psychologist everything that had happened. He seemed very curious and interested in the tale. When I finished, he looked at me, and in his eyes I could read compassion. And he said : “Two things can happen now. These hallucinations are either temporal…or permanent. If they are temporal, you should be fine soon. They might be the product of too much stress, you see. Have you been stressed in the last time, David ?” “No”, I said, “I don’t think I have.” “You must had been” the psychologist said. “Maybe. I’m not really sure” I said. “Let us hope your problems are not here to last, then, David” he said. After that, I returned home.

Immediatly as I entered my apartment, I heard knocking in the walls. “Control yourself, David ! Control yourself, David !” I said to myself. Again, I heard laughter…children’s laughter…the little girl’s laughter… Or, better said, THE LITTLE GIRLS, FOR THEY WERE MORE THAN ONE. Somebody knocked at the door. Suddenly, the laughter stopped. I opened the door. An older man, dressed in a coat, wearing glasses, appeared in front of me.

“Hello, David” he said. “How do you know my name ?” I asked. “I know many things about you. Even more than you know yourself” he replied. At first, I thought he was just another hallucination. “Get out of my mind !” I shouted at him. But he said : “I am not a hallucination, David. In fact, THERE ARE NO HALLUCINATIONS.” “What do you mean ?” I asked the old man. “You belive you are crazy. You belive you are having hallucinations. But everything is as real as it gets.” I did not know if I should welcome the strange visitor in, or if I should make him leave me alone. But I decided to let him in. He came inside and put a large, black bag on the armchair. Then, he took a seat and said : “Listen to me, my boy. I can help you.” “Why do you want to help me ?” “Because, by helping you, I will help myself.”

Suddenly, the knocking started again, but faintly. “THEY ARE LISTENING !” the old man shouted. The knocking became louder and louder. I was very frightened. Did this man share my madness ? Could he see and hear things as well ? Or could he do so because HE was ALSO a hallucination ? “No, David, I AM NOT a hallucination” the old man said, as if he was reading my mind. “There is something about your family that you do not know.” The knocking stopped. “Your great-great grandfather was a very evil man. He did…” the old man started, but he didn’t finish what he was saying, because I interrupted him. “You said that they are listening. WHO are they ?” “There are worser things than shadows behind tables, chairs and closets” the old man said. “Yes, but WHO ARE THEY ?” I asked again. “That was what I was going to say when you interrupted me. Will it suffice to say that they are GHOSTS, people killed by your ancestor ?” “Why would my ancestor kill little girls ?” I asked, and as it seems, it was a pretty stupid question.

“These beings, David, can take any form they want. But they still want the same thing : revenge.” “Wait a minute, there. Why would they want to kill ME ? I am not responsible for my ancestor !” “They do not care. They have vowed to kill every one in your family, and now, you are the last of your bloodline.” “In that case, why didn’t they kill me EARLIER ?” “Because…I didn’t let them.” “What do you mean ?” “I AM YOUR ANCESTOR, DAVID.” “No ! You said it yourself : you are dead.” “Yes, I am dead. But that will not change anything, will it ? I know this all seems shocking to you, but you must get over the shock…if you want to survive.” This was too much for me. I HAD HALLUCINATIONS. IT WAS WITHOUT DOUBT. But how did the old man read my mind that one time ? He didn’t. I read MY OWN mind. “Leave me alone ! Stop it ! Get the hell out of my mind !” I yelled at the old man. “Have it your own way. But ask the neighborns. Ask them if they heard any weird sounds coming from your apartment. Just ASK THEM !” The old man dissapeared, and I was left alone.

I went to the psychologist the next day. I told him EVERYTHING. “You still have a chance to be cured of this disease, if I can call it thus. My suggestion is that you completely ignore these so-called beings” the psychologist said. “If you continue to have problems, call me immediatly.” Then, I went home.

As soon as I reached the entrance to my apartment, I began to feel a “presence”. I opened the door and I saw my so-called “ancestor” again. “You did not talk to the neighbors, David. You went to that psychologist instead. These scientists…they try to find a scienifical explanation to everything. But then, their science and way of thinking is completely wrong.” “I am not listening to you !” I yelled at the ghost. “A part of you, David, belives me. Another part does not. You can find out which part of you knows the truth by asking your neighbors. Or are you afraid to find out that what you think you know is TRUE ?” “The only truth I know is that ghosts don’t exist !” “In that case, I use your own argument agianst you : ask your neighbors. You have nothing to lose, do you ?”

I really didn’t have anything to lose. I wanted to ask the neighbors if they had seen or heard anything as much as I wanted to call my psychologist, however. “Inside you, you know that I am real” the ghost said to me. I went out of the apartment and went to a adjacent apartment. I knocked at the door. Mrs. Silbern answered. “Good evening” I said. “Yes, David ?” “I was wondering if you heard any strange noises or if you saw anything strange.” “In fact, I was just going to ask you what was going on in there. What have you been doing ? I couldn’t sleep for days. Why are you asking me this, anyway ?” “Nevermind.” So Mrs. Silbern had heard the noises too. I did not question the other neighbors. I already knew what I wanted to know.

I rushed to my apartment. There, I saw my ancestor again. “See, David ? What did I tell you ?” he asked. “I still don’t belive you” I said. “So that was not enough ?” “No, it was not.” “What must I do to make you BELIVE ?” “I will never belive that ghost crap !” I yelled as loud as I could. “Are you okay, David ?” Mrs. Silbern asked me. “Yes, I am okay” I said, altough I knew I was far from okay.

I felt as if I was alone in the apartment. It was long since I had felt like this. But I had been alone. I started to think I HAD HIT THE WALLS to make the weird noises. I called my psychologist and told him what had happened and also told him about my theory. The psychologist said that I have serious problems and that I should come to him as soon as possible. I did not finish my conversation with the psychologist, however. I dropped the phone. Why ? Because of what I saw…

In front of me lay corpses. A dozen bloody corpses. Suddenly, they got up, altough…they were dead. They looked at me and said : “WE WILL KILL YOU ! YOU HAVE KILLED US AND OUR CHILDREN ! WE WILL HAVE REVENGE !” Then, the lights went off. The air became as cold as ice. The knocking in the walls started once more. I fell down, but I did not know why. I felt no pain, but God knows, if he exists at all, that I fainted.

“There are worser things than shadows behind tables, chairs and closets” had been the old man’s words. And now, they were all that I could think of. I never belived that ghosts existed. I just don’t belive in the paranormal.

I woke up in Mrs. Silbern’s arms. She did not ask any explanations. She just said : “I knew there was something wrong !”. I had to give an explanation to her, so I told her that I had hallucinations. She asked about the knocking and I said I produced it, but that I did so when I was delirious.

As soon as the woman left my apartment, my ancestor appeared again. “They have been watching you, David. THEY ARE IN THE WALLS !” I heard movement in the walls. SOMETHING WAS IN THERE ! “You did not heed my warning, David. Now there is nothing more that I can do to help you. You will have to save yourself !” the ghost said. Then, he vanished. Something was in the walls and it was moving !

The telephone rang. I picked it up. On the other side was my psychologist. “Why did you not come today, David ?” “It’s a long story. I fainted once. Right now, I think I’m hearing sounds coming from the walls. There is something inside them. I’ll call you later and tell you everything.” “David, don’t hang up !” the psychologist said, but I couldn’t talk to him right then.

I starting saying a weird poem, without wanting to. I don’t know why I said it, but it went like this :

Things that lie there in the walls
You, that want revenge on me
Follow death’s unholy calls
For it’s beauty you can’t see.
I know it’s revenge you want
But I did not destroy thee
So I won’t just hear your taunt
For my soul is not the fee.
It’s my curse, I understand
But why curse me if you know
Your malefactor’s in the sand.
So, why did you make that vow ?

I recieved no answer to my question. Instead, the noises stopped. And, then, a voice said : “WE HAVE VOWED THAT WE WILL TAKE ULTIMATE REVENGE !”. The odd knocking I had heard so many times before started again. “Show yourselves !” I yelled. Something was moving in the walls again. I took a hammer and started hitting a wall, hoping to destroy it and see the TRUE FORM OF THESE BEINGS. Soon, I had destroyed the wallpaper and I could see the bricks. I started hitting and hitting. Soon, I destroyed the brick. Behind it was a gigantic hole, so dark I could not see where it ended. I wanted to explore that place. That…hole. Soon, there was a space large enough to be able to squeeze inside. I went to the living room and took a lantern. Then I returned to the wall and I turned on the lantern. However, there was no more gigantic hole. It had…disappeared. I heard moving again. And then I was convinced that I had been a lunatic. I was convinced there was no ghost. I was convinced that THEY were just hallucinations. When was I convinced ? When I saw who was making the noises in the walls. The noises were made…by rats.

I put my hand on my forehead, relieved. I had actually started to belive in ghosts. But, as it seemed, they were just my hallucinations. I went to bed. And, as I closed my eyes, I heard a voice, saying : “It’s too late now, David. They are going to kill you !” “What ?” I asked. I opened my eyes and I saw a creature, a sort of human, that was holding a knife in his right hand. He stabbed me. It was then that I died.

By Sinder Velvin

I am a writer, altough I do other things as well. I don't really know what to say. I'm born on 24 March 1978. I have decided to write short stories for this website, to see if I'm any good...