This Is Why I Lock My Doors At Night Now

foggy-mist-forest-trees-42263.jpegIt was my last semester of college.

Senior year was finally coming to an end, and I was ready to move on to bigger and better things. With the close of each year, the dreaded moving out process always hangs over my head, so I had started to pack away my room early.

We have a total of four roommates in this house, including me. I would have preferred to live alone, but unfortunately, our university has a roommate rule.

I had lived in this house for the past two years, and I had enough of the creaky pipes and random bangs throughout the night. Not to mention the creepy lone standing door that leads to the outside street in one of the bedrooms. But honestly, at this point, nothing really phased me anymore. I was dreaming of my cute new apartment I would be getting; no more creepy doors!

In short, I was over it. I was ready to graduate.

My story starts on a Saturday night. My roommates were going to a concert and begged me to tag along. I turned down the offer considering we only had weeks until graduation and I wanted to make a dent in all my packing.

Glitter and vodka littered the kitchen as my roommates clinked their shot glasses together and downed the liquid courage. After a few honks outside, they were off to the concert, leaving me and my boxes to fend for themselves.

After a couple of hours had passed, the monotonous task of stacking brown box upon brown box had put me in a trance, I decided to call it a night.

The sight of iridescent blue paste smeared the bristles of my toothbrush; crest mint. I gave a good hard look at myself in the mirror. What was I going to do after graduation? It would be a lie to say I wasn’t scared shitless. Would my boyfriend finally propose to me? Did I even want him to propose to me? He had been a royal ass lately. The thought of being single after graduation was scary, but also exhilarating.

These were just passing thoughts, I had been having those a lot lately. I guess that’s what comes with a new chapter of your life.

The crystal-clear water made a whirlpool as it circled down the drain. I leaned my head back, gargled, then spit the remnants of mint out of my mouth. Just as I was about to turn the faucet off, I thought I heard heavy breathing which sounded like it was coming from the vent. My spine straightened as a shiver went down my back, then again, another quick bought of raspy, heavy breathing.

I quickly shut the faucet off and got down on my hands and knees, ear to the vent; nothing. My heart was thudding against my rib cage. Calm down, calm down. This happens all the time, it’s just the creaking of the old house. I started to laugh at myself. I’m usually the voice of reason in this house, why am I letting this scare me?

As I got into bed, this strange feeling overtook my gut. Why? I couldn’t tell you, but I knew that something wasn’t right. I let my head sink into my pillow as my fingers danced along the buttons of my phone. If there was ever any reason to have a boyfriend, tonight was the perfect night. I rested with the phone to my ear as I counted along to each ringtone. After five long dreadful rings, he finally picked up.

“Hey babe, what’s up?”

“Hi…. will you come over?”

“Kels, you know I have to wake up early tomorrow. I don’t sleep well in those twin beds.”

“Well, I’m scared. Something doesn’t feel right.”

“Really? You’re such a hypocrite. Aren’t you the one always getting on your roommates for being scared? I bet it’s just the fact that your roommates are gone. Now you’re freaked out.”

“No. It’s just, I don’t know. I have this gut feeling, like I shouldn’t be here tonight.”

“Babe, relax. Trust me, it’s an old house with a creaky structure. I’m sure your senses are on overdrive with graduation, job hunting, and moving all coming up.”

“Yeah, maybe you’re right.”

“Of course, I am. Now get some rest, I’ll pick you up tomorrow and we will go get coffee.”

“Ok fine. Love you.”

“You too, babe.”

The silence on the other end of my lifeline was all too real. The eerie feeling that I couldn’t quite shake continued to grow. At first, I tried to reason with myself. Maybe he was right, maybe I was just on high alert with all the chaos going on in my life right now. I shut my eyes, rolled over, and fought against my intuition as the exhaustion overtook me.

My eyes shot open as I laid in my bed, face staring at the wall. I heard a shuffling sound coming from outside of my bedroom door. My heart started racing, maybe my roommates were just getting home from the concert? I looked at my clock and it was 3:00 a.m. It was late, but it was possible. I tried to go back to bed, even though the girl inside my head was running around, pounding her fists against me, trying to get me to run.

A faint creak made me squint my eyes together as hard as I could. It’s just my roommates, it’s just my roommates. I kept repeating this in my head, although I had a sneaking suspicion that my worst nightmare was about to come alive.

I laid in bed with my eyes clamped together so hard that I was starting to see white dots. Three more loud creaks and I knew that my bedroom door was slowly opening. I could feel my heart drumming a rhythm I’d never heard before, sweat beads broke free and slid down the middle of my back. For a moment, I tried to hold my breath and pretend I was invisible.

Two seconds, then 10 seconds passed, but it felt like an hour. Slow, continuous drags against the carpet inched closer to my bed. Something was in my room. Something was getting closer to my bed. Something was getting closer to me.

I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t. I had to remain incognito. My ears ached as I listened to the dreadful pull of carpet, a sign that whatever was coming towards me was dragging; incapable of properly walking. Then, just as fast as it began, it ended. There was silence. However, this was not a comforting silence. This was the type of eerie silence that you hear right before a storm; the calm before the storm.

A small breath escaped my lips, I realized I had been holding my breath for at least a minute. I huffed and puffed as I caught my breath, eyes still tight as ever. Slowly, I turned my body to face the opposite direction I was laying in. Just as I was almost turned completely around, I felt a slight tickle to my face, almost as if someone was tickling my cheek with a feather.

If fear were a person, it was jumping up and down on a trampoline in my stomach right now. I took one more deep breath and smelt a sour, stale, milky smell. My stomach turned as fear rang out my insides. My tonsils burned as the stomach acid slowly snuck up my esophagus. I laid there and counted to three in my head, knowing I would open my eyes on three.

1.2.3…

My eyes sprang open to find a man staring at me. His mouth hung open as if he were in agony, salt and pepper stringy hair almost glistening in the night light, hanging above me, the tips of his ropey hair tickling my cheeks. A shriek burst from my lips as I felt my blanket pull away from my bed. I knew I should have ran from the room, but my legs couldn’t catch up fast enough to my brain.

Before I could gather a plan of escape, the man’s hands were around my ankles, pulling me from my bed. I tried to kick and scream, but the strength of this guy was super strength. His grip tightened around my ankles, cutting off circulation to my feet. Each pull across the carpet brought my shirt up, burning my delicate skin with rug burn. I tried once more to yell for my roommates, but to no avail, help didn’t come.

My eyes met once more with the distraught man pulling me from my bedroom, his skin pale and putty-like, his hands cold and clammy on my skin, and his mouth still twisted apart in horror.

My fingernails dug into the carpet, trying to grab on to anything I could at this point. I could feel the fibers of carpet digging into my nail bed, slightly pulling up each nail. A few more yanks and my feet went numb.

He had now successfully pulled me out of my bedroom, my back and head thudding against each step we went down. I was in pain, my back was beginning to rub raw, and the nail bed on my middle finger had surely gone missing at this point. With all my force, I reached for the spindles of the staircase, fingertips barely making it to the metal rod. My fingers flexed towards the perpendicular bars, but the man was pulling me too fast down the steps to effectively grab hold of one. Another try, and I latched onto the final spindle, first my right hand, followed by my left.

I tried to hold on to the frail spindle as tight as I could, but the vicious pulls were testing my strength. It felt as if I had a rope tied around my leg, which was connected to a bobcat, which was pulling me into the lion’s den. With each hard tug, I felt like my nimble fingers were going to break; snap in half. Two hard tugs later, I just couldn’t withstand the force, my fingers slowly slipped from the sweaty spindle. I was in the hands of this psycho.

We were on the main floor now. I could see the front door, just a few feet away, in fact. I began to concoct a plan in my head, I wasn’t sure where this mentally deranged man was taking me, but I didn’t want to find out. I only had seconds to plan a route of escape before I was tomorrow’s news story. My bare feet were purple and swollen; could I run? I wasn’t sure, I couldn’t feel anything beneath the grip of those clammy hands.

A tear slid down my cheek as reality set in. There was no way I would be able to escape this thing. He had a death grip on me, and I was no weapon to meet his match. I was laying on my back with both feet up in the air, I was helpless. My life flashed before my eyes. The past four years of hard work, all for nothing. The hefty pile of student loan debt left for my poor parents to have to pay off. The engagement ring I would never receive.

I suppose my boyfriend would be the first one to realize I was missing. My imagination carried away with thoughts of him showing up to the house, ready for his morning coffee, and me nowhere to be found. He would probably think I was in the shower at first, he would begin to get frantic and run through each room. After realizing I was nowhere to be found, he would call my cell phone, to only hear it ring from the other room. At that moment, the cops would be called.

Could the cops trace me down in time, or would I already be dead by then? How could this be happening to me? My head was spinning with my sorrow. I was so wrapped up in my demise that I didn’t even notice that the front door was opening. Within seconds my legs were free, and the man scattered down the stairs of our house, practically vanishing before my eyes.

Three drunk girls stood in the doorway, moonlight creating a silhouette, a figure of my saviors.

“Kelsey, Oh my gosh. What are you doing? Are you okay?”

I couldn’t speak, I could only cry. Tears of joy ran down my cheeks as I silently thanked my university for having a roommate rule. Four friends to one intruder, there was no match to be had.

*

After telling my roommates the story, they quite frankly thought I was nuts. Kate, the drunkest of them all, ran down the stairs to see if anyone was hiding out. Of course, nobody was there. However, she did notice something that made her skin crawl; the basement door was wide open.

Luckily, I have relatives that live just 30 minutes from campus, so the four of us girls piled into my car and had a sleepover. I’m sure my relatives thought we were on drugs, but they didn’t throw out any accusations. They were just thrilled to have company.

I’m still not quite sure who that man was, or why he chose me as his target. Sometimes I even try and convince myself that it was all just a terrible dream, that I was sleepwalking, and that’s how I got downstairs. Which of course, still doesn’t explain my scabbed back. But, there’s something that has been sitting in the back of my brain for a while, just ticking away at my anxiety…it’s been a couple days since I have heard from my boyfriend.

These were just passing thoughts though, I had been having those a lot lately. I guess that’s what comes with a new chapter of your life.

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