The tapping noises started again. That same twisted rhythm made from striking metal with a stone. I rip off my blankets and snatch up my phone, turning on the flashlight and penetrating the dark. The same gut-wrenching feeling attacks me again. That feeling you get when falling or being chased. My throat tightens and I grip my phone harder.
“It’s your imagination, Lilly.” I hear my therapist in the back of my mind. I shake my head at his stupid suggestions and jump off my mattress. I sneak towards my bedroom door, slip out, and head for the basement.
The wooden stairs creak under my weight, the air thickening as I inch down the steps toward that noise I hear every night. It’s always the same: I find nothing there. I never go farther than the water heater. The noise always stops when I get there.
But tonight it continues. Louder than ever.
I step, step, step barefoot towards that sound. My head starts to ache and my body starts to tremble. The darkness of the storage room is thicker. My flashlight seems weak. Unable to reach further than a foot before me. My breathing becomes uneven, more in synch with that rhythm of tapping.
Tap, tap, tapping.
Finally I can see the dark figure. Its bony hand stretches out to tap at one of the pipes. Frightened, I drop my light source, darkening the room. The creature’s tapping suddenly stops. I swiftly grab my phone and flash the light back at the thing.
It stands, crouched slightly now, in order to keep from hitting its head on the wood ceiling. One outstretched and thin finger points at me. Its ugly face makes my skin crawl. Those holes in its head, black pits for eyes, still hold me captive. I pray it cannot see. It has no lips, only a line of stitching that made a frown.
My body is frozen in place from fear. Suddenly a burst of adrenaline surges through my body. I quickly take a picture with my phone. The light swiftly flickers. As soon as the light is restored, the creature is closer. Its long fingers nearly touching me.
I finally scream and dart through the dark basement. I can hear that creature hit its bare flesh against the cement floor, chasing me. I throw my weight forward, moving faster now. The wooden stairs shake as I rip up them. As soon as I reach the top of the stairs I slam the door, catching a glimpse of that ugly thing reaching up the steps when I turn, barely touching my arm.
The door hits the frame with tremendous force. I locked up the basement and flip on the living room light, crying in pure terror of what I’d witnessed.
Suddenly, I remember the picture I’d taken and search through my phone in hopes that it was my imagination. I press my hand to my mouth at the photo.
Proof of a monster.