What Hell Was Like | By: Daniel R Ashley | | Category: Short Story - Horror Bookmark and Share

What Hell Was Like

This short story is a work of fiction based on true events. The life of the character whose perspective you are reading from is mostly true, as are a large number of the experiences he suffers, yet the description of some of these events has been dramatised for entertainment purposes! 


"This house has a soul. If you keep fighting the way you do and if you won't let us rest then this house will never rest," my father once told me. Those words have never left my mind, and along with them, neither has the fact that he was only half right. This house does have a soul. But it was being tormented by something we'd invited into it. Something we shouldn't have!


Ever since we moved into this house, when I was around the age of five, we've been haunted - and I have experienced much more than that alone - which is not a matter we concern ourselves with anymore now that there is not much left to worry for. Just some of us never forget the darker events that happened within these walls and behind the curtains that cover these windows; the insights into our secret lives.

Now I'm approaching thirty-two, I still haven't left and things are still happening. They're just dreams now though. Dreams almost always accompanied by little events or occurrences that tell us that this house is very much alive though no longer at threat.


Back then it was me, my mum and dad and my older brother; not to forget my Great Aunt Jess, who owned the house and had lived in it since the beginning in 1911, god rest her soul. We had lived in the flat above the newspaper shop my dad ran until she invited us to stay.


It was the 1980's then, she had already retired a few years beforehand and age was creeping up. She needed care and while my mother would maintain the house, she would move away for a number of years to live with my Aunt Jaqueline, who was divorced and lived alone in Warrington, until we saw fit for her to come back and let us take care of her as a family.


In hindsight, the fact that we weren't the happiest family could have led to the events that troubled me alone but that could never have been enough for some of us. My parents threatened divorce, yet never did for our sake, which in turn damaged us more than a divorce would have. My dad took to living in the old flat above the shop from thereon, just before the end of the '80's, and only ever came home to dinner, where we'd be made to stay out of his way and leave him to eat in silence before he'd leave again.


Should I blame the fact that he was never here to stop it all from happening? To stop my brother and his friends from using the Ouija Board they'd found discarded on the abandoned railway? I could never blame my brother for being young and stupid, just as I could never blame myself for not knowing what one was and what it was meant to do until I was sat in the same room at the worst possible time...


For years I've researched the paranormal, gone in search of it away from home in the hopes of finding answers to help me and I've studied for so long that for a time all I ever knew was everything that never belonged to the world of the living. It may disappoint some to read this but I'll never tell my story completely because certain things in this world simply do not want to be known and then some of those deserve not to be.


But without further ado, if you have an open mind and a strong constitution, this is the story of my own demonic possession!


The lights went out and we were alone, just the four of us; me, my brother and Gary and Neil, his childhood friends. Our mum was out that night and my brother Duncan had been put in charge of me as our Aunt Jess, who was already in bed asleep, was too old to be expected to look after us. Candles lined the coffee table, like me only just safely out of their way so not to cause any accidents as I was prone to.


More candles lined the mantelpiece above the fireplace and the curtains were drawn shut. Whatever didn't glow in the light of those few solemn flames was doused in darkness. I remember that whenever the boys fell into silence, as laughs and excited smiles began to waver in the face of what I guess must have been fear, those silences - like the deafening moments between claps of thunder in a summer storm - were smothering, almost breathtaking.


My mind went blank...


I never used a Ouija Board myself ever since and I never dared to even research how to use one either.  I only remember so many words. I remember that they used a glass to skirt over the letters forming words or names and I remember the shadows of fright that flickered over their eyes as they looked at each other, their hands joined over the bottom of the glass, the glass moving across the board between them.


I had laughed, I remember that. I had laughed and told my brother to stop joking, that the theatrical stunt thought up to scare and entertain me had done both but had still failed to fool me. I wouldn't have it. I wouldn't believe that the glass was moving their three pairs of hands across the Ouija Board and that was when my brother practically screamed at me to shut up.


I heard the whisper...


I don't know where the voice had come from. I know that I had a choice of either Duncan, Gary or Neil, but until the voice repeated itself, I would still think that this was a practical joke and would go on to tell Duncan to stop playing games with me. When I finally fell silent long enough for my ears to truly understand, I came to realise that the voice was coming from within the upside down glass.


The rest of that event remained a mystery to me. I don't remember the conversation my brother and his friends had with the voice. I just remember Aunt Jess hobbling into the room in her nightie and asking us to go to bed because it was late and we had woken her up with our noise.


Misfortune after misfortune followed us into the '90's and with them came the haunting. They'd usually happen in winter for a specific duration, just before and after the Christmas period. We'd get knocks at the living room door, depressed imprints on the seats of its chairs, tremors in the room that nobody else in the neighbourhood had noticed and weren't recorded on the news either.


We'd had a cat that had lived out most of its years in the shop and had died in the house. When mum had grown concerned about happenings in the house, dad - joking or not - had suggested she see the local vicar, whom she had then called around for a cup of tea.


When first entering the house he'd asked how long we'd had Blackie. He was told that the cat had only died the year before. The vicar voiced his confusion at only having commented on the cat because he'd noticed it running up the stairs as he entered the hallway.


Childhood as I remember it otherwise was all about practical jokes, me and my brother trying to scare each other and our mum and Aunt Jess. However it was up until I started to become violent and suffer very vivid and sometimes almost precognitive dreams that either directly involved being haunted , possessed or eaten by monsters.


Only when the experiences in the house would cease would I be able to go back to being myself and trying to do well in school and the teachers had remarked on several occasions that it was almost as if I was two separate people. One time on the school yard I was punched by a much older kid who didn't want me interfering with his game. I began to cry and seeing this, he apologised genuinely and I had accepted his apology, drying my eyes, seeing that he was genuinely frightened because of what he had done.


Then offering to let me join the game he and his friends were playing, I gladly accepted. Then leapt on him and proceeded to bite a chunk out of his neck until I was dragged off him by a teacher. I had been punished in the office, after being made to apologise to the boy, by having my hands caned by the headmistress but the event hadn't been mentioned to either of our parents.


Now, consider this. I wasn't stupid in junior school and I definitely didn't suffer from any personality disorder. I was slightly troubled in terms of my concentration levels and that had been mentioned to my parents. But something else had obviously been said, not that I found myself in any genuine trouble with the school.


I found myself then visiting hospital every few months to see a specialist who would make me do mixed learning exercises before putting me through various behavioural tests which all added up to nothing. No great discovery had been made as to why I was just as likely to want to rip a chunk out of someone at the same time as being the most well behaved pupil in class.


They found no problem with my concentration levels, only that I wasn't as quick to reach a conclusion as every other pupil in the class, but they noted that I was actually smarter than average and that my only problem was "thinking for myself instead of how teachers dictated I should and doing things my own way".

I was reading poetry from the Dark Ages when the junior school teachers wanted me to read the alphabet and was able to spell, pronounce and define words only taught in high school, never mind say the alphabet. I drove one teacher to tears of despair after plagiarising an entire textbook on purpose and then openly questioned, 'why put it in my own words if the textbook was given to me to learn from to begin with?' She didn't have an answer but the headmaster did.


When the headmaster started his hate campaign against me by calling me stupid in front of the other pupils, that marked the beginning of what teachers would come to call my daydreaming moments. The daydreams of Damien from that Omen film!


They were more like trances, triggered off by extreme feelings of hate, only instead of daydreaming about hurting people as one might when made to feel hate towards someone after a prolonged period of time, the places I was sat or stood in those moments transformed into a bad dream, almost as if I had been transported to a certain place I'd been warned about in Sunday school. I wasn't evil and I didn't want to hurt anyone. As far as I could tell back then, my actions even if I wasn't in control of them were the result of bad behaviour pointed at me by not just pupils protected by teachers but teachers protected by their own reputations.


My occasional flashes of adult intelligence could have been seen as the result of being attacked and mentally abused by adults in events my parents didn't know of; such as my second year teacher stabbing me in the arm with a sharpened pencil for asking her a question at her desk. That I could deal with. She left very shortly after and in this, that particular problem had left me resolute.


But the places I started to go in these trances weren't anywhere far away from reality at all. They were more like reality with its skin stripped off; the bones and the guts hidden beneath that nobody ever saw. One day I sat at my desk, the room and adjoined hallway lit bright and colourful against the darkness of the morning outside where the rain poured constant. It was warm inside compared to the winter chill outside. The others were happy enough, we all were, even the teacher who was pleased to witness such silence as we got straight to our work.


Then out of nowhere it would happen, like a blackout. I'd disappear and only come to in this other reality as if the other one had been a lie. I remember the moment I looked up to see that all the lights had gone out. There was no sound in the hallway, only the smatter of the rain against the window and it was so cold inside. The teacher was gone. I then looked to the others around me only to see them dead and mummified, sat in the exact same position that they had been only seconds before, only they looked as though they'd been sat there like that for years, their eyes gone, their skin dried up and their white bones sometimes showing through.


I'd got up out of my seat, scared as you could imagine, and ran out looking for somebody, anybody. All I saw was bloodstains everywhere; on the tiled floor of the halls, on the walls and windows and leading out into the cloakroom.


The sense of the place was that nobody had been here for years, but not that something had happened to the world outside. There was no world outside. This post-apocalyptic flash was a glimpse into the guts of hell, a place just underneath the skin of reality where the souls all around me had already been devoured and a place I had been dragged to witness the truth.


My mind knew it, my soul felt it and as something stirred behind the door to the boys' toilets, something else knew it better than I did. Stood between two doors in the darkness of that cloakroom - the door to an outside world that didn't even exist and then the door to hell's shithouse - I was rooted to the spot, waiting for whatever else was alive in there to come out and get me...


My teacher was now shouting at me, asking what was wrong with me, what my problem was and why I couldn't just behave myself; why I had to make things harder for everybody else every time. I was stood in the far corner of the cloakroom, the door to the outside world to my left and the door to the boys' room to my right, just behind my teacher. I was confused at the sudden change back from darkness to light and even more so how the lighter world could feel more of a curse to me than the one of darkness, death and hidden monsters.


I knew how I'd gotten there. I had stood up and walked out of the classroom looking for an escape from the sudden nightmare. I just couldn't comprehend how those worlds had switched so suddenly, as though it was as simple a thing as me changing my mind about what cartoon I'd wanted to watch. The only difference here had been that I didn't control the buttons on the side of the television to switch the channel.


These experiences only happened a few times before I left junior school but the last one didn't even feel like reality had changed. I hadn't even noticed the change until reality stopped making sense and started to become a nightmare.


We were all in the school yard at break time and were lining up by the doors to go back in to our next lessons. It was another stormy day but the rain had held off. I had looked at the sky and noticed a crack in the clouds. Inside that crack was a shadow of almost perfect black and as I continued to look, the crack grew wider and the darkness started to resemble something of a black hole in space. I had pointed to it in disbelief, not quite trusting my own eyes and a friend noticed it too. By then, others had seen it and the black hole was now visibly sucking all of the storm clouds from the sky like a vacuum and growing not only larger but closer to the ground, only it made no sound.


The teachers were urging us to quiet down and line up to go inside. I had told our own teacher, Miss Rhodes, to look up and see what we were seeing. She refused and told me to stop being so hyperactive so I shouted at her that I wasn't making things up. Instead she ordered all of us to sit cross legged on the gravel and wait for me, the trouble child, to calm down.


Wanting to escape the black hole more than anything, I thought that the only way was to get inside and away from it, to use the building as a storm shelter of sorts, not that it'd withstand a black hole, a destroyer of entire worlds!


With all the willpower I could muster in the hopes of getting away from the ever growing freak of nature above my head, I had shut my mouth, sat down on the gravel cross legged like everybody else and looked Miss Rhodes dead in the eye, all the while very near to shitting myself and trying not to show it. As if knowing the extreme level of fear I was experiencing at that moment, our teacher had then - so deliberately slowly - had one pupil at a time stand up alone and walk back to class as I sat at the very back of a line consisting of over thirty other kids.


No longer able to look up and see what was inevitably going to swallow me whole, now knowing what lay beyond the guts of hell where all the dead souls went - and what happened when you went into that outside world beyond it - I could feel the yawning void right above my head and waited for my entire existence to become all but nothing.


After that moment was when I started going truant, which made a true enemy of the headmaster I had learned to hate so much, as he himself would come looking for me on days I hadn't turned up. Considering why I refused to go back to the place where I was suffering these blackouts, shifting into that dead place that mortified me, I had every reason to try to get away from it; that school and the man running it who had clearly hated me for a long time.


Mr Ledsham was an overbearing man, not sinister in any way but in hindsight I never understood how he came to be headmaster of a school because he acted more like a policeman with a grudge against anybody below the age of twelve. He was a bully in his own right and liked to show off the fact. What was sinister and had scared the shit out of me was when he would come looking for me on the days I stayed out of school. My area was suburban, surrounded by busy roads but with a lot of wasteland and green areas left to grow wild, like the abandoned railway behind the prison.


He'd come looking. He'd know exactly where to look and most often he'd shout your name when he was near, like he could even smell you as if he had dog senses or something. All you could do was either hide when he was looking and then run when he wasn't. It didn't matter that I'd be dragged into his office the next day and put in his little black book. None of that bothered me. What bothered me was the way he came after me like a man possessed and then the next day he was just the same old school bully he'd always been, on his own time and unable to cross the line.


I was evermore getting deeper into trouble with the school, which in turn cost me a lot at home. My parents didn't want to hear about how the headmaster scared me, about the way he acted around me. I guess I couldn't blame them, I was just a kid with an imagination and some pretty tall tales to tell. The fact that I had to be dragged to school kicking and screaming might have infuriated them even more but I can imagine they probably got a kick out of making me suffer just about as much embarrassment and shame as the both of them had collectively. That pretty much summed up the last year of junior school.   


Meanwhile, the hospital failed to come to any such conclusions as Autism, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder or that I was Bi-Polar or anything. The tests resumed as I went into High School aiming to control my "attitude problem" and to just try to do my best. I found the resolution easier done than believed for a change though.


The high school I attended from the age of eleven and up until the age of seventeen may have been the biggest dump I'd seen but when I left junior school I seemed to have left my demons behind and actually started to thrive with the older kids. My brother had only just left that same school the same year I started, being six years older than me and so I had a reputation to follow.


Unfortunately, right from the start, I would fail to preserve his good name. I was just too well behaved and intelligent to get into fights every week and to fail all my lessons. Even worse; as far as these kids could tell - those that had suffered the wrath of my brother's ill temper came to know who I was pretty quickly and for the first time in my life I started to understand what bullying really meant.


Nobody knew what I had gone through the years before, or that I was being kept on a short leash because of it. I was just the weird quiet kid, Duncan's kid brother and therefore just about everybody's favourite target. At home the haunting had stopped, so had the ridiculous behaviour (the rage, the fighting and the fear). But I was finally faced with something I was so less afraid of and something that was real and not something I couldn't decide was imaginary or ghostly. So I kept my mouth shut and I took it, hoping that in time they'd leave me alone. In three years I was in the top levels for most subjects and otherwise at the top of my classes.


It was when I was fourteen going on fifteen that everything went back downhill again. But not back to the way things had been. It was much worse than I or any other teenager could have experienced and it was something I didn't understand.


Up until then I'd slowly and steadily started to make friends and was succeeding in every way possible. But then gradually everybody stopped talking to me, actually going out of the way to make it known they didn't want to know me. It was surreal and horrible. I went asking for reasons and didn't get any. I didn't even catch wind of any rumours to begin with but even when I went to see old friends from junior school, their parents stopped me at the door and told me they weren't to see me anymore.


Then the bullying really started when the kids in school weren't content with calling me names. I had rocks, sometimes even bricks, thrown at me in the yard. I was attacked by groups on my way home and even though it took me much longer to get home in the end and would give me less chance of getting home untouched, I started walking the six miles back home instead of getting the bus just so I wouldn't be trapped where I couldn't escape. Even at home the house was being vandalised and gangs of kids were attacking not just me but my family.


I withdrew into my shell, alone and more afraid than I had ever been in my life and for the first time in my life I had come to know that when you fell this way, you fell so hard that "rock bottom" could kill you, but it still wouldn't stop you falling.


I had gotten in with a bad crowd about the same time as the occurrences began again and I welcomed it all. We were worse than any other gang out there. We didn't scare people, we terrorised them. We didn't damage property, we laid waste to it. We didn't threaten to kick the shit out of anyone that got in our way or made trouble with us, we threatened to kill them and turned up with knives to prove we were serious.


At home, I'd painted the outside of my door black and then, in blood red, painted pentagrams and inverted crosses all over it. I began to paint gory nightmare pictures from my dreams about hell and the demons I saw. As my moods worsened and my health started to deteriorate, I was going into all I can describe as a permanent state of shock and anxiety. I lived in darkness by day and immersed myself in the pitch black of night, occasionally lighting a candle to invite whatever was screwing with my life to show itself.


My brother was kicked out of the house when I was fourteen over a dispute with our parents. My dad had moved back home, didn't want to sleep in the same room as my mum and so any excuse was good enough to get the room he wanted. It was finally down to the fact that Duncan had swore at mum because of an argument sparked by his coming home drunk late every night. He was twenty years old.


He at least could have blamed me. Before he left he used to show his disgust in what I was doing with my life, what I was doing in my room. In our family, you never showed genuine concern in its true form, you reversed it to protect yourself. You used reverse psychology to try to force someone to think that what they were doing wasn't just wrong but that it wasn't acceptable. He didn't even know that beneath my clothing were a hundred cuts in the skin of my arms and shoulders and legs. He didn't know that I was overdosing on everything I could find and washing it down with whiskey, vodka and brandy.


How could he know this when to protect myself from being the world's biggest target over the last half a decade I was effectively trying to kill myself and enjoying suffering from each resulting failure? Maybe he did and didn't know how to deal with it!


At night, during the darkest hour just before dawn, I was starting to suffer visitations when I couldn't sleep. The first one began with a voice beneath my bedroom door...


Duncan had left by then. My dad had taken his room next door and my mum was further down the hall. It wasn't snoring, mum and dad sounded like pigs in their sleep. Dad wasn't playing tricks either because his room possessing the creakiest floorboards in the house and the fact was that both of them were too scared to come into my room anymore, let alone look in if the door was ever open.


The windows were most often shut around the house because of the very nimble burglars around the area having a talent for climbing through windows, so I knew it hadn't been a freak wind. I also used to lock my door behind me every night.


That first night before the occurrences became stronger and more threatening than they ever had, I lay in bed unable to sleep; angry, suicidal and feeling lost, as was usually the case. I lay there as I used to when I was simply too tormented to sleep, with my eyes wide open and looking up to the ceiling. I heard my name being called very distinctly and the voice had come from nearby. I listened to make sure it hadn't been either of my parents snoring but the house was literally dead in the dark.


I listened harder, waiting to hear if a wind had crept beneath the door, maybe if the bathroom window had been left partly open. As far as I knew it hadn't and besides, there wasn't a breeze to be heard outside. The thinner branches of the tree by my window didn't shake in the slightest. The only thing I knew without a doubt was that I couldn't have possibly been more awake than I was at that moment. I've had night terrors and lucid dreams all my life and knew the difference.


The sound came again, the voice, and it had been my name called out. From right behind the locked door of my little room it sounded cold, shallow and short of breath and I realised, growing more afraid than I had been in years, that I remembered the voice and where I had heard it before.


The voice trapped beneath the glass on the Ouija Board my brother and his friends had used; when I had complained to my brother to stop playing games, to stop trying to scare me, pretending to be the voice of some non-existent ghost that night, it had been because the voice had called my name, over and over. When our Aunt Jess had come into the room to ask what we were doing, they had thrown the Ouija Board and glass off the table and hidden it under the couch so it couldn't be seen.


They had in effect released the spirit, or whatever it was, from its confines and into the house!

The voice called my name again and I shuddered. I was scared stiff where I lay. Again and again, as if wanting me to open the door, it whispered to me, repeating my name again and again until all I could think to do was cover my head with the quilt covering my body. My eyes tightly clenched shut, I had willed myself away somehow, curled up into a ball and shutting out the sound with my hands over my ears.

I had tried to forget the night. Better, I thought, to forget than to try to tell someone and convince them to believe me. I was incredibly short on people who believed anything I had to say for myself anyway so I knew my only option. But the occurrences didn't stop there either.


All of a sudden it was dangerous to even sit still in that house, especially in my room. For no reason the wooden shelf unit would suddenly topple and fall on top of me if I didn't dodge out of the way quickly enough. Electrical appliances started to short out and set fire. The locked door of my bedroom started the habit of bursting open whenever I was in it. Whenever my mum and I were downstairs and my dad was out getting drunk, we would hear footsteps upstairs, especially in his room and mine. If you sat in my room for any amount of time, occasionally you would be touched on your shoulder or back by the sensation of a clammy palm.


I started to have precognitive dreams again but no matter what they were, central to all of them was the same character that filled them; a crow-like man with no face that perched himself atop the rooftops of very house or tree I walked by. He was indistinguishable, devoid of any features but for his body language, and yet was unmistakeable in his pitch black appearance.


The dreams quickly became sinister, demonic; sometimes even apocalyptic like I had never before experienced and now I was beginning to feel as though I was being used by this thing, that this was he who called me from the Ouija Board that night all those years ago.


One night I dreamed of him sitting above the rooftops in a storm as I watched from my window. I suddenly looked to my watch, maybe symbolically, and then when I looked up again I was in the centre of chaos, watching Liverpool burn to the ground. I was leading a group of survivors along a dirt path away from the insanities reducing the world to rubble and ashes when I came upon a dark field in the dead of night. I had sent the survivors on alone, putting them in charge of themselves and giving them somewhere to run to and hide. Then I found myself surrounded by fire and in that fire were tribes of lunatics, chanting and screaming as I felt the darkness of something closing in around me...


I had awoken screaming down the house, sitting at the bottom of my bed and a few feet away from my bedroom door, which had been flung wide open. In a matter of seconds my parents had come into the room to wake me up, not realising that I was already awake. The next week, the sixth form high school friend that would later become my twice ex-girlfriend - first in 1998 and last in between 2011 and 2012 - told me of a disturbing dream she had about me.


I had been arguing with a black figure of a bird-like man she described as the devil. I was powerless against him. In his arms was a crying baby as he tormented me.


After this I began to study the prophecies of Nostradamus but found that for years the texts meant absolutely nothing, leading me in circles and bringing me back to being just as confused as I had been to begin with. I knew that I wasn't going to have visions of the future, it was a fling with fantasy or a simple 'what if?'


But I had to find answers as to what I was going through and so as I began to clean up my image and purge myself of what now scared me beyond belief, I instead immersed myself in the study of witchcraft, the occult, demonology and religious prophecy. All the while, the dreams continued, some just as prophetic as the last, others meaning nothing to me in all their bizarreness. The books I read were just as absurd, proving nothing more than fantastical claims of typical lunatics and well-wishing psychopaths like Aleister Crowley.


A few years later, I had managed to start putting my troubled youth behind me finally and things were starting to look up. I'd attended college for two years, gaining a National Diploma. I'd made new friends and patched things up with old friends too. When my health started to improve, so did my mood and my outlook on life; after I'd purged so much from my system in the forms of various illnesses. I chose to turn my back on all that I'd experienced. I was young, I could start all over again and there was always a future so I took the chance and went with it.


The family had settled into some kind of normality. My dad had patched things up with Duncan, although it had never been a solid relationship since. Unfortunately me and dad were never to get along until just before his death in 2009 and would stay out of each other's way until a problem would lead to an almost full-on fight with my mum caught in the middle.


The past was behind me, or so it seemed, not that this would make a difference. The past was still there and always has been. In the year 2002, some years after they predicted the beginning of the end of the world (but nowhere near as much chaos as my own dreams had "promised"), I spent that New Year's Eve - on the verge of 2003 - in my room, the door locked and shutting out the celebrations of the outside world. I had suffered some bad experiences with such social events, the celebrations the year before having led to a drunken brawl in an alleyway with a gang of old school bullies.


I didn't drink a drop of alcohol, had lit a few scented candles, put on some music and just relaxed until feeling like I could fall asleep after the fireworks and cheering had died down. The window closed, the door locked, I blew out the candles and went to bed.


I woke up to the sound of a wind whipping wildly around my room and the sound of what was presumably the posters falling off my bedroom walls. Dismayed even further, I found that I couldn't open my eyes to look or even move a limb of my body, though my toes wiggled as I tried to put my feet out of bed.

It wasn't out of fear that I couldn't move, my body simply wouldn't respond. Inside, my mind rushed to question what was happening. This wasn't a dream, I was sure it wasn't.


Could I hear wind? Through the skin of my eyelids I saw red as light filtered through, but was it daytime or still dark outside? I was certain that I'd blown the candles out before bedtime but was it possible I hadn't and that the rushing sound was the familiar rage of fire. Maybe it was eating up the paper of the posters on my wall, maybe that was the sound. My room was on fire and I couldn't respond because I was going into a coma brought on by carbon monoxide poisoning...


Somehow I tore my eyelids open and looked to the light. I saw one painting I'd made years ago fly down from the wall. The ceiling was bathed in the glow of candle flame but shapes danced reflectively, like light bouncing off the water of a swimming pool and up to the ceiling; liquid flame is the only way I can describe the experience.


But seemingly almost as soon as I managed to open my eyes, the room was reduced to darkness again. The curtains had been drawn back and the streetlight should have made it possible for me to see into the room but I lay in pitch black, confused and shaken. That was when I sensed that the window behind me was being blocked out by something.


I sensed it; felt its eyes on me, felt its hands closed over the top of the bedposts right behind me. I felt its energy, dark and humming like a storm cloud waiting to burst open. Still unable to move, I began to freak out but when I started to speak, wanting to call out for help, my throat became strangled and breathless and my ears filled with the rush of blood pounding through my veins. I'd heard my own voice strangled silent, still continuing to try to call out but then I couldn't hear anything else but that rush.

Only out of fear did I dare to look up as I felt my body pinned down by the invisible weight. Over the deafening sound within me suddenly heard it breathe a single long and drawn out breath. I saw nothing but black, the same as in those old dreams, and I knew it was Him.


I was terrified and helpless as the black figure loomed above my head, knowing I couldn't escape. This time I was locked in with him; not inside the room while he waited on the other side of the door. I was trapped, the door locked and no one able to hear me. All I remember before I passed out was the sudden shooting of pain through my head and down one side of my body, like a stroke. Everything went black and I thought I was dead...


The next day I awoke early in the morning completely drained of energy. I was sapped, exhausted; like I'd run a hundred miles in my sleep. I had no breath in my lungs and felt as though my chest had collapsed but I felt no pain. If anything, I felt numb.


I put my feet out of bed, stood up and stretched all I could, which wasn't much. I moved one foot forward, wanting to go to the bathroom. Then something stuck to thesole of my foot.


I looked down and my mouth had dropped open the moment I saw. Everything recollected all at once, my memory coming back, reminding me of what I'd awoken to see. Beneath my feet were all the posters that had lined the walls of my bedroom up until last night, all gathered up into a circular pile in the middle of the floor. The window shut!


Nothing so serious happened since that night. I've had something of a rough life since then but, again, I thank my lucky stars it's been full of real problems I can deal with, caused by actual living people if not admittedly myself. I still get the dreams occasionally but now they're full of smaller matters. I've gone through some pretty grisly night terrors too before managing to exorcise some more personal demons in counselling and things have started to look up since then. That was before my dad died.


The house is still communicating with me long after my dad came to me in a dream shortly after his death to talk to me. I keep the dreams to myself, just to see what happens. I was showed that we'd own a cat with a fascination for chasing ghosts out of closets. Late last year, my mum was given a cat from the nuns she knows from the local church. It loves closets alright. That and running around the house like a lunatic in the middle of the night. You can laugh it off, I do.


I just wish I had an explanation as to why these events plagued me for the majority of my life. I read something rare on Nostrodamus a few years back - about the experiences he put himself through when looking into the future, about how he did it and what he was toying with. Through the dark arts, whatever his were preferably, he subjected himself to demonic possession; submitted his own soul, much like I had done, though I had been unwitting of the consequences and unable to fight or at least control them.


The experiences he went through in those moments, he wrote down. I was chilled to have read his own words on the matter. It reflected largely on the presence and manipulation of entities much like the dark man I encountered throughout my life.


I hope never to have to cross paths with Him again, not until I'm dead and hopefully not even then. Reading other peoples' accounts on their own experiences with the Ouija Board and some of the less hokey accounts of what people class as demonic possession, I couldn't be less compelled to go in search of the truth ever again. It cost me enough of my life already. And who knows, maybe it isn't over at all. Maybe something like this is for life. Maybe those years are just a precursor of a main event, a piece of the big picture.


One thing I know for sure is that if you find the paranormal exciting, you haven't truly experienced it. And if you think life couldn't be any better than the afterlife or what resides in it, then you couldn't be any more wrong. It doesn't give you superpowers, it doesn't make you wiser and when they say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger? They don't know the size of the cheque they're writing on that claim.


Tell a scary ghost story by all means; even tell a cautionary tale of the same kind for the sake of entertainment. Just don't go looking where the living don't belong!

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