Through a flash of something I can’t describe; it’s not light, or darkness, it’s here. The air changes from peaceful to disrupted, making the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. It’s a presence that I can feel through the vibrations of my soul.
It’s back for me, and I am not ready.
I don’t even truly know what it is. A ghost? No, it’s too ominous to be something comparative to a dead person, or a vagrant with a sheet over it’s head.
An entity? A demon?
It’s too real to be anything other than a lost soul, or a dark stranger, who chooses to silently chastise me. Perhaps it’s a being from beyond the grave. All I know, is that when it arrives, someone will die.
It began when I was just a small child. An eery chill would swirl around me as I slept in my bed of heavy comforters and down pillows. Out of a deep sleep, the rush of cold air would surround me, forcing me to dream of suffocating in a snowstorm, before I bolted awake. My room was always empty but I could feel someone, something, watching me. It felt as though it breathed through my lungs, as I shivered, not wanting to lift my head from beneath my covers.
I had no choice, other than to rise, feeling my childish bare feet touch the cold linoleum floor in my room. I had to rise to close my window, which I know was shut before I drifted off to sleep. In the darkness, with only the shine of a streetlamp across the road, I stumbled around my antique dresser and hutch, to get to the window. As I moved closer to the window, the freezing night air blew my long tendrils of hair off of my face. I prayed I was dreaming.
Under the street lamp. across the street by the Williams’s house, I saw it. I saw him. He was staring up at the second floor of my parent’s house directly into my window, but I couldn’t see his eyes. He wore a wide banded fedora and a long dark coat. I could see the collar of his jacket flipped up around his neck as he tilited his face toward me.
Chills coursed deep within my blood as I lifted my arms to pull the window pane closed. My eyes did not leave his form, as I struggled to pull the old glass pane down to the sill. My body wracked with shivers, my fingers trembled as I fumbled the old wooden frame down, making a dull screech as it touched against the silled casing.
I pulled the curtains together and peered between the slit of their closure. He was still there. I thought of calling for my parents and waking them from their slumber, but I hoped it was just a nightmare, and didn’t want to disturb them. He would hopefully be gone, once my mom found her way down the hall, through my closed bedroom door, I thought.
As I peeked through the drapes, I could see him reach into his pocket as he looked toward the almost, full moon, hanging in the inky sky. I ducked lower beneath my window, not knowing if he was taking a pistol out of the deep pockets on his trench coat. The thumping of my heart was all I could hear in my tiny bedroom.
He pulled out a small, shiny box, and opened it. At first, the glint of it under the light of the lamp was intriguing to me, until I see him take out a long, slender cigarette and light it with a match. He sucked in a long drag and whisps of smoke encircled his hat. I could see his head tilted toward me, his chin slightly protruding beneath the brim of his hat. He was still watching me.
Behind me, I hear and feel a dull thud. A sickening noise, as if something had fallen from my ceiling to my floor. I jumped with a start and gasped for air, as I scarmbled to reach my light switch. As the light flickered on, my eyes stuggled to adjust and I shut them tight for a second to focus. Hastily, I glanced around my room, not knowing what I would find.
Nothing had changed. Nothing new had landed on my floor, my dressers or my bed. My heart raced and I stumble back to the window, hoping that he was gone. The pounding of my heart was echoing through my ears, as I looked below my window into our yard.
He was nowhere to be seen.
Nothing was under the streetlamp except the faint whispers of smoke, that his cigarette must have left in his trail. I glanced up and down the street to see if I could watch him walk or run away. He was not there. He had vanished. There were no cars passing by on our quiet street, and no one was outside in the cold midnight air.
I leaned, with my face against the chilled glass and tried to make my heart slow down with deep breaths. Gradually I could feel my body begin to relax. I told myself he’s gone, as I climbed back into the heaviness of my blankets and rested my head. Sleep was gone. I lay in bed all night, wide awake, wondering if I was going crazy.
Two days later, my great grandmother passed away in her sleep. At that age, I wasn’t really sure what that meant. We used to go to her tiny apartment and watch her old black and white console TV while she served us ribbon candy and ginger ale. My older brother and sister both cried when Dad told us that she has passed away, but at 8 years old, I assumed I would see her again.
Four years later, during a wild snowstorm, he came back. I awoke to a wide open window, and the screen didn’t stop the flakes from coming into my bedroom, on a strong north wind. Confused, and almost a teenager, I woke in the middle of the night, angry at my brother, thinking he had opened my window as a prank. He was always doing things to piss me off.
Grumpy and still half asleep, I threw my blankets off of me to close my window. The second my feet felt the cold floor, I felt the familiar circle of air surround me and my bones chilled inside me. As I tiptoed to my window, I glanced over at the Williams and gasped to myself when I saw him there. Time froze for a few moments, as I stared at his tall, slender frame, wrapped in the dark trench coat, his ridiculous brimmed hat perched tightly on his head. He was smoking a slim as his face tilted up to my window. I pulled the drapes tight together and leaped onto to my bed, pulling the covers over my face. I cursed, as I realized I hadn’t closed my window, and made my way silently back to the glass to pull it down.
He was gone again, leaving twirling bluish smoke in his invisble wake.
That same week, my grandfather passed away. He was an ornery old man with a drinking habit, and as sad as it was, part of me knew his wife would have some peace in her life.
Two months later, he was there again. This time the message came sooner.
My brother’s best friend, Ronnie, was taken from us in a motorcycle accident. My first boyfriend and I were on the highway where it happened, moments after the semi hit the motorcycle. Of course we didn’t know it had been Ronnie when we saw the wreckage and the emergency crew trying to close the stretch of highway down.
We saw the biker’s helmet in the ditch and were told that the semi had decapitated the rider. When I found out it was Ronnie on the motorbike, I cursed my visitor and became an insomniac for the following weeks. He has too much power over me and I have tried everything to get him out of my life.
We have done seances and read scriptures. I have saged my surroundings and prayed. I have burnt various “magical herbs” and have had people visit my home to cleanse it of entities and the like.
I have only told a small number of people about him, and no one will believe it. They make excuses for it, and excuses for me. I have come to realize that it is intended to my own secret- a secret between him and I.
I can’t tell people that someone will be taken because he has been present. I don’t see it as fair for anyone. I also fear that I will be to blame, if I announce that someone will be dying soon. I can’t control it any more than they can.
He still finds me.
Even now, I still don’t sleep soundly, unless I self-medicate. I never self-medicate unless I am having a bad week of sleepless nights-waiting for his arrival.
The stranger has visited me a total of 7 times, since I was 8 years old. It doesn’t matter what the weather is, or what city I live in. Since I have had someone in bed beside me, he doesn’t find a way to leave my windows open anymore, but he makes his presence known. He always visits in the middle of the night, and no one sees him but me.
Every time he has visited me, he has taken someone away.
My great grandmother
My brother’s best friend when he was 17 years old
and my best friend-my mother in law.
To this day, I am unsure if he is coming to warn me, or mock me. I don’t understand how he came to be my private grim reaper, if that is what he is. I have changed cities, addresses and provinces but he finds me somehow. He knows when someone close to me is on their way out of this life, and he makes sure I am prepared, somehow. I never know who it will be.
He terrifies me, every time I see the red glow at the end of his cigarette. I have tried to ignore him, but the silent beckoning is beyond my own restraint-I need to look outside. Sometimes only the moon shines on him, and other times, it’s like he has his own glow encompassing him, when he doesn’t have a light source to stand near.
He carries the same message every time he looks through my window, in the dark of the night.
“Someone you love is about to die”.