Up until the final two nights, I completely loved my no-bedroom, studio apartment.
It was a hip place; one giant room (plus the washroom), a high studio-like ceiling, and a chalkboard wall that covered one entire side of the apartment. Besides the kitchen island in the middle of the room, it was a completely open space. My bed sat in the far corner of the apartment, isolated from everything else, yet still with vision of the entire place. As a bachelor, I didn’t really mind having one giant room as a home, it actually made things kind of nice. I was able to use my Penny board to scoot about and my speakers would blast music beautifully throughout the whole apartment.
To be honest, the only real issue I had with the place itself was that it was always dark. My windows pointed directly into the small inner courtyard of the apartment complex, and since it was guarded by five story walls all around, by late afternoon there would be little to no sunlight coming in. Combined with the quietness and the occasional feeling of emptiness that exudes from a huge and open space, it felt very quiet, isolated, and eerie at times.
Anyway, the strangest thing that happened to me in the apartment (up until the last two nights), was that I would have these reoccurring dreams. I am not the type to have reoccurring dreams, but for some reason, in this place, I would have the same dream every week or two. Explaining this dream, most people would probably consider it as a nightmare, but for me, it felt strangely natural and calming.
The dream would take place in the middle of the night, around 3 or 4 in the morning. I would be sitting-up in my bed, staring blankly towards a figure hiding itself in the darkness of the other side of my apartment. Although my vision would be hazy and my head would feel heavy, I could always make out an outline of something standing in the blackness. Every time, with a subtle sign of hesitation from the figure, it would start talking to me.
Its voice was comforting and tone was very alluring, almost mesmerizing. Although I had no idea who it could have been, I would start mumbling a conversation with it. I have no idea what we would talk about, as my head felt way too heavy to try and grasp at the words. As we talked, the figure would slowly begin moving towards me. Its steps were quiet and gentle, as if it didn’t want to scare me or disrupt the calmness and emptiness of the room. As it slid through the darkness, its voice would sound more confident and comfortable, and my head would feel heavier and heavier.
Gradually moving closer and closer, I would never feel any fear or concern for my well-being, instead, all I felt was the air around me becoming denser, the weight on my mind intensifying.
The dream would always last until the figure walked close enough for me to potentially make out its features and to determine who it was, whether it was a man or woman. Right as this point hit, my brain would completely release the cumbersome weight it held, and I would wake. The strange thing though is that I would never wake up in a sweat or gasping for air, as most nightmares would cause. I just opened my eyes, as if I were resting them for a second while in the middle of a conversation with a friend. It all felt natural to me, for some reason.
Although pretty creepy, I never felt at harm or scared in these dreams. Besides the headache I would get, the dreams actually felt sort of comforting. Whatever the dream-like figure was, it just seemed like it simply wanted someone to talk too.
Also, excluding these strange little reoccurring dreams, every other dream I had was awesome. I never had a nightmare, never woke up in the middle of the night scared or startled. It was great. A couple months of this, and I jokingly came up with the theory that this mysterious figure who visited my dreams was protecting me. Watching over me, ensuring that I slept well, and popping by to catch up every once and a little while. Almost as if it liked me, considered me a friend or something.
Things were pretty good in that apartment up until the last two nights before I moved out. My buddy, Mike, stayed over the last couple nights and helped me pack and move everything out. He crashed on a foamy that laid on the floor a few feet to the right of my single bed. I had only stayed at the apartment for a few months, so Mike was the first person to ever sleep over.
Anyway, after the first day of drinking beers and packing boxes, we ended up crashing pretty early.
At around 3 am, something woke me. I opened my eyes, the apartment pitch black, I started to hear grunts and whispers. It was Mike.
“Fuu…fu..fuck you.. fuck you.. fuck you,” Mike groaned quietly under his breath.
“NO.. NO.. fuck…NO..” He sounded in pain, resisting something.
I turned my head and looked at him. He was only a few feet away from me, so I could see the outline of his body, some of his features. He was laying down, tossing, grunting and cussing away. I thought he was just having some fucked up dream, so I leaned over to wake him. As I moved towards him, out of nowhere, Mike aggressively shot his upper body up in an unnatural and abrupt motion. He popped up and stopped as soon as his back was perfectly straight.
The worst part though was his eyes. Although I couldn’t see his eyes fully from my perspective, I could tell they were wide open, and I knew they were jetting straight across the room, staring at something on the other side.
Mike was no longer cussing or groaning. He wasn’t doing anything at all, actually. He just sat there, back like a plank, and eyes staring off into the darkness. At this point, I was frozen. Partially leaning over the side of my bed, I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t want to shake the guy and I couldn’t just go back to bed. So, I just awkwardly leaned over my bed, wondering what the fuck he was doing.
After about a minute of this, Mike began to rotate his head. Slowly, he turned his face towards me, until his eyes locked onto me. Only a foot or two away from me, I could see his eyes and slightly make out his facial features through the blackness of the room. His face was emotionless, but his inhumanely open eyes held so much anger, so much suffering, that it actually made me feel a level guilt. His stare, sharp and hateful, made me feel like I did something wrong, that I made a horrible mistake.
Eventually, Mike snapped out of this weird state and laid back down again. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep at all for the rest of the night. I spent the night trying to comprehend what just happened, why I felt so much guilt.
I thought about my ‘fun’ little theory of my night-time protector, that maybe there actually was something spiritual going on. Maybe there was something in that apartment that was upset with me. Maybe that wasn’t Mike staring at me, maybe it was something else.
As morning hit, Mike woke up yawning and stretching as if nothing happened. I told him about what he did, but he didn’t believe a word I said, mainly because of the swearing; I actually never heard Mike swear before that night.
Another full day of packing and the apartment was completely empty besides a couple pieces of furniture, my bed, and Mikes foamy. With the lack of sleep from the night before, a belly full of beer, and another day of intensive packing, I fell asleep as soon as I hit the pillow.
Everything was going alright in dream world, up until I had the first nightmare I’ve ever had in that apartment. I was sitting in the middle of a used book store, reading a random book I pulled from the shelves. Flipping through the pages, my fingers froze as I saw a picture of myself on one of the pages in the book.
It was a faint and aggressively scratched close-up picture of me sleeping in my bed. In the picture, there was something sitting on the other side of me in the bed. I couldn’t make out who it was, but It sat like Mike sat the other night. Its left hand was placed gently on my head, and its fingers were long, slender, and boney.
A few seconds of this and I instantly woke up. Gasping for air, that little nightmare scared me more than it should have. Thinking I was back in the real world, I reached over to grab my cup of water.
However, when I tried to move my arm, it didn’t budge. With all my effort, I tried to turn my face, to move any part of my body, but nothing. The thought came to me that this must have been another fucked up dream, so I told myself to wake up again, but as hard as I tried, I couldn’t do it. Even though everything felt real, there was something about this state of mind that didn’t feel right. To sort of explain it, it felt like I was in between dream and reality; a state of mind that wasn’t quite either.
Then I heard it. I heard the voice. It was clear as day. It was a woman.
“Why...” she whispered. “Why…“
She was whispering right into my ear. I tried to move my head to see her, but I couldn’t. I was stuck staring straight up at the roof. I couldn’t close my eyes, I couldn’t do anything to snap out of this weird state of mind.
Then, out of the darkness ahead of me, I saw her. Her face abruptly appeared inches away from mine in a flash. In the seconds I could make out her features, I noticed that she was probably once a very beautiful girl, yet thin as a skeleton and covered in scars and bloody scratches, she definitely wasn’t in her prime anymore.
As soon as I saw her, she began to scream. She screeched so loudly that it felt as if everything around me was falling apart, shattering into nothing. As she screamed, her hands grabbed the sides of my head and she started to pull. It was like she was grabbing my mind, trying to drag it out of my head. My vision became blurry, all I saw was a shaky vision of this woman in front of me, and blackness all around.
Then she stopped.
She stopped pulling. She left my sight and the room fell back to as it was before.
Scared shitless, I did everything I could to try and wake up. To try and move. To try and yell for help, but nothing came out. I was trapped.
Then she came back.
Once again, her face was inches from mine, her hands pulling at my head, and her screeching was shredding apart the existence that was around me. However, this time she was going all out. She pulled with so much force and screamed with so much pain and hurt that I felt myself losing control. I could see her eyes swelling with tears, filled with so much sadness and anger that I almost felt the urge to let her pull me away. To give her the pleasure of getting what she wanted, to try and make her feel better. I didn’t though, and looking back at it now, I’m really fucking glad I didn’t. I held my own, and as she pulled my mind with more anger and force, I began to pull back even harder.
The breaking point reached, and I won the struggle. My mind snapped back, and I woke up again (this time for real). Covered from head to toe in a puddle of sweat, my head felt like someone just hit me with a fucking baseball bat, and my heart was pumping out of my chest. After getting my shit together, I jumped into the shower, ran the water as cold as I could handle, and tried my best to get my mind back into reality.
Walking out of the shower and back into my apartment, I stared into the emptiness and desolation of the room.
It was early morning now, and a bit of light began to seep through the window blinds. I looked around, and even how fucked up things just got, I still held that feeling of guilt. I felt horrible.
Without question, there was a deeply anguished soul in that apartment. I know something horrible happened to someone in this place, something that turned a beautiful girl into a tormented and misery-filled shell of a person.
As Mike and I got everything out of the apartment, I told him that I was going back to make sure I didn’t leave anything behind. Walking back into my apartment, I grabbed a scrap piece of chalk that I left behind, and wrote “goodbye” across my chalkboard wall.
She was my friend, she was my protector, and she just didn’t want to let me go.