What Keeps Me Alive At Night – Scary Story
Meet Mr Liam Coleman. Age: 26. Relationship status: Heartbroken. Mr Coleman is a nice guy who loves his beautiful ex-girlfriend, Emma, a little too much and loves himself too little. And this is about to lead him to a dark destination where he will find out what love is all about.
Written by darkdreams79, this creepy tale of love, relationships and what lies on the edge of darkness is for all the lovers and hopeless romantics.
What do you do when the girl you love the most tells you she doesn’t love you anymore?
How do you react when your girlfriend of five years tells you she’s been seeing someone else behind your back? Do you get so pissed off that you physically abuse her? Or do you realize that her happiness matters the most to you, so…you let her go?
Well, I did both. I completely lost it the day she said she wanted to break up with me. It came completely out of the blue. I screamed I shouted, I cursed, I abused and I got violent. I mean really, really violent. Think bleeding from her nose violent. Ya, I know…I shouldn’t have. But she didn’t even protest once. She just wanted to leave. That’s when I realized she wasn’t happy with me anymore. Would I be happy by forcing her to stay with me? Could I make her stay committed when all she wanted was to be free? Free to choose the life she wanted? So I let her go. It wasn’t easy. And it broke something inside me. But it was for the best. For her. For me.
Or at least that’s what I thought.
A few days later, I got a new job and moved to another city. I had to. I was already battling depression and this just triggered a whole bunch of suppressed emotions that I had kept locked up for a long time. But I digress. I guess if I knew what was in store for me, maybe I wouldn’t have dealt with it the way I did. Maybe I would have tried to convince her to stay. To make things better. To give it another shot. After all, we were great together for five long years. But all that doesn’t matter now. As I stand here in this cursed building, I am trying to figure out where exactly I went wrong. Did I have to go through this traumatic experience? Did it had to be me? I don’t have any answers, to be honest.
Let me start from the beginning. I might sound crazy for what I am about to tell you, but I swear I am going to tell it exactly like it happened. I can understand if you find it hard to believe me. In fact, I am still finding it hard to believe it myself. This is going to haunt me for life.
Moving to Philly wasn’t easy for me. To leave my life behind like that…I wish there was another way. But breaking up with Emma was especially hard on me. Even my therapist was having a hard time dealing with me. I was a complete wreck. I hoped that moving to a new city would help me get over her and move on. But man, was I wrong. Getting a job in a new city can be kinda easy when you have the right contacts. Living there, however, is a whole different story. Being under heavy student debt and having other responsibilities, I could only afford a small trashy apartment in a really old building in the shadiest neighborhood you can imagine. It was one of those buildings you feel sick simply by looking at it. It was old, filthy and it reeked. Most of the condos in the building were abandoned and only a handful of them had tenants. And my room was a small studio apartment that ended the moment you entered it. Apartment 7B…a claustrophobic, damp, and barely habitable nightmare that I had to call home now. But it was cheap.
And my job…it sucked. My new manager was hellbent on giving me a hard time at work. So much for using your network to get a job. It would be safe to say that I hated my life. I hated my job. I hated my new home if I could call it that. And I hated this city. But most of all, I hated my life without her. I missed her. I missed her smell. I missed her touch. I missed her kisses. I missed her smile. I missed being with her.
But it’s all in the past now.
The first month was really hard for me. Emma wasn’t there when I needed her the most. Having a threesome with loneliness and depression every night can certainly break a lot of things inside you. It can completely change you as a person. And I didn’t even try to fight it. I completely gave in. Life quickly became pretty mundane. As I didn’t know anyone here, it was just work and home for me. Every single day. That’s all I did.
Go to work.
Get harassed by my manager.
Drown in self-pity and self-loathing.
Or at least I tried to.
The thing is, the family living at apartment 7A right next door was really loud. The husband and his pregnant wife fought all the time and their small kids kept crying and shouting like feral children. As our apartments were connected on one side, we had shared walls in the bedroom, living room and kitchen. And that meant I was forced to hear everything. Their aggression-fueled arguments seemed to keep getting louder and louder every night. And I had to stay up listening to their incoherent jabbering even though all I wanted was to hit the sack.
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Then there were those nights when I got really concerned about the safety of the wife. It seemed like the husband had no qualms about physically abusing his pregnant wife and children like a freaking maniac. The wife would scream and scream and the husband would just keep pounding her incessantly. I used to freeze in my seat and think about the time I hit Emma and made her bleed. The pain she must have felt. The hatred she must’ve had for me. The agonizing screams of my neighbor’s wife reminded me so much of Emma’s pain that at times I couldn’t simply sit back and be a silent observer anymore.
So I intervened. Sometimes to the aggressive F-bombs of the husband while at other times a fresh black eye of the pregnant woman would humbly request me to go back to my apartment. It was so disheartening to witness such violent domestic abuse so closely that I would stay up all night at times wondering about going back to my life and trying to make things right with Emma. Apologize to her for hurting her, for not giving her the love and attention she deserves, for taking her for granted, and for trying to mold her according to my perception of what a good girlfriend should be like.
And all that lack of sleep would come back and bite me you know where the next day at work. My manager could easily notice how sleepy I was and would gladly take this opportunity to humiliate me in front of the whole office. Life was just peachy.
But then there were those rare moments when everything seemed to be calm and serene next doors and I could catch some much-needed shut-eye. Oh…how I loved those nights. And lately, things had been pretty low-key around here. It’s been almost a week that I could finally get some good sleep at night. Guess the husband came to his senses and started loving his wife. Or maybe he just up and left. Well, who cares? As long as I could live in peace, I was fine with it.
Then things got weird. Really, really weird. As I came home from work on that fateful night, I could instantly feel that something was off. To be honest, I had been getting this feeling for the past few nights. A feeling that I just couldn’t shake off. The level of silence around here was something I had never experienced in all this time. I could even hear myself breathe. Not thinking much of it, I went straight for my bed and before I knew it I was out cold.
As I jolted up on my bed, it felt like my head was about to explode. Still trying to transition to wakefulness, the weird loud banging sound on the shared wall of my bedroom felt like someone was hammering a rusted metal nail into my head.
What the hell is that sound? I asked myself.
It felt as if someone was repeatedly throwing a heavy basketball on the bedroom wall that I shared with my next-door neighbours. Are those damn kids playing ball at this ungodly hour? Goddamnit, here we go again. And I thought I could finally sleep peacefully. Yeah, right! Sitting there trying to control my fuming rage, I looked at the clock.
Why can’t these damn people just sleep? Why would anyone with even an ounce of common sense make such a horrendous sound at this time? I reckoned the husband was probably back to abusing his family. But now he was harassing me as well. And I wasn’t going to take it lying down this time. I was going to call the cops if I had to. But I was going to give him a piece of my mind. The f**ck does he think of himself?
Still, I tried to calm myself down and told myself that it will probably stop in a few minutes. I should just go back to sleep. I had work in the morning. I didn’t have time to deal with other people’s shit. The thing is, I am not really that much confrontational anyways. Being an introvert, I try to avoid people as much as I can. So there was no point in getting myself pumped up only to be cussed by the husband one more time.
That’s it. No more Mr Nice Guy! I worked my ass off all day and I deserved a good night’s sleep. And I needed to make sure that he knew this. I was going to shut him up for good this time.
And perhaps, that’s exactly where I went wrong.
Walking out of my apartment and into the damp, dimly lit, desolate corridor, I felt a chill run down my spine. Something was not right. An eerie silence prevailed all around. I stood motionless outside my door staring blankly at their apartment. With the ceiling light above my head flickering constantly, I started having second thoughts about it.
What am I going to tell them?
Is there any point in getting into an argument at this hour?
Can’t I just do this tomorrow morning?
Should I just go back to sleep?
And the sound had also stopped by now.
Renting this apartment was a bad idea.
Moving out here was a bad idea.
Breaking up with Emma was a bad idea.
What am I even doing right now?
I thought to myself.
That’s when I heard a door slam shut from inside my neighbor’s apartment. It’s them. They are still awake. I need to stop being a pushover and start standing up for myself. This can’t go on every night. As I started walking towards my neighbour’s apartment, I felt each step become heavy and slow. As if something was trying to prevent me from going there. As if something was telling me to go back to my room. I should have listened. I don’t know what came over me but I just wanted to get out of there.
I reached over to their door and knocked on it ever so gently.
I knocked again. This time a bit louder.
Still no response.
Could I blame them? It was almost 3 in the morning. As I waited there for the door to open, I felt really awkward about the whole thing. I mean I have argued with the guy before but never this late in the night. I kept wondering what I was going to say and whether I should sound humble or assertive. I stood there for what seemed like forever waiting for a response.
This is just too weird for me. No. I need to take a stand. What if I go back and the sound starts again? How many nights of this torture will I endure? I told myself.
KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!
I knocked again. Louder and harder. Still nothing. Should I call them out? That’s just looking for a fight. I don’t remember exactly how long I stood there before I ran out of patience. Screw it. I’ll deal with this tomorrow. I convinced myself. Just as I was about to walk away, I heard something. But it was too faint for me to understand anything. Hesitating for a moment, I pressed my ears against the door trying to hear what was going on inside. Someone was talking behind the door. Whispering. But I couldn’t make out the words. I couldn’t even understand whether it was the man or his wife. Just low and muddled whispers.
As the doorknob started to turn all of a sudden, I quickly moved and stood back in my place. Realizing my anxiety was going wild, I took a slow deep breath. That’s when the door slowly creaked open ever so slightly. Instantly a gust of putrid warm air came out and hit my nose like a truck. The stench was unbearable, as if something had been dead inside for decades. I felt my leg sink into the floor as an indescribable sense of dread grasped me out of nowhere. As I peeked inside through the tiny gap in the door, darkness as black as death stared back at me. I felt this deep-rooted fear inside me that something worse than death was waiting for me inside. Everything inside me begged me to run back to my apartment that instant.
But for God knows what reason I stood there. I stood still with a cold feeling in my gut as I scanned the darkness inside with my rapidly moving eyes. But there was no one inside, just the stillness of pitch-black darkness. Suddenly I felt this burning shock inside me as my heart almost leapt out of my chest. It was then I noticed him peeking from the realms of the darkness that reigned over the world that existed behind that door. I was completely in the clutch of an overbearing sense of dread by now.
As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I realized it was one of the kids. Something seemed really weird right away. He hid cautiously behind the door with only a part of his face peeking out, staring at me with awkwardly wide-open eyes. The terror I felt inside me kept growing exponentially. This kid…something was terribly wrong with the way he stood…with the way he looked at me. Although I couldn’t see the rest of his body, it seemed his head tilted at a freakish angle as he kept staring at me with cold empty eyes.
Is he on drugs? Why is he even awake at this time?
Desperately trying to get a grip over my fear, I barely managed to speak out.
Your..father. Um…is he…can I talk to him?
My confidence dropped miles as I realized how my trembling voice revealed my growing fear. But the kid just stood there without even uttering a single word in response. You’ve never experienced anxiety the way I did that night as his expressionless face & soulless eyes kept staring at me. I asked him again. This time trying to be a bit more assertive.
Your father…is he awake? I need to speak to him. Can you call him, please?
But he just stood there in the exact same position with his head slightly tilted. I could feel my heart pulsating and my veins throbbing. I could clearly hear someone inside my head screaming at me to run away and never come back. But I was too frozen in fear to think.
I asked him again.
Still no response. I tried to look inside hoping to see his parents standing behind him. But there was nothing…except silence & darkness. I spoke again.
Okay! Can you tell your parents to keep it down? Some of us are trying to sleep here. I would really….
But I couldn’t finish. His gaze had started to haunt me by now. I looked deep into his hypnotic eyes as if I was getting lost in some sinister trance. That’s when I noticed it. How couldn’t I see this before? Blood. Dry dark blood that dripped from his temple across the side of his face and all around his neck. Startled, I immediately took a step back.
I need to call the cops. This guy is crazy. Who hits a small child like this? I thought to myself.
Suddenly the kid started twitching. And that’s when it happened. It fell down flat and rolled right up to my feet. His head…his hastily severed head fell down on the floor and rolled up to my feet leaving a thin trail of black gooey pulp from the darkness inside. His emotionless dead eyes kept staring at me trying to corrupt my soul with unbound terror. I stood still in shock, gasping in disbelief at the small decapitated head near my feet. Out of instinct I looked up at the door. And for a brief second, I saw what I thought was the pale face of his mother looking back at me from behind the door. But her eyes…they were all black. They were not empty…just pitch black. Before I could understand anything…the door slammed shut faster than I could blink.
What happened next is still a bit fuzzy to be honest.
I remember puking right after the door closed and fell down several times while sprinting back to my apartment. The darkened corridor seemed like the gateway to hell as I kept looking back repeatedly trying to make sure that thing was not following me. I closed my door so hard that the door frame cracked at one corner. I locked the door fast and fortified it with whatever furniture I had. Needless to say, I called the cops immediately and stayed holed up in my bathroom until they came.
Little did I know the nightmare was yet to be over.
Being the sole witness to the incident, I spent the next few days, mostly at the police station. The cops interrogated me repeatedly about what exactly happened. But they simply refused to believe me. Even though I told them the same thing every single time, they just couldn’t believe what I said. I couldn’t blame them. I guess they considered me a suspect initially but after conducting a thorough investigation, they finally managed to figure out what exactly happened inside that hellhole.
Every member of that family had been dead for five days before I found the decapitated head of the kid…including the unborn child of the pregnant wife. The police investigation revealed that the husband was a narcissist who loved to torture his wife…mentally, physically and sexually. Apparently, they were having a lot of financial problems and the man wanted his wife to abort the child. But the woman refused as she was already 7 months pregnant. So he kept abusing her every single day trying to manipulate her. Until she snapped. The police report said the man and his two children, 5 and 8, were poisoned by the wife. After they died…um…she disembowelled them, chopped off their limbs and decapitated them one by one. She then performed a self-induced abortion and later hanged herself. And all of this happened right on the other side of my bedroom wall while I was trying to get some sleep.
After I called the cops that night, the investigating officers had to break open the door to enter the apartment. As soon as the cops entered they found that the room was littered with chopped limbs & severed heads of the father and the other kid. They found the corpse of the mother hanging in the kitchen. The shared bedroom wall on their side was covered with dark dry blood. It seemed someone was throwing one of the heads at the wall. Just like you would bounce a basketball against the wall. The cops still don’t know how the door was locked from the inside as there were no signs of breaking and entering or anyone leaving the apartment. There were still a lot of unanswered questions which they had no answers to. The cops told me the investigation was still on & they would solve the case soon. However, I was off the hook.
In the meantime, my manager made sure to get me fired using all this homicide controversy. But I didn’t care anymore. I was already too disturbed with the troubling piece of information revealed by the police investigation. It did not answer any of the questions that were haunting me since that night.
Who was inside that godforsaken apartment that night?
Who opened the door?
Was someone holding up the kid’s head?
Or was it up there by itself?
Did I see the mother behind the door?
But she was dead too.
Then how did I see her standing there like that?
Was she even standing?
Did I see a ghost?
Wait…what was that loud thumping sound?
Was someone playing ball against the wall with the heads?
Were they trying to make contact with me?
Were they trying to tell me that their family was dead?
Or were they just trying to taunt me?
I cannot explain what I was going through at the time. My anxiety levels were so high I had to get back to my antidepressants just to calm my nerves. I was beyond scared at that point. Nothing made sense. I couldn’t find any answers to any of my questions. Hundreds of weird thoughts crossed my mind. I even wondered if the decapitated heads were hitting themselves on the shared wall to create that banging sound…all just to get my attention and make me discover the horrible fate that befell on their family. I was terrified to even think about what the truth would be. But then why after 5 days? Why not before?
The only silver lining from this horrifyingly traumatic experience was that Emma reached out to me. With all the news surrounding the murders, she got worried sick about me and called to check up on me up. We started talking and one thing led to another and we decided to give it another shot.
It’s been 5 days since everything. I am going back to my hometown. Back to my life. And Emma is coming down to help me move back. Tonight is my last night in this apartment. The last few days have been uneventful…thankfully. But only I know how I have spent the last 5 nights in here knowing what happened just behind those walls. I stayed awake all night and slept through the day. What else could I do? How else could I sleep?
Thank God for Emma!
I felt utterly cringed even to realise I had to spend a few more hours in this godforsaken building. I was getting impatient and couldn’t wait for Emma any longer. She said she would reach here just after midnight as her flight was delayed. So I tried to get some shut-eye before she came as I felt exhausted by overthinking about the whole ordeal.
As I jolted up on my bed, it felt like my head was about to explode.
This can’t be. No! This is not happening. I am imagining things. I told myself.
I felt my heart pound with terror at every beat. I looked at the clock. 1:39 am. I grabbed my phone. A new text from Emma.
Be there in 30.
That was an hour ago. Where is she?
No. Not again. No! No! No! Tears rolled down my eyes as I tried to contain my fear.
My phone started to vibrate. Emma calling.
I remembered something. The baby…the unborn baby. The woman…she tried to flush it down the toilet. But couldn’t. That’s what the cops said.
My phone vibrated louder and louder.
I realised something. The cops…they never found the corpse of the unborn child.
I picked up the phone and received her call.
Liam? Babe, I’m here. Where are you? Why is it so dark inside? Your door’s open. Should I go in?
What? What is she talking about?
I am at your apartment…7A. Why is it so dark? Oh…I see you inside. I’m coming in my little devil.
NO! I screamed.
She couldn’t hear me over the phone. She had the wrong apartment. I rushed out to the corridor but she wasn’t there. The door to my neighbour’s apartment 7A was shut.
She went inside.
The mother…she lured Emma in.
As I stand here in this cursed building, I am trying to figure out where exactly I went wrong. Did I have to go through this traumatic experience? Did it had to be me?
I can hear her. I can hear whispers coming from inside. I can hear her demonic whispers.
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I can hear the blood-curdling cries of her aborted fetus.
I can even hear Emma. Screaming. Crying. Begging.
There’s still time. Time enough to help her.
But I don’t know if I should go in.
I don’t know if I should put my life in jeopardy for a girl who didn’t even think twice before cheating on me and breaking my heart.
What would you do if the girl you loved the most told you she doesn’t love you anymore?
How would you react if your girlfriend of five years told you she was seeing someone else behind your back?
You’ve just met Mr. Liam Coleman. Age: 26. Relationship status: Undefined. Mr. Coleman just had a crash course on self-love and what love is all about. He is a nice guy who loves his beautiful ex-girlfriend Emma too little and loves himself a little too much. An escapist, Mr. Coleman isn’t confrontational neither does he like to face his problems. He is a simple man who reluctantly peeked into what lies on the edge of darkness.