I was pumping gas at the gas station on the edge of town, watching the stars pass by. It was a nice fall night, cool and breezy. The leaves had just started changing, the trees full of yellows and left over green. I didn't even recognize the man coming at me from across the parking lot until he was shaking my hand. "Kris!" He said, his voiced strained and sort of...off. "It's been a few years! It's me, Eli!" Eli and I had been pretty close friends through high school. One of those things where we just kind of lost touch after graduation. I looked him over and could barely contain a gasp. In high school, he had been an A student, enrolled in honors courses through out. He won most successful in our senior yearbook. Everybody loved Eli, and everybody knew Eli. Now, he looked entirely different.
He looked terrible. His face was gaunt and gray, covered in terrible stubble. His hair was licked back and greasy looking, his clothes tattered and worn. This was completely out of character from the kid I was so close to just 4 years ago. The worst part were his eyes. Looking into those eyes was like looking into a pit. An empty, dark pit. All I could see in his eyes was a terrible fear that his face was struggling to hide.
I laughed and shook his hand, pretending not to notice the changes. "Eli! It's good to see you again! How have you been?" He shrugged and let his eyes dart about the parking lot, as though he were looking for something. Or maybe watching something...it was hard to tell. Suddenly, his eyes grew wide and he dropped my hand, stepping back and speaking in hushed, strained tones. "Meet me at the cafe tomorow? Please. I really need to tell someone." I stared blankly for a moment before responding, trying to discern his problem. "Sure...I'm free at 4:30." He shook his head vehemently and sighed. "N-nn-no, they uh, they wouldn't like me being out then. That's a special time for us! Meet me at 8. They like the dark." I nodded and quickly hopped in my car, heading for home. I wasn't sure what had gotten into him, but he gave me the creeps. I tried to shake it off as I lay down to catch some sleep. That was the first night I dreamt of them. The first night I saw The Watchers.
In my dream, I was sitting in bed. No matter wher I looked, they were always there, in the corner of my eye. Watching. Waiting. Tall and humanoid, but completely pitch black, blacker than night. I tried to close my eyes and make them go away, but when I opened them again, the shadows were closer. They reached out to me, whispering something and slowly growing closer, surrounding me. I could feel their empty eyes burning into me with pure HATRED. At first, the words were inaudible. Then, they grew louder and louder until it was nearly a roar, surrounded by dark entities with hollow eyes and thin, bony fingers reaching into what felt like the depths of my soul. "We are everywhere. You can never leave us." When I shot up in bed, drenched in sweat, I could almost still hear the whispers.
I went to meet him where he requested. He already had a table, way back in the back corner. I ordered a beer and sat across from him, waiting for him to speak. He never raised his head, just sat quietly until my drink came. "Kris. I don't have much time. I need to tell you what's been going on before...well, before they take me." I nearly got up and left, but I just couldn't after seeing him like this. I wanted to help. "They call themselves "The Watchers"...and they are here with me right now. They are not happy with me for this meeting. I won't make it home tonight. Consider this your warning, my friend. They've been following me for months now, slowly sucking away my life. I can feel them killing me as slowly as possible, always where I can't quite see. Until my dreams...then I feel their true horror. Please, hear me out. Beware those flickers in the corner of your eye, because you never know what is lurking in the shadows. Don't let The Watchers get you, Kris. They will never let you go." Without another word, he stood and went for the door. As he stepped into the street, he disappeared into the autumn fog. It wasn't until two days later that they found his body, a victim of apparent suicide by hanging.
I struggled to understand, finally chalking it up to the rantings of a drug addict. That is, until I started seeing them more.
The dreams began occurring more often, coming to me 3-5 nights a week. Always the exact same thing, never changing from the first one. "We are everywhere. You can never leave us." I began losing sleep, usually only getting around 3-4 hours a night. After about two months, I started noticing the flickers in the corners of rooms. They looked like shadows, watching me from the corners of my eye. Everywhere I looked, THEY were there! Watching, whispering, and reaching to me only to disappear when I tried to focus...I could feel them draining me. I grew weaker every day, and the encounters grew more frequent.
Today, it has been 6 months. Today, they have finally asked me to join them! I am so excited, I've been waiting for this day forever. I slid my fingers through the loop in the rope, smiling at my beautiful Watchers. They had helped me tie the knot, because I am one of them. This is my journey's end! They accept me, they love me. I smile at them as I climb onto the chair, a set of thin, pitch black shadowy hands draping the rope around my neck. "We are Everywhere. Come and join us." They whisper, gesturing me closer. I step forward into their embrace, feeling the rope draw tight. I finally can join my friends...
Remember, always beware those flickers in the corner of your eye. You just might be next.