I’ve always felt unsettled in my bedroom, even before what happened to Nat. Now, I never enter the vicinity. I haven’t even slept here in a year, not since the night of my 16th birthday.
Standing in my room once again, I remember how these filmy gray curtains ushered in the dark. I remember how the blackness coated me like tar, silencing my screeches as I flailed about in my cotton coffin. Most of all, I remember how the tall, spindly Slendermen scurried up the walls; their gaunt faces crumbling into white ash, eerily illuminated by shocking scarlet eyes and stark spiderlike limbs. They were always shrouded in a dusky cape, clutching canes elongated like bloody fishhooks in one hand and grasping secret-filled briefcases in the other. Encompassed by the echoing whispers of tortured souls, the Slendermen pried open my jaws to steal my screams. On the worst nights, I heard my own corrupted soul muttering in their briefcases. As morning drew closer, each Slenderman bounded over the bed, cackling in my ear, “ You’ll never be good enough for anybody”, “Especially your so called ‘best friend’ ” and “Just give up on Nat already!” until I clapped my white-knuckled hands over my ears in a vain attempt to drown out the voices. But they always left as the sun came up, shimmying down the gutter and silently dispelling into the light. Yet, even when the Slendermen faded away, my doubts of the night remained.
The whitewash on these walls reflects the sunlight off of every surface, creating an unnerving mix of white light and speckled gray dust motes swirling into a vengeful tornado. Despite the open window, the air tastes stale, choking me as I resist the urge to bolt. “Remember you’re in here for Nat” I remind myself, taking prolonged shallow breaths. My life revolves around Nat now, tinged with despicable sadness and gloating horror. It’s been exactly a year since she disappeared, I’m 17 today, and the truth is still murkier than the faces of my childhood tormentors.