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By Pasta Master

You know kids and their imaginations, right. Seeing things in the dark. Imagining a tree outside is a hand coming to grab them from their beds in the night. They think a sweater sleeve under their bed is a monster that wants to eat them. I had an active imagination as a child myself. A vivid imagination.

Let's just say I used to see things that weren't there....in fact....nothing was there. For instance, I was five years old and my grandparents were visiting. They were sleeping in the living room on their inflatable mattress and my parents were in their room sleeping soundly in the room across from my own (they would trade sleeping spaces each year they came to visit). I never slept well as a child. I'd be sent to bed at my bedtime and lay awake for an hour or two afterward.

Anyway. I was awake and everyone else was sleeping. The room was dark. I normally slept without a nightlight. I was staring at the wall trying to bring on sleep. When I saw a faint anomaly appear. A swirling torrent of fire and a glowing orange skull in the middle of it growing bigger and bigger. It began talking to me in a language I was unfamiliar with. It looked as if it was getting closer to me. It opened its mouth to swallow me whole when I screamed and shut my eyes! I rolled out of bed and turned on the light. When I looked.....there was....nothing. Just...a blank wall.

I was sure I saw something. I was sure it was there plain as the nose on my face. How could I see something like that on a blank wall? I went across the hall to my parents' room and woke up my dad. I said "dad, dad, did you see any of that?"

"Any of what?" he said. It was obvious I was the only person who saw this or would ever see it. I told him there was a flaming skull on my wall and it talked to me and tried to eat me. He didn't know anything about it and didn't even hear me scream. And I screamed as loud as I could. It should have woke up anyone out of the deepest sleep, especially across the hallway.

Well if they didn't hear it, I didn't expect my grandparents to hear it all the way in the living room. I was bothered by this for a few days before something else weird happened. I was actually sleeping and I got woken up by something. I blinked and looked around, lifted my head off the pillow and looked down at it. I gasped at what I saw. Right next to my pillow on the sheet traveling all the way down to the floor was a giant trail of ants! I didn't know what to think or why there may have been ants in my bed!

Now...let's face it. Ants aren't scary. But it's still something you don't want to wake up to in your bed. Especially when you're five years old. To have your bed covered in them. I ran to my parents' room again without even turning on the lights. I ran in and told my dad that there was ants in my room and they both came running because that was something they didn't want in the house. My dad turned on the light and asked where they were.

I pointed out where I saw them....but....they weren't there. There was nothing. It was a clean sheet. Not even a wrinkle there. I would have understood if there was a wrinkle and in the dark I could have mistook it for something else. But there was NOTHING. My parents were understanding and had me go back to sleep. I didn't though. I kept looking at that spot in the dark waiting for the ants to come back but they never did.

Sometimes your mind plays tricks on you, especially as a child. But this was different. These things were too real. Sometimes I could feel these "hallucinations". I've been to a lot of people about them. Professional people. I've been told a lot of things. I can't help but think that there might be something wrong with me. Because...it's 17 years later...and I'm still seeing things in the dark. The latest thing I've seen is two men coming to me in my sleep. Walking towards me in white coats. By now I've gotten used to things like this. "I'll just go back to sleep" I say as I can feel them taking me by my arms and feet. I felt a pinprick in the side of my neck and I lost consciousness.

I've awakened again. Now my entire room has changed. It's gotten smaller. My bed is gone. The hard plaster walls have turned soft and cushy. My pajamas must have gotten twisted around my body. Let me just untie them. Wait. These aren't my pajamas. I can't...move my arms. Wait, what's that on my arm? On my sleeve? "Waverly Institute for the Mentally Insane". Oh well. It will all be over soon. I just have to find the switch and turn on the light. I just have to say, this is the most realistic one yet.

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