I’m not really sure where to start with this story, seeing as this isn’t something I talk about openly. There are so many people bragging about their gifts, or abilities, on social media. While some of these people are authentic, many just want to be a part of the new age, spiritual trend. I never wanted to be like that. I never asked to be able to see or experience the things that I do. For me, it was just always there.
Usually, most of my paranormal experiences came to me in the form of dreams, but sometimes I would catch the silhouette of someone along the edges of my vision or hear a voice beckoning me to the darkest corner of a room. Growing up, I always saw shadow figures in the hallway, or I would catch the reflection of someone who wasn’t supposed to be there in the mirrors of my childhood home. To this day, I still refuse to sleep in a room with a mirror in it. If I have to, I always cover the mirror with a blanket or a sheet so I don’t have to see anything strange reflected in its surface.
My point is, for as long as I can remember, I always saw and heard things that other people didn’t. Once I reached my twenties, my strange experiences and dreams intensified. For a while, things got so bad that I began to wonder if perhaps I was an undiagnosed schizophrenic, despite there being no medical history of it running in either side of my family. I thought I was losing my mind. That is, until I switched towns and the frequency of my experiences declined. It was then that I realized, perhaps the problem wasn’t coming from within me, perhaps it was coming from whatever I was being exposed to in the environment around me.
During the heightened part of my twenties, in which my paranormal dreams and experiences had become too much, I turned to drinking as a coping mechanism. I told myself the alcohol helped me sleep without dreaming, which meant I wouldn’t have nightmares. I told myself that in the movies, substances always seemed to help drown out the voices or images that people like me might see. It didn’t take long for me to realize that alcohol had the exact opposite effect on a spiritually sensitive person as Hollywood would like one to believe. For me, alcohol only opened me up to more paranormal experiences, rather than numb me to them. When I was drunk, my guard was down and I was vulnerable to everything that usually waited for me to fall asleep. The things that only used to make appearances in my nightmares began to torment me when I was awake, too.
Among my many strange experiences, one night in particular seems to stand out. Every time I retell this story of what happened that night, I can’t help but get teary eyed. I have goosebumps even now just thinking about it. I was 24 years old at the time, and yes, I had been drinking.
I was staying the night at a former boyfriend’s house. His roommates were away for the weekend and I jumped at the opportunity to stay over. I had been so busy with college and work that I hadn’t had much time to relax or dedicate to our relationship. I thought it would be nice to have the house to ourselves. It was a beautiful night in late summer, perfect weather to relax with the windows open and enjoy each other’s company, along with a couple of drinks. Well, one drink turned into another, and before I knew it, I was pretty drunk. Upon realizing I was a bit further gone than I wanted to be, I told my boyfriend I needed to get some food in me.
“On a scale of one to ten, how drunk are you?” I asked, while rubbing my eyes, hoping it would make the room stop spinning.
“Hmm. I’d say I’m about a four. Where are you on the scale? You okay?” He chuckled and put his hand on my shoulder.
“Yeah, I’m okay. I think I’m at an eight though, and I don’t really like it. I think I might need something to eat. Maybe it will help me sober up a little.”
“Alright, well, we don’t really have anything here, but we can walk to the gas station at the end of the block and I can grab some snacks,” he offered, handing me a bottle of water.
I reluctantly agreed. I didn’t really feel like going anywhere but figured going outside and getting some air might help. Plus, I didn’t want him to go by himself. He seemed less tipsy than I was, but I still wanted to make sure he was safe. It was around one in the morning, after all.
When we stepped outside the sliding glass door and onto the back patio, the August night air washed over me. For some reason, the cool breeze instantly made me nauseous. I pulled away from my boyfriend and sat down on the patio steps.
“Ugh, I’m sorry. I just need a minute to gain my composure.”
“You don’t have to come with me,” he said, as he walked past me on the steps, “I can just run up there really quick. It’s a block away.”
“No,” I insisted, “I wanna walk with you. I just need two minutes to drink some of this water and feel better.”
He nodded his head understandingly and kissed me on my forehead. “Alright, I will be right back.”
I fixed my gaze on a firefly that had landed on my left shoe and took a few deep breaths as I waited for the next wave of nausea to pass. I looked up just in time to watch my boyfriend walk into the dark garage.
“Hey, what are you doing?” I tried to call after him, but he must not have heard me. I waited a few minutes for him to come back out of the garage, but he never did.
“Hey,” I called again, “You okay in there?”
“Yeah,” he called back, “Hey, come in here for a second, would you?”
“What? Why?” I forced myself to stand on my feet. I held on to the patio railing for a minute and made sure I was okay before making my way over to the garage door. “It’s so dark in there, where is the light switch?” When I approached the garage, I let my hand clumsily feel around the wall inside of the doorway for a few seconds before giving up.
“Don’t worry about it, just come here babe.” He laughed, and I could hear his footsteps moving farther into the garage.
“Where are you?” I squinted my eyes against the darkness, waiting for them to adjust, but they just wouldn’t. I slowly took a few steps inside.
“Follow the sound of my voice,” he teased in a whisper.
I took a few more steps inside of the darkness. “Come on, what are we doing? Where are you?”
“I’m right here,” he whispered beside me. I felt his breath against the side of my face. I felt him gently ease his hand into mine. He guided me a few more steps into the pitch-black garage before chuckling quietly and letting go of my hand.
“Hey, where did you go?” I reached out in the direction where he had just been but couldn’t feel him.
“Come find me,” he whispered, followed once again by the sound of his footsteps receding into the back corner of the garage.
I took another step forward and hit my foot hard on something on the floor in front of me, and began to lose my balance before catching myself at the last second. “Oh! Damn it! I almost just fell! What the hell are you doing? Come on, you know I don’t feel good! Can’t we just get out of this creepy garage and go get some snacks?”
He laughed again from the farthest corner in the back of the garage. “In a minute, but first you have to come find me.”
“I’m too drunk for this,” I mumbled to myself, irritated, before turning around and staggering back toward the door. “I’m getting my phone for the flashlight. I’ll be right back.”
“Hey! That’s cheating!” I heard him whine from behind me.
As soon as I made it out of the garage and started heading back toward the patio steps, I heard a noise that stopped me in my tracks. I turned my head toward the noise, only to see my boyfriend coming in the back garden gate with his skateboard.
“W-what the fuck?” I stared at him in shock. “H-how?” I couldn’t finish my sentence, because my train of thought was interrupted by the sound of quiet laughter coming from behind me in the garage. I quickly spun around to look back and almost fell over in the process.
“Woah!” My boyfriend latched the gate, threw down his skateboard, and ran over to me just in time. “Hey! Easy, come on, let’s sit down on the steps before you hurt yourself. You okay?”
“What the fuck?” I repeated, staring at him in horror.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have left you,” he said, guiding me back to the patio steps. “I just knew I would be able to run to the gas station and back really fast if I took my board with me. I didn’t want to make you walk all that way with me when you weren’t feeling good. I just wanted to get something for you to put in your stomach. I—”
“You went to the gas station?!” Still in shock, I yelled a bit louder than I meant to.
“Well, yeah, I kissed your forehead and told you I would be right back, remember?”
“Yeah, but then you went into the garage!”
“What?” He laughed, then handed me a bag full of snacks. “No, I didn’t. I went and grabbed these.”
“No, you were just in the garage, you called me in there after you! I was just in there with you. You took my hand and pulled me in!”
My boyfriend stared at me intently, his smile, along with any trace of amusement, fading from his face. “You’re serious?”
Frustrated, I reached into my boyfriend’s pocket and grabbed his phone. Sobering up almost instantly, I ran back toward the garage and turned the phone’s flashlight on. Confused, my boyfriend ran up beside me, and we entered the garage together. My hand was shaking horribly as I frantically shined the beam of light in every direction inside of the garage, letting the light linger on the back corners. The structure was completely empty, except for a few miscellaneous boxes and old car parts scattered across the floor. I shined the light down at an old car bumper in the middle of the floor and realized that was what I had hit with my foot and almost tripped over earlier.
“What are you looking for?” My boyfriend asked, gently taking the phone out of my shaking hand. “What the hell is going on?” He turned around and shined the light back on the car bumper. “That is so weird, my roommate is a neat freak. He always keeps everything tidy in here. He would never leave this here, just lying in the middle of the floor like that.”
It was at that moment when everything hit me all at once. I could no longer hold back the tears, so I just lost it. I completely broke down and started crying inconsolably right there in the middle of that garage. My boyfriend tried to comfort me, but I pulled away from him and ran back into the house.
I knew neither of us were in any condition to drive, so I couldn’t go home until we sobered up. I couldn’t look at my boyfriend for the rest of the night, so I just laid on the couch and watched TV until the sun came up. The next morning, I tried to explain to him what had happened, but I don’t think he really understood. He promised that he believed me, but I’m not sure that he really did. I mean, I didn’t blame him. I knew I sounded batshit crazy. I wasn’t even mad when he tried to dismiss my experience as some kind of alcohol-induced hallucination. I had spent the entire night trying to convince myself of that very same explanation for what had happened. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t talk myself out of what I knew to be the truth:
My boyfriend wasn’t the one who I saw go into the garage that night. He wasn’t the one I had been talking to. Whatever it was had simply mimicked his voice because it knew I would trust him. It lured me deeper and deeper into that garage. It wanted to hurt me. It had led me straight toward that car bumper that it had laid out in the middle of the floor, hoping I would trip over it and fall. It had taken my hand and guided me right to it. I had felt its hand, right there in mine. I will never forget the feeling of its hand. I could feel everything. I could feel the knuckles, and the bones beneath the flesh. It was so warm. It felt so human. It had breathed on me and whispered in my ear. It had been right there with me in the dark.
I never stepped foot inside of my boyfriend’s garage ever again. We broke up shortly after. I don’t drink anymore, either. I know if I do, it will be right there, waiting for me in the dark.