At fourteen years old, darkness still wasn’t my friend. My 13-inch television was on mute, acting as a nightlight in my bedroom. I closed my eyes and started running through my usual list of prayer requests.
A fever rushed through my body, and fear glued my limbs to the bed when a man’s deep and resounding voice yelled in my ear. “Go! Go!”
Immobility finally loosened its grip. I ran to my Mom’s bedroom, screaming and crying. I couldn’t get the words out, but through gasps of breath I managed, “Man…room…”
Wide-eyed, she ran to my bedroom. After a quick look around and no sign of an intrusion, she realized no one was there.
Mom returned, breathless. “There’s no one in there. What happened?”
I told her I heard a man’s voice just inches away from me. It had drowned out even the constant hum of silence. The only thing I could hear was his demand.
My little brother woke up from the commotion. By the fixed look on his face, I knew he wasn’t surprised to hear what happened. It was as if he’d recently experienced something similar, but he didn’t want to say.
I wouldn’t go back to my bedroom, and it was 1:00 am by the time I could think about sleeping again.
I tried to finish out the night in the living room. My brother, always the protector, told me he’d stay up and watch for anything until I fell asleep.
Rattled and afraid, I curled up on the couch. For an extra sense of protection, I positioned my face into the back crevice where the cushions met. My brother sat on the floor, back against the couch, there to make sure nothing messed with his big sister.
I woke up when I felt something touch the right side of my face. I thought it was my brother, but when I turned to respond, he wasn’t there.
What I saw will stay with me forever.
When I turned my head, I saw the manifested face of the apparition I heard earlier. He was staring at me, petrifying every cell in my body.
With dark, unmoving eyes, he receded, and dissipated into the center of the room.