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KNOCKING

Ellie Douglas

Every night I would wake at precisely 3 am to a knocking. I would drag myself out of bed half asleep and investigate. But I could never find anything, so I naturally assumed I was dreaming. The following nights had me waking twice each night, once at 3 and again at 3:15. I was confused with the same results of finding nothing. I couldn’t figure out what was making the tapping sound. I would climb back into bed and forget about it. In the morning, I would get myself ready and head off to work as normal.


Each night the same thing happened, and I decided I wasn’t in some wakeful dream. That is when the panic started to drown me. Convinced I had lost my mind, too afraid to sleep, I waited for the morning and then contacted my shrink, Gloria. She tried to tell me I wasn’t crazy and suggested I get an exorcist out to my house. At first, I laughed at the very idea, until the knocking went from twice a night to three times. Each time it was louder and longer. 


I rang the priest that Gloria had recommended and felt a sudden chill envelop me. Something about this man gave me the creeps, and I hadn’t even met him yet. He had given me a list of things to do before he was due to arrive the following day. Another night of tapping reassured me I was doing the right thing. I did as he had asked me to. I set up my phone to wake me five minutes before the first knocking started, then I was to hit the record button on my phone and pretend to be sleeping. I did exactly as he said, and I was nervous as all hell!


I must have fallen asleep, and when I woke at six, I rolled over to find my phone was missing. I searched all over my bed. Looked under my bed. Checked my clothing. I couldn’t see it anywhere. My entire body felt like jelly. I dressed and anxiously waited for the priest to arrive. When he did, I told him what had happened and that my phone was gone. He gave me the oddest of looks; one that made me feel icy cold. His voice was rough and scratchy, like the growth of hair across his chin. He said, “My dear, you have a trapped ghost in this house, and now it has your phone.” I asked him how to get rid of it. He went through a bunch of stuff, and afterward, he performed some ritual cleansing in each room, then left. My house felt a few degrees colder. I followed his instructions, and as I got ready for bed, my landline rang. It was odd that someone would be calling me at that hour. I answered, “Hello, who’s this?” I shivered with uneasiness to the voice on the phone, feeling like I had been drenched in liquid nitrogen. 


Every hair on my body stabbed at me. I dropped the receiver to the floor when the ghostly voice on the other end said, “I have your phone.” Then it played the knocking I had recorded. I jumped when, from my bedroom, I could hear more forceful tapping. I dropped the phone and could barely keep myself from screaming. Backing farther away from my room, I no longer could suppress what came up my throat. I screamed so loudly that it scared me. I felt my eyes widen and the tremors of my body shaking me like a fall leaf. I had to pull myself together. I struggled. I heaved for air and felt every cell within strangling me. My face grew wet with tears. 


The fear sat on me like a pillow over my face. That was when I really lost it. I had to get out of there. I took in the longest, deepest breath I could muster and grabbed my backpack. Boldly, I rushed back into my room. I opened my closet, not thinking of what I needed. I was shoving clothes into my bag when the knocking started up again. It grew more thunderous with every passing second. More violent. More determined. It took my breath away, leaving me feeling as helpless and defenseless as a newborn baby.


I tried to ignore it, but I couldn’t. At first, I stared at the window, but it wasn’t there that the knocking came from. When it tapped again, I realized it was coming from my mirror. I refused to look. I was too afraid too. I kept my eyes down and backed out of my room.


I wailed while running through my house, stopping at the entrance I fumbled for my keys, snatching them off the hook and bolted outside. Leaving my belongings behind. I got into my car and before I turned the engine over… 


The knocking came at me from my rear-view mirror. I cautioned a look and saw the reflection of a hideous looking man. Something about him was eerily familiar. I gulped, unable to turn my eyes away, I stared in great fear. Suddenly I heard the car doors locking. I was trapped in my own car. I was frozen, fixated on his image.


My brain felt on fire when I registered it was my dead uncle Jo. The very one that had been sentenced to death twenty-two years ago, after having murdered my entire family when I was a toddler. I had been the sole survivor… until now.


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