Keep Your Earphones In

I had this habit of listening to music through earphones while I work. I think a lot of people do. It even made me sort of enjoy studying, which was a valuable asset to me as a pre-med major. You may have noticed the past tense and wondering why I stopped listening through earphones. Why, you might even be listening to music while reading this right now.

I can’t use my earphones now without jumping and looking around every now and then, especially when I hear small noises. Not since what happened three months ago. My therapist told me I should write this down. I only agreed because I think everybody should be warned. So here goes.

It was about 1:30 am on the first of April. Yeah, April fool’s day. Precious few jokes had been played in my friend group that day to which I was glad. I wasn’t much of a jokester.

That night, I was intent on completing my notes for chapter 10 of my biology textbook. Like I said, pre-med major. Serious stuff.

I had made a playlist on youtube just for study purposes, sort of like my jam. Whenever I got to work, I would just throw that on shuffle and plug in my earphones, the cheap kind that doesn’t completely block out sound.

I did the same that night, humming along to the first song while scribbling things down. When the song ended, there was a pause. Expected, since some youtube videos end with silence or start with silence. When the next song hadn’t started for about 30 seconds, I looked up to check if the playlist was on auto-play.

On the screen there was a video I didn’t remember adding to the playlist. It was hazy grey static, like what would show if the video didn’t exist, but those words weren’t there. The title was “Keep Your Headphones In.”

I smiled. I knew this must be a practical joke from my friends, some of who were very tech savvy while I was completely hopeless. I decided to continue listening while taking notes so that I could reach the end to when they reveal themselves on screen with “April fool’s” just to see what they came up with.

There was silence for one more minute and a few seconds before I heard it. A rasping sound, like somebody trying to speak who hasn’t spoken or drank water in years. A little wheezing followed. I was a bit scared, but I knew my friends were trying to scare me. After all, I was the resident scaredy-cat of the group. Boy, was I excited to tell them that they couldn’t fool me afterwards.

A few seconds in, and heavy breathing joined the symphony. It just sounded like an old man who was out of breath… but with razorblades in his throat. There was some kind of scraping noise in the background. It was very weird. I wondered how they made that sound. At about 2:45, there was a loud creak, like a door opening. It sounded so real that I actually pulled my eyes away from my textbook to look at my dorm door, but it was closed tight. Obviously.

I sighed. This noise was driving me insane. Then came the scratching. The breathing, or whatever the hell it was, became more erratic, interrupted with something like long fingernails against wood. Maybe even cat’s claws. I was finding it harder and harder to concentrate on my work, but I didn’t want to give in and admit to being scared. I checked the video. Goodness, there was more than 10 minutes left!

I didn’t have time for this. I decided to shut it off and go visit my good friend who lived down the hall, who I was sure was behind this, to tell her it was a good joke.

Realizing my heart rate was actually faster, I pulled out the earphones and sat back. I took a few deep breathes and forced myself to smile. It was just a joke, although a pretty scary one. I looked back at the screen. It had turned black.

As I stared at my earphones on the desk, I heard it. The scratching sound.

Credit To – crazydaisy

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