What Doesn’t Kill You Will Come Back For You Later

[static sounds, with a click of a button. As the cassette rolls, a woman begins to speak]

There once was a girl who could sleep peacefully at night. She would curl up in her blankets without any fear, just rest in the fact that she was safe and sound. That girl was me.

[pauses. clears throat.]

I was five when I was adopted by my parents. They were a warm, loving couple. I lived a great life with them, never worrying they would hate me, and there were no siblings around either. My mom would put me to bed and read me the Giving Tree as much as I wanted, and my dad would be there in the morning to make me breakfast.

I remember, one night, when I was seven, I’d had a nightmare. Scared, I rushed out of my room and ran to theirs, jumping in their bed and pulling the covers over my head. It woke them up, of course, and they asked me what was wrong. I told them that, when I fell asleep, something had snuck into the room with me, just sitting there, whispering. Shaking their heads, they let me sleep there, since we were all too tired to do anything else.

The next night, believing what I had seen was a nightmare, I lay down and went to sleep. That is, until 3 in the morning, when I heard. [sharp breath] My eyes wide open, I heard muffled screaming, coming from my parents room. I wasn’t entirely sure what to do, so I lay there, my blankets drawn up to my face. The screaming faded after a while, but they were replaced by different sounds.

The sound of claws scraping across the tiled floor.

[static and stuttered, quaking breath]

It came closer and closer, the being closing in on my door. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I was close, pressed up to my door in no time. But it never came in. I-I could hear it, whispering, over and over. You’re in there; let me in. You’re in there; let me in!

But I didn’t move until the sun rose, and I knew it was gone.

[faint sobs. continues]

The police came by later that day, and the ambulance took… my parents away. I saw them, covered from sheets, in head to toe, and I tried to follow them. A police officer held me back, saying that they were gone. I told him no, they’re right there, on those beds. I asked him why there was a blanket drawn over their faces, but he just left me there, wrapped in my own blanket, sitting on the steps. [pause, break in voice] Alone.

I’m, uh… I’m 27 years old now. I graduated from college three years ago and I’m now on my own. I was passed around from foster family to foster family. It wasn’t all bad, but I was never the same afterwards. I wouldn’t sleep without the light on. And I never held a blanket over my head. Ever. It’s still the same today, only I have a battery-powered light source now, and not wasting electricity.

I don’t know if what I saw was real. The police told me someone had broken into the house and killed them brutally. I left it at that, for at the time, I was a mess. I wouldn’t eat or sleep. All I could think about was the whispering.

You’re in there; let me in!

It wasn’t human. It was rather obvious. But I told no one. I’m not entirely sure why, at the time, but it was probably for the best. They would have thought I was crazy. [small peal of false laughter]

But I’m telling you this because… because the bad dreams are coming back. I… I hear it, at my door again, whispering. It’ll, um, it’ll knock sometimes. It starts out quiet, but, then it gets louder. Louder. Louder. Louder and louder until the whole house feels like it’s shaking.

[frantic breathing, then calm]

And, last night it… Last night it came again. But this time, it… it opened my, um… my door, and- [crying, sniffling of nose] I heard the handle jiggle, slightly, and the click. The hinges didn’t make a noise, but I knew. I opened my eyes, and I saw darkness. Nothing but pitch black.

I’m here. It whispered only one more time. I’m here for you.

[sniffling and blowing nose]

They say… they say what, uh, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But… but I found that what doesn’t kill you will come back for you later.

It’s almost ten o’clock. My windows are closed and the main light is on.

[long pause]

If I don’t post anything on this tape in the morning, assume the worst.

[The tape audio stops. For a few second, you hear silence. Then, suddenly, the audio begins.]

[shuffling, quick movements and rough static]
i came. i told her i would.

[large, heavy, uneven breathing]

now, look behind you, in the door way.
[The audio stops. You look behind you and-]

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