's 2016 Horror Write-off:

Watching; or Nervous Paranoia

Submitted by Millien

Don't look away. Don't you dare look away.

You want to see it this time.

You need to see it this time.

You're sitting at your dining room table. Across from you is the sliding glass door. The light from the house spills outside, but fades to black just a few feet beyond.

You're eyes are locked on the darkness. You know what you're waiting for. You'll see it step out from the inky darkness, tall and grim. It's legs will be far too long, and it's skin so thin that you can see the bones beneath. It'll hunch down to look through the door. It will see you. You will see it, and it will see you.

Don't you dare look away.

You can feel it coming. That ancient part of your body that watches for things in the dark alerts you of its presence. A chill runs through your spine as you stare down the door. Twitches start to worm their way through your body. Terrible anticipation hums through you.

It's so close now.

Don't you dare look away.

But you do.


It's been a while since then. You never saw it of course. You never see anything more than the brief flashes your mind superimposes on the scene. The expectation of terror.

You're in your bed now. Your phone is in your hand, and your hand on your chest. You're bending your neck down to see it. Your light is on and your door is slightly ajar. Night sits peacefully outside your window.

You look through the crack in your door to the hallway outside.

Don't you dare look away.

Now that you've started looking you've alerted it. You know that its coming again. All you have to do is keep watching.

Your eyes are trained on the sliver of light that your room is throwing into the hall. You know what you're waiting for. It'll have to crawl to get to your room, but it will crawl if it has to. You'll see its head slip into sight. It will look like one of those grey aliens, gaunt and egg-shaped, with wide eyes. Or maybe no eyes. And no mouth. Or maybe a wide, toothed mouth. You don't remember what it's face will look like. You have to keep watching to remember.

You don't let it be a conscious thought, but you think about it all the same. There's only one door to this room. You never think of what happens once you see it. You're not allowed to, the rules demand it. The faintest whisper of this thought slips through though, just enough to not let it disturb the watching part. Is it really as frail as it appears?

Don't you dare look away.

It's about to slowly push its head into that crack in the door. Your mind expects it with such ferocity that you can already see it happening. Your whole body is burning. The watching part's wide eyes are flickering desperately.

You see a shape and your heart catches in your through. Adrenaline pulses through your chest and into your limbs. Terror rattles around in your mind.

You hadn't noticed the coat hanging in the hallway before.

Don't you dare look away.

But you think better of it, and do anyway.


You've gone for a walk up at the park. It's a cool winters afternoon, but you're still wearing shorts. You've gone for your normal lazy circuit that passes up to the treeline at the edge of the park and back again. You go for a jog around the oval as well.

Leaning against the wire fence you look out across the oval and into the trees beyond. As the sun slips behind the bushland you remember how early it sets in winter.

Your eyes make that motion again. The anticipation hits.

Don't you dare look away.

It will look so at home among the trees. They are twisted and pale, much like it. Standing still you might not even notice it from this distance. But then it will start walking along the oval in long strides. You know somewhere that it would catch you eventually, but wondered what would happen if you could find someone else before that, or get to a major road.

Just like the past few times, you feel it coming. You start seeing it in your mind. Those brief flashes that herald its appearance.

Don't you dare look away.

The wind picks up a little. It caresses your skin, drawing goosebumps to the surface. It adds to the mounting expectation that you feel. You know it's going to happen. For real this time. You feel it in your bones and teeth. All you need to do is keep watching.

Just keep watching.

It's so close now.

Stalking through the trees.

Moving in silence.

Searching for your precious line of sight.

All it needs is for you to see it.

Then it's real.

Then it's here.

It calls out to you.

Pleads with you.

Bargains with you.

Commands you.


Don't look away. Don't you dare look away.