She slept in one room and woke up in another. “I must be sleepwalking” she would say, but I always reminded her that I had locked the doors from outside the previous night. She saw her reflection blank, saw her shadow walk past her, heard screams across the hallway, seen the stars go away, sometimes all at once. Sometimes singular occurrences.
She would then explain this to me, her visions, but I naturally dismissed them as a case of her overactive imagination. But then I found her a few hours after her ninth birthday party. Curled up on the rocking chair in the old nursery, almost catatonic, her fingers and gaze locked on something I couldn’t see. Her arms were covered in bites and gashes, I knelt to hold her, asking her to look at me, that it wasn’t real.
I forced myself to believe it wasn’t real.
Sheila died on Christmas day, in bed, she was running a fever so I gave her some painkillers and climbed into bed with her. I remember her asking me to turn off the lights, but I didn’t listen, so I left them on.
The next morning, I woke to the overpowering smell of blood and what was left of Sheila. I remember the weird way the cremators regarded me when I took her in at the crack of dawn. Her body was bitten in places and torn, so deep you could see bone. I told everyone that she had gone missing, that I met her bed open and the window open on the night of Christmas. I put out “missing” signs, I complained to the police. I let my mother comfort me in my sorrow.
She’d said that we would find her, I heard myself agree but I knew that she would never ever be, and now you do, too.
I think the sorrow opened my eyes to the unseen. I started noticing things, harmless things. Voices from the kitchen, objects that had been moved about, I cast two shadows once. Stress induced hallucinations, the Doctor had said.
But I knew, and now you do too.
After a while, I noticed a disfigured creature always lurking around but never interacting, turning off the lights in the house as I went by, I would turn them back on. It would turn them off as soon as I’d left.
The day I broke down, I found myself in that rocking chair, crying. The creature was hobbling about the house turning off the lights and it stopped in front of me, its face shrouded in fear. I put on the light and it turned it off, I realized it was warning me, “IT“ only came in the light. I remember Sheila begging me to turn the lights off, I didn’t know then, but now I do.
You do, too.
In many ways, she had seen the dark. I was just blind to it.