On the Ceiling

I’m writing this down because I have to get it out of my head, and I know better now than to talk to anyone. Not until I have proof, at least.

It began two weeks ago. Well, maybe it’s been longer than that. But it started waking me up two weeks ago. At first I thought it was water in the pipes and tried to ignore it. Maybe one of my parents had gotten up to use the bathroom or something. That’s what I believed until the third night.

It was around two in the morning. I’d gone to get a drink from the bathroom, and on my way back I paused. There was this feeling in my chest like something had reached out a hand to stop me. I leaned out into the hall and peered toward my bedroom. Nothing was there.

Then I realized I could hear that noise again. It was coming from the other end of the hall. I started to turn my head in that direction, but for some reason I couldn’t make myself look. Since I’d just come from the bathroom, I knew it wasn’t the sound of water in the pipes. I knew it wasn’t anyone in my family because I walked passed all their rooms on my way to get the drink. They were all in bed, asleep judging by the sounds of their breathing.

Whatever was at the other end of the hall, I didn’t see it. Couldn’t. My neck refused to turn that way. I felt better when I got back to my bed, but the memory of that feeling, my body’s iron refusal to let me look, kept me up well into the last dark hours of morning.

After that, the nightmares started. Perhaps the most unsettling thing about them was they seemed so mundane, inseparable from real life. I’d be lying in my bed staring at the bedroom door. That’s all. Nothing would actually happen, but I always thought something was about to. I felt like I should hide or something, but I couldn’t move. The air felt like it was made of delicate glass, and if I so much as twitched everything would fall apart and something bad would happen.

Sometimes, while the nightmare was going on, I’d manage to wake myself up. It was always surreal, because I’d be lying in exactly the same position as in the dream, my eyes fixed on the door. The only difference between sleeping and waking was the realness. And the noise.

It had grown louder over the past few nights. Definitely not the pipes. It was too solid, like someone hammering a piece of wood. I couldn’t believe it didn’t wake anyone else up.

I finally asked my parents about it one morning. I told them I’d been hearing a strange banging coming from the other end of the hallway. Neither of them said they’d heard anything like it. Based on my description of the noise, Dad wondered if a neighbor was doing some renovations in the middle of the night. I knew that wasn’t the case, though. These sounds were coming from inside our house.

About halfway through the second week, things escalated. I don’t know what compelled me. Maybe I was sick of being woken up every night and not knowing why. I got out of bed and went out to the hall. I felt the muscles in my neck tensing, trying to force me to look away, but I mastered my fear long enough to get a quick glimpse.

At the opposite end of the hallway, we have a spare room where we keep old furniture and junk. The door is always shut because, well, it’s a mess and no one ever goes in there anyway. Tonight, however, it was open, but that wasn’t what sent me running back to my bed.

I saw something go inside.

It wasn’t walking on the floor.

It wasn’t even hovering, like I thought ghosts were supposed to do.

It was walking on the ceiling.

Its body was so pale it glowed dim white in the darkness. Its back was arched the wrong way, with its head and arms dangling up, as if gravity worked in the opposite direction. Each step caused its limbs to quiver lifelessly and its head to wobble as if its neck were broken. And the noise. The sounds that were waking me up every night were its footsteps.

I never fell back asleep that night. As soon as the sun was up I darted into my parents’ room and tried to tell them what I’d seen. I should’ve known they wouldn’t believe me. Not without proof.

It’s taken me the past couple days to work up the courage to do this. The nights are unbearable. I hear it walking around. Now that I’m listening for it, I hear the junk room door creak open. I don’t know what it does in there, but tonight I’m going to find out. I’ve got my phone and a flashlight. After I show them the video, they’ll have to believe me. They’ll have to do something about it.

They’ll have to make the nightmares stop.

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