It was dark and creepy in the gas station bathroom when I walked in. We had been driving for almost five hours and I really had to pee. The only gas station we found was a rundown looking place off the side of the highway. It looked like it saw one customer a week, tops. But it was good enough for me. I told my husband to park right outside the bathroom door to make sure no creepy guy followed me in. I don’t think I had been ready for the dirty surfaces and flickering lights, though I probably should have expected it.
I decided to use the larger stall. You know, the one meant to be wheelchair accessible? I wanted to spend as little time in this bathroom so the stall with everything in one would be perfect. I could pee, wash my hands, and run out of this bathroom. There was such a creepy vibe in there and I didn’t like it.
The stall in the farthest corner was pitch black. The light above it had gone out and draped it in darkness. There was no way anyone would want to use that stall. I didn’t understand why the attendant didn’t replace the bulb. But they probably didn’t have many women using the bathrooms out here so maybe it was far down on his to do list.
I stepped into the stall and placed one of those seat covers down. Normally, I’m not a germophobe, but the condition of this bathroom looked like a staph infection waiting to happen. Just looking at the metal surfaces made me feel like I would get tetanus. This vacation would not start with me getting sick because I couldn’t hold it another ten miles.
As I sat on the toilet and started to relieve myself, I heard a noise coming from the opposite side of the bathroom. I was certain it was the pitch-black stall. At first, I wondered if someone had been in there the whole time, but I remembered seeing the door slightly open. Would someone really use this bathroom without latching the door? Unless the stall door was broken. That was entirely possible in this filthy place.
But the sounds didn’t sound human. More like a strange clicking noise. I would have thought some sort of bug or animal had nested in the dark stall, but it sounded way too large. The clicking echoed through the entire bathroom and started to grow louder. The noise started to freak me out and I wanted to rush from the bathroom. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite finished with my business. I tried to push harder, hoping it would help me pee faster. I just wanted to get out of this place.
The clicking stopped at the same time I finally finished peeing. I wiped and stood up as fast as I could. While I pulled my pants back up to my waist, I tried to press the flush lever down with my foot. Nothing happened. I pressed harder but it still wouldn’t flush. I no longer cared if I left a mess in the bowl or not. The clicking sound had returned followed by a strange tapping. It sounded like a sharp fingernail on one of the stall walls.
Without bothering to wash my hands, I darted from the stall and headed towards the front door. Behind me, I could hear a stall door creak open and I froze in horror. Ever so slowly, I turned my head to glance behind me. From the darkened stall in the corner, I could see movement. Something tall, gangly, and pale crept out of the darkness. It wasn’t a person or even an animal. At least, not like one I had ever seen. My hands shook at my sides as I stood there looking over my shoulder. The creature moved slowly on all fours. It’s arms and legs sprawled out like some sort of four-legged spider. It had the features of a person, more or less. Arms, legs, torso, head. But all were exaggerated and elongated. Its face was nothing more than a gaping maw of teeth and a long tongue.
It had no eyes which meant it couldn’t see me. The tongue flicked through the air like a snake’s and I realized it was tasting a scent on the air. It crept closer and closer to stall I had come out of. Then the disgusting reality hit me. The urine still in the toilet had attracted it.
Even from this distance, I could make out the pinholes in the side of its head. No doubt they were ears. I didn’t know how good its hearing was, but I was afraid to make a single sound. The beast was large enough to take two strides and be on top of me in no time. There wouldn’t be time to open the creaking door before it pounced. I had to stand there and wait for this disgusting creature to enter the stall I had come from.
Drool dripped from the razor filled mouth as it clicked its nails on the tile floor. My heart beat so fast in my chest I thought the beast would hear it and lunge. It stopped for a moment outside the stall and moved its face closer to the inside latch. I watched in disgust as its tongue licked the latch, leaving behind a sticky residue. Then, it proceeded inside the stall. Withing seconds, I heard something splash into the toilet followed by a terrible slurping sound. I nearly vomited as I thought about that creature enjoying my urine as a treat.
I hoped the sound of the sloshing toilet bowl would cover my escape as I reached out for the door handle. When my hand touched the metal, the slurping stopped. I swear my heart stopped with it. The clicking noise returned and I realized something horrible. It had caught another scent. As fast as I could, I ripped the door open and flung myself over the threshold. I heard nails clacking on tile as the creature ran towards the door. It let out a strange screech as the bathroom door shut behind me. A second later, and I would have been dead. I was sure of it.
My husband was still sitting in the driver seat of our car when I climbed in. He smiled at me as I buckled. “All better?” He asked. I looked in the side mirror at the bathroom door. The tip of the beast's tongue poked out from under the door and then retreated. I looked at my husband and nodded nervously. There was no chance he would ever believe me. And I didn’t want him going in that bathroom to prove anything to me. I wanted to get as far away from this place as possible.
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It's late at night and I'm extremely tired. But when a baby cries, you have to check up on them. Right now he is crying. I can hear his screams through the baby monitor on my nightstand. Reaching out, I grab the receiver and press the button to see the video feed. Now I can see him flailing around in his crib, an upset look on his face. There's no chance he will be going back to sleep.
Sitting up in bed, I fling my feet over the edge and stand up. A quick stretch and I head to the kitchen to prepare a bottle. His cries echo through the dark and lonely house. My wife is not home tonight. She's been working hard lately and taking care of our son. I told her to go out with her friends tonight and get a drink. I guess she had a few too many and ended up staying at her friend's house for the night. It's fine. I think she deserves it.
As I shake up the bottle, my son screams louder. It's almost like he can hear the bottle being made. Or maybe he senses it. Who can say? Either way, I want to quiet him down and get back to sleep. Taking care of a child by yourself is tough work. I find myself thinking about single parents and can only commend them.
Heading back towards his room, I crack open the door and slip in. It's pretty dark in here but my eyes adjust fairly quickly. There he is. There's my beautiful boy writhing around in his crib. I find it funny when he gets so angry for a bottle. He acts like someone is trying to suffocate him. But the noise is piercing and I want it to end.
Scooping up my son, I stick the bottle in his mouth and try to shush him quietly and affectionately. Carrying him carefully to my bedroom, I prop myself up in the bed and watch television while he snacks. I don't dare look at the alarm clock on my nightstand. I really don't want to know how late it is.
He begins to slow down and his eyes shut. I know he's getting ready to go back to sleep but I must burp him first. This is the part I hate. Not because I'm afraid to hurt him but because I know it will wake him.
He begins to fuss again and I put the bottle back in his mouth. As I do, a familiar noise comes from the baby monitor. At first I'm confused but then the hair on the back of my neck stands up. I can see the image of my child's room on the monitor. There is no one in there. Yet somehow, there is a cry coming from the monitor. A cry that sounds exactly like my son's. I look down at my baby but he is sucking away at his bottle without a care in the world. I am unsure of what is waiting for us back in that room.
Standing in the clearing, I stared down the scope of my rifle. The familiar shake of adrenaline pumped through my veins but I took a deep breath to control it. With my hands more stable, I scanned the area for my target.
Everything seemed clear, but everything is not always as it seems. From my hiding spot in the treeline, I decide to continue to wait. Patience has always been my greatest attribute. I could wait here for hours. Days maybe. But I knew I wouldn't have to.
Right on cue, something stepped into the clearing and looked around. I would have to wait for a clean shot. It wouldn't take long. My target does not have the training I have. It would all be over soon.
My target advanced to the center of the clearing. My sights were clear and the cross hairs of my scope aimed square on his chest. I could probably take him down from here, but I felt cocky. I would let him get further. I would let him get closer. He would feel safe in this clearing. The adrenaline was back. Watching my target and knowing he was unaware of me made me feel so alive.
My finger danced on the trigger, itching to give it a pull but my pride would not let me. I wanted to push everything to the edge. I wanted to live there. My target would never see it coming.
He stepped closer and my heart thumped faster. Sweat streaked down my face and into my eyes but I ignored the burn. I could only focus on the vacant look on my target's face. He was clueless to the fact he was being watched. He had no idea his demise was only a few yards away from him. Just a few more steps and his fate would be sealed. I would be the victor.
The suspense was too much. I couldn't take it anymore. I had to take my shot. He was close enough now to feed my ego. I had watched him long enough. Taking in a deep breath, I stared down the scope yet again and placed the cross hairs on his center mass. Pulling the trigger several times, I watched as the spray of red covered his chest and bled to the grass below.
My target dropped to his knees in surprise and let out a yell of pain. "Jesus Christ, Brad, that's going to bruise."
I laughed as I popped up from my hiding spot.
"Did you have to hit me so many times?"
"Yes I did."
I laughed again and slung my paintball gun around my back. Once again, I was the victor.
To cover up his search history, Evan Bond is a thriller/suspense author. As an outdoor enthusiast and horror lover, Evan Bond enjoys writing stories where the two come together. He lives in Florida with his wife and two sons.