There’s a feeling we all experience. A sense of aching, a hitch in your breath, your heartbeat pounding in your head. A questionable feeling; a feeling we choose to ignore for the sake of our selfish naiveté and sanity. As humans, our egos will not let us admit it, but it’s the deeply recognized truth that sparks the flame of humanity. We are drawn by fear, controlled by it. Fear is our first and last instinct. In fact, you may feel it right this very moment. Do you feel the sudden need to look behind you? Do you feel the prickling at the back of your neck, warning you of your imminent danger?
It’s Their fault. Every feeling of fear you experience is caused by Them. No one knows who They are. But They’re there.
The two most powerful forces inside of us are curiosity and fear. Which is more powerful? The fact of the matter is, fear should always drown out curiosity. Those who search for the unsearchable are met with inevitable consequences. Those who look for Them are the most cursed among us. Sometimes, it’s just better not to look.
I shouldn’t have looked behind me. I shouldn’t have been curious about the feeling I had. Every time I close my eyes, I replay the scene in my head. Sometimes I remember so vividly it feels as if I’m experiencing it all over again…
I lay in my bed, listening to the soft ticking of the analog clock on my wall. I try to close my eyes, hoping to succumb to the familiar pull of sleep. Just as my consciousness begins to slip away, I hear a faint sound. I’m not sure where it’s coming from, but I assume it’s the sound of the house settling. Funny how we all write off the unexplainable with an excuse we all know isn’t reasonable. Disregarding the noise, I push myself deeper under my covers. I try to keep my eyes shut, but the noise continues. I feel a sudden chill rolling down my spine, gooseflesh erupting on my skin. My breath turns heavy, and I search the darkness for an answer.
I always thought my room was small. That is, until I look around and feel swallowed by the size. The corners of my room serve as hiding places for dancing shadows, teasing me with their flickering. I swear I see something move next to my closet. Everything in my body tells me to turn around, to ignore all of the noises and sights, and force myself asleep. My curiosity outweighs my common sense and I slip out of my bed.
As we know, fear should always, always keep us from curiosity. As I glide across my bedroom floor, almost as if I’m in a dream, my pulse is so strong it shakes my hand. My hand reaches towards the closet door and slowly opens. My eyes widen and I jump back. I slowly begin to chuckle, realizing there was nothing there. Nothing to be afraid of. I wait a few beats before I stumble back to my bed. Pulling my comforter over my head, I settle down and close my eyes once again.
Until I hear it again.
A soft scratching sound emits from somewhere in my room. It’s the same sound I heard before, but this time it’s louder, more urgent. This time, I feel a false sense of security and pride; nothing was in my closet, therefore, nothing is there. The scratching bothers me beyond my ability to ignore it. I get out of bed, searching the darkness for an answer. I realize with a sense of disgusted horror that the noise was coming out from under my very own bed. I know that I should turn and run, or go back to bed, or do anything, anything except look. But again, my curiosity outweighed my fear. I knelt down. I looked.
I should not have looked.
I should not have looked.
I should not have looked.
Why did I look?
Like I said before, those who search for the unsearchable are met with inevitable consequences. Those who look for Them are the most cursed among us.
You may have seen people like me before. Those who wander the streets with no light in their eyes. They walk as if their humanity has been ripped away from them. They are the ones who gave into their curiosity as if it were courage, the ones who ignored their fear and selfishly tried to find the truth to a question to which we aren’t meant to know the answer. They are the ones who saw something that took away the air from their lungs and the voice from their throats. Their determination to exceed past the boundaries of human nature was what cost them dearly. They are the people who lost something that’s worth more than anything in this world. They are the soulless among us.
As humans, we try to ignore things we don’t understand. If we don’t see things, if we don’t bear witness to things, they are nonexistent in reality.
Just because we can’t see Them in the light doesn’t mean they’re not there. They just can’t hurt you. Don’t worry, They can’t hurt you in the light. That’s why they wait. They wait until the light goes out.
Always listen to your fear. Our human naiveté is what keeps us safe. When you hear the tapping on your door or the scratching under your bed, ignore it. Close your eyes and force yourself asleep. It’s just Them, trying to see if your curiosity is stronger than your fear. Never trust curiosity.
Because, as we all know, curiosity killed the cat. Sometimes, it’s just better not to look.