You know those nights, don’t you? The ones when life gets a bit too real and when you can’t sleep because your head’s heavy with questions.
What’s the meaning of life?
What am I even doing here?
Where do I want to be in ten years?
With a sigh, I lit a cigarette and leaned out my window, staring at the dark night sky. I drew on the cigarette, still deep in thought.
The dorms were all but quiet, and it seemed every other student was fast asleep. For a moment I was ashamed of myself. What was I even doing? I should be asleep as well. I had a math lecture in about four hours and here I was staring out into the night.
Well, not like it really mattered. It wouldn’t be the first time I’d miss that lecture, and it wasn’t like I’d miraculously understand differential equations of a higher order.
In sudden frustration I stumped out the cigarette, flipped the butt outside and was about to close the window again.
Suddenly, a quiet voice reached my ears.
“What the hell?” I brought out, straining my eyes to find the one whispering, but there was no one out there.
“Over here,” I heard the voice whisper again.
Leaning outside, I turned left, then right to find a dark figure pushing against the wall mere meters away from me.
“Fucking,” I cursed in shock.
“Can you help me?” the voice asked. It was as quiet as before, nothing more than a whisper, but now I noticed it as distinctly female.
“What’s going on?”
“I’m lost,” came the answer.
I couldn’t help but laugh a little. How in the hell did you get lost on campus? She’d probably been out partying and was too high or too drunk to find her way home.
“Where are you trying to go?”
For a few seconds, there was nothing but silence.
“The dorms,” she finally answered.
Another long pause.
“I, I’m not sure,” she pressed out.
Well, isn’t that great?
“Hold on,” I said.
I threw on my jacket, put on my shoes and made my way outside. It was dark, and it took me a while to see her. She was still in the same place, nothing but a shadow huddled against the wall.
“Yo,” I brought out as a little greeting. “So you’re trying to find your dorm, but got no clue where to go?”
“Well, since you’re here, it must be one around campus, right?”
In the dark, I couldn’t see much of her. All I could see was shaggy, wild hair and a mousy face wearing thick spectacles. I’d thought she’d been out partying, but I could somehow tell that this girl was no party girl.
“What happened? How did you get lost?”
She stared first at me, then out into the dark. Her mouth opened, then closed again. For a moment, something was strange about her, about her face.
“All right, listen, I can help you find your dorm, but you’ve got to talk to me.”
“I don’t know,” she finally brought out. “I don’t know what happened.”
For a moment she was about to add something else, but then she shook her head. I gasped. Even in the dark, I saw how strange her head moved, how her neck jerked from side to side.
Shit, what the hell was wrong with her?
“Are you all right? Are you hurt? Want me to call an ambulance? Maybe you fell and,” but I broke up when she repeated the same motion again.
“No. No, I’m all right, I think. I just want to get home.”
“Well,” I started, thinking about what to do and how to help her. “There are only a couple of different dorms around campus.”
I had nothing else to do, and I sure as hell couldn’t sleep.
“All right, how about we walk to each one of them until we find yours, how’s that sound?” I finally suggested.
For a moment she seemed unsure before she gave me a weak nod and pushed herself from the wall she’d been huddled against.
In the night’s dark, I’d only been able to see her hair and her face. Now, as she moved, as she pushed her body forward, my eyes grew wide. There was indeed something wrong with her, entirely wrong.
A pair of dangly arms stretched out from her body. They were too long, way too long, and a second later they came to rest in front of her. Then another pair pushed forward and her body was lifted from the ground. Not arms, I realized, legs, two pairs of long, dangly legs.
I stumbled back, fell to the floor at the sight of the apparition in front of me. Her body was thin, but tall, way too tall, and I realized she must’ve been crouching near the wall.
As she stretched herself, I saw an elongated neck.
A short, high-pitched scream escaped my mouth.
“What’s the matter,” the thing brought out.
Her neck jerked into my direction and long spidery fingers reached out to me.
I threw myself backward, crawled away in shock.
“No! Go away! Go away!” I screamed at the thing.
For a moment its eyes met mine. I’d expected them to be hungry, to be wild, but they were filled with nothing but confusion.
We both froze, both staring at each other.
Then a light from one of the dorm rooms above flooded us.
In an instant, the creature’s hand jerked back. Its eyes grew wide, filled with shock and terror.
“Not right, this is not right,” the creature brought out, retreating from me.
Its voice was louder now, and for the first time I could hear how different it was. It was inhumane, distorted, almost gurgling.
“Not right,” the creature brought out once more.
Its mouth opened, unhinged like that of a snake, and an inhumane shriek, full of misery, cut through the night. A second later, the thing rushed away and vanished into the darkness.
I was left alone in the grass in front of the dorm building. Behind me, more lights were turned on, windows were being opened and angry voices called out at me to be quiet.
But I didn’t react, I couldn’t
Instead, I just sat there, staring out into the night with yet another question on my mind.