A close personal friend related this story to me. He asked
that I type
it up for him because his own typing skills lack something to be
desired (his own words, not mine -- scout's honor).
This is pretty
much a verbatim transcript of what he told me, because while his
ability with the word processor can be found wanting, his ability to
spin an enjoyable yarn isn't half bad.
I've changed the names of the people involved in the story at their
So, without further adieu, I give you The Thing Outside the Window.
My name is Patrick Johnson, and the story I am about to tell is one
hundred percent truth. While I will forever maintain that I am not
lying, I'll be the first to admit that maybe I don't entirely
understand exactly what happened that night. Maybe I'm remembering it
wrong because it was such a surreal event, or maybe my mind is filling
in the blanks with something more horrible than what actually
occurred. But whatever the case, this anecdote is entirely as I
September 27th is my birthday. In 2003, I celebrated the big
twenty-one. As is usually the case during such a birthday party, we
intended to spend the night drenched in copious amounts of fine (read:
cheap) alcohol. There was some talk of going on a group trip into town
(I live in the country, about 35 miles from the nearest city) and
spending the night at the bar, but none of my friends were willing to
volunteer for the dubious honor of designated driver, so in the end we
opted to go one county over (not only do I live an insane distance
from the nearest town, but I live in a dry county as well) and pick up
a couple of cases of beer, some whisky and some vodka.
When I use the word party in relation to my 21st birthday, I feel I am
being a bit disingenuous. It wasn't really a party in the traditional
sense. It was just four of us (myself and three friends -- Matt, John
and Alex) sitting around in the living room, eating cake and drinking
alcohol. All in all, I'd say it was a pretty sedated event, very laid
back and relaxed, that is until my bladder finally got the better of
me, which sent me blundering into the bathroom... and into the
dizzying events that followed.
The bathroom in question was quite small. Standing in the doorway, you
could reach out and just about touch every surface in the room. To the
right of the door was a bathtub/shower combination. To the left was
the washbasin. Against the far wall, pinched between the washbasin and
a head-high window was the toilet.
The window over the toilet is the focal point of this particular tale,
but let me give you an idea of what you see while looking out said
if you walk right up to the window, you'll find the toilet
directly to your left. When you stand there to relieve yourself, you
can turn your head and look out into the back yard. At night, however,
there is very little to see. There is an emergency light that
activates when it detects movement in the backyard, but otherwise it
is fairly dark. At the rear of the yard is a line of pine trees (still
green at the time, despite the slowly cooling temperatures) that act
as the fašade of a fairly deep forest. At the head of the forest's
frontage are two small buildings. One, off to the far left of the
bathroom window (and almost out of sight) is the garage. The second
building is a small tin shack that stands on wooden legs. The lack of
trim around the lower edge of the building allows you to see clear
through to the other side during the day, but at night it's pitch
black under there.
So I walked into the bathroom, closed the door, and took the two or
three steps between the entrance and the toilet. I glanced out the
window as I did so. The night was clear and cool, and the moon was
bright. I could see the tin building against the trees, and I could
see the trees themselves swaying against a rather powerful breeze.
Other than that, I noticed nothing out of the ordinary, so I set to
the business relieving my booze-filled bladder.
Before I had even finished, I could hear a sound outside the window.
At first I thought nothing of it, probably because I was light headed
enough from all the alcohol that it just didn't occur to me to notice
it. But as I was finishing my business, the sound outside the window
began to grow in pitch. I stood there silently for a couple of
seconds, listening. It sounded like a low growl that was steadily
rising in pitch, the kind of sound a cornered animal might make when
its hackles are up, only there was something off about it. It sounded
like whatever was making the sound had a throat full of fluid. There
was a kind of bubbling; a gurgle, and it too steadily rose in pitch.
It was only a matter of moments before the sound was nearly skull
splitting, and I got the distinct impression that whatever it was, it
was lingering below the window, right up against the house.
my pants, flushed the toilet and quickly exited the bathroom. I closed
the door behind me, and still I could hear the sound.
I walked down the hall and into the kitchen. It was empty. Alex, John
and Matt were gone. For one panicked moment I thought that whatever
was making the sound had gotten them (generally I'm not the panicked
sort, but I must have been pretty close to drunk by this point, and my
head was racing with all sorts of crazy ideas). Then, from the living
room, I heard Alex's voice.
"What is it?" he asked, and I could hear that he too was on the verge
of drunken panic. I walked across the kitchen and into the living
room. Alex, John and Matt were standing near the back door. To the
right of the door was a large window with Venusians blinds. One of
them had opened the blinds, and all three of them were peering out the
window, across the right side of the house. The bathroom was just on
the other side of the living room wall, and I understood then that
they, too. had heard the sound and had gone to have themselves a
little look see.
I crossed the living room and touched Alex on the shoulder. He reeled,
his fist held up in a defensive gesture, and I held my hands up in the
air. "It's just me," I said.
Alex relaxed (a bit) and pointed at the window. "You hear that, right?"
"I hear it," I said, and pushed past him so that I could get a good
look out the living room window. "It sounds like it's coming from near
the bathroom window."
John glanced at me, his gaze a bit hazy and not entirely all together,
and I could see that he was holding one of my grandfather's old
walking canes in his hands. He was squeezing the thing so hard that
his knuckles were pale as a sheet.
The four of us stood at the window for about a minute, peering out it,
and all the while the sound continued to persist. It didn't get any
louder and the pitch had leveled off in a disconcerting whine.
"Hey!" Matt cried suddenly, pressing his hand against the window.
"Look, I think I see something. God, look at it!"
I pressed my face against the window and cupped the sides of my head
with my hands, trying to cut the glare from the living room lights. My
eyes moved slowly across the yard, first to the right, then to the
left, then to the right once more. And then I saw it, too -- small and
low to the ground, it came out from below the bathroom window and
moved lazily across the yard. The thing walked in a crouch, knees
bent, its arms hanging at its sides pleasantly. It looked to me like
it was enjoying a lovely stroll out in the crisp night air.
Now I admit that it was very dark out and we had all been drinking
fairly heavily, but later we would discuss what happened that night
and we would all agree on what we saw (even John, who remembered the
least): the thing stopped midway between the house and the tin shack,
looked over its shoulder, and grinned at us. With my face pressed
against the glass and my hands shielding the glare from the living
room lights, I could see it clearly in the moonlight. It was
definitely grinning, and I saw its tongue flick out and run across its
lips. I couldn't see its teeth. I didn't want to see its teeth.
I think it was teasing us.
Then I noticed its eyes. I try not to think that it was looking right
at me, but it sure felt like it was (the others would probably say the
same thing). The thing that had been the source of that gurgling growl
outside the bathroom window had eyes like tiny, polished mirrors. They
reflected the moonlight in a way that made my skin crawl (have you
ever seen how a person's eyes seem to shine in certain types of night
vision footage? It was like that, only a whole lot brighter.)
"What is it?" John asked, his voice low, trembling.
"I don't know," I said, "but I don't like it."
"How come it doesn't trip the emergency light?" Matt asked.
It hadn't occurred to me to wonder about the emergency light, but once
Matt mentioned it, I realized it was a good question. I didn't have
time to reflect on it, though, because I heard the backdoor open. I
pulled my face away from the window and looked around to see John
standing in the opened door, the walking cane held in front of his
"Close the door!" Matt cried and was moving with a speed that I look
back on and admire. Given how much alcohol we consumed, I don't think
I could have been quite so on the ball.
Alex swore. I looked around at him and saw that he was staring out the
window, eyes bulging. "John, get back in here, man! It's coming this
I looked out the window and saw that Alex was right -- the thing in
the yard was moving back toward the house, and it was moving fast. It
was no longer crouching and its legs pumped furiously as it rushed
toward the back door. Toward an intensely drunken John.
Matt grabbed John by the shoulder and yanked him back into the house.
John lost his footing and the cane flew askew, falling near the
window. He toppled and landed on his chest, groaned, and blacked out.
Matt slammed the back door and twisted the bolt lock. Alex backed away
from the window in a hurry, screaming several colorful words that I'm
not allowed to share here.
The door shuttered in its frame and the thud that accompanied the
impact was deafening in the quiet that had fallen over the four of us.
Matt was leaning against the door. A terrified bark of laughter
escaped him when the thing collided with the door. His nerves were
frazzled, I suppose, and I don't blame him for laughing. The sound of
that single mad burst caused me to let out my own bitter hoot. Oddly
enough, I felt a whole lot better after that, less tense (I guess it's
true what they say -- laughter in the face of terror is perfectly
The four of us held hard for at least two minutes. John lay on the
floor, asleep or unconscious; Alex stood in the hallway leading to the
kitchen, his arms crossed over his chest; Matt continued to lean
against the door; I stood near the window, looking out into the
darkness. I didn't see the thing, nor did the emergency light ever
come on. Finally, I walked closer to the window and pressed my face
against it again. I think I heard Alex take in a sharp breath. Maybe
he was going to tell me not to get so close to the window, maybe not.
I don't know. What I do know is that there was no sign of the thing
that had been making that sound outside the bathroom window.
Alex, Matt and John remained at my house for the rest of the night.
went and locked the other two exterior doors while Alex and Matt
helped John into the guest bedroom. When he woke up the next morning,
he didn't remember anything after we initially saw the thing come out
from under the window, and even that was a bit hazy in his brain. He
wasn't entirely sure he didn't just dream the whole thing. The only
reason he's even willing to entertain the idea that it might have
actually happened is because the rest of us corroborated what he
I haven't seen the thing that was making the sound outside the window
again, but I don't go out into the backyard during the night anymore,
and I've had the emergency light replaced with a full-time street lamp
bulb (when the sun starts to go down, the light activates and doesn't
go off again until first light).
I don't know what that thing was. After seeing it in my back yard, I
reckon it enjoys scaring people. I'm sure it could have gotten into
the house if it really wanted to. There were plenty of windows that it
probably could have shattered, but it didn't. Like I said, I think it
just wanted to scare us.
I hope that's all it wanted.
May I never have to find out otherwise.