22 Dec There was Something Knocking on the Air During my Walk Home – Creepypasta
I was a sitting on a park bench, minding my own business, when I heard someone knock on the air next to me. At first, I thought that someone had hit a baseball with a bat nearby, and the sound had traveled. But it was rainy, and approaching midnight—there wouldn’t have been anyone outside playing baseball. I had just gotten off work, and decided to have a seat at the park that I must pass on my way home. There’s a tree directly over the bench, and that had shielded me from most of the rain.
When I dismissed the first thought for the sound’s origin, the second—my brain still clinging to rational explanations—arrived: it had been a gunshot. I’d never heard a gunshot before, not one in real life, but it seemed plausible at the time. This of course put me on edge; I was alone, unarmed, and still had about a mile and a half on my walk home. The park held several towering trees, and the lights placed intermittently throughout the park did little to dispel the darkness and shadows abound.
Anyone could easily hide beneath the umbrage of the trees; completely hidden, with a clear view of me, since a light-pole stood just by the bench. I scanned the area, trying to discern some human-shaped object in the darkness, but saw nothing beyond the forms of trees, and other recognizable park paraphernalia; fountains, benches, trash cans, etc. Of course, any of these objects could hide or partially conceal a human body, if they had mind to hide themselves.
I peered through the darkness for what felt like ages, but saw nothing. The sound did not repeat, and in my burgeoning fright I tried to tell myself that it couldn’t have been a gunshot; that if someone had fired a gun, they would’ve fired a second shot—to ensure that their victim was dead; that aiming accurately in the darkness would be incredibly difficult. With this panic-conceived rationalization I gave up my scrutiny of the shadows, picked up my bag, and began walking the rest of the way home.
I passed the boundaries of the park, glancing over my shoulder every few seconds to ensure that no one was following me. Once I had gone past several intersections without spotting anyone, I calmed down a bit, and slowed my walk to a more casual stroll. The rain continued on, unrelenting, but my hood kept most of the water from my face. I was utterly soaked, though, and silently thanked whatever power bestows luck, because I wouldn’t have been able to flee from a pursuer with such heavily drenched clothing.
When I reached a corner, just as I rounded it, I heard the same sound—that short, concussive knock, right at the left side of my face. I flinched, stopping in place as I did so, but my eyes had stayed slightly open. There was nothing at the corner, no one down the sidewalk, and yet the sound had seemed to come from directly next to me. The streetlights that lined the way illuminated a bare and soaked sidewalk. I took a tentative step down that way, and became suddenly aware of how audible my footsteps were, as the water sloshed about within the soles of my shoes. I realized that there couldn’t have possibly been anyone near me; I would’ve heard them, even if I hadn’t seen them.
All the shops along the sidewalk were closed; the signs that said such faced the street; the neon shapes and letter dimmed or completely off. The street to the right was devoid of cars, and the line of shops across it were equally inactive. I was alone, and yet I had the feeling that something was around—some invisible presence.
Certifiably unsettled, but also fearing pneumonia, I continued on. All the stores, most of which I had visited at some point, seemed to blend together into a single, endarkened structure as I sped by. I wasn’t running, but I wouldn’t call my movement walking, either; a stuttery, almost skipping gait that probably looked laughably ridiculous. But I didn’t care—with each second that indiscernible presence seemed to draw closer.
I finally reached the block on which my apartment complex sat, and slowed my walk. I was fairly tired; the rain having made the last stretch an exhaustive exertion. My building loomed ahead, just across the street. There is a gated side entrance, but it can only be exited by a motion-activated sensor on the other side, not entered. I had to around the corner and head to the front of the complex, and use my key to go through the sidewalk gate.
I had just made it across the street when the knock happened again, this time right in front of me. I recoiled away, almost slipping and falling backwards. There was nothing up ahead, nothing that could’ve produced the sound. My heartrate increased nearly to the point of tachycardia, and I became hyper-aware of myself and surroundings. Adrenaline kicked in, and my body tensed itself in preparation for an encounter. I had never felt this way before, so instinctive, so primal; so terrified.
The next knock came suddenly—more sudden than the others, I mean—and despite my physiological changes, it took me off guard. It had come from behind, and I practically lurched forward, cursing loudly as I threw my hands out to prevent myself from falling onto my face. I quickly scrambled to my feet and turned around, but as you probably guessed, there was nothing there. Nothing that I could see.
I had become completely oblivious to the rain. My clothes were totally saturated; my hood matted down to my head. All worries of sickness due to exposure to the weather were totally ejected. All I could think about—and I wouldn’t even call it intelligent thought—was the thing prowling around, knocking on the air around me.
Another step towards home. And then another. A third. A fourth. Ten steps later, another knock came, this time I actually felt the dispersed air. It hit my face; an invisible shockwave. I continued on, now running, mindful of—and thankful for—the rain, which mixed in with my tears. I didn’t want to be seen crying. To be seen hurrying away from an invisible pursuer, flinching every few seconds, would be embarrassing enough.
I reached the gate, key in hand, and unlocked it. I slowed my pace, but still kept up a jog; weaving through the parked cars in the lot. A corner rounded, a set of stairs climbed, and I was at my building. I slowed to a walk, finally reaching the corridor at the end of which sat my apartment.
Just before I reached the door, another knock sounded. This time it was unmistakable, because it, the force or thing which before had struck the air, had now hit me—right in the forehead. It felt like a punch; a solid, closed-fist strike to my cranium. It sent me backwards, and I slipped on the water I had trailed into the once dry corridor. I felt on my back, hard, but luckily had some instinctive sense to keep my head up at the last second. Nonetheless, my vision briefly became blurry; the light fixture overhead seeming to expand, throwing its illumination in wavering rays upon the space around me. I leaned forward, expecting to see some manifestation of the thing which had chased me for nearly three miles. But all I saw was the door to my apartment.
There were no footprints, no puddles made by someone other than me.
Slowly, so as to not make myself even dizzier, I rose to my feet. I listened for the faintest sound that would indicate the presence of something else in the corridor, or descending the stairs that led to it, but all was quiet. Even the noises of the rain were muffled to the point of inaudibility. To all my regular senses, I was alone.
And yet I had undoubtedly been punched in the face.
Despite my home being just a few feet away, I didn’t want to enter; didn’t want to lead the presence into my apartment, where it could haunt and harass me to no end. Some vague intuition told me that it wasn’t in front of me, that I could safely put my back to my apartment’s door, and gaze down the corridor towards the stairs. I was cold, still soaking wet, and tired, but I didn’t dare kneel or assume a position of rest. I needed to be alert, as perceptive as possible. I wasn’t sure what I would do if I saw someone or something, but I wanted to be as ready as the circumstances would allow.
Eventually, I sensed the approach of the unseen entity not with vision, or sound, but an inner prescience, some deeper extrasensory perception that picked up some physically imperceptible signal. An ability I believe intrinsic to everyone, capable of being unconsciously utilized during moments of such unique and preternatural terror.
The entity, I sensed, was coming from my left—through the solid concrete wall of the corridor.
As fast as I could, encumbered by my waterlogged clothing, I dodged to the right; sure enough, I heard that all-too-familiar knock, and felt the air shift just beside my face. I had just narrowly dodged another punched aimed at my head. I’ve never been a fighter, never even had a physical confrontation, but something awoke in me that night. Instead of simply fleeing and awaiting the next attack, I re-positioned myself to strike, and threw the best punch I could muster, aimed towards the general area at which I had sensed the entity.
And my fist struck something solid—something a few feet from the wall, seemingly in mid-air.
A sort of triumph overcame me, and following that was a short-lived but impassioned fury. I swung again, and again, striking the invisible assailant with successive blows. Most were feeble, considering my exhaustion, but there were many of them. I pummeled it with both hands, until my knuckles hurt. I heard no sounds, and while the surfaces my fists made contact with seemed to shift, as if it were attempting to block my blows, it did not try to retaliate. I don’t think it could; I don’t think anyone had ever managed to fight back.
The final blow landed on what I was sure was its head, and I finally let my arms fall. I panted, more soaked in sweat than water, and stepped back a few feet. The adrenaline and anger had begun to wear off, and I felt the post-violence fatigue slowly encroach upon my body and stiffen my limbs.
Outside, the rain picked up, and flashes of lightning illumined the dimly lit corridor. In one brief flash, I saw a humanoid figure hanging limply from the surface of the wall, as if fused within the concrete. Its body was mostly translucent, barely identifiable as anything other than a figure, an outline. For a moment, I stared with the satisfaction of one who has defeated a formidable opponent. I’d had no idea of what it was, and hadn’t even been able to see it, and yet I’d won.
This satisfaction lasted for a few seconds. Before my eyes, the thing rose from its incapacitated state, still attached to the wall. It raised its face to me, and I fell back against the opposite wall, utterly petrified by the infernal image before me. Its face was caved in, and the blackness within seemed depthless. Its torso was opened, vertically, creating a massive trench from forehead to navel. The cavernous blackness of this bodily opening seemed to drink the corridor’s light; I felt myself, some spiritual part of me, being drawn into that abysmal orifice.
Just as I thought it would swallow me, entombing me that awful darkness, another flash of lightning lit up the corridor, and the image disappeared. The air, which before had taken on a stifled heaviness, grew light again; and my nerves eased up almost immediately. With the same higher sense that had anticipated the creature, I knew that it had departed—1 gone back to its Stygian realm, wherever that may be.
The blow to my head still hurt, as I stumbled to my apartment. I wouldn’t have consciously survived another. I don’t know why I was chosen as its prey, but I had beaten it; driven it back to immateriality.
Now, days later, I occasionally see others on my walks to and from work. And though I no longer hear the knocks, I sometimes see people flinch seemingly for no reason at all as they go about their business. They look around, confused, then carry on—eyes glancing here and there. If the source of their distraction is what I suspect, I hope they have the courage and resilience to face it as I did.
I’m sure that it would’ve taken me to some awful, dark-choked sub-existence if I hadn’t fought back. I felt an unreal despair in that brief vision of its half-manifested form; a soul-blighting experience that I’ve still yet to fully recover from. I wouldn’t wish such a black and dreadful fate upon anyone.