01 Feb My stepfather’s nanny cam
I didn’t notice the nanny cam for a few days.
My mother recently remarried, and her new husband moved in about a month ago. I refuse to call him dad. Please don’t think that this is normal teenage angst. I have good reasons not to.
My stepfather is a creep. Even before they married I would notice him leering at me a little too long, or find him looking for excuses to be near me when my mother was gone. My mother would wave this away when I would bring it up to her. She would tell me that no man was good enough for her in my eyes and that I was inventing excuses as to why she should leave him. It was very frustrating.
…And a little scary.
I found myself uncomfortable in my own house, in the house that I grew up in. I had decided to move out the moment that I could, but graduation is still a whole season away. So I will have to suffer until at least then.
I have been spending less and less time at home. Any excuse I can to be away from him I take. Maybe that’s why I did not notice it at first.
I’m starting to wonder if I regret noticing it at all.
School had got out early because of an electrical problem that day and I decided to go straight home. It would be nice to be alone in the house for a change as both my mother and stepfather were working. I could finally be in my own home and not worry about being watched or objectified.
Like I said, the house was empty, and there was nothing there to keep me company save for a few dust motes dancing in the sun’s rays. It was quiet, even serene. I went to my room to change and got my top off before I saw it.
In the corner of my room, slightly buried by all of my old stuffed animals was a stuffed bear I did not recognize. I don’t remember anyone gifting it to me or buying it myself, it was just there and it was faced right where I sleep. I picked it up, and that’s when I noticed that it had a camera in it.
That fucking camera.
I knew immediately that my creepy, perverted stepfather had placed it. I wanted to scream in rage, wanted to cry, I wanted to leave. I ripped the bear open, happy knowing that there was probably an easier way to get to the camera but was happy for the catharsis of it and found the SD card it was dumping its files to. It goes without saying that I locked my door.
I brought the SD card over to my laptop, I had to see what the bastard was recording.
It was not at all what I was expecting.
The first thing I saw was his creepy god damn face as he set the bear up in my room. Right away I saw him pause near my panty drawer, but he walked out of the room then. I skipped ahead.
Most of the footage was of nothing. Like I said, I have not been spending much time home. I, of course, saw what I feared I would. Minutes of me undressing, of me naked. It made me sick to my stomach. Dread had made permanent residence in my being. I skipped ahead.
I watched it at 4x the speed, and night fell. I watched as I studied, totally unaware that there was an audience to my actions. I watched as I spent more time on my phone than I should have. Then I slept. I left my laptop open. I was going to skip over this part, see if he had footage of me dressing or getting out of the shower in the morning when I saw it.
In one frame there was nothing, in another, it was there. Perched on top of my dresser, looking at me as I slept was the figure of a small child. As my chest heaved with breath, it squatted on top of my drawer. Perfectly still.
I could not see a face, only shadow. It was almost as if it was just a child shaped hole. Even the light of my laptop reflected nothing onto it.
It was there for hours.
As I tossed and turned. As my sheets were thrown off by my movements and as I moved in a manic 4x speed I watched at it stayed perfectly still. I watched as it watched me. From 2 AM to 4 AM it stayed put. Then it was gone.
That was the first night.
I skipped over a large chunk. Not caring about scenes of me naked anymore. I went straight to the next night.
It was back. 2 AM, right on the dot. Except for this time I woke up. My movements seemed mechanical. I rose straight up and out of bed, and turned directly to the shadow child. Its “head” followed my movement. There is no microphone on the spy cam, but I could see my lips moving. For ten minutes I talked to it (no idea if it could talk back). I remember none of this.
I went back to bed. It watched. 4 AM and it was gone.
I skipped ahead to the third night.
1:59 it is not there. 2:00 it is on my dresser. I wake up and once more I talk with it. For the first time I see it do something other than stare, it brought it’s arm upward in a sharp and quick movement, I watched as it pointed at my door. I looked to where it was pointing, and then I left my room. It followed. 4: AM I returned, my clothes muddy and my hair disheveled. I remember none of this. I watched as I undressed and put my clothes in my hamper and go back to sleep. This was this morning.
I didn’t know what to do. I checked my hamper after the video ran out and found the clothing I was wearing still with mud on it. Except some of it was darker than mud, some of it was a dried crimson. I hope to god that it is not blood.
I don’t know who to turn to. I don’t want to sleep here. I just know that at some point my stepfather is going to retrieve his camera and then…
…And then I don’t know. I’m going to confront him about this.
Wish me luck.
I shouldn’t trust him. But…
The first thing I did when I heard my stepfather’s car pull up into our driveway was to grab a kitchen knife. The second thing I did was conceal myself in my closet.
To be clear: I was not hiding from him.
I was cornering him.
He didn’t know that I got out of school early, and he was usually home before I was. According to the timestamp on his stupid god damn camera he set it up and started recording three days ago about an hour before I got home. I set the stuffed bear, the facade back where he had placed it. Then I waited.
Turns out, I did not have to wait long.
My stepfather, that creepy bastard wasted no time in getting inside of my room. He went straight to the bear. When he picked it up, when he noticed that it was lighter and that stuffing had been torn out, I opened my closet door. The knife held behind my back. I was not silent. I wanted him to know that he had been caught.
“What the fuck are you doing?!!” I yelled with a shaken voice.
He turned around. Deer in the headlights. The bear held impotently in his hand. “This is not what it looks like,” he said.
The silence was thick with indecision and fear. I took a step forward.
“I saw the videos,” I said with less confidence than I had hoped. He avoided my eye contact. I kept him in my gaze. Always.
“Then you’ve seen It,” he said, “you’ve seen the thing.”
I nodded my response.
“Let me see,” he said.
“What? So you can see me undress you pervert?” I said, knife still held behind my back.
He shifted his weight, and he fought off a smile. “That was not my intention,” he said as he looked me once over. Bottom to top.
He explained to me then that he had suspected that something was wrong. He explained that he was worried about me, that he thought that the child-like figure, that It was after me. He said that he needed proof, that if he was going to protect me he needed evidence. He said that he couldn’t ask for permission, that he couldn’t place the camera if I knew about it. I wouldn’t believe him until I saw “It”…
…And that is believable enough. All things considered, and with the benefit of the doubt, that seemed reasonable.
…With the benefit of the doubt, that is.
“You can keep the SD card,” he said. “If you saw It, if you believe me I don’t need to see it. But we have to do something about It.”
That last part, he was absolutely right about. I asked him what happened next.
“We start by putting up a barrier,” he responded, “We put a perimeter of salt around the house, keep it out.” He turned and began walking out of my room. “We need a lot more than what we have in the pantry, I’ll go and get some more.” Then he paused at the door, turned, and looked at me. “It’s probably best that we don’t tell your mom,” he said, “it would just freak her out.” And with that, he left.
I listened for his car’s engine. I waited. When he was gone, I put the knife under my pillow.
Something was bothering me.
He never said why he was suspicious.
He never said why he suspected that there was a figure on my dresser. Never said why he thought something was after me. I had left my room the night before, but he never once said that he saw me leave, or said that I was acting weird. Could that be new? Could he not know about that yet?
…what had tipped him off?
So I logged onto his desktop.
I checked his file history.
Apparently, that was not the only nanny cam.
That dread I had felt in my stomach? It was back in full force. There was at least a week’s worth of videos of me. Of just me. No figure, nothing out of the ordinary. The creepy bastard had been filming me for a week before It showed up. He knew something was up, only after he had been spying on me.
“It’s probably best that we don’t tell your mom,” he said. Creepy asshole.
The first night it appeared on my dresser, after a week of my stepfather just filming me, the void child pointed at the nanny cam. It never once looked at me. It held its arm up, perfectly still and pointed Its silent accusation at the camera. I skipped ahead. 10x speed. It did this for two more nights. Then It started talking to me.
At that moment I did not know who I feared more. The creepy pervert stepfather, or the void child. I knew that right at the dot, right at 2 AM It would be back, but my stepfather would be in the other room. I felt trapped.
I made up my mind then.
When he came home I acted as if nothing was wrong. I should get an award for that performance, mind you, because everything was wrong. I was thankful that he didn’t try and start any conversation. As he poured a ring of salt around the house I stayed behind him, never once giving him the satisfaction to leer at me. It was harder work than you think. You can’t rush that sort of thing, you can break your perimeter pretty quickly if you are not patient. “Everything has to be uniform,” he said, yet the salt in front of his and my mother’s bedroom was thicker than the rest.
“It’s going to come again tonight,” he said as we were finishing up. “It’s going to try to get in, to get to you, but this should stop it.”
I did not tell him what else I had seen. I did not tell him about my muddy clothes.
We waited to complete the barrier until after my mother came home, so she wouldn’t see it.
By the time my mother was home, it was night once more. Dinner was dead silent. My stepfather excused himself early.
I snuck outside around midnight. The air was chilly, almost oppressive, there was no moon. I felt gooseflesh prickle across my bare arms, saw my breath turn to cold steam. The darkness was nearly complete. I did not have to travel far, I did not have to stay out for too long. I marched up to the salt barrier.
I kicked a hole in it.
Then waited in bed for 2 AM.
All I ever wanted was to feel safe in my own home.
I waited for 2 AM. I knew It would be there, right on the dot.
While my stepfather slept soundly, while the pedophile bastard slept just feet away from me, divided only by a thin wall, I waited. I sat in my bed, laptop open, playing the videos over again.
I don’t know why I was torturing myself like that. I told myself that I was doing it to learn more about my visitor, but I did not skip over the other parts.
I watched as I undressed, oblivious to the peepshow. I watched as I went through my nights like a normal kid. Wasting time, studying, not a care in the world. I watched as I fell asleep. One second I am sleeping peacefully, the next there is a child-sized hole on my dresser. I watch as I rose from my sleep, with mechanical movement and no recollection of doing so, I watched as I talked to the void child.
I tried to make out what I said, to read my lips.
I was trying to assure myself that I had made the right decision.
I watched as I left my room, with a blank face, almost as if I wasn’t in control. 4 AM and the child is gone, and I walk in with muddy clothes, and something dry and crimson.
It’s 1:15. Forty-five minutes to go. I skipped backward, I watched as I talked to It. I tried to make out what I said. I can’t.
It’s 1:20. Still time to change my mind, still time to repair the salt barrier.
I stayed in bed.
I watched the videos.
It’s 1:55. I hold my breath for longer than I should, I hear my heartbeat, manic and afraid. I keep all of my attention on my dresser. I fish for the kitchen knife under my pillow, just in case.
It’s 2 AM.
And then… nothing. It doesn’t show. A minute goes by. I have to remember to breathe. Still nothing. Maybe the hole wasn’t big enough? Maybe it couldn’t get in? Maybe that was good.
Then I heard something. Heard the weight of an adult in the next room. Heard footsteps make its way out of my parents’ room! I heard as the footsteps moved toward my door. Saw the silhouette of feet under the crack of my door. I clutched my knife… but the footsteps continued. I heard them walk to the front door.
I moved to my window. It was my mother. She walked out of the house, still in her nightgown, not wearing shoes. She walked barefoot to her car, her movements almost mechanical. Her face was blank, far away. It was the same as mine in the videos. The engine to her car turned, and she drove away.
I could feel It before I saw It. Right next to me, on the dresser was the void child. It sat perched, and what little light was in my room was obliterated by Its figure. It was still, unnaturally still. I wanted to run, should have ran, every inch of me was terrified. But I had to hear. I had to know.
But the light was being eaten. The void was taking hold. I felt like I was drowning, I felt like I was doing all I could to stay above water. The darkness was near complete. I struggled to say something, I struggled to do anything. I heard It speak, Its voice like broken glass. “No witness,” it said. There was nothing. Nothing but void, nothing but darkness.
I don’t know how long I was out. How long It was in control. But I have a pretty good guess as to what we were up to.
I came to, feeling the oppressive bite of the chilled night air. No moon. I was outside. Gooseflesh prickled across my naked arm. I was disoriented, dizzy, I had a headache. It took me a moment to realize where I was. I had traveled far. I was in the woods.
My clothes were muddy, my muscles were sore. There was a shovel in my hand…
I was standing on the edge of a deep hole.
I noticed It then. The void child. Perched in the branches of a tree, staring right at me. It did not move. “I was first,” it said, “no witness.”
I looked into the hole.
At the very bottom was a crudely built box, six feet long and two feet wide. It had been nailed together. The craftsmanship was shoddy. It was my craftsmanship. It was painted in crimson red.
The pounding began.
Muffled cries for help. The panicked knocking on wood. “Help!” someone said within the box.
It was my stepfather’s voice.
The panicked pounding quickened. The lid of the box heaved from the effort. I looked up at the void child, and I understood then why It was no longer in control, why I had come to just then.
It would never rob me of the satisfaction.
It was 4 AM. The void child was gone.
I struck dirt. I heaved my first shovelful of dirt and dropped it into the hole. I watched as the crimson box became slightly obscured by the mud. That’s when the screaming started. That’s when the pounding went from panicked to desperate. I shoveled some more.
“Don’t! Stop! Please!” he screamed. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” I stopped. I looked down into the deep hole that I had dug over two nights. I looked at the red coffin I had built and painted. I said nothing back.
I remembered all of the times I had caught him leering at me, the time he was just outside of the bathroom as I came out from a shower. I remembered that once I felt safe in my own home, and that all changed when this bastard moved in. The nanny camera. The videos. I wondered what he would have done next.
I dropped the next load of dirt into the hole…
…And I smiled.