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My feet splashed in the puddles leftover from the downpour earlier. My sneakers soaked up the muddy water. I couldn't see my feet clearly, but I could definitely feel the water seeping in between my toes, leaking through my socks. The walk back from my biology lab was a bit of a hike across campus, especially when the temperature dropped to below freezing after dark. A puff of air condensed as I breathed out. I had to vigorously rub my hands together to create any type of warmth.

"I should of brought gloves this time," I thought.

It was a bit funny, how different the campus looked when the sun went down. I normally would enjoy a peaceful walk alone, looking at the earthy autumn tones that decorated the trees. But when the sun went down, the silence was off putting, even eerie. I just tried to think about my cozy twin XL bed that donned my fuzzy blanket. I couldn't wait to crawl in there with a cup of tea and just relax after finishing all my work for the week.

I straightened the straps on my backpack.

A thought crossed my mind. I chuckled to myself.

I was the only one in my friend group to have any night classes. Before I left, my roommate asked if wanted someone to walk with to class, just to be safe. I told her I would be fine. My other friend tried to freak me out, yapping about some strange entity that was rumored to follow students who were alone at night. I tuned him out.

I felt a large yawn coming on. I squeezed my eyes shut and stretched my mouth to let as much oxygen in as possible. When I opened my eyes back up, the world around me was a bit fuzzy. The sidewalk in front of me blurred. I couldn't make out the shape of the person walking in front of me, they didn't seem to be moving that fast.

After a few reorienting blinks, the environment solidified. The sidewalk ahead of me was empty.

"I must be exhausted," I mumbled to myself.

My breathing lined up with my footsteps. A breeze rustled the leaves on the trees that lined the path, causing a few that were at the end of their life to flutter down to the ground. The crunching of the leaves seemed odd, and didn't line up with my gait. I froze.

A shiver shot down my spine. I read on the internet that the human body can feel when someone is watching you from a distance. I whip my neck around and stare at the sidewalk behind me. It's empty. All I could hear was my own heartbeat.

I loosened up my shoulders, took a deep breath and continued my pace. I sped up slightly, dying to just get back. I could see my residence hall in the distance.

There was a large oak tree who's roots leaked into the pavement just ahead. Its leaves were the color of a paper bag and most were barely hanging onto the branches they were attached too. The trunk was bigger than my wingspan. I looked up and admired its sheer size.

When I glanced back down, there was a dark figure wrapped around the trunk. Two pin sized white dots where in place of its eyes. It was barely human shaped, it was hard to make out. I couldn't look away; a raw sense of fear engulfed my body.

I yelped, fumbling with my phone in my hand. When I caught it before it hit the ground, I clutched it to my chest. My eyes shot back to the tree trunk. The figure had disappeared.

I picked my pace up to almost a jog, figuring that I would back to my hall in less than a couple minutes. Occasionally I would turn my neck to look behind me. I tripped, stumbling over my own feet and nearly fell on my face. Luckily I could use my arms to catch me, sadly I had to sacrifice my phone. Glass scattered across the concrete.

I huffed and reached for the, now shattered, cell phone. My hand reached halfway before I felt something breath down my neck. Every single hair stood up on my body and my muscles paralyzed. I didn't dare turn around. I waited to see if it was just the wind. It wasn't.

Mustering every ounce of courage in my bruised body, I slowly flipped myself over onto my butt, sitting on the pavement. My eyes bugged out.

The same figure was standing about twenty feet away down the sidewalk. At first glance, it was shaped like a human. It held itself up with two legs and had two limbs sticking out from its torso, but there was an amorphous component that was unworldly. It seemed like this creature was made of the void: nothing at all. The two eyes I had seen before behind the tree dug into my head like a white hot light. They caused nothing but panic, but I couldn't force myself to move.

The creature said nothing, just staring in an idle position. We stared at each other in silence, waiting to see who would make the first move. I just begged myself to be hallucinating. I had pulled an all-nighter the previous night, but I wasn't sure what stage of sleep deprivation illusions started.

No other source of light was around except for the street lamps down toward the residential commons. I could barely see the mysterious creature. I wasn't even sure it was real. Then I knew.

The void parted just below the eyes, revealing a blistering white smile, complete with sharpened teeth. The horrendous smile spread from each end of the creatures "face", wrapping around its cheeks. It flexed its hands, showing its long and skinny shadow phalanges. Its fingers were a bit too long to be normal.

I made the stupidest decision.

"Hello?" I asked.

The creature took two steps, faster than any human would have been able to take.

I stumbled to my feet and started bolting in the other direction, hardly holding onto my backpack. I could hear heavy footsteps and the splashing in the puddles behind me. It felt like someone was constantly breathing an ice cold breath down my neck. My body felt in a constant state of panic. I was dizzy and could barely run straight.

Finally, I crossed into the yellow hued light of the residence area. I sprinted through the spotlight the street lamp created. I whipped my body around to see if the creature was still following me. The white eyes and smile still lit up the darkness, coming closer and closer toward me. I ran backwards, still staring into the creature's eyes.

It ran through the same street lamp that I did. As soon as it hit the light, the creature was gone.

I collapsed, surrounded by gawking freshman, talking about the scene I had just put on. A curly brown-haired girl in pajama pants came over and knelt down next to me.

"Are you alright?"

I didn't answer and my mouth hung agape. Her blonde friend rushed over and stood next to her. The brunette whispered to the blonde.

"I think she's had too much to drink. Let's take her back to her hall."

The blonde scoffed. "On a Wednesday? Work hard, play hard, I guess."

They walked me back to my residence hall, swiping me in with their keycards.

From then on, when I got the elevator, I pushed myself up against the wall as far as possible. I checked over my shoulder every time that I walked, no matter where I was. I never talked to people on the sidewalk that I didn't already know. My roommate stopped asking why I was always a little off.


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