I spent the night over at Nikki's, having come over to watch some movies and generally spend time with her. Naturally, as best friends, we thoroughly enjoyed each other's presence; so much so that we utterly lost track of time until the darkness of the night encroached the house, along with an unusually heavy thunderstorm that came completely by surprise. I distinctly remember that earlier in the day, the sky was devoid of anything save for the light from the distant sun. I swear that one of us had commented regarding the blueness of the sky on the way here. Regardless, the weatherman being wrong wasn't exactly something that I was taken aback by. In fact, I was initially delighted by the storm; it gave me an excuse not to go home.

"Oh crap, Connie, it's super late. You should've left wayyy long ago," Nikki said, embarrassed. "Maybe you should call your parents and tell them to give you a ride?"

Nikki's question bothered me. My house was at least half an hour away down the highway and through some woods which were impossible to see through at night. This, as you'd expect, ruled out the possibility of me heading out on foot, since I wasn't about to catch a hideous cold, or worse. On top of that, my parents were likely sound asleep by now, not that I wanted to waste my time being in the house with them, given that we don't exactly share a good relationship. These last couple of months I'd been storming off and sleeping over at a random friend's place following any disagreement I had with them, which usually regarded my own freedom. After what they tried pulling on me, I much preferred to avoid them at all costs.

"No," was my immediate response. "I'm not giving them a call. Besides, they're deep asleep anyway."

"Sorry," she replied. "I should've known better than to ask that. Don't worry though, I won't bother you like they do. I guess… you wanna spend the night?"

Nikki's house, a 2-floor modern house in the suburbs, was a beautiful place, and since her uncle was out of state taking care of work, we would be alone here. I gave her an obvious "hell yeah." Considering it was a school night, however, all I could do was sleep. We couldn't stay up late. Just a simple sleep over. "Simple" was relative however; I had had a hard time sleeping in the months leading up to this day because of increasingly numerous and insidious dreams… nightmares. I've grown accustomed to the nightmares. My parents are fools—I didn't need to get a mental examination. I can handle this on my own… I know when I'm having a nightmare and when I'm not. I hate being treated like I'm crazy. It's sheer lunacy that your own parents don't even trust you. Regardless, I was here to spend the night, and Nikki took the bus to school, so I could go with her to school when we woke up. Simple.

Once I got into the pajamas Nikki lent me and prepped myself for sleep, she texted me. "Hope you sleep well <3." I smiled and left the bathroom, walking into the guest room on the second floor. Maybe because of the sound of the thunderstorm's rain smashing against the windows of the house, coupled with the eerie silence present inside and what I could only describe as rocks or branches repeatedly hitting the walls outside, I locked the door behind me. Maybe it really was that, or maybe that was merely the reason what my mind was telling me. Every night I spent at home, my parents would lock the door to my room. Hence, I've grown used to it. They never told me why they did it. Mentally I had already prepared an excuse for Nikki for when she tried waking me up. I planned on telling her that I wanted privacy. It really wasn't a big deal.

I set my backpack at the foot of the door and I lay on the bed posthaste, letting out a loud sigh following a long day. Putting my phone on the floor, I checked the time. 11:30 PM. Only had 10% battery left, though, which was a bummer. My phone was going to be dead the next day. I rolled over on the bed and now faced the window. I reminisced, as I do every night. It was a fun day. I did a play-by-play in my mind of the day's events until my eyes grew heavy until it was impossible for me to keep them open, though an occasional stone the wind would throw at the house would jolt my eyes open. Sooner than later though, my consciousness simply stopped.

I was dreaming now. Initially I saw Nikki's house during the deep night, difference being that it had a forest behind it. It seemed like I was watching myself standing next to the house staring into the woods. I was just staring. All that my dream self was seeing was the woods and the opaque darkness that filled the gaps between the trees. Abruptly, like in real life, it started storming, leaving no visibility. My dream self turned around. I saw a man, shaking, across the street in the pitch black, visible only through the rain marking his skeletal, shaggy outline. He was staring down at the floor. I didn't understand. After lightning struck, the man was no longer at the spot I was looking at. Following this, I heard a light tapping sound. The rain was muted. There he was, the man. He was on the floor on the walkway to the house's door, slowly crawling toward the entrance. He was tapping the cement floor repeatedly. Tap, tap, tap, tap. It seemed, he was trying to get the attention of the people inside the house without having the energy to do much else. He continued tapping. Tap. Tap. Tap. I grew sick. Tap. Tap. Tap. He then stood up and looked at me. His face had the widest, most twisted and deranged smile you would've ever seen. Imagine walking down a dead street at midnight with no lights illuminating anything and nobody around, and all you see is someone across the street with soulless eyes staring directly into your soul with an unnaturally large smile… that is what it felt like. The hideous old man… he wasn't human. It wasn't human. The creature transmogrified into a more sinister form, covering its mouth as it stretched out in size. Finally it stomped on the ground with such ferocity that a deathly, unnatural sound knocked my dream self to the dark, wet pavement. The ground below me disintegrated and I began to fall into the fissure below. I woke up in a jolt, nearly jumping from the bed.

I was paralyzed and without breath. This dream… this… nightmare. It might have been the worst nightmare I ever had. Waking up to the thunderstorm still raging, even harder than before, I grew restless. I looked out the window. There was nothing outside. It was as black as black can get. I found this particularly horrific. Earlier I could at least see the slight midnight-blue of the storm clouds when I looked outside, but now it's just rain and pitch black. As I pointlessly tossed and turned to try to fall back asleep, I noticed that there actually was a light tapping or creaking sound. I could… hear it. Tap, tap, tap. It was faint and almost impossible to detect thanks to the rain that was torturing me psychologically.

When I looked outside again, I noticed that the window wasn't pure black anymore. I could see the clouds again. Was… was something standing at my window before? I felt a sharp pain in my chest when I realized this. There's no way. It's impossible. My mind was just playing a trick on me. I didn't want to think of that any longer, so I covered myself with my blanket.

I continue to lay in bed, hearing these tapping noises for what felt like an excruciatingly long time. I had been trying to fall asleep and ignore it for so long. I gave up after a while and looked at my phone screen. 2 AM. Jesus Christ. I was now convinced that I was merely having some horrid, vivid hallucinations. My dream was merely the origin, the source of it. But that was such a bizarre dream, and this tapping I hear is far too real. Was this Nikki making these tapping noises? Was she sleep-walking or trying to emulate a song rhythm? Why would she even be up at this point? It made no sense for this to be Nikki. I couldn't--I couldn't just let it go and sleep. It was too mentally taxing. Something was really down there, hitting the walls. I unlocked my phone and texted Nikki in the remote possibility that she was awake.

The taps now became louder. This… this was not a hallucination. I was actually hearing these. After the longest 2 minutes of my life, staring at my dying phone anticipating the appearance of three dots in a speech bubble indicating Nikki was typing a response, it happened. Nikki was awake. This partly relieved me; it might have been her making the noises after all. It all seemed clear now: Nikki was downstairs eating a late night snack, maybe listening to music, and was tapping on a wall or something. I was now ready to go to sleep, expecting to read a message that read "whoops, did I wake you up?" from her. However, this was what I received instead.

"Connie? You're still up? Are you the one making that tapping?"

My heart dropped to the floor. The weight of what I now realized was going on hit me like being pierced by a million knives. I got up and put my ear to the door. I could hear it. Clearer now. Downstairs, someone was tapping--no… it wasn't tapping. Someone was straight up knocking on the door downstairs. I was absolutely horrified beyond belief. There was really somebody there. I texted Nikki back, telling her that it was not me, and that someone was out there knocking on the front door in the cold, drizzling night. Nikki told me to go to her room; that it was safer there. I was wary at first, but hearing the knocks get louder--almost like pounding now--persuaded me to swing the door open and sprint to Nikki's room. On the way, within the span of a single second, I shot a glance at the front door. The porch light was on, illuminating what otherwise would've been pure darkness out the window.

When I saw that there was a tall, human-like figure outside the door, trying to break it down, I almost vomited out of pure, unadulterated horror. I knocked furiously on the stubborn door that blocked the entrance to Nikki's room, which I felt was sentencing me to die by not letting me in. Nikki opened the door with hazy eyes and I threw myself inside, falling on the floor.

Nikki looked at me, shocked. She asked me what I was doing and why I was crying and screaming. "Connie, what's going on? What are you doing?"

I was a confused by this. I shouted, "What? Nikki, I'm hiding from the… the thing that's trying to break down your front door!" Nikki looked pale when I said this, as if she had to be reminded. She looked out the door and walked out. I wanted to stop her but the fear within me was so overpowering that all my body could do was firmly glue itself onto the floor behind Nikki's bed. It seemed like an eternity passed, waiting for Nikki to come back. I was fully expecting for the thing to materialize at the doorway and kill me. Before I knew it, Nikki was back inside the room. She turned on all the lights in the living room.

"Connie, there's nothing out there." I was physically unable to respond.

"Connie, there is nothing out there except for the rain. Even if there was something out there we could just call the police, relax. You almost gave me a heart attack." This is literally impossible. "Nikki, this isn't funny. I know you heard it too! You texted me telling me that you heard the tapping too! I can prove you did!" I reached for my phone, which I had managed to place in my pajamas' back pocket.

"Nikki, I have it on my phone. You…" I looked at my phone screen. It wouldn't light up. My phone was dead. I couldn't prove it one way or the other, from my end at least. "Nikki open Messenger on your phone. I know you sent me a message."

"I haven't been on my phone since I went to bed." I refused to believe this. This was insanity. How could Nikki think this is funny?

"Stop lying!," I screamed in a blood-curdling tone. "You sent me a message! Open your phone now!" She was scared by my behavior, to the say the least. She agreed to show me her messages. I snatched the phone from her hands as soon as she unlocked the phone. I frantically tapped on the messenger app until it opened up. The last text was to me. "I knew you texted me!" I angrily opened the conversation, expecting validation.

"Hope you sleep well! <3"... the timestamp was 11:24 PM. I went numb and let the phone fall to the ground. Connie picks it up--I didn't perceive the expression on her face. I was too busy questioning my own sanity. Was this all an extreme nightmare that I could not discern from reality? No, impossible! I saw and heard these things! They were not fantasy, I did not imagine them!

"Connie… are you okay? I'm worried about your mental well-being."

This infuriated me. "Of course I'm fine! Of course you would doubt me! Why can't you believe me?" Lightning struck after I finished screaming, causing a brief power outage. I didn't care, I had my eyes closed and streaming with tears. Nothing was real anymore. I was waiting for Nikki to call the police to take me out of there since I was acting like psychopath and I am clearly insane. But there was no reply. I counted the seconds in my mind to see how long it would take for her to scold me. To call an asylum. To run out, to slap me, to do ANYTHING. Nothing. The power was back on. I slowly opened my eyes and looked at the direction Nikki was standing.

I saw it. The thing. The horrible, disgusting creature that was making a mockery out of me. It was right behind Nikki. It had her in a chokehold. It spoke to me, telling me to try to kill it if I could to save Nikki. Its hideous face was positioned right above Nikki's, and it was cackling maniacally. I KNEW the demonic creature was real, not just a figment of my mind! Without skipping a beat I forcefully threw my dead phone into the TV screen next to me, shattering the HD TV's screen into several razor-sharp blades. The monster screamed disturbingly, muffling Nikki's own pleas. I grabbed a shard, closed my eyes, no longer capable of bearing witness to this thing's hideousness, and screamed "Go to rot in hell you piece of filth!"

I lunged forward, aiming for the creature's head, and I heard a stomach-churning spurting sound. I drove the shard deeper and deeper until I was no longer able to drive it in further. It was over. I breathed heavily. I took in a few seconds in order to prepare myself to see the demonic hellbeast's face ripped to shreds. I opened my eyes.

To my horror, there was no demon... no hideous face, no corpse, nothing behind Nikki. After my eyes stopped frantically and desperately looking around the room, I finally realized that only Nikki was in front of me. I had stabbed her in her face instead.

Here I lay on the ground, with a shard piercing through the head of my best friend. All I can do now is wait. I can only wait, until they find us. When they find us, that will be the end. The end of my nightmare.

Night in the Storm Hellbeast

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