Music by Myuu
There is quite a large chance of meeting some weirdos while walking through the streets of any even slightly significant city in the U.S. at night. This is especially true around or on pretty much every holiday on the calendar. Why I was out for a nighttime stroll to admire Christmas lights at 11:30 P.M. on Christmas Eve, God only knows. However the events following that night were some of the oddest I had ever experienced.
As I have already stated, I was casually strolling my way down a street in my hometown of Northfield, Ohio. Considering the location and season, it was deathly cold, a near 10 below freezing. I was in my thick winter coat and near knee-high snow boots, but I’m the type of person who has a mild resistance to cold, so I didn’t pay much mind to the freezing weather. I actually partially enjoyed it.
Aimlessly ambling around the streets of the town is actually quite whimsical, observing the amount of hard work and effort the people must have put into their decorations. The houses are truly an amazing sight, and they set quite the mood. In truth, Christmas is my favorite time of the year.
As I was on my way back to my home, I stopped abruptly to more closely perambulate an astonishing decoration setup. Apparently, whilst I was admiring the incredible work, a lone stranger had seemingly been watching me from afar. I didn’t notice the man’s presence until after I had started making my way back to my home. As a heavy gust of wind rushed in my direction, I turned around to look away from the wind so it didn’t sting my face as much as it would have. Then, I noticed him. Just standing there, still as a statue. He was about 30, maybe 40 yards away. From what I could tell, he didn’t have a coat on, just maybe a sweatshirt, and he appeared to be carrying something. His presence unnerved me slightly. What was a man without a coat on doing outside in 10° below zero, just gazing at passerby? I was just about to turn around and start traversing my way home when the stranger started to head in my direction. He appeared to have a staggering limp and it seemed that he could barely hold himself up. At least, whatever he had on him. From where I was, it looked like he was skin and bones.
As he came closer and closer, I felt the need to run. But for some reason, I just couldn’t. It’s impossible to explain why I felt compelled to stay, I just did. I just simply can’t give a reason for standing there like I did.
The stranger speedily approached me, mumbling something. The only thing I could make out was something about a burden being released and a curse, something you’d hear out of a gypsy’s mouth. He shoved the box into my arms and ran off, thanking me for whatever reason.
The box was your typical, generic, cliché Christmas present box. A small perfect cube with a lid slightly bigger than it on the top. The box itself was green, with that perfect red ribbon making a pattern on it. In simpler terms, it was something like you’d see on a movie or TV show.
The odd man had already sprinted out of sight before I could utter a thank you. I suppose he really wanted to get rid of it. But why? I saw nothing wrong with the gift. It looked perfectly normal. The contents may have been a bit suspicious (seeing as it was apparent that he and I hadn’t opened it yet). I could only assume that someone had given this to him, unopened, and he thought it was a bomb or something and freaked out. But what he was rambling on about as he handed me the gift was odd, however. I couldn’t find a logical way to piece the whole event together.
All I know is that afterwards, I speed-walked my way back to my house, considering it was quite late into the night anyway. I entered into the warmth of my home, removed my heavy winter gear, and plopped down onto my couch, box in hand. I stared at the box for at least five excruciatingly long minutes, contemplating whether or not I could gain enough courage to open the box and review its contents. What if it were a bomb or a murder weapon?
After about ten minutes of deep contemplation, I very, very slowly opened up the box to reveal…a bell. A simple, nearly insignificant bell. The thing couldn’t have been more than three inches in height. I lightly grasped it and ever so gently lifted it out of the box. It appeared to be an antique, having some wear and tear but still maintaining to hold some of its original luster. I’m not a geologist or anything, but by basic feel, I could tell that the bell was made of copper. There was a tiny inscription on the inside of the bell. It was one simple word.
The bell that the man on the street had given to me. I was made curious by the word. What could it possibly mean? Was I cursed? I shrugged it off, trudged through the hallway to my bedroom, and set the bell onto my nightstand. After about half an hour of watching TV, I shut it off and went to sleep. My dream that night was…well, there are very few proper words to describe it. Maybe sinister might be appropriate, but that probably doesn’t cover it well.
I was in my home. It seemed to be nighttime outside, and there were no lights on in my house. In other words, it was near pitch black. In the low visibility, I could barely see my hands in front of me. I’m not sure, but I think I was in my living room, sitting on the couch. It was cold, as if someone had either turned the A/C too high or left a window or door ajar. There I sat in the tense darkness, for what seemed like hours until I heard a muffled sound come from my bedroom. It was nearly inaudible, but still noticeable. It was the ringing of the bell. Soft, but there. I began to stand up and walk towards the door out of curiosity. As I took each silent step closer to the door, the sound grew and grew with closeness. My bedroom door was closed, so I had to open it via the doorknob. The ringing persisted as I grappled the doorknob and twisted it open very slowly.
As soon as I opened the door, I was shocked by what I saw…or more accurately, could see.
I couldn’t see much, considering the extreme darkness. However, I knew that something was there, in my room. I could only see a dark silhouette of a slender figure. The thing had to be at least 8 feet tall. It had the bell in its hands and was ringing it vigorously, humming a tune that I didn’t recognize. It appeared to have not noticed me as I nervously nudged the door ajar. As I crept softly into the room, the figure proceeded to ring the bell, seeming to get more and more aggressive and then quieting down after a certain period of time. This repeated the whole time I was in the room.
Not knowing what to do next, I was suddenly compelled to do something I normally wouldn’t have done. I gently raised my arm and touched its back. The only problem? I couldn’t. It was as if it were an apparition. A phantom of sorts. Endlessly sitting there, ringing the bell. My arm was sticking through its back, and protruding through the front of its body.
I jerked my arm out from inside of its transparent body. At that moment, it swiftly swiveled around to face me and proceeded to rip my guts out with long, knife-like fingers while letting out the most horrific and blood-curdling scream imaginable. It sounded like a mixture of a dying cat and metal grinding upon metal. The sound was ear-piercing, but not as bad as the pain. It felt as if I were in the dream, that the dream was a reality and I was there, getting my guts ripped out by this demented thing. He tossed my dismembered body across the room and just before I woke up, I saw one minute sparkle being held by the creature. It was the bell, nice and shiny. It appeared to be brand new.
I awoke and bolted into an awkward upright position. I was drenched in a cold sweat, and not to help it at all, the room seemed to be freezing. Sleep did not call me at all that night after the dream.
By the time the sun rose the next morning, I was still greatly unnerved by the nightmare. Why would the bell be in the dream? Am I just unnerving myself? I asked myself as I prepared breakfast that morning. The realization finally dawning upon me, I sprinted back to my bedroom to see where the bell was, and if it had been moved in the night. Surely enough, it had. It was on the floor, where I believe the creature was standing as the dream ended. It still had its dull brown copper tone, though. As I set it back on the nightstand, I swear I could slightly pick up a near-inaudible ringing of the bell, even though it wasn’t moving. I just passed it off as me being nervous over a nightmare and continued my day. The ringing persisted, and never stopped until I got into bed later that night.
When restless sleep did find me, the only dream that I can remember having was a flashback of the previous night’s events: the man giving me the box, opening the box to reveal the bell, having the nightmare, and so on and so forth. However, at one point in the dream, I got a third-person view of myself as I was sleeping, apparently sometime before the nightmare started. The view I got could be compared to a paranormal ghost hunter’s surveillance camera, but more clear. It was as if I was watching myself sleep from an angle.
I noticed something very frightening, however. In the darkness, I could just barely make out the same figure that was in my dream. It was just standing there, ringing the bell and humming the tune it was humming that night. I could barely make out its face. From what I could see, its mouth was curved into a grin of malice, with pointed and bloody teeth lining the gruesome sight. That’s really about all I could see of its face, besides a faint outline.
I awoke, yet again in a freezing sweat. Now, I knew that this wasn’t just some simple coincidence. No, this was something much more sinister.
The next day, the ringing of the bell grew a little more aggressive. I could hear it clearly this time, so I didn’t have to strain my ears to hear it. That day, I suppose I could say that it made itself known. I could have sworn that I saw the figure in reality at least five times whenever I looked into a dark room. When I did, I told myself I was going crazy and brushed it off.
That night was the worst night of my entire life.
The dream started as the first one ended. I was a dismembered corpse lying on the floor, still looking through my lifeless eyes. I had apparently lost the ability to move, as if I were a live soul trapped in a dead body. Everything was brighter and I could see more clearly. However, the air was colder and there was snow blowing through my house. The ringing, that terrible ringing, was as aggressive as ever, and I thought the thing would break if the figure rung it any more vigorously. There were words written on the walls in my blood. They covered the entire surface area of the walls.
Eventually, after lying there for around ten minutes, I regained the ability to move. My body was piecing itself back together, kind of like how a rewind on a video would look.
I was standing and able to move freely again. I took a few steps forward to investigate the writing on the walls. There was only one word on the walls, written over and over and over again.
RING. RING. RING.
This is when I lost it. I crumpled to the floor as the ringing of the bell grew to be deafening. I could hear vocals behind the ringing as well. They said that accursed phrase, over and over, louder and louder, in a deep, demonic voice,
“Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring.”
I screamed as loud as I could, until I couldn’t utter a sound with my voice. I began to inflict self-harm, trying to injure myself in any which way I possibly could, trying to will myself awake, so I could get away from this nightmare of bells, and the ringing.
I awoke. My neighbor called the police, and after they took me to the station, they interrogated me, asked me questions, tried to provoke a response in any way. They did not succeed.
I was moved from my home to a new place of living and the bell discarded.
I hated to move away from my old house, but I like this new place. The people are nice, and the whole community is really great. I love the walls here; they are so very, very white. Kind of reminds me of the snow.