“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”
― H.P. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror in Literature
A flash of light momentarily illuminates my bedroom. All is silent and as it should be, but there’s a presence. The light was angled directly into my room, that much I know for sure.
Silently, I crawl out from under the covers and take a step towards the curtains. Another flash of light stops me immediately. I’m paralysed, much like a small animal sits transfixed by the headlights of a car when unexpected. I’m terrified. There’s nothing that can produce a light like that, especially when I’m two storeys above ground.
I continue making my way to the curtains and softly grab hold of the overlap. Not knowing what to expect, I gather myself for a brief moment. I slow my breathing, calm my nerves, relax my shoulders. Ever so gently, I part the curtains just enough so I can peek through with one eye. All is silent and as it should be, but there’s a presence. Is there something out there peeking back at me?
I feel vulnerable, as if that which I seek is directly behind me in my own room, a place where I should feel safe above all others. I glance out the corner of my eye at the space around me, there’s nothing there as I knew there would be, but I feel safer nonetheless.
Somewhat consoled by how ordinary everything seems, I look back out the window, this time completely opening the curtains. I peer out at the surroundings one last time. I was so sure of the flashes of light, but there’s nothing here. Are my eyes playing tricks on me? Was I dreaming and woke up without knowing it? Whatever the case may be, I decide to go back to bed. I grab the curtains with both hands and make to shut them.
A bright light flashes directly in front of me. For a brief moment I stand there, hands on the curtains, mouth slightly ajar, stunned. My mind tries to comprehend what I just saw, but it’s impossible. A camera? The flashes of light that I had seen were from a camera. A camera that was taking pictures outside of my window. But it wasn’t so much the camera that frightened me most, but more so what was holding it.
A smiley face. A large, round, yellow smiley face with arms and legs holding a camera that had jumped two storeys up and was taking photos of my bedroom window. I release the curtains and sprint out of my room, down the hallway to the back door. I undo the locks and throw open the door, across the deck and down the stairs I go.
I’m below my bedroom window glancing around frantically for any sign of the perverted smiley face freak, but there’s no sign of it. I come to the conclusion that it had made it’s escape undetected while it still could. Just to be sure though, I stroll around the side of the house, under the carport to the front yard. There’s nothing here either, but it’s brighter. I look up to the sky, expecting to see a full moon, but there’s no moon at all. Instead, there’s a star, roughly double the size of the moon and shining so brightly that I have to squint to see it properly.
My surroundings slowly melt away before me and I feel my conscious self returning, along with an awareness of reality. It was a dream. Well, a nightmare really. I’m laying in my bed, covered in sweat with sheets all over the place. Breathing deeply, I take a moment to process what I just witnessed.
To this day, that nightmare remains one of the few dreams that I can recall completely. It has occurred a few times, with each experience leaving me just as frightened as the last.