There's Something in my Hallway Closet

Originally published on r/nosleep

Tags: #horror #shortstory

I never believed in the supernatural, in the whispers of darkness that some say lurk in the corners of our world. This was…before the apartment. I won’t bore you with how I found the apartment. In short, I’m a programmer, I needed a new place before my next freelance project and luckily found a cheap place that was one bedroom within my budget.

I saw that hallway closet the first walk-through and gave it no heed. It was just a storage space with peeling paint and barely large enough to walk in. I mean, I’ve got to push the door closed when my clothes are hanging in there.

The first time I noticed something amiss was on Wednesday evening two weeks ago. I'd just returned from dropping my resumes at the tech companies. I was weary and mindlessly scrolling through my phone checking to see if anyone had hit me up on one of the many freelancing sites. As I passed the closet, a chill traced up my spine. I paused, glancing at the slightly ajar door. “Odd,” I muttered, convinced I'd shut it that morning. Shrugging it off, I closed the door firmly and continued my evening routine.

I think I kept closing that closet for a better part of two days without much thought. I would close the door firmly before leaving for work, only to return and find it slightly ajar and think nothing of it. I thought I was forgetting to close it, or maybe the old wood was just warping further. You know those doors that are so old you have to push it close and either pull it up or down to get it to latch? That's what I told myself. Even though I could easily explain it away, there was something in the back of my mind warning me about it.

Then came the night that changed everything. I was curled up in bed, my lamp casting a cozy glow as I lost myself in a tech manual. The hallway past that closet terminated in my bedroom and I had not closed the door. Why? It was my house, and I was alone.

The room was silent, save for the soft rustling of pages. Then, a faint creak. My eyes flicked up, heart skipping a beat. The closet door was open, just a sliver, but enough to let the darkness within seep out like a physical presence.

I swallowed hard, my mouth dry. Slowly, I set the book aside and got up, my movements stiff with unease. I approached the closet, my hand trembling as it reached for the door. The wood felt unnaturally cold under my fingers as I shut it, making sure to lock it this time.

Back in bed, I tried to convince myself it was just a quirk of an old apartment. But as I tried to settle back into my book, a soft click echoed through the room. My heart pounded in my ears as I sat up, staring at the now open closet door. The lock was undone, the door slightly ajar, as if mocking my feeble attempts at security. From then on, the routine was the same each night. I would close and lock the closet, only to find it open again, its dark maw gaping like a silent scream. I tried everything—barricading it, nailing it shut. But nothing worked. Each time I turned away, it would open, as if an invisible hand were at play.

Sleep became a distant memory. I lay awake, staring at the door, fearing what might emerge from its depths. The darkness within seemed alive, breathing, waiting. Whatever was in the closet, was not in a hurry to get out.

I began to see things, shadows flitting in my peripheral vision, whispers in the dead of night that woke me up. In the day, it was an ordinary closet. I searched it and there was nothing in there. At night, it took on this feeling of a living being watching me through the cracked it popped open every evening.

Then, one night, in a fit of desperate courage, I decided to confront it. That was probably the twelve or thirteen beers that I had down. I left the door open, staring into the abyss. I refused to allow this thing to keep taunting me. A few hours passed, my eyes focused, my body rigid with tension. It was about one in the morning, the alcohol finally fading from my system and my eyes growing heavy when I saw it. A pair of luminous eyes staring back at me from the crack in the door.

I couldn’t see anything else in that blackness as it peered at me. It knew I saw it and I knew it saw me.

The sight of those eyes – unblinking, unyielding – cleared the rest of the booze from my head. I wanted to scream, to run, but I was frozen, trapped in its gaze. It felt as though it was peering into the very essence of my being. The air grew colder, the shadows in my room stretching and twisting into grotesque forms.

“I know you're there,” I whispered, my voice trembling. The eyes didn't blink, didn't move. They just watched, unwavering. Then slowly, the eyes closed and opened in a lazy blink when I heard a guttural voice causing my skin to crawl respond.

“I know.”

The hallway closet door closed and locked itself which broke the spell over me. Since then, I’ve been in my car trying to decide what to do.

I don’t know what it is or what it wants but I can’t afford to move somewhere else. Maybe it’s not dangerous? Maybe it just needs a home too.

I’ll find out tonight when I go back in. There’s got to be a way out of this.

— © Jonathan J. Snyder, All rights Reserved Like what you read and want to buy me a cup of coffee?