"Whatever you do tonight, any night in fact, make sure you always lock your door after you get in."
That was the first piece of advice the RA gave us in the dorm, the shitty old one that was all-girls, that no one actually wanted to be in except for lesbians and feminazis and crazy christ-obsessed virgins. Can you tell it wasn't my first choice for housing? Built in the early nineteenth century, with creaks from hot water running through the pipes and no air-conditioning, it was ancient. And dirty. There were spiders hanging in the curtains even though the cleaning lady ran the vacuum every day. She never seemed to quite catch all the dust, like the structure itself was crumbling in age.
But I digress. Anyway, at the time, I thought it was good advice. We'd all heard the tale of how last year a girl got raped because she left her door open as she slept. False sense of security. Anyone can get in if they have a keycard, or if someone swipes them in. It's not a city campus. There's no security guard downstairs, no camera watching, and there's no guest sheet to log in anyone. It's all on the honor system. Anyone can walk these halls. Anyone. Or anything.
Lock your doors. Tonight. All nights. Whether you live in a house or a dorm or an apartment. Lock those doors.
I have a single room. No roommate. It's just me in my own space and there's another door to a sink room which I share with the two girls next door. Usually I like to keep that door locked because when the window's open and the air pressure inside the room changes, it creaks open in the middle of the night. Annoying and freaky, especially when it wakes you up mid dream. But explainable by science.
Unlike last night.
Make sure you turn the lock and hear it click soundly when you do. Check the door by pulling back on the handle. Make sure that absolutely no one can get in. No one, or nothing.
Last night I took my shower, checked my assignments, and got ready for bed. I was more exhausted than usual, because it's midterm season and I fell asleep as soon as I hit my bed. That's the only reason I can think of as to why I didn't lock my door.
When you don't lock your door, it's an unspoken invitation to things. Things that you don't want around.
I had a bad dream. I dreamt I was in a haunted house, and I kept trying to use my computer and phone to get help and it kept emitting a high-pitched frequency and the screen kept going fuzzy. The squealing noise was loud. Too loud, in fact to be my dream.
I didn't lock my door.
The light from the hallway pooled into the room as I opened my eyes. There's a full-length mirror right across from my bed, and I was stuck staring at it as the door opened wider. Just the wind again, did I leave my window open? I didn't.
Someone stood in the frame. With the light behind them, I couldn't see their face. Their body just looked like a shapeless mass of black.
"Harika? Michela?" I asked, confused, trying to figure out who it was. "Who is it? What do you want?"
"To come in."
The voice sounded familiar. They can do that, you know, replicate voices that you already know.
It wasn't until I invited her in that I saw she wasn't Michela or Harika. Or anyone I knew in fact.
"Who are you?" I asked groggily, flicking on the lights. She giggled.
"You let me in," she stated.
"Of course, what's up?"
She turned towards me, and that's when I noticed. Her eyes...they weren't normal. What roams the halls of this, old old dormitory is something unspeakable.
The whites of her eyes were black. Pitch black, blacker than space, and empty.
"You let me in."
I woke up suddenly, jumping out of bed. I'd slept past my alarm. And that's when I noticed...the door was open.
My things lay on the floor, ransacked, bloody grooves in them as though a wolf had carved them. I looked at my hands and nearly passed out. Where my fingernails should have been were bloody stumps. They were gone. I'd done this. I'd ground down my fingers, my nails, the bone into the wood. I nearly passed out from the pain. I reached for my phone to call for an ambulance, my mangled fingers clumsily swiping the the screen.
Then I heard it, a giggle, as though it was next to me. And then the words.
"You didn't lock your door."