A demon with long claws

When you think of a haunting you probably picture isolated buildings, little towns, or places far away from where you live. That couldn’t be further from the truth, my family had a terrifying encounter in the most normal and quiet neighborhood possible. We lived in a four bedroom house, had sweet neighbors, safe streets, no history of violent crimes or anything abnormal. After almost ten years of living in the same house nothing strange had happened. There were no clues leading up to what happened and none of us had ever experienced anything paranormal that could explain why it happened to us.

One night was all it took to leave behind a lifetime of nightmares.

It was almost nine o’clock in the evening, a long sticky summer day that dragged on with each passing second. My twin Libby and I had recently moved into separate rooms; I was excited to finally get my own space in the house. My younger brother Neil still slept with our parents. Neil had grown extremely attached to my parents especially when it got dark. He refused to sleep in his own bed at night for many years.

That evening my parents  both sat in the living room watching TV. I was in the kitchen grabbing snacks to take upstairs while Neil sat at the bottom of the steps playing with his toys.

Libby was upstairs in her own room talking on the phone with a friend. I could see Neil directly in front of me from the kitchen, he'd run up and down a few steps every couple of minutes. Like any boy his age he played with his cars making crash noises as he playfully held them against the walls and on the stairs. The house was hot and humid, even the cold water I was drinking wasn't helping to cool me down. I gulped the cold water slowly, out of the corner of my eye I noticed Neil fixated on something, he stood on the third step looking up.

It isn’t like Neil to stay put for so long; he stood there wide eyed looking at the top of the staircase

The stairs were curved, you couldn’t see who was at the top from where I was standing. The large vintage lamp upstairs did cast a shadow of someone standing on the top railing. I assumed it was Libby telling Neil something from upstairs. Paying no further attention to him I walked away and decided to join my parents in the living room.

I did not realize at the time that Neil was paralyzed with fear as he stood looking at something above him unknown and dangerous. After hours of watching TV my parents fell asleep on the couch, I woke up after feeling the sensation of something brushing against my face. I walked to the kitchen to set my empty glass on the sink before making my way to bed.

I jumped at the sight of Neil's toy cars hanging from the stair railings by black string. Curious at how Neil had gotten ahold of string I got closer to inspect it. A sense of nausea overwhelmed me when I realized that the black string was actually dirty strands of hair tied.

 The cars were tied up by a lump of black hair, the hair was knotted, and muddy.

Disturbed, I called out to Neil, the house was silent, I couldn't hear anything not even Libby’s usual loud phone conversations. A cold chill sent chills up my spine, I felt an uncontrollable urge to run up the stairs. I called out to Neil and Libby hoping that they would come out and tell me that nothing was behind me and that I was overreacting. However as I continued up the steps I found patches of knotted hair on each step.

Before I had the chance to process what I was seeing on the steps in front of me I heard a loud bang coming from inside the wall next to Libby's room. I stood back and leaned against the wall in terror as two sets of large claws began coming out from the wall. Forgetting to breathe properly, I stood helplessly against the wall trying my best to stand still. I couldn't scream, every inch of my body was paralyzed with fear as the claws began to drag its own body out of the wall.

A large black mass came out from the wall and began taking shape in front of me. It was across the hall yet paid no attention to me as it began taking form. The claws were black, they were razor sharp and reached out far from its body. It didn't have any real features other than the claws until the black smoke around it began dispersing. In its place stood an old crone, short, pale and with wrinkles that seem to hang from her face she had no eyes and an unusually small mouth.

Her claws were longer than her short stubby arms and her hair was long enough to drag on the floor. She took two long slow steps before turning to look at me. The blackness that filled the holes where her eyes were supposed to be were imprinted in my mind from that moment on.

She darted into Libby’s room at an incredible speed and passed through the closed door before I had even had the chance to blink. I blacked out the moment the old hag went into Libby’s room.

The next morning I woke up in bed, the house was quiet and the sun shined through my window. I went downstairs convinced that it had all been a dream when I passed the empty glass in the sink. I asked my mother if Libby was already awake. She shook her head no and continued cooking without saying another word. Both my parents were acting strange, they both looked dazed and confused. What would normally be a kitchen full of chattering and laughter was unusually silent.

For my own sanity I decided to retrace my steps attempting to either approve or disprove what I witnessed the night before. After a few minutes of looking for the missing patches of hair I decided to talk to Neil.

Neil was walking out of the bathroom when I dragged him into my parent’s room.

"What happened last night?!"

His eyes began to water as he mumbled something under his breath. It took a while to finally reassure him that he could share anything with me, no matter how bizarre it sounded.

Eventually he did build up the courage to tell me what he saw.

He was playing with his cars downstairs when he heard someone whisper his name up above him. He looked up to see an old woman leaning over the railing smiling at him. She didn't have eyes but had a large mouth that extended ear to ear. The old woman reached out to him with what he said were her ‘long nails’.

The woman whispered how much she wanted to play and to come upstairs to join her. Neil broke out of his trance and ran to the laundry room where he hid until the morning.

After hearing his story I became worried for Libby's safety.

"Have you seen Libby this morning?"

He shook his head no and begged for me to stay by his side.

I took him downstairs to eat and decided to run up and wake Libby. My parents were still acting … off so I decided it would be best if I went and got her. I was about to open the door when Libby opened it smiling and giggling.

"Good morning sister!" she eagerly ran past me went downstairs to eat.

"Sister?"

She always calls me by my name..

I stood there dumbfounded and peeked into her room, nothing seemed different.

While we ate breakfast Libby was extremely talkative, she went on and on about how well she slept at night. Neil looked over to me clearly just as confused.

"Mom thank you for braiding my hair at night! It really helped me sleep!"

My mother looked up from her untouched food and worriedly asked her to repeat what she had said.

"Thank you for braiding my hair last night, I love it!"

My mother looked over to me, in a concerned tone she told Libby, "Honey I didn't braid your hair last night. Your father and I slept on the couch..."

Libby turned to me and asked if I had braided her hair. I looked at the elaborate braid, its many swirls and designs.

"Libby I have a hard time keeping my shoes tied, I didn't do it..."

Everyone remained quiet as Libby slowly came to the realization that it wasn't my mother or I who played with her hair at night.

Libby's expression went blank as a single drop of blood fell from her forehead. My mother stood up and immediately walked over to her side. She covered her mouth in shock as we all looked to see why Libby's head was bleeding.

Libby had a thin gash coming from the middle of her head where her hair had been parted for the braids.

"It was the old woman!!!!" Neil screamed out.

Neil began panicking, as I attempted to calm him down my father rushed us all out of the door.

We stayed at a motel for a couple of weeks but eventually had to return to the house. Turns out my parents had also experienced something similar many years ago before any of us were born.

I like to think that it is all over now however I worry sometimes, especially because Libby now braids her hair every day and late at night she likes to lean over the railings for hours... smiling.

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