I had been bedridden for just under three days when the scratching sound started. Nana had left the window open, claiming that the cool summer air would help my body heal quicker, and for a time I thought she might be right. But as I lay there, a peculiar sound drifted into my vicinity. The bed was positioned in the room relative to the window at such an angle that disabled me from looking at anything other than the sky, so when the noise appeared, the best I could do was imagine what may have been causing it.

It was a screeching noise, like long, jagged nails scraping down old wood. I figured it to be the old woman who lived across the street from us. Before I had been injured, I recalled her sitting on her porch from morning to dusk, slowly rocking back and forth, her brazenly untrimmed claws tapping some forgotten tune against the rim of her ice tea, wet with condensation. She’d hum along, lost in hazy dust of a memory, and smile as the children passed by.

For days, the noise continued. Nana closed the window at night, and on some days where the wind was hot too, but the sound did not cease. Nana brought me soup and bread and said things like “You’ll be well soon, dear”, but the sound did not pause to let her speak. All things considered, it was not very loud of a noise, but it was awfully irritating and awfully persistent.

A week, perhaps two had shifted along in the typical sluggish manner that summer time often weighs, and the noise was still constant. I had all but gone mad until I finally asked Nana.

“Nana, please, but can you go across the street and tell that damn old hag to quit scraping her nails along the wood of her chair?” Nana looked at me and shook her head, smiling at the floor.

“Oh deary, you’re mistaken. Those clawing sounds are not coming from outside your window. They’re coming from the foot of your bed.”

A sharp pain shot through my calves as crooked, rusty fingernails dug deep into my legs, and dragged me underneath.

Story: Reddit LapidistCubed

Image Courtesy: The Conjuring

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Corridor by Chris Martyn/Geoff Harvey