Sometimes the scariest tales are also the shortest (remember the notorious “two-sentence horror stories” meme?), and while it’s not as well-known as some others, one creepypasta often titled “The Message” is pretty solid support for that theory.
It’s been told in different ways — sometimes involving another title, setup and narrator — but it’s consistently claimed that the original version came from an anonymous author who continues to be tormented in his adult life by a horrific memory from his childhood, the details of which may or may not be true.
All the author confirms is that both his parents died when he was young, under unspecified but traumatic circumstances… and that the recurring nightmare which plagued him all his life suggests they were murdered by some inhuman thing.
He recounts the dream, in which he lies frozen with fear in his bed as a young boy, trying desperately not to look at his mother and father — whose bodies have been wrapped in sheets with only the heads exposed, their lifeless faces turned toward him.
“I’ve been trying to think of a way to escape,” he writes, from the perspective of the boy in the dream… “because if I stay here, I’m going to die.”
Just hours before, he had been awakened by the sound of screaming from down the hallway. When he crept out to investigate, he saw a large pool of blood on the living room floor.
Panicking, he dashed back to his room and hid under his covers, trying to convince himself that this was all just a vivid nightmare.
That’s when a thing began to drag his parents’ bodies into his bedroom.
He describes the inhuman intruder as thin, hairless and seemingly eyeless, walking with a crooked but silent gait.
Still feigning sleep despite his heart’s frantic pounding, he tried to open his eyes just a sliver, to catch a closer look at what the creature was doing… and saw it was deliberately positioning the bodies so the boy could see them from his vantage point in the bed. His mother was propped up against the wall, and his father in a nearby chair. Their unseeing eyes seemed to plead with him… but maybe that was just a trick of the light.
The thing then reached up with a blood-smeared hand and began to slowly write something on the wall. In the near-darkness, it was impossible to read, but the creature was evidently taking great care, like an artist signing their work with a flourish.
When it was satisfied with its task, the thing silently scuttled over to a shadowy corner of the room and waited motionlessly.
This brings us back to the point where the author began, remembering himself paralyzed beneath his covers for what seemed like an eternity. At first, he was just praying to wake up… then just wishing desperately for the thing to go away… then simply hoping to be able to decipher the writing on the wall before it came for him.
The author’s vivid recall of the dream by this point suggests he’s actually still dreaming as he writes; perhaps he’s still back in that bed for real — not a man, but a terrified child, reliving that horrible night over and over again. It’s impossible to know for sure.
All we know is this: when the first light of morning entered the room, the wall was illuminated just enough for his eyes to discern what was written there:
“I KNOW YOU’RE AWAKE.”