Today’s surreal tale bridges the void between perception and reality, between elusive nightmares and flesh-and-blood danger. Recounted by user Death by Proxy on the Creepypasta Wiki, it could describe a chilling memory from a woman’s childhood… or perhaps only a terrifying, recurring dream. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.
It all began when young Sarah noticed an extra door in the upstairs hall of her family’s house… a door that only she could see.
The fact that her parents weren’t aware of the door was upsetting enough, but the door’s hideous, unnatural appearance was the worst part… at first, anyway.
To Sarah, the door resembled “the color of disease,” and seemed to be alive somehow. Even worse, she could hear her name being called from that door; she wasn’t sure at first if the rasping, guttural voice was coming from the from the other side, or from the door itself.
That was before she heard the scraping of claws behind the door as she scurried past it. Each time she tried not to look… but that voice continued to whisper her name, beckoning: “Saraaaahh…”
As a result, Sarah spent as little time as possible upstairs, but that door — and whatever lurked behind it — was always waiting. As long as she was in the house, there was no escape… but it was much worse when she fell asleep.
Because, in her dreams each night, Sarah did what she’d feared to do while awake: she went down the hall and faced the yellow door.
The dreams varied from night to night, but they always ended with her either trying in vain to open it, or turning the knob and confronting a churning dark void, resounding with a thousand agonized voices. The voices were almost tangible, and seemed to be “crawling through her hair like spiders.” They were teasing, tempting, compelling her to listen to them. Finally, one night, she did.
“He sees… he hears,” the voices called soundlessly. “He hungers… He hunts,” they continued, finally calling out a name: “The Hollow Man… The Hollow Man…”
Sarah awakened with a gasp, trying desperately to convince herself that it was all a dream… that even her awareness of the door down the hall had been a creation of her mind.
Then she heard someone call her name, just outside her bedroom. It wasn’t the same voice this time… it sounded like a young girl, even younger than Sarah.
“Who are you?” Sarah finally whispered, when the voice continued to call out to her.
“My name is Lizzie,” came the voice. “Are you Sarah?”
Sarah didn’t answer. Instead, she waited, pulling the covers tightly around herself.
“Please,” the voice whispered again. “Are you Sarah?”
There was something about that voice that felt different than the horrible, raspy thing that spoke behind the door, or the soundless voices from the void. A nagging, itching sensation told her that “Lizzie” might be a real girl. She felt herself moving in slow-motion as she worked up the courage to cross the bedroom toward the door, toward that pleading voice.
She could barely muster the breath to answer: “Yes… I’m Sarah,” as she slowly reached toward the knob.
What happened next made her recoil in terror: the doorknob began to rattle as someone (or something) frantically twisted it from the other side.
“Please, let me in!” the little voice implored, increasing in volume and panic. “I can’t stay in here!”
Sarah felt her quivering knees finally give out under her as she realized she was no longer looking at her bedroom door… but at that horrible yellow door from the hallway.
“Please, Sarah,” came the voice, shrinking again to a thin whisper: “He’s almost here.”
Sarah tried to force out a question: “Is it… The Hollow Man?”
There was only silence in response.
Time passed… seconds, then minutes… but no further sound came from the other side.
“Lizzie?” Sarah finally asked aloud, started by the sound of her own voice. She heard the faintest reply, now distant and thin, like a cold wind.
Sarah could resist no longer, and reached out to grasp the large, shiny silver knob set into the hideous portal. She could feel the knob turn on its own beneath her hand… but despite her fear and revulsion, she pulled it open.
She was confronted with a bare, ordinary wall. Tenuously, she reached out to touch the cold, flat surface. It was nothing more than a continuation of the corridor wall. After a few moments’ hesitation, she finally closed the door again, hearing the latch click back into place.
After a long, indeterminate stretch of time, Sarah finally concluded that she was still dreaming, and this was just another variation on the recurring nightmare she’d been experiencing since the day the door first revealed itself. She made herself walk back to her bed and climb under the covers, telling herself repeatedly that she would soon awaken and the door would be back to normal.
Her dream-self (she supposed) closed her eyes, trying to give herself up to deep sleep… and that’s when the voice of “Lizzie” returned.
“He’s here,” the voice echoed. “Please, Sarah… don’t wake up…”
She realized Lizzie’s voice was in her head — soundless, like the voices from the void beyond the yellow door. But Sarah could make out the words. She was chanting a nursery rhyme.
His hollow face, an eerie mask
With hollow voice at doors will ask
To be invited in to bask
Above his favored Midnight task.
Sarah began to realize that she was not dreaming after all as the rhyme continued:
He’s waiting inches from your face
To be the first thing your eyes grace
But keep them shut, or else embrace
A hollow shell to take your place.
Underscoring the chilling words was the sound of a slight wind through dead leaves. It was very close now.
The yellow door, you always keep
He follows you to where you sleep
Into your room he then will creep
Your life and dreams for him to reap.
Even with her eyes squeezed tightly shut, Sarah knew the rustling leaves were everywhere now.
The Hollow Man, above your bed
With hollow eyes, deep slumber fed
His hollow dreams may fill your head
But never peek… or you’ll be dead.
The gentle, chill whisper of Lizzie’s lullaby in her head was violently broken by the sound of screaming from down the hallway. The screams were coming from her parents’ bedroom. She recognized her mother’s and father’s cries of terror and pain distinctly.
“Mommy?” Sarah whispered, feeling hot tears coursing down her face in the darkness. “Daddy?” Their screams became lost in the storm of leaves blowing through the house.
Then, all at once, everything fell silent.
It was several minutes before Sarah could sense a faint glow through her clenched eyelids. She realized it was the first trace of sunlight.
Had she been dreaming after all?
She finally opened her eyes just a sliver, and saw light through the bedroom curtains. Her room was undisturbed, silent and still. Her clock glowed 7:45 AM.
The silence was eerie, somehow unnatural. No birds outside, no neighborhood noises, nothing from her parents. Even her footsteps were muted as she slowly emerged from the shadows of her room and into the hallway.
The silence was finally broken by a tiny scratching sound.
The yellow door was still there.