An Average Family
They were an average family living in Marietta, Ohio. Their small household was akin to any other in the area.
They had nothing special about them, which made the occurrence even more baffling.
They’d been hearing strange sounds at night while sleeping.
They didn’t think much of them at first until something unexplainable happened.
Is It A Prank
They weren’t prepared for what was happening inside their home.
Chris was sure his girlfriend was pulling a prank on him.
But she denied it with everything she was, even swearing it in her late mother’s name.
Chris decided to set up a camera, needing to put this behind him. But he wasn’t prepared for the disturbing footage.
On The Brink Of Insanity
The mystery and irritation had driven Chris to the brink of insanity when he decided to set up the camera in his daughter’s bedroom.
Strange, sickening marks had been appearing on the girl’s legs every morning, and no one could explain where they came from or what caused them.
But the truth would be more harrowing than anything they’d ever experienced.
She Has Nothing To Do It
His girlfriend, Neema, denied being involved. She was equally disturbed and confused by what was going on.
Feeling like he had no other choice, Chris hurried to the store, returning with a night vision camera.
Armed with the night-long footage, Chris sat down to take a look at what had been hurting his sweet little girl.
But what he saw had him lost for words.
For a year, Chris and his family had been living in his mom’s guest house just outside town.
Life had gotten to Chris, with bad luck after bad luck leaving him with nowhere else to go.
He’d only wanted to start anew, supported by his daughter, Bianca, and girlfriend, Neema.
But what he and his family of three would find would make them want to leave immediately.
The disturbing symptoms started when Bianca, aged thirteen, would come down for breakfast.
The bruises, stark against her skin, left the dad worried.
But Neema had convinced him that kids always fall and bump themselves.
She offered Bianca an ointment, assuring her everything would be well. Chris had no idea that things were about to go from bad to worse.
The dad didn’t think much of the bruises at first. But a day after Neema had helped Bianca apply the ointment, new bruises appeared. But they were worse than before.
The marks, fleshy and pink, crisscrossed up and down Bianca’s legs as if a rabid animal had gored her with its claws.
The sight made Chris’s breath hitch.
He’d Do Anything For Her
Something was terribly wrong, and Chris knew it. He more than cared for Bianca. She was his only daughter, after all.
To him, Bianca was one of the few reasons he still strived to make ends meet.
He wanted to be a better person because of her and would do anything to protect and provide for her.
So when he saw the marks, he knew he wouldn’t rest until he got to the bottom of the issue.
Separating From Her Mom
Chris wanted what was best for his daughter. He knew Bianca had long struggled with him separating from her mom.
He’d always felt guilty for putting her through the pain of leaving what she’d grown knowing was home.
The feeling had gotten worse when Chris met Neema, and things started getting serious.
But even then, Chris had vowed never to forsake his daughter.
A Close Bond
Chris and Bianca had always had a close bond. After the separation, Bianca had seemingly put aside her grief and heartbreak, choosing to focus her attention on her dad instead.
Chris had been a broken man. He’d taken to drinking and everything in between – anything to numb the pain.
Although a child, his daughter did a lot to pull him from the brink. But just as she did, something monumental happened.
Bianca took on the role of caregiver as young as she was. She cleaned and helped Chris cook, and after a while, he snapped out of his misery.
But just as he did, he met Neema, who had been working in the same building he attended his weekly recovery group meetings.
He didn’t know what she would do to him and Bianca.
Strengthening Their Bond
Chris had been doing everything to make up for not being there for his daughter.
He looked after Bianca’s needs very closely and, because of it, strengthened the bond they’d once shared.
But Bianca started changing the moment Neema came into the picture.
Her behavior seemed to take a different turn when Chris told her Neema would be moving in with them.
Before Neema came into the picture, Bianca had always told Chris everything happening in her life.
Chris had loved this about her, seeing as she kept no secrets from him.
But as the year started, Bianca became quiet. Her behavior worsened as the year progressed, making Chris wonder what was happening.
He thought it was because his daughter was nearing puberty, unaware that it was something else entirely.
Things kept escalating, and Chris found himself wondering if he should approach Bianca about the matter.
As the months passed, with Neema living with them, Chris noticed that his once radiant and jovial daughter was always sulking and keeping to herself.
She was constantly in her room, choosing to stay away from the rest of the family.
Whenever Chris went to talk to her, she’d appear withdrawn and lost in thought.
Is It Social Media
Chris’s mind started racing as he frantically tried piecing things together.
He’d heard about the dangers of social media and wondered if his daughter was being sucked into the myriad of dangerous social platforms out there.
He thought about tracking her online footprints, feeling he couldn’t do anything else.
But little did he know her social media pages were the least of his worries.
Talk To Her
Feeling lost and confused, the dad went to his own mom for advice. “Have you tried talking to her?” his mom asked, equally worried about Bianca’s welfare.
“I have not,” Chris answered sheepishly. Perhaps the answer was right before him, only waiting for him to ask.
With that thought in mind, he went to his daughter’s room.
What Is It?
Chris gently knocked on his daughter’s door and asked about her change in behavior when she invited him in.
Was she getting bullied in school or by her friends at home?
Was she feeling neglected because of Neema’s presence?
Was she under the weather with something sensitive that wasn’t meant for her dad’s ear? “What is it?” Chris asked.
Bianca held her dad’s gaze as he barraged her with question after question.
Chris could see the worry in her eyes and hated putting her in this situation. But he’d had enough of her behavior and wanted to understand what was happening.
“I just don’t like how the other rooms feel,” Bianca answered. “I like this room. That’s why I stay here.” Chris took a step back.
He wondered if his daughter was telling him the truth.
Chris had never been one to interfere with his daughter’s life. When she gave him her answer, he took a step back, hoping she’d see that he was willing to trust her.
“I am always here if you need anything,” he said and meant it.
“Even if it’s just to talk,” he added, and the ends of Bianca’s lips curled. Chris was choosing to trust his daughter. But he’d soon regret that decision.
Is It Because She’s Nearing Puberty?
Chris was confident that his daughter would come to him if something were wrong.
Perhaps her change in behavior was because she was growing.
Although he didn’t like how withdrawn she’d become and constantly worried over her wellbeing, he knew he couldn’t rush her.
Then he noticed something that had sirens blaring in his mind.
The Signs Are Here
Bianca, now on summer break, was spending more time at home.
Although she had friends who lived close, she was never interested in leaving the house to spend time with them.
Since the temperature was well beyond the eighties, she’d taken to wearing clothes that revealed her legs and arms. That’s when Chris saw it.
Chris immediately noticed the marks on his daughter’s legs. He thought she’d fallen at first and decided to let it go.
But the next day, she came down for breakfast with more marks on her knees.
She couldn’t have fallen twice and hurt the same body parts.
Chris decided to ask her about the marks, hoping nothing terrible was happening. A bad feeling had settled in his stomach.
Her Only Answer
Bianca looked at Chris for a long minute before her gaze fell down to her legs.
Chris could see her mind work, trying to find the words to explain what was happening.
She bit her bottom lip in frustration before giving her answer. “I woke up with them,” she said. But that answer only raised more questions.
Chris internalized the words, wondering if his daughter was lying to him.
But she’d never been one to lie and always said things without fear or favor.
“I have an ointment for bruises and the like,” Neema intoned from the side, hurrying to her feet and stretching an arm out for Bianca.
But no amount of ointment would fix what was happening here.
The Dead Of Night
The girl looked at Neema’s hand for a few seconds before taking it, and together, they disappeared into Chris’s bedroom to fetch the ointment.
Things were supposed to go back to normal, and for the next two days, they did.
But as the third night came, something odd happened.
Chris woke up in the dead of night to weird sounds coming from outside his bedroom.
The worried dad shot upright, searching the dark room. Neema wasn’t lying next to him, which had his brows furrowing.
Slowly and quietly, he got out of bed and headed out of the room.
The house was dunked in darkness, and the eerie sounds were coming from Bianca’s room.
Chris’s heart started pounding as a dark realization dawned on him.
Cold Door Handle
He stalked to Bianca’s door, taking a deep breath before placing his hand on the cold door handle.
He counted from one to three, wondering if breaching his daughter’s privacy was the best thing to do here.
But just as he was about to twist the handle, Neema appeared behind him. “You are awake,” she observed in a low tone. “You heard it too?”
Open The Door
Chris nodded. He could see the fear in his girlfriend’s eyes. That same fear was threatening to overpower him. But he wouldn’t let it.
Neema had a baseball bat in hand, which she handed to Chris.
He didn’t need to ask her why she carried it, he was just glad she’d fetched it when she heard the noises. In one swoop, he threw Bianca’s door open.
Bianca shrieked when Chris and Neema jumped into the room. They had startled her, wrenching her from a deep sleep. She stared around wildly, confused.
Broad-eyed, armed with a bat and his chest moving up and down, Chris looked around the room.
He couldn’t see anything. But then, a trembling Neema pointed at the window.
Go To The Window
Chris rushed to the window, which was open. He stuck his head outside, and his gaze met nothing but a stretch of darkness and twinkling town lights.
He closed the window and turned around, explaining to Bianca that he’d heard sounds coming from her room.
But Bianca insisted that everything was fine. As she talked, her eyes kept glancing at Neema. What was going on?
Chris had noticed that each time Bianca explained herself, her eyes would inch toward Neema. He decided to confront his girlfriend about the matter.
“Do you have something to do with what is happening to Bianca?” he asked.
He needed to know whether Neema had something to do with the marks and sounds coming from his daughter’s room.
She Was Standing Next To Her
“What?” Bianca asked incredulously. How could Chris accuse her of something so vile? “I was with you when you entered the room, wasn’t I?” she asked.
But Chris had already suffered from an untrustworthy partner once.
That experience had left him an addict until his daughter dragged him from the brink. So what would he do now?
Chris analyzed every single detail of what was going on. He couldn’t deny that Neema was right beside him when he charged into his daughter’s room.
She had adamantly denied being involved in whatever was happening.
Darren knew what he had to do. His decision would lead to a discovery that would shake his world.
Whatever was happening here wasn’t what Chris signed up for when he decided to invite Neema to live with him and Bianca.
He’d noticed the friction between the two and knew they didn’t see eye to eye.
But why would Neema do something as dark as this and blatantly deny it? Or was Chris just being paranoid?
Keep It Objective
As before, Chris decided to tackle the matter objectively. He knew his daughter wasn’t an extrovert.
She rarely went to parties or the movies, or the mall.
She loved curling up with a good book to read her days away and would only rarely leave the house unless she really had to.
So, where else were the bruises coming from?
The Window Is Too High
Chris considered the fact that Bianca’s window had been open when he charged in.
But the window was too small for a person to crawl through. Bianca’s room was also high, with no way for the perpetrator to climb up.
Chris’s mind was almost breaking as he tried to make sense of everything. But things were about to go from bad to worse.
More Bruises Appear
As the days passed, more marks appeared on Bianca’s legs. She couldn’t explain how they were occurring.
What made matters worse was that Neema, too, insisted that she had nothing to do with them.
The eerie noises didn’t stop either. Where were they coming from, and what exactly was happening to Chris’s little girl?
Not Enough Sleep
As if things weren’t bad enough, Chris noticed Bianca was seemingly not getting enough sleep.
She’d go to bed as early as 8 pm, complaining that she was sleepy, but emerge at noon the next day looking tired.
She was barely eating anymore, only picking at her food as she stared gloomily at her plate.
Chris needed to get to the root of this issue before it was too late.
With how fast things were developing, Chris decided to confront Bianca about her deteriorating state.
But each attempt he made was received by hostility.
Bianca would snap at his innocent questions and remarks, glaring at him before storming off.
She didn’t seem to care that he was worried or trying to help. It was like she had transformed into a different person.
Let’s See A Doctor
Bianca’s behavioral changes had come as such a shock that Chris wasn’t sure if they were real.
He started wondering if his daughter might have a mental health condition he didn’t know about.
Neema, who had been less involved with the situation before, was now visibly concerned.
With her worry reaching a fever pitch, she insisted Chris take Bianca to the doctor, hoping to uncover the truth. But what the doctor told him only left him with more questions.
At The Doctor’s
The doctor’s discovery was a bamboozling one. You see, Bianca didn’t appear to have anything wrong biologically.
Her results carried no reason for either the doctor or her parents to be worried.
Her blood levels had only dipped because of the dietary changes her behavior had propagated.
But apart from that, there was nothing wrong. But as much as this was good news for Chris, it posed a much more head-splitting and equally sinister possibility. But his problems were only beginning.
An Unexpected Visit
You see, a day after the doctor’s visit, a knock rented Chris’s door.
He wasn’t expecting anyone that day, so the call caught him off guard. But he had to pick his jaw up from the floor when his gaze met the visitor.
It was a stern-looking lady who introduced herself as Mrs. Rogers. She informed him that she was from social services.
Chris stepped back, his throat drying. Was this Neema’s doing?
It Keeps Getting Worse
The appearance of a social worker couldn’t be a coincidence.
Mrs. Rodgers explained that she was there to investigate a possible “occurrence” between Bianca and her parents.
Chris’s heart broke when he heard the news. Things had officially hit rock bottom for him, and he didn’t know what to do.
He had no idea that the worst was still to come.
Is He Guilty?
But Chris couldn’t understand how the social worker had gotten wind of his problems.
He’d always been a private man, keeping his issues close to his chest. Seemingly noticing his distress, the social worker informed him that their family doctor had made her aware of Natalie’s inexplicable marks.
Chris could see how badly this looked. But he was innocent. He’d never laid a hand on his child and would never dream of such an atrocity.
Unfortunately, the evidence seemed to speak against him. The only person who could help him now was Bianca.
She Wants To Talk To Bianca
Mrs. Rodgers was keen on talking to Bianca, and Chris was all for it.
He welcomed the social worker and led her to Bianca’s room, ushering her in. But the woman closed the door behind her, locking Chris outside.
Neema, who was only getting home from a grocery store, saw the social worker enter Bianca’s room.
She dashed forward, seemingly in a bid to stop her. But she was too late.
Why Is She Defensive?
“What’s the meaning of this?” she snapped, banging against the bedroom door.
Her behavior had Chris’s mind racing. Why was she furious all of a sudden? Was there something she feared Mrs. Rodgers would find out?
Neema stormed off, leaving Chris alone. He paced up and down the corridor, hearing muffled tones converse within Bianca’s room.
Was he going to lose his daughter because of a phenomenon he couldn’t explain?
Mrs. Rodgers and Bianca conversed for what seemed like hours, leaving Chris to wonder what was happening.
When they emerged from the room, the social worker had taken off her coat and rolled up her sleeves while Bianca was in tears.
Boiling in a cocktail of frustration, worry, and sadness, Chris stepped toward them, asking the social worker if she’d discovered anything he and Neema had failed to find.
Although he was still angry, the worry had overshadowed the anger.
He knew there was a possibility that he might lose his daughter because of this. But he’d fixated his mind on her health first.
That’s what mattered for now. Still, he couldn’t help but wonder what Bianca had told Mrs. Rodgers.
Chris was about to ask Mrs. Rodgers what Bianca had told her. But the lady only said, “I’ll be in touch,” and showed herself out. Chris knew it was over for him.
Bianca looked at him with trembling lips, her cheeks lined with fresh tears.
“I only told her what I told you, Dad,” she said mid-sob. “Every morning, I wake up with marks, and I don’t know how they got there!”
“It’s alright, honey,” Chris said as he eased to one knee. He opened his arms, and his daughter rushed to hug him.
She held him tight because she knew what would follow when the social worker returned.
Chris found himself between a rock and a hard place. He’d done everything to get to the root of this issue, from taking Bianca to the hospital to accusing the woman he loved.
He was becoming desperate by the minute, knowing that losing this fight meant he would lose his daughter.
As if all this wasn’t enough, his relationship with Neema had also taken a hit.
The accusations had taken their toll, and he and Neema barely went a day without locking horns. Seeing it as his only option, Chris went to the store and bought a CCTV.
Setting Up The Cameras
Chris needed to find out what was happening. His daughter’s very life depended on it. He set up the CCTV with a mission – to find out who was doing this to Bianca.
He’d been convinced it was Neema because no one else lived there. But now, he didn’t know what to think.
He set the camera on night vision mode, hoping to end this mystery. He’d punish whoever had set their sights on his precious daughter.
The CCTV revealed the truth — but neither he, Neema, or Bianca were ready for the discovery.
Time For The Truth
Nighttime came, and a quiet Chris waited impatiently in the living room.
He’d told Neema that he’d be working late, sorting some files for work. As soon as she and Bianca went upstairs to sleep, he turned on the camera.
The night vision buzzed into life, making Chris lean closer to his computer.
He was hell-bent on putting a stop to everything. He never thought his life would soon become a nightmare.
A Few Hours
It took a while before anything happened. But a few hours past midnight, Chris heard movement in his daughter’s room.
The eerie nightly sounds that had become a constant torture in his life were starting once more.
He switched to the camera, his heartbeat thrumming in his throat. At first, it was just Natalie lying peacefully in her bed, her hands still cradling the book she’d been reading when she fell asleep.
Ten minutes passed, and nothing looked out of the ordinary. But then, Chris saw something on the footage that had his jaw unhinged.
Bianca had sat up, although she didn’t look like herself. Her hair had fallen over her face, from which her eyes peeked.
A shadow of a smile played on her lips as she stared around, audibly moaning and weeping.
She lay back down before rising again. But this time, she started crawling on her back, grotesquely moving about her bed.
Bile flooded Chris’s stomach as he watched everything unfold. He blinked in disbelief, his mind grappling with what his eyes were witnessing. There was no way this could be real.
His daughter started thrashing around, crying out while she writhed and flailed.
She moved about her room, scrapping her knees and elbows.
Every movement she made looked unnatural like something evil was locked inside her trying to escape.
“Bianca!” Chris yelled as he raced upstairs. Neema came out of their bedroom, drowsy but alert, wondering what was going on.
She saw Chris sprint toward Bianca’s room and knew he’d discovered something monumental.
In a flash, the animosity that had been there in her eyes snapped away, and she assumed the motherly role she’d long embodied.
Everything’s Back To Normal
Chris barged into Bianca’s room, but everything was alright again. In a span of a few seconds, she’d gone from moving around as if possessed to peacefully sleeping. She couldn’t remember anything.
The worried parents rushed her back to the doctor, the footage in hand.
The doctor was dumbfounded when he watched it, terming it as something he’d never seen before.
Could there be a medical explanation for what was happening, or would Chris need the services of a priest?
You Need A Specialist
The doctor wasted no time referring Bianca to a specialist, who ran several tests on her.
After a few neurological tests and a full polysomnogram with an EEG to measure the electrical activity in her brain, she found some abnormal brain activity in the thirteen-year-old.
Bianca was experiencing nocturnal “episodes” or seizures because of brain activity in her temporal lobe. But was her situation salvageable?
The specialist wasn’t sure. He informed Chris and Neema that there were several types of seizures.
She needed to carry out a few more tests in order to narrow down what plagued Bianca.
After a day of tests, the specialist finally approached the worried parents with a detailed report of what was happening.
A Full Recovery
“Most nocturnal seizures are tonic-clonic,” she said. “Some of us might call them grand mal seizures. They typically last less than 5 minutes. During this type of seizure, muscles stiffen and twitch.” This explained what Chris had witnessed in the footage.
The specialist prescribed Bianca anti-seizure medication and was glad to hear that the girl fully recovered, returning to her bubbly self.
But Chris still had a priest come by and cleanse the entire house. He wasn’t taking any chances.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.