I have often wondered what it would be like to die. I think about what it would feel like. Whether it would be like going to sleep, whether it would be blissful like getting really drunk and passing out, whether there would really be a big ol’ white light, and whether your whole life would indeed flash before your eyes like a PowerPoint presentation. But a touch more spiritual, of course.
Wondering doesn’t matter anymore. Soon, I will find out. I don't have much time left. Right now, I am marvelling at how I am lucid enough to type this. And right now, I am marvelling at the fact that I’ve started babbling about nothing before I even get my message across. It’s an important message. If I tell you, it won’t be like I died alone. If I manage to type it quick enough, that is. It’s not that I don’t already feel cold and still inside, I do. I just want people to know what happened to me.
I have a friend from home named Alex. Today, Alex told me a story. He’d been living with his grandmother ever since he was younger, and today, he found out how his parents really died.
They’d been living in Plymouth when one night, Alex’s Dad ran into the police station, screaming about a white woman having killed his wife. The police ignored him, of course. Alex lived in a tiny village were urban legends were rife, and the White Woman was just one of them. After the police tired of his ramblings and threw him out of the station, he went to see the local vicar. But at the first mention of the White Woman, the vicar threw him out of the church and locked up.
No one saw Alex’s Dad after that.
The White Woman, well. The urban legend says that she is just that. A young girl of sixteen, dressed in a long white dress. The dress, like her, has the appearance of something that was once exquisite, before its beauty was destroyed by some unknown trauma. Her black hair is long and lank and obscures her features. No one knows what her face looks like. Rumour has it that her eyes are like pits and her mouth is locked permanently open in a soundless scream.
She moves without moving her arms and legs, gliding across the ground at speeds only slightly faster than her victims can run. Once someone learns of her existence, she follows them home, whether they notice her or not. Once she gets to your house, she starts knocking on your door.
Sixteen slow, deliberate knocks on every door she must pass through, and every mirror she must pass by. She does this until she finds you, and then, you die. And so does anyone else who sees her or is unfortunate enough to otherwise learn of her existence. Sometimes it can take days, even weeks, for her to get to you. But she never stops. She won’t stop.
This is the story that Alex told me in a choked up voice over the phone, not five minutes ago. I listened first with incredulity, which turned into derision, which turned into amusement, right up until the ambulances sped past my window and Alex told me that his grandmother was dead.
“Why are you calling me?” I asked. “Call the police, get out of there!”
And then I heard the knocks. The slow, methodical, calculated knocks, audible even over Alex’s panicked breathing. Sixteen in all. “It’s too late.” He sobbed.
That’s when I heard the door splinter, followed by Alex’s screams. I heard the phone fall, and I stood paralysed for the silence that followed, my knuckles turning white from gripping the receiver so hard. I didn’t snap out of it until a female voice rasped one word into my ear. “WITNESS.”
Then the connection was severed.
This was ten minutes ago now.
Eight minutes ago, I heard a knock at my front door. Feeling sick with fear, I stood and listened. I waited for about twenty seconds, and heard nothing more. Relieved, I told myself that I was hearing things, that my frenzied mind was suffering from auditory hallucinations, that this was all some horrible horrible joke and –
There was another knock. A further twenty second pause, and another. I didn’t need to hang around to know that there would be thirteen more.
I ran into the bathroom and ripped the medicine cabinet off the wall, placing it in the hallway outside my bedroom. I then ran into the spare room and dragged the full length mirror out into the hallway, and placed it next to the cabinet. Finally, I ran back into my room, and tore drawers open and flung the contents onto the floor until I found the hand mirror that I knew was in there somewhere. Placing that next to the other two, I stood upright and listened. The knocking at the front door had stopped. Suddenly, the temperature dropped by a few degrees and the hairs stood up on the back of my neck. I ran back into my room. I had bought myself minutes. I collapsed at my desk, and began to type.
Since I placed the mirrors outside, my only goal has been to type this as clearly and coherently and as quickly as possible. I will not listen to the knocking at my bedroom door and I don’t know how many have passed and it’s so cold in here and my heart’s turned to ice and my only solace is that I am using my last minutes to telllllllllllllllllllllllllllll;kg