I am awake and I am cold.
In the first few moments of awareness, this is all I know. Waves of shudders pass through me, and in a single spasm of deep shock, I open my eyes. I don’t know where I am or who I am. The surroundings are unfamiliar and something is terribly wrong.
Through eyes that seem to be mine, I examine my condition, my situation, my environment.
Nothing makes sense.
I am in a bedroom, lying on a bed with a blue and white cover. I think for a moment that I would like to move and get under this cover because I am so cold. But something else attracts my attention with paralyzing immediacy: a sound, a faint movement from outside. My eyes are drawn to the windows opposite.
There are two windows, side by side. I am possessed of a preternatural awareness that something is approaching and I am in mortal peril.
Where does this awareness originate? I am unprepared for the sensations flooding through this body in which I find my consciousness. The heart beating in this chest seems to have vaulted to the interior of the head, thudding in my ears. My eyes water from the intensity as I watch the windows. It seems hard to catch my breath. The icy air sharpens its edge on my skin.
I am confused to discover this body is a child’s.
I can hear a crunching sound on the gravel under the eaves of the house. Someone approaches along the back of the building toward the windows. I know I must do something now. My confusion intensifies. How do I know this? I don’t even know who I am and where I am.
I catch the sound of heavy, raspy breathing. Terror vaults in me and I am sure my heart will explode. My eyes are the only thing I can move, and they rapidly scan the room for a route of escape.
The closet door is only a few feet away. I try to get up and cross this small space, but I find that I cannot command these limbs. Why is there a world of distance between me and safety?
The cat-footed approach is closer now, more immediate. What must I do? Can I master this unfamiliar body enough to get under the bed? But anyone looking in the window could easily see me there. If I get up, cross the floor, crouch directly under the window, I won’t be seen. But that will put me in reach of whatever approaches. I know that something will appear at the window in the next instant. They will know where I am, wherever I hide.
If they touch me I will die.
It was, inevitably, too late. The Face appeared at the window.
These lungs are gasping for air in the grip of terror and disorientation. My tongue slips backward into my throat, threatening to suffocate me. How good it would be to close my eyes and recede back into the darkness, but I cannot.
My eyes burn and water, magnetized by some unseen force emanating from that face. Those eyes are swirling pinwheels of glowing green, spirals encircled by an aspect so unnaturally white that it seems to glow in the deepening gloom outside.
Not with audible words, but words carried on a different wave, a rhythm that contacts my consciousness and paralyzes it, a wave that invades my innermost thoughts and opposes them with emanations, penetrating the furthest and most private reaches of my mind, probing and seeking within the recesses of my being.
I am receiving data.
Images and impressions and forms of horror incomprehensible to my mind. But I cannot assimilate them. I refuse. My act of refusal paralyzes my mind. I am an immovable object confronted by an irresistible force.
And finally, it withdraws. But the withdrawal brings rage and sickening disappointment and frustration. Words lash out like the blows of a whip slicing through the air. A deep internal pressure accompanies the sneering words:
“You can’t hide. No matter where you go or what you do, when the time comes, we will find you! We will come for you!”
Its laughter slashes furiously down on my awareness and my mind reels under the damage being done in this struggle. Under the impact my soul leaps upward and my consciousness recedes to that still, quiet place of rest.
The Face at the Window that came when I was four years old is a memory as clear today as if it had just happened. I have examined this memory with great care, as though it were an unknown and incomprehensible object kept in a locked box, only to be contemplated in private. For years I told no one about it. I tried to convince myself it never happened at all except in my imagination, or merely in a Halloween prank of neighborhood kids, misinterpreted by my child’s mind. I tried every way I could to fit it into a normal category of experience. If other events had not occurred in my life, perhaps I would have been able to keep it there.
This was the primary formative event of my childhood. After it happened, I never again felt safe. There was a Hound of Hell pursuing me and I could hear its panting and feel its breath on my heels.
But to understand this event in its proper context, some details of my early life need to be shared.