Instead of focusing on my increasingly massive pile of homework, I was idly sprawled out on my bedroom floor, listening to a new CD my boyfriend Jared had given me. The angry boy band rockers were almost to the chorus of a seemingly endless song when my cell phone vibrated, signaling a text. I sat up and looked around for the phone, not remembering where I had put it before zoning out to the blaring noise that Jared had dubbed, ‘the most amazing band ever.’ I found my cell lying atop my calculus book, a not so subtle reminder that I had a huge test the coming week and should be studying for it. I felt a little bad about ditching it, but, hey, it was only Friday. I would have the rest of the weekend to study for the test. Or so I thought at the time…

    I cut off the tormented boy band blaring from my speakers, grabbed the phone off of Advanced Calculus, and checked the number. Without warning, happy, nonsensical little thoughts brought a smile to my lips. I wanted to open the text from Jared right away, but… I hesitated. Sure, he was really cute and sweet and funny and the best boyfriend ever, but he rarely texted. I frowned; if he wanted to tell me something, he would have called... I was getting a little scared, overreacting. Why wouldn’t he call? I took a deep breath, sucked it up, and pressed ‘open.’

    I read the text quickly, nervously, and then frowned. It was too vague to be properly analyzed. It read: ‘Hey Sarah. What r u doing?’

    Hmm… I bit my lip, contemplating what to reply with. My thumbs flew across the minuscule keypad and I quickly sent: ‘Um… not much. U?’

    A few seconds later, a mysterious: ‘Look out ur window’ was the only answer I received.

    I stood up, curiosity replacing my anxiety, and pulled the tab. The blinds snapped up and I froze, terror bolting through me at a lightning speed. Someone… or something was blocking my window. A choked scream escaped my lips as I stared in horror. He… it… was crouched in front of the glass pane, his white teeth pulled back in a snarl and his knuckles rigid on the frame. I gasped in fear, and his vibrant red eyes shifted to me. A sinister grin passed over his deathly pale features, but I blinked, and he was gone, leaving only the memory of terror in my mind.

    I collapsed into a stunned heap beneath the window and practically started hyperventilating. That was NOT my boyfriend! Who was it? WHAT was it? I ran hundreds of half-thought out questions through my head and tried to start functioning again. After a few moments, my heartbeat, breathing, and thoughts gradually became normal, and the reflex of, ‘AHH!’ wasn’t the only thing my brain was able to process.

    My phone suddenly vibrated next to me and I jumped, almost losing control of my bladder. I squeezed my eyes shut and clamped my hand around the phone. I peeked at the number through my tense fingers and then relaxed a bit. I opened the text from Jared and read it, my hands shaking so badly I could barely make out the message.

    ‘Earth 2 Sarah? Look out ur window!’

    Little by little, I eased myself off of the floor and brought my eyes to the window. Instead of the material of nightmares, Jared was standing in my backyard, looking up and beaming at me. He was holding something behind his back and smiling expectantly. I hoped that he wouldn't notice anything strange about my behavior. My nerves were frazzled and I was shaking head to toe, but I was determined to not make Jared worry about anything. My hands trembled as I pushed up the sill. Not a good start…

    "H-Hey Jared!” I managed to say, with just a little shake in my voice.

    He flashed me a smile that normally would have melted my heart and called, “I have a surprise for you, babe! Come down here and see!”

    Even though I was a panicky mess, I managed to think that if he was calling me babe, he wasn’t going to break up with me! That was good, but the feeling of going catatonic was still dangerously close.

    I smiled with as much excitement as possible and pulled the window down. I walked out of my room, down the stairs, and out the back door, still trying to steady myself. Right leg, left leg… one step at a time. Once outside, I saw Jared standing near my old swing set, his hands still behind his back. He was unconsciously gorgeous, as usual, and I probably would have gotten butterflies if my heart wasn’t still frozen with fear. He flicked his blond hair out of his gorgeous blue eyes and playfully raised an eyebrow

    “Are you just going to stand there and look cute or are you going to come over here and say hello to your boyfriend?”

    I walked over to Jared and gave him a hug, inhaling his familiar cologne. It helped to calm my nerves a little bit and I stood in front of him, waiting for him to reveal his surprise.
    He kissed my cheek and said, “I hope you don’t have plans for tomorrow night. Close your eyes and hold out one of your hands.”

    I waited, eyes closed and hand extended. I hoped he wouldn’t notice the small quivering of my hands. I flinched as a flimsy piece of paper was pressed into my palm.

    “Open your eyes,” Jared whispered in my ear, and I looked down at the paper in my hand. It was a concert flyer advertising somebody’s garage band, and at first, I wanted to say, ‘Oh cool, Jared. Yeah, sure, we can go tomorrow,” but something stopped my words in their tracks.

    A single word on the bright red paper caught my eye and I froze, my entire body seizing up. My terrifying experience five minutes prior had left me incapable of a well formed reasoning. Hallucination had seemed a possible explanation, but that one word on the flyer hit me like a brick to the face. All of the myths I'd ever heard, and the scary stories I'd read and shrugged off... What I had seen in my window wasn’t human… I couldn’t explain it or make sense of it, but everything was suddenly clear, and even more terrifying…