The sleepy town of Heraldsdale was almost always shrouded in fog, sitting on the edge of the coast in just the right spot for the gloom to stay. Every now and then some sunlight would brighten up the small town. The few citizens that still lived there would go out and enjoy the warmth.

It started on one of those rare days. It started with scratching noises coming from inside my bedroom walls.

I had been outside since the first bit of sunlight peeked into the town. I spent the whole day taking a walk outside and snapping pictures to sketch and paint later, exhausted but content when I got home at dusk. I immediately collapsed into my bed and was on the edge of sleep when I heard it.

The faint sound of scratching that came from the wall opposite my bed. At first, I thought I was just hearing things, but as the scratching persisted I thought maybe it a mouse. Nodding to myself, I made a mental note to get some mouse traps in the morning. With that final thought, I drifted off.

The scratching sound was still there when I woke up.

It's just a mouse, I reminded myself, getting out of bed and throwing on whatever was on top in my drawers. Walking to the store, buying a mouse trap, and then heading home, I pulled my jacket tighter. It was cold, but I could usually handle it.

Nearing my house, a chill ran down my spine. It's just the cold, I thought, hurrying up to my bedroom and setting the trap. Looking up from the small trap, I noticed my bed moved. Not like I had somehow moved it in my sleep, or getting up or something, but it was clear on the other side of the room.

I didn't move it, but I wasn't quite sure I wanted to sleep on it that night. Of course, there wasn't anywhere else I could really sleep, but I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach. I shook it off and took a long, hot shower. Pulling my long, brunette hair up into a ponytail, I spent the rest of the day painting.

That night, the scratching was louder; desperate, almost. I tried, but I couldn't get to sleep. The noises were too loud, and just a little bit chilling.

Weeks went by and the scratching didn't stop. It kept going, getting louder each night, getting more frantic. I hadn't sleep for weeks and it was clear in the bags of my eyes and the tiredness that constantly surrounded me.

Soon enough, more things started happening. My furniture kept moving to other places, other rooms completely sometimes. Sometimes I saw a girl, just about my age and looking almost exactly like me, standing behind me, or sitting on my bed. It was just in the corner of my eye and when I turned she would be gone.

One night after seeing the girl, I fell asleep painting a landscape, a bloody red paint smeared on my hands and face from working on a sunset.

When I woke just a few hours later, I was drenched in the red paint. Looking up at my wall, a scream tore through my throat. On the wall where the scratching always happened, written in dripping red paint was the word Run.

So I ran. I didn't go back to my house for a couple days, but I got good sleep in those days and I thought I could stay again at my home. I thought everything I saw was just hallucinations, from not sleeping.

The night I returned, the girl came out of my wall. Her hands were dripping in blood and her translucent white skin dotted with phantom bruises and cuts. She crept toward me and I ran again.

I never came back. I moved out of Heraldsdale completely and didn't return to that house for anything. I was getting comfortable with my new life, I was selling paintings, and I had a nice, new apartment. I had been sleeping well and everything was better than Heraldsdale.

Tonight, I heard a faint sound of scratching coming from my bedroom walls.