I am aware that the title of my story seems a little over the top, however you'll soon see why I chose it. It seems like a lifetime ago, when I was an eight year old and like many other children, I hated having to stop playing in order to take a bath. It meant that bedtime was looming, but I had no idea that it would lead to one of these true ghost stories, which I was too young to even read at the time.
Being a senior now, it's amazing how that memory is one of the strongest among the many in my ageing mind. My parents were loving but strict, so I wasn't allowed to take toys into the bath. I had a limited time to wash myself properly and prepare for bed, but the one thing I enjoyed was pretending that I was a mermaid.
It was the only way to make a dreary task palatable, so I would wash quickly and spend the rest of the time slithering about and singing like a siren – albeit quietly to myself. One night changed that forever, when I felt like I wasn't the only one in the bathtub. For the record, I wasn't ill, I wasn't sleepy and I'm sure it wasn't my childish imagination.
After I hurriedly washed myself, I slipped under the water and started my mermaid game, pretending that I was in a magical water world. Then I saw what looked like some kind of a face grinning in a sinister way, on the side of the bathtub. I gasped and leaped out of the water, sitting back on my knees and spluttering – trying to catch my breath so I could scream.
Even though the face disappeared, I knew I wasn't alone.
After I caught my breath and decided not to scream – yet, I sat up on the edge of the tub and strained my eyes to try and see where the face went. There was no way that it was a reflection of my own face. It was surreal and dark, sending waves of fear through my psyche, but I just had to try and figure out what or who it was.
I know it sounds strange, but I was suddenly self-conscious about being naked, so I covered my lower body with the washcloth before sliding back under the surface. No sooner had I done so, when I saw the face again – this time on the bottom of the tub looking back up at me. The evil face had a terrifying look to it, like it wanted to hurt me.
What happened next still haunts me, which is why I haven't taken a bath since or stepped in a puddle or any body of water. As I pulled back in order to get to the surface, something either pulled me down or compelled me to get closer to it.
It felt like my face and the face of the ghost – or whatever it was – were like magnets mashing together. I bumped my forehead as I thrashed around, trying to get away from it and feeling like I was being sucked down the drain. The funny thing about it was, I must have dislodged the plug, as the water was now draining fast.
screamed as the gurgling water dragged my hair along with it, still battling to rise up and away from the face, which was now distorted and swirling along with my hair and the water. Then I felt two large hands under my armpits and dragging me up. I fought hard as I screeched in terror, not realizing that it was my father.
He brought me up into his arms as I kicked and cried. He yelled, "What are you doing, silly child?!" I stopped and then clung to him like a drowned monkey. I pointed to the bath but the face was nowhere to be seen. When I told him what happened he laughed and dried me off.
From that day forward I refused to take a bath or swim. I only took showers, which pleased my parents, but I have to admit – I take the fastest showers in history. Even though I know that there's a good chance it was just my imagination, I'll never forget that awful face and how it made me fear for my life.