Stars on the Ceiling

📅 Published on October 4, 2021

“Stars on the Ceiling”

Written by JRT McMahon
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 11 minutes

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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I was always so afraid of the dark as a kid.  I used to think that there was something wrong with me, the way I would tense up when I could no longer distinguish my bedroom’s wall from the floor, when it all became a uniform sheet of darkness.

As I grew up, I came to discover that I wasn’t alone at all.  It was only natural for kids to fear the darkness, that even some adults were wary of it.  I also discovered as I grew up that not everyone had a father like mine, a father that would go out of his way to put me in that darkness.

A father that would pull my new nightlight from the socket by my bed and smash it to small plastic bits under his heavy boot.

He would tell Mother that I must have broken it somehow.  I could tell that she knew he was lying. Her eyes looked sad all the time.

She would try to help me any way she could, always ushering me off to bed when Dad stumbled through the front door.  I remember thinking that he looked so tired, the way he swayed from side to side as I used to after soccer practice.  I used to think the bottle in his hand was like the juice box mother would give me when I looked exhausted.

Every night it was the same.  Mom would leave the door open just a crack so that the light from the hallway could slip in and vanish the dark corners, but every night, my door would end up shutting, often before I was able to fall asleep.  I could always tell who closed it.  If the light slowly disappeared until I heard the faint click of the door lock, I knew Mother had shut it.

After she closed the door, I could always hear my parents talking back and forth rapidly, unable to make out their words.  They sounded like muffled dogs.  Mom was just trying to help when she shut the door; what’s the point of letting the light in when the dark slips through anyway?

When Father closed the door, it was sudden and harsh, the door meeting the frame like a car crash.  It was almost as if my father wanted to make sure that I would wake up from the sound of the door shutting, so I could wake up surrounded by the night.  I was always too afraid to get up from the bed and open the door again.  I could never have been that kid that got to slip through the hall to sleep with their parents.  I had only tried it once when the voices began.

It was after my father slammed the door shut that I opened my eyes and laid silent on my bed, staring off into the dark.  In that silence I could hear them, small whispers filling my room like a cold breeze. Much like when my parents would argue through the walls, I could never make out what was being said, but I knew those voices were not my parents.  It sounded like there were dozens of them, all chatting to each other, a cacophony of secrets that plumed into my eardrums and rattled my heart.

I convinced myself that facing my father was the lesser of two evils and slowly climbed out of bed. Opening my door, I walked timidly down the hall.  It felt like that hall leading towards my parent’s room stretched on forever when I was a kid, the house’s architecture giving me every chance I could to turn back.

My small hands pressed open my parents’ door, but they weren’t sleeping.  Dad was sitting on the edge of the bed while Mom was curled up in bed.  There wasn’t much time to turn around, my dad’s attention snapping to me faster than I could think.  I had enough time to see a collection of juice boxes by my father’s feet before he stood from the bed.  I heard my mother offer a plea before the heavy footsteps approached me.

His large open palm rested on my shoulder, and for a moment I thought that I was going to receive some comfort.  Instead, I felt my father’s immense strength pushing me backward and lifting my feet off the ground.  My back smacked against the hall’s hardwood floor, and before my approaching mother could cross the door frame, I saw Dad swing it shut with such a force I felt wind press against my wet cheeks.

I would have been able to sleep with the door open that night, but I ended up closing it again when I heard my parents barking again.  I was so scared to sleep the next night, so afraid of the voices and my dad.  But when I laid down in my bed and my father slammed the door shut, I opened my eyes to find the room wasn’t so dark.

Turning my head against the pillow, I turned my attention to the ceiling.  I thought that my mother must have done it while I was at school.  Above my head was my very own night sky, a collection of shining white dots that littered the ceiling, making it look like my room stretched into infinity.  The lights were just bright enough to put my mind at ease.

Instead of nervously observing every bleak nook and cranny of my room, from that night on I would stare up at the stars.  I would look at them until my vision got hazy, and I needed to remember about blinking or until I would just pass out.  When I looked at them long enough, it felt like I was watching them move, like the stars were rotating around the room.  Sometimes my vision would get so bad it looked like the lights were flickering.

I was so thankful for those lights.  I wanted to thank my mom, but I figured she wouldn’t want me to bring it up.  It was enough for her to see me getting better sleep.  She would occasionally tell me how proud she was that I got over my fear of the darkness.  Even though I hadn’t really if it wasn’t for the stars I would still be afraid, but she looked so happy, so I never told her.  Seeing my mom happy wasn’t something I got often, so I cherished that too.

Night after night, those stars kept me company, and some part of me started to feel braver and braver. Even when I started hearing the whispers again, they just became another part of the night, another thing to keep my company.  I even started closing my door so that my father didn’t get the chance to slam it shut.

And then, the stars went away.

I could never forget that night.  As I lay in bed staring up at the tiny freckles of white dotted on top of my ceiling, I heard a door slam…  Not mine, but the front door.  There were no whispers that night, so I could hear every heavy footstep.  My parents started to bark, but the bass of my dad’s words was higher than I was used to.  It felt like his words were shaking my bedframe.

On my back, I focused on the stars seemingly swaying above me as my mom’s smaller footsteps raced up the stairs, and my father’s followed shortly after.  I heard my mom gasp before there was a large thud in the living room.  It sounded like when my father had pushed me down, but it was louder and definitely shook my bed.

Even through the door, I could hear the soft sobs of my mother as she struggled to catch her breath. Sitting up, struggling to catch my breath as well, I could see the shadows shifting and obstructing the light from the hallways from the bottom of my closed door.  My dad uttered harsh demands to my mom.

She pleaded with him, still begging.  I could feel the corners of my mouth lowering and my face becoming hot.  I desperately wanted to do something.  I felt it welling up in me and soaking my heart until it formed a lump in my throat.  I looked up at the stars again, my vision obstructed by a thin film of tears gathering.  The lights looked warped under the filter of liquid that pooled until it streaked down my cheek.

The darkness around those stars swirled too until it looked like it was reaching out for me; all these shapes returned to normal when I wiped my eyes clean.  Then I heard one more thud.  This time it was soft and muted.  I was reminded of what it sounded like when my foot would hit the soccer ball, and then I heard my mother’s air escaping her lungs.

Before I knew it, I could feel the cool hardwood floor in my room pulling heat from the bottom of my feet.  Quickly I made my way to the door and pulled it open, letting the room flood with the hallway’s light.  I don’t know what was going through my mind-probably nothing-but I approached the man who had my mother’s hair clumped up in his fist.

With all the strength my child’s body could muster, I swung and my small, crumpled-up fist landed on his left cheek.  I put everything I could into it, and he didn’t move an inch.  It was like he was made of stone or something.  He turned to me.  He was struggling to keep both eyes open, and his breath smelled like battery acid, but again, he was faster than I could think.

His massive hands wrapped around my arms, and he picked me up off the ground with such little effort I felt like I didn’t even exist.  He smiled at me, an ugly and unkind smile and through the slurred speech, he mockingly called me a “big, brave man” before once again shoving me backward.

This time, with both his arms and the height he had brought me to, my body soared through the door frame and back into my room.  I landed much harder, and my thin frame bounced off the ground before resting.  My breath had been taken out of me completely, but still, my father stepped forward, presenting his massive frame to tower over my crumbled body.

Leaning over, he brought his face to mine.  I could smell the intense waft of alcohol on his breath with each word he spoke.  A sentence spoken through such broken speech, it was a wonder that I recognized it at all.  He told me that if I ever touched him again, he would kill me.  Lifting my head, off the ground, he quickly pushed it back down, making it smash the ground.  My vision jarred for a moment as he left the room, slamming the door behind him.

All night, I laid on the floor, motionless and hardly able to breathe.  I felt so powerless and just prayed that my mom was okay.  The entire time I watched the stars above me and listened to the choir of whispers until I fell asleep.

Waking up, as sore as ever in my mom’s arms, I felt confused.  The cool air was pressing against my face as my mother cradled me on the curb outside our home.  I started to try and look around when I noticed the red and blue lights alternating around us.  She rested her hand on my head and told me to keep my eyes on her.  I did, mostly, but it was what was behind my mother that I focused on.

Real stars were hanging in the night sky above us.  There were more whispers around me, but they sounded different.  I could hear footsteps all around us and the sound of running vehicles.  I was curious, but I was so tired and watching the actual stars mile and miles above me, I fell asleep embraced in my mother’s arms.

The next day my mother explained that my father had been taken away by the police, and she didn’t think he’d be coming back.  I didn’t know how to feel, but I knew there was a ping of relief in me, something to distract me from the pain in my body.

Mom was absent a lot after that, always leaving the house.  I thought that maybe she had to get another job since Dad was gone.  She started looking happier as the days went on, and in turn, I started to feel happy too as my body healed.

I was allowed to keep the door open at night so the hallway light could creep in and so that I could make sure my mother’s steps were the only ones walking up the stairs.  Since I was allowed to keep the door open, I thought at the time that it made sense for my mom to take the stars down off the ceiling, even though I liked them.  I didn’t bring it up because things were getting better.

Not until recently, anyways, where I learned what happened to my father that night.

Years had passed, and my mother lived in that house for all of them.  She started to age, and I went off to college.  I recently returned to help her move her things; she was finally leaving that house behind.  I always asked her to move over and get away from the horrible memories, but she said she couldn’t leave.  She said she had memories of us in there, too, and that the house had a way of looking out for her.  I would laugh it off, but I was glad that she finally decided to make the move.

Guess she just didn’t need a house that big all to herself anymore.  So we went around the house boxing all her things up.  I went into the attic and found boxes of my old childhood toys.  I sorted through the boxes remembering the few chances I had to have fun in that house.  I started to feel nostalgic for the stars that used to keep me company.

I thought about how they helped me cope with the darkness and how comfortable they made me feel. Then that maybe one day they would help my kid get through the night, should I ever decide to have one, that is.  The stars were nowhere to be found, though.  I sorted through all the boxes and couldn’t find a single one.  Figuring she just threw them away, I climbed down from the attic and asked her where she found the stars.

She looked puzzled, which wasn’t that surprising.  She was getting on in her years, and perhaps I needed to be more specific.  I tried to remind her of the white dots that looked like stars she put all over my ceiling to help me with the dark.  That the stars even made me feel better about the voices I was hearing.  The same stars she took down after dad was arrested.

Her eyes fluttered for a moment before she sat down on the bed and instructed me to do the same.  She began by telling me that my father, was never arrested.  That night after he did what he did, he went downstairs, and my mother ran in to grab me.  She scooped me up and pulled me into her room, where she barricaded the door.

She listened as my father ran around the house after noticing we weren’t around anymore; he was far too drunk to even think that we were in the same room he slept in.  She listened as he came back up the stairs, the steps nearly cracking under his frantic footsteps.  My mother peeked through the door and watched as he walked into my room.

He looked around, yelling my name, saying that if I didn’t come out of hiding that I was going to be in big trouble.  Then he stopped and looked around the room but with more curiosity than the anger he had before.  Mom watched him slowly look up at the ceiling as if someone was calling for him.  My dad stood there, framed by the door as he stood and stared at the stars on my ceiling.  And then, my mother said, he started to lift off the ground.

It was so dark in the room that it was like the darkness itself was pulling him up, and before she knew what to think, he was gone.  She waited a moment before cautiously opening the bedroom door and stepping into the hall.  Each step took minutes to get through, she said as she made her way to my room.  It sounded like it was far away, my father’s screaming, but she said it got louder and louder until it crescendoed when my father’s body dropped from the ceiling and smacked against the floor.

In complete shock, my mother managed to dial the police, who also brought an ambulance with them, but she said dad was far beyond saving.  She said that with relief in her voice.  She continued to explain that she had to meet with the police for a long time after that night which was why she was absent so often.

The police couldn’t explain what happened but ended up ruling out my mother as a suspect in my father’s death, because the police had no idea what his cause of death was.  They said it would have been physically impossible for a full-grown bear to do damage like that to a body, never mind thinking my dainty mother could do it.

She said the closest thing the coroner could liken the damage to was someone falling from a plane a mile up and smacking against the pavement.  She’d never get the shape of him out of her mind, the way his body had folded and pressed into itself, the way bones poked through the skin, and how his eyes had rolled back.  Even when looking at the complete decay of life that was my father, she felt warm that night.

She never questioned it.  She had been dealing with the monster that was my father since before I was born, and whatever monster it was that took him out of our life, she was thankful.  That’s when she said something that made my heart sink but also filled me with a sense of familiarity at the same time. She said to me that “something must have been looking out for you.”

And I couldn’t help but picture them.  All the beady white orbs that hung above my head every night I closed my eyes: the white shining dots and the endless darkness around them.  I found myself strangely thankful for them…

What I now know were never stars.

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by JRT McMahon
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: JRT McMahon


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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