When I was 19 I was trapped inside a sensory deprivation tank for 48 hours.
I was encased in total blackness with nothing but my own thoughts to accompany me for two entire days. From August 22 to August 24th I was trapped in hell, and I will never forget what happened in that tank.
About a year before these events, I met a kid I’ll call “X.” X was my best friend. Throughout my entire teenage life I found it very hard to make friends. So when I met him in my first semester of college I was thrilled to have someone to hang out with. We shared the same mildy offensive (sometimes unintentionally overboard) sense of humour, liked the same video games, and just had the same general interests. Now X also was like me. He never scored in the friend lottery either, so I could imagine he was equally thrilled to have my company.
As our friendship began to evolve, I eventually was invited to X’s pad. To my amazement he was apparently an heir to a very wealthy fortune. I knew he was somewhat well off when I saw that he drove a Nissan GTR, but I never realized that he was that level of rich. He had an at least eight thousand square foot apartment. It was the entire floor of the building. His rooms were populated with some of the most up to date tech and clothes you could think of. It was around this time, I thought I hit the best friend jack pot.
As college went on I did begin to notice that there was a little something off about X. There was this one time around the end of second semester where he was acting a little funny. I was staying the night at his place, and he asked me if I believe in demons. I told him that I wasn’t really sure if I do, but I could tell he wasn’t to concerned about what I thought. He then explained to me that he sometimes sees them when he sleeps. He said it horrifies him. I basically tried to talk him out of his beliefs and try to steer him back to reality. I said it’s just a bad dream, and knowing how insane we’ve been studying for the last couple months it’s no wonder he’s seeing crazy shit.
For the last couple weeks of school we didn’t really talk much because of the intense exams and such. He did invite me over in mid August to hang out though, and that’s when I noticed his newest buy. There was a huge black tank in the middle of his living room. Puddles of water coated the floor around it. I didn’t know what the hell to think. I jokingly asked him if he began tanning. He explained to me that it was a sensory deprivation tank. To those of you that don’t know what this is, it’s basically a big sound absorbing, pitch black tank filled with salt water that you lay down in. It closes like a casket, and you float in the water staring at total darkness. It deprives you of all you senses.
He never really talked about it again. He just kind of brushed it off and attempted to change the subject. We then began to do our normal routine, which is playing Mortal Kombat and drink beers. That night though, I drank more than usual. I actually don’t even remember much. I only remembered what happened when I woke up.
That night I had a dream I was trapped In an iceberg. I couldnt breath. Then I woke up in panic. I was floating in water. My body must have somehow flipped over while sleeping and I was unintentially drowning myself. I was trapped in total darkness. Quickly realizing that I must have done something really stupid last night, I called for X to let me out. There was no response. After what seemed like half an hour of yelling and pounding on the hatch, I realized that he’s probably passed out on the couch still. My body was in total panic mode. I could hear my heart beat begin to echo within the tank. I tried to calm my nerves and just relax.
After what felt like at least an hour, my fingers had become wrinkled like raisins, and my skin began to feel sore. Around that time I heard footsteps creaking on the floorboards.
“Hey X. Let me the hell out of here. I think we partied too hard last night.” I jokingly yelled out.
“I’m sorry. This is the only way I can prove to you I’m not crazy. Im gonna show you the demons” He said.
It was at that point I knew I was royaly fucked.
I began pounding that shit out of the hatch in hopes of somehow breaking it. Floating in the salt water really hurt my momentum, so I ended up just wasting precious energy.
“Youll see them soon.” He said from what sounded was from across the room.
I eventually lost my energy and just stared into the black abyss. I began to see shapes form in my peripheral vision. I thought I could hear voices coming from under the water. I was shaking with anxiety, but I knew if I give into my fears I would go insane. I was in a state where I didn’t know if this was a dream or I was awake. Maybe I was still drunk? I tried slapping myself to wake up, but I soon realized that this is my dark reality.
The quiet and calmness was menacing. I could hear rumbles underwater, the thumps of my heart beat, and what I thought where whispers. This was around when I began seeing the face. It starting forming like a eye floater, you couldn’t quite focus on it, but it was there. From what I could make out of it, it was half orange and half white skin. It had huge completely white eyes, and a great big smile. It wouldn’t get out of my vision. I tried rapidly blinking but it was there whether or not my eyelids were open or closed. At this point I had lost total track of time. Night and day were a thing of the past. I tried counting to keep track of time, but I lost the will to around the third hour.
The face began to make sounds. Like a hissing sound almost. Over and over. Each hiss getting louder. It began getting more and more aggressive. Screaming at me, looking right into my soul. I felt like something was under me. Lurking in the water. It was just a bad dream. I hoped to God it was just a bad dream. I was so hungry.
Then there was a sound. It was distinct. It was coming from beyond the tank. I heard the creak of a door, and steps on the floorboards. Then a scream. A woman’s scream. I couldnt make out the words, but I knew something was very, very bad. I began rapidly banging on the hatch of the tank in hope that she would hear me. Her crying stopped and I heard her walking towards me. A rush of cool relief expanded all over my body at that moment. Right then and there, I knew I wasn’t going to die. Something heavy was pushed off the hatch and that’s when the light shined in.
Everything was so bright and hard to make out. She pulled me from the water. I couldnt see anything, but I could make out that she was covered in red. She layed my cold, shrivelled up body out on the floor, and told me an ambulance will be here soon. I just remember laying there as my vision slowing adjusted. I could see more and more red. And a faint blur of orange and white. There was a figure also on the floor beside me.
It was X. He slit his throat, and blood pooled all over the living room floor. Knife still in his dead grips. As my vision finally adjusted, I could finally see to my horror what was on the wall.
It was the face. DID YOU SEE IT? DID YOU SEE IT? THE DEMON? DO YOU SEE IT NOW? DID YOU SEE IT? Writing was all over the wall.
After a week of hospitalization I learned the Woman who rescued me was in fact X’s aunt. She told me that his parents died and all their money was donated to him. She said she was really greatful for me trying to be his friend. Apparently he was really messed up by his parents deaths and refused to take his medication to cope with his traumatic loss.
I still see that face. I see it all the time. When I blink. When I sleep. I just want it to go away.
Crazy or not. X was right. I saw the demon, and its face is orange and white.