Do you know what it’s like when it’s late at night and you just can’t sleep?
When you feel like something’s watching you, even when you’re alone?
I have… and it was a true story about another ‘being’ living in my room.
It started back in 2003, when I was 6 years old. It was night time and I just couldn’t close my eyes, even when I did they would eventually open, when they did I always saw shadows, first I thought my mind was playing games with me, but when I turned my light on, nothing was there to actually create that shadow.
Time has passed and it turned to the year of 2007. After my 11th birthday, I was home on the vacation and I felt a sudden chill when I went in my room. I was a bit nervous, but got over it and entertained myself by watching some TV. For some reason, distraction was my way of running from my fear. Soon, I had to go to sleep and then I heard a soft voice singing, or better yet humming, a familiar melody: The Holy Night of Christmas theme. I first thought it was my sister singing, so I took all my senses to me and checked her room. You never would’ve guessed… She was asleep. I had weird sting going through my heart knowing something wasn’t right. As I walked back to my room, I felt like I was being followed, yet when I turned around, there was only the dark, empty hallway I left behind me. I picked up the pace and ran to my room closed the door jumped in my bed turned on the light and waited… All night long it felt like something was waiting in front of my door.
Coming closer to the present day, in December of 2010, shortly after my 14th Birthday, I was going to the city with a few friends. After spending about 50 bucks, one of my friends wanted to join me on my ride home. When we arrived we went to my room and gamed a bit, though I saw that something was disturbing him so I asked what was wrong. He asked if anyone else was there. At that point I knew it wasn’t just my imagination. SOMETHING was in my room. My friend wanted to know if we could sleep over at his house instead and I agreed happily. That night I didn’t feel well, as if something was missing, like when you have a teddy bear and you forgot it at home, but in my case it wasn’t the teddy… It was her. I have gotten used to the humming at night and the feeling that someone cared about me, because I’m one of those kids that has popular ‘friends’ but they aren’t very good friends. I have also been distancing myself from people and only interacting with a select few.
Present day, July 2011, I was on vacation 1000 miles away from home, from her. I have been struggling to come home earlier because I really can’t bear it without her. I have seen her only a few times and it was like a drug. I needed more, or at least I thought I did. I share a spiritual bond with her. I’m stronger when I’m closer to ‘home’ and feel ‘saner’… Like I said, I was on a vacation and it all went fine at first but after a week I showed signs of nervousness and a slight aggression. Within a few days, the aggression grew, I became more impulsive and had no conscience. I’d have done anything to get back home, even if it meant to become a threat to others, which eventually I did… I threw 2 knives at a kid and attacked another. The other children were getting nervous around me, but I wasn’t bothered because within the next day, I was sent home and upon my arrival I went straight to my room to be alone with her. She put her hand on my shoulder. I knew then that we would never be separated.
If you look at me now, you’ll see two people, not one.~
I work at a gas station in rural Pennsylvania. It’s a boring job, but it’s pretty easy and it pays all right. A few weeks ago, this new guy started; I’ll call him Jeremy.
Jeremy is weird. He’s about 25 or 26, and he hardly speaks, but he’s got the creepiest laugh I’ve ever heard. My boss and I have both noticed this, but it’s never been a problem, so there’s not much we can do about it. Customers have never complained about him, and he’s always done his job fairly well. Up until a few weeks ago, anyway—that’s when things started going missing. Employee theft can be a problem at any business that sells consumer goods, and there’s only one person working at a time at this gas station (it’s a pretty small place). About two weeks ago, my boss started noticing that we were short on motor oil. At first, it was a few containers at a time, then entire shelves and boxes from the back room. Pretty soon entire shipments would be gone the day after we got them, and it would always be right after Jeremy’s shifts. My boss has checked the security camera tapes from every single night he worked, but he could never catch him in the act. Jeremy would lock up at closing, then the motor oil would be gone the next day.
My boss usually takes the tapes home with him to try and catch Jeremy stealing, but his daughter had a softball game last night, so he asked me to watch the tape for him. He offered to pay me overtime, under-the-table, so obviously I took that offer. There are three cameras, so he gave me three different tapes to check. I figured it would be a long night, but I’m trying to save up for vacation, so I really needed the money. I took the tapes home, popped them in an old VCR and sat back.
Two days ago (the last time he worked), Jeremy started at 4 PM. Everything seemed pretty normal at first. He counted up his drawer, switched off with the girl who was working before him, and waited for a customer. The first person who came in was Mrs. Templeton (the timestamp on the video read 4:03), a regular. She picked up her cigarettes and a newspaper, and paid with a twenty. Nothing unusual there. The next customer was some local guy named Ron. He drives a motorcycle, usually comes in every few days. He filled up his tank, got a bag of beef jerky, paid with his credit card, and then left. Next was some guy with a cowboy hat. I’d never seen him before, but we get plenty of strangers passing through, just like at any gas station. He got forty dollars worth of diesel fuel, paid with a hundred dollar bill, and went on his way. I sat back and sighed. The only thing more boring than doing this job is watching someone else do it.
My boss’s offer was enough to keep me watching though, so I left the tape on. Everything seemed pretty normal. I had a feeling that if Jeremy was stealing motor oil, he knew we were suspicious of him by now. I didn’t expect him to be dumb enough to let us catch him on camera. Things stayed boring and routine until about five o’clock.
At 5:03, Mrs. Templeton came back in; she must have forgotten something. But she didn’t. She bought the same pack of cigarettes as before, and the same newspaper. She paid with another twenty. That’s odd, I thought, but then again, she’s a little absent minded. I thought Jeremy should have told her she already got her smokes, but it’s not against the rules to sell somebody the same thing twice. That’s when Ron came in again. He bought another tank of gas (for his motorcycle again—I later checked the outdoor camera because I thought maybe he had another car he wanted to fill up) and the same pack of beef jerky. He paid with his credit card again.
No big deal, I figured this was just a weird coincidence. Mrs. Templeton is forgetful and Ron probably owns more than one Harley. That’s when the guy in the cowboy hat came back in. I felt a chill run down my spine. “Don’t get diesel, don’t get diesel,” I found myself whispering to my empty living room…but he did. He got forty dollars worth of diesel fuel and paid with another hundred dollar bill. Every move he made was identical to his first visit, right down to the way he scratched his nose before he walked out. Either this guy is rich, owns a lot of trucks, and just moved into town, or something really bizarre was happening. I kept watching.
Every customer for the next hour was the same as before. Every single one. I was seriously freaked out, and then at 6:03, Mrs. Templeton walked back in. She bought her cigarettes and newspaper again, and paid with a twenty again. I thought I was going to lose it. I only watched another half hour before I started fast forwarding through the rest. It was all the same. Every customer would come in at the exact same times, exactly one hour apart.
Now I know what you’re thinking. That sneaky motherfucker Jeremy had messed with the tapes. He had run a loop of his first hour of business over and over. That wasn’t the case. There are windows around the cash register area that the camera covers, and I watched the sunlight fade as time ran on. Jeremy’s routine didn’t loop over—he swept, mopped, restocked, and did all his duties exactly how you would expect. But the same customers kept coming in.
I was panicking at this point. Something was seriously wrong with what I was seeing, and I had no explanation for it. I skipped ahead to when he locked up and walked out to his car. He hadn’t stolen anything, but I kept watching, just to make sure. I fast forwarded one last time, to about midnight.
At exactly 12:03, out of nowhere, Jeremy’s face pops up on camera. I don’t mean he moved his head into view, I mean that one second the store was empty, the next second his face was all I could see. He wasn’t looking at the camera, he was looking at me, I was sure of it. I screamed and fumbled for the remote. By the time I grabbed it, he was gone, just as soon as he had left. One frame he was there, the next he wasn’t. My hands were shaking like crazy, but I popped in another tape. The other indoor camera shows the back area, by the cash register, and I would be able to see how he got up to put his face in the camera like that. I skipped ahead to 12:03, but there was nothing. I would have been able to see him standing on a chair or something on this tape, but he wasn’t there. I didn’t see him enter the store at all after he left. It’s like he wasn’t really there. He doesn’t know the security code, and no alarms were triggered that night after he locked up.
What I did see, however, was that at 12:03, the motor oil vanished off the shelf. All of it. Same as Jeremy’s face, one second it was there and the next it wasn’t. I turned that tape off and went to bed, but I didn’t get a wink of sleep. My body is exhausted right now, but my mind is racing. That tape was undoubtedly the creepiest, most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
I work in a few hours. My boss asked me to bring the tapes back in and let him know what I found, but really, what the hell am I going to say? Jeremy works the night shift tonight, directly after me, and the plan is for my boss to come in just before I leave and confront him with me (as I’m supposed to be the one who caught him stealing). I have no idea what I’m going to do. I suppose I’ll have to show my boss the tapes, but I don’t want to watch them with him. I never want to see something like that again. I can’t get the image of Jeremy just smiling directly into the camera out of my mind; it was the creepiest look I’ve ever seen on another human being’s face.
Anyway, I’m gonna try again to get some last minute sleep before I have to go in and deal with this. I’ll let you guys know what happens…
UPDATE (2:49 PM): Updating from my phone, apologies in advance for errors. My boss just finished watching the last of the tapes. I told him what to expect, but you really can’t prepare someone for something like that. He’s scared shitless (I still am too) and Jeremy is due to come in at 4. We’ve got a little over an hour to get our shit together, but neither one of us knows what to say to him. Is he just a fucked up guy who likes to steal motor oil and scare the shit out of people? Or is he something else? I don’t know if this is crazy, but does anyone think he could have anything to do with the time loop? My boss said he never noticed anything like that in the other tapes, but the way he popped up in this one made me think he knew I would be watching. It’s like he wanted me to see what he could do. Like he was showing off or something. The way he smiled into the camera was like a little kid showing you a sandcastle they just built or something. I don’t know, I probably sound crazy. I sure feel the part. I’m going to talk to my boss some more. We have to calm ourselves down and figure out how to handle this. I’ll update again tonight, but I have a really bad feeling about how this is going to play out.
UPDATE (4:33 PM): No sign of Jeremy. Tried calling him, but his phone has been disconnected. We’re calling the police.
UPDATE (5:33 PM): No sign of Jeremy. Tried calling him, but his phone has been disconnected. We’re calling the police.
UPDATE (6:33 PM): No sign of Jeremy. Tried calling him, but his phone has been disconnected. We’re calling the police.
UPDATE (7:33 PM): No sign of Jeremy. Tried calling him, but his phone has been disconnected. We’re calling the police.
UPDATE (8:33 PM): No sign of Jeremy. Tried calling him, but his phone has been disconnected. We’re calling the police.
UPDATE (10:58 PM): Holy shit. Holy shit holy shit holy shit. I just got home and saw my previous updates. Things make less sense now than ever. Here’s what I can tell you. I went to work, Jeremy never showed up, my boss and I decided to call the police, as you’re well aware. When I picked up the phone to call, though, the sun went out. I shit you not, that’s what I thought happened. Apparently I blacked out for exactly five hours, because when I looked at the clock, it was 9:33. I think I got stuck in Jeremy’s time loop, and then I snapped out of it at the exact point I blacked out, if that makes sense. But that’s when things got really weird.
My boss was right next to me when I blacked out, ready to corroborate my story to the cops. When I came to, the phone was in my hand, but it was dead. Not even a dial tone. My boss was still right there, but he wasn’t moving. He was standing up, but frozen. I looked at the clock again, and it wasn’t moving. The second hand was stuck on the 12. It was 9:33 exactly. The clock on the register (computer screen) wasn’t moving either. My phone was frozen. There was even a customer at the register, waiting for my boss to get him cigarettes. I’m betting that would have been his fifth pack of the day.
I got the fuck out of there. Didn’t lock up, didn’t turn the lights out, and sorry guys, I didn’t grab the security tapes to upload on the internet. Believe me, that was the last thing on my mind. The gas station is on a major highway, and cars were parked all along it, except they weren’t parked, they were frozen. The people inside were sitting still as wax statues. I got in my car and prayed that it would start. Thankfully it did.
About halfway home, time started up again. The static from the radio turned into music, like it’s supposed to be, and from what I could tell by listening to the host talk in between songs, no one noticed the time freeze, or whatever it was. I was the only one. Well, I’m sure Jeremy noticed as well. I still have no clue where he is or what he’s doing. I’m hiding in my room and calling the police again in the morning. I don’t know if I ever got through to them before, or if I did, whether they took me seriously. I’m scared for my life at this point. I’ll update tomorrow, if I can.
FINAL UPDATE (10:33 AM): I finally fell asleep last night around 4. I have no idea how I did it, I guess exhaustion finally got the best of me. This morning, I woke up to my phone ringing; it was my boss. He’d been calling me since about 6. He woke up when time turned back on last night and immediately called the cops. They came by to see what was wrong and he told them everything. The police around here are all small time guys; they were more concerned with the missing motor oil than anything, but my boss figured he would take it, as long as he had their attention. They decided to go looking for Jeremy.
We keep all our employees’ applications on file, and since Jeremy just started working here, his was easy to find. They checked the address on it and headed over to his house. You’re not gonna believe what they found.
The address Jeremy listed on his application was an empty lot. Or at least now it is. There used to be a house there, but it burned down in 1993. Being a small town, almost everyone remembers that fire. A family of four used to live there way back when. Rumor has it that they had an estranged son who they never really talked about, but I can’t say for sure if that’s true. What I can say is true is that after an insurance investigation, the fire was ruled an arson. The entire house was soaked in oil and torched with a Molotov cocktail. The entire family was sleeping when it happened; none of them survived.
They never caught the guy who did it. Rumor has it that when they tried to contact the estranged son, no one could find him.
Anyway, my boss called and told me this, and I freaked out. Then he asked me to come to the gas station. “What are you, crazy?” I said, but he assured me that the cops were there with him. Then he dropped a bomb: the FBI were also in town and they were going to talk to me one way or another, so I might as well come in. It was about 7:15, and I wanted to go back to bed, but I figured I wouldn’t be able to sleep much more anyway, so I went down.
Four men in suits greeted me and told me to have a seat. We went over everything two or three times until they got all the details down. I told them about Jeremy, the security tape, last night at work. Everything. Finally, after I finished, one of the agents said, “Oh Christ, we’ve got another one on our hands.” Then they made me sign a bunch of papers saying I wouldn’t tell anyone about what happened, so I can’t say much more. I might be breaking the law just by posting this.
So now I’m home. I’m not sure what to do with myself. That agent’s words when I told him the story are going to haunt me for the rest of my life.
Anyway, I’ve got to go. I have some errands to run today, and then I have to go in to work to pick up some tapes. My boss and I think this new guy Jeremy (he’s a complete creep) is stealing motor oil and I have to watch the security footage to see if I can catch him doing it. I have better things to do, but my boss is paying me overtime, under-the-table, and I’m trying to save up for vacation so I could really use the money. It should be pretty simple; the oil always goes missing right after his shifts. I figure I’ll just watch the tapes, catch him in the act, and that will be that.
**This is a story told by an anonymous poster on /x/ on May 26, 2009.**
Hey guys, I got a nice story that might perk your interest.
When I was in Grade 9, I went to school in Hong Kong. For our annual trip we went over to Thailand, to some rural little camp ground with dorms. Every year my school went to this particular camp, because it was conveniently located for the activities that the school annually planned. However, those students in higher grades always said that the dorm 4-D was haunted. As luck would have it, I was assigned to dorm 4-D with seven other classmates.
When we arrived on the first day, shit was pretty fine. We did some hiking, rock-climbing, your standard outdoor camp bullshit. During our free-time period, I was pretty worn out. I’m not much of a physically active person, so I decided to head back to my dorm and finish off my Harry Potter books,
when suddenly in the corner of my eye, I could swear that I saw someone peering through the window of the dorm. As soon as I glanced up however, the figure vanished. However, the shrubs just outside the window were still slightly rustling, almost like who- or what- ever it was had just taken off.
I disregarded it as someone who was just being overly curious, so I continued reading my books.
After us kids had dinner, we all headed back to our dorms and started fooling around. [See picture below before continuing]
We were sitting in the common area, playing cards and shit. It was rather late, I’d say around 11:00 PM by now, so it was past curfew time. Teachers were going round to check that people were in their dorms, and it was lights out at 12:00. As we were playing cards, all of us thought we could hear someone faintly humming, a high pitched voice - like a kids voice, coming from the bathroom. If you’d ever tried talking aloud in the bathroom, you’ll know that your voice sort of echoes. Well, the humming voice had that kind of effect, so we thought it was coming from the bathroom. I went to check the bathroom, but there was nothing there. As soon as I came within say, 15 feet of the door, the voice would stop. Freaky, I thought, but as we were all in a big group of eight, we weren’t that worried.
So, after lights out, we were all pretty much burnt out. We all decided to turn in. This is when the shit really started to go down.
It was going on to about 12:45 when I heard a startled yell coming from the other bedroom. I rushed out my door with Andrew, my bunk mate, and we bumped into all the other guys in the dorm. They were all peeping from out their rooms at the same time. The guys in Room 2 were looking really panicked. We asked them what was wrong, and Steve, one of the dudes said that he saw a figure in a long red gown walk briskly past the open doorway, as he was lying there in the dark trying to go to sleep. Obviously, we found no such figure in the room. Now, Steve was a big, athletic guy. Around 6’2 at the time of the incident, he’s always the hard ass when it comes to sports, and really outgoing. It was pretty freaky for him to be the one getting scared like that, so we were all pretty unsettled.
Coming around 2:00, we all were suddenly startled again that we all ran out and met in the common area. It seems like there was some maniacal laughter coming from the corridor outside, and there was a clanging like there was someone holding something metallic and banging it against the walls. The noise seemed to come closer to our door, louder and louder, until it suddenly stopped.
By this time, we were ready to bail, pretty fucking scared. We all decided to pull up all our bed sheets, clear the living area, and camp as a whole group in the middle of the dorm. It wasn’t until 4am that some weird shit went down again. We were all pretty much passed out by this point, but we were all awoken by a strange thumping sound that seemed to come from the roof. It was almost as if someone was walking on the roof, because the thumps went from above my room, to above the second room, and down to the third and then the fourth rooms. We decided to head outside to see if we could see anything on the roof. Grabbing our flashlights and phones, we went out as a bunch.
First, we checked the roof. Nothing. We went around to check if there was anything that could lead up to the roof, that someone could climb. We found a large drain pipe that was running alongside the window where I thought I saw the figure. However, it didn’t really have enough foothold for anyone to climb. I did notice something strange though. The window where I thought I saw the figure was really really dirty. However, there was a strange set of five lines, almost as if someone had dragged their hand down the window, displacing some of the dirt. Also, the drain pipe had caused the ground around the window to be fairly damp and muddy. Anyone who had been there would have left prints or marks of some sort. I did not see any prints other than my own, which struck me as strange.
We decided to head back to our room and tell the teachers about it when we next saw them. However, when we got there, we saw the most freaky shit of all. All of our bedsheets that we had removed and gathered in the middle of the room had been pulled towards the bathroom. It seemed as if they had been pulled halfway through the bathroom door, then the door had been closed on the sheets, leaving them caught in the door. Freaked out beyond belief by this point, we decided to have shifts between the eight of us, as we had to burn more hours until 8 AM, when we could head out for breakfast. This we did, and for the rest of the night it seemed fine.
The next day, we met the teachers in the cafeteria, and we told them of what happened the night before. The teachers listened patiently, understanding from the seriousness of our faces that we were not kidding around. One of the teachers, Mr. Benton, said that he heard faint banging and stomping sounds coming from the direction of our dorm.
Another, Mrs. Westwood, said that she thought several times in the night that a figure was walking outside her window. It was agreed that we all move to a different location, and later on that day we boarded a bus to go to a different camp site.
Before leaving, Steve and I went to talk to the caretaker of the camp ground and asked him about the peculiar events. What he told us freaked us out big time. He said that a little girl had been playing around and she saw the big drain pipe leading up to the roof. She climbed the drain pipe, and got up on the roof. The roof however, was slanted, and wet, from the rain and humidity (Thailand is very tropical). She slipped, fell, and broke her neck, landing right outside the window where I thought I saw the figure. Her mother, one of the maintenance staff at the time, was so distressed that she went near insane, locking herself in the bathroom and humming incoherently for a whole day. Then, around 3AM the same night, she ran, laughing hysterically through the corridor, climbed the roof up the same pipe, and jumped, killing herself in the process.
That’s the first and hopefully last time I go to Thailand.
**13 Curves is a nickname given to Cedarvale Road in Syracuse, New York, USA, due to its many dangerous curves.**
More than 70 years ago, a couple on their honeymoon were driving down this road.
It was late at night and they both were getting very tired. They were on their way to a hotel to stay the night. In the morning they planned to wake and drive to New York City for further honeymoon celebration.
The wife, having been up since the day before, had already fallen asleep in the passenger seat. The husband was driving the car and he was struggling to keep his eyes open. That was when he succumbed to the drowsiness and fell asleep at the wheel.
The car went careening off the road and smashed into a tree. The wife and husband were both sent flying from the car. The wife, barely holding onto life, crawled the ground looking for her husband.
When emergency teams arrived they found the wife with a bloody trail behind her leading from where she landed. A police officer ran to her and held her in his arms. She was still just slightly alive and with her last words asked where her husband was. The emergency teams never recovered her husband’s body.
It is said that the wife haunts this road. If you go driving the street at night you can see her ghost wandering aimlessly looking for her beloved husband.
Gaston, South Carolina is a lonely little place.
Sitting just south of Columbia along 321, it’s just a small crumb off of the misshapen piece of pie on the United States plate that we call South Carolina. Its population has almost never gone over two thousand, and it is only 3.4 square miles across in all directions. It feels even lonelier when you come in from a place like Roanoke, Virginia.
After mom lost her job, we moved to the only place where the rest of our family resided—Good ol’ South Cackalacky. I had been moping on the trip the whole time on the way down here. The way I saw it, the only friends I was going to be making here were fire ants and that inferno of a sun.
Once we got settled in at 304 Dixiana Drive (I always remembered the address because the number in it was carved into the driveway, and it spelled “hoe” if you looked at it upside down), I immediately set out into the neighborhood in search of friends. I didn’t know how to ride a bike at the time and I barely knew how to ride a skateboard, so I petered down a long stretch of road directly across from the front of the house on my cheap little Wal-Mart board until I came to a small cul-de-sac that seemed to go uphill.
Sitting outside on his front porch was a chubby kid with glasses that looked about ten or eleven, about my age at the time. I really had no one else to talk to, so I asked what his name was and he told me that it was Terry. He liked being outside a lot and I didn’t, but we both seemed to like video games. With that, we would get along just fine. There was one thing that he hadn’t told me over the next few weeks that we spent riding around the neighborhood: He was into scary movies.
I was a massive chicken when it came to anything that seemed intent on forcing you to change your underwear every five minutes, so I didn’t really like this aspect of him. Even worse, he had tons of horror movie action figures and loads of VHS tapes of all the creepy movies you could think of stacked in his room. Every time I came to visit, he was almost certain to scare the living bejeezus out of me with one of those creepy Freddy Krueger dolls or force me to watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with him in the dark.
His room wasn’t really that nice looking to begin with. He had a bunk bed (He was an only child, and only his grandmother lived with him) in which he slept on the bottom and all his slasher flicks and action figures slept on top. There were loads of holes in the walls and everything had a generally grimy feel to it. It made those horrifying moments of watching pure terror in the dark all the more… Icky.
One day, when he realized that I pretty much hated any kind of horror movies he threw at me, he began telling me urban legends. Some of them were about the town as a whole, but more than not, they were about our particular neighborhood. I didn’t really believe any of them.
That is, until he told me about Hanging Man Hill.
It was about a year after we had met each other and we were riding around the neighborhood (By this time, Terry had told me to “man up” and he had eventually taught me how to ride a bike). He stopped when we were riding in front of a house we had simply entitled, “The Crack Shack,” due to its residents being stoned out of their minds on a regular basis. He seemed to be peering out at a small pathway behind the place that went up the farther you went back. He was usually the leader when it came to showing me new places in the neighborhood, so I didn’t question a thing when he beckoned for me to follow him up the trail.
It was a pretty steep climb up the side of the hill, with plenty of sand and rocks to send anyone not being careful straight back down. It felt as though the trees were closing tighter and tighter on us until we reached a large opening at the top. Besides the empty soda bottles and used condoms, the only manmade thing in the area that I could see were long stretches of telephone poles going across a series of sandy, dry hills. If not for the two strips of heavy forest on either side of these hills, it might have gone on forever.
The area didn’t seem to have any particular importance. I had expected him to bring me to some awful cemetery, but in the dying light of the late afternoon sky, those rolling hills looked beautiful. I thought that he might try some desperate last attempt to scare me, but instead, he just turned to me with the most serious and grim face I’d ever seen on him.
“Here we are. Hanging Man Hill,” he whispered.
“Hanging Man Hill? Is this another one of your stories?”
“Sort of. Except, this one’s true.”
I rolled my eyes at the thought. How did he possibly expect me to believe any of his stories? He just kept staring at me with that face, waiting for me to respond.
“How could this even be a ‘Hanging Man Hill’? There’s no hanging man, and there’s at least five dozen hills here!”
“Right down there. Look.”
He pointed his finger toward the nearest telephone pole, sitting between the two closest hills to us. A small creek, no more than five feet across, ran between the two hills and went onward into that never-ending forest. There was no hanging man, but the pole itself seemed more ominous than the rest.
“Roy Terrance,” he whispered.
“It wouldn’t be Hanging Man Hill without a hanging man, would it?”
He bolted down the first hill on that blazing orange bike of his. I tried to keep up, but Wal-Mart and sporting goods don’t seem to mix. There was a faulty chain on my cheap dull red bike. The sticks from the surrounding trees had rooted themselves to the ground and were now snagging onto the dangling chain. With one mighty tug of a huge root on the bike, I was head over handlebars all the way to the bottom. I landed on my knees with a small sploosh sound as my legs hit the water. It couldn’t have been more than a few inches deep.
I almost called for help from Terry when I realized that he had stopped at the bottom just before I had tumbled to the creek alongside him. His head was peering upwards, looking straight at the top of that dark and shadowy looking telephone pole.
“Little help?” I squeaked.
Terry broke his gaze with the pole just long enough to wrench me from the creek and get me to my feet. After that, his stare continued to be fixed on seemingly nothing at the top of the pole for the longest time.
“What is it-or who is-that you’re looking for again?”, I grumbled in frustration. I was going to be pretty pissed if he had taken me down here and all I had gotten out of the trip was a banged up knee. I hadn’t noticed the pain before because the water in the stream was cool, but now it stung like the dickens.
“Roy Terrance. Owner of that small shed just beyond the trees over there.” I hadn’t noticed the shed before. It sat just behind a large oak. It couldn’t have been bigger than five outhouses put together.
"After his wife and kid left him, he hung himself on the wires just above us. Cops didn’t find much, just a charred husk of what used to be a man. Legend says that whoever is out here at his exact time of death gets strung up on the wires with him."
“Oh, and do tell, when would that be?”
For once, he broke his serious tone to give me a goofy “I dunno!” shrug, and then he was back to that grim attitude.
“And you’re suggesting that we stay here and wait for him? Despite the many excuses I have to dispute this, I think I’m going to go with ‘It’s late and mom is making dinner, so I have to go home.’”
“Fine. Tell your mom that you’re sleeping over at my house tomorrow night, and I’ll do vice versa with my gramma. Meet me here at seven.”
Against my better judgment, I decided that I might as well come. What harm did it do? Obviously, he was lying and, if nothing else, it would set my mind at ease to see that he was. While none of his stories actually seemed to be true up until this point, his sudden change of tone had made it slightly more believable. When he had told his other stories, he was giggling so hard that one might think that he had snorted at least a pound of Happy Crack.
When we were headed home, just as the last tint of orange had left the sky, I asked him:
“Why did you get so serious back there? You’re always such a total goofball.”
“I lost my grandpa to Roy Terrance. My gramma was with him when it happened. Haven’t you ever wondered why she’s so grumpy all the time?”
His grandmother was, in fact, very crotchety. I had never bothered to ask why she was that way. If this was all some elaborate hoax by Terry, I was going to slap him into next Thursday when this was done.
That night, I had a horrible nightmare. Like most people, I couldn’t remember much about it, but it had Roy Terrance written all over it. Even though it was roasting on that hot South Carolina night, I had woken up with the chills.
By the time 6 PM had rolled around, I had already packed my old school backpack with basic equipment like a flashlight and a few bags of Chex Mix in case we got hungry. By 6:30, I had rolled out into the neighborhood as fast as an overweight 11 year old could. I had to admit, I was actually pretty excited. Finally, at around 6:55, I arrived at the small creek where Terry had already set up a small fire and was roasting marshmallows. If I hadn’t decided to show up, I would have disappointed him like hell.
“How is this exactly going to work out? Are we just going to camp out here all night? We don’t know when he’s supposed to show up,” I said.
“Er’ll wert erl nert hurr erf er herft ter.” He had stuffed his face with a marshmallow.
He crammed the marshmallow down his throat. “I said, ‘I’ll wait all night here if I have to.’”
“Whatever,” I retorted as I plopped down next to his fire (he had thrown 3 lighters in to keep it lit) and began to pull out my snacks.
After about three hours, the first of the crickets had begun to sing their endless chirping song as the last streak of sun had reached its end. I had begun to grow irritated, and a little bit tired. Terry was wide awake, his hand glued to the bag of marshmallows. He had begun his eternal gaze on the top of the pole again.
“Terry..? Man, I’m tired. If I don’t see a crispy dead dude in the next hour, I’m out.”
“Mmmfkay.” His cheek stuck out like a squirrel’s with another marshmallow.
I snuggled up to the fire and began to doze off. Just as I was about to slip into unconsciousness, a loud, crusty, brittle peeling sound echoed through the hills and out into the forest. I immediately sat up. My vision was pretty blurred from having almost dozed off, but I could make out Terry’s shape. He was gaping, wide eyed, at the top of the pole. If there had been a bit of moonlight, I might have seen what I was sure to have seen up there, but the crescent moon sat just beyond the trees, like the shed.
In an instant, Terry was on his bike and flying up the hill, bag of marshmallows in hand. I managed to pull myself up and get to my bike. I began peddling like a madman when I realized that my chain had popped off. Stupid damn bike. With my eyes adjusting to the dark, I peered back at the top of the pole one more time before I bolted to the top of the hill.
Roy Terrance was not so much of a person as he was a sagging shape. His flesh, dark as the night, was clinging to his bones for dear life. His facial features, though not entirely evident, seemed to be in a constant state of both agony and ecstatic joy. And that eye… That one eye he had left, deep in its socket, gazed upon me with absolute hatred and insatiable want. Just when it seemed that he was ready to climb off of the wire and come for me, the weak spine that had been holding his head to that molten pile of flesh and bones snapped, sending what was left of his skull tumbling into the fire Terry had started. It gave me one glowing, burning satisfied grin before disintegrating into a wisp of ash.
I had been halfway up the hill before I had realized I was moving. I followed the bike tracks Terry had left, which led further into the hills instead of off to the side, where the trail led back to the neighborhood. Just as I clawed my way to the top of the hill, I saw a thin shape, dangling from above.
“Oh no,” I croaked.
Terry’s bike, that blazing orange bike that he loved so much, was left wrecked at the base of a telephone pole. Above, Terry’s body hung limply. Although, it didn’t look much like Terry anymore.
Terry hadn’t been on the wires as long as Roy, which made it even worse. He was charred, but not entirely. His eyes bulged from his head in constant shock. What was left of his hair stood out on end, still smoking. The seemingly endless wires above entangled Terry’s neck like a boa constrictor. Dangling from his scrawny, burnt little arm was a bag of marshmallows, melted to his hand from the heat.
The police investigation hadn’t dug up much. They had scoured all throughout the area and had not found any evidence that anyone was ever there. I begged them to search the telephone wires, but they continued to state that there was no evidence that anybody had even touched the wires. The search continued for 3 weeks. After police had finally given up, Terry’s grandmother passed away. For those last few days, she hadn’t said anything to anyone at all. She only sat and stared at the picture of her and her husband for the remainder of her life.
After the house had been cleared out, the contents of Terry’s room were offered to me. His entire collection of horror movies, action figures and all else was donated to Goodwill. My request.
I went back a few years later. We had gone to Gaston to visit with our family for a while, and I had requested that we stop by the neighborhood. Any evidence that we had ever been there those few fateful years ago had been swept away by police or the weather. Now, like before, there was only useless garbage and telephone poles. Just as I was getting ready to walk away, I caught a glimpse of something in the corner of my eye. I only saw a tiny bit of it before it fluttered away.
It was a melted marshmallow bag.