ATTENTION: SIGNAL BOOST THE SHIT OUT OF THIS RIGHT NOW. THIS IS NOT OK I HAVE FOUR DOGS AND I WOULD KILL THE BASTARD WHO TRIES TO HARM THEM OR ANY OTHER ANIMAL. SIGNAL BOOST PLEASE.
Yeah, this needs to be known
My parents divorced when I was young and I was left to live with my mother and my sisters, so I looked up to my grandfather as a male role model ever since. Sadly, he passed away when I was 6 or so, so I didn’t really have a chance to talk about life with him. However, he taught me a valuable lesson through his stories.
As far as I know, he was horned by a bull, a train rammed his truck (which left him with more than 100 stitches all over his body), he fell to the sea on a fishing trip, got lost and was presumed dead before washing ashore 2 days later, he survived 2 types of cancer (the 3rd he didn’t, however) and many other accidents accounted for in pictures, newspaper articles and the tales of my grandmother and her children (my mom included).
The day he passed away, I remember coming home from school to find my mother crying at my grandmother’s place dinner hall (we lived 2 blocks away). He tells me grandpa has left the building and starts sobbing, urging me to do so if I wanted. Oddly, I was totally aware of the fact he wouldn’t be coming back home from the hospital (where he used to go a couple of times a week for treatment), and did not feel the need to cry, weep, sob, mourn or whatever. In fact, I felt my grandfather was with me at the moment, I just hugged my mom and cheered her up saying “Don’t worry. I’m sure he’ll hang around for a while.”
You may argue I was a child with a totally oblivious idea of death, but having had an accident around that time in which I almost bled myself to death, I was quite calm and had another level of understanding about such themes. I knew my grandfather was there and from then on would follow and protect me as a sort of guardian angel.
I remember the old man used to love fishing. Sometimes we got up real early on weekends and went fishing to the beach (I live in a coastal town) for the fun of it. A week after he died, I had this dream of an ideal lake: your typical Eden surrounded by lush forest and wildlife. We (my grandpa and I) were sitting in a boat, fishing rods in hand, silent, enjoying the weather, listening to the waves caress the shore, the faint buzzing of insects roaming by and the occasional squirrel or deer showing up.
As time went by, dark clouds started to show up on the horizon, engulfing color out of the forest itself. Everything turned dark and withered into a lifeless and rotting parody of the lively picture that surrounded us: trees, plants, the fish, the water, all life forms were consumed, almost as if torched from their very inside. I remember I was calm, though I can’t recall how somebody would be calm with such visions of death just making their way around me. The eyes of my grandfather turned into a blazing stare, which I’ll never forget, he opened his mouth as in a furious roar and then just vanished. We never said a word, but I knew this was his farewell.
Days later, my mother was looking at some pictures of the old man and amidst them I found one of the place I had seen in my dreams. She tells me it used to be a ranch he owned way back before I was born, when she was very young. I had never been there (not even as a baby) but I described it in great detail to her. She just burst into tears and hugged me.
Some years later (I was like 16 or 17, and lived at my grandma’s) I had a very peculiar dream:
I was relaxing and pretty much doing nothing besides one of those old classic cars in the street in front of my grandma’s. Nearby, resting on the car’s back bumper was a rectangular thing which I can only describe as the frame of a mirror. Out of nowhere, a very sick-looking, water like surface appears in the ‘mirror’. Think of it as the effect of the paintings in Super Mario 64, but with enhaced water caustics. A single drop of liquid blasts out of the waves in the surface, and floats until it is about a foot away from me. Then a blinding flash of light spans from the drop and my grandfather appears in front of me.
He looked just as I remembered him: an aged man, half-bald, with a very serene look, his body tanned and more skinny than athletic.
However he seemed to be full of life in a way I can’t explain. It’s like knowing somewhere inside someone’s eyes there’s a child awaiting to burst into hyper-activity with a sugar rush. He dusted off his clothing and greeted me in a way I felt I was more like a friend of his rather than his relative. Of course by now I knew my jaw was open and I was being severely mindfucked in a dream (imagine that!)
But nonetheless I kept my composure and greeted him, asking how was he, telling him how much I missed him and all that jazz. He asked back how was everybody, said he was watching me and was proud of me, that I was doing well and taking care of my sisters and my mother. We chatted about the last years, and I couldn’t resist the temptation to ask him where he was and how stuff was going wherever he was.
He says, and I remember vividly, he said ‘that place’ was like an infinite corridor filled with doors. No matter which door you chose, when you opened it, you could do whatever you wanted, with whoever you wanted and whenever you wanted. I remember he described how he was having a great time horse-riding, taking care of cattle, and spending days playing domino and smoking cigars with his friends (activities I recall where his greatest pleasures in life). There were no limits to what you chose, imagined, or wanted to do. I was amazed by his description, but decided not to ask further.
At some point, he said he had to go back, because he had been granted permission to visit us for the night and his time was about to finish. Once again he sent his regards to the family and two specific messages:
To my mother: he recommended checking herself at the doctor.
To my grandma: he told her she could sell the ranch (times were hard) but he prohibited her from selling the house. He had built it and it would stay in his family forever. No questioning.
As soon as he finished, he waved away and threw himself into the liquid mirror, back into wherever he came from. I saw myself turning around and feeling a breeze in the dream, just as I woke up.
When I woke up, I remembered everything perfectly and pieced all this in my mind as a rather creative and intriguing experience. I was shaving early in the morning when my grandma came around and I decided to tell her everything about the dream. To me it meant nothing, but when I finished I turned around and saw her face distorted into a mix of shock and disbelief. I was more surprised about her expression and asked what was wrong.
"Nothing" she said, "it’s just that today is his death’s anniversary."
I also delivered the message to my mother. She was confused at first, but guess what. The medical check found a tumor which “fortunately” enough was detected so early on it could be extracted without any risk. She was scared when they first told her, but pulled through and is perfectly healthy now.
I swear I don’t know what to think about this, it’s been a couple more odd experiences which I will tell another time, but for the time being I trust that somewhere, out there, my guardian angel is enjoying a cigar, watching, proud of his first grandchild. Me.
This was posted back in October 24, 2011. A lot of things have happened in my life, both unexpected, surprising, pleasant and unpleasant. I finished college, got my own business, got a lot of work. He has never left my side, I can feel him, I know it. For the last couple of years I waited for the right time to continue. The time is now.
I studied Chemical Engineering. Graduated with honors. One of my two sisters married and moved to another town. Of the other one I know next to nothing, she lives with her boyfriend. I’m not jealous and I don’t really care, at least she hasn’t dropped out of college.
Recently, my mom (who raised us 3 by herself) met a good man, and it appears they’re in a rush to marry and spend the rest of their lives together. I don’t really mind, I appreciate what she’s done for me and support her in any way I can. As well as she educated me, I am mature enough to respect her decision and approve of her happiness. But I’m not her father, of course, and my guardian would have something to say about it. :)
There’s nothing wrong at all with the idea of my mom moving to another country to enjoy a break from the hard years of raising us alone, left to enjoy the pleasures and luxuries of life with a fitting gentleman at her side…
But my life accelerated too fast and in the rush I left some of my trust in him behind…
I have become a lot more withdrawn and silent. I felt unsure about things. What of me?
It is October 21, 2013. Almost two years have passed since I last told you of my visitor. Time flies. Doesn’t it?
Last august, I created my own company with some friends recently and we’re doing great, thank God and him. With his blessing and his picture in my wallet we’ve risen to be amongst the top of our class in my region. I always look at him when in doubt, I always ask of him when despaired, I always pray to him when contrived.
It would not be different this time.
One day, mom tells me she’s met a guy online. You know, the kind of guy your baptism godmother introduces to your mom hoping they’ll match up. Well surprise! They did. And all of a sudden I see my mom fall deeply in love with some dude she can only Skype with. Well… he’s not foolin’ around either… he’s decided to visit in september.
The man my mother chose to be her new partner arrived last week. He’s a nice american gentleman, who’s raised a couple kids but divorced when they grew up. My mom chose him, but I wanted to make sure… I needed to know… my grandfather would have to tell me.
And so I asked him, quietly, two nights ago: “If you approve of her choice and decide this is for the best of her, just give me a sign to be sure I won’t be left to drift by myself in these rapids.” I don’t know if I referred to accepting the fact she’s going away, or the fact I’ll be left on my own with my life ahead of me all of a sudden, or maybe it was just a hunch I had, something I had to say for him to reassure me…
With that idea in my mind I slept. I slept and I know I dreamt, but I can’t remember it. I know it’s important, I know I will remember it in due time, but it just drives me crazy. The only thing that could calm me down, came in within the first 3 minutes of the day. As I log into Facebook to check my messages, my mom’s chat pops up:
3:00 AM “VICTOR HE ASKED ME TO MARRY HIM”
3:00 AM “IM SO HAPPY IM CRYING”
3:01 AM “I CANT BELIEVE IT IM SO HAPPY I WISH YOUR GRANDFATHER WAS HERE”
As I read the messages (and try to digest them) a notification pops up: my mom posting on my wall, “she must be going nuts over it” I thought to myself.
And then I clicked on it.
I stared at the post, jaw wide open to the floor, eyes staring like searchlights as my mind is blown by the Nth time in my life. He’s still here. With me. I knew it.
"LOOK AT WHAT MY COUSIN SANDRA FOUND, IT’S A PICTURE OF YOU AND GRANDPA."
Sandra and my mom have not met in years, since the last great family reunion over 8 years ago. They are not in contact and don’t really talk to each other in Facebook. They live in cities over 300 miles away from each other.
The picture is a 2-3 year old me, held proudly in my grandfather’s arms. His smile exudes happiness and pride in a way I cannot describe with words alone.
As my gaze meets his on the screen, I hear his words in my head. "Don’t worry little man, I’ve got you on this one."
I’m not an emotional guy and I’m not the kind that lets feelings get to him.
But I couldn’t hold back my tears.
I smiled, and quietly thanked him… again.
There’s this place called Swanson Field. I haven’t been up there for a while. Well, more than a while, probably years. I drive past it all the time, but this time for some reason or another, I stopped. I remember back when I was a kid, people always said the field was haunted, though personally I don’t believe in ghosts, but it’s got enough people spooked to catch my attention.
The weird thing is, it’s just a field. No abandoned house or strange structures or anything. As I look around all I can see is the damp swampiness of the field. The only reason I really remember it is that when I was kid we would go there every halloween night. It’s funny that I’m only remembering this right now.
All the kids in school would work on masks the day before Halloween. We used to call it Mischief Day, making the masks and getting ready for the walk through Swanson Field the next day. I would always work hard on my mask, making it look really cool. The teachers would always put this sort of strange diamond thing on the forehead of the mask. That always ruined the look of my mask. The star thing made it look, well, lame.
We never went trick-or-treating; we always just went with our parents to Swanson Field and walked through it. But we were never allowed to talk about the field, let alone walk through it other than on Halloween night. My parents and the other kids parents never looked down at us when we were walking, no matter how much we made a fool of our selves or pestered them. We never made eye contact, and there was a rule that we could not take our masks off until our parents said we could.
There were also these people that moved out in the woods instead of inside the field. I could never recognize them from my town. When I saw them, they were people, but they didn’t move like people; they moved like deer. It was a sort of like swooping up and down into the shadows of the trees, but they walked on two legs. They had great costumes; almost looked real. The costumes were completely black with mouths on the back, front, top, and sides of the head. The reason I could see the mouths were that they were more of a greyish hue, instead of black, like the rest of the body.
It’s funny; I could never remember how the night ever ended. I always woke up in my bed, and the last thing I could remember was taking off the mask or leaving the field. I probably just fell asleep and my parents brought me home.
Then, nobody ever brought it up again. Grownups would get mad if you talked about the ghosts of kids in the field. Hell, I even remember a kid being sent to detention for drawing the little diamond thing on the foreheads of the mask. I remember feeling annoyed: if they hated the thing so much, why did they make us wear it; always ruining my mask?
Before Christmas break, the teacher would tell us a story about Swanson Field. They would tell it when the sun was setting really, really, early. The story was that people could hear the voices of kids in the field. I never really knew why they did it, but nobody ever asked. It was a few days before Christmas, so I had no reason to think about that. The teacher always said that Swanson Field was a special place, but you should never go there alone. And this is the first time I have been back on this field for almost 12 years. It’s strange, I mean, I don’t hear anything. Do you?
Just thought that I’d share a couple of spooky stories from my childhood, to get everyone all hyped for Halloween.
When I was a child, it was just me and my mother. We lived in a property owned by my grandma, a three story, old farmhouse right at the fringe of the woods. It was far off the road, down a long, unlit, gravel driveway―it felt very isolated at night, being so distant from any other houses, set in an area that hadn’t been inhabited for thirty years before we started living in it. Quite often, I was a fairly rambunctious child, so while my mom went off to work, I would occasionally skip the morning bus to school and stay home alone all day. The big house had a habit of feeling incredibly lonely and sparse, so I spent most of my time playing in the forest expanse out back. Some distance into the woods, far enough that I couldn’t hear my mother when she called, there was a toppled pine tree which had crashed into another―an even larger trunk on its way down was now frozen there, forming a long arc over the forest floor. I loved to climb up the jagged stump at the base of this fallen tree and then steady myself to a point just above the middle. I was never able to make it all the way to the top because it just got too steep for me to continue any further, and I had a bad habit of freaking out from how high up I was.
One day I was sitting in my usual spot on the fallen tree, which was a good distance from the ground, just listening to the birds singing and simultaneously feeling the warmth of the sun on my neck, when I heard something strange from underneath that paralyzed me in shock:
I was gripped by a sudden strong surge of fear for a moment. The voice had come from directly underneath me. I strained to look down, but couldn’t see anything over the ledge. For a long time I just sat there in absolute silence, and I was at the point where I was almost soon to convince myself that I had imagined hearing a man’s voice at all.
“I know you can hear me.”
His voice was much louder this time, as I yelled something out, and scrambled up the log a bit higher. Trembling nervously, I dug my fingernails into the bark and held tight for dear life. I sat there, trying to collect my nerves for god knows how long. Although I couldn’t see it, the presence of the thing underneath me was still clear. The bird song was much softer and more cautious this time, and when I listened closely, I swear I could hear the faintest echo of human breathing. Gathering all my courage, I vowed to prove to myself that it was all my imagination by leaning over the ledge as far as I possibly could without slipping right off. Digging hard into the bark behind me, I stretched out along my arms and peered over, getting a full view of the empty forest floor and undergrowth, when suddenly―
"―COME DOWN HERE OR I’LL COME UP AND GRAB YOU!”
It was so loud, it was as if it was being screamed right in my face. I released my grip on the tree in fright and plunged off the platform. I was saved only by grabbing a nearby branch, and for one awful second, my bare legs dangled in the cool air. When I pulled myself up, I ran at full speed to the top of the collapsed pine, to the point I had never reached before. I sat there, just below the rustling canopy, pissing myself and staring at the distant base where the splintered wood rose, fully expecting at any moment to see someone crawling rapidly up the pine towards me. Instead, all I heard was the wind whistling in the leaves above and below me, and occasional snippets of birdsong. It was about two hours before my mother got home and found me, after much worried searching, trembling, and crying at the top of the fallen tree.
Although this incident spooked both me and mother, in time I somehow recovered, exhibiting that naive hard skin of a child, although I never went as far into the forest as I used to, and never again even approached that fallen tree. Once when I was twelve, I had the chore of taking firewood from the shed out back (just at the edge of the woods) and to bring it back inside the house. It was a tiresome job, and I always chose to do it at dusk when the air was brimming with mosquitoes and a swampy fog that usually coated the lawn. By the time I had made my last round, I would sprint back to the house, spooked. One of my least favourite things about this job was that the shed was full of barn owls (if you have ever seen a barn owl’s face staring at you from a dark roof corner, then you will know how uncomfortable that shed made me).
One of these nights it got mistier than it had ever been before. A thick silver fog covered everything and limited my line of sight to a short sphere around me. Even though the shed wasn’t far from the house, I found myself feeling disoriented, and more than once I walked in the wrong direction, both times for some reason walking straight into the woods. By the time I had reached my last load, it was too foggy to see the street. My eyes stung in the moisture and it made my vision blur. Lurching forward, I managed to walk headfirst into a tree, doubling over and dropping all of the wood I was bundling onto my feet with a hard crunch. As I went to pick them up, with my foot throbbing pretty hard, I realized that the ground was too misty for me to see my own knees. I decided to head to the house, since we had more than enough wood for one night. However, it was getting to be pretty dark and I couldn’t make out any signifiers of which direction I was heading in. Even though I cautiously walked for several feet in all directions, trying to figure out my position in the mists, I still couldn’t figure out any point of identification.
I couldn’t even locate the fence or the gate, and the more I walked, the more I seemed to stumble into trees, pine needles and mud crunching under my feet instead of dew-covered lawn. After a while, I finally realized that I couldn’t even find the shed any more. Cursing myself for being so dumb (while trying to ignore my thumping heart and sense that something else was at play) I became aware that I was lost somewhere in the fringe of the forest. Screaming out for my mother at the loudest possible volume was only met with a resounding silence from the depths of the mist all around from where I stood, affirming that I had wandered too far from the house to be heard. As a deep panic started to settle on me, I noticed a glimpse of something pink moving against a nearby pine trunk. Coming closer I saw that it was a ripped-out square of pink paper. On it there was an arrow, pointing left. Looks vaguely like something my mom might make, I rationalized, to keep me from getting lost. So, foolishly, I followed the direction set by that green arrow, shivering in the increasing cold.
I kept walking for about five to ten minutes before needing to stop to take a breath. My heart was pounding so fast, it was beginning to hurt. As I was sitting down, however, I spied what appeared to be another note fluttering on a nearby trunk. I noticed that this one was embedded with a long nail. It bore another arrow, this one pointing up, and a small, sloppily written note that said “THIS WAY”. Despite my increasing panic, I convinced myself that these notes were my only shot at getting back before nightfall. I was desperate to get the hell out and my brow was cold with sweat. So I followed the green arrow, to a point where I could just dimly make out another spot of pink, up an incline of collapsed stumps and leaf litter.
At this point it was getting pretty dark, and I had to strain both my eyes just to see a few meters ahead of me. Following the green arrows, feeling less and less sure of where I was, I stumbled through the woods, groping out in the mist to feel for trees (although I was terrified of something unseen grabbing my arm). I came across the third green note, which had another arrow pointing up again, this one lead to an increasingly steep slope that I didn’t recognize being anywhere near my house, and with a poorly drawn smiley face right above it. At this stage, I became too freaked to cope and started to cry there a little. As I slumped against the pine stump, the possibility that I would be out in these woods all night was beginning to sink in, like a syringe being driven into the veins within my arm. I caught a glimpse of another pink square in the near distance. Squinting hard, unnerved by these notes, all of which looked fresh and without sign of decay despite the previous week’s nonstop rain, I read it from afar.
What I read made my blood turn cold. I stood to my knees, dead silently, wobbling on them in fear. My ears were sensitive to any tiny prickle of noise in the mist. For a long time, I stood there in the rolling fog, reading and re-reading that horrible note over and over again, before a snapping stick somewhere behind me caused me to sprint, blindly, twigs snagging at my ankles and cutting up my face as I ran. Written on the note, in big green letters, was my name. It felt like I was running for hours, all the while, the rain and mist lapped at the back of my neck like the decaying breath of someone running right behind me. Somehow I made it back to the house. All the lights were off, and I struggled to find the keys for a moment. When I found them, I bolted indoors and quickly crawled into bed where I remained, unsleeping till morning. Mom just thought I’d come inside and gone to bed, and hadn’t thought to leave the lights on. It was a miracle, aka some freakish coincidence that I even found the house at all. The final “incident” at that damn house was witnessed only by my mother. Up until then she had never experienced any of the strange things as I had, although we mutually shared the peculiar oppressive quality that the house’s interior had on us, and its placement in the dreary, imposing woods.
Although I was obviously never a popular kid, by living way out in the country in the opposite direction from everyone else at my school, I did make some tight friends in my first year of high school. One of these friends, Amanda was her name, invited me over one night and I accepted. My mother drove me out to the place, which was about three miles away, then drove back home. The night went well. We watched a horror movie (suitably), devoured some pizza and probably smoked a little pot. My mother went home alone where she intended to get some writing done. She worked for a magazine at that point. It was about midnight when I received an off-putting text from Mom in all caps:
IS THIS A PRANK I NEED TO KNOW IMMEDIATELY
Thinking it was some kind of joke I texted back: calm urself, is what a prank?
Almost immediately the response:
R U AT THE HOUSE
Of course I responded “No”, though I was thoroughly weirded out. I didn’t receive another message until around 3 AM, when she told me to go to my grandma’s in the morning and to NOT, BY ANY MEANS, dare go home.
I remember those bleak torrents of rain the day I went to my grandmother’s, and how terribly soaked I was when I finally got there. It was nearly two towns away. I’d had to fight the temptation to go home and drop off my bags, but Mom’s disturbing messages from last night were enough of a warning not to do so. When I arrived, Mom and Grandma were having lunch. At first, my mother seemed to be in some sort of a composed state, but when I got a better look at her, I noticed that all of the color had drained from her face and she was slightly trembling. At one point she even sent a small glass crashing to the floor after flinching at the cat brushing around her ankles. It wasn’t until later that night, when my grandma was sound asleep, that she told me what happened. She went further as to forbid me from telling old grandma, out of fear that it would horrify her superstitious soul too much.
This was what happened the night when I was at Amanda’s, as she described in lurid detail. My mother was sitting on the first story in the living room, where she sat on the couch by the fire; curtains open to the view of the sunset on the canopy, going over her latest draft. At first it was so faint that she barely noticed it, but after a while my mother became aware of, and vaguely irritated by, tiny thumping noises near her head, at the window. When she went over to investigate, she saw fat brown moths of a kind we often got at that place, buzzing madly into the glass. Reasoning that this was the cause of the sound, she returned to her work, however feeling rattled in some way. It was when the noises started to get sharper and louder that she paid more attention and saw that rocks were being thrown at the window from the total blackness of the forest edge.
She saw them appear from the shadows of the bush, and then fall in an arc and bounce off the window. Looking carefully she could see small cracks from where some heavy ones had hit, right beside where her head had been moments before. Temporarily captivated, she tried to peer into the darkness enough to make out where the rocks were being thrown from. Then with a startled shock, she jumped back from the window as she saw me standing half behind a tree right near the window, grinning wide and staring at her, my one visible eye stretched wide open, showing all the white. She barely stifled a scream seeing her own daughter standing there, just staring and smiling. Not only did the figure not move nor blink, it was standing by one of the nearest pines, far from where the rocks were shooting up out of the bush, as they continued to do so in a loud downpour. My face unceasingly continued to press out at her, smiling.
Thinking this was all some kind of sick prank (hence the later text), my mother shouted my name at the top of her lungs, frightened to the core. However instead of responding, the mouth of the thing (that looked like me) behind the tree just started moving as if it were mouthing silent words really, really fast. Suddenly it turned its head to the side and seemed to be talking to someone else behind the tree, my mom said, who couldn’t be seen. But she could see a formless black shape hanging against the other side of the tree. The girl that looked like me kept staring at my mother and doing the silent speed-talking thing, then turning and whispering to the thing next to her. Then she would turn back and start up again. Then breaking the monotonous spell, she suddenly pointed straight at my mother and started laughing. My mother screamed and fled to my bedroom on the second story (the only room with a working lock) where she shut herself in and sat at the far end of the bed as the rocks began to pitter patter against the window downstairs, dry-heaving and weeping in fear.
In my room, my mother said she did not feel safe. There was an awful smell, and a weird humming noise in the walls, as she described. She tried to pray for a time before giving up and just listening to the rocks pelt the walls and windows (somewhere in the kitchen, she caught the distinct, vibrant sound of a window actually smashing) and the weird, continuous humming. Listening more carefully she could identify it as the softest hint of a mumbling voice. In absolute horror, she recognized the voice and then, virtually too afraid to look, she tilted her head up to the closet door where an awful white face could be seen staring right at her, mouth contorting and gaping in what sounded like highly sped up whispering.
The closet door was only a meter from my mother.
It started to open slowly.
In an unimaginable explosion of terror, she immediately bolted to the door, only to fumble with the lock as bigger and bigger rocks came crashing through the window, which burst apart in a spray of glass shards, before finally getting out, running out of the house, completely keeping her eyes off the woods, getting into her car and driving off. She said that as she glanced back, right at the end of the prolonged drive, she saw two unmistakable human forms standing at my broken bedroom window, watching as her car got further and further away from our house. This would be their final farewell, as my mother never stepped foot in that place again. As my mother told this story she broke down into tears. I didn’t doubt her and I still don’t. I honestly, and fully believe that she experienced what she says she did. It was also quite clear that we were done living in that house for once, and for all.
I only went back once, with my dad who I see very rarely now. He came from another state to help us move. Mom had already found a place in town and moved in. My dad and I just loaded up his truck with all that was left inside there. It was a silent, sunny morning when we removed all the stuff and emptied the place. I wish I could say there was some closure, some final spooking to cap it all off but there wasn’t. It was just a relief to be out of there. There are however, only two things left worth mentioning:
1. When we checked the house for any signs of intruders we found that several windows, including one in my bedroom and the kitchen, had been smashed and rocks were lying on the floor.
2. Dad went out into the trees for a bit to take a leak. When he came back he asked how long we’d had the swing set for. Needless to say we’d never had a swing set so I was fairly unsettled to discover that in the week since we’d been gone someone had assembled a rope swing set from one of the highest branches of the old pine over the ridge, against which was the fallen log I’d stopped climbing many years ago.
It was obviously new rope, and a nicely polished, sanded down wooden seat at the base. Dad, wanting to keep my mind from recent events (he doubted the affair and thought my mother was unstable), said that a neighbour probably set it up, not realizing it was on our property. Of course he knew as well as I did that we had no neighbours for at least a mile in any direction. There were no houses in all that space, and never in my time living there did I ever see any other signs of human habitation. But I let it all go and was pleased enough just to say good riddance to that horrible place as we drove off for good. For the most part I’ve found it best to try and forget what happened at that place. Sometimes I just can’t help but ponder it, though. It’s been long enough now that I no longer feel scared talking about it, but for a long while I couldn’t.
Seeing as it is Halloween, what better time to share? My grandma just recently sold the house to a new family, a young couple and their little son, shortly after we moved out, despite my mother’s insistence that it be left empty. Now she refuses to talk about what happened altogether. I’m less anxious about it, although sometimes I can’t help but let my imagination get the better of me. All I can do is think of that old house, the fallen down tree, the new occupants, and the swing out back, gently spinning in the breeze as that little boy toddles obliviously towards it.
GIANT BABY WOOF WOOFS
It is said, a long time ago, when Queen’s Bay was just a small fishing village, the mayor’s young wife Maura was killed by “The Queen.”
I’m not one to say whether this is true, but I do know that certain nights are colder than others.
You see, you’re too young to remember, but your mother used to run the inn where the Lady Maura used to live. And there were times, young man, when you woke up screaming, because “the scary woman was staring at you.”
Laugh if you will, but your mother was never too sure about this. Until that night when you didn’t wake up.
She had put you down for the night and returned to the common room, to have a glass of wine and tally the evening’s profits. About an hour later there was a crash from your room upstairs. Thinking you were waking up from another one of your nightmares, she hesitated to run upstairs, waiting for you to cry for her before coming to the rescue. Strange thing is, young man, you never started screaming.
She eventually closed everything up and, thinking you had gone back to sleep, doused the lantern and went to her room.
The next morning came and you were late for breakfast. After calling for you several times, she went up to your room. I can tell you, she intended to skin you raw — your mother with a common room full of customers and a dish boy who was too lazy to get out of bed.
She gasped as she entered your room to find it empty. The window was open, and the toy horse you kept by the windowsill lay shattered on the floor. Your sheets were strewn across the room, and you were nowhere to be found—the only evidence being the merest trace of a lady’s boot prints, and a few drops of blood.
The whole town was up in arms looking for you that morning. For days, we searched high and low to no avail. Devastated, we returned home to wait for the news.
It wasn’t until about a week later when your mother, still inconsolable, heard another crash in your room, late in the evening. Hoping you had somehow returned, she rushed up the steps only to find your door open and a young woman—beautiful they say—placing you on your bed. Your mother screamed and the woman looked at her. I can hear your mother now, just as she told me the first time: “Her hair was blonde, her eyes blue as cornflowers. She had such a sad smile, and a thin line of red that ran across her neck.” As your mother approached, the woman faded as if she had merely been smoke in the shape of a person, now blown by the wind into nothingness.
The town cleric told us that it was a changeling or some other evil spirit that had gotten you—one of the servants of The Queen’s court. But that night your mother cradled you close, screaming. It was all we could do to pull your lifeless, cold body from her arms.
Oh, my boy. Your poor mother, right before she took her own life, made me swear to visit your sweet grave once a year and tell you this story. She wanted you never to forget the woman-shaped thing that took you from us, and how she will see you soon.
A few years ago I was often found with friends exploring old, supposedly haunted, places. One day we found ourselves at the Edisto First Presbyterian Church, where a girl named Julia Legare was buried in her family mausoleum in 1852 after presumably dying of diphtheria.
Passersby reported hearing screams coming from the graveyard during the next week, but never investigated the cause of it. Fifteen years later, when they opened the door of the mausoleum to inter the next family member who died, they found her skeleton huddled in the corner beside the door. Streaks of dry blood remained as a monument to her fierce struggle to escape fate.
Well, when we got there my friends thought it would be a funny idea to shut the heavy stone door of the mausoleum behind me and leave me overnight. I was stranded, unable to move the stone slab without help. For what seemed like an eternity I struggled in vain, just as Julia once had. Eventually, in the complete darkness, I had no choice but to resign myself to the night ahead of me.
I’ve never been claustrophobic, but the stale air held a pressure that made breathing hard. It felt like an overwhelming sadness was literally pushing down on my shoulders. As time slowly slipped by my initial anger faded into a sense of fear and, eventually, despair.
Some time later the scratches began. They were faint at first, I was sure it was my imagination, but they seemed to become louder — clearer— as time passed. Seemed to become more frantic. There was no doubt that something was trying to get in the door… or trying to get out. I huddled into one of the corners farthest from the door and covered my ears, but nothing could drown out the sounds. It only lasted for a few minutes, but each second was an unbearable eternity.
I grew so distraught that I finally screamed, or thought I did, until I realized that the voice was not my own. It echoed through the dark, tiny confines of the mausoleum. It was a wail of unrestrained pain and absolute overwhelming fear. Moments later, I realized that the scratching had stopped. For the first time I could distinctly make out the sound of a young girl sobbing, the pitiful choking gasps of someone without a shred of hope left to them.
I felt such sorrow at the moment, such pain, that I think I forgot how to be afraid. In my heart all her suffering seemed to resonate. The invisible weight of sadness I had felt all along became crushing. Tears filled my eyes as I shook, my entire being wracked with grief. Inexplicably, I even found myself apologizing aloud for what had happened to her between ragged breaths. Some part of me was so wrought with pity that I wanted to reach out and hold this girl in the darkness, a part held back only by the fear that something might truly there to hold.
I can’t say if she heard me or was even aware of my presence. The sobbing never stopped and the scratching at the door soon started anew.
At some point I must have passed out from hyperventilation. When I awoke it was to the sound of the stone slab as it fell away from the doorway and landed on the ground with a thud. Even the pale gray morning light was blinding after the absolute darkness. Thinking my friends had come back, I rushed out into the foggy morning and sucked in a mouthful of fresh air. I was shocked to find nobody around, but more eager to be away from that place.
I stumbled around the front of the church and went into to a small unlocked prayer house. I think previously it was a segregated mini-church for slaves, but regardless, I collapsed against the door and waited, distraught, until my friends finally arrived. I approached them as they clustered around the fallen door, two of them were kneeling next to it with faces of shock. I was sure they must be wondering how I could move it by myself. I was wrong.
In the growing light it was clear. There were dried bloody streaks covering the interior of the door. Some had light scratches where nails had grated across the surface. Many more were smooth as if left by bloody nubs.
When they noticed me, they all jumped. I saw fear in their eyes. My anger must have been clear. They looked down at my hands, thinking I had torn them open in my escape, then they shared a horrified look amongst themselves. They asked what had happened and I told them every detail of what I remembered in halting, angry and equally horrified bits, wanting them to know all that I had been put through.
Finally, after I grudgingly got into the car and we started to head back, someone spoke up. My friend said to me “We were afraid to say anything until you were back inside the car, but take a look at your face.” When I reached from the back seat and adjusted the rear-view mirror, I saw that there was blood caked on my face. Just like the streaks upon the stone slab, there were dark red lines on either side, as if someone had run their torn fingers across my face while I slept, feeling the warmth of another for the first time in over a hundred years.
Throughout my years of college, I thought of myself as a sort of amateur ghost hunter. I would go out alone, or with small groups of friends to graveyards or old broken down houses and take pictures and audio. I would search back later for EVP(Electronic Voice Phenomena), or anything weird in photos. I usually found something interesting, but most things were usually explained away as dust or reflections or wind. It wasn’t until I went to visit my dad in Pennsylvania that I got my best shot of all.
At about twelve-forty five AM, on April 25, 2009, I set out for the graveyard seven blocks from the apartment to take some pictures. The night was uneventful. The graveyard was small, so there wasn’t much to shoot. Just as I was about to head home,
I heard a horrible scream near the path. My heart racing, I hurried back to the path, hoping it was a ghost and not a human.
The scream was unworldly, and really hard to describe: it sounded animalistic, yet human, and part of me was trying to convince myself I hadn’t actually heard it, that it was all in my head. As I reached the path, I stopped dead in my tracks. Something that might have been a girl was crouched near a headstone. Her skin was sickly white, her hands mutilated into nothing but twisted stumps, and her legs were stubby and stuck out of her body in strange positions. Breathing heavily, I snapped a shot. At the flash, the girl raised her head. Her eyes were two black, empty sockets, and they stared into my soul. I suddenly felt like I was freezing and somewhat
numb. I raised my camera again and took another shot.
The creature reared her head back and let out another ungodly scream. It pierced my ears…I felt something warm and wet in them, as if she had caused them to bleed. As she screamed, I shot another picture and began to run. I looked back to see her chasing after me; the way she ran was horrifying.
The only way I could possible describe it is for you to imagine a crab scuttling forward instead of sideways. I ran and ran. I ran all the way back to the apartment. I ran upstairs, unlocked the door, and hurried inside.
Locking it behind me, I fell to the ground and touched my ears. The blood had started to dry. There was blood. I hadn’t imagined it. I developed the pictures the next day. The first one turned out completely black, while the second turned out clear, but had no screaming girl in it.
The third was the only image I have of her, though it is a bad shot due to the fact that I was starting to run. Since the incident, I have been cold. It’s been warm, but I am constantly freezing. I can see my own breath when I exhale not matter how hot my surroundings are. Every night I dream of her. She did something to me.”