Growing up, no one had ever believe me. I knew it was out there; watching. Lurking. I could feel its eyes rest upon me like weights as I took to my daily on-foot adventures to and from various stores and school. But no one ever believed me. They thought since I was a kid, that I was just being irrational. They thought I was hysterical to believe in such a far-fetched, outlandish being. Hell, for a good portion of my life, I thought I was crazy. That was, until I had my first encounter with it.
Now, this wasn’t a spine-tingling occurrence by any means, mainly due to the fact that I only caught a glimpse of it. It was a very hot and heavy June day. I was on Summer vacation following seventh grade, and my family had decided to go out to eat at one of my favorite restaurants. Warm food and a dinner table was always the way my family had bonded, this time in specific was a great time because of my scrumptious dessert of apple pie ala mode. The drive back was quite the endeavor; the sun had retreated back to its hiding as the moon arose on the horizon. I lived in pretty urban part of Ohio, so the night sky wasn’t as fascinating as I’d hoped it to be. Alongside this forever lit area, I never had any experiences with pure darkness. Our neighborhood wasn’t really that populated; only seven houses including mine. In the corner of our enclosed community was a concealed, mysterious set of sumac trees. I would get poison sumac on me faster than bees on honey, so it was a place I tried to avoid at all costs. Even though it was only about ten square acres, it seemed like an abyss to me.
As we pulled into my driveway, I saw something twitch out of the corner of my eye at the edge of the woods. Due to my curiosity, I peered over my shoulder into the woods, I had caught the colorless hind-end of something slipping back into this void of light. Being ten, I brushed it off as my imagination and crammed this sight into the back of my mind. Seven years later, I would have my first face-to-face experience with it.
My good friend and I had planned a sleep over following his football practice, and since I was a very introverted, socially awkward teenager, I didn’t have any extra curricular activities, so my schedule was always free. We planned out our normal routine; video games, food, and scary stories. Up until about eleven we played Xbox and devoured all the greasy, fat-filled food we could, then started the climactic part of the night. We shared tales that have been passed through our family about bizarre experiences. He would attempt to shock me with the time his grandfather lost his hand at a steel mill, and I’d fire back with the supernatural stories my great aunt would share with me while she was an anesthesiologist, and some of her experiences dealing with patients in a mental asylum. One thing led to another and fight broke out due to our hormone-ridden minds. I knew it’d be best if I left, to avoid causing any more trouble. I’d only lived about five minutes walking distance from his house, but it was still a nerve-racking, blood-curdling incident for me, mainly due to my wondering mind and ever-so-expanding imagination. However, I wanted to prove to my friend that I was as tough as him, so I slipped on my shoes and headed out.
Taking the back roads and cutting through the woods was the optimal choice, mainly to avoid any authoritative figures finding me, because my head would be served on a silver platter to my parents if I was caught out past curfew. The fog felt heavy on my shoulders as the chilly February breeze was blowing through my hair. Since I thought I was going to be at my friend’s all night, I didn’t adequately prepare for this arctic adventure. I felt like hypothermia was setting in, so I decided to start a slow jog back to my house down this pothole filled road and cut through the woods. At about the halfway mark through my walk, my paranoia kicked into overdrive. I kept doubling over my shoulders to make sure I wasn’t getting followed. Now, I don’t know if it was my imagination creating noises, but I heard the subtle sound of twigs snapping and crackling behind me.
The noise kept going on and on, and it wasn’t until this moment that I had noticed the sound wasn’t getting any quieter, the sound was getting closer. This just fueled my adrenaline more, and I ran like the wind. As I escaped the chasm of darkness, I checked behind me one more time just to be safe, and I saw it. That twitching, convulsing, grotesque creature creeping towards me. I was in a state of pure terror and I was frozen in fear. The being had abnormally long, contorted extremities, looking like they had been cracked and snapped more than anyone could count, and it had a pigment-less skin. Its hair was bleach blonde, but very unkempt and stragly. It’s teeth were shattered but still appeared as sharp as a chef’s knife. It drooled like a leaky faucet, and the drooled continued to run down its body. The smile was the worse. No matter how scared and horrified I look, it continued to wobble towards me with that same disgusting smile. As my mind finally reconnected with my body, I began to run as I heard this, this, this thing, attempting to run after me. Its breathing was extremely labored and raspy, frightening me even more. The run to my house felt like an eon, and once I stepped foot on my property, I turned back and slammed the door shut. It didn’t occur to me at first that I hadn’t even checked to see if the thing was still following me or not, but at this point, I prayed for the latter.
Then it hit me: I had to call my friend and tell him what had just happened to me. Fumbling for my phone and dialing at the speed of light, he picked up the phone on the second ring and answered with an undertone of attitude. He was still mad, but at this point I didn’t care; I had to explain to someone what just happened. Would he even believe me? No. I sounded like a psycho path, but nonetheless, I had to get this off my chest. Contrary to my popular belief, he was intrigued and asked me to come over so we could look for the son of a bitch. I was still filled with paranoia, so I quickly declined this offer. I sprinted upstairs and dived into my bed, just wanting this day to be over. It never really hit me how exhausted this had made me, and as the darkness slowly began to consume my vision, I was out like a light.
To this day, I’ve never had an encounter with this being, but I’ve refused any offer to go back into the woods since. I moved into the bigger city to avoid the pure darkness of my childhood, and even though this has mainly blocked out the problem; it hasn’t fixed it all the way. Night terrors are one of my most challenging situations as of now, but I can push back though. The worst part is that feeling. Because to this day, no matter how many shrinks may tell me its not true, I know its still out there; watching. Lurking.