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The original story can be found here.

Perhaps part of my trouble is that I’ve always been one of those people that’s “sensitive” to the spirit world. I don’t like to admit it, or bring it up in casual conversation, but I think if there’s one place I can feel safe talking about it, it’s here.

As a teenager, I was a bit of a shut-in. Never spent nights with friends loitering outside a popular hangout, never went to parties, kept indoors except on the hottest of summer nights… very introverted and quiet. The problem wasn’t so much that I was shy, but that whenever I did go out, inevitably I saw things I wished I hadn’t seen.

My family moved around a lot, but when I was thirteen, finally coming to grips with the things I would see, we lived in Indiana. Our home was nestled on a quiet road, neighboring a large cornfield. It was a two story house, the basement almost as big as the upstairs, with a bedroom/bathroom my older brother claimed for himself until a heavy rain backed up our septic tank and drove him out. There was a pool table down there when we moved in, but the sewage that drove out my brother also warped the wood of the table and it got tossed out pretty quick, leaving the basement a large, open, stinky, dank, dark pit with a door to the outside that connected to our back patio.

This story of me coming to terms with my… “gift”… happened in two parts, but both parts played out in that house on Garwood Road.

The first incident was on a hot August night. I had just turned 13 a few days earlier. There were fireflies out, and my brothers and I were trying to catch them in a jar. After a while of chasing their lights, we found that our yard had gotten dark. We had driven most of the fireflies over the fence and into the cornfield.

There was a place in the fence where one of the posts had collapsed, leaving an easy hole for us to walk over and regularly fetch balls and Frisbees that went too far. My older brother lead the way that night, following the blinking lights of the fireflies into the heavy cornstalks. My younger brother and I dutifully followed, though we had been warned many times not to trespass on the field.

I foolishly got caught up in the hunt, following the tiny light of one firefly, losing it for ten to twenty seconds in the pitch black between the corn rows, then spotting it a ways off and chasing after it before it got away. Within minutes, I was lost. The corn was tall and rose over my head and the leaves hung down, obscuring most of the area around me. I called out to my brothers and heard a distant response. I must be halfway across the field I thought.

Then there came a rustle from close by. Something was moving through the corn very close to me. I whispered my old brother’s name.

“Jack?”

The rustling stopped for a moment. I lost track of which direction I thought it was coming from. The fireflies had gone again, leaving me in the dark. The moon was my only source of light, and as I stood there, grateful for it, it vanished behind a cloud, plummeting me into total darkness.

The rustling started again, closer now. To my left? There was a crunch of something being crushed under foot. I stood completely still, holding my breath, straining my eyes to make out anything I could. I was afraid then, afraid that the farmer had seen us and was looking for us, afraid that a coyote was stalking me… afraid of a hundred different boogeymen that I knew preyed on children when they wandered off on their own.

The crunching came again, just to my left, and with it came the sound of someone sighing contentedly and then a whisper in a deep, gravelly voice:

“Found you.”

I bolted. I didn’t know what direction I was going, I just ran straight as I could, hoping I was heading in the direction of home. The moon came out from behind its cloud, illuminating the rows of corn I was fleeing through, but I still couldn’t see anything other than the leaves and stalks and ears as I thrashed through him, heedless of any damage I might do to the crop.

I made the mistake of looking back as I ran. Behind me, the corn seemed to part with a mind of its own, making a path through which I could see a shadowy form lurching toward me. It was man-shaped, tremendous in size and moving with confidently and unerringly straight toward me. I screamed and in my panic nearly tripped over my own feet, but I caught myself and kept running.

Somewhere close by, I heard my brothers yelling. They had heard my cry and were tromping through the field in search of me. Close. They were close. But then, what if this thing got them instead of me?

“RUN!” I screamed as loud as I could, “RUN HOME!” and I could tell from their shouts and the increase in their tromping that they were doing what I said.

I hit a widening in the corn rows and I could see the lights of our house not far away. Behind me, the shadowy figure lumbered on, gaining on me from the sound of its footfalls. I chanced another glance back and saw only two giant hands reaching out of the darkness, hairy knuckled and covered with dirt.

“DON’T… LEAVE…” the thing behind me said loudly in its gravelly voice. I screamed again, hit my second wind and shot across the gap in the fence with a single bound. Almost immediately, the running behind me stopped. Up ahead, my brothers were standing just inside the door looking out, yelling at me to run, hurry, get in here! as if I needed them to tell me. I shoved past them inside and they slammed the door behind me, inciting a harsh reprimand from our father who was in the next room.

I went quickly to the window, gasping as I tried to catch my breath, and looked out into the back yard and the neighboring corn field. There was nothing there. My brothers looked out too, asking me what I ran from. I told them there was a person chasing me, but that I never got a good look at him. After a moment of watching with nothing to see, my older brother decided I was just messing with them. He punched me in the arm and went back outside to retrieve the jar of fireflies. My little brother, loyal to a fault, told me he believed me, and the two of us refused to go back outside, which just irked my older brother more.

I went to bed late that night. All of our bedrooms were on the back side of the house, and mine had a real good view of the back yard and adjoining corn field. I spent ten minutes after turning out my lights, peaking through the curtains and watching that field to see if anything moved in it. When I finally got too sleepy, I crawled into bed.

I woke up around 2 in the morning. At first I was unsure why I was awake. I hadn’t been dreaming of anything I could recall and I didn’t have to go to the bathroom. I lay there under my covers, just thinking when I heard a noise from down the hall. A shuffling sound followed quickly by a heavy thump. It happened again. And again. Getting louder with each second. My arms bristled and my whole body went rigid.

Someone was coming down the hall. Someone who seemed to drag a leg as they walked.

My stomach was trying to crawl up my esophagus. I could feel my heart beating so hard I thought other people might hear it pounding in my chest. I don’t know what it was that convinced me to do anything but lie there in my bed, but I rolled out from under my covers, dropped to the floor, and shimmied under my bed. There were lots of toys, dirty clothes, books and other junk under the bed with me, and I hurriedly shifted them around so that I was pressed against the wall and the toys were all covering me.

The shambling got closer, and I had to bite my fist as I heard my bedroom door open ever so quietly. The shhhhhuffling THUMP cross my room straight toward my bed. I had tears in my eyes, I was so certain that whatever this thing was, it wasn’t fooled by my maneuverings.

“FOUND… YOU…” came the raspy whisper and I started to hyperventilate into my balled-up fist as I heard the sound of my covers being pulled back. There was a long moment of silence after that. I lay there in the dark under my bed, covered in toys and old clothes, my brain shrieking in my head, just waiting for something to happen. I could scream for my family, but I couldn’t be sure they’d respond before whatever it was in my room got to me once it knew where I was.

The shuffling moved back across my room to the door. I had tricked it! It was leaving! I wanted to cheer. Then I heard the door to my closet open. It was still looking for me. And it had all night to find me. But instead of searching through the junk in my closet, I heard it make a few shuffling steps into the closet and then shut the door. I lay there and listened, wondering what it was doing.

Next thing I knew, someone was calling my name.

“Wil?”

It was my mother. I opened my eyes and realized I had fallen asleep. I was still under the bed, covered in clothes and toys and junk. I could see light coming in, indicating it was day again. I crawled out from under my bed and found my mother standing in the doorway, looking utterly confused.

“What were you doing under there?” She asked me. “Did you sleep under your bed? You’re so ridiculous sometimes.”

She started to walk out, and I yelled, “Don’t shut the door!” which brought another confused look from her followed by a shrug as she left my door open and went down the hall.

I spent most of the day adjusting the furniture in my room so that I effectively blocked off the closet. My parents weren’t pleased with it at first, but they agreed that I was entitled to arrange my room however I wanted. I wasn’t even sure if blocking the closet would do any good, so I spent the following night with a baseball bat in my arms and both eyes on the closet. Whatever it was that went in there seemed to be gone.

Two days later, I got up the courage to move my things and open the closet. There was nothing in it.

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2 Comments

  1. o my, o my a revival of the “monster in the closet” fear of all little kids. With your imagination, it’s a wonder you ever got any sleep as a child. Well done.

  2. the scariest part of the story is the condition of the house.


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