Happy Halloween

31 Oct

Growing up, not far from my house, there’s was a small wooded area. You’d call it a forest if you didn’t know any better, but it was really way too small to claim such a title. My parents would like to walk the trails there from time to time.

One time in particular, I was there with my parents and my dad’s best friend, Bill. I must have been five or six at the time and with quite an overactive imagination, so I was running ahead, staying behind. I was allowed to go where ever I wanted, as long as I could see my dad, who was wearing a bright red Marlboro jacket. I remember I was a top agent of the government, stalking the jewel thieves back to their hide-out. My mission was to track the suspects through the woods without being seen, apprehend them and bring them back to base.

I wasn’t paying much attention, so I wandered too far from the group, failing in both my real and imagined objectives. I wasn’t too worried until I stumbled into a clearing with a small pond and one of the most frightening sights of my childhood. I saw a figure, dressed in all white robes. The front of the robe was covered in blood, both red and brown. I couldn’t breathe. I stared at where there should be a face, seeing nothing. It felt like I was there for hours, just looking at this person, trying to make sense of it. They stayed as still as I did, until I was able to will my heart to beat again. I turned tail and hauled ass back the way I came.

I ran as fast as I’d ever run in my life, screaming my fool head off for my dad. The face that I was more than likely getting myself more lost and giving the murderous ghost a way to track me by being so damned loud didn’t occur to me. I just tried to put as much distance between me and the horror as I could. I don’t know how, because my eyes were closed tight, but I do know I ran smack into my dad. I climbed up on his back and refused to come down. I let out a jumbled stream of words, including blood, pond, ghost.I pleaded to go home. All things that just convinced my dad we needed to see what was up back at the pond.

We walked back,  my face buried deep in my back of my dad’s jacket, refusing to see anything more. When we reached the pond, my father and Bill kicked around the dirt a bit, acknowledging there was some blood and small bones. They determined those bones to be a chicken, telling me I probably stumbled on some cultish wacko making a sacrifice. This did not make me feel better, though I think that was the intention.

I made them march me straight out and home, and refused to go back. I still feel a little uneasy when I have to drive by the area. Luckily we moved a few years later and I don’t pass that side of town much when I’m home. While I was in no real personal danger, I still count it among one of the scarier things I experienced before age ten.


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