When I was 12 years old, my parents sent me to spend the summer with my grandmother. My grandmother lived in a massive two-story farm house in the middle of nowhere. Upon my arrival, she led me upstairs to a room at the end of a hall. I remember hoping for a room downstairs, but I was surprised to find a room decked out with a television and a brand new Super Nintendo. I was beyond excited.
My first night in the old farmhouse was spent playing Super Mario All-Stars and knocking back an entire 12 pack of Mountain Dew. I’d stayed up so late that the sun was coming up when I finally passed out in my bed. Grandma worked as a night manager for a nearby motel. She’d let me sleep through the day and when I woke, she was gone. I found a note on the fridge telling me she’d be back at six in the morning and that there was a plate of food in the microwave.
I grabbed a couple cans of Mountain Dew from the fridge and carried my plate upstairs so I could play Zelda – A Link To The Past. A few hours passed and I was running around in one of the temples. The music wasn’t so much creepy as it was dark, but the combination of the dark music and the fact that I was alone in the house at midnight started to get to me. I decided to head downstairs for some more soda.
I was about halfway down the hall when I heard footsteps downstairs. I rushed downstairs hoping my grandmother had come home early. Instead, I saw what looked like an old woman rush past the doorway to the kitchen. My heart almost jumped out of my chest. There was something unnatural about how fast she moved past the door. I was about ready to jump back up the stairs when I heard footsteps upstairs as well.
I heard the floor creak in different parts of the house accompanied by mumbling voices, which I couldn’t make out. For an hour, I stood still and I found myself moments away from pissing myself. It was only when I heard the stairs creaking behind me that I shot forward, ran down the hall, and raced out the front door. I was standing in the driveway catching my breath when my bladder started to hurt. I relieved myself and turned around.
I remembered that I left the light in in my room and the rest of the house was dark when I raced outside. Looking back, nearly all of the lights in the house were on and there was a figure standing in my bedroom window. In my haste, I had left my glasses upstairs, so I couldn’t really make out the face, but even with my myopic eyesight, I could tell there was something very wrong with that figure.
My eyes drifted to the front bay window where it looked like someone was pacing behind the curtains. It was all too much. Rather than stick around to see what other terrible things were going on in that house, I ran to the barn. The first thing I did as I ran inside the big red building was slam my hand on a switch to turn the lights on. A few of the florescent lights came on instantly, but several of the bulbs flickered on and off.
I tried to catch my breath, but one of the lights in the back of the barn let off a shower of sparks as it went out. One by one the lights either went out or broke as a figure appeared, standing about 50 feet away from me. It slowly began to walk towards me. This almost translucent apparition became more opaque as the lights went out. It raised a single finger to point at me as it got so close that I could almost touch it. Frozen with fear, I stood screaming in my own head to get out of there.
I stumbled back and fell against the barn door which swung open and allowed me to fall on the gravel outside. The figure inched closer as I crab-walked backwards trying to get away. I finally regained a bit of composure and rolled over before getting up to run down the driveway. No matter how hard I pushed myself or how fast I ran, it felt like something was right behind me.
I stopped to catch my breath and looked behind me to see the house about a hundred yards away in the distance. The lights were on, and something was home. There was no moon out that night and it was cloudy, but for some reason the entire valley had a faint blue glow. I stood in silence taking it all in when I heard the sound of a car coming up the narrow driveway. It was my grandmother.
She almost wrecked the car as I ran towards it.
I climbed in the front seat and begged her to go anywhere else, but she ended up driving up to the house. All the lights in the house were off. I told her about the things I saw and she laughed.
“No more late nights for you little boy,” she scolded.
I hesitantly followed her into the house, but everything seemed to be normal. My grandmother playfully admonished me, explaining it was probably my overactive imagination. She took me upstairs and tucked me in.
A few hours later, she woke me up and handed me a cup of coffee.
“If I can’t leave you here at night, you’ll have to go back to your parents. So how about you stay up all day and tonight you can sleep through the time I’m gone. Okay?” she said.
I was excited to drink coffee — I had never had it before. My grandmothe went to her room to sleep. By seven in the evening, I had been up all day playing video games and was more than happy to go to sleep before she left. I chalked everything that had happened the night before up to imagination and the terror of being alone. I promised myself, I’d sleep through the night and that everything would be fine.
That night, I had a nightmare I can’t forget to this day.
I was downstairs playing with a wooden toy horse as my sister played with a sock monkey. My mom was knitting and my dad was out in the field. Suddenly, there were gunshots outside and moments later, my mom screamed as a group of scary looking men kicked in the front door. They carried her and my sister into the other room. One of the men hit me in the face with the butt of his rifle.
I lay on the ground in a daze as I heard my mother and sister screaming. I heard the men in the other room laughing and shouting. I tried to get up to help them, but as I stood up, the man who hit me earlier turned around and fired his rifle. I heard the sound of the gunshot and saw the flash of sparks leave the barrel. Then I felt a hard, sharp pain in my chest. I woke up screaming.
The clock next to my bed read 12:23 AM.
The events of the dream replayed in my head as the mumbled voices downstairs came back in full force. I heard footsteps creaking up the stairs and the pattering of small feet in the hallway outside my door. I pulled the cover over my head and for the first time since Vacation Bible School, I started praying. It didn’t help.
I heard my bedroom door creak open and footsteps cross the bedroom. Even without peeking through the covers, I knew something was standing at the window. I could hear where the footsteps stopped and I just knew it was the terrible thing from the night before. My mind kept showing me even more terrible versions of what I remembered until I finally shifted the blanket a little bit to take a peek.
It was standing right over my bed and staring directly at me. This little girl that looked like my sister from the dream stared at me with a pained look on her face that slowly shifted to one of ravenous hunger. She reached her hands towards me and I could feel the blanket being pulled from me. I let out a scream. I didn’t wait. I shot out of bed and down the hall. The little girl in my room let out a screech and I heard the patter of footsteps behind me as I bolted to the stairs.
Halfway down, I saw someone that looked like one of the men with guns from my dream standing at the bottom. I was too scared to stop. I ran right at him and put all my weight into it, falling to the ground and right through him. He brought his rifle up like he was going to hit me with the butt of the gun, but I got up and kept running. I was down the hall and in the living room when I felt a hand grab my arm and yank me to the ground.
It was my mom from the dream, but she didn’t look like my mother. Her angered expression matched the rage in her eyes as she knocked me to the ground again when I tried to stand up. I saw the breeze blowing one of the curtains back from an open window a few feet away and when I tried to stand the next time around I darted for the window and jumped through it, landing in the bushes below it.
I hit the brambles below and struggled to my feet before taking off down the gravel driveway barefoot. I felt the same ominous feeling like there was something behind me, but this time I didn’t stop to catch my breath. I ran until my feet were bloody and then I kept running. I was somewhere on the main road when my body finally succumbed to the fatigue and I stopped to rest. I was in a daze by that point.
A police officer found me wandering barefoot on a country road in nothing but a pair of boxers. My feet were bleeding, my legs where beyond tired, and I was freaking out. He ended up taking me to the hospital where I was admitted on a temporary psychiatric evaluation. I tried to tell the doctors and nurses what happened, but no one believed me. Ultimately, I was released into my grandmother’s care a few days later.
Riding in the front seat of my grandmother’s car I dreaded the thought of going back to her house. She took me through the drive-thru at McDonald’s before pulling over and letting me eat. After a few tense minutes of watching me, she opened her mouth to speak.
“I’m taking you back to the house,” she said.
I interrupted, spewing fries from my mouth.
“NO! Please NO! Anywhere but there!” I shouted.
“Now hold on. Your parents should be here by five in the afternoon. We think it best that you go home for a while,” she said.
I begrudgingly went with her back to the house and waited on the hood of the car until my parents arrived. I didn’t go inside to get my clothes or the Super Nintendo. I climbed into the back of my parents’ station wagon and sat staring at the house as they loaded my stuff into the back.
My dad started the engine and backed the car up before heading back down the gravel road. It was creeping up on seven at night and it was starting to get dark. I looked into the field and saw my dad from the dream standing, watching me, as several men with guns ran up on him.
I never went back to that house.