Before I begin, I’m a short and pretty skinny female. I honestly thought shit like this happened in nightmares…I wish that’s all it was. Anyway, here’s my story.
It was the day summer break started. 2010. I was going away to the Dominican Republic to be with my father the days following so my friends and I decided to hang out until it was time for me to leave and start packing.
We all lived in this area in my city which I would call ‘Perez Park’ for safety purposes. And, ironically, it was dominantly Latino residents. It was five of us, three girls and two boys. It was me, Miguel, Denise, Maria, and Luis.
Miguel and Denise were twins and the oldest of us, being 15. Maria and Luis were both 14 while I was the youngest, being 12. They babied me a lot since I was the only one still in middle school while the others were freshmen in high school.
I remember it was a Thursday afternoon, around 3 or 4. We were sitting on Luis’s couch, and we’ve been playing FIFA since school let us out at 2:05. Just as Miguel was beating his sister with Colombia, Luis suggested we go to the park.
We all agreed, bringing our baseball mitts, bats, and ball. The park was only about two blocks away from Luis’s backyard. It had a nice size playground surrounded by climbable trees. There was a softball-sized diamond just a few yards from the playground that my friends and I seem to always occupy.
Though, aside from the diamond was a small graveyard in a dense patch of woods. The scary thing is that there are three small, private cemeteries along the side of the park, separated by a tall metal gate.
We tend to ignore it a lot since you can’t really see it unless you try to. We start our little game. We played about two innings, going into another one when Maria, being the most daring, says with an evil smirk on her face.
“Hey, let’s hop that fence to the graveyard,” she says. Miguel and Denise looked at her like she was out of her mind.
“Are you crazy?! What if an undertaker is walking around and we get caught?” Miguel says.
Maria laughs, “We’re not gonna get caught, you p***y. Just play it cool.”
Reluctantly, we all agreed.
The sky was starting to get dark at this time.
We dropped our bats and gloves and walked over big sticks to the tall gate. Luis was the first one over being the tallest. Then it was Maria, then Miguel, then Denise.
As mentioned before, I was the youngest and, I was the smallest. I was also terrified of heights. When all the others hopped over, while I squeezed in through an opening at the bottom of the fence.
We started to wander around. Not five minutes later, fireflies started to blink around us and the air got sticky and muggy. The streetlights on the block started to come on. Though, none shone in the graveyard. But we still played around, catching the bugs and putting them on each other.
I, being the daring, idiotic kid I was, would do front flips off of gravestones. I know, it was wrong, but we were considered trouble makers in our neighborhood.
I checked my watch, widening my eyes, “Hey, guys, it’s getting late. My pápa is waiting for me.” Maria sucked her teeth in disapproval, “C’mon, AJ. Just five more minutes! We’re having so much fun!”
I shrugged, not really wanting to leave anyway. Though, I wish we did.
We laughed and joked around so more until Maria suddenly stopped.
“Look,” she says.
Out in the distance, near a big, bare, thick trunked tree was a shadow lining of a person. From where we were, we couldn’t tell the gender or age or…anything really.
I tried standing up on a flatter tombstone to see if I can get a better look. All I could tell was that this person was tall and was wearing a trench coat. In the very little amount of sun, it looked tannish.
I immediately thought that was weird since it was summer in the south.
Maria asked me if I could see anything since I stood taller than the rest. I shook my head no. We all stood there, staring at it. It didn’t move or anything just stood. Like a statue. Miguel looked back at us and then back at the figure.
His voice was very loud, confident, and steady. It didn’t move, so Miguel called to it again. What seems like forever when it was really like two minutes, it started to get slightly closer. Like, you have to be watching to notice.
I remember my whole body froze while I stood on the stone, eyes wide. None of us could move. It didn’t take long to realize that it was ‘floating’ towards us. Their steps made no sounds on the twig covered ground.
Fear started to tingle up my back and down the back of my legs, causing me to stumble off of the rock. I was thankful it wasn’t too high off of the ground so I was able to balance myself in time.
As it got closer, we realized what it was. It was a man. An old man. With white, long stringy hair covered by a fedora. He sported a tan trenchcoat down past his knees as predicted.
Now, I know I wasn’t imagining this next part since we all saw this shit.
Miguel calls out again and the stranger lifts his head and we screamed bloody murder. Why you ask?
They were hollowed out and his mouth looked to be sewn shut from where I was. I couldn’t tell you. My blood ran cold as my whole body tensed up. None of us could move. All we could do is scream. The dropping gut feeling I had at that moment almost made me vomit.
The other two girls were crying. Denise was tugging at her brother’s arm while Maria was trying to get me and Luis out of our frozen states.
“Luis! AJ, c’mon, let’s go! Hurry!”
They snapped out of it and started running. I stood in place, the man getting frighteningly closer to me. Almost floating towards me. He was about two school buses in front of me.
I manage to bring myself out of my daze and ran. The adrenaline pumping in my ears as I run as fast as my short legs could carry me.
Luis, Maria, Denise, and Miguel hopped over the fence in record time while I was having a hard time getting through the bottom opening.
I scream pleas to my friends who abandoned me at the fence. I had half my body through when my shirt got caught in a broken, sharp part of the gate. Then I felt an ice-cold breeze hit my barely covered legs.
It made me panic more. It was my current life goal to get the fuck outta there! Out of the corner of my eye, I see the man getting closer, arm pulled out by his side.
I kicked my legs, basically dog paddling out of the opening. I start crying, screaming at the top of my lungs. Suddenly, I feel hands grab my arms and pull me hard. I slip out of the gate, ripping my shirt badly in the process.
I threw up from utter fear and panic before looking up at who grabbed me in time.
I glanced back, seeing nothing. I look back up at the older guy and swung curses at him and the others for leaving me. He just kept his eyes on the darkness.
We all ran to Luis’s house, and Miguel and his sister drove me home since it was too dark to walk and we were paranoid as fuck. We didn’t say a word the whole way. We moved to another neighborhood, a little nicer than Perez. I’ll call it ‘Will Thompson Park’.
But this isn’t the end.
About a week ago, Denise messaged me on Facebook messenger and asked me how I was since we haven’t spoken much since she graduated high school. We texted back and forth for a few minutes before she video called me.
Miguel was behind her, greeting me by calling me ‘Baja’ which means ‘shorty’ in Spanish. We talk for a while, catching up and reminiscing about our days back in Perez. Then, suddenly, Miguel’s face pales. Denise asks her brother what was wrong while I asked if he was okay.
Then, he said, while looking off somewhere, “R-Remember that day…after school when we went to play ball? And Maria got us to-,” he didn’t have to finish before Denise shoots a terrified look my way
Chills went up to my back. My body tensed and I start to sweat when the memories flood in. I say in a hoarse voice, “What made you think about that?”
“Well, a few nights ago, I had a dream, almost like a scene by scene memory, except…I didn’t save you in time. I had it again a few nights ago… the same ending.”
When he finished, my fingertips felt cold and my breathing picked up. He then said he did some research, but I told him to tell me later. Before I hung up, I told them to come over next week. That’s tomorrow… I’m afraid to hear what he researched if I’m honest.