I was just out performing my usual evening walk with my best friend, Chester. Chester being an Airedale mix has an innate inquisitiveness embedded deep within his character; he simply must explore all of life’s many intriguing smells. Particularly on our customary walk along the creek; after all this is his territory isn’t it? As we were briskly walking and Chester gleefully feasted upon the abundant scents, a curious apparition seemed to reach for my attention… The sun had already departed an hour or so since, and the evening’s shadows seemed strangely somehow haunting.
I stared cautiously into the darkness. Chester now obediently positioned directly by my side, ears pricked, tail fully extended, in sentry mode. Were my eyes playing tricks? Surely there was someone, or perhaps even more unnerving something, gleaming back from the darkness? The harder I tried to focus, the less sure I became. I decided that I was going to take no chances, so I turned and began marching the 300 yards to the road and safety from the shadows. Chester obviously slightly put out at his abbreviated walk, reluctantly yet unquestioningly followed suit. He panted a little harder as the pace increased further still. I wanted frantically to scrutinize once more what lay behind me and confirm to my self that this was ludicrous, and all in my own imagination. Yet, a growing, nagging, overwhelming fear was intensifying deep in my gut. The larger it grew, even more fearful I became to look, frightened beyond all fathomable reason at the prospect of what might be lurking there.
Finally I was about a hundred feet from my goal and quite sure that I was going to make it. The lights from the baseball field on the far right of the road seemed now to shine like beacons of unblinking, cold, delicious reason. I could sense Chester still scared; perhaps, in a simple reaction to my previous dread, or maybe he truly sensed, in that uncanny way dogs so often do, that something was indeed behind us, stalking us.
That is when it happened; a gentle tap on my right shoulder. I simply began running again, faster than I would have believed possible. Chester seemed now to enjoy the sport and keenly raced by my side. We quickly made it to the safety of the road. Yet, I did not stop running, not even a moment of hesitation, I continued as swiftly as I could go, and despite the almost intolerable, throbbing ache in my side, and my desperate panting, I somehow managed to sustain the intense pace for the half mile back to my home-fear I discovered is a remarkable motivator. At long last I was there! I fumbled for my keys, with trembling hands, and slammed the door tight shut behind me bolting it. I promptly turned on all the lights and then collapsed onto my couch, now feeling the pain of my unexpected and unusual sudden exertion. Chester gleamed at me excitedly, this was a fun game, he surely must have been thinking.
Then as I lay there feeling secure within my safe haven I almost chuckled at my nervousness, my heartbeat began to decrease and my trembling ceased. Now it was obvious to me that it simply had to have been my imagination working overtime; an imagination that has been fascinated by ghosts, demons and mayhem since I was a young child. That tap upon my shoulder? It simply had to be a falling branch. Yes, that surely must have been what happened�
To relax I decided to do what I always want to do, write.
So here I am, in my study; surrounded by a massive array of reassuring books; Poe, Bierce, King and so many others. All my treasured companions are collected in this, my most special of places.
Yet, even now something is amiss. I can’t reasonably place my finger on it. Did you ever have the sensation that you are being watched? Studied? Even mocked? Then you will know precisely how I am feeling as I try to sit, focus my thoughts and type this account. I can not concentrate on my writing, and I find myself increasingly compelled to stare out of the window into the night. My house, you must understand, backs onto to the very creek that I just escaped from. During the day it is a glorious vista, welcoming and alive. Yet now I can not help but to gape into it, I am strangely captivated, perhaps even mesmerized. The hairs on the back of my neck are trying to desperately warn me something is about to happen. Something bad�
Oh my god. Surely this can not be real. This is far worse than even my most horrendous of nightmares.
They are real, and they are here�