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A Late Night Sledding

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There's a good sledding hill in the park. It's more or less a large ditch meant to collect water so that it floods instead of the neighbourhood, but in the winter, its slopes become a popular sledding hill for children. After the snow falls and sticks, you can bet your bottom you can find snow compacted as numerous kids have slid down the hill. Sometimes, you can even see makeshift ramps where kids try to jump over something. 

However, as of recently, a lot of large families have moved into the neighbourhood. I don't really go sledding anymore. It's not that I don't have fun at all, it's just that it's simply too crowded. The last time I tried to go there three months ago when the first snow of the season fell, it was far too crowded to find any decent route. You could have tried to sled, but you'd have run into somebody else. Every time you tried to walk up the hill, you would have gotten knocked down by someone else who had tried to sled. 

I had this brilliant idea though. If we went after dark, the families with a load of young children wouldn't be there. I pitched it to some of my friends around my age. Unfortunately, one of them had two younger siblings who wanted to come with us. Our parents actually said it was okay as long as we're back by 6 - it wasn't too late. It gets dark early, and normally the families would leave around 3, so the sledding hills would be almost empty. 

We assumed that if we went around 4 PM, we could have gotten in about two hours of sledding. Because of where we live, it gets dark rather early - that and it was winter. So the six of us - me, Fred, his sister Megan, Christina, and her little siblings Brian and Greg head out to the park. It's around four, with the sun setting already. It's actually looking pretty good - there's nobody there, apart from one other kid named Larry. Larry's nice, he seemed to have the same idea we did. He wants to get some last minute sledding, and was able to brave the crowds since he tells us he was here practically all day. However, when it starts to get dark, Larry just walks right on out without telling us. Megan stops him, and Larry tells us that we needed to be heading out because the park's not good after dark.

Well, there's safety in numbers, right? And there are street lamps nearby. They turn on not long after dark, so if anyone tries to sneak up on us, we'd see them. That and we did promise to bring flashlights. Christina's little brothers Brian and Greg are her parents' large concern, because well, Brian is only seven and Greg is nine. Even if we're all a lot older (Megan is in fact a senior in high school) nobody could do anything. Right? 

So we begin our sledding. We have a lot of fun. It becomes almost pitch black, but the streetlights were on so we're not in complete darkness. We have a system planned - everyone carries flashlights and points down so we know if we're going to hit a rock or a tree. (We had a few close calls but nothing too big.) Fred, Megan, Christine, and I all take turns watching the time on our phones. We don't want to piss off our parents by arriving home late. They can give us maybe five or ten minutes - just as long as we call and tell them that we're heading home. And we can't trust Brian and Greg to watch the time, since we don't have phones.

It's nearing six, and Megan decides she really wants to sled. So she decides to take a few runs down the sled, and then tries to get some distance. We have a tad too much fun with the ramp made out of heavily packed snow, so they go after it all the time. Megan finally manages to catch some air off of the ramp but slides a lot further than we thought she was going to go. 

So we hold the flashlights up and call Megan's name since we lost track of her. Part of the park isn't lit so it's in complete darkness. We try and hold the flashlights up, but we can't see her at all. Christina had thankfully been watching her, and she volunteers to go after Megan. We're worried that maybe she hurt herself. So Fred, Greg, Brian, and I decide to wait in case Megan comes back. 

After Christina goes down into the park with our most powerful flashlight, Brian finally turns to me and says, "Can't you dial her number?" 

Fred and I nearly facepalmed - of course, we had cell phones. Why didn't we think of that before? So I decide to dial Megan's phone number. I don't get an answer. Fred dials Christina's phone number because we can't see her. We don't get an answer. Now we're concerned - was there something like a rapist or whatever inside the park? 

I tell Fred to watch over the twins. I'm going to the bottom of the hill - no further than that. I walk down the hill slowly, holding my flashlight out and trying to get a hold of Megan. No sooner had I got to the bottom of the sledding hill that I felt something wet around my foot. I hopped back - it was extremely cold. I looked towards the ground and then I saw it. There was a lot of water down on the ground. It was getting closer and closer to me. I hopped back up the hill, shouting, "There's water down there!"

The little kids now start crying while Fred is literally mashing the call button for Christina. We're not getting any response.

We wait there, calling for Megan and Christina to come back for maybe ten minutes. It felt like forever. But eventually, we can hear some splashing noise from down the hill. I see some movement too. Two people run out from the bottom, splashings accompanying their movements. Both start climbing up the hill, frantically. It's Megan and Christina! They must have been ignoring our calls, or maybe one of them dropped their phones in the strange water that had formed. They don't have Megan's innertube at all. Maybe they ditched it trying to escape.

"RUN! RUN!!" Christina shouted as she caught up to us, "RUN!"

Megan and Christina don't even bother to wait for us. We gather our things and run after them. We're not looking back. However, I can spot that Megan is soaked - so is Christina. They're both trying to run as fast as they can away from the park. Fred and I aren't even going to bother to get any answers out of them - at least until later. 

We run into Fred and Megan's house because it's closest. Megan and Christina don't even bother to kick their shoes off or take their coats off. They run into the nearest bathroom and we hear the water from the bathtub turned on. All four of us waited outside anxiously - they wouldn't answer when we knocked on the door. It wasn't for a little while when we finally got Megan to respond. 

"Towels, please! And give us some clothing!"

So we had to oblige. They wouldn't let us in because well, they're teenage girls and we were all boys. They clearly saw something in that park and wouldn't tell us. Why were they soaked? Why did they want to get out so much? What was all that water? Did some kind of water main break? And why couldn't we see it?

It took about an hour, but they finally came out, still sort of shivering, but they seemed to be much more calm. I had to get some answers. We asked what the heck happened. Megan and Christina didn't say anything, just that they got wet. And that Megan lost her cell phone.

Fred asked what they saw, but they didn't respond. They tried to dodge all mention of it. When I suggested going back for Megan's innertube or her cell phone, she just shouted "no!" and told us that we shouldn't go back there. 

That was the last time either of us went sledding. Megan and Christina still avoid that park. They haven't to this day told us what happened. We also have not found anything explaining why there was so much water in the park that night. I went back in the morning, and didn't find anything suggesting that there was any form of liquid in the park at all. However, what I did find was Megan's innertube on the other side of the park, as well as her cell phone. It had been completely shorted out, like it was dropped in a puddle or a sink full of water. 

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