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A Midsummer Night's Scream

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To preface, this entire story is real. It’s not a story that’s “real”. It’s not one of those ‘friend of a friend’ stories. It’s the one story from my childhood that I vividly remember and have yet to get the memories of that twisted night out of my head.

A little background information first; as far back as I can remember I had a fascination and love of horror movies. From a young age I would read countless horror story compilations that were sold at school book drives, and since 5 I would watch many horror classics, such as Halloween, The Elm Street Series, the Friday the 13th's, with my mother. We even saw Hostel together when I was eleven (Which personally I was a bit let down by even at that age). But I digress. To sum it up, blood, gore, and essentially the feeling of horror and terror were something I was more able to handle as opposed to the average person. I was not scared easily.

Where I lived is also relevant. My house was a typical middle class, suburban, two-story home at the back of a cul-de-sac. My room is above the garage with a great view of our big back yard. There’s a little roof outstretching from right below that window and oftentimes in summer I would sit on the roof at night and watch the stars.

Half of the yard closest to the house is mowed, there is a little hill that leads back into taller, unkempt grass, that is technically not part of our property so we are not obligated to attend to it. Inside of that tall grass a small pond is there and a tiny creek running behind it mostly used for drainage and run-off. The road beyond that is the same one that my old high school is on. It was a 5-minute walk from my house if I cut through the back yard, which I so often did.

It was one warm, summer night in my hometown of Waukesha, Wisconsin just after my freshman year of high school, when I was 15. It was a typical evening where I had my windows open as I was trying to fall asleep. I had, and still have, a terrible habit of staying up far too late, not like 1 or 2 AM late, but closer to 3 or 4 AM, and some nights around 5 in the morning.

I was staying up watching sub-par, late night television, flipping through music I just recently downloaded onto my iPod, basically just staying up because it was summer and I could. It was about 3 in the morning when I abruptly stopped whatever it was I was doing and ran to my window. I heard a very loud, albeit short, yell. It shocked me because it was so abrupt, so I looked out of the window, waited there listening for a few minutes to see if there was going to be more, but there wasn't. I chalked it up to neighborhood kids playing some night game like ‘ghost in the graveyard’. I looked into my neighbor’s living room window and saw some lights faintly and slowly flashing so I assumed that they were watching some movie. In hindsight I would realize I was mistaken.

About 40 minutes later, I heard the scream again. It was the same tone, the same voice producing the bloodcurdling scream. The difference between this scream and the previous one was that it was longer, louder and more agonized. The way it sounded, it was one of those screams that you just instinctively know that something is wrong. I ran back to the window to see if I could see anything, hoping that it was just my neighbors movie, but I could tell it wasn't, the screams were at odd intervals and too far apart. Looking in my neighbors window I saw the same slowly flashing lights, and stared at them long enough this time for me to realize it was some decorative light they had in their house and was never a TV set in the first place.

I immediately went to my parents' room, I tried waking my mother, alerting to her that I heard someone scream, and that I don’t know what was going on, or if I should do anything. It was useless. She was in too deep of a sleep. “It’s a dream, just go back to bed,” she mumbled in a voice that made it painfully obvious she was sleep talking.

I went back to my room, trying to deny that anything was happening. Besides if it were something bad that was happening I’m sure someone in the surrounding houses that were closer to the noise would call if it were urgent. The noise was definitely close by, just around my school that I get too by crossing my back yard, but there were definitely houses closer to where the origin of the noise came from.

I went back to my window. I waited for a bit more. Five, maybe ten minutes and I finally decided to try and go to bed. And that’s when I heard it, the same yell again. Same tone, same male voice, but this time he was screaming, very clearly, in an agonizing, pleading shout “Help Me! Someone Help Me!" My heart sank and I was overcome with a feeling of fear and dread. The severity of the position I was in overwhelmed me and I was frozen at my window trying to hear something more.

About a minute, maybe less, passed and that’s when I saw them. The first came bursting through a canopy of trees at the edge of the creek. It was a figure, definitely male, running through the tall grass of my back yard. Sprinting, it looked as if he was running for his life. Shortly behind was another figure, seemingly male, about the first figures height following him, running directly behind him and quickly shortening their distance apart.

As quickly as they appeared in the tall grass, they disappeared from my view just as quick. I ran downstairs to see if I could better see what was going on from my patio doors. As I got to the doors I heard a final yell, but this time the yell lasted for maybe a half a second, and sounded like it was cut short. I assumed the worst.

Panicking, I checked every single door and window in my house to make sure it was locked and sealed tightly. It took me about 5 minutes to complete the task. However as I was checking the last window I saw a figure emerge from some trees near the tiny pond that stretched to my neighbor’s back yard. The figure began to make it’s way between the houses when it stopped. It just stopped, and I could not help but to stare at it, to see what it would do, what move it would make next. After about ten seconds I became disturbed. The feeling of dread and terror intensified and I was frozen, just watching it. The way it stood there, still and un-moving, as if it could see me as if it was watching me.

I slowly began to back away, however when I did that all I could make out in the darkness was it raising its arm and waving at me. It did see me. I was sure of that now. Horrified, of whatever it was or whoever it was, I ran to my room. I shut my window immediately, closed the blinds and then proceeded to turn on all the lights in my room, watch every last stupid infomercial that was on TV and call everyone in my contact list to try and calm me down. I didn't sleep until the next afternoon. As my parents awoke the next day, I told them what I saw but left out the part of the figure waving at me, as not to frighten them.

They were shocked but didn't have any idea of what to do, so pretty much left it as a freaky story. I then took my dog out as we all woke up and the sun solidified its place in the sky. The sunlight helped me regain some of my composure. As he was out doing his business, my dog trotted over to the tall grass, which is where we usually take him to go number two. Seeing as it’s already overgrown, we don’t clean it up back there. As he was sniffing around, he picked up a trail and he eventually followed it. He dragged me along and I was slowly realizing it was the trail of the person from last night. Before I could begin to wonder where it would end up, I saw it, or rather smelled it.

Behind a bundle of sticks and other overgrown foliage, next to the pond, was the body of the man that was screaming. His throat slit wide open, stomach carved out and entrails strewn about in my very own backyard. His one eye had an ‘X’ carved over it and it’s mouth was open, frozen in the most twisted of screams. All the gory horror movies I had seen could not prepare me for the nose burning, visceral and putrid smell of a dead body. It nearly knocked me off my feet, and I will never be able to forget what that horrific odor smelled like, mixed with the metallic scent of the blood, that had since seeped into the edge of the water, giving our pond a slight hint of crimson.

I ran upstairs and told my parents immediately, half crying, and in complete shock. The ambulance, police and coroners came. They questioned me a bit, not too much. I’m pretty sure my mom said she found him so they wouldn't keep bothering me with questions, especially in my shocked, almost catatonic state. We would later find out that the boy was 20 years old and raped shortly before he was murdered. It took me weeks to be able to sleep at night again after that. Since then I've always had a feeling of guilt. There are nights I feel like I maybe could have stopped it, been a hero at 15, saved a life, stopped a killer. I wish I did something. I was just so terrified. I was more scared than I had ever been in my life. I was frozen with fear.

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The most terrifying part of the whole ordeal however was not seeing the body. The thing about that night that rattles me to my core, the one image that has since been burned into my brain and haunts me on that occasional night, was when I ran upstairs right after it waved to me. I shut my blinds, turned on the lights and watched TV all night. But there was one last moment, where I cracked open my blinds, just too see if dawn was approaching. As I peeked out I saw someone standing on my roof, outside my window with his eyes as close to the glass as possible, just staring at me. Watching me. I will never forget those eyes, those twisted, bloodshot, yellow eyes.

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