Finny and I were really close, almost like brothers. I was an only child growing up, and I hung out with Finny almost every day if memory serves. My childhood memories were so precious, and the town itself was so peaceful and benevolent. The town was surrounded by woods, and it even had its own police station and town hall. Everything was picture perfect. Everything was fine until there was a month of rain.
When I say a month of rain, I literally mean it; it would never stop raining. It rained that whole month nonstop, and it was kind of strange since the rain came in unannounced by meteorologists. It was almost similar to that of a hurricane, with strong winds, thunder, lightning, and lengthy periods of rain. It almost came out of nowhere, it just started pouring. The sky went dim and gloomy, the clouds rolled in, the rain fell and it continued for as long as I could remember.
Eventually the ponds, canals, and rivers would start rising due to the heavy rain. The flooding all took place within the first two weeks. I remember this one night, when it was thundering; I was looking outside my window. I noticed that the lighting had strange colors. Some would look orange, others would look green, and some even purple. This made the rain fall even harder. Eventually the waters had gotten so high, that it reached up to our ankles.
We would still go to school since they thought the floods weren’t too big a deal. They made us wear raincoats, boots, and also made us take umbrellas with us every day. We all took notice that there was an outbreak of insomnia among us children at the time ever since the rain arrived. I found it hard to sleep as well, and it was one of the many reasons I looked at the lightning at night. We all felt so drawn to the rain, and found it strangely soothing and calming.
The lights continued in the sky every night until eventually there was the loudest thunder strike. At least, I thought it was. I bet it woke the whole town up. It struck somewhere within the woods, and then things got weird. Every night, we’d hear weird noises, voices, whispers, and scratching outside. Sinkholes or burrows could be found all over patios, lawns, gardens, and the woods. The water rose up to our waists, and eventually school was called off on occasion.
My friend Finny and some other kids in our clique would visit my house often to play; sometimes, they might even stay the night. I remember this one time, waking up one night and being drawn to the window. We were in our living room, and my other friend Bryce was looking outside the window I felt enticed to look out of when I awoke. He and two other kids were at the window looking outside as if intrigued. They said that someone was calling out to them and inviting them out to play inside the rain. We looked outside and saw nothing.
A few minutes passed as we continued to look out the window, feeling strangely enticed to go outside. Eventually, the rain hit harder, and it also appeared that something was swimming in my flooded back yard. It never emerged from the water to show us its identity, or what it was. We just assumed it was the rain making weird patterns in the water as it hit it. The urge to go outside remained, and we began hearing whispers again. They usually ranged from “Come outside, it is safe,” or “Come play with us.” Most of what someone would say to convince a child to come out of a hiding spot.
My dad came home, and we pretended to sleep since it was way past our bedtimes. My dad was a police officer and was working hard lately, but my friends and I did not know why. I remember my dad walking in and speaking to my mother.
He said that kids were disappearing one by one, they’ve had no luck catching the kidnapper, and that the abductions were taking place much more frequently. It was true. Walter, Lee, Jennifer, and many others didn’t show up at school, or any type of meeting place we would visit. I remember his face being so discouraged and worried, almost sickened. I remember my mom and dad’s conversation, as my friends and I lied awake listening to every detail.
“We couldn’t find a single trace. Some were even taken from home, and there were no signs of forced entry…” he said, and my mother sat next to him trying to comfort him. Other conversations went on, but nothing to relevant to what was happening at the time, and they eventually went to bed. However, before they did, they made sure to lock all doors and close all curtains. My friends and I stayed up talking about what we’d just heard, and made up our own little Ideas on what was happening, but all too childish.
From time to time, the whispers would return and wake us up. Sometimes it was even scratching or clawing at the walls or windows. We wouldn’t dare to open the curtains and see what it was for ourselves. Who could blame us? I mean, there was a madman that kidnapped children on the loose. These events went on for weeks, and the kidnappings only got worse. Houses were found empty in the morning, and sometimes some kids would be left behind, too traumatized to speak and alone in the house with “again” no signs of forced entry.
The town was mortified, and eventually a town meeting was called. Some of my friends were missing too, and all that was left of my clique was Finny and Dalton. We waited outside the courthouse with my mom as it went on. I remember asking about what they were talking about, but my mother would always avoid telling me usually by saying “Some very boring stuff grown-ups talk about dear,” or “You’re too young, you wouldn’t understand. Plus you’d probably fall asleep, it’s pretty long honey.”
I remember the night before the evacuation, exactly one day before the month finished. I live next door to Dalton, and it was the night I saw them leave. The lights didn’t even go on; they sort of just went out of the house, leaving everything behind. They didn’t bother to lock the door, they didn’t bother to pack, and they didn’t bother to change clothing. They left their front door, and they walked into the woods. I was assuming they were taking a shortcut, but I still found it pretty strange. It was drizzling a bit as they left, and the rain was beginning to die down.
I started hearing whispers again, only much louder. I looked out of my window and looked at the flooded streets. I saw strange patterns in the water again, and as if it was trailing a moving object under the water. I remembered that there was a crazy person stealing children at night, and decided to close my curtains so that no one could see into my room. Then the clawing and scratching began. The whispers and scratching never left, and I was surprised I even fell asleep.
I was woken up by my mother, and the sound of the emergency evacuation alarm that the town hall had set off. I was too groggy to panic, and I just followed my mom outside. We were going through our escape route that went through higher terrain within the woods, and we took a dirt road. As we plodded through the water, we met with Finny and his mother. They both talked for a while as we paused awaiting others to join us. My father and a couple of his squad came through the road bearing shotguns and flashlights.
My mother asked him what he was doing, and my father only replied “We found the place they were keeping the children” in the grimmest of expressions I’ve ever seen. My mother kissed him goodbye and wished him and his squad good luck as they trudged through the murky, muddy waters and into the deep woods. My mom motioned for me to come with her, but suddenly another woman came asking for help. My mom told me and Finny to stay put as she left with Finny’s mother to assist the woman.
We did as we were told, and stood in the muddy and murky waters. We began to hear faint whispers again, and felt soothingly relaxed. The feeling was ominous, and it persisted for the duration that we spent waiting for our mothers to return. I remember tripping into the water, or so I thought, until I couldn’t seem to stand up. I panicked when I felt a force pulling me into the water, and as I heard Finny’s panicked screams. I felt a hand grab tightly onto my shoulder, and pull me to the surface.
My mother carried me and placed me onto a nearby fence and checked on me. I thought I probably tripped into a sinkhole or a deep area of the trail since there were many holes around here. I noticed Finny’s mother calling out his name and searching everywhere for him. I didn’t realize that Finny had fallen in with me too. I continued thinking it was a sinkhole we slipped into, and that’s what I told Finny’s mother and my mom. That is, until I felt a throbbing pain and bruise on my ankle. Upon inspecting it, we found that a skinny, bony hand print was left on it.
Another loud clash of lighting occurred, and it began to rain again. We eventually reached high ground, and we got into the buses and cars that waited for us. Many of the cars there were loved ones and family that came to pick up the townspeople that evacuated. We found that my uncle was waiting for us, and we got in his car. I didn’t see my dad, or Finny at the evacuation area. Come to think of it, I never saw my dad or his squad again. They were announced missing, and to this day I’m still not sure what happened to them or Finny along with all the other children. I am certain of one thing: there was something in the water.
Written by Havoc98