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A Stroll Down The Park

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Being in high school sucks.

Big surprise, I was bullied in high school, but don't jump to conclusions just yet.

I wasn't in anyway an outcast, nerd, goth, or whatever stereotype was the target for such primitive targeted behavior. No, the reason WHY I was bullied was because of my family dilemmas that got spread throughout this small hick town that I lived in via rumors that I honestly don't know how got spread in the first place.

Basically, a few months before I was born, my father was sent to partake in the persian gulf war. Leaving my mother pregnant with me to deal with this and that. Though it wasn't like he didn't send encouraging letters, and when he could, even some cash via mail to help us out. While he did what he could, he'd been gone longer than anticipated. It wouldn't be till six months later (about three months after I was born) when he came home excited to meet his family after half of year of being overseas. Only to go into the bedroom and find his wife and the next door neighbor (whose name I don't, and won't, care to remember) going at it. As you'd expect, a whole bunch of shit went down after that.

While my pops didn't kick that guy's ass (which he easily could've), he decided to settle things in court over a divorce and who gets custody over me. Now not even being four months old, I don't remember a thing about it, my father would relay it to me in 4th grade via phone. Even though the settlement should've went to him, my mother would be the one to win everything, and custody over me. The court's 'argument' was that because of my father going to war instead of staying to raise his family, it wasn't no surprise what was 'bound to happen', leaving his wife alone to deal with bills and such.

Yes, that was what the jury argued to put me in custody of my mom, and only giving my father the chance to call me only once a month. Asides from the obvious, the real reason was that our next door neighbor that my mother was having an affair with just happened to be the judge's only son.

Yeah, it's THAT kind of a small town. Somewhere in the middle of alabama, with barely eight hundred people living there, mostly populated by those old, noisy rednecks that you'd expect to see in the deepest part of the southern states. While the town wasn't be no means racists, sometimes you'd see the older residents giving the colored residentials nasty looks when they believe no one is looking.

Asides from that, everything that people associate with the south was here. Country music, drinking, loud night parties, the works. You'd even hear news of some form of incest going on at least once a month. But despite all that, it wasn't by no means a bad place to live, the people were nice for the most part, and people did what they could for others, even strangers. It was nice looking too, the buildings were old and taken care of to give them that authentic style, the land and streets were cleared and cleaned once a week. It was a well kept up town, though the best part of the whole thing was the park, but I'm getting ahead of myself, lets get back to my high school years.

Yes, I was bullied, but not that often. If I had to estimate on average, maybe two times a week at best, though it was mostly taunts, more of an annoyance than anything really. The only time the bullying would get serious was when the main pricks of the high school, who were commonly referred to as the buzzards, would confront me.

They were almost the stereotypical bullies that most of you would expect to see in the movies. Big, loud, about as smart as rocks. They were brothers, three of them, triplets in fact, though they weren't twins. They each had different hair styles, one mohawk, buzzcut, and one rat tail. I don't see a reason why I should give their names because while they were what gave me a reason to go into the park, they not the main reason why I writing this.

The way they bullied was simple, either trip, spit wads, throwing whatever small objects they could without getting caught by the teachers. Asides from wedgies and moronic attempts at name calling, they did everything in the book.

No, I was never beaten up by them, only the brave and foolhardy ones who dared strike back would receive a beat down, although that only happened twice from what I've seen. Despite being basically neanderthals, they did seem to understand that passing school was important for a successful future, so they weren't complete dumbasses.

As to why they bullied, people had theories, though the most accepted one was because of their parents. Now they lived about three miles outside of town, unlike everyone else that attended school here, so we couldn't confirm their lives outside of school, but from what my own mother said, both their parents were drunks that had them by accident and, because of law, had to raise them whether they liked it or not. So in that sense, some people felt bad for them, and I would be in that small percentage that could care less, I had my own home problems to deal with.

While my mom may have cheated with the neighbor while I was just a baby, she wasn't a bad mother when she got custody. She's by no means a saint, but she's no bitch either. She hardly drank and never smoked, and sat me down countless times to take about the dangers of illegal drugs (which thanks to her, I never have never will). Asides from only calling my father, who had to move in with his brother after the divorce once a month, she wasn't a problem, her boyfriends were.

Every week or so, she'd bring home some ecstatic-over-being-brought-over-to-a-'fine-honeys'-home-to-eagerly-screw man she'd meet either at a bar, or at the redneck parties that you always hear going on at night. While they never tried to beat me, or even molest me, they sure as hell weren't in the mood to even see a kid period going to my moms. They were there to fuck, sleep, leave. So yes, my mother was the town slut, say what you like, I heard it all before.

It wouldn't be so bad if they just kept to themselves like anybody else who'd been taught better, but no. That HAD to tell my mom how to do this and that in our damn home, How they'd prefer the paint, the furniture, floor boards, how my mother should cook this and that. Just about every god damned critique as you'd expect from a drunk, redneck prick. I can't remember how many times I was nearly tempted to get up and say:

'Either shut the fuck up or leave, don't talk about how'd you prefer the house, you're not moving in, you're here to fuck my mother, show some damn respect for people going out of their way to feed you ugly sorry ass!'

While I would never say it, some of those guys might've guessed what I was thinking, because some of them would critique me. 'I need a haircut', 'I need to gain muscle', 'Play sports', and any other snide remarks you can think of. While taunts at school are one thing, being insulted at you own home is another. It became so irritating that I just stormed straight to my room whenever they get started, hearing them laugh about it as I go.

The only reason why I wouldn't charge at the fuckers or insult them right back is because of not wanting to hurt mom. Granted she didn't do a damn thing about it whenever they get started, but she didn't encourage it either. She'd at least try to get them to talk about something else, and she'd apologize to me about it after they leave.

Looking back as an adult, I should've done what I wanted to, but at the time, I didn't want to upset mom, who asides from bringing in pricks every once in a while, did try to be a good mother. So I kept quiet about it until I graduated high school.

They weren't all like that, but I'd swear that out of all the guys she's brought over, only three of them had the decency to at least thank my mother for going out of her way to make her man-of-the-week some food.

So with my mom being the town slut, I was bullied for it.

Now like I've said, it was mostly insults and jeers, but it never really bothered me. Ever since I got into high school, I told myself that everybody, in one form or another, would be insulted at least once. It's just part of school, and something that you'd had to deal with eventually. my father was the one who taught me that, and I thanked him many times to myself because of it.

Now when the bullying did become bothersome was always whenever the buzzards took some shots at me. Guessing because of their own experiences with their lousy family, their insults were more personal, and like with others, they'd get physical with me to.

Pushing, shoving, even tripping me on time while I was going to a table while holding the lunch tray (wouldn't have been so bad it it hadn't stained my clothes, and the school bringing it up whenever they found the opportunity to for the next four months after). Although that last event seemed to really spark their interest in me as a target.

Not only because of my mother infamous reputation, but because I was mostly alone. Don't get me wrong, I had friends, but due to my mother, they weren't allowed to come over, and vise-versa. The only time we see each other was in school, and even then we all had separate classes, and after graduation we lost touch since I moved in with my dad.

Now that I've told you my social life in high school, its about time I talk about my favorite place to go to and chill, the park.

While I wasn't aloud to visit friends during the weekends, my mother would (with the exception of dinner) let me go to town and wander around. Despite the drunks here and there, we were basically a crime free zone, granted we still locked our door, and just about everybody owned a gun, but we teenagers and kids could usually go out at night and explore the town and the park without worry.

The park was about the size of 2 football fields, nothing too huge or small, there was a track that went around it in a near perfect circle, being more than a mile in total length, there was a typical play set with the swings, jungle gym, slide, teeter totter, seesaw, and a roundabout, with some benches nearby so adults can sit and watch their kids. Around the end was a tetherball pole (missing the ball because someone stole it back in 89, the city never bother to replace it), and a basketball/baseball area further north. There was a river that was on the right hand side of the park going in the entrance/exit, there was a 4 foot high wired fence separating in from the park, as to not let kids get near it and accidentally slip, since it was deep and full of sharp rocks.

The park was my favorite part of that small town. Whenever I had a lousy day, either at school or at home, it was my go-to play to chill. The parks was also filled with trees, with most being near the river, nearly obscuring it from sight. The trail that went around the park goes right in between those trees. since I'd usually walk to trail, which took me about an hour on average, I'd always go under those tree's, and see how full of life they were. Asides from the lush greener brought upon by the green leaves and grass, you'd always hear birds, crickets, and sometimes squirrels chattering up in those tree's. A natures lovers dream.

The best part was that the people who bothered me, the buzzards, those pricks my mom would bring home, would never come here. As to why that is I never know, but then and now I didn't care. I loved being alone, while it sucked I couldn't hang out with my friends as much as I'd like, it was nice to have some space and alone time to cool off and collect my thoughts.

While it wasn't always so, I was almost all the time the only person there, or at least the only one on the trail. Granted the occasional runner would be there practicing for either an upcoming game or just for the exercise, even spotted a cyclist, but it was usually me all by myself.

I never had any problems whatsoever with that park, asides from one event that happened to me in summer, between my freshman and sophomore year. Looking back on it even know, I still wonder if it even happened, since no one else remotely saw or heard what I did that day.

It happened in the middle of July. The day started out like any other, got up to shower and eat breakfast, watch TV (wouldn't get a computer or phone till I moved in with my father two years later), and took my usual summer stroll through town and to the park. I turned the corner around the pharmacy and spotted with disappointment, the buzzards sitting on the bench just across the street.

Ignoring them, I continued on my path. But unfortunately for me, they spotted me, and having nothing better to do apparently, started throwing jeers and insults towards my direction.

"Hey Westley, where you going?"

"Hey, you think you mother would let me hit that for free, or do I need to pay up?"

"Don't keep walking, turn around and answer us, you little bitch."

"Takes one to know one"

Somehow, despite that I just barely mumbled it, they actually heard it, and as you'd imagine, they took it well.

After the typical 'The fuck did you just say?', I heard them coming my direction. I told myself that I should just ignore them and keep walking, but by the time I knew they were just a few feet behind me, I know I had to face them. So taking a deep breath, I turned, expecting the worse.

"You got something to say to us, bitch? Cuz we're right here."

"Maybe, maybe not."

"'Maybe'? What's that supposed to mean?" the middle one said as he pushed me back with both arms.

Furious, I then decided to just tell them flat out what I, and most other, thought about them.

"Well let's see, MAYBE I DO want to say something to y'all since you so eager to listen. MAYBE I want to say how its ironic how you insult my family while you own is nothing more than drunk hicks who could care less. MAYBE I want to say that the reason why you guys can get away with being pricks to everybody, asides from being oversized dumbasses, is because people feel sorry for you bastards and the lives you lived thanks to your lousy parents. Or MAYBE I just what to tell you guys to fuck off so I can enjoy my walk in peace. What do you think?"

A fist right in between my eyes was the answer they gave, but before they could continue with it. I rebalanced myself, and while miraculousy doging another fist, socked the middle one (won't say their names, so don't ask) right in the eye, sending him falling back. As the other two grabbed me and pulled me down for a beating-

"HEY! What the hells going on here?!"

The pharmacy owner screamed as he bolt out of his small store to investigate the ruckus.

The buzzards, including the one with the black eye I just gave, took off in an instant, leaving me on the ground.

"What the were you thinking, starting a fight with them?" He said coldly looking down on me, as I felt something warm coming out of my nose, onto my lips.

"But they-"

"I don't give a shit what they did! They had it rough, while you and your worthless slut of a mother had it easy. Whether they spit at you or insulted your sorry excuse for a family, you walk the other way, got it?!"

As opposed to confusing me, that little speech pissed me off more they what those overgrown pricks could ever do. But I knew talking back or flat out cursing that fat bastard wouldn't be good, since he was friends with the police, he could make up anything.

So I got up off the ground, giving that owner the nastiest look I could muster, and turned round to continue my path.

"Yeah, you better walk boy, and think about what you've done, you punk."

Never before have I been tempted to flip somebody the bird.

Now being in a small town has its ups and downs compared to living in the city. In the city these more assholes, but they scattered all over for the most part. But while in a small town where there might be less of them, they're easier to come across.

Infuriated over what just transpired, I continued onwards towards the park. No I know that the buzzards won't try anything since they were almost caught, but that didn't make me lose my guard. Going to the park, I half-expected that to be there waiting, since there's less people there, there's more of a chance to finish what we've both started without witnesses or interference.

So keeping that in mind, I stopped to wipe away the blood that was slowly coming out on my now-broken nose. Since I couldn't go back to the pharmacy knowing that fat fucker would ridicule me some more, I took some pieces of my pants leg off, and stuff it up my left nostril to stop the bleeding.

I'd finally made it to the park, relieved to see that no one, especially the buzzards, was here. Trying my best to calm myself, I began my stroll.

Walking down that trail really help me calmed down, I was still pissed about what happened, and what was sure to come when I got home, but taking in the look of nature and just the all around beauty of it, it really did calm me down as I went forward. Made me wonder why other people don't walk down this trail, or what people didn't come to this park to begin with.

While pondering that, I finally got the the trees, hearing the river just a couple of feet on the other side of that unnecessary fence built back in the 80's. As I got in between the trees, I stopped for a moment to take it all in.

The greenery, the calm breeze, the silence... wait.

This area, especially in the summer, was always active, even in the coldest winter, you'd still hear a bird or two, even a squirrel. But now it was completely silent. The breeze was still going as normal, and it wasn't that my hearing went away, since I could still hear the river, but I began to wonder, where were the animals?

I started to look around, and I found them. The birds were up on the highest branches, but weren't making any noise, not even a chirp. They just sat there, looking at nothing. The squirrels I suspected were in the trees, and the crickets underground. Why would they be so quiet, especially in a beautiful summer day like this?


Something stepped on the ground, just feet from me. I couldn't pinpoint the location, but hearing that made me realize why the animals were silent.


But what could it be, bears weren't in this area, and even then, birds had nothing to fear from be-


It was closer this time, and I knew where it was, it was behind me.

Whatever it was, It started to move closer to me. As it took more steps, I also heard scraping. Like besides from stepping, it was also dragging something as well, coming towards me.

Finally it stopped, just a few feet straight behind me.

Knowing that it'd have to turn around, I began to think of who it was, and I got mad again.

"So, you here to finish what you started, huh Ja-"

It wasn't the one I punched, it wasn't any of the buzzards.

What stood just about 5 feet from me, was Mr. Thomas.

Mr. Thomas was a vagabond that come into town five months ago. From what people could gather, ever since he got addicted to heroin, he's been drifting from town to town trying to find another home (He bailed himself out of jail by literally selling everything he had). Despite being a druggie, he usually kept to himself behind the theater. The police here didn't wanna bother with him, so he was left alone. He would even get a job working as a part-time janitor for the theater, making barely enough to eat off of. About a month before now, he was last seen entering this park, and was never heard or seen again, police didn't even bother to look.

I was probably the first person to have seen him since then.

Now I caught glimpses of him while going into town, we never meet, but I knew what he looked like.

He was a black man of average height, with short hair, nothing to unique about him asides from the assortment of clothes that he dug out of the trash to wear.

What stood before was something different.

He was filthy, REALLY filthy, that may sound obvious, but it looked like he'd been buried in mud, and judging by the color of the dirt (if that was even dirt), he may have been.

Even his skin looked like its been in mud for a long period of time as well. But worst of all were his eyes, or what was left of them.

They had no pupils, just white, with those little cracks that you'd see on a strained, red eye ball, but since I could see them THAT far away, they were MUCH bigger, and instead of red, they were a dark blue.

He looked dry but at the same time wet, its really hard to properly describe. Like he just got out of the river, and judging by that repulsive odor that I'm now smelling, coming from him, it was probably the case.

The last thing I noticed about him was that one of his legs, the right one, seemed broken, and the trail leading from the woods to him told me that was what I heard dragging earlier.

"M-Mr. Thomas?"

He stood there, looking right at me, not moving a muscle, and the lack of pupils made me question is he could even see, could he even HEAR me?

"Mr. Thomas?" I said louder.

Nothing, no noise, no movement.

I rubbed my eyes to make sure I wasn't seeing things, as soon as I opened them, he opened his mouth.

What came out from he cracked lips was what I can only describe as the driest noise I ever heard.

It wasn't loud, although it seemed like it tried to be, another thing was that it sounded so... devoid of life, it was like as if someone literally took out his voice box, and all the liquid for that matter, again, it hard to describe, but despite the obvious wet spots on him, the noise he was trying to make seemed like he hadn't drunk another since I've seen him last.

Then he finally began to move in my direction. He slowly took the right leg, and stepped forward, while the other leg, somehow keeping him up, dragged along.

As he slowly approached me, I finally understood what I was seeing. Lack of response, voice, movement for the most part, the silence of the woods.

You gotta be fucking kidding me.

"OK, Mr, Thomas, you had me there for a second, now enough with the act. I ain't got no money on me, sorry. Now PLEASE take a bath, you smell like death!"

Before I could laugh at my little joke, he fell face first into the trail while trying to extend his arms.

"Oh boy, hold on."

I went over to help him up, when he slowly pushed himself up, and as he did, his jaw was broken from the impact.

"Oh shit! Hold on, don't try anything, let me-"


Mr. Thomas moved his jaw with what muscle he had left in it, as soon as he did, it fell off.

No blood, no sign of pain from the man now missing his lower jaw.

As the thing that was Mr. Thomas looked up at me, 




Those types of bugs and more, started to slowly pour/crawl out of the hole that was his mouth,.

I just turned and ran.

I didn't stop, even when I was nearly hit by a car, I ran straight home.

My mother asked me what was wrong as I nearly ran into her getting in.

"N-Nothing, just figured I'd sprint the rest of the way home from the p-park."

"Ok sweetie." She said suspiciously.

I never brought up what I saw, I never went back to the park, which confused my mother, but she knew not to question it. 

For the next two years, I've kept an eye on people going into the park, wanting to see if someone would come out scared, but no one did. People (especially my friends) have asked why I stopped going in the park. I told them I saw something that I couldn't explain round the river. People have looked, nothing. I'd sometimes hear people talk about how they love going into the wood section of the parks, hearing and experiencing nature, although there seemed to be less bugs than usual.

As for the buzzards, well either due to coincidence or something else, just a few hours after what I saw at the park, their parents were arrested driving down the highway, completely high on more than just alcohol. The 3 brothers would be sent to florida to live with never-mentioned relatives.

As for the next 2 years of high school,  it was about the same. Kids would taunt, but compared to what I've been through, it didn't annoy me as it used to. 

Everything moved on as usual.

After I moved in with my dad, who even I haven't told, I'd sometimes call and ask mom if anybody seen anything in the river, and she said no. She and especially dad would question me, but I never told anyone what I've encountered.

Up until now.

Of course I got questions, but the biggest one that pops up in my mind is why only me?

How come nobody else has seen anything?

I would eventually ask about Mr. Thomas, and the only response I'd get was from the last person who'd seen him before he disappeared, my mother.

"He's somewhere else right now, don't worry about it."

She hung up after that.

What the hell?

Written by Jagovruni9
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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