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Bloodied Trees and Bright Lights

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Even though strung on hallucinogenics and other hard drugs, the story I am about to write is one hundred percent true. I don’t care what the police said or how every doctor said it must be just the trauma, I know what I saw and no one can take that from me.

No one.

I spent the last ten years having that night repeat in my sleep like an old television, rewinding every time it ended until I woke up in the morning. I want rid of that memory, but it will never leave me.

Not until I do something.

So maybe posting it online, on this site, might bring me some closure to my head. Maybe, after I finish the last word, I will pass out and wake up anew. You never know.

Due to that night taking up my dreams for the last decade, I have memorized it to death.

I don’t know if you reading this might set him on you, but please, close it down before you go any further if you worry about that.

Okay, this was how that night went.

That night was the high school graduation party. My entire year got together and organized a

night where we stayed in after dark and party all night in the Assembly Hall. They brought some money together and got an actual DJ to play tracks while we all danced. Our teachers told us that we could not bring booze onto campus, however we brought cans of the stuff anyway.

My friend, Matthias, decided that that night, he was going to lose his virginity. He asked me if I would like to join him in his pursuit and, because I was intoxicated off my ass, I agreed. We swooped into groups of equally hammered women and seeing if any of them were interested.

Despite using our best pickup lines, it was to no avail. While the girls were unable to stand still without swerving left and right like grass in a light breeze, they still had a bit of sense in them and rejected us through drunken slurs.

So, we decided to ditch the party. It was getting late, and home beckoned us. We exited the school grounds and noticed something eerie about the town at night: It was dead silent. Maybe the transition from loud music to a quiet breeze that only mustered to make the trees’ leaves rustle was dramatic, however my heart began rusting up with a foreboding pain.

I did not want to go into town.

Seeing my resistance to leave the school gates, my friend chuckled. From what I could understand, he said, “Hey, bro, don’t be such a pussy. Its a town, we are surrounded by people.”

“But we are completely… fucked…”

“Don’t worry about it. I have a phone, you have a phone, nothing can go wrong. We’ll just circle the town for a while and head back just in time for our parents.”

I regret not bothering to take driving lessons at the time. I could have just went home and fell into my comfy bed. But as I staggered back away from him, Matthias stomped over to me and grabbed my arm.

“You’re coming with me, whether you piss your pants or not.”

I just nodded. Almost tearing my arm out of the socket, he dragged up from the gate and down the sidewalk.

We passed the nearby ice cream parlor its interior as black as the night sky. The shop established two years prior with the goal to bring in high school students to munch away at waffles and other delights. Living in a relatively cool part of the country, I alway thought the business was never going to survive, but it somehow did. I remember the tall glasses of hot chocolate they used to sell, mixed with cream sprinkled with chocolate flakes. Matthias hated chocolate, but the ice cream parlor also sold whipped-cream strawberries, something he used to get almost daily.

That was probably why he was always without any money wherever we went.

Afterward, he pulled me past the gas station, which lacked all life apart from a stray cat, who peered at us with judgmental eyes. Normally cars would be pumping through during the day like blood through the heart, but not a single car passed us that night.

At least that was what I remembered.

About fifteen or so minutes later, we reached the other side of town. At that point, that foreboding feeling in my heart began to grow down my body. Even though Matthias was taller and stronger than me, pulling me around began to put stress into his arm. Eventually, when we reached the beginning of the road into the dark countryside, he let go of my arm. I stood still, staring down the road ahead of us.

He swerved around. “You know what, I’m bored.. We should just head back. Wait, hey, are you listening?”

I wasn’t paying attention to him, instead replying by pointing my finger towards the hill that the road went over. He turned around and saw what I saw.

It was a figure—a man to be exact. His silhouette was visible against the starry night sky, allowing us to see his arms spread out. It looked like he was trying to hug the stars, to bring them to his chest and squeeze the light out of them. His arms did not look human, instead resembling more like thin, twisted branches.

That night, the temperature was relatively comfortable. It was going into summer so night times weren’t as chilly as say, Christmas. But after noticing the man, a chill crawled up my back and swallowed the rest of my body. Even in my jacket, I felt like I was completely naked.

“Hey, let’s just go,” I suggested, stumbling back.

But Matthias did not move. I walked over to him and set my hand on his shoulder, only for him to brush it off. “Don’t touch me.” I saw his face and it had an expression that I never saw coming from him: True Anger. He, though still stumbling over each step, walked briskly up the hill, into the darkness.

I ran after him, trying to pull him away from doing anything too crazy. But he shoved me to the ground. I watched as he reached for the man…

…only for him to stop in his tracks.

“Matt?” I asked, gaining my standing. My eyes adjusted to the darkness and I saw something sticking out of his back.

It was a hand, painted in blood. The repeated sound of water dripping against the tarmac filled the silence.

Over Matthias’ shoulder, I saw the man’s head bending ninety degrees, looking directly in his eyes. The man’s eyes were glowing white. “Drink, drink, drink kills. Drink, drink, drink kills. You should have not abused drink, my boy. Now only God will bring you true peace,” the man chanted.

Another hand pierced his chest, spraying more blood onto the ground and some over my face. I was still, watching as the man lifted Matthias up above his head. His life dripped down the man’s arms. His neck stretched unnaturally, trailing his tongue along the river of blood up his arm, before repeating it with the next. His head returned to its normal position before looking at me with its god awful pure white eyes. They grew in intensity, the light now blinding me.

“Do not drink, my boy, or you will become like me.”

That was when I passed out.

I woke up in a pool of my own vomit. Two Policemen were looking down at me. The sky behind them was filled with an orange glow, mixing with the azure color of day. Even though they beckoned me to stay down, I raised myself out of the pool of vomit to look at the scene around me.

I could not believe it.

Beside me was a car. Its bonnet was dented in and the window screen was cracked like a spider’s web. A yellow tape surrounded it.

The summary given to me by the Police was this. They concluded such after hearing the Car Driver’s alibi and brought up the likely scenario.

We were walking up the hill. We did not see the car going over the hill until the last second, to which I jumped out of the way. However, Matthias was far more intoxicated and did not react in time. He went over the car at such a force that he… that he…

My head, as if controlled by some unknown force, turned slowly to face the nearby trees. They were dead trees, their branches naked to the bone. I saw Matthias’ body pierced by two separate branches in the exact place the man pierced them. His head was dipped down and his eyes were wide open, staring down at the ground. Dried blood crusted at his lips.

But…

…for a split second…

…I saw his glazed eyes flash white.

I didn’t bother going to college, instead working in the ice-cream shop beside the school, serving students with far more prosperous futures than me. That night ruined all motivation for me. Some gave me strange looks, probably recognizing me from school or from the rumors about that night. One of them was that I pushed Matt in harm’s way.

What a disgusting idea.

After about a year or two of massive saving and my parents giving in a handy donation, I finally moved away from the town to the same nearby town I was found dumpster-diving. Thankfully, the town seemed to have forgotten about me, and I faded into the people well enough. With my decent high school grades, I got a simple job in IT, working as a website developer and manager for some low scale clothing store. It was so low scale that shipping cost more than the item itself, making most of our customers come in themselves.

However, because this clothing store was the only one for miles, it was busy enough, packed to the bone every Saturday and Sunday. Even people from my hometown came to the store.

So when a staff member was off ill, I sometimes had to leave the comfort of the office in the back to work the cash register. Doing so helped me forget more and more about that night, even though the dreams still plagued me. It became less and less of a issue and my mental health seemed to heal a bit.

That was until I had to stay one Saturday night late.

Nearing midnight, I finally fixed a bug that appeared on the store’s website. It was strange, as most bugs are caused by accident, either when adding a new feature to the website or if the internet browser has a sort of update that corrupts the files.

But this bug was neither caused by those two things.

Looking in the source file, I saw my code had been picked up and dragged to different lines, messing up the natural flow. It was like this for all of the programming languages used in the website, so I had to work from early on in the morning to way late in the night.

As the clock’s minute hand ticked towards midnight, I finally finished up fixing the site. I closed the company computer, finished my coffee and putting it in the sink, before packing up some files and slipping on my coat. I walked out of the back office and when I reached the main store, a breeze of freezing cold air barraged my front.

What stood behind the counter…

…looking at me with bright white eyes…

…was my long dead friend, Matthias.

“N-no… no…” I said, backing away from the counter. “You are dead. You are meant to be dead.”

His smile could be seen even in the darkness. “Drugs, drugs, drugs kill.”

“W-what are you talking about?”

He just pointed to my coat’s right pocket. I knew what was in there.

My legs began to go weak, my mind racing through multiple scenarios on how to get out of there. The only way out was the front two doors present behind him. The glass glimmered at me, showing me the way.

“Please, let me go,” I begged, “I will stop injecting that shit into me. Please.”

His smile faded. Then, as if through an old phone, he began mumbling a string of numbers. I did not understand at the time what he meant, but now, looking back on it, I now know what he meant.

I sprung into action, dipping beneath the counter as I looked for the pistol kept by the cash register. It was there, dust coating the black metal. Grabbing the grip, I flicked off the safety and pulled it up over the desk.

He wasn’t there.

I knew he would not stay gone for long. I scrambled over the counter, gun still in hand, hurling myself through the door. I did not bother to lock the shop, sprinting across the road and to my cheap car. I threw myself into my car, revealed my key and stuck it into the ignition.

I twisted it and it failed.

I twisted it, and it failed.

I twisted it…

…and the slow humming of my car’s engine spurted up.

I drove to my apartment, packed lightly, before breaking from town. I needed to get further away, I needed to leave the county, maybe even the state. I drove for what seemed like years, every so often seeing white eyes stare at me from the dark. I saw the green sign that welcomed me into another state and drove past it. After another hour or so, I reached a city. Sunlight was just peeking over the horizon, the darkness of night shriveling away like the sea retracting from the shore.

Reaching a motel at the edge of town, I checked in and flung myself into my room, bolting the door shut.

I was safe.

I turned the lights on and ducked into my bed. Sleep, obviously, did not come easy.

I woke up with the pillow behind my head damped with sweat. I stretched out of the bed and

peeked through the window blinds. The sun was still peaking from the horizon. I checked my phone and saw that it was the next day—I slept for an entire day.

Then, when my sleepy brain began kicking into gear, I heard a mumbling coming from the bathroom. I froze on the spot, staring at the closed door. It was a person speaking.

It took me about fifteen minutes before I walked over to the door. I swung it open and turned on the old fluorescent light. It flickered on, an electrical buzz playing out from the fixture.

I glanced down into the bathtub to see a radio sitting there, a glowing screen showing the FM frequency. It was my county’s local radio. Coming from the speaker, accompanied with the crackling of white noise, the woman said:

“In other news, a clothing shop has been subjected to arson. While the entire place was not burned down, the off-license and the pharmacy section were both submitted to huge amounts of damage. Police say that the CCTV cameras were static from midnight to four o’clock this morning, so the culprit can not be found. If you have any information on this case, please contact…”

After saying the number, the radio rewound to the beginning of the report, the same woman droning out the same words. I stared at the radio for a minute, before picking the thing up and throwing it at the tile wall, smashing it.

I left the motel to find a place deeper in the city, somewhere people would be frequent and the noise of cars passing by my window would relax me.

A week ago, I decided to head back to my hometown. The four hour drive, while dripping with anticipation and anxiety, was relatively uneventful. That was until I passed by a car crash which caused me to step on the gas a bit. I could have sworn I saw something hanging on a nearby tree. I past it so fast that I could not confirm if it was a body or not.

After another hour of gripping my steering wheel so tight that knuckles were white, the sign of my childhood town came into view.

It was not a relieving experience however. I knew this was only the beginning.

I decided to stop by the Cemetery before exploring any further. I opened the gate, its green paint coming off in flakes while I gripped it, and began walking down the gravel path. The crunching sound beneath my feet reminded me of playing in the snow as a child. Matthias was there too, building a huge six foot snowman. It had a bright orange carrot for a nose, a multitude of pebbles for eyes and a mouth, and… …sticks for arms.

I shook my head and embraced my arms, rubbing them to gain some heat. The second I entered the Cemetery, the world around me seemed to have dropped in temperature. I thought it might have just been a cold breeze, but when I breathed out, a cloud of vapor danced away from my face. It made no sense, I was sure the forecast was meant to be decent. Not too hot, but not like standing in a freezer. That immediate chill sent my brain into a rush. I glanced around me, peeling my vision over the rows and rows of tombstones. He was there, I fucking knew it.

He…

…was waiting for me.

I turned back towards the gate, only to see a dark void grow around me, blocking all light. I could not see as far as half an arm’s length. I kept running towards where I remembered the gate was, the crunching of gravel no longer bring warm memories into my heart but adding to the desperate, creepy ambiance.

I needed to get out of there.

I ran…

…and ran…

…and ran…

…until something hit me in the stomach, winding me. I crouched over, gasping for air, staring down at the ground beneath me. My nose was drenched in the smell of rusted iron. I saw that I was standing on top of pure white pebbles, a smiling face drawn from black pebbles. Just… like the snowman. My head, just like a decade ago, cranked slowly up to see what winded me.

It was a tombstone, with the name, “Matthias Anderson” written in an archaic font.

I watched as the name began washing away, like how fresh paint washes away in the rain. Then, a hand with twig-like fingers started etching something in place of Matthias’ name. After the first few letters, I knew what it was writing.

My name…

…and a date beneath it.

With the caption, “Now only God will bring you true peace.”

I felt a icy breeze pet my back. I knew it was behind me.

In my ear, the familiar voice of my long dead friend whispered, “Drugs kill.”

Just like that, the black and white color scheme that surrounded me began shifting. The white pebbles, the gray tombstone, the black name… it all began fluctuating in colors. It was similar to the effects of a psychedelic drug, only the heavy feeling on my brain was worst. It felt like someone was stepping on my head, pushing my face towards the ground—into it.

I tried resisting.

But after a few seconds, I fell through the ground, the colors around me ranging from all over the spectrum. Long strands of pure blackness spouted out and wrapped their tendrils around me, the shape similar to branches.

He got me.

I opened my eyes and saw that I was hugging a tombstone, tears dripping down my cheeks. I stepped back and saw it was Matthias’. A bouquet of flowers, all different colors of the spectrum, sat at its feet. The truth was, I never went to his funeral. Back then, the event traumatized me so much that I ran away from home. I spent the best of a month living off what I could find in dumpsters in the next town over. I was caught by the Police and driven to a nearby hospital to be given treatment for my mental breakdown. That included drips and drugs, all to which I grew fond of and later kept using even after I was “treated”. I finally mourned for my friend.

When I got back in my car, I felt a burning sensation on my chest. I took off my shirt and looked down at it.

On it, red with skin cracked around the numbers, was the date on my tombstone.

Today is that date. I now sit in my bed, laptop on my knees, with bags of weed and other drugs by my bedside, waiting for me.

I will never come to them.

Not after tonight.

Right now I can see Matthias, standing in the moonlight coming from my window. His eyes are pure white, seeming to warp all shadow around them. He is smiling.

“Drugs, drugs, drugs kill. Drugs, drugs, drugs kill. You should have not abused substances, my boy. Now only God will bring you true peace,” he whispers.

I will not let him get me.

I have a pistol right beside me and I am not afraid to use it.

After I finish this post, it will not be fired at him…

…but at the roof of my mouth.

Please, don't approach any man who looks like they are worshiping the sky.

Because...

...that man might be me.

F orget y ou s a w th

is, my bo y, o r yo u w ill b eco me lik e me

.
Ikill

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