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Childhood Memory 1

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My childhood is quite blurred, due to my brain blocking out most of it. But, the things I do remember stick out like house-fires in the Antarctic. I'll post as many stories as I am able to remember clearly, and some may be dreams, but I'll try to keep to reality as best as possible.

This happened the day of my sister's graduation from high school. I was nine at the time.

In order to understand this story, I need to give you a layout of my family's property. Our property was fairly large, being a little over 4,500 square kilometers. Our driveway stretched around our house and into a garage that was behind it. A gate that was to the right, lateral and anterior to our garage led into our backyard. This area is what I deemed the "first backyard". This is where the main bulk of the graduation party was occurring with some guests sauntering about in the area in front of our garage. Behind the first level of our backyard was an area where we grew herbs and vegetables. However, it was separated from the "first backyard" by a tall bush-line, thus the reason I deemed it the "second backyard". Behind this area, there was a train-track about three meters from where our property stopped, and a three-meter-tall wire fence at the edge of our property.

Okay, now that you have a basic idea of what the area looks like, I can began the story.

My sister had just turned eighteen and was graduating, and as per tradition, my family threw her a celebration and invited everyone we knew. I don't mean that figuratively either, our parents invited the entire family, all of the family's friends, anyone from her school that wanted to come, and even left it open for anyone who was just passing by and wanted to join. So as you can imagine, a lot of people showed up, which meant next to no one paid a lot of attention to nine-year-old me.

I was free to do whatever I liked, as long as I stayed away from the guests (I was quite a rowdy child and my parents didn't want me to embarrass them). So I opted to play in our second backyard. As I said, the two backyards were separated by a tall bush-line, so being so far back, no one could see me. About an hour into the graduation, I'm playing in our sandbox, facing the bush-line, enjoying the hell out of myself, when I hear what sounds like metal scraping against itself. Confused, I look up from my terribly-built sandcastle and look around. As I am pivoting, I turn to face the opposite direction and my eyes lock onto a man, dressed in full US army uniform, standing just outside the fence. Curious, I analyze the man and see that his uniform has quite a lot of rips, blood stains, and a massive hole in the upper right section of the coat. Keep in mind, the man is a mere four meters away from me, just standing there, his eyes glued on me as much as mine were glued on him. Then, very subtly, a smile begins to spread across his face. Even at nine, I understood malice in his eyes, yet for some reason, still unknown to me, I stayed, just staring.

Then he moved.

He gripped the fence and hopped it in under ten seconds. He moved towards me swiftly, yet very quietly. But I still stayed put, just staring at him. Once he got within a meter of me, I finally snapped out of my daze and made a run for it. I, fitting the typical movie cliché, tripped on one of the stones that made up the walkway between the first and second backyards, and screamed loudly from the pain.

I felt him grab my ankle and began to drag. My heart was racing faster than it ever had and it felt like it was going to explode. He pulled me up and covered my mouth and then began to pull me towards the fence. I must have passed out, because everything went black.

Someone must have heard my scream because the next thing I remember, people are surrounding me and asking what happened, looking quite worried and trying to help me up. My father rushes to me, breaking the crowd and asks what the hell happened. I try to speak, somehow forgetting what happened in all of the commotion, when I see him, the army man, standing in the very back of the crowd. I scream and start to cry, and my father goes red in the face. He picks me up and brings me into the house. On the way there, I didn't see the man anymore, as he seemed to have vanished. 

When inside, my dad band-aids my scraped knee and disciplines me for acting so childish (even though I was a child). I try to explain to him what had happened, but when I start to describe the man, my dad loses all color in his face. He asks me if I am sure that is what the man looked like (I had a very good memory back then and recalled exact details). Somehow, even more color drained from his already pale face. He immediately picked up the phone and dialed someone (who I later discovered was my aunt). I eavesdropped and heard him explaining to her what had happened, and I hear a very audible gasp from her end.  

Apparently (I only learned this years after the fact), the same thing had happened to my father and my aunt when they were children, living in the same house, down to the description of the man I had given to my father. The only difference was that my grandfather had rushed out when he heard my aunt scream and ended up shooting the man, and my father swore up and down that the man had died that day. 

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