In order to understand my story, you have to have a little bit of background info, so here goes:
My neighborhood is a series of blocks kind of shoved together. It's in a curvy sort of grid shape, like there's multiple ways to get to every house in our neighborhood. About three streets east of my house is a street that has an opening into a popular biking trail that runs by a little irrigation creek. The creek runs from the nearby canyon into a park called Heritage Park and then flows into and joins with a canal.
Now you know the essence of my neighborhood.
The story begins on a fall morning some four years ago. My little sister was turning three. I grew up with five brothers, so she was kind of an amusing novelty to my friends and I. We would dress her up, take her on walks, and invite her to play minor rolls in our imaginary games, such as the family pet or the baby sister.
So on this particular morning, my friend Kassi and I were feeling particularly restless. We were thirteen-year-old girls at the time, and we were too old to be playing dress up or pretend anymore, and too young to give each other makeovers and talk about boys, so we didn't quite know what to do with ourselves. We decided it would be fun to take my little sister on a walk along the creek path.
She was too young to walk very fast, so Kassi and I decided to use her stroller. We settled her inside it just as the storm clouds began to gather overhead. Neither of us were unnerved by the storm; we lived next to a mountain and rainfall was common. But I felt something different about the air that day. I didn't mention it because Kassi was one of those volatile friends we all have as children, and if I said something to deter her from our walk, she would have stomped away and refused to speak to me anymore.
You also should understand that I was kind of a timid child. I was a people-pleaser and couldn't stand to see anyone upset, but along with that, I was especially sensitive to fear-invoking situations. I sort of made myself more scared of things than I should have been on a regular basis. My feeling of foreboding was something that occurred often and due to varying, harmless situations. Nothing bad had ever come of those feelings. So I shrugged it off and we began our walk.
We made it to the creek before the wind started blowing. The branches of the trees lining the creek were swaying and leaves and pebbles were hitting us in the face and eyes. Only my sister Gwen, safe in her baby carriage, stayed untouched by the gust.
When Kassi shouted to me that we should head home, I was fairly relieved. I will not lie to you, I was terrified. We were already more than halfway to where the creek trail led off back into my neighborhood, so we continued on.
Kassi began looking over her shoulder as we pushed forward. Once I asked her what was wrong and she said nothing, but I could tell she felt uncomfortable. We finally made it to the end of the creek trail and back into the neighborhood, and I turned to tell Kassi how glad I was, when I noticed two things. One, the wind had abruptly stopped, and two, that Kassi was staring back at the trail, her eyes wide, her face pale.
She spoke one word, and that one word communicated everything I needed to make me obey. She had told me to run. Still pushing Gwen's stroller with one hand, I grabbed Kassi and ran. As we were running away I heard a massive snapping noise, and briefly looked behind us to see a huge branch fall right off a tree, where we'd been standing only moments before.
I'll update this later. It probably doesn't sound that scary but reliving it is a little hard for me.
So, after we got home, Kassi and I agreed to write down what we saw. We used an old notebook of mine that I've now lost, including the weird weather situation and the falling branch. It's been years since, and Kassi still lives next door, but she's never told me what she saw. She now avoids me, and I don't blame her.
Fast forward a couple years: My friend Tiffany and I were walking at night together (we live in Northern Utah and walking at night isn't a hazard like it is other places) and I remembered that day on the creek trail. I decided to go back and investigate.
We were on our way to the trail when a familiar feeling hit me, about as hard as a huge sack of bricks might. Shuddering, I looked at Tiffany. She bore a distinct resemblance to Kassi.
She said, "Let's get out of here," and I agreed. We left, but the feeling didn't leave until I crossed the boundaries of my house. Even then, I was badly shaken.
Here is where things started to get real for me.
I sleep next to the playroom in my house, which doesn't have a door. I can see straight into the room when my own door (which doesn't have a lock) is open. And the playroom has a door providing access to a cold storage room, which is a sort of extra pantry.
I started noticing, night after night, that the cold storage door was slightly opened and the light in the storage room was on.
Night after night, I would go in the playroom, turn off the light, and go to bed.
And morning after morning, I would wake up and get out of bed, and the light was on.
After about a month of this, I approached my little brother who sleeps next door and who eats about as much as your average hippopotamus. I asked him if he'd been sneaking into the cold storage to get himself a snack, and he denied it.
I decided to stay up and watch to see if I could catch my brother red-handed. I stayed up all night listening for a door to open next to me -- and nothing. But in the morning, the light was on. Again.
I don't really know what to do. I've toyed with the idea of taping it through the night, but I'm afraid that something followed me home that day in the creek. I'm terrified of what I might find.
So, a girl went missing by the creek a couple days ago. She was found in critical condition and rushed to the hospital. She made it, but no one will tell us what happened to her.
I don't know if I have a choice but to film now. I keep feeling like I'm being watched.
I haven't filmed yet. But if I don't write, I might go crazy.
So, a few nights ago, with great trepidation, I went into the playroom to turn off the cold storage light again, and the door was shut, and the light was already off.
I realized the night before I had forgotten to shut the door and turn off the light.
In the playroom next to the cold storage door there is a built in chalkboard my dad installed after we remodeled. Drawn hugely on the chalkboard was a child's chalk drawing, only it was super chilling.
It featured two girls who I recognized as myself and my little sister. We were labeled. Standing behind us was another girl/woman (she was much taller than either of us) holding hands with Gwen and her hand was on my shoulder. She had a huge smile on her face and had eyes that looked like little chalk spiders. She didn't have a label telling her name over her head, like Gwen and I did. I stared at her hand on my shoulder for a long time before turning to book it.
Then I noticed a piece of paper taped to the playroom doorway. It said "closed", in handwriting too sloppy to be anyone's but Gwen's. Drawn all over the page were what looked like x's.
The playroom light was on.
I didn't turn it off.
When I was getting ready to shower, I kept hearing faint rustling outside the bathroom door. I assume it was just my little brothers, but now that there's a possibility that it wasn't, the littlest noise is terrifying.
I asked my little sister the next morning what she'd drawn in the playroom, and she brightened. She told me enthusiastically about her "friend" who she'd met in the playroom the other day. I asked her name and Gwen replied that she didn't have one. She then responded that her friend thought my name was pretty, though.
I asked her if she talked about me with her friend and she said that her friend discussed me with her quite often. She also said that her friend wanted all three of us to play together.
I asked her about the "closed" sign covered in x's. She told me that her friend and her had played a game where they owned a shop. This friend of hers had told her to make the sign so that the game would be more realistic. It even told her what to draw on the signs. It was really scary how her friend seemed to communicate with her very clearly.
Gwen didn't seem at all shaken by her interactions with her friend, reiterating that her friend wanted to play with both of us, but I was severely unsettled.
When I went back into the playroom later that night to check the sign, it was still on closed. However, two simple words had been scrawled over the drawing, but those two simple words made me cry in terror.