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I was twelve the first time Ezekiel contacted me. I had to get a new phone, since my puppy thought it would be a good idea to devour the old one. I was one of those greedy kids who demanded the latest and greatest technology. I first asked for a Blackberry, and upon denial, I pouted for quite some time. Since we were relatively poor, and I was incredibly picky, my Grandpa settled things and said he would find the exact model of phone I had previously on eBay or Craigslist, since the model was no longer sold in stores. I accepted the alternative, since I really liked my phone, before it entered my dog's digestive system, that is.
About a week afterwards, I was sitting on the couch, with my puppy lying on my lap, and my laptop by my side. I hated people, always have, and probably always will, so I was homeschooled online. I know it sounds a bit ahead of its time, but the online college program for our state had middle school enrollment, and my Mom had to work, so she couldn't stay at home with me by herself. Every day, until the late hours of the evening when she would come home... I was alone. I didn't mind, most of the time, but it could get a bit unbearable, especially since I was without a phone. I heard a knock at the door. I shoved the sleeping dog off of my lap, walking up and unlocking the door, then opening it to see my Grandpa, smiling at me, and holding a small package. He was mostly deaf, so it took a while for me to understand his babbling.
Apparently someone on Ebay had sold him a refurbished phone, in the exact model, and exact color as my old one. I was pretty psyched, though bummed when I realized I had to wait until my Mom got home, so we could go get it activated. Once that was done, I instantly began messing around with it, making sure all of my contacts were still there. A few of them were missing, which tends to happen when switching information to a new phone. I noticed that somehow, some of the information was wrong.
A few pictures were on the phone, though none that I can remember taking. There was one of a large weeping willow tree, though it was mostly blurred out by fog, along with an old, rusted truck, and a cow behind a fence. The old truck was one that I remembered to be my Grandpa's, and there was a weeping willow in the middle of the town that he and my Grandma lived by, as well as a few dairy farms further west from there. My Grandpa must've been messing around with the phone earlier, which made sense, since he was childish at heart, and was always messing around with things. At the time, I didn't even stop and think about the fact that the package was still sealed when he had brought it.
Going through the contacts, I found that no one of importance was missing, just some old friends that I had long since stopped talking to, but there was one contact that stood out. It had no name, it was just an unlabeled number, and the number didn't have the same area code as we had, so it couldn't be somebody local. It was at the very end of my contacts list, where the pre-programmed emergency numbers were listed. I thought nothing of it.
The first call happened around 8 P.M. on the same day. It happened years before I actually started talking to Ezekiel, so I don't remember much of it. I was lying in bed, with my dog lying next to me, when I heard my phone ringing. I absentmindedly picked it up without checking the number first.
There was no response for a few seconds, and I was about to hang up, before he spoke.
"...Hello." His voice was raspy, but he sounded like a young boy. I returned to the thought that he was an old friend of mine, so I decided not to hang up.
"Who is this?"
Again, no response for a while.
"...Who is this?" he echoed me once more, and I got a little annoyed by it.
"This is Aaron, now who is this?" I snipped back at him, not wanting to wait forever this time. "Hurry it up, would ya?"
"...Oh. Ezekiel...my name is Ezekiel."
"That's a stupid name. I don't know any Ezekiels." I then broke out my Gameboy. I was still annoyed, but intrigued to the extent of not hanging up.
"...I know you, Aaron."
"Well there's lots of Aaron's. You've probably got the wrong one." I rolled my eyes, starting up my Pokemon game, though keeping the sound on mute, so I could hear the soft-spoken boy on the phone.
"...You like Pokemon...and have a puppy...named Sammy. She's a cute puppy...didn't she tear up those green socks of yours?"
I paused for a moment, scrunching my eyebrows. Sammy raised her head when she heard her name, thumping her tail slowly. "Who...are you?" I sat up a bit more, peering to my window. The shades were closed, my door was shut...there was no way he could see what I was doing. Though that wouldn't explain how he knew about the socks.
"...I'm Ezekiel." There was a hint of a giggle in his voice.
"Yeah, I got that. But...how did you know all of that stuff about me?" I tried to stay calm, but I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach. The kind of feeling you get when you know you did something wrong, but keep denying it in your head. I felt I should have never picked up the phone.
"...I know lots about you...I'm your guardian angel." He laughed again, though his laugh was as slow as his voice was.
"Guardian angel?" At the time, the explanation made sense to me, since there was no other way I could think of that he would know that stuff. There was never an Ezekiel in the same class as me in elementary school, and it's not like it was a common name, either. But I didn't accept it so fast. I grabbed my laptop, and opened it up, finding a background check website on the internet, and entering in the number. It cost $2.99 to run it, but having written down my Mom's credit card number long ago, knowing that someday I may need it, and knowing that she used my birthday as a pin, I easily ran the test.
"Angels don't have phones, y'know." The number came up as having an area code three states away, owned by Charles Ethan McClain. Born October 2nd, 1932. Died, August 27th, 2007. Last residence, located in the small town of Chaffee, North Dakota. The same town my Grandparents lived in. I knew the name; he was a close friend of my Grandparents. I went to the website of the local newspaper, and typed his name in, finding an obituary for him. His cause of death was unknown, all but suspicious claw marks on his chest. I remember my Grandma saying it was wolves that got him, on his way home from the fields where he farmed. He had died recently, and didn't have much for a family. His phone must've not been shut down yet.
"...I found it."
I grew speechless, and hit the red 'end' button on the phone. I didn't sleep at all that night; I was too confused, and afraid. I remember it took at least a week for me to get over my fear, and after that, it was quite some time before it started up again.
Around the age of fourteen, I grew to love all things paranormal. I read CreepyPasta almost religiously at the time.
The second call from Ezekiel was during the winter of that year. I was still home, alone, 90% of the time. I had let Sammy outside to pee, and stood by the patio door to our fenced-in yard, yelling at her to come back inside. She ignored me, and continued to sniff around the yard. That's when the phone in my pocket, the same phone for two years now, began to ring. Once more, without checking it, I picked it up.
After five seconds of no reply, I grew a bit uncertain, almost paranoid. All of those scary stories did tend to leave me a little on-edge, even if I wouldn't admit to it then.
"...Hello, Aaron." He sounded happy, as usual.
"...Ezekiel?" I had repressed what happened for a while, and since he hadn't called again until that moment, it wasn't something I had braced myself for.
"...Yes. How are you? How is Sammy?" It's like he forced himself to remember everything from our last conversation, or simply never forgot. It was crazy. The phone company would've noticed the bills weren't being paid and shut it down by now. Though, it was still kind of...cool. I had my own creature, just like in the stories. I decided to speak a bit more casually with my angel-slash-stalker.
"Uh. I'm fine. Sammy's fine too. Though she won't," I pulled the phone a bit away from my mouth to shout at Sammy. "COME INSIDE!"
I was still wary of Ezekiel, especially because of how eerie his voice was, but I pulled away from my fear and tried to maintain a conversation. Maybe I would learn something about him through it. "Yeah. She can be a real pest sometimes." I spoke as casually as I could.
"...That's a shame."
"Sometimes I wish she would just..." I was about to say I wish she would just listen, when I trailed off, watching Sammy flop into the snow. Great, now I had to go out after her. I reluctantly put my shoes on, and walked out into the yard.
He spoke meekly, like a child who had done something wrong, and I just didn't understand at the moment. "I gotta go." I ended the call, and shoved my phone back into my pocket, running over to where Sammy was lying. "Dammit, dog! What are you doing? It's freezing outside!" Her fur was dusted with snow, and her tongue was lolling out, which I first noticed, was gray, and not pink. Her eyes were open, but pointed away from me. Her tail didn't even move as I approached her. I reached my hand down to pet her, to try and get her motivated, but her body was cold. I thought she was just frostbitten, from having been outside for so long, so I tried to pick her up. Her body flopped as I did, lifeless...she wasn't breathing. I let go of her at the sudden realization, and took a few steps back, in shock, before running off towards the house. I called my Mom, begging her to come home from work. Sammy was dead.
He called me again that night, once my Mom had calmed me down, and I had gotten into bed. I was reluctant to pick up, but after the first four rings, it became annoying, and I turned the phone on speaker, not saying a word.
"...I thought you would be proud of me...I'm sorry."
I sighed, and hung up the phone, dropping it on the floor beside my bed. I didn't find it as cool as the stories anymore. I just wanted to forget about him, and for him to never call me again.
I was still fourteen, though the third time, it was in the spring. I had gotten into a fight with my Mom about being behind in my homework. I was clinically depressed, and on three different medications for it, though sometimes they just...didn't work. I took too many days off of school, many of them just because I wasn't up to it; I just wanted to stay in bed. He called me on one of those days, and thinking that it was my Mom, calling to bitch at me some more, I sighed and turned it on speaker, setting it beside me. "Whaaaat?" I groaned.
"...I'm sorry. Are you okay?"
I was half-asleep, and didn't even really have it in me to hang up, but I knew that voice right away. His voice never changed, it was always so childish, almost innocent sounding. "No. My Mom's being a bitch," I complained absentmindedly.
"...I'm sorry. Do you need help?"
"Yes, sometimes I think I do need help." I rolled my eyes, and pressed the end key.
Several hours later, my grandparents were at my house, packing all of my things up without giving me much of a say in the matter. It took me a while to slow them down enough to get them to explain it to me. My Mom was in a car accident on her way home from work. I was the last to know about it, and I was glad that this time, I wasn't around to see it.
Fifteen years old. I had dropped out of school by now, but living out in the country helped me with my mental state quite a bit. The fresh air, being away from people, and not to mention my Grandma's home cooked meals...it helped a lot. They always coddled me, since I was the only grandchild, and I was thankful for that.
It was 6PM. I was throwing on a light jacket, and putting my boots on by the door. "Ma, I'm goin' for a walk. Be back soon," I shouted out to her, walking out the door and down the stairs of the porch. I could only faintly hear her shout back, "Watch out for wolves!" which is what she said every time. Never in all of my time here had I actually seen a wolf, and I'm fairly certain the howling she's always going on about is that of the neighbor’s dog.
It always smelled like freshly mowed grass here, with the lingering scent of cow dung, though it was bearable when you weren't too close to any of the farms. I decided to walk to the willow tree and back, which was only a mile. I shoved my fists in my pockets, and started off, looking up at the sky as I did so. You could see every one of the stars out here, it amazed me even now.
Once I got to the tree, I leaned against it, just listening to the sounds of crickets chirping, moths flapping their wings around the old, buzzing streetlamps. I just closed my eyes for a minute, and sighed. It was so serene here, I loved it. I don't know how long I stayed there, but I was jolted back into consciousness by a vicious bark. It wasn't a wolf...it was, in fact, one of the neighbors dogs. It was standing a few yards in front of me, growling with its fur on end.
The farm dogs never socialized with other humans, all they know is one thing, and that is to protect their property. I took one look at the dog, and was frozen in panic, until it dashed for me. Instead of running like I should have, I tugged at the branches of the tree, trying to climb up the trunk, but to no avail. The dog jumped up, and grabbed the leg of my pants, pulling me down and grabbing my leg. I screamed out for help, flailing my leg wildly, trying to get the dog off of it so I could hopefully run away...it just bit down harder, growled louder, and ripped at my flesh.
My eyes were closed shut in pain as I screamed louder, feeling my voice start to fade...until I heard a sharp yelp, and the dog was off of me. I quickly scurried to stand up, though the pain in my leg was too much to put pressure on it. I stared at the dog, lying on the ground, with claw wounds over its abdomen, leaving a large puddle of blood underneath it.
"...I'm sorry. Are you okay?"
The voice was close now, though I didn't even have my phone with me. I looked up from the dog, and standing on the other side of the tree was a figure unlike anything I had even imagined, with the voice of the little boy, who had been haunting my nightmares for years. He was at least seven feet tall, almost as tall as the tree, and his skin everywhere but his face was dark black, rotten, and covered in dirt. His arms and legs were incredibly long, and his hands had long, ivory claws, that curled, like overgrown human nails, dripping with blood. His face contrasted his body. It was pale white, and he had two, big, round eyes, with no pupils, glowing like headlights, which made it hard to look right at him. His mouth was permanently curled into a smile.
He didn't open it when he spoke. His wings were those of an insect, and I hadn't even noticed them, until he jumped, bending his long limbs, and flew up, above the tree. He landed on top of it, crouched over, tilting his head at me. His limbs faded pretty well into the foliage of the tree, and if he just hid his face in the branches, he could hide there.
"...Do you need help?"
I stared up at him, mouth agape, for what seemed like forever. I wanted to scream, but I couldn't any more. My leg wobbled and eventually I fell back down; wincing at the pain in moving my leg again. He slowly crawled down the tree, and onto the ground, reaching out to touch my leg with the palm of his rotten hand. It didn't hurt when he touched it. Suddenly... nothing hurt any more.
"I only want to help you. I'm your guardian angel."
I smiled up at him as if my mouth just forced itself into a smile. I didn't want to smile, I wanted to run, but I couldn't help it. He helped me up and that's when I noticed what else was on the other side of the tree. Mr. McClain was standing there with the exact same smile that Ezekiel had, his eyes glew as well, and he still had blood on his shirt, in the shape of a large claw mark. Sammy ran up to me as well, wagging her tail, licking my hand with her cold, gray tongue. Her fur was covered in snow, and her ears were black and frostbitten, her eyes had the same light in them. My Mom came from behind the tree last and approached me slowly, sharp pieces of metal sticking out of her abdomen, blood dripping down her body. She smiled at me, and patted my head. I smiled back at her, tears streaming down my face.
"I know, sweetie. You're home now." She hugged me, and I believed her. I was home.
Ezekiel looked back down at me, then picked me up, flying up to the top of the tree and sitting down there, with me in his lap. Everyone else disappeared around us.
"Why is everyone gone?" I managed to ask, unable to move my mouth from smiling, but somehow still able to talk to Ezekiel.
"...We don't need them," he replied.
We stayed there all night, laughing at nothing in particular, watching the stars together. When my Grandma came, yelling my name early that morning, I looked over and tried to get up, but Ezekiel held me down.
"...We don't need them." He spoke with a darker tone this time, holding his hand around my neck. "...Stay here. Please. We don't need them." I struggled a bit more, trying to shout out to my Grandma, but this time, I couldn't make a sound. "You're going to stay with me. I know what's best for you. I'm your guardian angel." He held my neck a bit tighter, and after a second more of trying to get free, I suddenly...just...convinced myself that he was right.
"I'm sorry, Ezekiel." I looked up at him, and he just smiled back down at me.
"...It's okay. Come on, let's go play with Sammy!" He put me on his back, and jumped off of the tree like a grasshopper, taking me away, somewhere else. I got one last look at my Grandma, who seemed to be knelt down by the tree, crying for some reason, with some kid lying there next to her. I waved goodbye to her.
The sheriff and a few other officers stood around the large willow tree, one trying to calm the bawling old woman, while the others stood inside the caution tape. "Large scratches on his chest, a lot like the McClain case, huh? Ain't this the same area too?" one asked the sheriff.
"Sure is. Gotta look out for them wolves 'round these parts." The sheriff shook his head, and walked over to inspect the dead dog alongside the boy's body. Everyone seemed to agree with his statement, except for one officer.
"But...the wounds are far too large to be wolves, sir. It's gotta be something else!" he insisted.
"Don't tell me you're one of those people who actually believes in Dead Man's Willow, Officer Dickson. It's just. Wolves," the sheriff shouted back to him.
"Hey! I never said I believed the stories. I just don't think we can keep chalkin' this up to wolves is all," Dickson retorted. "Hang on, my phone's ringin'."