It was late one night and my friends Devon and Jordan, and I decided it would be a fun idea to go poke around the gardens at night. This, we thought, would give us some sort of spooky thrill as there was very little light in the gardens. The bare tree limbs made twisted and macabre silhouettes against the backdrop of the night sky.
We started out, flashlights in hand, through a gate into the garden. We heard the various noises given off by squirrels or sticks falling off of trees, and the rational part of our brains began to fail us.
Twigs snapping became the footsteps of a deranged homeless man, and the rustling of leaves became a ravenous animal stalking us for its dinner. We were having a good amount of fun scaring ourselves out of our wits, when Jordan mentioned something about the gardens that I had not heard before.
“Have you guys heard of the shack that’s supposed to be in here somewhere? It’s supposed to be really creepy, I think it's supposed to be haunted or something like that" He said in hushed tones.
His story was obviously unconvincing, but in my irrational state of mind it freaked me out enough to wish I never ran up on this shack.
We ventured further on, and eventually noticed we had walked in a circle. We had been avoiding any paths that seemed too narrow or dark because of some unexplainable (and probably nonsensical) fear that they were bad paths to take.
“Well, we haven’t been down that path."
Devon was pointing at one of those very paths mentioned above. Hesitantly we allowed Jordan to lead us through the path, and I tried to keep my eyes on the circle of light provided by Jordan’s flashlight. As he swung the flashlight from side to side surveying our surroundings, he finally came at a stop on something that seems foreign to the rest of the brush.
As he scanned upwards, the wooden planks of a structure became visible. I then realized it was the side of the infamous shack, and fear struck me instantly. I turned to run and heard Jordan shout.
“No, don't run!"
This was followed by a sound that was inhuman, though not quite animal either, howl or moan. Before I could even turn to respond to Jordan, all three of us were running to the nearest gate. Jordan got there first and began frantically yanking on the gate, getting more and more hysterical as he went until he finally got it open and we all rushed out.
"Did you hear that?"
I asked hoping I wasn’t crazy, "We all heard it, lets just get out of here" Jordan responded, obviously shaken. It wasn’t until later I found out that while trying to get the gate opened, Jordan had heard someone say "stop", a voice no one else heard.
We then decided to try out the Asian Gardens, and extension of the original Gardens but with some Asian decoration. Everyone but Devon and I decided to stay and wait at the entrance, and we went on without them. We came to a point where there was this giant circle painted red in the center, that worked as a passage into the rest of the gardens.
Devon and I joked that it was the portal to Hell, and once we went through it we would start experiencing spooky stuff. As we passed through the circle, I couldn’t help but feel a bit of fear as to what might happen next.
We had just taken a few steps through when we heard laughter, and saw the light of a flashlight as a group walked along another path. I was beginning to find it funny that we were not the only idiots out here at night, when the light vanished and the woods got quiet. There were no footsteps, no voices, and no sound of a gate opening or closing.
It was as if this group just vanished into thin air. We began questioning whether we had seen the group at all, but came to the conclusion that we must have. We left soon after, feeling confused and frightened at the events of that night.
After that I didn’t go back to the gardens, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of uneasiness. It was as if the feeling was following me wherever I went. I started looking behind me all the time, as if something might be there. I would catch glimpses of movement out of the corner of my eye when no one was around. This had been going on for weeks, and no one had mentioned the gardens in all that time.
Randomly while walking around campus one night, Devon, Jordan and I came across a bunch of stuffed animals hanging in a tree on fishing wire. Along with the animals were signs saying things like, "Destroyed", "Afraid", and "Pain". We were understandably freaked out by this, but continued on our walk.
As we went on, Devon started talking about him hanging out with this girl he had met, and how they had gone to the gardens, and how he would never go back there at night again. He claimed that while walking around he thought he saw something, something that had a small black frame and red eyes. He claimed he saw it for a second, and then it vanished into the leaves. He said that he kept it to himself, until the girl asked him if she had seen what she had seen. He asked her what she saw, and she said that it looked like a little black man with red eyes.
I don’t know what is in those gardens, or if there really is anything there. All I know is that every time I get close, I feel uncomfortable. I feel as if something is staring out at me waiting for me to return. I continue to see dark figures darting about from the corner of my eye, only to have them disappear when it try to look at them. The strangest part is, after the night I spent that time alone in the shack, I've felt different.
There are times when I feel angry or violent for no reason at all. I get violent thoughts about others, and I am quick to get angry at my friends and my girlfriend. I've also began having strange nightmares that involve me running from something I know I can't escape. I keep running, knowing it's catching up but too afraid to look back.
I am sometimes startled by my reflection in a mirror, as it seems foreign to me. I am nervous after dark; I get edgy and paranoid over the smallest noise. I am not sure what’s going on, it all seems so crazy. All I can say is that of you ever find yourself at UNCC, do NOT go into the gardens at night. And if you decide to ignore my warning, then please I beg you not to step foot in that shack.
Something lurks there, and it doesn’t like to be disturbed. That garden is evil in my mind, and whatever I awoke there is getting worse. I fear that it has become a part of me, playing with my emotions and following me wherever I go. I can feel it now staring at my back as type this. I swear I can almost see the reflection of its eyes in my screen.