Holly sat upon the swing, her hands twisted slightly and painfully to hold onto the chains, which were rusted. They were burning her flesh from the way she held so tightly, as if she could fall though she wasn’t moving. The stars in her eyes, reflected off her irises, were as bright as ever in the sky, she shouldn’t have been out as late as it was, especially alone in the park, however it was in her backyard, an apartment complex, she was fine. Her mother had gotten into a fight with her before over nothing big; it was just how it always was…
She was just beginning to think it all over, about going back inside their apartment on the second floor and apologizing to her mom, when she just barely heard footsteps behind her.
She sat upright, realizing her eyes were watering as she had not blinked in what seemed like hours. Firework-like effects erupted into her eyes as she rubbed them with her fists, blinking wildly as she turned to see who had shocked her back into reality with their voice. A man stood before her; he was gaunt and very tall, he had on a suit with a tie, way too formal to be at a children’s park, and she didn’t know of any party-like places around. Even in the moon’s pale light, she could not make out his face, he was too far away, and she began to stand up to get off the swing when he put his hand out. His skin seemed to be almost pure white, though she shrugged it off as it was probably just the lighting.
“Please, don’t be frightened, child. I was just on my way to a wedding, I was late and my car had broken down, and I decided to walk around to get some help.”
Holly didn’t say anything; she simply froze where she stood, barely breathing, and she didn’t notice how chilled it had become outside. The tall man continued without faltering his babyish way of speaking, “I’m terribly sorry, maybe I should have called a tow truck. Would you kindly tell me if there is a phone booth nearby?” This man seemed to be nice, but her mother told her to never ever talk to people who she hadn’t met before, or who her parents hadn’t met before. In fact, she had never seen this man before in her life, let alone any man in a suit besides her father, and by his voice, she knew, for certain, he was a stranger.
Maybe, she thought, if she told him where to go, anywhere at all, she could go back home, and it’d be alright.
“There’s not a phone booth ‘round here, Mister, perhaps you should go back to your car an’ wait, surely someone ought to come by an’ help you out?”
He seemed amused by her thick southern accent, he was American, she knew for certain. In the curtains of the black night she could feel the air turning cold from his presence, he had this eerie effect, she felt something wasn’t right about this stranger. The way he stood perfectly still, maybe, and how tall he was, she thought he was at least two feet taller than her dad, whom was almost six feet.
“Well, that’s no good.” he began, still standing like a statue. “I appreciate your help, little miss, thank you kindly.”
Holly breathed a silent sigh of relief as her turned to go back to what she thought would be his car, her breath was chilled in the night, however it was just beginning summer. She herself began to walk home, but hesitated as she realized the stranger was walking the same direction.
He turned back towards her. “Say, little miss,” he shifted his body to face her directly; she still couldn’t see his facial features. “Aren’t you a little young to be out here all alone?”
This question caught her off guard, it’s as if he could see her in clear sight but she couldn’t even make out a simple clue of what he looked like. After squinting and learning forward slightly, she gave up trying to see his face. She tried to keep her expression flat, making it unable to be read easily, and in the dark nonetheless.
“My ma said I could be out here, I’m old ‘nough.” she said confidently.
“Well, that’s mighty nice of her to trust you, but you be careful now, you hear? Some crazy people in this world, can’t trust everyone.” Holly simply bit her lip slightly. She didn’t like this man; he gave her this odd feeling. He wasn’t right, and if her mother or father had been there they would’ve made him leave right away. She wanted—needed—to get home soon. She didn’t say anything, hoping he’d get the hint and just leave.
“..Well, good night little darlin’.”
“You too, Mister.”
He turned back once again. “And, please, would you kindly tell somebody I’m down the road? It would make a big difference in my families’ life if I could make it to that wedding.
“Sure thing, Mister.” The stranger nodded, and then seemingly vanished into the night, leaving her standing alone, she hoped. Nervously, she gazed about, scanning for any sign of him, and began walking.
However, the swings behind her began to creak and squeak, they were swinging by themselves. Holly turned her head slightly, looking in terror as she knew the night was still, there was no wind at all.
Her eyes caught a glimpse of something by the stoplight: a tall, gaunt figure with a suit and tie, standing just below. He stood perfectly still; his hands were white as if he had been dipped in paint. He cocked his head slightly, however it was not a quick gesture, it was rickety and very slow. Holly only stood there watching in horror as she then began to see what looked like more arms slowly protruding from his back. Her eyes grew wide, and the street light began to flicker out. The longer it went on, the darker the street seemed to grow, being swallowed by darkness, until the lamp sparked back to life.
But the man was gone.
She gasped, and ran as fast as she could, the now-icicle-like grass crackling beneath her sneakers, her breath a white mist as she breathed hard and didn’t look back. She reached her apartment after tripping on the stairs and scraping her knee, slamming the door shut behind her after her mother let her in as she had been hitting the door with her tiny fists, screaming bloody murder, her voice scratching as if her vocal cords had been scraped down with sand paper.
The figure…he looked like the man. The man in the suit, with the broke down car. She knew why she didn’t like him, what gave her the creeps, she knew why she couldn’t make out his facial features at all before however he could see her clearly, though she would never know how he could have seen her.
For the man had no face.