In the spring of 1992, I was fifteen. I was at my friend Dan’s house, with some other friends named Ken and Marley. Dan had a big backyard, but most of it was forest. Luckily, he knew the place pretty well, and took us for a walk.
Dan was leading the way (about fifteen feet ahead of us), while I was with Marley; Ken was about five feet behind us. He told us that we could stop somewhere and have some grub. (Ken brought some Reese’s Pieces and some trail mix).
As we walked, we saw a playground. It was about thirty-five feet ahead of me, but Dan was closer. It was very gloomy. In fact, pretty depressing, not just the chipping paint, the pinecones and the trees around it, but the way it was set up. That was very depressing. It wasn’t organized like a normal playground; the jungle gym was off to the side, with a not so merry-go-round in the center (the reason I say that is because the darn thing was on a complete slant and could not be, for the love of God, spun), and a few springy animals that you rock back and forth on. Anyway, Dan had had a seat on the plastic border of the playground. Right as he had called to us to have a seat, I started to notice he had lost some color. Mainly in his face but it was noticeable in other places too, like his arms.
Now when you stepped over the plastic ring into the playground, you'd start to feel a little bit cold, and you'd go pale. I assumed it was due to the fact that the wind had a direct entrance through the top of the tree line into the playground, and the paleness was just a byproduct of the cold wind. Another thing I noticed after a bit was, there was really no direct entrance to the playground, no pathway or any sign of human evidence that would use it. We were all sitting down, eating our Reese’s Pieces. I had gotten up to "explore" the playground a little bit. I wish I had never done that, because what I saw was just plain disturbing. There were those springy animals with frowns and X's on their eyes, implying that they're dead. The thing is, it looked as if they were painted over.
The next thing was the merry-go-round... again, it was just terribly built, but there were chalk drawings on the base that depicted things like beheading, (mostly drawings of babies and children), dismemberment, and total mutilation. But these drawings looked as if they were drawn by three year olds, not teenagers or some psycho in his forties. And the last, most horrifying thing I had ever seen, was this yellow slide. The yellow slide had been deformed, as if heated up with a lighter. And in perfect rows, there were X-Acto knife blades, pushed up through the melted slide. Perhaps the most horrifying thing was that there were burgundy stains, perhaps dried blood, on the knives. The slide was covered in dried blood too. And at the bottom of the slide, there were bloodstains and bloody footprints, leading back to the ladder on the jungle gym and back down the slide. And these footprints were repeated, as if this had been done more than once. The shoe prints were all the exact same. And on the other side of the slide, was written in blood, "REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT, PAY YOUR PRICE IN FLESH AND BLOOD".
We left that place, running back to Dan's house, faster that anyone could have imagined. We never in our lives told our parents, and most of all, never mentioned that place, to anyone. No police. No kids at school. Not even my wife. I had forgotten about it... well, up until last week, when I turned on FOX News. They said they had found two dead kids in a kitchen in South Carolina (one was four years old, the other two) whom had, from what their evidence had told them, repeatedly used a food blender to mutilate their arms and legs. And written on the wall in their blood was, "REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT, BACK FOR MORE".
A further investigation showed that the blood smeared on the wall had a fingerprint. The fingerprint was of a man named Derry Reynolds, and they said they have been looking for him. Derry Reynolds was our Religion teacher in high school. He had taught all of us the same year, and he had always tried tell us not to visit the "tire man’s sanctuary". Specifically to Dan, for some reason, and I never used to know what that meant. Lots of people assumed it was a scary joke, or he was just losing his marbles. It’s starting to make sense now, I’m starting to think that the "tire man’s sanctuary" was that playground. During the spring of 1992, he mysteriously disappeared.
I tried to contact Dan, but it turns out he had been captured by insurgents in Iraq, and hadn’t been heard from. He was presumed dead, they thought they had executed him, or something. But they say, two years ago, there were rumors about him killing himself in the prison he was held captive in, "repeatedly" banging his head on the wall with hard hitting force, until he had cracked his skull, and gouged as much of his own brains out as he could before he died on the spot. Something similar happened with Ken and Marley too. It turns out they had gotten together, and Ken reminded Marley of that day in the forest.
When he brought it up, Marley had started apparently saying, "REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT," and continued to gouge out her own eyes, and smashed Ken with a lamp in their living room, killing him. This case was called "The Blind Marley Murder Trial". Marley had to have surgery but could not get her vision back. She was killed during the trial when she was screaming, "REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT," and tried to rip out her lawyer’s throat, only partly accomplished. She was shot in the neck by a guard at the trial, was still standing, choking on the bullet, and was shot three times in the head and collapsed.
Moral of this story is, don't go in the playground in the forest behind Dan’s house, under any circumstance. No exceptions. Don't know where it is? Good.
Now it’s been twenty years since then. It's spring, and I’ve been filing my nails everyday now. I draw blood too much, and I’ve already lost one finger for good. My doctor thinks I have some sort of obsessive compulsive disorder, but it’s not that I can’t stop. I have to do it, I need to, I must pay flesh and blood, I must repeat.