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Thirteen Years

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Thirteen years ago, I took a walk after getting upset at my parents over some family issue. The thing about it was that it was nighttime, and I had never been outside at that late of a time before.

I was feeling rebellious that night, and decided to walk to the park. I was such a fool. Being young makes you overlook all the dangers that age will introduce to you. I regret doing this every day of my life, because now I have been scarred by it.

As I walked, I noticed that there was no one else on the streets. No cars on the roads, even. I lived in the suburbs, you see, and cars were usually quite common, even at night. A cold fear ran through me, being scared by the darkness engulfing the area and the eerily blurry streetlights beside the road.

I eventually reached the park, and by now I was truly afraid. I wanted to turn and go back, but my anger at my parents' "idiocy" was too great. My feet walked across the pavement as I passed the soccer and baseball fields. Just then, a very different fear ran through me. A cold sweat broke underneath my orange jacket. It was almost as if... I was being watched. My first thought was to take a few deep breaths, and doing so seemed to help well enough. After all, who would want to go to this park at night? It was so creepy at night. The park was abandoned, after all.

With a bit more confidence I began to walk past the gravel and play equipment, as well as the old hockey rink nearby it. Suddenly, I got the feeling again, and this time it was overwhelming. Now I was truly scared.

As I passed the basketball court, a horrible thought came to mind: if I kept walking this way, I would be forced to go through the dark woods, which would be even scarier at night than in the day. They were about a half mile long, so continuing on this path was out of the question.

I had made up my mind to turn around... And then a voice that would haunt me for the rest of my days spoke out.

"You should have stayed home."

It was half a whisper, half a hiss. It had an odd sense of malice, now that I think about it. I stood frozen in terror and dared not look behind me. This only lasted for a couple seconds before I bolted towards the woods that led to home. To safety.

It was the fastest I had run in my entire life, I'm sure. The wind blew across my body as I entered the woods. My pace didn't let up for a second because I knew whatever was behind me was in pursuit. I just knew it. After I had finally gotten out of the forest and staggered back home, I threw the door open and collapsed in the mudroom, absolutely exhausted. I kept panting and panting, almost in tears.

My mother came to my side and hugged me close.

"What's wrong, dear?" she had said to me. For the first time that night, I felt safe. I was with my mother now, and nothing could hurt me.

I never told my parents about this, though. They would have made it some big deal, for sure. But the odd thing was that I didn't see my dad that night... Well, actually, I did

As I lay in bed that night, restless and sleepy, I opened my eyes just a crack and looked out the window next to my bed.

My eyes met with my father's. A horrifying smile I had never seen from him before was on his face, and his eyes were wide open, as big as saucers, staring back at me.

I... I don't think he knew I was awake. But maybe he did. I didn't sleep at all the rest of the night, knowing now that it was my father who had done this to me at the park, for sure. He was right.

I wish I had stayed home thirteen years ago.

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