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Won't You Come Out and Play?

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I've been lucky my whole life. My parents recall me having luck first was when I was five and I ran out into the road after a ball. A woman was speeding through my neighborhood and right as I ran out she swerved into a tree. She died instantly. My parents believe that I have a guardian angel always watching out for me.

Ever since I can remember I felt like I was always being watched. Whenever I would tell my parents they wouldn't take me seriously and would joke that I needed to be sent to the mental help hospital down the road. I would always dismiss it, thinking that it was nothing. I didn't want to end up in there.

The mental hospital was considered normal to the people in my town. Everyone worked there or knew someone that did. The adults thought of it as great job opportunities for the youth in the town and us kids had something to make scary stories about.

Everyone heard rumors about the patients there, but no one knew what kind of people were really there. We were told that there was no one to worry about there; everyone was taken care of. The workers never left the hospital because they needed to take care of the patients 24/7. It was all part of the plan the government had for us.

One of disadvantages we had from the hospital was that once every two weeks the patients were given free roaming time for 12 hours. The doors were unlocked and they could venture into the town. Everyone had to lock their doors, put guards on the windows, go into a safe place, and the children could not look outside. Cameras were setup so the adults could watch their houses and call the authorities if any main laws were being broken, but they couldn't look directly out of the windows. No one wanted to ever risk it with the fear of horrible things they could do to you.

When I was 15, a teacher was hired to teach us about different mental illnesses and how to deal with someone that has one. All of us just believed that it was to train us if we ever wanted jobs in the hospital. I thought if a got a good grade in the class I could do an internship in there and I could finally learn who was in there.

A couple months into the class, the teacher told us we were going to observe the “deranged people running in our clean streets”. We were given permission slips to have our parents sign so we could stay the night at the school and watch them. When I brought mine home to my parents, they told me I couldn't and that some of my friends' parents wouldn't let them either. Not witnessing them would be the best for everyone. Disappointed and angry, I called one of my friends and they told me that they couldn't go either. That's when we hatched what we thought was the greatest plan in history.

When we got to school the next day, we handed in our permission slips with forged signatures and alibis that we were sure that wouldn't fail us. Our parents thought we were at each other's houses and his parents were gone that weekend. We were going to really see them tonight after all these curiosity filled years.

We were staying on the top floor of our school in the boy's locker room. Everyone had sleeping bags and the school supplied snacks. It didn't feel like we were going to watch some crazy people run around the streets until a police officer came in blockaded the windows and gave our teacher a shotgun. Then it started to sink in. The principal gave us a few safety tips when he brought in TV’s and that was it. We were really going to see them.

At 5 o'clock sharp they turned on the TV and the screen started to show live video of the streets around the hospital. You could start to see to doors and some windows opening on the building. People were crawling out of the second-story windows, scaling the brick walls like spiders. I didn't know how to react to that. I wanted to cry and throw up at the same time. They were sickly looking and looked unwashed even from the far distance we were seeing them from. They crawled around and seemed like they were eating things they were finding on the ground. One went off screen and we started to hear a loud gnawing sound, the next thing we see is an elderly man's face grinning into the camera. He brought his finger up to his lips and made a gargling noise. He held out his hand and spit out a few bloody teeth.

The camera switched to a street by the school. A man in an off-white jumpsuit was whistling an eerie tune while walking down the middle of the road. He seemed the most normal of the bunch, but something about him was off. He was always looking straight into a camera. When he finally reached the school he sat on one of the benches outside facing a camera. He stopped whistling and started talking. You couldn't hear him at least but he realized that he wasn't speaking loud enough so he raised his voice. I had no clue how he knew it, but he did.

He was talking about how much he missed someone and that he needed to talk to them before “they” brainwashed that person. He sounded somewhat sane, what was wrong with him? Why was he even there? I had so many questions, but I couldn't get myself to say anything.

I was so caught up in my own thoughts I didn't realize everyone was staring at me. The man on the TV was asking me to come out and play. He knew I was in here. He knew I watching him. He knew who I was.

I remember watching him get up and walk all the way back to the hospital, stopping at my house. Knocking at my bedroom window and smiling. I didn't think I could be anymore scarred. But he knew no bounds.

I got letters telling me I was his child and he loved me very much. He talked about how much we would have together and how much he missed me. He signed every one of the letters with “Your playmate”. Every time he was let out of the hospital, he would knock on my window and ask “Won't you come out and play? I saved your life.”.

I couldn't handle it anymore. The weird stares at school and the rumors. My parents tried to comfort me and told me I should have stayed at home that night. I had to do something about it. I convinced my family that I needed to stay in my room as they let them out.

I stayed in my room and waited. The knocks were soft at first but then gradually got louder. He started his insane little chant, “Play outside with me.” He repeated himself until I could not handle it. I screamed and threw open the curtains.

“I knew you would want to play with me. I'm your guardian angel.”

I told him to get out of my life and that I hated him. I never wanted to see him again. He started to get teary-eyed and ran away.

A few weeks later there was a newspaper article about a man in an insane asylum that had committed suicide. He had slit his throat with a sharpened table leg and with his own blood he had written on the walls “Why didn't you play with me?”

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