Estimated reading time — 7 minutes
Freedom, contrast, and relief. These words described the start of a particular May day in 2009. I stepped foot outside my house to see the bold, glowing sun escaping the somber clouds in the sky. Intruding through this sight was a collective of royal blue-colored balloons; a color that fit my mindset quite well that year. A quick glance showed the source of the balloons was a pre-graduation cookout at my neighbor’s house. I didn’t see any vehicles in the vicinity, but this didn’t strike me as odd at the time. Seeing everyone there, displaying expressions of joy, restored some needed comfort in my heart.
Eventually, I let my feet take me down to the nearby lake, hidden in the “Purple Woods” just 10 minutes down the street from me. I named them that, simply put, because the bark on the trees always struck me as having an odd, purple hue. No one else seemed to think so, but I also don’t believe anyone strolled through those woods often enough, due to various claims of joggers and curious individuals getting nauseous after even an abrupt visit of the wooded-area. I never experienced any feelings of illness myself, and I had taken countless hikes in the area.
Arriving at the lake, which was tucked behind an abundance of bushes and fallen branches, the atmosphere was seemingly irregular. There were nearly no other signs of nature. Everything around me was eerily noiseless and still, almost like I was surrounded by props on a set for a silent film. The trees, the ground, even the air. Everything seemed artificial in that moment. The lake itself wasn’t how I remembered it; my eyes had seen it so many times that I immediately knew something felt off. It was as if the surface of the water was covered with a thick sheet of ice, but that wasn’t possible in the humid, 80 degree weather.
My curiosity drew me to the ground. I dug my knees into the earth below me to get a closer look and feel of this summer ice. After an analysis, I was greeted with even more dismay. The solid substance on top of the entirety of my favorite lake was glass. I didn’t care so much as to how it got there. The question my mind was glued to, was “why?”
Before my mind could shuffle through any wild conclusions my 12 year old brain would inevitably jump to, I noticed something. I was as still as the rest of my surroundings. Moving was not an option, no matter how hard I tried. It was like a real-life pause button had been hit. A rabid animal could have shown its teeth to me and I wouldn’t even be able to wince in reaction to it. I was frozen and vulnerable.
Without warning, a massive blue light radiated below the glass in the lake. Only seconds after the light came into view, an unbearable high-pitched ringing shot through my ears. Some motion returned to the muscles above my neck; my face scrunched up in reaction to the sound. Its piercing hum was nauseating. I expected my body to combust and to meet my tragic death at a young age. Before my head could burst, a miracle happened. I was able to control my body again. Covering my ears as tight as possible, I made a mad dash toward home, without looking back.
At long last, I made it back to the forest’s entrance. The ringing, the running, the terror; all of it had ended. However, a puzzling realization came to mind. The sky was pitch black. I was now standing in darkness, at the dead of night. My watch read 10 PM, almost ten full hours from the time I had entered the woods. This seemed impossible to me, knowing I couldn’t have been there for more than 30 minutes. Disregarding the lost time, I quickly made my way back home. Interrupting my focus, was the ominous feeling of being watched. Not from a window, behind me, or even from my field of view, but from above. I couldn’t help but look up. A blue light, similar to the one over the lake, hovered in the skies. It appeared to move and pulsate. Shaking my head in astonishment, I ignored the craft and continued on my commute.
The very next night, the chain of events escalated. I arrived home after taking a late-night stroll, walked right past my brother watching TV in the living room, and headed to my room. Upon making my entrance, I was welcomed by an object on my bed. It was a Ouija board. It had the usual letters, YES, NO, HELLO, and GOODBYE, but it was old and beat up. The intricate design told me it was homemade. I called out to my brother to ask if he had given it to me, but received only silence in return.
I was familiar with Ouija boards, even at 12, because my brother used to tell me ghost stories – some involving their misuse, almost all the time. The stories never scared me. I actually felt less alone hearing them, because I had experienced some of the same occurrences while being restless in my room, late at night. Some of these experiences included hearing strange voices, footsteps, and even my window opening and closing with great force on its own.
I knew it wasn’t safe to use one alone, but my curiosity was strong, all despite the possible consequences that could come from playing such a game. In a sense, I was excited. It would be my first time taking a risk of this nature and dabbling in the dark arts.
Longing to find out what was in store for me, I immediately slapped the lettered piece of wood onto the floor, ready to initiate gameplay. A rush of anxiousness trembled throughout my body, with every possible outcome pouring through my head. What if I were to summon some demonic entity? What if I were to, in return, become possessed by said presence? These thoughts quickly passed and were overthrown by my own excitement.
Following the instructions I could recall, I began my session. With one hand, I placed a flashlight on the floor in front of me. In the other hand, I moved the planchette provided in a clockwise motion around the board, welcoming any being to communicate with me. I then followed with the given communication methods.
Starting off my round of questions, I yelled out in a respective manner, “Is there anybody there?” However, after a moment of silence, nothing out of the ordinary occurred. I didn’t let this first attempt affect my expectations.
Deciding to rephrase the question, in hopes of a better reaction, I called out, “Is there anyone here that would like to communicate with me?”
Immediately after, the planchette moved slowly, spelling out the word Y-E-S. Great! I thought to myself. I was about to communicate with my first spirit!
“How old are you?” I asked next. The spirit guided me to the letters.
I followed this with the obvious, “What is your name?” That was when things started to get weird.
As soon as I finished asking, the planchette slid rapidly around the board, faster than usual, spelling the name K-E-V-I-N. Right when the last letter was covered, a surge of electricity pumped through the room. My lamp lit up, brighter than I have ever seen it glow, but not with the usual color. No. The light bulb was pulsating different shades of red, the speed of which increased gradually. My eyes, though disoriented, picked up on something. An object, sitting on my desk in front of the light source. Something I didn’t remember being there.
I got up and walked over to see what it was, only to find myself boggled with several emotions. I was staring at a newspaper, opened to page two. The article headline read: Eighteen Year Old Male Found Dead, Bare, and Badly Burned. The account was dated for just a few days prior:
Kevin Prosser, 18, found on the side of Lake Road at approximately 6:23 AM on May 11th. The male was stripped of all clothing, badly burned from the chest down, and remained unresponsive to all paramedics and responders on the scene…
How was this possible? My brother was in the house with me, very much alive and well. I could even hear him snoring in the next room while I was reading the passage. It must have been a coincidence, I assured myself.
Right then, my focus was deviated by the loud sound of wood dropping on the floor. I quickly turned my body around to see the Ouija board, flipped onto its backside, a collection of words written in black marker, in a handwriting that appeared strained, displayed across it:
They’re among you
I had no clue what this meant at that point in time, but events continued to escalate. The board lifted itself up and flipped back over. The planchette fixated itself back on top and began moving, spelling out its own question: Want to see us? I paused for a moment, before hesitantly responding out loud with:
“Yes. Please show yourself.”
With barely a second in time lapse, I got what I wanted. My flashlight flickered, the ceiling began to shake, and my lamp literally began to melt. It dripped like candle wax, creating a puddle on my bedroom floor. A total of three vibrant blue saucer-shaped orbs of light appeared above me, circling about in formation. I started to panic and gravitated closer to my bed, grabbing onto the sheets while cowering towards the floor. My entire room was filled with blue lights, rotating hovering disks, and a symphony of ringing, buzzing, and rumbling noises. The sounds started out soft enough, but grew louder, my hands clamping my ears tighter with each passing moment.
It was an invasion of my eyes, ears, and mind.
That was when fear truly kicked in.
Shards of glass shot from my window, as an eerily deformed gray hand poked through. I was awaiting, terrified, for a pair of eyes to meet mine through the new hole in my wall, but there were none. I was met merely by a faceless, gray, oblong-shaped head, clay-like in appearance.
I stood straight up and ran out of my bedroom in terror, dashing downstairs. I was about to run through the living room when something stopped me in my tracks. There sat my brother Kevin, sitting on the sofa, watching TV, his whole body as stiff as an action figure. He slowly turned his head toward me, a wide grin plastered over his face. In a horrific sight, his skin ran off his limbs, dripping like a candy bar on a hot summer’s day, his skeleton subsequently flowing into a thick gray puddle of wax on the floor.
Glancing behind me, I saw the deformed figure from upstairs, rushing down after me. In an attempt to escape the madness, I dashed out the front door onto my front lawn. Stopping to catch my breath, I looked up at the night sky. A group of blue balloons filled with flashing lights passed over my view of the moon and the celebratory laughter of my next door neighbor’s graduation party filled my ears; a relief from the noises I had grown accustomed to that night.
It was right then, that everything came together. My brother did die a few days prior and I had been living with some kind of fake copy. My neighbors weren’t real either, their bodies had been replaced with kind of alien community, replaying the same scene on repeat. They were all watching. They had all been living among me, the whole time.
WRITTEN BY: R.T. Maxim
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