Estimated reading time — 6 minutes
Derrick was very tired. He had stayed up for most of the night watching tv show reruns and flicking through his high school yearbook. It is now 6:30 in the morning, and he had to get ready for school. Rising slowly out of bed and trying his best to keep his eyes open, he manages to push his hair aside and stand up. “Can’t do that anymore” he says to himself as he stretches and lets out a loud sigh. His room is that of your typical teenager; metal band posters on the wall, junk food on his dresser, and clothes pretty much strewn about everywhere. He shuffles towards his door and heads into the hallway. The sound of his bare feet on the carpet was bothering him this morning. He heads in the bathroom and walks out ten minutes later.
“Honey, are you up?” his mother yelled from downstairs in the kitchen. “Yeah! I’ll be down in a few.” Derrick threw on some of the clothes that were on the floor and made his way downstairs. The wall along the stairs were covered with family portraits. His parents, little sister, and himself. Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Years were all along side one another. The wood banister was nice and cool on his somewhat sweaty palm.
“How did you sleep honey?” his mother asked as he waddled into the kitchen. “Great…just not enough” he said while rubbing his face. “Well, you need to eat before you leave. You cannot wait until lunch.” Derrick’s mother was always trying to be the best at what her life had become. She is in the process of successfully raising two children, making sure their bellies are always full, and giving them positive feedback. “I’m just going to wait until lunch Mom, not really in the mood to eat right now” Derrick said as he slowly made his way to the sliding door.
She wanted to say something but thought it best not too. Derrick was heading for his best friends’ house to catch a ride. It was nice outside today. The cool air blowing through his hair, the leaves not being silent on the ground, the trees shaking from the wind. He made his way to Johnny’s house in about fifteen minutes. Johnny was the epitome of cool. Spiky hair, goatee, Ray-Bans, and a 1969 Mustang that his father gave to him on his 16th birthday.
“Hey bro, what’s up?” Johnny asked as Derrick began to open the passenger side door. “Not much man. Just glad it’s Friday. Mom’s on her eating frenzy as usual.” “Sorry to hear that” Johnny said with a snicker. Doors closed, engine rumbling, they took off to school.
3:30pm…..finally. It arrived. Derrick and Johnny practically ran out to the sleek black Mustang. ‘Hey man, you want to come over tonight and play some games?” Johnny asked. They hadn’t done this in months because of a curfew that Derrick got slammed with for being five minutes late. “Yeah. It beats sitting alone listening to music and reading back issues of Hit Parader.”
Derrick was always looking for a sense of belonging. He was an outcast. That may be why he took to being friends with Johnny so well. As he promised, Derrick showed up at Johnny’s at 8pm. The two story wood paneled house with garage was pretty nice. No picket fence on this property. “Hey man! You actually came!” Johnny yelled as he saw Derrick walking up his drive-way. “I told you I would be here man. Now come on, let’s go have some fun.” Derrick replied, mocking the tone of voice that Johnny used.
11pm… “I have got to go man. My mom is going to freak out. You know how she gets after last time” Derrick told Johnny. “Ok man. Let’s go.” Johnny reached for his keys. “No thanks man. If my parents’ are asleep that Tang will definitely wake them up, and I really don’t need the grief.” Derrick said as he headed towards the door. “Ok man, I’ll catch you tomorrow afternoon.” Johnny said as Derrick closed the door.
It was a cool, crisp night. Owls could be heard in the distance. Derrick made his way into the woods to shave some time off of his walk. He was making pretty good time until he heard a series of crunches behind him. He stopped and turned around but could not see anything at all. The moon was lighting his way so he could have easily seen Johnny or a dog. He turned back and started walking. Crunch,crunch, crunch. Again. This time, he felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up.
“Johnny! Just stop man! I need to get home!” Derrick yelled as he remained motionless. Heart beating, out of breath, and sweating, Derrick could feel something there, but he could not see it. “Just….whatever man,” Derrick said as he turned around and headed for home. The trees were oddly silent. No crickets were chirping. Derrick felt a violent tug on his shirt, almost sending him crashing backwards onto the ground.”
“Hey! Stop! Just leave me alone!” he yelled in a shaky voice. He could feel a rush of hot air on his neck, almost as if something were breathing on him. “I don’t know what you want, but please just let me go” Derrick said as he regained his balance. Out of nowhere, an invisible hand smacked him on the right side of his face, sending him into a nearby tree. Scared senseless now, Derrick could not move. He could see his breath in the cold night air and feel the rising anxiety over this unexplainable situation.
Smack. This time it was even harder. Derrick was reeling on all fours now. Crawling along the leaves and branches that made up the short wooden path. He mustered everything he could and got up. ‘Run. Just run’ he thought. He did. Running as fast as his shaky legs would allow. He was darting in and out of trees as could hear the crunch, crunch, crunch catching up to him. Something had grabbed his hair and pulled him off balance.
He was screaming in pain now. His hair felt like it was being pulled out from the roots. “Just let me go! I didn’t do anything to you! I don’t even know what’s going on!” Derrick pleaded with his unseen aggressor. A mist appeared before him. Dark and foreboding, he could make out what looked to be a human shape. “Please…please let me go,” Derrick begged. He did not know what it was he was dealing with. He was shaking with a dread he had never felt before. The tingle up his spine as the mist moved closer to him made him very aware that this was in fact, very real.
The weight on his chest was incredible. Quite like a boulder. He was sitting up against a tree as he felt an unseen hand wrap itself around his throat. “No! Please stop! You’re hurting me!” Derrick said to the best of his ability. The grip was tremendously strong. Their was no arm for him to grab onto. He was completely helpless against whatever this was. His eyes were watering, his throat was dry, his lungs were begging for oxygen.
Derrick woke up in his bed. He jumped up and looked into his mirror to see the hand print around his throat. He checked the time: 1:30am. He thought it had been a dream until he remembered what he just saw. “What…what was that?” he asked himself as he wiped the sweat off of his face. Along with a black eye and some pulled muscles he seemed to be alright. He walked out into the hallway to see if anyone just happened to be awake.
All clear. He headed back into his bedroom only to find that all of his pictures had been torn down and his bed moved. “How….wait. When did this happen?” he asked himself. He was only out of his room for a minute. A mist appeared before him. Immediately he was ridden with anxiety and fear. “What do you want!? You can’t be in here! This is my house! Leave!” Derrick yelled at this spirit that was, for some reason, very upset with him.
He was knocked back into his closet door. The back of his head left a slight hole in the wooden door. Derrick tried reaching out to hopefully grab something and fight back, but it was useless. He was being attacked by something he could defend himself against. The misty looking spirit had a very unpleasant odor to it. Like someone was burning food on a stove. Derrick was going to run and awaken his parents so they could all leave.
He could not make it to the door. The lights in his room went out. In the pitch black, he made out two very bright, green eyes that felt like they were piercing his soul. He could not speak. The eyes were in the middle of the air, then at the ceiling, then the floor. Derrick had no way out and no way to defend himself. “Why are you doing this to me!?” Derrick mumbled. “Like I said before, I did not do anything at all to you!”
The green eyes floated back towards the center of the air. Even with Derrick’s. They moved slowly towards him. Each second seemed like an eternity. Derrick felt a cold wave through his body. His lights came back on. He opened his door and went into the hallway. Making his way down the stairs, he had no idea how this was happening. He was not controlling his legs. ‘Did that mist just enter me?’ he thought to himself.
Making his way into the kitchen against his will, he headed towards the drawer to the left of the refrigerator. He opened it and pulled out a knife. ‘What!? I don’t want to die! I don’t want to do this!’ he thought to himself. Without control, Derrick put the knife up to his throat and pulled it across as hard as he could. Blood spattered the white refrigerator and tile flooring. The counter top was soaking and dripping with what was left of poor Derrick.
He gurgled for what seemed to be a couple of minutes before finally succumbing to his self induced injury. The mist left just as quick as it came.
Credit : Jason Stone
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