29 Apr Thump!
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Estimated reading time — 5 minutes
I have no idea whether or not this story will be seen as “creepy” by anyone reading it, but I can honestly say these events will stay with me until I die.
Living in England, I grew up on a healthy diet of ghost stories, myths and legends. The county I live in has many of it’s own supernatural stories, ranging from witchcraft, faceless monks and grey ladies to the supposed ghost of Boris Karloff! My story involves none of these.
Before I start, I want to say that I won’t be using names of places or “people” as I don’t want to exploit and/or cause trouble for anyone, myself included. Any ages or dates will be swapped out for false ones.
It begins innocent enough, a drink with an old friend. It was early December 2012 and I wanted to celebrate my birthday with a friend I’ve had since childhood. She was going to be moving to Spain that week, which meant she would be gone by my actual birthday at the end of the month.
I had intended on leaving her place quite early so I could catch a bus home. I didn’t know the area too well and I didn’t want to be out in the dark. Up until that night, I had always relied on her giving me lifts back and forth, so I never took time to really take notice of the neighbourhood.
I ended up not leaving until around midnight but in my somewhat drunken haze, I had managed to convince myself, and my friend, that taking a bus back home was still a good idea. The problem was, I had missed the last bus hours ago. Never the less, I put my coat on, stumbled out the door with some general directions to the nearest bus stop and I promised to return should I run into any trouble.
Now, sober me has no problem admitting to being scared of the dark and sober me probably would have seen spending the night at my friend’s place as a viable and probably the better option. But I was drunk and while under the influence, I tend to display out of character bravery and an unusual level of stupidity. I had set my mind to do something, I was going to do it.
Finding my way to the bus stop was going to be easy as it was at the bottom of a street who’s name was the same as my last name. As I turned into the street, I felt safe enough as it was a well-lit residential road that was packed with blocks of flats and council houses down one side and a primary school on the other.
It was quite a short road and I could just about make out the bus stop at the end under a street lamp. I was singing something, I don’t remember what, but a short distance from the school gate, I was stopped in my tracks when I heard what I thought was a scream.
You know when you hear something and you remain silent for what seems like ages, straining your ears for the slightest sound to figure out where it’s coming from? That’s what I was doing right then. For a short time, I heard no sound other than the general ambiance and a few cars at the bottom of the street and I thought about carrying on.
Just as I had plucked up enough courage to start walking again, from the direction of the primary school, I heard crying and a series of strange thumping sounds. Thump! Over and over! It was like nothing I had ever heard before, or since. I mean, obviously I know what a thump sounds like but these were different. I can’t explain how!
When I thought what ever it was had finally finished, I heard another, more choked scream followed soon after by one last thump. My blood felt like it had turned to ice and my brain started to “whoosh” after straining my ears for so long.
I thought “fuck this!” and I turned back around, ran as fast as my legs would go to the top of the street and back to my friend’s house. What ever it was that had just happened, I was NOT waiting around to find out!
I got to her door and though every bone in my body was urging me to bang on the door and scream, I slowed my breath as much as I could and knocked calmly. “I knew you would come back!” my friend yelled as she yanked the door open. “I think I missed the last bus” I replied quietly. I went right to the sofa, took off my shoes, lay down, coat still on and I slept, heavily. To this day, I don’t know why I never said anything.
When I woke up, I wasn’t hungover like you’d expect. I felt fine and I had slept really well. I was still a little shaken from the scare but sober me piped up and put the whole incident down to drunken hallucinations and my fear of the dark.
I wanted to go home right away but my friend didn’t want to drive until she was sure the alcohol was out of her system and I did NOT want to catch a bloody bus! She dropped me off home around 6 that evening and for the next couple of weeks, life kinda just carried on. She left for Spain, Christmas and my birthday came and went and I hoped to celebrate the New Year with my family.
On the morning of New Years Eve, I got a call from my Mum, confirming our plans. “Dad says you can have a few drinks and he’ll be the designated driver” she almost sang over the phone. It was then, after trying to forget, the screams and scary thumps weedled their way back into my head. I told her I wasn’t going to touch a drop!
After the call ended, I started to think about everything that had happened that night. What if I had heard someone being attacked? What if I had just run off when I could have helped? I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get past it as I had hoped. That’s when I realised that I could look up any possible incidents on the internet, duh!
I typed the date, area and “attacks” into the search engine and to my horror, something came up. I clicked on the link and was taken to a news report about the murder of a young woman. I was kinda relieved when I saw that even though it was a story about a murder from that date, it was 6 years before.
I was about to quit the page when I saw a name. It was the name of the primary school I was about to pass that night. I read on and I started to feel sick.
“Police have re-opened the investigation into the death of _____ ____ who was murdered in __________ back in ____. _____ was 22 when she was sexually assaulted and murdered behind _____ Primary School, in the early hours of _____. She was found partially-clothed later that morning by a caretaker. The crime is thought to be linked to a series of rapes that happened in the area around the time of the murder and locals now fear the assailant may be someone close”
I carried on reading and found out that she had taken the same street, the street with my name, on her way to the same bus stop after visiting a friend from the same road mine lived in. She never made it past the school.
The post mortem determined her cause of death as asphyxiation. The back of her skull was crushed and so was her spine. She had been stamped on.
By now, I was in tears. I still half believed the whole affair to be a drunken dream but in the end, I couldn’t deny the dates, times and places lined up perfectly. Even those horrible screams and thumps started to make sense.
The part that scared me the most? The reason it was back in the news as recently as a few months before. The guy who had spent the last 6 years in prison had just been cleared of the crime. In the time he was locked up, a few sporadic rapes and the disappearance of another young woman have happened in the area. No arrests have been made in connection with any of them and the real killer of _____ ____ has never been caught.
I can’t help but think that the events from 6 years before were somehow playing out again that night. Like a recording. Maybe if had I attempted to carry on to the bus stop, I would never had made it past the school either.