Summer 16

by J Deacon

Have you ever felt the icy stare from the other room when you are home alone? Have you ever had to quickly look over your shoulder because you heard someone behind you, and no one was there? Have you ever felt emotions that were not your own? Do you think you have gone mad? You haven't. What you have experienced is a connection to a disembodied soul. Some are benign, some are loving, some watch over you and protect you; and then there are some, that want nothing more than to pass terror down to any who will hear.

This may seem like a campfire ghost story, but it is far more than any story to be told. It takes me back to my teenage years when I was about 16. It was the first day of summer vacation and my family was moving into a house they had built. I remember the hot, humid, and sticky air that Florida had to offer. My fingers pruned from sweat as I moved box after box into the house from the truck. It was the nicest house I had ever lived in, many would scoff at the idea of that being the nicest, but to my family, it was a castle. We moved from a tiny three-bedroom, one bath, into this five-bedroom, three bath house. It backed up directly to preserved land, guaranteeing backyard privacy for years to come. Life seemed to be looking up for us.

Two weeks after the move, I was alone in my room.

"Nathan" I heard my sister call out to me. What does she want now, I asked myself. I paused my game and walked out of the room. "Yeah? What do you want?" No one answered. I continued to look around the house and found nothing. Fuck it; she can come to me, I thought to myself. I went back to my room and continued to play.

Later that night, I woke from a deep sleep. I was drenched in sweat and was quickly wide-awake. The room was silent and dark, I could barely see. I could feel eyes watching me. Not a word was spoken, no physical contact, but I know someone was watching me. I leaped out of bed and turned the light on, nothing. I stood there alone in my boxers breathing as I had just finished a morning run. That was the last night I slept more than three hours straight. I told my dad what had happened, he mockingly told me that it was probably a potential burglar and I should guard the house at night.

The next few nights were quiet. So quiet it was eerie. I don't think I slept at all. On a Sunday, I know it was Sunday because the others were at church, I was on the back porch smoking a joint.

"You gonna share that?" a voice asked from behind me. I quickly turned my head to see nobody there.

"Where did you go?" I asked staring in the direction I had heard the voice.

"You won't find me there".

"Where will I find you?"

"You won't", and those were the last words spoken.

This is some fire shit, I thought to myself. At the time, I thought I was just high. I wish I had known how wrong I was.

That night I fell asleep fast. To this day I remember the dream. I was walking through a field on a bright sunny day. I took notice of the lack of gnats and mosquitos. I walked through the field until I saw what appeared to be an abandoned farmhouse. It was so odd, no other buildings or houses were in sight. I walked to the house and saw the door slightly opened. "Hello," I asked as I slowly pushed the door open. To my surprise, the inside was identical to my house. Everything was the same, even the furniture. I made my way to what would have been my room and opened the door. Again, it was the same. I stood in the middle of the room and began to look around, that is when I heard it. Barely a whisper at first, but slowly grew to where it sounded like it was right in front of me.

"It was mine before it was yours,

It was mine before it was yours,

It was mine before it was yours,

It was mine before it was yours,

It was mine before it was yours"

I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, the suddenly a booming voice as loud as thunder,

"IT WAS MINE BEFORE IT WAS YOURS!"

A man stood in front of me. He has a long fresh cut going diagonal down his face. It was a deep cut; his skin on the lower half was drooping and separated from the rest of his face. He grabbed me by my shoulders and slammed me onto my back. I laid there frozen.

"You cannot take what is not given, YOU CAN NOT TAKE WHAT IS NOT GIVEN!"

I woke up in my real bedroom, nighttime and only the glow of the TV in the room. I could still feel those hands holding me down, his words echoed through my head. It was mine before it was yours and you cannot take what is not given. I tried to move, but I couldn't. I tried to call for help, but I couldn't make a sound. I was alone and no one was coming. I was terrified. The fear was so great, I passed out.

When I woke up, I was still on the floor. I slowly got up, and that is when I could feel how sore my arms were. I stood in front of my mirror, looking for bruising, and of course, nothing. I spent the remainder of the day trying to forget what had happened. I was so tired from lack of sleep, I couldn't help but drift asleep, but every time I slipped into sleep, I found myself either in the field or on the doorstep. I could not escape it. This continued for weeks. Eventually, my parents took note of my obvious sleepless condition, so they decided to take me to see a professional.

I spent the remainder of my summer seeing a specialist, or as I called him, my "crazy doctor". All the time spent in there, many hours of daily visits. All the time and money spent, and he had concluded that it must be my diet and that I should cut back on sugar. What a waste. I remember that my last session was on a Tuesday

before school resumed. By that point, things had all but died down. I was no longer hearing things, the dream had stopped, I was getting better. That Saturday night, it all came crashing down on me. I decided to take my dog Captain, for a walk through the woods behind the house. Something must have grabbed his attention because he began to bark and pull away from me. He pulled so hard he pulled the leash from my hand. He never stopped barking but did transition to a more quiet growling bark. Just as I ran up on where Captain was, I saw him, holding the leash. The man from my dream, the leash was going over a branch. He made eye contact and said, "Now I will take from you". Without any other warning, he pulled the leash, hoisting Captain into the air, hanging him. He was kicking his legs, I tried to intervene; Captain went silent just as the man vanished and I had the leash in my hand.

"Nathan, what have you done?" your sister cried out.

"It wasn't me, the man did it. The man from"

"How could you!" she interrupted, tears streaming down her face. I tried to tell her the truth, but she did not believe me.

I spent the next three months in a loony bin. The said I would have been discharged earlier if I could have come to terms with what I had done. The more I told the truth, the more they medicated me. Eventually, I gave up; I denied everything I thought to be true and just did and admitted everything they said. I was 16 and already certified crazy with a family that was afraid of me. When they finally released me, I did not go home. I moved in with my aunt and uncle. I stayed heavily medicated over the years since.

Recently I have decided to take myself off the meds. All of the memories came flooding back. I know I wasn't and am not crazy. I had to stop the pills; I hated them. They created a hell inside my head. I see now that I am in hell no matter what I do. If I take the pills, I am dead on the inside. If I don't take them, the man haunts my memories. So now I sit here, writing this. I hope that whoever finds this, does not call me crazy but rather understands the pain and torment that one can go through. I am only human and can only take so much. I will be 24 in 30 minutes, who would have seen this ending? I can only hope God has not forgotten me.

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