By: J.J. Cheesman
My walk home from my high school is always a relatively uneventful one. I cut across the park that is right next to the school, and from the park, it’s just a couple blocks to my house. I’ve never had any trouble walking home by myself, it’s something I’ve always done, ever since I was thirteen. Well, I can tell you now, it is NOT something I’ll be doing any longer.
Last autumn, I had stayed late at school, working on a stupid group project for history class where we had to build a castle out of cardboard and crap like that. It was pretty easy work, but none of us in the group felt like going to each other’s houses to do it, so we opted to stay after school. Since I didn’t really know the other two kids that well, the project was silent and rather awkward to do, and I ended up doing most of the work. When we finally finished our castle, it was nearly 5:30 p.m., and we all gladly got out of that situation as quickly as possible.
Once I was out of the school I began making my way to the park. Now, if you have never been to Illinois in the later months of the year, dusk comes quickly in the fall. Street lamps buzzed and slowly grew bright as the sun began its climb below behind the horizon. In the park, I made my way passed the swing sets, my strides were long and quick as I was anxious to get home. Though, however determined I was to make it home, it only took one, small sound, to stop me dead in my tracks.
It was a soft, gasping sound, as if someone was short of breath. When I turned my head to look at the slides; the area I thought it was coming from, I saw a little girl with long black hair. She was kneeling down by the slide that was nearest where I was standing, with her back facing me. At first, I wasn’t sure exactly what to do. Calling the police crossed my mind, and my hand reached down to feel the shape of my phone on the outside of my jeans, just to make sure it was still there. When I did, the girl’s sobbing became louder, and I felt the urge to help. I approached her with mild trepidation, take my footsteps slow toward her. “Hey, are you okay?” I asked her.
“GO AWAY!” She yelled back without moving.
I stopped moving for a moment, actually considering heeding her words, but then I saw that she didn’t have a jacket. In fact, her shoulders were bare, she was wearing a white tank top. When I looked down, I saw that her legs too were bare, she was wearing dirty white basketball shorts. It was not a warm autumn night. Actually, the wind was picking up, and it was turning the cool autumn air chilly as the sun sank deeper over the horizon. Her skin; which I could now clearly see was naturally dark, had become pale in the cold. A deep sadness fell on me for the girl in that moment. She must have been homeless, some tragic story forced her in the situation she was in, no doubt. The girl only looked to be a few years younger than I was for god’s sake. I walked toward her with new determination, unzipping my jacket to give to her. I decided that I would give her my jacket now, and call the police a little later, so I wouldn’t embarrass her. I didn’t want to, but this girl clearly needed more help than I could give.
I took off my red and blue Cubs jacket, and I outstretched it toward her.
“Here, take my coat at least.” Her sobs ceased, but for a moment she didn’t move. I waited patiently for her to accept my offer, I didn’t want to nag her any more than that, If I was in her situation, I would probably too proud to take it. Then, finally, the girl began to turn her head slowly, to look at me. I dropped my coat and stumbled backwards, falling on my back when I saw the girl’s face.
“I told you to go away.” The girl said, almost sorrowful as I scrambled to pick myself up off of the dirt. As I stood up the girl began screaming a loud howl that rang out and echoed all around the playground. I clapped my hands around my ears, and I looked at her face one final time in… I don’t know, disbelief, or morbid curiosity maybe. I just needed to confirm that what I saw was true. And it was. The girl’s eye sockets, were completely devoid of anything at all.
All at once, her screaming stopped, and she raised her head, sniffing the air like an animal.
“You’re still here, boy, I smell you.” She said, and her blue lips curled into a ghastly smile. Well, that was enough for me. I turned and I hauled ass, all the way home. I didn’t look back, but as far as I know, the eyeless girl didn’t follow me. Once I got to my house I rested for a moment on my porch, looking around to see if she was near, but she was nowhere in sight.
Now, believe it or not, after those crazy moments of all in that park, life was pretty normal for me after that. I didn’t cut across the park to go to school anymore, in fact, I began to make sure I left when one of my friends did so that I could walk to school with them. Nothing similar to that experience ever happened again, and I never saw the girl again.
Then, a couple months ago, I began to wake up in the middle of the night to a sound outside. It sounded as if some animal was sniffing around, just outside my room. Whenever I got up to check outside my window though, I wouldn’t see anything, and the sound would be gone. This happened for a long time, up until last night in fact.
I woke up to the same sound outside my room, by then I assumed it to be some raccoons sniffing around the trash cans that were near my bedroom window. When I checked the window this time, though, I found it to be opened up about nine inches. My heart skipped a beat, and I shut the window quickly. I grabbed the baseball bat from under my bed, and searched the entire room, looking under my bed and in my closet, and even out in the hallway. But I found nothing. Eventually I calmed down, and became tired again. So I went out to the kitchen to get a drink of water, and came back to bed.
When I got into bed, and under the covers, I felt something under them with me. It was fabric of some sort, and felt like another blanket. I grabbed it and pulled it out of the covers to examine it.
It was a red and blue Cubs jacket.