I'd taken Dynishka to my mother's for a weekend visit. I'm not sure on the year, but I'll guess around 1987. Mom lived in Iowa. Dynishka and me were visiting from San Francisco.
For years I'd promised Dynishka I'd someday take her for a trek through my 'haunted' neighborhood. This particular time she held me to it.
We began by heading north up mom's street, which meant we were heading up a rather steep hill. At the top of the hill we crossed to the opposite side of the road, then entered a yard.
It was quite dark. As I groped to find familiar paths from my childhood, we stepped over plant material that felt spongy, and I remember thinking things had changed since last I'd made the neighborhood rounds. The yards there, in the old neighborhood, are massive, with backyards the size of football fields or better.
Finally we'd got (trespassed heh) to the back of said property, and there found a lovely little bridge crossing a small creek ... then a short jaunt and we were on another path that lead through the next yard, then on to the street north of mom's.
We headed west, past dark homes resting in ample yards ... toward the 'S' curve in the road. At the lower half of the 'S' - toward the north - was the house with the totem pole.
Ah, the totem pole.
Le'me tell ya, this thing is weird. It doesn't stand upright, but is instead curved like a huge doughnut sunk half in the ground. It felt cold like ceramic or plaster, but I now guess it's composition to be of fiberglass. It was 'decorated' (I use the term loosely) with an array of oddities; a huge ear (about a meter in length), the face of a King off a deck of cards (unsure which suit), a large brain (perhaps 5x human brain size), um ... mushrooms, gosh, I can't remember it all! The thing looked like an acid trip realized in an incredibly weird sculpture. (I'll try to get down there this summer and take photos ~ assuming it's still there.) We stayed for just a short time. I was leery of the large dog I knew to have patrolled the property some time before. Though it was creepy, we hadn't yet felt haunted.
We made off for the church grounds. Once there, we lay down in the parking lot to catch a glimpse of the expanse of stars above.
That parking lot, historically, was always where I would acquire (if you will) 'the littles' ... the little folk, who then would always follow myself and my guest on the remainder of our explore. (More stories for another time?)
That night, though we thought we'd heard 'the littles' tell-tale whispers and giggles ... something else seemed to pervade. Not a sound, but a sense. Of darkness ... no, worse. It felt malignant. Vile. Evil.
Dynishka and me sat bolt upright and instinctively began to scoot slowly so our backs were together as there we sat.
The 'little's' whispers and giggles were stifled as birds and crickets before a storm. The silence was obvious and unnerving.
We moved to stand, and a growl met us. Though let me explain, it was less a sound than a feeling. Make sense?
We decided we should flee ... and I decided to cut through the Robinson's ... a densely wooded yard that opens to a field which leads back to mom's street.
The growl moved in front of us. Mind you, I could physically see nothing, but the presence was unmistakable.
I gently touched Dynishka on the shoulder, indicating the direction of our next move with a nod of my head ... but I didn't stray my eyes from the spot my senses told me was occupied by the *Thing*.
Suddenly I burst off toward the road, not even wasting time to go through the Robinson's ... instead we went through the Kouskie's yard ... long as the other yards but not as densely treed. As we moved toward the back ... perhaps 100 feet from the house in the side yard, the *Thing* tried to get in front of us. By now, it was making such a racket I thought I'd go mad. I can't tell you now the sounds, I can't make my mind remember them. In fact, I wasn't sure at all if the sounds were in my head only and not out of it. Then I noticed from the corner of my eye that lights had flickered on in the Kouskie's house, and heads could be seen peering out toward us through assorted windows.
Somehow, knowing that others could hear (or sense?) the *Thing* terrified me even more. I'd ducked down to hide next to a truck-topper (sans truck), which had tall grasses all around it where the lawn mower couldn't reach. Dynishka dropped to her knees next to me, gasping. "What is that?" she screamed in a whisper.
For a moment, I didn't feel the *Thing* impeding our path. I took the moment to bolt. I hate to say it, but I was literally out to save myself ... not even stopping for a millisecond to check that Dynishka was surviving!
I'd got to the gate that separated the Kouskie's yard from mom's neighbor-across-the-street's yard. I was freaking out and not having an easy time with the latch, when again the *Thing* loudly made it's presence known. Finally the gate was open and we were sprinting across the expansive lawn toward the driveway ~ a long and winding drive. The formal garden surrounding the house is separated from the front by a long line of trees, which run parallel with the creek (mentioned earlier in my story). As we approached said line of trees running so fast nary a step touched the ground, we awoke what sounded like hundreds of sleeping birds, who all at once fled from the trees screeching and making a horrid sound.
Then I wasn't sure if it were birds I heard, or the thing which pursued us, or both. I should mention here ... outside of abject fear, there also seemed to be some weird time/space thing happening. I can't explain or describe it, everything just felt twisted and not real. Perhaps it was just terror.
Finally, out of the trees and making our way toward the front fence/gate (imposing gothic-looking black-iron jobby that was closed argh!) we didn't break step until we hit the gate and made to climb over. I felt as the men in "The Omen" who were running from the evil dogs in the cemetery, and had the terrible thought I'd impale myself!
I managed not to. We ran across the street toward the warm glow of the lights lining my mother's front walk, then could detect the comforting sound of my dog Benjy barking in the backyard.
We ran up the drive and crashed through the back gate to collapse on lawn chairs ... panting and laughing-almost-crying and trying to get a word out.
As we got our thoughts (translate as sh*t) together, and could finally talk, we sat and related in hushed voices what each the other had felt and seen etc. As we did so, we could hear that my horses in the pasture behind mom's house had come up to the fence [which kept them out of the backyard proper]. My dog trotted down the stone path to say hi to them, and we followed. Eventually, we stood at the fence, petting and cooing to the animals. Before me was Zeus, our largest stallion.
I remember now, hindsight, that he was acting odd (they all were). Skittish. But at the time, I guess I was trying to make things as normal as possible, and I shook it off.
Presently, Zeus took a long step back, an awkward movement, because he did so with only one leg. He then looked straight at me (into my eyes? Dunno, too dark) and commenced to urinating (?!), a long and drawn-out piss. His stance was, how shall I say, almost threatening, like he was a bull preparing to charge!
As Dynishka and me (and poor Benjy) were witnessing all this, the *Thing* dropped down on us from above. There were no trees directly above, just an 'old fashioned' type electrical line. It dropped to the ground directly between Zeus and me, but on *my* side of the fence. When I say it dropped, I mean, we could hear it ... feel the thud reverberate through the ground at our feet (we were all standing very close ... within a 3-4 foot circle).
Again, let me remind you I could physically see nothing, but my brain ... attempted to create a mass in the general vicinity of the *Thing* ... still I seriously don't remember physically seeing anything.
Anyway, the horses, including Zeus, erupted into wild neighing, bucking and kicking, then scattered as if wolves were after them.
Absolutely speechless, I looked at Dynishka, my mind groping for any sort of reasoning. Benjy broke me of my reverie (though I doubt it lasted more than a few seconds). Benjy was barking and making for the house. Again, we followed him.
The flight was excruciating.
For a moment, I could not see the house nor back porch, our supposed safety. Instead, I saw myself from behind running in panic, as though I saw through it's eyes.
We made it to the porch, Benjy was already inside via his own doggy-passage through the backdoor. I was tempted to jump through it myself, but my higher logic convinced me to use the doorknob instead. Dynishka and me didn't stop until we'd run to the front of the house ... to the front and formal living room (used only when mom has guests). Once there, we were oddly calmed. Collected. Moving pointedly.
I went to the secretary in the corner and removed a pen and paper. Dynishka switched on the stereo and retrieved a bottle of merlot from the wine cabinet. I sat on the sofa, pen in hand, with a mind to write of our experience. Dynishka sat on the floor near the serving/coffee table and poured us both a glass of wine. Though out of breath, we refused to show it. We were fine. My cats, one-by-one, began to saunter into the room ~ noticing that we were out-of-sorts, but not wanting us to think they cared enough to show any concern.
Just when everything was beginning to feel all right, a huge catfight erupted under the sofa upon which I sat. I mean, you could see fur flying out from below, and of course you know how awful is that sound! There was no doubt in my mind (at that time at least) my cats were fighting the *Thing* right under my caboose!
Now that's where the story ends. I know Dynishka and me took that bottle of wine to my bedroom where we sat with every single light on (including closet lights). We did not speak further of the incident that night. We simply waited for the sun, and thankfully the wait was uneventful.
I did eventually finish penning the whole story (by hand, somewhere in the region of 20 pages front and back). I held on to it for many *many* years, too. Though now, since I bought my house in '98 August ... I have been unable to locate the sheets, alas, I've done my best in this retelling.