Those of you who have read my other submissions know I generally tell about guardians or those WTH moments that leave me scratching my head and perplexed. I tend to concentrate on the good and leave the scary to others.
People have wondered in the comments if I have ever dealt with a not nice spirit. The short answer is yes. I do not like to dwell on those encounters. I believe to do that, too often, opens the door and invites the negativity in. I also believe that things like demons do not abound as rampantly as Hollywood and even some religions would like for us to think. Quite often, these are really only 'bad' spirits who, when alive, were just plain bad or mean folks. I'm not saying they are a joy to be around, just that they are not demons. Just like not all 'good' spirits are angels. Anyway, that's my belief on the matter.
Before I get to the 'meat' of this event, the first time I clashed with a NOT nice, I suppose I should tell you that sometimes I just know things. When I was 16 for sometime, I had 'known' something bad was going to happen, and that I would need somewhere to run to. Somewhere my father could not reach me. Such a place presented itself to me.
It was in a small wooded thicket near the quarries, which laid at the edge of an old abandoned cemetery. The cemetery itself was tiny. Probably just some half forgotten family plot, or maybe where they use to bury quarry workers, way back when. To be honest, I couldn't say whether the graves, almost hidden by undergrowth and prairie grasses, still contained anyone. A few stones still stood at odd angles, here and there, but unless one paused and LOOKED, I doubt that many even knew it was a cemetery.
The quarries (no longer in use, except as swimming holes by more adventurist teens) were not far from my parents' house. Perhaps two miles if you stuck to the roads, a mile or less if you knew the short cuts through the woods. Sometimes, on 'bad' days, when home was just too much and I could escape, I would go there. I couldn't swim, but the waters calmed me, and I could explore. That's how I stumbled onto the cemetery. I sensed it was there, as if waiting for me. I doubt I can explain 'sensing' it, without sounding daft. But often, graveyards call out to me.
Anyway, one day I was there, trying to pull long grass away from a particular stone to see if I could make out the writing on it, when I heard the hiss. Snake! My one true phobia! Where was it? My heart began to bang and my mouth wet dry. I froze in my crouched position. I knew we had a few poisonous ones in the area - what kind was this? I barely dared to move my eyes, let alone my head as I strained to hear another hiss, and not go into full blown panic mode. Nothing. Just the sound of grass blades rustling in the breeze, and insect life. Very slowly I stood up. Took a step, then another - and then I was running, hopefully in the opposite direction of where the hiss came from. I only stopped when the stitch in my side became unbearable. And there it was. A small cabin, or to be more apt a shack. It almost blended with its surroundings, being made of the same type of trees. A gap showed where a window might have been, and the door hung crazily ajar. The overall sense of it was that the structure only stood because of its own will.
I cautiously approached, and peered through the gap/window. It was obvious no one lived there, at least not recently. I thought maybe it had been built at some point as a hunting shelter, but the amount of dirt and debris built up on the inside indicated that no one had been there in a long, long time. Entering it confirmed my suspicion that the floor was hard packed earth. No fear of falling through a rotted board then, only that the whole place might fall in on you. I noted that, despite the recent rain, inside was bone dry, and no plants grew along the walls or anything. At least nothing I could see in the dimness. I felt odd, but put that down as being someplace uninvited, besides my mental gears were grinding. I went over and examined the door, and discovered that if I lifted upwards it closed fairly solid. I noticed that light came in the between the 'logs' that served as walls in spots. I'd have to seal those somehow. That is how I found my 'safe haven', as I thought of it.
Weeks passed. Home life grew worse. Secretly, I worked on the little shack, smuggling things like a Coleman's lantern and a couple of tins of food up to it, and trying to fill in the worst of the cracks. I never saw anyone near or around the place, but still I didn't change anything (except for closing the door and fixing the shutter that fitted over the gap/window - and that I left off for the most part) that could be easily seen from the outside. Anything I took into the cabin I hid in a small hole I had dug and covered with leaves. I thought to the casual observer the place would still look empty. But, I never felt comfortable.
The day came when for no reason that I could fathom, my father lost it. He yelled and cursed me, knocking me to the ground and kicking me for good measure. Everyone froze, open mouthed. There had been no warning at all. He bellowed that I was grounded and that as far as I was concerned HE was God! I had curled into the fetal position, expecting more blows, when he just as suddenly stormed off to my parents' bedroom, slamming the door. I had heard my mother screaming his name and for him to stop. Maybe that's why he did.
I slowly got up with one clear thought - this time there were witnesses. They'd all seen me take beatings before, under the guise of 'punishment', but this was the first time they'd witnessed the unprovoked attacks, or him being so savage about it. I asked my mom what I had done wrong, she had no clue. I watched her struggle to her feet and painfully make her way to their room. My younger brother brought me a washcloth and I wiped the blood off my mouth. She came back, visibly upset and in tears. "He said it was none of my damn business!" My poor mom didn't know what to do. We all just stared at each other, and my mother lowered herself into her chair, knuckles pressed against her mouth.
My father stormed back into the room and pushed his face into mine. "You want to know what you did, B***h?" He spat the words. I nodded, tensed for another blow, telling myself it's ok to hit back, and wondering where Jaime (my deceased twin brother) was. Actually in my head I was screaming for him to come save me. "I'll tell you what you did! It's none of your F***king business!" He yelled more stuff. It still burns in memory, and none of it made sense. It ended with him ordering me into my room and slamming the door shut on me. I curled up against the wall on the farthest corner of my bed and begged for Jaime to come, and give me comfort. But he remained silent and missing.
From the living room down the hall I could hear voices, and I knew that my father was manipulating them. When he was finished somehow, someway, all the blame would be shifted onto me. Tomorrow, I told myself, tomorrow I will simply disappear, and constructed in my mind some convincing lie as to why I had to leave the house.
It didn't matter. The next day no one would speak or even look at me. In one daring moment my youngest brother whispered that Daddy had told them none of them should. My mother had not left her bed. I figured between her illness and the night before it had taken its toll on her. I went into my room and tossed a few things into my backpack. Nothing much. My dad was sitting in his Lazy-boy reading, I had to walk past to get to the door. "You leave, you don't come back. EVER," the words were said to my back. I kept moving. "You hear me?"
"I hear you."
I went to the shack. There was nowhere else for me to go. I remember thinking, at least I'll be safe here, even though I felt less than welcomed. I was wrong, so wrong. I had spent most of the day between crying, being angry, hurt, and trying to convince myself that this was the start of an adventure, while trying to think of what my next move should be.
That night, I made myself as comfortable as I could on the dirt floor, my head pillowed on my backpack, using the thin blanket I had sort of like a sleeping bag. Half of it under me, the rest over me. I dozed fitfully. I grew irate that my backpack refused to stay under my head, or the blanket to remain over me. It was as if someone kept pulling them away. Plus I kept smelling a weird odor, very unpleasant, coupled with the feeling of being, more than watched, but stared at. I began to think perhaps some animal was in the shack with me and sat up, lighting the Coleman. Nothing to be seen.
I figured I may as well stay up and reached for my backpack, thinking to write in my journal, when it was forcibly pulled from me. I jumped up, and got pushed back hard on the shoulder. It felt like... You know how your fingers feel when you've been out in the cold too long and they finally begin to warm? That burning sensation? That's the closest I can come to describing it. I made a grab for my pack and managed to get the strap, and a tug of war ensued. But there was NO ONE there! Abruptly my opponent let go and I crashed into the wall. Next, the small tins of food I had massed over the weeks, began being thrown at me.
That was enough for me, I still had hold of my backpack or I probably would have left it as I did everything else as I turned tail and ran blindly through the woods, finally stopping when I tripped and fell. I've no idea how long I laid there, too scared to even cry, or even think properly. I know I was still laying there when the sun filtered down through the leaves.
And that was my first encounter with something that was not nice.