Homesick

 

Homesick

      This story happened to me over the span of about 5 years, starting back in 1999 during my second year of middle school and ending near my 18th birthday. Before I begin, I’d like to apologize for the length of this story, as it really means a lot to me and I feel that I need to spend some time explaining all of the details. Now I’ve never been one to believe in ghosts and spirits and all that. Even now, I find it very hard to place my trust in the supposed paranormal encounters that I hear from time to time. However, these events that I’m about to share changed my life forever, and I will never think about life and death the same way again.

The story starts when I was 12 years old and attending 7th grade in Black Forest Colorado. I didn’t have many friends at the time because I was new to the area, and I was also a bit shy. I can’t even recall who I was friends with back then. However, I remember very clearly the day that I met her. She was a tall blonde girl who always had this sad and confused look in her eyes. Her name was Allie. I had seen her around the school before, and I knew that there was something a little off about her, like she had some kind of mental disability or something. Whenever I saw her she was always sitting somewhere by herself and drawing in her notebook.

People would make fun of her all the time because she was so quiet, like she literally never said a word to anyone. Ever. I actually thought that she might have been mute. It wasn’t until about half way through the semester when I noticed her standing near the school entrance, clutching her notebooks tightly to her chests, and looking as though she was about to cry. A few kids were holding up a picture that she had drawn, waving it around in the air while taunting her like a bunch of entitled assholes with nothing better to do than to humiliate this poor girl.

I decided to intervene because I was so disgusted with how cruel those kids were being to her. I quickly walked up from behind, snatching the drawing with one hand and grabbing Allie’s hand and pulling her away with the other. I gave little concern to the bullies cursing me from behind, and we kept walking hand in hand for a few seconds before I pulled her aside and handed her the drawing. “You really need to stand up for yourself” I said. “Next time you should just walk away from them, like seriously don’t even pay attention to those jerks. Okay?” She just gazed down at her crumpled up drawing without even acknowledging my words. “I can walk you home if you’d like.” She pursed he lips for a moment before she finally shifted her gaze towards me. We looked at each other for a few seconds, and then she smiled softly and nodded her head.

I tried to make small talk with her on the way over to her house, but she only ever used facial expressions and nodded her head to respond. It was a bit awkward to be honest, but I felt really bad for her, and I just wanted someone to treat her like a human being for once. I don’t think she realized how pretty she was, and I wondered what could have led her to have such a poor self-image.After about 20 minutes or so we both arrived in front of her house. Immediately, I got a very creepy vibe from the place. I could tell that Allie didn’t like the house either, and she seemed a bit hesitant to go inside. She walked up to the front door and stalled for a bit before walking inside. She turned around and waved at me as she closed the door behind her.

I really didn’t want to hang around near that house any longer, so I continued to jog down the road to my house, a little faster than usual. The next day I sat alone on the bleachers after school and watched the soccer team practice for a while. After probably half an hour had passed, I thought I heard footsteps coming from behind me, so I turned around to see who else had nothing better to do than to watch the junior high soccer team practice. To my surprise, it was Allie. She smiled at me when she saw that I noticed her, and she continued to walk down the isle towards where I was sitting. She sat down really close to me and looked out at the field. “I’ve always enjoyed watching sports, although I could never seem to understand them” she said softly.

Obviously I was a bit bewildered when she said this, here I had thought that she wasn’t able to speak. I must’ve been the first person at the school that she had ever spoken to. I was about to make some kind of remark about her finally talking, but I thought it better not to as I didn’t want to offend her. “Yeah, me too. Soccer is the only sport where I really feel like I know what’s going on” I replied. It took me a few too many seconds before I thought of something else to say. “You seem to really enjoy drawing.” I remarked. She blushed a little when I said that. “My mom taught me how to draw.” “Was your mom an artist?” I asked. “I think so” she replied, “I didn’t know her very well. She passed away a long time ago.” “I’m sorry. My mom also died a while back.”

She seemed to open up a lot more after I said that. She eventually told me about how she had been living alone with her father for most of her life. And she kept telling me that he was a “mean man”, and he would often punish her for the smallest mistakes. She mentioned that her dad once forcefully held her hand in boiling water because she knocked over a bowl of soup by accident. He also blamed her for every time he had a bad day at work. After hearing this I started to feel sick, I couldn’t believe what she was telling me. She was such a sweet person. She sure as hell didn’t deserve to be treated like trash by everyone, including her own father.

After about 15 minutes or so the sun broke free from behind the clouds, and Allie started to take off her jacket. When she did this I caught a quick glimpse of several pink ribbon scars along her forearm. I could feel my heart sink after seeing this. I was uncertain as to what I should say, but I eventually just asked if she wanted to hang out after school sometime. She seemed unsure at first, but let out a slight smile and agreed.

Sometime later that week Allie came over to my house and we watched movies and stuff for a few hours. We both had a pretty good time and she seemed really happy. After that, Allie and I became close friends. We would walk to school together, eat lunch together, and after school we would often go exploring the woods behind my house. Despite her seeming really happy while she was with me, I could always tell that she was hiding something. I could sense that she was slowly falling apart on the inside. She never wanted to go back home after school, and sometimes she would come over to my house late at night because she was afraid of her dad.

I remember us talking about how we were going to run away and never come back. She was like a sister to me, and I felt that I had to do everything I could to protect her. I really wanted her to live the peaceful life that I knew she truly deserved, and I felt that if I didn’t look after her, no one else would. As time went on though, we started to see each other less and less. Allie ended up going to a different high school than me, and I moved about 20 minutes outside of town so she couldn’t walk to my house anymore.

I started to get caught up in some unfortunate things that were going on in my life, and I sort of drifted off from reality for a while. My parents got a divorce shortly after I turned 16, and as a result I became a bit of an alcoholic. I soon fell into a rather serious depression, and I stopped talking to many of my friends. I only saw Allie once maybe every few of months at this point. Eventually my junior year of high school came around, and this was about the time that I started to have these really weird dreams, which I now believe to have some sort of spiritual meaning. Keep in mind that I’m not really much of a religious person. This all happened over 12 years ago, but I can clearly recall almost every detail in my mind.

The first dream happened one night after I had practically drank myself to sleep. I found myself standing upside down in a nearly pitch black forest somewhere. It was like the whole world had been flipped, and gravity was somehow reversed. I looked all around me and saw nothing but a dense overgrowth of intertwining branches and leaves. There was an odd familiarity to the place, and I felt like I had been there before, although I could not quite put my finger on it. I suddenly noticed an old rope swing that had been tied to a tree, which was now swaying back and forth in the breeze. When I saw this, it felt as though something had just punched me in the gut, like I had just been electrocuted. I then heard a loud ringing sound in my ears and began to discern a very tall figure about 20 yards ahead of me in the woods. Whatever this thing was, it must’ve stood roughly 40 or so feet high, as it was towering above the trees. The entity was incredibly thin, probably only a foot two wide. It blended in perfectly with the dense foliage, and if it were not for its haunting white eyes which illuminated part of the forest canopy, I would have easily mistaken it for a tree.

I was suddenly overwhelmed with an enormous feeling of sadness and heartbreak, the likes of which I had never felt before. I felt myself fall to my knees and my vision became very blurry with tears. This tall black creature then bent down so that its face was only a few feet above mine. The only feature I could make out on this thing were its eyes, which were blindingly bright at this point. I don’t remember being afraid of this thing, and I got the impression that it felt sympathy for me.

Then, without opening its mouth, it began to speak in this soft, calm voice. It said, “I’m here, you’re not”. I felt my heart sink even more as it spoke. And again, it repeated the sentence, “I’m here, you’re not.” It said the same thing 5 or 6 more times before its eyes suddenly started to shimmer with red and blue light. The light grew brighter and brighter until all I could see were the colors red and blue. And then, I woke up. Only a couple of seconds after I awoke, I was immediately startled by my alarm clock going off, which was set for 7:30am. I reached over and turned off my alarm, and then sat up in my bed confused, and tried to make sense of what had just happened.

“What the Hell was that supposed to mean?” I thought to myself. I realized that the horrible feeling of grief I had just moment ago was now nowhere to be found, yet I remembered it very clearly. It just felt like a normal dream, the feeling was gone, and I wasn’t really all that shaken up by the whole thing. Still, something didn’t feel quite normal about that dream. Puzzled, I got up out of bed and carried on with my day. About two weeks had passed after that, and the dream I had earlier was hardly ever on my mind anymore. I fell asleep one night on the couch while watching a movie, and once again found myself in the same dream world as before. Although this time there was something different. The forest was burning bright with fire, and I could feel the heat coming from all around me. I looked around me to see if I could find that creature again, and sure enough there it was, standing high above the tree tops. I was immediately overwhelmed with that same gut wrenching sense of sadness that I had felt in my previous dream. This time, I collapsed completely onto the wet ground beneath me. The dark figure then knelt down beside me, and came very close to my face when it spoke in that same calm voice. However this time it sounded a little more urgent than before. It spoke to me softly, quickly chanting the following phrase, as if it did not have much time. “Find me here, I’ll be sleeping.” It rapidly said the same thing several times before its eyes began to flash red and blue once again.

I woke up in the same fashion as the first dream, and shortly afterwards I could hear my alarm go off in the other room. This seemed strange to me, because that meant that I had woken up at the exact same time as my last dream. The thought of this frightened me a little bit, but I still wasn’t sure what the message I heard in my dream meant, if anything. I realized that this second dream was a lot shorter than the first one, like it had been sped up or something. As I did before, I continued on with my day, but this time I wasn’t about to let the dreams go. I knew that there was something strange happening to me, and it wasn’t just a dream like any other. I thought that there was surely going to be another dream like this sometime soon, so I patiently waited for my next experience. Two months went by, and by now I was willing to let go of the bizarre dreams and forget that they ever happened. I was exhausted after a long and particularly awful day at school, and I fell asleep as soon as I got home. That’s when I had the third dream, and this one was not like the others. This felt very real.

I was already lying on the ground and crying when this dream began, and the creature spent no time bending over towards me, as it was already knelt down beside me. It was as if the creature didn’t want to waste any time, and was abandoning the beginning of the dream. One other thing I noticed was that I was no longer hot from a surrounding fire, instead I was shivering from a biting cold, and the forest was covered in about a foot of snow. Without delaying, the eyes started to flash red and blue again as the creature spoke, only saying the phrase once this time. “Why did you wait? You’ll know when you feel it.” I felt an electric shock race throughout my body before I was jolted awake.

The moment I opened my eyes I knew something was very wrong. I could sense that something bad was about to happen, and I don’t know how, but it felt like someone was watching my every move. Not in a creepy way, but more like whatever was watching me knew what was about to happen next as if they had seen it all before. It didn’t feel threatening to me, it felt sort of, sad, like it felt deep empathy for me and wanted to comfort me but didn’t know how. It’s hard to explain what I was feeling, it just all felt so clear in that moment. I was absolutely certain that something terrible was going to happen, but any attempt I might make to stop it from happening was hopeless.

My shaking hand instinctively reached over to grab my phone for some sort of quick comfort. I noticed that it was 7:30pm. “Oh God what is about to happen?” I whispered out loud. I then saw that I had 11 missed calls, so checked my call history fearing the worst. I got a sickening feeling in my gut when I looked over my missed calls. It was Allie. She has called me 11 times while I was asleep. I didn’t even bother to call her back, instead I threw off my covers and hurried downstairs and into the garage. I quickly hopped on by bike and headed out into the night.

I remember praying desperately to God that everything would be okay as I rode towards Allie’s house, which was over an hour away. The whole way there, I continued to feel as though someone was watching over me, pushing me to ride faster through the pouring rain and the dense fog. Finally after an exhausting 2 hours of riding my bike I entered my friend’s neighborhood. As I was rounding the corner nearest to her house I began to see the reflections of red and blue lights shimmering off the wet ground. “Dear God please tell me I’m dreaming.” I whimpered quietly in my head. I felt all the life drain from my body as I caught my first glimpse of the house. Men in yellow reflective suits rushed towards the old house, breaking down the door whilst calling out my friend’s name. My gaze then shifted to Allie’s father, who was yelling out profanities as he was being held down over the hood of a police car. A wave of heat swept over me as I approached. The house was entirely engulfed in fire, and I stared helplessly at the flames as they rose high into the night.

I suddenly lost all my strength, and my legs gave way beneath me. The realization that all this was really happening was slowly setting in. I felt the tears streaming down my face, and that’s when I fell over onto the ground. Eventually one of the paramedics saw me laying there and came over to see what was wrong. I asked him if my friend was in there, but the man just shook his head and told me that he was sorry. I handed the man my phone and he called my mom for me, because he could clearly tell that I was too shaken up to speak any longer. I think I sat there for at least an hour and a half, just watching the house as it burned to the ground, knowing that my friend was probably in there. My mother later came rushing up from behind before hugging me tightly.

I tried to hold back my tears in front of my mom but to no avail. She knew how much Allie had meant to me at one time, and she kept telling me how much she loved me. She continued to embrace me for a while longer before we headed back home. That night I sat up in bed staring at the ceiling until the sun came up. I managed to get some sleep around 8:30am, but when I awoke, I knew that whatever was watching over me was gone. The feeling I had the night before had completely left without a trace. I remember feeling very alone. I expected something to happen that day, but nothing did. I was still able to get out of bed and head to school that day. The whole time, I didn’t feel anything, no sorrow or anger. Why couldn’t I feel anything? It didn’t take long for the news of what really happened to get around town. Allie had done something to upset her dad, something minor and insignificant I imagined. Yet he, in all his stupidity and drunken rage, chose to lock Allie in her room.

Meanwhile he went back downstairs and began tearing the place up, a common tradition with Allie’s dad. Throwing chairs against the walls, smashing bottles, and even knocked over a large fake tree in the living room, which ignited the moment it made contact with the fireplace. Long story short, her father claims that he was not able to rescue Allie and still have enough time to escape from the house himself. I don’t know what became of him, all I know is that he was arrested and no one ever saw him again. The only thing that mattered to me was that I had just lost my only true friend, forever.

I truly cannot describe how horrible the feeling was once I learned what had happened to my friend. I wanted to mourn for my friend right then and there, but somehow I had forgotten altogether how to cry. My mind just became numb to it all. And besides, life wasn’t about to grant me a moment of morning just yet. No, my friends death was soon followed by the death of my cousin, whom I was very close with. He had taken his own life after a painful 11 years battle with Bipolar disorder and depression. My mother, also passed away from cancer the following year.

It was one of those times where everything feels so surreal, that your mind keeps trying to convince you that it was just a dream. There’s this desire to just fall back asleep because maybe when you wake up everything will be okay again, or maybe you just won’t wake up at all. I could feel so much sorrow and guilt like I had committed some kind of crime, but I don’t know what I had done wrong. Such a horrid feeling, one that is much worse that any fear or pain that I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t feel like I could bear it forever. And how deeply I wanted to cry, and let all the emotions flow out, yet somehow I couldn’t muster the strength to do so.

I started having these dreams, after my mother had passed, of a dark hole. I couldn’t see anything, but I could tell that I was falling. I was afraid to do anything, yet the longer I fell, the more scarred I became. I couldn’t take it anymore, I really wanted to die. But there was that feeling again, someone was watching over me, but this time it didn’t feel sad, it was as if it was letting me know that I was safe. I would then suddenly feel myself laying down, with sunlight beaming down on my face, although I still could not see anything. I would always wake up shortly after this.

The world didn’t stop to wait for me while I was falling to pieces, everyone was moving on without me. I learned to enjoy the feeling of being left behind, it was a strangely comforting feeling since it made it easier for me to fade away. However, I didn’t fade away like everyone else did at the time. I probably would have though, and I would likely not be here today if I was left alone much longer. But something happened that changed my life forever, something that reminds me that we are never truly alone, no matter how painfully alone we may feel at times.

I had one final dream, about a month before my 18th birthday, one which makes me smile every time I think about it. I remember being on all fours, struggling to push back on an immense force that was trying to bury me into the ground. I was calling out for help but no one was around to hear. I tried so hard and for so long to keep this force at bay,but finally, I realized that I could not win this battle. I surrendered to the feeling and let myself fall to the ground. I closed my eyes, and cried softly as I breathed my last breath.

I was no longer afraid, and I was ready to die. A sensation then gently washed over me as my whole body began to tingle. Something told me to open my eyes, and when I did I was sitting on the edge of a pier, looking out at this beautiful orange sky. I turned to the left of me, and there she was, my sweetest friend. She smiled innocently as I looked right through her. No words were spoken, we just gazed out at the sunset together. Allie used to sometimes tell me how much she wanted to go to the beach, yet she had never been. And now, I was right there with her, and it wasn’t a dream. It felt like we were right there. I could hear the waves crashing against the supports underneath the pier, and I could feel a gentle breeze caress my face.

This was by far the most beautiful moment I have ever experienced in my life. I suddenly felt a calm warmth in my chest, and I turned to tell Allie that I loved her, but before I could speak she leaned over and wrapped her arms around me. She held me so tightly, and I started to cry tears of joy, sadness, and confusion all at the same time. I felt something that I can only describe as pure love fill the dark hole in my soul. We sat there in each other’s embrace for what must have been several hours.

Finally, she spoke softly in my ear in her sweet familiar voice. She said that it was time for her to go, and then she said something that has stayed with me in my mind every day since. “We are all here” she said. “Close your eyes and we are there with you, always.” When I opened my eyes she was gone. I sat there alone on the pier for a while longer, not really thinking about anything, before I awoke in my bedroom. And that was the end of it. I’ve never had anything strange or paranormal happen to me since then, and I honestly don’t think that I ever will again.

Whatever that creature was in the first three dreams, it was definitely not some kind of spiritual representation of my friend Allie. It was something else altogether. Maybe it was an angel of some sort. I don’t think I’ll ever know for sure, but it was more than just a figment of my imagination. It foreshadowed the worst year of my life, and it made predictions which later came true. I’m pretty clueless as to what its intentions were, but it didn’t feel threatening in any way. This, whatever it was, had a deep connection with me. It felt like a mother looking after her child. Very strange indeed.

Anyways, I have since moved to California, where I sometimes drive the beach and head to the pier around sunset. It makes me feel closer not only to Allie, but also to all the others that I’ve lost over the years. When you lose someone that you care deeply about, it forms a wound that can never truly heal. Sure we all have to get on with our lives, and the memories of our loved ones inevitably begin to fade over time. But when you care about someone deeply, you form a powerful connection with that person, one that we often don’t notice until they’re gone.

They will always be a part of you, no matter how long it’s been since they’ve passed. I know how you cannot forget the ones that you’ve lost, because every now and then a sudden thought will overwhelm you, often sparked by something simple that reminded you of them, like a particular fragrance or feeling. It will come back and tear you to pieces once again. I know in my heart of hearts that this feeling is simply too strong to break, and not even death can silence the bond I have with those I’ve lost. I truly believe that my friends and family will be there in the end, and that we will be together again someplace much kinder than this world. We all have that one memory that burns deeply, yet we can’t seem to let go of it… and this is mine.

Leave a Reply