In my old home town, there are hundreds of legends and ghost stories. A haunted bar downtown, a witch in the park next to a school, a phantom jogger down one road, creatures, specters, you name it, this town had it all. I will admit that I’ve had my fair share of unexplained events living there when I was younger, but nothing can really top my visit to Scaryville.
Scaryville, of course, isn’t the actual name. It has always been called that since I could remember and no one really calls it by it’s real name. Even as children, it had it’s own nursery rhyme:
Spend a night in Scaryville
Meet the ghosts, pet the hounds
Sleep six feet underground
The song would continue with more verses of how you would meet an untimely end or what’s waiting for you in the titular town. From first glance, you would never suspect a small village like this would be the subject of many children’s nightmares and countless teenager’s dares. It sits in the bottom of a valley, with only a scattering of buildings and houses surrounded by farmland. Almost like a Rockwell painting. But it’s the history that gets people frightened.
See, while my town only had urban legends, Scaryville actually delivered. A priest that killed children in a church across from the schoolhouse, a boy dying of hypothermia in that same schoolhouse over a winter break, a teenage girl drowning in the river trapped inside her truck on prom night, a scientist that experimented on dogs on that same river, it just gets crazier the more you look into it.
It’s because of this history that has made Scaryville quite the hotspot for teenagers and thrillseekers. On Halloween, teens would spend the night at a child’s graveyard, sometimes performing rituals of some kind. Break into the schoolhouse and church on a dare to stay there till morning. Others, like myself, were just genuinely interested in seeing something there and one fateful night, I did.
The events that happened that night had to be real because I brought my best friend and his younger sister. Us guys had known each other for years, since middle school. We were fresh out of high school and in the midst of finding jobs and figuring out our lives. One hot summer night, I approached my friend, let’s call him Carlisle, and suggested we go to Scaryville. He was initially hesitant to the idea, late at night, middle of the country, he kept saying he didn’t want to be out so late but I knew that he was scared. If it wasn’t for his younger sister, let’s call her Hailey, he might have just stayed home. But she persisted and next thing you know, we all piled into my car and drove into the night.
The drive to Scaryville is creepy enough, like I said: it’s in the middle of nowhere. And with a full moon behind the twisting and knotted trees, it couldn’t have been a more perfect night.
We arrived, driving in on the one road into the village. We saw behind some dead trees the schoolhouse and the church. Obviously our first stop. I pulled off to the side of the road and parked and we got out and looked around. We didn’t go inside either building, the doors were locked and the thought of breaking into haunted locations were more than enough to deter us. Hailey said she saw a light coming from the belfry in the church. Carlisle and I looked but didn’t see anything. Perhaps a reflection from the moonlight, we suggested. We got back into the car and drove to the site where the girl drowned.
It was even more secluded than the church and schoolhouse, the bridge where the truck ran off the road. It seemed the farther we looked into Scaryville, the darker and more ominous it became. I shook off my uneasiness and turned on the radio, to lighten the mood. The bridge wasn’t anything to write home about, but this was where the girl died and we got out and looked around again.
Our trip seemed fruitless until again Hailey piped up, “What’s that?” We turned to where she was looking and saw a pair of headlights on the far end of the road. It was the dead of night, anybody who would be anybody would be asleep by now and even if not, why were they just parked in the middle of the road? Not moving. Nothing that light could reflect off of, no houses nearby. Just headlights.
Carlisle, I could tell was getting weirded out, but my initial reaction was curiosity.
“Let’s take a look,” I said.
Carlisle asked for us to go home but I reminded him that I have the keys so what I say goes. We got in the car and advanced to the headlights, which were still beaming at us.
I drove slowly, almost as if I was afraid that I was gonna scare the headlights off. We all leaned closer to the front windshield, trying to decipher what was going on. We got about 50 feet in front of this car and then, the lights went out. Darkness surrounded us. Nothing was there. There was only the one road, no turn offs, we were all dumbfounded by this… thing.
Now that something was happening, I knew what our next stop had to be, the children’s graveyard just beyond the way. I accelerated, fueled by my own excitement and we drove into the night. About a minute passed and the headlights returned. Only now, they were behind us and flashing. On. Off. On. Off. On. Off.
They stayed off, nothing was behind us. I asked the two other people in my party if they saw that.
“How could we not, dude? They were right behind us!” Carlisle said in a shaky voice.
“Where’d they go?” Asked Hailey.
Before I could answer, I saw it. The graveyard. It was a small plot of land on the edge of a hill, it was old and time had taken over the graves. Most of the graves belonged to children, that was the creepiest part.
Thinking about how many children’s skeletons were under our feet, I hesitated to get out. But I did anyway, we were here to see something and the activity was just starting. Once again, we walked around, clearly closer than before. I had a bad vibe, something wasn’t right here.
We looked at a few of the graves, some of the kids were 5, 8, 14, one wasn’t even born or had a name. Just… Baby. God this was creepy. But not as creepy as what I heard next, a giggle. A child’s giggle. I stopped for a second to look at my friends who were staring back at me with large eyes. What the hell was happening? We stood there for a second until we heard movement in the nearby cornfield. I shifted my gaze and concentrated, I could see… kids running. Running around in the cornfield, as if playing a game. Giggles became more audible the longer we stood.
“Come play” I heard a voice say.
“No, hide, he’s coming” I heard another say.
“Run!” A final voice said.
We bolted into the car as I heard a low growl coming from behind me. I fumbled with the keys, trying to keep my composure, taking deep breaths. I turned the ignition and slammed the gear shift into reverse, without looking behind me. I turned my car back towards down the hill and put the car in drive and stepped on the gas, but nothing happened.
“Let’s go!” shouted Carlisle.
“I’m trying!” I shouted back, aggravated and scared.
The car was dead, it wouldn’t turn over. I tried again and again but it wouldn’t start.
“Guys…” Hailey squeaked out, we looked at her and saw her face streaming with tears as she looked out her side window. We looked and we saw it. A black… mass. It didn’t have a definitive shape but in the moonlight we saw it. Tall, black, and coming towards us. My urgency to start the car heightened as I kept my eyes on that thing. It wasn’t walking, more like… floating towards us almost mockingly slow. Like as if it knew it had us and was just taking it’s sweet time. It got so close to us that I thought I saw breath coming from it, my heart was racing harder than ever.
The car lurched forward and we started rolling down the hill, Hailey let out a short scream and within seconds, the car started and I gained control and hit the gas hard as we sped out of Scaryville.
I didn’t stop a second until we got back to their house, we were silent the whole way back. I parked outside their house and we just sat. A few seconds passed and we opened the doors and exited. Dust puffed and danced in the air that was plastered to the car, driving around in the country earned me a stop at the carwash. I’ll do it in the morning, where it’s safe. We didn’t know what to say to each other, or if we wanted to say something. To confirm what happened would only make things worse, I thought.
Carlisle gestured inside and I nodded, we started walking to his house when Hailey stopped and turned to the car.
“Forgot my bag” she said.
She took a few steps and then stopped and let out a short scream. Carlisle and myself turned to her and saw something that I will never get out of my head. On the back of the car was a bunch of tiny handprints. Child’s handprints. Almost as if they were behind the car pushing us.