Perceptions of Fear

I’ve always lived in a safe and noisy environment. People are not exactly the definition of friendly, but the place has always been filled with normality. I know it seems that I’m just setting up for this recount but that is just my reality and when something this abnormal and disturbing happened in a regular night in my life, it changed me.

I genuinely believe that is what frightens people, just merely that fact that they cannot guess or comprehend what is occurring in mentally deprived person’s head and the fear of death or injury is just instinctual, something that is programmed into us after birth. It’s the fear of the unknown haunts most people. I make this point as whist this story may not be unforgettably frightening to any reader or listener, the overall personal experience was, well that is where words just fail me.

This occurred some time in mid January in 2017. What triggered the event in question was a simple argument about a simply small topic. However, I was going through an intense stage of depression and anxiety at the time. The nature of the argument with my father wasn’t even important but I do remember that it had something to do with perspectives and opinions on certain topics.

To take myself away from the situation, in order to just get some quiet time to think, I took a long walk into the night, sometime between 8pm-10pm. I did this often whenever I felt overwhelmed and from my perspective it didn’t matter what time I took the walk, day or night. During this particular walk I strolled down a main street, which was well lit with many cars creating a vacuum of wind traveling in the opposite direction.

As I progressed on my walk I started to get into the shaded streets but no less full of live streets. Convinced that I might walk into a sketchy character or someone that might have had too much to drink, I put up my hoodie to make myself look menacing attempting to ward off these people.

The only noticeable thing that happened during my walk was that I heard loud back beats in a house across the street. I look over and realised it was a party and wished I had more of a social live like they did and not arguing with my legal guardians most of the time. To put into perspective the way I interpreted my feelings that night was a mixture of anger, depression and a hint of concern for my safety, which later became fear.

In visual form I could describe it as my ‘anger’ and ‘depression’ being a steady tree with ‘fear’ being the wind that blew every now and again attempting to uproot or crack my tree of emotion. I know this is a peculiar way to describe it but I believe no emotion is stronger than another and that feeling are a constant changing stream which is based on your thought process at any given time.

As I got further away from the party house and deeper into the darker, more quiet side of town my ‘tree’ of anger and depression was starting to get weaker as I was calming down, allowing the breeze of ‘fear’ to have more of an impact. But I still didn’t want to return as I knew I would get a lecture the second I took a step into the house so I persisted and made my way towards a national park which I thought at the time would be a more pleasant and peaceful experience.

From all my times walking around in that park I visually remembered the layout and reminded myself where the nearest seat was so that I could just sit down and think. At first I was fearful to enter the park, as I was relatively dark and ominous but I convinced myself that I needed the space.

As I walked down the path I could see trees on the left side of my clouding my vision of the preserve within the park and to be honest I was starting to have second thoughts about whether or not I had remembered the area correctly. But as I slopped down a hill I reached an open area of lawn that I instantly recognised. This was only because the area was right next to a tennis court or exercise organisation. The lights from the tennis court bled through the wall, illuminating not only the spacious area but also the tree line on the other side.

I eventually reached the seat I had been planning to sit on but had a change of mind to walk on so that I could waste more time. I didn’t get very far though as I realised going further into the park would mean I would have trouble navigating my way around as it was going to be too dark to see, as I didn’t bring neither a flashlight or my phone. Well, partly that reason, but also my childish fear of the dark. It was at that point that I returned to the bench, sat down closed my eyes and relaxed.

I was probably there for around ten minutes when I heard a subtle, but noticeable sound of rustling leaves behind me. I spun around towards the tree line. Nothing was there that I could see as I could only see the forest with bulge like shadows flooding around the trees. I simply dismissed the sound as a animal as the park was a haven for small creatures. At this point the emotional tree was getting weaker to fear.

Three or four minutes later I turned back to the tree line. It seemed that nothing had changed but as I peered slightly to the left of my position I could see an outline. It took the form of a wolf or dog. Now this would have unnerved most people but the thing was I was use to seeing these outlines in the dark and usually it was just my mind playing tricks on me, in fact that was what the source of my fear of the dark.

So at the time I was frightened but attempted to amuse my self by imagining that it was the hound from an episode of Sherlock (Hounds of Baskerville). The thought was both horrifying and humorous as I visualised a giant steel dog with red eyes coming towards me.

I continued to stare out the outline until it dispersed into the darkness. At this point my anger and depression had worn of and the ‘tree’ was more subjected to fear than ever, but whatever reason, I didn’t leave, I just sat still surveying the forest like a sentry.

After a long pause I hear a faint growling noise coming from the forest. I was shocked but not surprised as I assumed it was a fox. They are often seen in my neighbourhood and prey on small birds. But concerned for my safety, I got up from the bench and started to walk back toward the entrance of the park. That’s when I noticed it.

I had only drifted a few steps from the bench before I could clearly see a faint glowing red light a small distance into the forest. I felt encased in ice as my body started to shiver. The ‘tree’ had become completely overpowered by the wind of fear and had snapped inside me. It was at this point that I stared at the light not sure what to think. I tried to rationalise it, believing it was just a sensor that the park rangers had put up to keep track of the wildlife in the area, or even a park ranger using an infer-red flashlight or something.

It still however made me incredibly uneasy though, not to the point of sickness you understand, but just the feeling of not being sure of what my eyes were telling me, creating a sinking feeling my heart. Let it be said that lack of understanding is the notion that haunts most people accept for those who consider themselves enlightened. I’m not sure how long I stood there for, motionless. This next part though despite how subtle and simplistic it might seem, was burned into my mind.

I peered closer and spotted a second light which moved forward from behind the first light as the first light started to simultaneously move slightly to the right as if they were joined on the same object. Of course they were. Upon seeing this I immediately came to the realisation of what I was witnessing. I felt what only be described at a javelin piercing my heart as a bodily response.

Two eyes were slowly turning to face me. I could make out the eye colour quickly, it was not bloodshot red but more of magenta crystal-like colour with deep black pupils in the centre of each eye, which seemed to be almost hollow. The sight was so disturbing that virtually half way through, whatever that thing was movement, I darted my head to my left. I did not want to make the mistake of making eye contact.

It was at this point that my flight/fight response initiated and I had to think fast. I choose the flight response although I knew that if I started to run it would catch me, since I am relatively unfit. If it was some kind of predator I needed to stay calm and not alert it to that fact that I was aware of its presence. As far as I understood it Carnivores preferred the chase, the adrenaline, and I did not want to give that satisfaction.

I walked back towards the tree-shadowed path quickly but at the same time pretending like nothing had occurred. Once I had gotten to the concrete that connected the path I looked back to the tree line. Yes, I could still see one of the two eyes, glaring at me. Once I believed I had gotten out of sight I started to sprint as quickly as I was able.

The journey felt ten times longer and felt my heart, trying climb out of my throat as I pushed myself to continue running. This is were things got blurry in my memory I either stopped to catch my breath a little ways from the entrance to the park looked back saw nothing and resumed running or ran all the way to the entrance of the park.

What I do remember was feeling relived after I had passed into the street with houses on the other side towering over me. I had trouble breathing as I gasped in short wines of breath. It had not followed me, and I remember thinking that because I was out of its apparent territory and I would be safe. The journey back was uneventful, but paranoia took over my body as I was constantly looking over my shoulder to make certain that what ever it was had given up on me.

Despite my calm appearance at the time, I had completely given way to fear. When I reached my house my mother was extremely worried that I had been away for so long and asked me were I went. I told her I took a stroll all the way down to the park to quiet my mind. She of course made a point about shady characters or people who might be on dugs or drunk. I admitted I was a little concerned but did not reveal any of the events that I recounted in this narrative. If I did I was sure that she would either not believe me, think I was mad or never let me go out for another walk again.

Despite this event my stress reliving walks didn’t cease after that, although at least for a few months I remained at home during the night, and I have never gone back to that park during that time. Ever since I become more and more paranoid, checking under my bed and in closet or being attuned to random sounds when I’m alone in the house. I’m not sure of wether it’s my increase of listening to other people’s true horror stories or just the after shock of that one personal experience.

I’m not even sure if what I experience did actually happen, as a few members of my family, including myself, have been showing behavioural patterns consistent with the symptoms of schizophrenia. Before and after this incident I sometimes hear my mother’s voice, calling out my name, even though I knew I was alone in the house.

Of course that’s just speculation, and it’s unlikely to be true. What I am completely and utterly convinced about, is that illusion or reality, I saw the unexplainable that night, which drenched me in fear and nothing else.

Just as a quick note, I’m normally extremely reserved on the Internet. So this is an unusual thing for me to do. But because this event is permanently burned into my memory I have to share it with someone, even if just one person reads it, I will feel some closure. That’s all I need.

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