This story takes place a while back, I think I was either eleven or twelve at the time. I have this one friend who I’ve known since I was learning to walk. It was more of a forced friendship rather than anything, considering our parents went to school together.

One thing you should know about Lila is that her family is practically crazy. Her father claims to have been abducted by aliens twice, her mom keeps bug out bags filled with supplies such as food and water in her closet for when the government takes over, her brother thinks he’s half cat, and still does after graduating high school! And Lila is the worst of them all, she always go on and on about the demons and ghosts she see’s around her house, and her greatest obsession is something she calls ‘The Man.’ She goes on and on about him watching her through the windows of her house, and when he manages to get inside he stands at the edge of her bed and watches her sleep, which anyone would be creeped out by, I know I was.

So, this one time Lila invited me over to play, which I gladly accepted. By the time I arrived at her house her mother quickly explained that she had a ‘work emergency’ and that Lila’s father would be home within the next hour or so; with that she told us to behave and then left.

Since Lila was part of an outdoorsy family the first thing she suggested was going for a walk. The route we usually took was a small path between a cornfield in her backyard, and a small fenced off forest with a pond in the center. Usually we would take whistles along just in case we got lost or hurt, but it didn’t seem necessary since the corn had been recently cut, and nobody was even there to hear it anyway…or so I thought. We started our trek and about half a mile in we decided to hop the fence dividing the path and the forest, it just seemed like a clever idea at the time.

After a small hike to the pond we settled down and talked, pestered the geese, and attempted to skip stones. In the middle of a conversation Lila fell silent, ignoring the question I had previously asked. After she continued to ignore me I asked her again and all she replied with was, “he’s here.”

I knew exactly what she meant. I was quite the sensitive child back then so I had already started to tear up at the mention of The Man, the forest was already giving off creepy vibes and she wasn’t helping. I told her to cut it out and she only repeated herself again and I decided to follow her gaze and see what she was so intently staring at.

There, on the other side of the pond, stood a tall black man. No, not as in the skin color. He was black like a shadow, he had no face or clothes or anything, he looked like a 2D cutout. That’s when I started bawling, and through the tears I could tell that he was slowly inching forward, making his way around the pond towards us, and I wasn’t going to stick around and see what he planned to do when he reached us.

The next few minutes were a blur, I remember grabbing the oddly calm Lila’s hand and dragging her out of the forest, struggling to climb over the fence, and rushing through the cornfield. Smashing straight through any branches or stray corn stalks in our way, I can tell because of the scratches all over our legs and arms as we ran into the house, quickly closing the sliding glass door shut and pulling the curtain over top. We locked all the doors and closed the rest of the curtains before locking ourselves in Lila’s room and huddling together on her bed in fear.

I can tell by then the severity of the situation had hit her because she too had tears dripping down her face. We sat in silence, waiting for her father to come home. We didn’t dare to make a noise or turn on the lights because The Man was out there, we could tell. Every time he would pass by Lila’s window his figure would block the sun from shining through the thin curtains, casting an eerie shadow, a practical duplicate of himself, on the wall.

Eventually her father did return home, but we never did tell him about the man, Lila wouldn’t let me because she claimed he already knew of him. I haven’t questioned a single word she’s said since that day.

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