I’m a 31-year-old female from Cleveland, Ohio. This story is old, but still sticks out in my mind all these years later – whenever I go into a mall now, I break out into a nervous sweat because of that… thing I saw so many years ago. No one I’ve told has ever believed me – family, friends, coworkers; they all just give me this sideways glance and mutter that I’m crazy behind my back. But I’m not; I know what I saw – I can never forget it.
This story takes place in 2003 in my hometown. The Iraq War had just kicked off and my dad, who is in the Air Force, was stationed in Qatar; leaving just me, my mom and my aunt, Tracy. She was a bit of a wild child, and at age 18 got herself pregnant. She kept the kid, and my dad took pity on her and let her live with us. At this time her son, matthew, was turning five. I liked Matthew a lot more than Tracy, and I wanted to get him something nice for his birthday. So I went to Toys R Us to see what your typical hyperactive five-year-old might enjoy.
It was a beautiful September day, warmer than normal; so I was glad to be inside the air-conditioned store. There were kids running around everywhere, dragging their aggrieved parents from aisle to aisle. I had to smile; I was the same as a kid – I was a girly girl who loved her dolls and always wanted a new one. I wandered the aisles, trying to think of something we could have fun doing together since Tracy was always off with her girlfriends and payed less attention to Matthew than he deserved. Then it came to me: the Lego aisle – all kids loved Lego, and I did too as a kid. So I hustled off to the Lego aisle, which happened to be at the very back corner of the store.
But as I approached the second to last aisle, I paused. A weird feeling washed over me; a sudden, totally random sense of dread building in my stomach. I paused, glancing around. If it was affecting anyone else, no one showed it; they were going about their business – kids running around, parents trying to her them. Everyone else acting normal helped relax me, so I took a deep breath and walked to the Lego aisle. I turned the corner – and froze.
The store was packed – you couldn’t go down any of the aisles without seeing at least three families perusing the merchandise, with a couple employees helping them. But the Lego aisle was suspiciously silent; and empty – all save one kid in a dark grey hoodie with the hood pulled up, standing alone in the middle of the aisle sideways to me, looking intently the Lego sets stacked neatly along the shelves.
That uneasy feeling returned, but my good samaritan instincts pushed it aside: here was a kid, alone in the aisle and probably lost. I put on my best smile, walked forward, stooped to his eye and asked, “Are you los-”
The words froze in my throat.
Because when that kid turned and looked at me, it felt like my soul died inside me. His eyes were black – deep, soulless, pitch BLACK. His skin was terribly pale, and when those inky black eyes met mine, he smiled – but his smile was way too wide. It stretched up his cheeks, mouth wider than I thought humanly possible, and his parted lips revealed a mouth full of needle-like teeth.
My mouth flapped uselessly. Dimly I felt a warm trickle of piss running down my leg, and my heart nearly burst when he – it – spoke to me. “HELLO JESSICA,” it said, a voice nightmarishly deep and harsh – and then it hit me: It knew my name – KNEW MY FREAKING NAME. “I’M SO LONELY – WON’T YOU PLAY WITH ME PLEASE??” It reached out with one hand, and hand which looked disturbingly normal and kid-like – palm up, as if inviting me to take it.
That was what broke me out of my trance. I turned around and blasted out of that aisle, skidding as I made my turn and upending a display. An employee shouted at me but I didn’t care. I wasn’t going to stop running until that thing was a distant memory in my rearview mirror. I dove into my car, slamming the keys into the ignition and stalling it three times before I got it running. As I burnt rubber pulling out, I glanced up and saw a store manager waving and shouting wildly at me – and behind him, leaning out from behind his legs, was the thing – waving a now-taloned hand at me, grinning that maniacal, alien grin and staring at me with it’s cold, lifeless black eyes. I sped out of there and never looked back.
Years on I’m still not sure what it was. My searching has suggested, obviously, the famous Black-Eyed Kids, but they seem to show up mostly at night and look much more normal. Maybe it was a demon, but why was I the only one that seemed to have seen it? I still don’t know – maybe I really am going crazy. But in case I’m not, crazy Toys R Us demon kid? Let’s never meet again.