I remember my childhood very clearly. I remember the huge Victorian style home that I grew up in. It was in a big patch of woods in northern Louisiana, so the trees were very tall pine trees. I remember they smelled so good. Our house was about five miles away from neighbors on all sides, and the only way to reach it besides a trek through the woods was a tiny dirt road that lead from the main highway to our house. It was an absolutely beautiful setting for a beautiful home. The sun would burst through the trees, and now that I think about it, even during the height of Louisiana summer or the middle of winter, that area always felt as if it was fall. Maybe a solid 68 degrees all year round, which is strange.
I was a rambunctious child, eight years old at the time, with a huge imagination. This huge imagination would be the explanation given to me by my mother when I told her that there were kids living in the woods around our home. I’ve only ever spoken of this to my mother, and even now writing about it there are memories flooding back to me that I have somehow completely erased. There were vampires in those woods around my home, I’m sure of it.
One bright but cool August day, I decided to play outside with our Husky puppy, Marcella (we called her Marcy). My mother gave me her usual “stay close to the house, don’t go into the woods” warning, and I bolted out of the door with Marcy. My mom always reminded me that there were black bears in the woods and to never go farther than the edge of them, which literally surrounded our entire house besides the small dirt road. I remember seeing at least two back bears, but that’s besides the point.
Marcy and I were playing fetch with an old baseball that I had, and my last toss was a little too hard. The ball whizzed past Marcy and rolled into the thick woods behind my home. Marcy ran for it, but stopped dead in her tracks right at the edge of the brush and began to snarl. The hairs on her back stood up, and I remember being filled with a sense of panic. “Marcy? What’s wrong”, I asked. Right after I spoke I heard a snap in the woods, and fear took over. I screamed for Marcy to come and ran for the door to my house. Right before I closed the door, I saw the baseball roll back into the yard from the woods. I didn’t go outside for a while.
After a few days of hiding, my mother convinced me that it was probably an animal and that it was long gone by now. I remember the feeling of dread and panic that came over me, and the deep growls coming from Marcy. That was no animal. Being a bored child, I decided to venture back into the yard. My grandfather was huge gardener, and I collected seeds and small tools from him on my yearly visits. So I decided to make a small garden. It was about five in the afternoon, and I knew the sun would be setting about two hours from then. I found a small patch of flat yard next to the treeline behind my house and begun digging small holes to plant lily bulbs.
I became so caught up in gardening that time seemed to move faster and faster. Before I knew it the sun was setting and twilight was approaching. As I realized this, I began to collect my tools and leftover bulbs to put them away. Just as I picked up the last tool and turned to walk away, I heard what sounded like a child’s voice. “Hi”, said the voice. It came from the woods right behind me. I snapped my head around in surprise. “Hello?”, I asked. “Hi”, I heard just as I saw a small girl peak around a thick pine tree.
She looked to be around six or seven years old with long, ratty brown hair and dirty skin. She looked as if she’d been walking the woods for weeks. I remember her so clearly now. I remember her facial features were almost elf like. She had a pointy little nose and small ears. Her eyes were almond shaped and slightly upturned. Her fingers were a bit longer and skinnier than they should be. She wore tattered clothes that I didn’t think were strange, but now I realize they were almost pilgrim-like. Out of all of this, though, I will never forget her eyes.
The iris of her eyes were a shade of grey so light that they were almost invisible. They were striking, almost ghostly, and when she moved into the shadow cast from the tree they glowed. I think the term reflected is better. They were reflective like the eyes of a cat or raccoon. Right when I looked into them, the same sense of dread and panic filled me. I began to shake. “Stop that”, she said with adult authority. “You scared me”, I said. “Who are you?”
“Constance”, she answered. She smiled at me, but it was cold. I’d never seen a child like this. “Why are you in the woods”, I asked her. I knew there were bears and I didn’t want her to get hurt. “I live here”, she said as she turned away and skipped through the trees out of sight. I was confused and scared, so I ran back inside to tell my mother. Of course she didn’t believe me and told me that I must have imagined it. I think imagination is a crutch used by parents to explain things that scare them when it involves children. I remember after I told my mother, she went outside with her rosary and prayed in the yard for a bit, so I knew she must have been a little afraid.
That night as I was trying my best to sleep, I heard a tap on my window. It was around midnight, and when I turned my lamp on I saw the same girl from the woods outside of my window. She was standing there like she was waiting for me to open it and let her in. My room was on the second story of the home, and there was nothing for her to stand on below my window. “What are you doing”, I asked, startled. “Do you want to see my house”, she asked with that same cold smile. In the light of my lamp, her eyes looked animal like and…hungry.
“Get out of here”, I said with as much authority that a scared eight year old could give. I was very afraid now, and began to cry. “Tell me I can come in. We can play with your toys or we can pay at my house. My family is very nice but we’re very hungry”, she said as she leaned closer to the window. I noticed her teeth now. I’d somehow never noticed them while she spoke, but they seemed to change when she said the word “hungry”. They were sharp. Not like horror movie sharp, but sharp enough to puncture what they bit into. They were ALL sharp.
My eyes widened and I began to scream for my mother. “Let me in! Let me in!”, the girl screamed as she hit my window. I was now screaming in terror as my bedroom door flew open. My mother rushed in and turned on the light, and there was nothing in the window. I told her what happened. She said I probably had a nightmare about the girl I thought I saw, but right as she was saying that, I saw what looked like Constance looking up at me from the treeline. I saw her reflective eyes, then saw two more pairs of those reflective eyes. These were at the height of adults.
While my mother was trying to calm me down, she said that we were going to visit my aunt and cousins that next day. What she didn’t tell me was that she had lost the house and was actually bringing me to stay with my aunt while she moved our things from the house. The next day as we were loading some bags into the trunk my mother told me that we were going to bring Marcy with us, and that I should go get her. I found her in the back yard, snarling at the woods. I called her and we ran to the car. As we drove off I looked back at our house, and I swear I saw those eyes. Three pairs staring at me through the trees.
When my mom finally explained that we weren’t going back, I was very happy. My mother said I even look relieved. I will never forget those eyes. I see them sometimes in my dreams. I still wonder what would have happened if I had opened that window, and I still shudder at the thought of being so close to her in my yard. I think, no, I know that they were vampires. They had to be.