The stranger on the riverwalk

My former best friend and I used to go on a lot of walks together last year. We live four blocks away from each other and neither of us could drive at the time so it was one of the things we liked to do in order to get out of the house. It was in summer when this happened so to avoid the heat we usually went out after dark when it was cooler out. One of the our usual haunts was a park in our town, located near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that is within walking distance. To get there, you can walk on the sidewalk or you can take a shortcut on a path along the river called the riverwalk, which the route we usually took to get to the park as well as to leave it. This particular night we were leaving on this path around 10pm, when the park closes. The moon was pretty bright, probably a full moon or close to it, so we could see well and didn’t need flashlights at all, even though there are no lights along the path. As we were walking we passed this one spot that has a small set of steps leading down to the edge of the river. The conversation had lulled and I looked directly at the steps, probably to look at the river, and they were empty. I looked at her and commented on the weather being nice or something. When I looked back at the trail I immediately noticed in the corner of my eye a man sitting at the top of the steps, watching us walk past. Right away the air felt cold, similar to when you swim through a cold spot in a pool. I also only knew that he was watching us from the way his head was turned at us. I couldn’t tell from his face because it wasn’t there, even though I should have seen it in the moonlight. After all, I could see my friend’s face perfectly. Instead of a face, there was only a black void. I felt my body seize up and I couldn’t speak, only walk past almost robotically. That in itself was odd because even at this time of night in the area I live in you always at least acknowledge the people you walk past with a wave, a “hello”, or even just a simple nod. But I couldn’t speak or move my body in any way besides my legs. Now, I very rarely get scared. Startled, sure, but almost never actually scared. What I felt in that moment was a pure, instinctual terror. My friend and I walked in silence for two or three minutes until we were well out of earshot, then she asked me if I saw him too. As we talked we realized we experienced it in exactly the same way, so I know it wasn’t just my imagination. I’ve tried to figure out what that might have been, and there are a few possibilities, but I still pretty much have no idea. To this day, over a year later, I still never walk along that path when it’s dark out.

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I move, but this haunts me whenever I visit.

When I was younger, sometimes at night I would hear weird noises at my old childhood home, which was in a country town in Wisconsin, with a population of almost 10,000. I would hear or sometimes see things at times when I was living there. It would range from weird scratching, knocking, weird animal noises, all the way to seeing bright glowing eyes constantly peering out from the darkness of the thicket in between the houses from across the street. I honestly don’t know what it was, but almost at least once a week, at night I would see the eyes. Here where it gets weirder for me. See sometimes I would run back and forth in the kitchen since I wouldn’t be allowed to go out at night past 9:00 pm and I needed to get my energy out since I have ADHD and I don’t have a good outlet for it. But anyway, one night as I was dancing around a little, my dad asleep on the living room couch having passed out from coming back from work, and I had my earbuds in with the little lamp that sat on the corner of the kitchen counter on.

When I was doing this I saw something out of the corner of my eye as I was turning around, it was just almost out of my peripheral vision. I stopped and turned back to the window, which was in front of the sink and faced outwards the street. From what I saw the ‘thing’ I saw seemed like a doggish like figure. It was kind of an ashen grey color, with short hair that looked like it was almost non-existent, the ears sorta clipped at the tips and you could sorta see its ribs and it stopped near the street light. I had initially thought that it was a stray dog or a dog that had escaped the shelter, as that had tended to happen a lot because of the terrible funding the shelter had. The street lamp that was at the corner of the sidewalk washed over the dog as it edged closer to the honey-yellow light and I could see that it didn’t look right. Like not sickly looking, but sorta unnatural in a way that people need to take a double take to confirm what they had just seen. The dog was indeed an ashy grey color and did look to have clipped ears like I thought before, but its mouth looked weird like it was awkwardly stuck in a crooked position. You may think the dog may have been in an accident or from an abused home, but you see most dogs who have bodily problems like that usually were put down because many of them couldn’t eat or live properly without assistance and the shelter couldn’t afford that sorta thing at the time. And many people didn’t want to adopt a dog like that. So it was already weird to see a dog with that physical issue walking around and without a collar, and no owner. I had taken out my earbuds at this point and opened a crack in the window, I don’t know why really, maybe to call to it or maybe I thought it would let me see it better.

As I opened the window it seemed to have heard the noise and turned it’s head face me, which thinking about it now was practically impossible cause it barely made any noise besides a light scuffing sound as I pushed it open. As the thing faced me I saw something very disturbing. It’s teeth, it’s fucking teeth, they weren’t canine-like, they were like humans but arranged to fit the ‘dog’s’ mouth. And its eyes were huge and fucking red, not an amber red color or reddish brown color, but a fucking glowing reddish color, like when you use to flash a camera at someone and their eyes flash red. It fucking smiled at me, well I think it tried to smile, but the jaw was still at the awkward position and it’s weirdly long tong lolled out. In a calm panic, I quickly shut the window, hard, and locked it. That seemed to make it stop staring, it tilted it’s head toward me one last time before shutting its mouth, and dashed out of the street lamps light and up the darkness of the street ahead. I vaguely recall that it didn’t have a tail, or maybe it was a really stubby one. I can’t say for sure, but I don’t want to remember. Cause I know that many skinwalker stories have it were they have no tails, and I don’t want to believe it is one. I really really don’t.

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