She leaned over and rubbed her knees, gasping for breath. That was the longest sprint that she had done yet without looking behind her.
Several minutes ago, she was happily walking home through the forest from the house where she regularly babysat. The house itself was a stunning modern building with glass walls that faced directly down and into the forest. Nestled in the centre of the forest were the ruins of huge walled gardens and an old castle; a small castle considering the size of the gardens and height of the secured walled areas. The tips of these walls peeked just above some of the trees so that when you stood on the second floor landing and peered down into the forest, you could make out the perimeter of the castle, gardens and ruins. It was a spectacular sight. Usually.
Recently though, while curled up on the chair on the second floor landing after putting the children to bed and waiting for their parents to come home, she had noticed flickering of light down near the ruins. Nothing spectacular, more like gentle flashes or reflections from raindrops trickling through leaves in a tree. Assuming it was walkers or teenagers camping out in the ruins, she paid no real attention. Last night was different though.
She was sitting in her usual spot, nestled in the comfortable wicker chair on the second floor landing when a loud bang startled her from her book. She looked up quickly and focused her eyes. First, she saw her reflection looking back at her from the 10 ft glass paned wall but when she focused out into the darkness, she caught sight of the red stuff oozing down the window pane. Frozen to her seat, she wished that she could dim the light in the room, or turn on a light outside because right now she was in clear view from the outside. Closing her eyes for a moment, she breathed deeply and tried to slow her racing heart. WAS that really something dripping down the window? She opened her eyes again and focused through her pale & terrified reflection to the liquid oozing down the glass outside, and oh my, was that a flicker of light?
Terrified, she leapt from her chair and raced to the children’s room, locking the door behind her. She tiptoed to the bed where the youngest child lay and curled up under the covers beside him, her hearing on full alert.
It was like she had supersonic hearing. Every tiny squeak, creak and whistle roared loudly in her head. Thinking she heard another bang, she pulled the young child closer and blocked his ears. Her pulse was thudding in her head like a jackhammer, almost blocking out all other sounds. It reminded her of the time that she fainted in school; the few moments just before she lost consciousness, her hearing had gone all hollow and muffled. It was like that now, a slow intoxicated mix of low murmurs and loud bangs, but, wait. That sounded like knocking!
As realisation hit, she leapt from the bed and quickly unlocked the door with a relieved sigh. The children’s parents stepped back with an odd expression on their faces as she exited the room explaining why she had locked the door. She glanced towards the window while telling the story and stopped mid sentence. There was nothing on the glass. Not a mark or a smudge.
Confused, she ran over to the glass and peered out, placing her hands on either side of where she had seen the red stuff oozing down the glass. There was nothing there. Confused, she began to tell the full story to the parents when her eye caught something outside, deep in the forest. There was a tiny flicker of light, dancing from one tree to the next, coming closer and closer to the window.
Speechless, she pointed her finger at the light and turned to the children’s parents. Both had quite vacant expressions on their faces and yawned at exactly the same time. They hurried her to the spare room where she was spending the night and went to bed themselves. The night was a restless one for the girl as she lay there going over and over what she had seen and heard.
The following morning, and in full daylight, she began to start doubting herself. Had she seen anything the previous night? Did she really hear anything or was it her imagination? She said her goodbyes to the children and parents and started her journey home through the forest, loud with birdsong and river water babbling. It was just beginning to rain so she was thankful that she had her raincoat.
As she reached the big tree at the corner of the track she paused. The rain was pouring down now and the birdsong had stopped. Just ahead was the spot where the hair on her neck always stood and she got that tight feeling at the back of her throat where she felt she had to hold her breath until she reached the old gate by the ruin entrance which was almost the exact centre of the forest. Each time she walked through this stretch of the woods, she did the same thing. Pause, hold her breath, take one last look behind her, and then run. Run and not stop until she reached the gate.
She wrapped her scarf around her face and looking behind her, took a deep breath before sprinting past the corner. She was running so fast that the cold air stung her eyes causing them to water and form little streams towards her hairline. The rain was getting lighter when she noticed that she was near the gate so stopped to catch her breath. Bend over; with her hands on her knees, she glanced backwards. That’s most definitely the longest she had gone without looking back. As she stood up and turned towards the gate, she was startled by a young girl in a pretty red coat.
“Hi there,” she said, smiling and walked towards her. The little girl did not say anything and pointed towards the trees in the forest.
“Oh, is your mammy in there?” she asked softly and turned to face where the girl was pointing. “Ah, There are lovely gardens behind those walls, aren’t there? Do you live nearby?”When she turned back to the girl, she was nowhere to be seen.
Assuming she had gone back to her mother, the girl carried on her journey home.
The more she walked, the more odd thoughts struck her; The little girls red coat was very old fashioned looking, and she had beautiful shiny patent black shoes on with white frilly socks. White frilly socks? In the middle of a forest? Hmmm. And the shiny black shoes? There was NO way that shoes could have been clean after walking through there in the rain.
Up ahead, and nearing the exit, she spotted a farmer walking.
“Excuse me," she called, getting his attention, "have you seen anyone else walking in here this morning?”
“Nope.” he replied bluntly, clearly busy in thought himself.
“You didn’t pass a woman and little girl?” she asked, a bit more concerned and glanced back into the woods.
“I’m afraid not, but...” he cut off mid sentence, his face loosing colour.
“But what?” she pressed.
“No, no, it’s nothing.” He insisted and quickly walked away, but not before stealing a quick glance back into the forest.
As the years passed, the girl heard many similar stories of people out walking and encountering a little girl in a red coat in that forest. Some swear that she vanishes into thin air, others that she spoke to them warning of danger.
Me? Well, I wouldn’t babysit for that family anymore, and I never, NEVER walked through that part of the forest on my own ever again.
TRUE STORY... I jest you not...
Does anyone else have any spooky stories that are real? (or loosely based around?) I would love to hear them!