It was our town festival, aptly named Grantsville days. The small town in Maryland has a festival once a year and it lasts for three days. I was walking around the park grounds with my friends, we were no more than eleven at the time, and everything seemed perfect.
It was a beautiful sunny day in June, and the atmosphere of the festival was jubilant. You could almost say that it was too perfect. As my friends and I walked, we realized that we had to alleviate some pressure that had been growing in our bladders, due to drinking lemonade and soda all day. As it is a festival and usually has a large turnout, naturally the latrines were all occupied. So we all proceeded to a nearby alleyway, seeking our relief.
As each one of my friends finished they exited the way they came in. I however was left, apparently alone in the alley. Keep in mind it is daylight, and even though I was in an alley it was still well lit. It was then that I saw it standing alone and very still at the far end of this dead end alley. A shadow roughly the size of a full-grown man stood there, a fortress unto himself, and silent as the night. It was then that I noticed the alley had grown slightly dim, but the surrounding world was full of life and light.
Something just seemed wrong about the whole thing, so I cried out to him, "This is a happy place! You don’t belong here! Get out!" No signs of movement, or that he even heard me for that matter, just stillness. So I again cried to the shadow, "leave this place, you are not welcome here!" Being my dream, I expected compliance, but nothing of the sort came, just his motionless form. Finally, now very irritated and completely aware of the dream state I was in a commanded the creature to leave, but nothing. At last a low, rumbling, and almost synthetic voice sounded from the being. "THIS IS MY WORLD, YOU GET OUT!" With that I snapped back to reality and my living room floor. I was still twelve, in fact I had just turned the day before, and it was still the post birthday party sleepover. Wow, I thought to myself, what a nightmare. It would soon come to my attention though that my nightmare was a reality.
There are six of us, you see. We’ve been friends literally since our births. Our mothers were friends growing up and stayed friends after our arrivals. As I’m sure you understand I can’t use their real names, but I will tell of their stories.
Firstborn was Landon, born May 21, 1982. Next was Brian born two days later in the same year and hospital. Third was David he was born June 29. Chris followed him only by a few days being born July sixth. Next was Tate, born August 29 of the same year, and finally I was born only 2 weeks after Tate on September 14.
As we grew into men, we attended all the same schools, classes and played the same sports. We shared all the same experiences, even the most eerie. Our group of six was inseparable. We were once described as the most charismatic and unique group of individuals that the describer had ever met.
I sincerely hope you get the point about my friends and I because it is the very center of this story. So let me pick up where I left off.
I was just coming out of the bathroom from wiping my face with a cold washcloth when I saw it for the first time. Quite possibly one of the most terrifying things a twelve-year-old boy could see; His nightmares become reality. I could not believe what I was seeing even now it’s difficult, but experience has taught me the truth. My five best friends all on cots on my living room floor, and standing above each of them was a shadow. I call it a shadow, because I have no other way to describe them. They weren’t like a traditional ghost, being a white translucent mist. They were something different entirely. Totally black, like the embodiment of night, exuding a malevolent presence, and there they were five of them hovering above each one of my friends.
I stood there, just awestruck and horrified, completely speechless. It was then that each one of my friends snapped to an alert state, the kind that one attains only after a terrifying experience. I have since realized the order in which they awakened was chronological according to birthday, with the exception of my own. As they roused one by one the shadows disappeared. Everyone saw them with the exception of Tate, but he still knew what had happened. We sat there, for a moment thinking about what had happened, still much too afraid to talk about it. Eventually Brian broke the silence with, "what the hell was that?" No one knew, but we each shared a story of the dream we just had; All different with the exception of the end.
Ever single dream ended the same. It was me who posed the question if everyone had seen them upon waking or not.
Now all this seems like a churched up version of a twelve year old conversation, but believe me, we were not regular pre-teens. We were and have always been above normal intelligence, and each personality complimented the other. That’s one of the things that still defines us and still makes us unique.
Well, they all confirmed they had except Tate, but he still knew there had been something there. At first they were going to let it go as coincidence and tricks of light in a dark room, but the fact remained that I had seen all of them and as each person woke they saw one less than before.
After that we never spoke of it again until recently.
Last Christmas we had all come together again after a long separation, but this time we all brought our girlfriends. After spending a few days together the girls became friends and began to talk and go out on their own. Unbeknownst to us they were talking about the one dark thing they found we had in common, the SHADOW. Apparently they had all seen each of our dream-stalkers and began to share stories. Finally the girls approached us about it, now realizing that they weren’t hallucinating when they saw them, they had newfound courage about the subject. They asked us about it on Boxing Day. (The day after Christmas) It had been nearly a decade since the incident and none of us had ever spoken of it to anyone since that night. That is until now. We explained to them what we knew and when we discovered it. All of us got a really eerie feeling that night, and it stuck. So, on new years, when all of our families got together, we decided to question them about it. We, meaning our girlfriends and us separated our mothers from the crowd and began asking questions and telling stories.
David’s girlfriend started her story first, and that’s when it happened; Six mutual looks of concern on six mother’s faces, we all noticed it. Many others followed from the girls and finally came ours. After that there was silence about the room for a time, and finally Sharon, David’s mother broke the monotonous stillness of the moment and said, "I suppose it’s time to tell them."
She started off by saying it had happened our whole lives, but they hoped we’d never see them. Apparently it started shortly after my birth when the group was complete, on the same night. Sharon called my mother in the middle of the night to tell of what she’d seen, a dark figure hovering above her baby’s crib. My mother already being awake at the time said the same thing had just happened to her. A few more calls ensued and before any of them realized it, they had a phenomenon. As the years passed they continued to see the figures haunting their boy’s in the night. Each time always on the same night and each time the women prayed the boys would never notice or the things would just go away.
They never did! They still follow us to this day and no one can figure out what they are, but their appearance always follows a major change in our collective life. Who knows what they are or why they stalk, but one thing is for sure, I know I’m not alone, ever!