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Cemetery Kid

Ohio, USA
October 1999

It happened around Easter time this year, when I was taking a walk in the cemetery. Call me morbid, but I like hanging in cemeteries. After visiting my brother's grave, I walked along the creek that ran through the cemetery. The creek has very high, steep banks held up in some places by tall stone walls so they won't cave in. Not all the banks are supported by the stone walls, just about a hundred yards in either direction from the bridge. Beyond the walls the banks aren't supported, and have grass and trees and flowers growing on them. In the creek itself are occasional small islands of wet mud that the water didn't quite cover.

Anyway, I was walking on the top of the stone wall, heading west from the bridge, when I saw a boy about seven or eight standing on one of the islands in the creek about thirty yards away, ten yards from where the wall ended. He was wearing black jeans, black sneakers, and a silver and black vinyl jacket. He was moving around in a strange sort of dance: first he'd lift one foot and wave the opposite arm, then the other foot and the other arm. I remember thinking it was funny -- surreal. I thought I'd go down to the creek and talk to the boy, but something told me I should keep quiet as I did so. Not calling out to him, I continued to walk along the wall till I reached the end. Then I started tiptoeing across the grass down the bank, keeping my eyes on the boy at all the times. I'm not sure why I was watching him so closely, but something told me I should. Though I was making some noise by then, he didn't look up and didn't stop his eerie, slow-motion dance.

When I was about fifteen feet away from him, a small tree blocked my view of the boy for just a second. When I was able to see the island again, he was gone. I ran down the bank, removed my shoes and socks, and waded over to the island, which was made entirely of built-up silt. When I stepped onto it, my feet sank in the mud almost to my ankles. But there were no other footprints on the island to show that the boy had been there.

Was he a ghost? I don't know. There are plenty of kids buried in that cemetery, but no seven- or eight-year-olds that died within the past decade. Remember, he was wearing modern clothes: jeans, sneakers and a jacket. I continue to go to the cemetery sometimes and never feel fear. I have not seen the boy since that day.

Ohio, USA
00:00 / 01:04
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