I have always been a fan of typically scary things. Scary movies and ghost stories had always intrigued me growing up, and even now I have more of a love for them than I ever did before.
I suppose that's why I've decided to write this now. My love for thrilling stories has only grown throughout my years, and I thought "There must be a few people out there like me who want to find these stories for their own cheap thrills, so why not write down some of my own?" The only thing is, each story that I want to tell isn't just something that I've made up. These are all things that have happened to me. You're probably thinking that this is another cliché opening to a story, and if so, you're free to skip ahead to the scary parts. Enjoy your cheap thrills. For those of you still reading this, however, know that I am not lying when I share my experiences, and I will do my best to remember as many details of these incidents as I can. Anyways, enough rambling. Onto the actual story.
It was during a field trip in eighth grade that the teachers at my school decided it would be a wonderful idea to bring the class to a haunted house. I don't remember exactly where it was located, as we stopped at several places on that field trip, as it was an overnight trip and we went to an amusement park as well as an aquarium in the same trip. I didn't pay attention to road signs, so I still have no idea where this haunted house was.
Now, it's important to mention that yes, it was a haunted house built and designed to scare people, it's why it was there. I understood that if I went inside, the people were going to do their best to scare me. However, I didn't know by how much just yet.
As the lot of our class walked inside, we were greeted by a nice lady who had each of us fill out waivers before we walked through the haunted house. Perfect place to bring a bunch of thirteen year olds. We had the choice of actually going into the haunted house, or playing a round of "haunted mini golf" off in another section. Oddly enough, all of the boys who made fun of the "scared little girls" admitted they were too afraid to set foot in the haunted house and went to go play mini golf. Meanwhile, the rest of us were only allowed to go in with a maximum group of six.
Now, I was the only boy left in the crowd, so I sat with a calm expression as I assured the girls I was planning to go in with that there was nothing to worry about. I wasn't scared at all. I had never really walked through a haunted house myself, but I had heard stories and had seen enough horror movies at that point to think it wouldn't be a big deal. I would be the brave one in the group while everyone else sat scared.
Our group was the last to enter as several other girls came out trembling from having walked through the place.
Looking back on things now, the place really wasn't that scary. People jumping out here and there, a smoke machine set up, creepy music and ghouls hooked up to machines that would follow you. Typical haunted house stuff.
However, I had suffered from sleep paralysis. I could handle seeing things from behind a screen or in a book, but seeing these people and machines in front of me brought back that fear - that feeling of "this is real, and I can't move." I was terrified. I went into a panic and I couldn't escape from it. My friends kept telling me to walk back by myself because by the way I was acting, it was possible that I could have blacked out or worse at any moment. I was too scared to go back on my own through and urged everyone else to basically run through the place.
I couldn't breathe.
Gasping for air I looked at the realistic people coming towards us. My vision started to blur, and I could no longer differentiate the real from the fake. The more I walked along, the more the feeling sank in that I was going to die that day. If the people didn't kill me, than my heart was going to explode or my lungs would collapse. I couldn't feel my legs. All I could feel was the intense beating of my heart and the horrible pain in my chest as I gasped for air like I was drowning.
The house seemed to have thousands of rooms that went on forever. I was shouting that I couldn't handle this and that I needed to get out or I was going to die, but the people there just saw this as an excuse to scare us more.
That's when we finally got to one room in the house, and it was by far the scariest. Several body bags hung from the ceiling, corpses barely visible on the inside, but clearly there. A strobe light hung from the ceiling, flickering much slower than one normally would. It only seemed to turn on once per second and in between, everything went completely black. When the lights came on, everything appeared to be in black and white.
I should mention I have an intense phobia of crowds. Being lost in one sets me in a horrible state of panic and doctors have told me that with how high my anxiety becomes when I'm lost in one for too long, to stay away from them by any means necessary to avoid heart problems in the future.
Well now I was surrounded by a crowd. A crowd of dead bodies all wrapped in bags. The bags seemed to wrap themselves around my face as I walked through them, and for the brief moments the light came on, I could see my friends slowly slipping away until I was completely alone. I heard them try to scream my name, but the sound seemed distant - muffled by the constant crinkling noises of moving plastic bags.
It was at that moment I stumbled backwards. I didn't quite lose my footing, but I did lean back into one of the body bags. This one, however, was different. This one felt... cold. The rest of the bodies, which I assumed were plastic or whatever else they used felt warm, either due to the room being so hot or my state of panic thinking that it was, but this one had a distinct difference in temperature. There was a wrongness to it.
It was then that an awful smell hit my nostrils as I gasped for air, still lost in a state of panic. There wasn't enough light for me to get a closer look, but I was certain that there was a real body in there.
I was hysterical. My panic made me feel like I was on the verge of death, and now feeling this body I was certain that I would never leave this place. Suddenly, out from the bags, a hand reached forward and latched onto the back of my shirt, pulling me in another direction. I thought that this would be it for me until I heard a familiar voice call out "Come on! We're not leaving you behind!" The hand belonged to one of my friends.
It turned out that that was the second to last room in the house. We managed to get out and, needless to say I was a wreck.
None of the teachers nor my friends could calm me down. I was inconsolable. Still gasping for air, I held my head between my knees and sobbed. I felt sick to my stomach and my throat felt too dry to speak. We left shortly after that, and I could hear the other boys in my class making fun of me from afar for having cried from a haunted house.
I worked for a while on finding reasons for everything. I'll still never go in a haunted house, but I find myself obsessed with horror movies and stories. I'm even getting better around crowds thanks to a bit of therapy.
The one thing I'll never be able to explain, though, is that one body that just didn't seem right. The one with the unmistakable smell. No matter how much I try to find logical conclusions to this day, I know one thing for certain about that house.
That body was real.