That demonic shriek. That soul wrenching feeling. Feeling your stomach sink an inch. I’d felt it that night, felt it every night and feel it this present moment as well as every time I look back to what happened.

Long story short, as a teen I would take any kind of insipid job offer, from mowing lawns to washing cars in the neighborhood, just to earn a little extra cash of my own. This one time a married couple from the neighboring street offered me 25 bucks for me to babysit their 8-year-old boy Kevin for a night, as they went out to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary.

I thought fair enough and took the offer. Initially things were nothing to write home about, since as it turned out the little brat was actually a rather kind mannered and well-behaved lad, so it wasn’t a huge challenge to keep him entertained. It’s a natural talent of mine – I know this comes off a tad braggart, but it’s true –, I’ve never found it particularly difficult to captivate children’s attention, but I really only have my father to thank, as I inherited his unparallel talent to entertain the younglings. God rest his soul.

After about the 10th round of Uno, watching the SpongeBob SquarePants movie and causing him major mental fatigue with my world class mindfreak logic games, he asked me if we can play a simple game of hide and seek before it was bedtime, to which I obliged. I was it first, and as he sought a hiding place, I – instead of counting back from 100, like I promised – called my girlfriend at the time to come pay me a visit for the night.

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I started the search, exclaiming “Ready or not, here I come!” as soon as I got off the phone. I checked behind every armchair and couch in the living room, checked both his and the master bedroom, but there was no sign of the boy. The basement was the only area left to explore, towards which lead a simple staircase through a door between Kevin’s room and a home office. I tried turning on the lights, but apparently two of the three bulbs connected to that switch burned out, leaving the vast majority of the staircase bleak, the basement slightly dim in a yellow shade. ‘Shit, he could have fallen and hurt himself under this shitty lighting’ – I thought to myself.

Underneath the spandrel of the stairs, there seemed to be a figure reminiscent of a young child, so I called out “Gotcha!” and told him to follow me upstairs to the kitchen for round two. We were halfway up the stairs when an ear piercing, despairing, guttural howl of a child spread from the downstairs area. I stopped dead in my tracks. My heart skipped a beat as chills ran down my spine…

After that initial second of shock, I instantly looked over my shoulder only to not actually see anything as I blacked out instantaneously. I was found by my girlfriend an hour from that point on, along with half a dozen police officers investigating the scene.

To this day some things remain constant. Firstly, 8-year-old Kevin Watts remains a missing person, the parents remain heartbroken, and I still cannot recall what I saw then and there. Every night I wake up in cold sweat, at that part there, before I have time to process the… thing I saw. I do know for certain however, that whatever it was, it wasn’t human… surely not.  

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