Hi, my name is Dustin, and I have a story I need to get off my chest. It’s lived with me for a long time now, festering within my being. It haunts me, and this is the reason why I’m afraid of blackouts.
It all started on a Saturday night. My parents were out on one of their date nights and I got to stay home alone. I’m an only child, so I don’t have to babysit any little kids while they are away. They had a date night every Saturday. I believe they were trying to mend a broken marriage. I didn’t care, though. If they didn’t want to be together anymore, they should just get a divorce, that’s my view on the whole thing. They eventually would get a divorce after I graduated from high school, saying that they didn’t want to affect my academics with their inability to get along. But I was awake for their nightly arguments and heard how they felt about one another, how they couldn’t stand being with each other. These arguments made me feel horrible about myself. I felt like I was the reason they stayed together. And later on, I’d learn I was right.
But that’s all beside the point.
I lived in a town next to a small lake. Alone in my room, I was watching a horror movie in the dark, as I usually am on a Saturday night. “Night of the Living Dead” was playing on my tube TV; one of those old television sets from the nineties, you know, the ones with the big backs. I was laying on my bed in flannel pajama bottoms and a baggy black t-shirt, eagerly waiting to look out my telescope that was pointed in the direction of my neighbor’s window. I was waiting for Rebecca to get into her pajamas. She was oblivious when it came to her window, which was perfect for a young pubescent peeping tom like myself. I now know that I was wrong for doing it, but hormones make you do some awful things like steal your dad’s porno mags and hide them underneath your bed!
The clock in my room read ten o’clock. It was time to get into position. I moved from my bed to the chair in front of the telescope and peered into it. There she was, sitting on her bed, taking off the makeup that she didn’t even need to apply. She was beautiful without it. She had long blonde hair and perfect dark eyebrows. Her blue eyes were a showstopper, and her breasts were quite large.
It wasn’t time yet, I decided. I turned my chair towards the TV and continued watching “Night of the Living Dead”. It was at the point of the movie when the zombies are approaching the barricaded house that the main characters are hiding in. Then the lights and television flickered twice, then died.
I jumped at the sudden loss of electricity. The house had lost electricity before, so I knew what to do.
My father had shown me how to flip the circuit breaker, causing the lights to come back on. It was pretty simple. I remember him showing me how to do it. The first time he showed me I wasn’t paying much attention. It was almost time to get into position then too, and that’s all I had on my mind. The next time the power went out, he told me to go do it, and I didn’t know what switch to flip, so he had to show me once again. Now I knew how to do it.
I grabbed the Maglite, a pretty long flashlight that fit easily in my hand, from the counter that was set up beside the basement door just for the occasion, and walked down the steps into the basement. The flashlight flickered on and off. I slapped at it and the light focused back on.
I used to use this light for flashlight tag with my friends. We had a lot of fun running around and tagging each other with our lights. I remember tripping, falling on the cement, and getting some wicked raspberries on my knees. The light flew out of my hands and fell to the ground. Luckily, it hadn’t broken, but occasionally it would flicker off then on again. Eventually my friends and I got older, and video games and girls were the only things on our minds. So the days of flashlight tag were behind us, and now the only use this Maglite got was when the power went out.
Walking up to the circuit box, I opened it up and tried to remember which switch was which. When I found the one I was looking for, I flipped it, and nothing happened. I flipped two more times, back and forth, and still no power. I went back up the stairs and peered out the living room window, seeing if anyone else on the block was out of electricity. The lamppost was dark and the neighbors conversed outside, talking to one another about why the lights had gone out, or so I assumed.
The neighbors seemed nice, always waving to me when caught looking my way, but I never dared interact with them. Instead, I opened the window a tad and eavesdropped on what they were saying. From what I gathered, I was right to assume everyone’s power was out. One neighbor said he’d seen the transformer blow. Great, I thought. It would take forever for someone to come and fix it. I looked at the grandfather clock standing gracefully in the living room and realized what I had been missing out on.
I ran back upstairs and looked through my telescope. I could barely see into her room with how dark it was, but I could just make out her pulling up her pajama bottoms, completing her bedtime attire. I cursed.
Walking from the peeping window to the other window, the one facing the street, I went to see what the neighbors were up to. A crowd of people had now formed just in front of my house. I could see the Robinsons from two doors down, Rebecca’s dad, who was my neighbor to the right, and Dan, who was my neighbor to the left. There were a few other people down there, but I couldn’t make them out due to them wearing jackets with hoods flipped over the top of their heads. I saw one of the Robinsons point towards the edge of the woods, and I followed where her finger was pointing. What appeared to be lights littered the woods edge. I went back to the peeping window, grabbed my telescope, and set it up in front of the window. Once it was set up, I adjusted and peered into it. I froze when I finally got a good look at them.
Standing at the edge of the woods were tall, pitch-black figures. They had bulbous heads like barn owls. Their eyes were like painted-over globes, white as a plain sheet of paper. The hands of the creatures were exceptionally large, connected to arms that fell listlessly to their sides. Other than that, they had no other features. They just stood there, swaying back and forth in place, watching.
“That’s it, I’m going to get my gun!” Rebecca’s dad announced, turning back to his house. He had a temper that was well known around the area. I lived next door to them, but you could hear the arguments between Rebecca’s parents from miles away. And that’s not even the worst part! He would get mad at little things. I once saw him kick his lawn gnome over the fence because it fell over when he walked past it. I would imagine the Incredible Hulk turns into him when he gets really, really mad, and that’s why nobody messed with him. He came back out with the rifle he used for hunting bucks.
“If one of those motherfuckers sets foot on my lawn, I’m blowing its goddamned head off, you hear!”
The neighbors chatted, not taking their eyes off the creatures on the other side of the road. The creatures stared back, swaying back and forth ever so slightly. Then I realized that these things weren’t blinking. They just stared with their glowing white eyes. It was impossible to tell what exactly they were looking at, for none of their bright eyes had pupils. I honestly couldn’t tell you what these things were, but I can tell you what they weren’t: human!
Then one of the creatures started to walk forward. They seemed sluggish, but their strides were long, and it wouldn’t take too many steps for it to make it to my neighbors.
It stepped off the grass and onto the street’s pavement, still slowly walking. I aimed my telescope back at the other creatures and another began to take strides, then another. They moved slowly, like the zombies in the movie I’d been watching.
Rebecca’s dad aimed his rifle at the closest creature and declared that he’d shoot if it took another step towards him. It didn’t even flinch; it just kept picking up its long legs and bringing them forward, coming closer and closer. He shot his rifle up into the air in a warning shot. The Robinsons, Dan, and the others put their hands over their ears, ducking a little in surprise. I did the same. A loud ringing went through my ears. After a few seconds, I looked out the window, for I no longer needed the scope to see the thing that was striding toward Rebecca’s dad.
He took a few steps back, clearing room between him and the unflinching creature and pointed his rifle at it, but it wasn’t even fazed. I could see now that it was taller than I expected. It had to be at least seven feet tall!
“I warned you!” Rebecca’s dad yelled, pulling the trigger again, hitting the thing right in the chest.
The thing is, that’s exactly what had happened. The shot went right through the thing! No wound showed on the creature. Not even a speck of blood hit the pavement. The bullets went right through the thing!
It took another stride forward, now mere inches away from the kneeling man, who exchanged a face of anger for a face of fear. It was coming right at him! Rebecca’s dad squeezed his eyes shut and hugged his rifle. That’s when the thing moved right past him.
Rebecca’s father opened his eyes and turned around, astonished that he was still alive, but nervous at the direction the thing was going in. It was heading for his house. The thing opened the door to his home and let itself in. That’s when his fatherly instincts kicked in and he went after the shadowed beast. I looked at the other creatures that were just now crossing the street. Then I heard another gunshot and a scream, Rebecca’s scream, come from next door. I grabbed my telescope and aimed it at her window. After adjusting the scope accordingly, like I have many times in the past, I peered into it and viewed the horror that ensued.
Rebecca had lit candles in her bedroom; the light from the flames of the candles illuminated the walls with their flickering wicks, but when the thing entered the room all the candles went out like a gust of wind blew by. She was screaming, throwing objects at the shadow-like creature. A lamp hurled towards it, then a book, followed by a harmless pillow and whatever she could find close to her, but everything went through the creature. The creature just stood there. Another book went flying towards the thing and once again, passed through it. Then the creature extended its arm towards Rebecca and took one, slow stride forward. I remember hearing her scream and wondering where her father was this whole time. The thing then put its hand on her shoulder, and her screaming came to an end.
Her eyes rolled back, and her arms fell to her sides. She became completely still, even in the face of the thing. Then she walked in front of the creature, with the thing in tow, and made their way towards the door. Then the thing turned and looked directly at me! I shuddered, backing away from the telescope. The thing looked at me with its noxious stare! I looked back to the telescope, but they had already made their way out the door.
I started to panic. It saw me! Was I next? I looked out the window to the street and saw the other dark massed creatures entering the homes of my neighbors. I also saw Rebecca, walking towards the woods with the creature following close behind like a shadow.
As more creatures began to emerge from the woods, other neighbors began to follow suit. I saw one creature following behind a little girl a few doors over. One followed close behind the Robinson boy, and Dan’s husband had one following him, all heading towards the woods. While I was so focused on this, I didn’t even realize the one entering my own home! I heard the downstairs door shut and I froze. It was coming for me! I was next!
I apprehensively looked around the room for a quick hiding spot. I bumped into my dresser and the Maglite rolled underneath my bed. I got into the pushup position and followed the light to the back wall, beneath where I slept. Moving magazines and old socks, I grabbed the flashlight and pressed myself against the wall, waiting for the thing to enter my room.
Then it entered.
Being under the bed and backed up against the wall didn’t give me a good field of vision. Its pitch-black legs moved into the center of my room. I imagined it looking around the room for me, seizing me and turning me into a lifeless zombie like Rebecca! Its knees bent down and hit the floor, not making any noise as they made contact. Then it looked underneath the bed. Its eyes were full circles, like a full moon on a dark night. Its bright, white eyes blared at me. It extended its arm and began to reach! I pressed against the wall as hard as I could as its arm reached for me. Its arm seemed to be growing longer and longer. I stared at it trying to fit its bulbous head underneath the bed as its mitt of a hand kept moving forward, stretching out towards me. I closed my eyes tightly, hoping for a miracle. I could feel its hand in my vicinity, and then the miracle I was waiting for happened.
The flashlight flickered on and covered the shadowy figure in light. It winced and opened its mouth wide. Like its eyes, the mouth shone with a bright white light, letting out a deep, foghorn yell. I cupped my ears as it cried out in what I assumed was pain. Its face began to crack, and it moved out from underneath the bed. It let out another bellowing yell, then left my room and continued out the door and out of my house.
When I knew it was safe, I crawled out with my savior, the flashlight, and peered out the window at the shadowy creatures. They were leaving our suburb for the woods, leading their captured victims toward the lake.
I ran out of the house and past my gawking neighbors, who were left in awe, not knowing what to do. I screamed out repeatedly, “They don’t like the light,” as I made my way toward the lake.
I ran into branches and tripped a few times over bushes, but eventually I made it out of the woods to the edge of the lake, where my fellow neighbors stood still with fear. I went to say my signature phrase, saying they don’t like the light, but trailed off as I saw what everyone else was staring at. The creatures were walking over the shoulders of the neighbors into the water, and the neighbors were willingly sinking. They kept walking into the water until their heads dipped below the surface of the water and then under, until the only thing that remained of our neighbors were ripples in the water.
After all this happened, we waited for what seemed to be an hour, but it felt like an eternity. No bodies floated to the surface. A few of the neighbors swam into the lake after the danger subsided, but there was no way they were going to find anything.
My neighbors called the police and people filed missing persons reports, but we all knew where they’d gone. Eventually they drained the lake to find the bodies of the lost neighbors, but nothing was discovered, no bodies were found, and that left even more questions than answers.
Rebecca’s dad was found unconscious on the floor of his living room. Apparently he had a heart attack and slipped into a coma. But I honestly believe the creatures had a hand in it. His extended family decided to pull the plug on him after they determined him to be brain dead. He died a year after the anniversary of Rebecca’s disappearance.
It’s safe to say I no longer live by any lakes since the incident. I became obsessed with the idea that monsters lived in the lake and that they were coming to get me. My parents eventually moved far away from the lake.
I have trouble sleeping now because of the nightmares that have stuck with me through that event. I have dreams where the thing grabs me and leads me to the lake, drowning me. I also can still hear that foghorn bellow echoing in my head. I don’t think I could ever forget that sound.
I’m lucky to be alive today. If my flashlight didn’t flicker on when it did I don’t think I’d be able to retell this story to you. So, if you live near a lake, be forewarned; they emerge from the woods and they don’t like the light.