By Chef WriterJosh/Josh Parker
Something is hunting my family.
I’m not sure what it is, because every time I close in on a grain of discovery, it is snatched away from me.
It has been going on for years. Decades, even. I think I finally noticed the strange similarity when my cousin Melinda went missing after a midnight drive a couple of years ago. Back in the mid-2000’s, my Aunt Kelly and my young cousins Marissa and Kevin were found murdered on their front lawn by my Uncle Trent. They actually accused him of the murder at first, but were unable to make charges stick. He was found murdered in his own home a week after the police first talked to him. Police ruled it a suicide, but we knew better.
One of the strangest disappearances of all was my cousin Leo, who was led into an old building near his home by a man none of us knew and never came back out anymore. There were a few witnesses who reported seeing him walk toward the old building and go around the back. The man leading him was never properly described, and no one in the family knew who he was.
I don’t know who will be next. It may very well be me. I have a few reasons to think it is likely.
Lately it feels like someone is following me. Every time I go out in public, I can feel someone’s eyes on me. I catch glimpses of people keeping pace with me out of the corner of my eye, but they’re never there when I look directly at them.
Then there’s the graffiti. I first noticed it when I was taking the train three weeks ago and looked down at the wall of the car where I was sitting. Scrawled in sharpie were the words “Ol’ Uncle Quarrel has Kelly.”
I thought of my aunt when I saw those words, but I didn’t think much of them. Kelly is a common name, and the whole sentence just looked like the kind of stupid nonsense kids write on walls.
But then the other day I had to use a public restroom. I don’t see graffiti in public restrooms much anymore, but I saw it that day. Scrawled in what looked like the same kind of sharpie: “Ol’ Uncle Quarrel has Leo.”
That put my hair on edge. I had now seen this idiotic phrase and both times the name was one of my relatives.
I kept a lookout for more after that. And I saw them. In little secret, out of the way places I happened to look. “Ol’ Uncle Quarrel has Melinda.” “Ol’ Uncle Quarrel has Marissa.” “Ol’ Uncle Quarrel has Kevin.” “Ol’ Uncle Quarrel has Trent.” “Ol’ Uncle Quarrel has Louise.” That last one was my great-aunt Louise who I hadn’t heard from in years anyway, but it was still disconcerting to see.
Then one day I saw one day another scribble in sharpie, again warning me who Ol’ Uncle Quarrel has. This one was different, because I had not heard anything about his disappearance. The name was Jeremy. My brother.
I had not spoken to my brother in more than a month. We lived far apart. He had his family and I had my job. We never had a falling out of any sort. We just sort of drifted out of each other’s circle and decided we were okay with it.
My blood froze in my veins at seeing his name. I called him immediately. I didn’t even stop to think up a reason to call him out of the blue. I just got out my cell and called him without a second thought. It went to voice mail. I called his wife, Hannah. She assured me that he had left for work the way he normally did and she had no reason to believe otherwise. I asked her to text me that evening if she didn’t hear from him, but to have him call me if she did.
I never heard back from either of them. I didn’t sleep at all that night, waiting to hear from them. I tried to tell myself that she just forgot our conversation. The next day I called them back. No answer at any of their numbers. I called my parents and asked them to call their numbers. Dad later called me back and told me they had no answer at any of their numbers after repeated attempts.
And two days later, I saw the scribble on the side of a wall downtown. “Ol’ Uncle Quarrel has Hannah.”
I decided to speak up here in this post because the nature of the graffiti has changed recently. Two days ago, I found some that said “Ol’ Uncle Quarrel says you’re next.” Yesterday it said “Ol’ Uncle Quarrel is coming for you.” Today, I found a scribble right outside my apartment that said “Ol’ Uncle Quarrel is almost here.”
But I’m glad I wrote this post. Time has run out for me, but maybe someone will see this and keep the investigation going. I don’t know who or what this Ol’ Uncle Quarrel is, but I know he’s coming for me. There are footsteps in the hall. There are sounds of things crawling. Ol’ Uncle Quarrel is almost here.