There’s No Fear Quite Like It

By Chef QuaintAndCurious

My story begins six years ago when I was 22. I was working as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in Manchester, England. For those of you unfamiliar with each; Manchester is the largest city in the Northern part of my country and, as an EMT, I saw my fair share of gunshot victims, stab wounds and generally things unpleasant in nature which can play on your mind if you allow them inside. I have had the blood of strangers upon my hands and witnessed more than one death rattle. That said I loved the job, it was interesting, the pay was adequate for what I needed at the time and the hours, though long, did not affect my lifestyle or social life. I left the job almost exactly one year in and I no longer want anything to do with a primary healthcare profession. One year in I attended a car accident, not my first car accident nor the worst in terms of severity, but one which has changed my life significantly.

My memories of the day are somewhat hazy, it started normally, this I do remember. The call came in around half past five in the evening, a multi-car pile up on the Manchester ring road. Myself and my partner at the time quickly engaged the blue lights of our first response ambulance and raced the four miles or so to the scene. It was relatively standard, one car was on its side, the front and back of the other two were completely caved in, it would take a person with far greater forensic skill than mine to reconstruct the actual events of the crash.

My partner and I grabbed our emergency kits and jumped out of our vehicle, he raced over to the two upright cars, the occupants of which were either pacing around the scene, their faces pale, their hands on their heads, some crying. Or they were sitting as though asleep, unmoving inside the cars.

My attention was drawn to a middle aged female sat upright against the underside of the people carrier which had flipped onto its side. I breathed deeply and rushed to kneel in front of her. She was conscious, pale, and dying. I will not describe the extent of her injuries, nor will I speculate how she managed to end up where she did. Just appreciate that she was in a bad way and that despite the aid which I could give her I could tell it would not make much of an impact as to her fate. I resolved to make her comfortable for the worst part about the ordeal was that she was conscious and, though her eyelids fluttered and her breathing was laboured, she was as aware of her surroundings and situation as I was.

I knelt down in front of her and began to talk to her, the standard paramedic questions which are the one thing that television programmes and films often get correct about the job. ‘Can you hear me?’ ‘What is your name?’ ‘Can you tell me where and how bad the pain is?’ that sort of thing.

The question that every paramedic dreads is the panicked whisper of ‘am I going to die’ but this lady did not ask me that. Instead she continued to breathe erratically and made no acknowledgment as to her own mortality or the precarious thread by which it now hung. Instead she clung on to a life fading with each passing minute, answering my questions as a runner who has just completed a marathon would answer a journalist. Then it happened.

Do you know that fear that knifes across your chest when someone looks at a point over your shoulder and gasps in alarm. It’s a look often accompanied by ‘do not move’ in response to a large creepy crawly or imminent mild danger. The fear is very short, but for the split second that it’s alive, it is the most crushing, overwhelming fear there is. It makes you want to flail, to run in circles, to panic completely in a manner that you invariably think is not something you would ever do. Well the stricken lady raised her head, widened her eyes towards a point just over my left shoulder and gasps deeply. I froze completely, a thousand thoughts exploded into my mind which, and it sounds like a paradox to say this, had gone totally blank.

‘Help me.’

She murmured in a volume which only exacerbated the situation. I continued to kneel, frozen and staring into her eyes as they filmed and dulled in death. I don’t know if anyone reading this has ever watched anyone die but the difference in their eyes from their last second of life to their first of death is startling. From being bright and reflective it is a change akin to someone pulling a semi-transparent film over a previously bright window. That is not what made me leave my job, what made me leave was the figure i saw reflected in her eyes and standing just behind me.

I could not describe it’s features beyond that it was incredibly thin and humanoid in shape. In the reflection of her eyes he appeared completely black. There was no time lapse in between her passing and me whipping around to find that the nearest person to me was one of the crash victims standing against the motorway barrier about fifteen feet away. I saw out the rest of the day and handed in my notice. The reflection in that ladies eyes during her last second of life has haunted me ever since and no amount of sleep, alcohol or social distraction has loosened the knot of fear and confusion which seems as though it will be a permanent fixture in my chest.

The reason I submit this story to your attention is an event which occurred last night (15/03/2015). My maternal grandfather passed away last year after a long battle with illness and it devastated my mother. The pain has dulled somewhat now and, despite being a complete cynic, we thought it might be fun to agree to attend a private medium reading which my Aunt (my mother’s sister and the complete opposite to her in terms of spiritualism) had organised at her home.

After a general display of mediocre talent in my Aunt’s front room the female ‘psychic’ asked if any of us would like a one on one reading while the others waited in my Aunt’s kitchen. We all agreed and I was the last to go in.

Upon entering the room I found the medium seated at a round table shuffling tarot cards and the stereotypical situation was not lost on me. The medium glanced up and coughed.

‘I was dreading giving you a reading. Please do not sit down.’

I frowned and was about to open my mouth to tell her not to bother before she glanced over my left shoulder and cleared her throat again.

‘You would have seen him if you’d turned round before she died.’

The shock and surprise hit me like a truck and, despite considering myself to be quite an emotionally strong person I felt my eyes prickle in that telltale way.

‘How do you know about that?’ I asked.

‘He’s still behind you, he’s been behind you ever since.’

She continued to glance over my shoulder and the fear, so dull for so many years flared across my chest again.

‘He doesn’t like people seeing him, not many people do until the end.’

I did not try to stop the tear which welled out of the corner of my eye and ran delicately down my cheek.

‘But you saw him, and he didn’t like it. He’s following you, he’s waiting for the right time to reveal himself.’

‘I’m scared’ was the only thing that this 6ft, 28 year old man could muster and I truly, truly was afraid. Not afraid in the way that you would be about going on a large roller coaster, or would feel prior to a bungee jump or sky dive, but afraid as you would be if you came face to face with a lion and were unarmed and alone. The fear was visceral, sharp, and completely unescapable.

‘He has a message for you,’ she continued.

I did not want to hear the message but she lowered her head to her cards and shuffled them as though on autopilot, her face pale in the candlelight.

‘He wants you to know that he is looking forward to the day when you can see him through your own eyes and he says that, on that day, you will realise that after him there is nothing beyond.’

I exited the room, my heart pounding. My family asked what was wrong but how could I vocalise what had occurred. I know there is nothing after this life, as surely as I know that the sun will rise tomorrow. It is a thought that comes with constant fear and let me tell you, there really is no fear quite like it.

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Mr. No-Good

By Chef Bpaige

I had been living alone for over a year. The divorce was a difficult one but, since the scumbag ran off with another woman, at least I got the house. It was a modest ranch home with a lot of acreage, though surrounded by woods and the grounds were in serious need of repair. I had always wanted one of those husbands that cherished their home, mowed the lawn and liked to fix things. Unfortunately, he became more of a lazy bum that was more interested in the bottle. I could not really afford to hire anyone to fix up the place, so it just slowly started looking worse and worse for wear.

After the divorce I tried to fix things up myself. I weeded and worked my petite butt off to make a nice garden right in front of my big front bay window. It still did not look great; the beauty of the bright flowers was surrounded by rotted wood and unkempt landscape. At least I tried, and I was proud of my little garden. I tended to it every day. If I could not make the whole place beautiful, at least I had my one little spot that I could focus on, and block out all the muck that surrounded me (both literally and symbolically I guess).

It was only about a month or so after creating my wonderful “masterpiece” that I arrived home from the grocery store to trampled flowers. I dropped my bags filled with fruit and frozen items, and ran over to the sad looking little garden. “That no-good, worthless, nasty man must have done this!” I thought. He was probably trying to peek into my windows to spy on me! “No…” I then retracted “it was probably just some animals or something”.

The next day I went to the market and got myself a little border fence for my garden, only about a foot high. I placed it around the garden in front of my bay window, tended to the wilted plants that could be salvaged, and started it anew. There were no critters (human or animal) that could keep me from having this one nice thing!

Unfortunately, as time went on, every week or so I would or wake up to trampled flowers. Whatever was getting over that fence had to be pretty large…like a dog or…a 180 pound man. I would fix my garden every time this happened, but I was becoming more and more suspicious of my ex-husband. What could he possibly want though? He had moved on and moved in with his new tramp almost immediately, so why would he care what I was up to?

Then, one morning, I saw it. I walked out to get my mail and the flowers were trampled again, only this time I could see a boot print in the soil. I just knew it was that no-good, so-called man! He must be going through the garden at night to peer at me through the windows!

After seeing the boot print, I was so mad, I called him up and started to yell at him and demanded my privacy. Of course he claimed he did not know what I was talking about, but eventually he agreed to give me the privacy and to never come around again. Being the no-good man that he is, I didn’t completely believe him, so I got myself ready and went to the store immediately after hanging up the phone. I got myself some big curtains to that big bay window. Now, even if he came by again, he would not be able to see me.

A few days later when I saw the trampled flowers (even though I had to dig them all up and replace them this time since they were completely destroyed), I had to laugh because I knew he made the trip in vain and he could not see me this time! It looked like he had a fit too, because I had never seen the area so destroyed! I did not care this time though, because I had won! He thought he was being sneaky, but I found him out and foiled his plan…whatever that plan was. I then went back to the store and bought myself new flowers for my garden.

Everything was good for about a month or so. I saw no evidence of Mr. no-good spying on me. There was one thing though….

Every night, before bed, I made SURE to close those curtains. Then, upon waking, I would sometimes find them open. I could only imagine that I had forgotten to close them the night before, with all the stress I have been under of course, but I could have SWORN I had always closed them. I shook it off though, and blamed it on simple forgetfulness.

Then, one morning, I woke up and opened my bedroom door to find the hallway rug covered in dirt. I followed the trail of dirt to my front door. I couldn’t believe it! That no-good man must have made a spare key before handing his over to me. At this point I was both furious and a bit frightened. Why is he so determined to spy on me? What could he possibly want? It must be the house! He isn’t happy in the trailer with his little tramp, and he is trying to find a way to get me out! At that point I decided I would change the locks, and if I ever sense, even in the slightest, that he is still spying on me, I will call the police.

I changed the locks that very day, and felt content that Mr. No-Good’s spying days were finally over. Before bed I made SURE to close the curtains and lock all the windows and doors. The next morning, I awoke to nothing unusual. I opened the curtains and could see my beautiful flowers untouched and there was nothing in the house to indicate an unwanted visitor. If he had come by, he obviously realized what happened and went home!

I began my day as usual, and then went out to tend to my garden. From afar everything looked wonderful. As I knelt down to begin my work I noticed something unusual, it was a dead field mouse laying in the dirt. “Yuck” I thought and went to pick it up to dispose of it out in the woods that began a few yards from my house. As I went to toss the tiny carcass into the dark patch of trees, I noticed what looked like red paint on a few of the trees near where Mr. No-good had built his cheapo, and now run-down storage shed. Upon closer inspection, I saw some animal carcasses, like raccoons and possums, even something that looked like a deer.

My heart dropped into my stomach at this point. No coyote was making a meal here, it was definitely a person. Someone was living in that storage shed. My mind was racing as I ran back into the house. Was this who was watching me all this time? Who was coming into my home?

As I ran into my house and slammed the door behind me, the thought hit me. “Oh my God, he has been in my house” I said out loud. He could be in here right now. I knew at this point I had to make a decision to run outside to my car, or run to the phone that was in my bedroom and call the police. I did not feel safe inside my house, but I did not feel safe out there either. I decided to run to the car and get away. I would then find the nearest person or payphone to call the police.

I opened the door a crack and looked out, it looked so peaceful, but I knew he was out there (or in here somewhere). Then I made a run for my car, which was about 25 feet from the house. I opened the car door, jumped in and slammed the door shut only to realize “You idiot, you don’t have your keys!”

That was when I saw him. I could see him in my rear-view mirror as he rose from the back seat and smiled at me. I screamed and he grabbed me, telling me that I had to be quiet, that no one could hear my screams anyway. He pulled me in the back seat, I could see the knife in a pocket holster and I reached for it. He got to it before I did, held it out, and told me that he just wanted to talk. He would never hurt me because he loved me. With no real choice, I listened to him, and I agreed with everything he said…. to humor him of course. I did not want to make him mad.

Now, I am living in a huge, beautiful home in a gated community in the suburbs. I could not believe when the police came to my door that night. They told me that my poor poor ex-husband and his sweet new wife were murdered in their sleep in their trailer a few miles away. Apparently there was some sicko, who had murdered his brother and his brother’s wife, that escaped from prison and he was living in the woods near my house. He had some sort of obsession with me, and had been stalking me. I couldn’t believe it! I suppose he went to kill my ex-husband because of his love for me. I just feel absolutely terrible, and the police even had to relocate me for my safety. They put me in this lovely new house, far far away from my old life. I have a huge house, a beautiful pool, a lovely grand garden, and a small little guest house in the back. Apparently the murderer is still out there somewhere. They fear he will still be looking for me, and so I always leave my door open just in case. I really can’t stand these new neighbors of mine.