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Short Story: “Bad Man Get Me”

This story didn’t happen to me…at first. But eventually, I found my way into it. First, I will tell you his story as he told me. Dan lived in a very haunted house. It was a 3 story home that was divided into 3 apartments. Dan lived on the bottom floor and his neighbors that lived above him had no complaints about any spooky circumstances (as far as he knew).

I used to hang out at his house all the time when we were kids. We would sit on his porch, hang out in his room and play video games, or watch movies in his living room with his big white dog Sullivan. That dog was one of the friendliest dogs I have ever met. He was always ready to jump up on you and attach clumps of white hair to your clothes. I was never allowed to have a dog growing up so; I grew quickly attached to my friend’s dogs; especially if they were affectionate and happy.

Even when they bought a cat, Sullivan always came first, especially when very quickly after bringing it home; the cat started to show abnormal random spouts of aggression against everyone in the house. It was only a matter of time before Sullivan succumbed to the same type of behavior. It was as if something in that house was scaring the animals into a state of constant fear. It eventually took its toll on Sullivan and his cheerful demeanor turned into apathy dotted with moments of feral viciousness.

When we weren’t inside we were probably in his backyard. Behind his house was a smaller, separate one family house. They owned a trampoline which meant we kind of did too, whether they knew it or not. In actuality, we were very nice and asked the family if we could use their trampoline because we didn’t want to be rude and hateful and they were very nice in return by tolerating us jumping on it every chance we got. If we weren’t jumping on the trampoline we were playing among the trees just beyond Dan’s backyard. In these woods there was a concrete slab. It looked like a foundation of a very small house that had long since been abandoned by the actual house itself. Scorch marks on the slab led us to believe that there was a fire and all that remained was the cracked, gray platform.

This is where I will start Dan’s story. Dan shared a bedroom with his older brother and they slept on a metal bunk bed. The older brother slept on bottom and Dan slept on top. My brother and I owned the same type of bed and I can tell you from experience that sleeping on the top bunk makes you extremely paranoid of what’s happening on the bottom bunk when no one is in it. I could never tell if it was my pulse or breathing but I always felt like someone was underneath me, gently moving the frame.

One night, while Dan was asleep he was woken by the bed moving. He looked up to see someone sitting on the edge of his bed, staring at him. It was dark so all he could see was a broad outline but he was sure someone was sitting on the edge of his bed. He was also sure that it was his older brother, possibly sleepwalking or even worse, just messing with him. He sleepily grumbled, “Rob, get off my bed!” The figure delicately climbed down the ladder, walked toward the door, and exited the room. Then he heard snoring come from beneath him. He looked over the edge of the bed to the bottom bunk to see his brother waking up from a sound sleep. He was awoken by Dan yelling at the figure and couldn’t have possibly been the one to exit the room.

At the breakfast table the next morning, Dan began to talk about what had happened the night before. His older brother and younger sister sat next to him while he described the whole thing and his mother laughed it off as if it were a dream. In typical parental fashion, she told him “not to worry about it and to finish his cereal” but Dan was sure of what he saw.

20 Minutes later, they all piled into the car so that Dan’s mother could drive them to school. First, she dropped off Dan’s older brother and younger sister at the local Catholic school and then began to take Dan to the public middle school. It was on the way there that Dan’s mother turned off the distraction of the radio and spoke to Dan. Her tone became serious.

“The reason I didn’t want to talk about last night is because I didn’t want to scare your sister. I’ve been seeing him too.”

Dan couldn’t believe what he was hearing. His mother was confirming everything he’d been afraid of.

She confessed, “I have been waking up and seeing an old man standing at the foot of my bed. He is wearing a flannel shirt and he almost looks like an old lumberjack and he is holding a tree in his arm. He doesn’t do anything, he just stares.” Dan felt it was very likely that the same being was in his room the previous night. When Dan told me this story it was weeks after the event. Over those weeks the family pets had begun to deteriorate mentally. I watched one day as his cat, with very deliberate steps, made her way from the window sill where it was quietly basking in the sun, to the floor, around the television set, onto the piano, and into Dan’s lap only to scratch him right beneath his eye, unprovoked. Sullivan began staring into the corner of the living room. He would lean back on his haunches as though ready to attack but there was nothing there. This was a far cry from the dog I first knew. Dan found that even the neighbors were seeing things.

His neighbors on the third floor told him about their four-year old son. He had a small crawl space that they had turned into his play room. It had a small table, loads of toys and a light bulb to illuminate the tiny area. One day, the boy’s mother noticed that he had left his play room light on. She told him to go turn it off and in a rare act of defiance the boy said no. She asked him why not.

The boy responded, “Bad man. Bad man, get me.”

So, the night Dan told me all of this was the same night I was supposed to sleepover. Of course, I had a big enough issue with sleeping due to my own haunted living arrangement so Dan’s house wasn’t the welcome peace like it had been before. I tried to stay up all night because Dan was sleeping up in his bunk and I was stuck on the floor. Dan, finally comfortable enough to sleep because someone else was there, dozed off pretty quickly. This left me wide awake at 3:00 a.m. with a wildly running imagination and a distressed bladder. I decided that either I would have to pee on Dan’s floor or make the lonely trip to the bathroom which happened to be on the opposite end of the quiet, darkened apartment.

The layout of Dan’s apartment from one end to the other is as follows. Once you exit Dan’s room, you enter the living room. Immediately to the right is a dark narrow hallway that leads out to the porch. The next door was his sister’s room. To your left the couch sat as a back border to the living room. Then you would move on to the kitchen where there was a door to the left that led to Dan’s mother’s room. You then had the back exit/entrance to the basement. Off to the right was the bathroom. This is just to give you an idea of the path I had to take while scared and the only one awake in a haunted apartment. I stepped into the living room to find Sullivan stalking something in the corner. He was staring closer to the ceiling than an average height. As I turned to look at what he was looking at I saw a dark shadow dart from the corner and disappear somewhere behind me. Sullivan followed the shadow as well and noticed me for the first time. He slowly walked to the side of the couch where I had to pass to get to the kitchen. I bent over to let him smell me for the millionth time and pat him on the head.

He jumped up and snapped at my face. I reeled back and screamed and took off for the bathroom with him hot on my tail. The bathroom door was broken and the only way to keep it closed was to pull out a small drawer beneath the sink. I could hear the dog barking and pounding against the door. I was hyperventilating and crying when all of a sudden there was silence. I was about to climb out the bathroom window and run home when I heard the familiar voice of Dan’s mother asking if I was okay. I opened the door and explained what happened and she looked at me with relief that I was okay.

But it probably had nothing to do with Sullivan. I think she was just happy that the spirits in the house didn’t decide to make an example out of me. Her look of concern still troubles me because she probably didn’t realize that I noticed how often she looked behind me into the corner as I told the story.

It makes me wonder if it was in the room with us the entire time.

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