I was thirteen when the first attack happened.
I remember the morning. I was eating some eggs, and Dad was reading the newspaper. He was sipping his coffee, casually scanning through the articles, when he almost spit his coffee out.
I immediately jumped up; I’ve never seen Dad react like this before. “What is it, Dad?” I asked. He solemnly pushed the newspaper over, which was flipped to a certain page. I read the headline. “Boy, Nine, is Found Dead in Bedroom in Lubbock, Texas.”
I looked at the article. “Gregory Cutting is found in bedroom, stabbed to death. No signs of break-in anywhere, but the murder weapon was found in closet, covered in a sticky orange substance; “Like slime,” the neighbor said.”
I looked up at my father in shock. Greg Cutting went to my school. He was like a little brother to me. I excused myself from the table. I went to my room and cried.
After the first murder, more and more homicides sprung up in my town, Lubbock, and towns around us. The police began searching everywhere for the murderer.
It wasn’t until one of my classmates was kidnapped until I knew someone had to do something.
And that person was me.
The only thing I needed was a lead. I started asking around my neighborhood, but no one had an answer. Even if someone did, I wouldn’t know, because who would listen to a kid like me?
The first tip I got was from a boy playing on the playground. He was only about six. Once I asked him if he knew anything, his lip began to quiver and his eyes filled with tears, as if the question was too horrible to think about.
He began in a small, trembling voice. “I was playing outside with my doggy,” he said, “when I saw a scary thing. It made my doggy run inside. He looked like,” he shuddered, “an octopus.”
“Yeah. They make me scared.”
I nodded and scribbled down some notes in the notebook I brought along.
“Thanks, kid,” I said, and ruffled his hair playfully. “One last question,” I said,”where did you see the octopus?”
He shivered. “By the big hole behind my house.”
I found out that the hole behind the boy’s house was actually a giant ditch. One boring summer day I went and checked the trench out. It was about eight feet deep, with giant rocks and vines jutting out of the dirt walls. The ditch seemed to stretch out for at least a mile before going down into a tunnel underneath a road. I knew that the tunnel eventually surfaced, but I had no idea where.
If a murderer would be hiding anywhere, this was where it would be.
I planned to go down into the tunnel on a dreary Saturday. The sky was smothered in light grey clouds. Barely anyone was outside; they were too scared.
I packed a flashlight, a hoodie, a pocket knife, some rope, and, if worst comes to worst, one of my father’s guns. He let me borrow it, since I had taken lessons at the local ranch and he knew he could trust me. I just hoped I wouldn’t shoot myself.
I began to walk to the tunnel. I walked quickly, looking behind me at the littlest sound. It was quiet; too quiet. Even the animals were staying silent.
Suddenly I heard a whisper. Not the whisper of wind through the leaves, or branches gently rubbing against each other, but a human whisper. I immediately broke into a run.
I sprinted all the way to the ditch, stumbling and tripping over the cracked cement. Finally, I stopped at the ditch, panting. I was behind the boy’s house. The “doggy” that he had been playing with when he spotted the murderer was running around in the yard, panting happily.
Suddenly it stopped. Its ears perked up, and it slowly cocked its head towards me. It tucked its tail between its legs and whimpered, scampering off to the side of the house.
This confused me. Dogs usually love me. Unless…
I turned around and saw a dark figure duck behind a tree.
I slowly pulled the gun out from my back pack and aimed it at the figure. Suddenly the figure yelled, “DON’T SHOOT!” and jumped out from behind the tree, hands raised.
It was just a homeless man, his clothes tattered and face grimy. I apologized, and started to walk alongside the ditch.
It took about twenty minutes to get to the tunnel. It was a stressful twenty minutes, since every sound sounded 100x amplified, and it made me jump.
I leaped into the ditch and landed hard. I dusted dirt off of my pants and stood up, looking into the tunnel ahead of me. It was dark and had puddles of water on the cement floor. There were no lights inside. I shivered and wrapped my arms around my body. It seemed so much colder by the tunnel. I took a deep breath, turned on my flashlight, and stepped into the tunnel.
I walked in silence for a while. The only sounds were the thuds of my footsteps and the splashing of my shoes through the occasional puddle.
I swung my flashlight around, shining it on the walls. Graffiti covered the cement. In the beginning, the spray paint formed more light-hearted things, like “S + A” and “J.J. wuz here”. The deeper into the tunnel, though, the graffiti was much darker, such as “TURN BACK NOW” and “HE’S WATCHING YOU”. At one point I thought I saw a bloody hand print, but I ignored it and kept walking.
After about fifteen minutes of walking, I came to a split in the tunnel. There were two passages going two different ways. Both looked exactly the same, so I chose the left one.
I took one step forward towards it and immediately felt strange; I stopped, dizzy, when I heard it.
A small voice, calling for me, down the right tunnel. It was faint, but I could hear it clearly.
I recognized the voice instantly. It was the classmate who had been kidnapped about a week ago.
“Jamie?” I called out, calling for her. “JAMIE! IS THAT YOU?”
“Help!” she cried out.
I began to run down the tunnel her voice was coming from, my footsteps echoing around me. I followed the voice until I got to an old door. It was rotting and the doorknob was orange from rust. I heard her faintly on the other side. It had been a miracle that I heard her from all the way down the passage.
I turned the doorknob slowly, the metal squeaking, and pushed the door open.
What I saw was something from a horror movie.
It was a small concrete room, with barely any light. The light source came from a candle in the corner of the room.
As I swung my flashlight around, it lit up stacks and stacks of dead bodies. Rotting corpses. Flies buzzed and the corpses, they were stacked on top of each other so neatly, so cleanly. All of the bodies were kids. I recognized little Gregory Cutting in the corner, his eyes wide open and glassy, his skin waxy and pale. I had no idea how the murderer got the body, since police must have taken it away, but there was no time for problem solving now.
Jamie interrupted my thoughts. “Charlie!” she whispered. “Over here!” I pointed my flashlight at her.
Instead of normal, healthy Jamie, I saw a horrific girl. Her face was half rotted and bloody, her nose torn off, her razor-sharp teeth grinning at me. As I stared in shock, she ripped off the arm of the body next to her and began to eat it like a chicken wing. I started to scream and holler, tripping over my feet as I ran for the door, but it was locked. I screamed again, banging on the door.
My worst fear at that time was Samara, from The Ring. I had watched it and it had made me scared of little girls with dark hair. So when Samara herself was crawling towards me, I started freaking out. I banged even harder on the door, sobbing.
Suddenly, time seemed to slow down.
I began to think about the monster in front of me. I knew that Gregory Cutting had been deathly afraid of slime monsters. The murder weapon had orange slime on it. Then there was the boy at the playground, who was horrified of octopi. He said that the thing by the ditch looked like an octopus. This creature must be the boogie man.
I swiftly pulled out the gun from my bag and shot Samara twice. She started to writhe and wriggle, screeching. Suddenly her hair was brushed away from her face, and my last words were, “Uh oh.” Her terrifying face showed and I immediately blacked out, hitting my head on the cement floor.
I live down here now, feeding off of the corpses my lovely friend has brought me. I sometimes go out with it, too, to kill one or two more children. In a few years, my friend says, I, too, can become the same monster my friend is. How exciting that will be! I will rest and wait for my moment to come.
But, for now, children, beware of the boogie man.