I’m not sure how to go about explaining what my daughter says she saw, or how the details she gave me were so awfully close to what the police had later informed me was farther down the path. My name is May, and I live alone with my 6-year-old daughter Emily in a small town, just south of Georgia. It’s a sweet little town, very woodsy, calm, and full of trails for walks to get some fresh air. Last week, Emily and I had decided to try a new path next to an old antique shop (more so I could browse after the brisk walk). I drove us to the antique shop and parked outside, right next to our walking route. Emily had starting giggling, and was looking at something just out of my line of sight I assumed. “What’s so funny Em?” I asked between her giggles.
“The funny boy!” Emily belted “He’s making funny faces at me.”
“Where is the boy, Honey?”
“Right there!” She pointed right next to a pile of wood on the side of the path. She must be making up friends again, I thought, going along with it would make her happy.
“Oh, now I see Him! Hi funny boy!” I shouted, while waving in the direction of the pile. Emily giggled some more, while we began our way down the trail. I noticed Emily kept looking to her side, and had her hand out, as if she were holding someone else’s.
“Is it alright if the funny boy walks with us, mommy?” Emily gave me the puppy-dog eyes, that no parent can resist.
“Okay, but you have to tell him to be on his best behavior!” Saying that brought a smile to Em’s face. She began talking with her new buddy, things that a child would talk about; her favorite television shows, some of her toys, stuffed animals, ect. I only started really paying attention about 10 minutes into their ‘conversation’.
“What do you mean we need to go home? We just got here!” Emily tilted her head to emphasize her confusion. “We won’t need to worry about that, we’ve got mommy here, she’ll tell him to go away.” She stated, as matter of factly.
“Who am I telling to go away?” I chimed in.
“The bad man, the one who made Kai’s face funny. Kai says the man is super scary! But we have you, and your way more scary.” As she finished telling me this, a chill ran up my spine.
“Kai is the funny boy, right?” She nodded. “Kai, don’t be silly. There is no bad man and we’ll be fine.” For some reason, I didn’t even believe what I had said. For some reason, the bad man thing got to me, leaving me moderately uncomfortable. Did Emily mean that the man had hurt her friend? Where did she learn that people could hurt each other like that? She only watches shows like Dora, and Bob the Builder. How could she possibly know anything related to violence? She wouldn’t have learned about it, I would know. It might be explainable if she had gone to school and heard it from the other kids, but… I home school her.
“Mommy, Kai says we have to go now. He really wants us to leave.” Emily seems a bit anxious about upsetting her new friend.
“Emily, Kai doesn’t know what he is talking about. He is just scared to be out here, but you are both perfectly safe here with me.” As the words escape my lips, I can feel my stomach turning. There is something very wrong here, I am getting the feeling of eyes burning into the back of my head.
“Mommy, Kai wants us to leave right now! He says that is we don’t, the bad man will go BAM BAM BAM on our faces like they did to him! I wanna go home mommy!” Tears welled up in Emily’s eyes as she spoke. I started to hear the cracking of branches ahead of us, and by the sound of it, not that far.
I can’t remember much after that, only that I picked up Em and ran back the way we came. At home, Emily still cried about the man in the woods, so to put both our minds at ease, I called the police’s non-emergency number and asked if they could check the path for me. They didn’t have exactly an eventful day, so the man said he’d send someone down to check it out and hung up. The call we got later that day was absolutely horrifying. The police had informed us that they did find something on the trail, or… more… someone. The body of an 8-year-old boy who went missing after a walk in the woods not too long before us, had been discovered. They spared me the major details, but it looked like the boy had been hit repeatedly by a blunt object. The boy’s name was Kai.