I was walking home alone last night, as usual, when something happened that I am still in shock over. No, I wasn’t mugged, but I think I probably would have preferred that over what actually went down. I’ve walked that way hundreds of times after work and never once felt like I should be worried or on edge. It’s just a couple of blocks, a path through the woods near a bunch of convenience stores, and a jump over the fence in my backyard. The worst thing I ever came across was a crazy raccoon that may or may not have had rabies. Well, that WAS the craziest thing I’d seen, until last night.
The moon was out, so I could see pretty easily, when I usually have to squint for most of the way back through the trees. I liked nights like this because it sucks having to dodge branches and other stuff scattered along the makeshift path. I was pretty tired after a long day and just wanted to be home on the couch relaxing. I was struggling between wanting to just run home and being too tired to pick my legs up to walk. The thing is, though, I wasn’t so tired that I was delirious or anything, so I can’t really explain what it is that happened.
It normally only takes me about ten minutes of walking down the path to get through the mini-forest area, but it felt like I had been walking for an hour without really getting anywhere. I blamed that on being tired, but now that I think about it, it must have had something to do with the crazy shit that was going on around me. It was the one night that I didn’t have my headphones in, and that’s the only reason I noticed the sounds at first. It was like shuffling of little feet all around me, and the sound of small bells, like you'd hear on a cat collar. In fact, that’s what I assumed it was at first, a bunch of outdoor cats that were following me in the dark. If only it was…
After straining my eyes trying to see the “cats” off the path surrounding me, I heard the giggles of someone from the shadows. And then I heard a bunch more from every direction around me. It didn’t sound like an adult, but was too deep and scary to be children. My first reaction was to bolt and get the hell out of there, but that turned out to be a bad idea. Something had reached out and grabbed both of my ankles at the very moment I tried to run. I went face first into the dirt and fell hard. The wind was knocked out of me and I cracked my chin on the ground.
I’m not sure just how long I was down for, but I rolled over and sat up just in time to see what had tripped me. I’m not entirely sure how to explain it, but it looked like a little man. Not like a little person, but rather like a doll sized man. He was dirty, greasy, and had on strange little clothes that didn’t look like anything a normal person would wear. They were like patched together pieces of cloth and leather, almost as if he made them out of random scraps he found of other clothes. He had a scraggy beard and angry looking eyes. That’s when I noticed that he wasn’t alone; I was surrounded by dozens of those little…things.
I tried to get up and run again, but it felt as though I was being held down by something from behind me. I swung my arms back to feel for what was holding me; tiny pieces of rope had been snatched onto my jacket with little fishing hooks. I tried pulling on one, which caused a few of the little men to topple over as I was much stronger than they were. I let out a frightened bellow and stood up, pulling the rest of the rope with me. The little creatures all began jumping around in panic and excitement, yelling at me and at each other in their scary, pitiful little voices.
Somewhere above me, in the trees, I heard more of them chattering. And before I could sprint away, a bunch of sharp torpedoes began to rain down on me. I couldn’t tell what they were exactly: either needles or sharpened branches. It didn’t matter though, since they weren’t big or sharp enough to pierce through my clothing and none of them managed to hit me in the face or the hands. I wasn’t about to hang out and let them continue to pelt me with them, however, and I ran as fast as I could away from there. I ran until I got home and leaped over the fence in a single bound.
Stopping to see whether or not they were chasing me was not something that ever crossed my mind, but I didn’t want to take the chance, so I just ran the whole way and into the house. I collapsed somewhere in my living room, and did what I could to catch my breath. My mind hadn’t really processed what had just happened, and my lungs hated me for what I had put them through. My teeth hurt a lot, as well, and still do. I didn’t really want to believe what I had seen the next morning, but the pain was a pretty good reminder that it was real.
I don’t know what those things were, but I know that I don’t ever want to run into them again. I’m not sure what they wanted with me, but the encounter was not a peaceful one. I bought a bike today, and plan on just sticking to the long way from now on. I also bought a few mouse traps to put around my yard. Just in case.