11/07/2021 - Close Encoutner with Something Malevolent

I had a close call with something that terrified me to my core. A grave news bulletin kicked everything off. Late one evening, as the rain battered down on my house, I was getting ready to relax by playing some games after a long day at school. I turned on the TV and the news popped on. On it, they were talking about a mysterious corpse that was found in an alleyway.

The news report went on about a man who had died under mysterious circumstances in a dark alley. Despite the fact that witness reports were all the same in that they all heard screaming before the victim met her untimely end, autopsies had reported nothing strange about the body. It was as if she had died of some new mysterious illness. More concerning was the fact that this had not been the first case. Others had died under similar circumstances up and down the country and the witness reports were much the same: a scream was heard before it was cut short. The most concerning thing, the thing that sent a shiver down my spine was the fact that this had taken place so close to the route I usually take to school. The police statement was short, but it did little to inspire any confidence. "We are looking into it closely and we are monitoring the situation," they said. Might as well just have said they have no idea what's going on. I tried to put the broadcast to the back of my mind with a few games but it didn't work. It was at the forefront of my mind even when I tried to sleep. The only way I managed to get some sleep was by dismissing the story as just some sickness going around and convincing myself that I didn't have it yet.

The next day, when I went to school, nobody could stop talking about what happened last night. If they weren't talking about the news broadcast itself, they were talking about the incident site near our school. Not even the staff could stop themselves from bringing up the case. The advice they gave at the assembly was short, simple and direct: don't loiter around after school and head home before dark. Too bad I wasn't gonna listen to that. Today was my day off work. The last thing I wanted to do was spend my free time at home, not when I could spend it at the arcade with a few friends. How I came to regret that decision.

As the day went on all kinds of rumours started to spread. Strange stories of a septic sickness did the rounds, mostly because someone asked me what I thought was going on with the story and they spread it around the school like wildfire. The other prevalent story was that of a deranged psychopath armed with a secret biological weapon stalking and killing all who came across it. Most of them sounded far fetched and unbelievable and they weren't worth noting. There was one which stood out however, not so much because of it's contents, but because of how I came to know about it.

Just outside the gates after school, I noticed a couple police officers talking to a student. I could see him getting more and more heated as their conversation continued. As I walked past, I overheard him going on about how he saw something inhuman stalking the streets on the night of the murder, something with incredible claws that looked like they could tear through concrete. Before the police could even ask him how he escaped that predicament, he said that the mysterious being just ignored him and that he didn't know why. The police simply told him to stop with the rumours and they'd let him go without taking him to the station. After a frustrated sigh, he did just that.

My friends quickly caught up with me only to say that they were calling off the arcade trip. They'd seen the scene of the incident on the way to school and they didn't want to be next. There wasn't much I could do to convince them to come with me, so we said goodbye and we went our separate ways. I saw the alleyway where the incident happened while on the way to the arcade. The police officers were quick to direct potential onlookers away while detectives scuttled around the scene. As I walked past, I could hear them mumbling about them trying to find a homeless person that loitered around the area. There was a small cardboard house with a dead dog crudely shoved inside. I averted my eyes as soon as I saw it and I carried on.

The trip to the arcade was fun enough, but things were far from normal. Barely anyone was there. There were less people there than on a rainy day. There was no reason to ask why that was the case; news of the attack had probably deterred many of the regulars from arriving. The ones that did kept their visits short and they departed long before I did. Meanwhile I played all the way until the arcade closed.

Closing time arrived much later than it usually did for me. Maybe it had something to do with me infrequently checking the clock. Either way, when I stepped outside I saw the streets of Tokyo completely barren. The familiar noises of the city had ground to a halt; pedestrians weren't conversing amongst themselves or on their phones, cars weren't trundling by and I wasn't being offered tissues by anyone. It was as if all life up and vanished from the city. When I took steps outside, I could hear my footsteps echo for miles on end. It was unnerving to see the normal streets flip-turned upside down but eventually I got comfortable with it. I'm not very good with crowds and being able to go through the streets without having to worry about brushing shoulders with strangers and getting stared at was a plus in my books. My attitude would soon change as I made my way back home.

The wide open lanes near the centre of the city were gradually replaced by the narrower streets of the outskirts. The bright lights gave way for the more dimly lit street lamps which bathed the area in a warm orange glow. For a moment, I completely forgot that anything was amiss. The mysterious corpse and the rampant rumours, even the thought that I might be in danger vanished from my mind. I was enjoying the night air. That was until someone called out to me.

Curiosity got the better of me. I spun around. Tucked away in the back of a small parking lot was a homeless man who was struggling to keep himself warm. His clothes had been tattered beyond recognition, his sleeping bag bore many holes and even though we were pretty far apart his smell was utterly rancid. The first thing that crossed my mind was that he could be responsible for the mysterious deaths. I started to walk on by him, but he picked himself up. I slowly backed away from the man, but then I tripped on the pavement and fell down. Then he asked me if I was OK. At that moment, I let down my guard and started to converse with him. If he wanted to kill me, he had more than enough time to do so; I would already be dead by now, I thought. He offered me his hand and he helped me back on my feet.

When I was back on my feet, he locked his eyes onto mine and he warned me about a strange inhuman figure that stalked the night. This felt like back at school, what with all the outlandish rumours that were making the rounds, but his face and his tone, even his body language all screamed that it was very real. Before I even had an opportunity to ask him what it was, he started telling a story.

It began with his dog waking him up in the night. When he opened his eyes, he spotted his dog barking at a corpse at the end of an alley, or so he thought. From the shadows emerged a tall creature with claws that stretched down to the ground. Before he could react, the creature charged at his dog, piercing its flesh with its bony claws. Within moments, his dog fell down lifeless before the creature made its leave.

When I asked him how he survived the ordeal, he had no real answer. All he knew was that he didn't move when he saw the creature and that it never came for him. He was just as confused as I was. Then he held out the collar of his dog before telling me that, as soon as he felt the coast was clear, he stuffed his dead animal into his old cardboard shelter before running away as far as his legs would take him. All I could do was apologise that such an event happened to him, but all he told me to do was watch out and steer clear of any strange shadows or inhuman figures that may be roaming the streets.

The story the homeless man told me turned everything on its head. The once comfortable silence that I was used to now had me eternally on edge. At any point a strange being could lurch out of the blue and slay me without hesitation. I found myself looking everywhere, checking every corner and looking into every alley for any sign of a strange creature so that I could turn around and move on. Suddenly a shrill scream rang out. Immediately I turned around. I could hear rapid footsteps behind me. I spun around in a flash only to catch a glimpse of something darting into an alleyway. I should have been relieved that I wasn't being chased, but I wasn't. The screams were then replaced by cries of agony and pain before everything once again fell silent. I remained still, my eyes locked onto the entrance to the alley. A part of me wanted to go back; someone was clearly in trouble and maybe I could help them, but the sudden silence told me that it was too late. While I was busy deliberating on what to do, I noticed a tall shadow emerge from the alley. All thoughts in my head came to a close, my blood ran cold and I froze in fear. Then I watched it crawl out.

It had long, bony claws that pierced its skin like broken bones. They stretched down to the ground and scraped against the pavement. From the distance I was at, there was no telling what its features were. All the colours were obscured by the orange light and the darkness and shadows hid all the details. The only thing that could not be hidden was its height. It had a hunched back that, if outstretched, would make it far taller than anyone on this Earth. The way how it moved sent chills running up and down my back. My mind was screaming at me to turn around, yet I could not move. As soon as it turned its head, suddenly I felt the uncontrollable urge to spin around. It had seen me, I thought. Then I started to walk away.

Every single step of the way, I wanted to turn around to verify if it had in fact seen me, yet I refused to do so. I wanted to run away, but I kept on walking. Perhaps it hadn't noticed me, I thought. Then I could hear the sound of heavy breathing getting closer and closer. My heart fell to the floor. It had seen me and there was no doubt about it. I thought I was going to die there and then. I had no idea on how it was going to kill me and that made me even more nervous. Would it drag me back to an alley and pierce me with its claws? Would I die in the middle of the street? I had no idea on what to brace for. Then I heard it breathing behind my ear. I held my breath and I shut my eyes.

Nothing happened however. I kept on walking ahead with my breath held and my heart beating in my ears and it just sat behind me, breathing down my back all the way as I walked along the street. I had no idea what it was doing, nor did I want to find out. I kept my eyes straight ahead and I kept on walking. "Can you see me?" I heard it ask. My skin went pale, I almost froze in terror and all the hairs on my body stood up when I heard those words. Suddenly it spun around to my front and looked me dead in the eye.

"Can you see me?" it asked again in a most hoarse voice. Just seeing its cold, black eyes made my blood run cold. Out of the corner of my eyes, I could see its glossy flesh reflecting in the night. There was no telling if it was the blood of its latest victim or if its flesh was naturally glossy thanks to the orange lights around me. Then it opened its mouth and it revealed its crooked mouth to ask its question once again: "Can you see me?" I almost replied to its question; I wanted to say no to bring this to an end faster, but my heart was stuck in my throat and I couldn't vocalise anything. I wanted to run away so bad. I wanted to avert my gaze so much, but I dared not. Then it leaned over so close to my face that I could see the veins beneath it's skin. I could feel it sizing me up the same way a wild animal judges its prey. I thought I was going to die there and then.

"He can't see me," it muttered. Then it picked its back up, revealing just how tall it was. It was twice my size and even then, it's claws still scraped against the pavement. "He can't see me… He can't see me…" With every repetition, I heard its voice getting further and further away. A cold wave of relief crashed into my body and I collapsed to the floor as soon as the mutterings of the being completely fell out of earshot. It took a long, long time for me to regain my breath but when I did, I immediately started running for home.

When I got there, I struggled to open the door; my keys slipped out of my fingers and crashed down on the floor as I tried to unlock it. When that happened, I froze in place. I waited for a solid minute listening out for anything out of the ordinary just in case the noise attracted the thing stalking the streets, but nothing happened. Then I slowly picked up my keys once again. I opened the door, then I dashed up the stairs to my room and I ducked under the covers without a second thought. I wanted to yell at the top of my lungs, but the mere thought that that thing might hear me and come for me again ensured that I stayed silent the entire night. I had no idea how I managed to sleep, but I did.

While on the way to school the next day, I could see the alley where that thing had emerged from. It had been taped off. A car was stationed there, officers were directing passers-by away from the scene and detectives were pacing back and forth. Immediately I ran over to them. One of the officers was quick to tell me that there was nothing to see, but his tune immediately changed when I told him that I had seen what had happened. He quickly brought the detectives over and I recited all that happened; I told them about the scream in the night, the strange thing that emerged from the alleyway and the fact that it asked if I could see it.

They all had a hearty laugh at my expense. I must have sounded crazy to them, but that was the truth and I refused to budge. They told me to keep the classroom rumours to the class, just like they did with the other student the day before. Rather than continue to go on about it, I simply let it go and went to school.

When I went to look for that other student who found the strange thing, he was nowhere to be seen. I asked around and apparently he was unwell and stuck at home. The people that knew him said he had come down with some kind of illness but there were some among them that were not convinced. Someone started spreading a rumour that he was killed by the monster in the streets that he was talking about but I was worried that what he saw was playing heavily on his mind. As for the homeless man, I couldn't find him at all. When I went looking for him after school, he was long gone from the place where I found him. I wonder if he saw it again and moved further away. Maybe it got him.

I haven't seen the strange being ever since my encounter with it that night. I haven't even seen it indirectly; I haven't heard anyone else talk about it and I haven't seen it on the news. I started checking the news frequently in the days after my encounter with it, but nothing came up. Maybe it left the city and moved on. Maybe it dissipated. One thing's certain however: I have no clue what happened to it. A part of me is happier not knowing but another part of me is desperate for answers. All I know now is the night is not as safe as I once thought it was.

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