Reader Submission: The Attack

evil girl stare

“Kids have a knack for hidden spaces. If there’s a half-filled closet, or a nook behind the stairs, or a cluster of bushes with a well-obscured clearing inside them, they’ll find it and make it theirs.

As a kid, my preferred hidden space was just outside my elementary school. Still technically on school property, so I wasn’t breaking any rules, but as far from any supervising teacher as you could get. It was blocked off on one side by the school’s brick wall and surrounded on all other sides by an overgrown bush. If you were small enough there was plenty room to move around and you could disappear completely.

My best friend at the time was as into ghosts and the supernatural as I was. I’d read more Goosebumps books than any of the boys in our class and she swore up and down she had a deck of tarot cards somewhere in her basement. We figured that made us experts on the occult. In our hidden space, we’d draw initials on the wall with white rocks, followed by dates like 1967, 1921, 1880, and pretend they were written by whole histories of kids who’d come here before. We didn’t have an Ouija board but we knew what one looked like. So we drew letters in the dirt with a stick and put a leaf for a planchette in the center. If the leaf was blown towards one of the letters by a gust of wind (or maybe by one of us exhaling a little harder than normal, by accident of course) it meant the spirits were trying to contact us.

One afternoon, we were among the last kids on the playground waiting to be picked up by our parents. I was trying to engage her in some sort of game that involved ripping up a bunch of dandelions I’d picked. She wasn’t interested in it. She was sitting stiff and unresponsive against the wall we’d tagged with generations of fake initials.

Being a kid, I was just annoyed she wasn’t playing with me and I ignored her. Ignored her until she slammed hard into my side and knocked me on the ground. The next thing I knew, she was flying at me, fists and nails and teeth and all. We’d gotten into fights before (we were best friends, after all) even hit and kicked each other, but not like this. She was fighting like an animal and was stone silent the entire time.

Of course, I started hitting back, trying to shove her off me and get her to stop. I don’t know how long it had gone on before she stopped fighting back and started to scream. Fearing a teacher’s intervention, I got off her. We sat in glaring silence until our parents arrived.

For days after that we avoided each other. When we finally reconciled, she insisted it be under the condition that I admit I attacked her, not the other way around. She had no memory of leaping at me. She had no memory of anything before she’d started screaming. And after that, she wouldn’t go in the hidden spaces anymore, not even with a friend.”

PS: The person who submitted this story is attempting to fund an upcoming collection of illustrated paranormal experiences. Check out the project here. It looks pretty cool (and creepy)!

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