Chapter 9: It

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There are different types of punishments that a parent can give a child.

There's the kind of punishment where you're sent to your room, times that you may get hit, times where you may get grounded. You may receive extra chores and not be able to talk on the phone. I'm sure you get the point.

My punishment for getting home around 10 pm was walking around the garden, guarding it against groundhogs or whatever was lurking around in the dark.

"If you like to stay out late, then this is the perfect job for you, dear," Mr. Harmon had said once I got home.

I'm glad it was summer.

As I walked around the garden and the glow of the full moon illuminated the ground around me, I started to think about all the fun I had today with Violet. We got along right away and talked for hours about games and horror movies and even offered each other hide and go seek tips. I asked her to play, but she said no. Sadly she didn't like to play in the dark.

"Not today. Come back tomorrow morning," she had said.

I was really looking forward to tomorrow, but right now, I had to face walking around the garden looking for groundhogs. Mr. Harmon made it very clear to me that if anything got destroyed or went missing, I would water the garden for three weeks straight. Ha! Like I'd dare take Mrs. Harmon's job. There were over hundreds of flowers and plants and I never understood how she got around to watering them all in one a day. Too much bending down for me.

I didn't know how long I had to walk around the garden, but it had already been an hour, and I was pretty tired at that point. As I walked toward the mansion, I heard something shatter. I nearly jumped out of my skin. I looked around, glad to see it was no one. My heart was pounding in my chest and the loud thumping of it seemed to be all that I could hear.

I looked in the direction of the noise and, sure enough, there had been a flower pot that fell over.

"Oh man," I whined. I'd be stuck watering plants for weeks.

I walked toward the pot, hoping it could be fixed easily, but when I got there, I discovered that it had been shattered into big chunks of glass. I stared at the huge clump of dirt with the orange flowers wilted over. I know it sounded silly, but I felt as if the flowers were kind of mocking me in some weird way.

I looked around, trying to sight what was responsible for this. I hadn't seen any groundhogs. There were never any holes out here for that. Believe me, I would know. I developed a theory that there weren't really any groundhogs out here at all, and that Mr. Harfbarf just sent me out here for no good reason. I chuckled to myself a bit. Harfbarf.

Just then, as I looked at the dirt underneath the flower, I saw it. Was I just seeing this?

It's nothing. I told myself. I'm imagining things.

I'm not imagining. I froze, unable to breathe. My pulse sped up. My heart was thumping so loud that it actually hurt. Groundhogs were not responsible for this, and I was most definitely not alone. As I looked closer, I made out a fresh hand print by the clump of dirt.

I tried to create a logical explanation for this fresh hand print in the dirt. The huge hand print.

Suddenly, I heard a crackling sound. This sound was moving closer and closer to me. My gaze stayed glued to the ground, afraid of what or who I might see in the dark.

When you're alone and it's nighttime, noises tend to be scarier than usual. You hear them, your chest tightens, and you become conscious of your own breathing; it's quiet again, but you're still on edge and your ears are pricked, and you hear it again, closer this time. You want to run, but your mind is telling you, just one look. See what it is.

Instead of running back inside, I slowly lifted my head. I shouldn't have. I should have just run.

Right in front of me, in clear view, were two long legs. I expected there to be, you know, a stomach and arms and a face? A human being. What I was staring at was beyond comprehension and any logic.

The air in my lungs was gone. In front of me were two legs, normal ones, but above all, it was a creature unknown to man. Standing and looking at me. I think it was looking at me. It... had no eyes. Its abdomen bent all the way over to the right, twisting and moving around. The head of this creature had long white hair, brown rough shedding skin, and a distorted face. A light shined out of its neck. The head hung low like it was broke, nearly hitting the ground. Know what else? This creature had one hand.

It started to moan. As it moved, I heard the crackling of its body and decaying bones. The hair moved in front of its face, so I had no idea where this thing was looking. What's creepier than being out at night with an eyeless creature possibly staring at you?

"This is almost as fun as watching you sleep," she said.

It sounded like a woman but more, sinister. I heard more voices as she spoke.

My legs felt like noodles now but I made a run for it anyway. As I ran, her limp and bent over body chased after me, screaming words of hatred. She was reaching out for me with one hand. The words she spoke were in a language that was most definitely not English, a langue that I could not fathom. As she screamed, the bright light radiated from her mouth.

I was so close to the door of the mansion. So close. But I was tripped by something. Or someone, I should say. When I looked up, I saw Mr. Harmon standing over me.

He had the biggest smile on his face.

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