My heart beat started to accelerate as I tried to control my breathing. In through the nose, out through the mouth. It wasn't working. Everyone was staring at me, I knew it. They've been staring at me this whole time, picking away at details to judge and talk about. I had to remind myself to breathe again. In through the nose, out through the mouth. In through the-
"Kate? Do you need to go to the nurse? You don't look so good," said my teacher, Mr. Osborne, catching me off guard and making me jump slightly. I nodded and nearly ran out of the room, knowing that if I spent another second in there I would lose it. I rushed to the nurse, remembering my breathing. Trying so hard to remember my breathing.
I finally make it to the nurse. With one look they knew what was happening and brought me into the back room where I burst out in tears as soon as she closed the door. My breathing was loud and heavy. The nurse asked me what triggered my panic attack and I shook my head over and over again. She had to remind me multiple times to slow down my breaths. It was so hard.
I eventually calmed down and the nurse gave me a water bottle. I thanked her sheepishly and went back to class. As soon as I walked in, every pair of eyes were on me. I tried not to have another episode, so I focused on the board and tried to ignore the rest.
It was the last class of the day so when the bell rang, kids rushed out of the room to head home. I packed up my things and started walking out the door when a girl passed me and mockingly breathed loud and fast. Her and her two friends laughed and kept walking. I brushed it off.
I passed by a kid named Samson in the hallway. He was just standing there. He looked like he was concentrating on something, but there was nothing in front of him, nothing in his hands. I actually tried to make eye contact with him but he was fixated on something in the distance, it seemed.
Everyone in the school was absolutely terrified of Samson. Apparently he transferred along with another kid who seemed to know a lot about him, including the fact that he had to be hospitalized three times for mental health issues. That's how I interpret it, however the rest of the school likes to throw around the term "insane asylum". It's also rumored that he's killed more than one person, though the exact number seems to change each time the story is told. Samson didn't really seem like he had much emotion at all so I could see the reason no one ever took a liking to him. I never saw him as crazy. Just very quiet and self preserved.
I made my way home, about a 20 minute walk from the school. My mom wasn't home which was rather surprising considering if she wasn't at work she was home drinking. I prayed silently that she didn't get into her car impaired. I would have called her had I not noticed her cell phone was left on the coffee table.
I went upstairs to my room, grabbed a jacket from my bed and went out the back door to the trails.
It was a very long trail, stretching from this quaint little town to the next, then looping back around. The woods used to frighten me as a child but as I grew up I grew to love the silence, the smell of leaves and the breezes that flirted with the trees.
Along the trail there's a cemetery. The trail passes right through although a few people tend to walk around it. Over time it made an alternate trail, but I like to walk through anyways. I never really see people on this trail. I see the occasional dog walker or group of teenagers smoking pot, but that's always the extent.
Today I saw someone sitting on the ground in front of a gravestone. Whoever it was I noticed was tall with a thin frame, and dark hair. I narrowed my eyes to try and catch more detail. As I got closer I noticed it was Samson.
I've never seen Samson outside of school, and we've been going to the same school for about three years now. Seeing him caught me off guard. I got closer and closer, close enough that I knew he heard the leaves crunching beneath my feet but he didn't take his gaze away from the tomb stone he was looking at.
Something came over me and I sat next to him. He didn't so much as glance over. His eyes remained on what was in front of him.
I kept opening and closing my mouth. Wanting to say something, but not only not knowing what to say but also not having the courage to say anything at all.
Finally I forced myself to say a simple, "Hi."
I suspected that this grave he was looking at belonged to someone he knew. I saw the last name "Abernathy" but realized I didn't know Samson's last name.
If he wasn't going to talk, I decided I was going to keep talking until he did.
"I never see people on this trail. It's strange to see you here. Do you come here often?"
I paused for a while because I know what I wanted to say but I was trying to decide whether it was appropriate or not.
I took a chance.
"Do you know who's buried here?"
There was a long pause, but finally Samson said, "My mother."
My heart dropped. I can't imagine that type of pain. I've never lost someone close to me to death. I felt terrible for not knowing what to say.
Samson stood up and looked at me, as if silently saying, "are you coming?" I've never seen any expression on his face other than a blank stare or pure concentration, so it was a strange sight to see. I got up, brushed my pants off, and began following him through the woods.
Things started to get strange. I felt this eerie sense that someone was watching me. I kept looking over my shoulder, then over the other one, expecting there to be someone behind me, staring at me. Then I could have sworn I heard a whisper. It wasn't anything I could understand.
Then more whispers started. They sounded like they were all conversing frantically with one another. I kept looking over my shoulder. I started shaking. My palms got sweaty.
I could vaguely understand them as they grew louder.
"No, I like her,"
"She'll be so easy," the voices whispered.
I stopped. Samson kept walking a few steps until he noticed. He turned around and gave me a questioning look.
I laughed half heartedly and said under my breath, "I'm going nuts."
He walked a little closer and gave me another look as if to say, "what?"
"I'm going crazy."
The voices wouldn't stop. I put my hands over my ears but it made no difference. I didn't even care that Samson was watching this all unfold. I just wanted it to stop. I fell to my knees with my hands still over my ears and muttered "make it stop."
Samson rushed to my side and tried to take my hands away from my head but I wouldn't let him. The whispers got angrier.
I could see Samson's mouth moving but could hear no sound. He picked me up off the ground and started walking. We walked all the way to a beaten down white house with the panels falling off and the porch roof caving in. As soon as we stepped inside, the voices stopped.