Unassuming walk turns into night of terror

Heading home from school: a mundane and tasking ordeal as my classmate and I make the mile-long trek.

Our walk along Waltham Park Road usually takes us past a few amango trees and we make good use of the sweet, blissful nectars. 

“Gavin, mek wi go tru di cemetery nuh?! De aaman tree supposed to full and ripe by now,” my friend Patrick* remarked.

“Mi nuh like walk deh enuh, and Mama seh wi nuffi walk tru deh again, yuh waan mi get lick brejin?” I retorted.

“A fraid yuh fraid! Look how much time we play football in deh and play marble? mi wah aaman before mi gwope,” he whipped, asking, “Yuh nuh waan ketch Dragon Ball Z before it start?”

Being the second half of our mischievous rag-tag duo, I couldn’t possibly say no; Patrick was not my only friend, but we were closer than the actual brothers I was forced to live with. So yes, into the Chinese cemetery we went.

At the time, there was an opening in the perimeter wall that surrounded the massive property – cutting our walk time in half, we had been there many times and easily wormed our way through the crack.

Skipping over a few graves and running in between the tombstones, one could say the cemetery was a favourite for children, despite repeated warnings from adults.

‘Cursed’ and ‘haunted’ were some of the words used to describe the cemetery, nonetheless, many kids flocked its grounds day and night, doing and playing everything imaginable.

This time was different for me and Patrick, we’ve never been here after the end of the evening shift at primary school – the sunset was quite advanced, and darkness crept slowly across the Kingston sky.

The almond tree was in sight and so Patrick and I grabbed some stones and threw them without abandon, trying to wrest the branches of a few fruits.

They weren’t something I particularly enjoyed but Patrick seemed to be enraptured.

It was as we sat in the near-darkness, munching greedily away before going home, at that moment, in the silence, we heard the sounds. 

The uncanny recognition of footsteps was not a great cause for concern, however, my friend and I saw no one – just the sounds that gave the position away.

“Yow! A wah kinda ramping unno a deal wid. A night enuh! Unno naave nuh yaad?” Patrick shouted out into the night, the anxiety setting deep in his bones.

It became increasingly harder to concentrate as the footsteps encroached ever so slowly, closer to us and the mound of almond shells nearby.

“Me ah guh home enuh Patrick, dis nuh feel right,” I beckoned, trying to break my best friend’s incessant questioning of the darkness.

Patrick pulled out a pencil from his bag, so did I and we sharpened them with the intent to inflict pain on anyone that dared come any closer – and closer they did.

At this point, there were only three sounds – mine and Oneil’s ragged breathing, and the menacing rhythm of approaching footsteps – the fear paralysing us; keeping us frozen in place.

That’s when two dots appeared, unassuming and harmless at first, until they grew, revealing reddish eyes. 

Then, to our collective horror, two arms appeared, trying to embrace us in a cold, deathly hug and we lost any sense of remaining composure.

Us two boys ran like our lives depended on it, beyond terrified, screaming all the whole way home.

The trauma etched on our faces was concerning, but no matter how hard our families pressed for answers, we never spoke.

The next day, at school, Patrick and I sat silent during lunchtime – at a loss at what transpired the night before.

“Mi nah go back in deh,” he started, and it was the first time I ever heard Patrick’s voice shake. 

I never told him that I made the mistake of looking back as we fled – convincing myself that I was just checking that we weren’t been chased by whatever it was.

It was a woman, or at least that’s how my mind processed what I had seen.

Its skin so pale, eyes bloodshot red, that growling sound it made as we ran.

But it was the scream as it faded away, disappearing into the darkness – the sight forever haunts me…

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