I don't think we ever truly loose our fear of the dark. We usually live in familiar places, surrounded by familiar things. This makes the dark secure. But when we come upon some place we have never been, we return back to our young selves, wishing we had any sort of illumination.
It was a late night. I work at a local diner, and there was some cleaning that needed to be done. By the time I finished it was already 11:15, so I was anxious to get home. Not wanting to wait, I decided to head down one of the side alleys that connect one street to another. They are rather thin here, the buildings sometimes so close that you could imagine someone simply opening a window and walking across with no trouble.
I hesitated at first. The alley was nearly completely dark, and in the city you cannot help but hear horror stories. About someone heading down a dark alley and something terrible happening to them. But I wasn't in the city, at least not really. And I really needed to be getting home.
I pulled myself together, then I stepped forward and started heading through. It was darker than it looked and seemed to curve a little, and I frequently found myself tripping over debris and brushing against the damp wall. Frustrated, I took out my cellphone and turned it around, using it as a makeshift flashlight. It took a moment for me to adjust to the harsh glare. It only took a second though for me to regret it.
I gasped, the air stuck in my throat. Less than a foot from me was a hunched over, dark skinned figure. Its skin was greyish in color, and slightly glassy, showing the black muscle underneath. It had oversized hands and feet, and there was a wet gleam to its flesh, its eyes the color of milk. It looked up at me and grimaced, its yellowing teeth rendered as sharp points. I began to stumble backwards, trying to head back the way I came. I turned around, only to find another one of those things curled against the wall. It was “the debris” I had tripped over before. It issued forth a strange, rhythmic grunting noise.
It was too large to get past, and I turned to face the other one which began to make its way towards me. I had nothing to defend myself with, and I froze, hoping that when it attacked me that I would manage to get free. It inched closer and closer, and reached out towards me, as I heard the other one grinding against the wall and lazily closing in from behind.
It raised its hand, curling it into a fist.. It moved faster than I expected, its clammy hand colliding with my arm, sending my phone careening to the ground. A sharp pain erupted up my arm as my wrist collided with the brick wall, a sickening crack coming soon after as I drew it towards my chest. I stifled a scream as I saw the thing coming at me again. I closed my eyes, only to hear its fist connect with the ground. I looked down and saw it smashing its hand against the illumination coming from my phone. Then it picked it up and crushed it in it's hand, plunging the alley back into complete darkness.
I waited to die, and I could smell the scent of creek water on its skin. For nearly thirty seconds I waited, aware of the one behind me as well, the air growing cold. For minutes I waited, frozen in place. I began to imagine it moving in front of me, waiting for me to stir. My arm was still badly damaged, and it took all my effort to remain quiet.
I waited longer, but nothing happened. Slowly I reached my hand out, feeling nothing by the cold stone to my side. Cautiously, I began to make my way down the alley, a heavy sickness sitting my my stomach, each step taking a minute within itself. I felt my foot collide with something soft, and I realized it was sitting right in front of me. I waited for it to attack again, but it didn't move. Somehow that was worse.
Horrified, I found I had to use it for support to get past without stumbling. I heard the strange guttural “speech” as my palm sunk into the flesh of its knees. Completely blind, I stepped without any idea where I was placing my foot, my body shaking violently from the pain and fear, waiting to feel it's stubby, pointed teeth wrap around my throat. Tears were falling down my face, but at last I made it past it, and began to head down the rest of the alley. The last thing I heard before exiting was the sound of the things shifting, only to hear silence afterwords.
I went to the hospital after that, and after several x-rays they informed me my arms and wrist were fractured in four places. The doctors and nurses asked me how it happened, but I struggled to come up with any answer. It was clear I was really upset, and they thankfully didn't push the subject. I got my arm wrapped up, was given a prescription for some pain killers, and was sent home. Walking into my house prompted me to turn on all the lights, noting in a half awake sort of way that it was 2:00AM.
I returned to work a couple of days later, managing to work my way around the cast. Even met a few cute girls who wanted to sign it. I pass by that alley every day on the way to work, and every night on the way home. During the day, when I am braver I guess, I look down the alley, only to see no trace of the strange creatures I saw. At night though, I walk on the other side of the street.
What surprises me so much about these tales is the strength of conviction of the people who tell them. They seem to honestly believe that what they claimed they saw was real. Maybe what he actually experienced was just an attack by some homeless person, or a mugger. I find it easier to dismiss stories such as this one as they are easily fabricated. However, the number of tales like this one is surprising. The tales I struggle with most though, are those with documented witnesses, and tangible evidence. Though any of the things I have heard about Wellington Street may one day be explained, I am still left wondering how such a place could produce so much horror.