Though mentally drained and physically exhausted, I did not sleep well for the next few nights. I kept my gun close at hand as I tossed and turned between a few minutes of dozing and jumping awake.
Charley-dog, on the other hand, slept peacefully at the foot of my bed. I tried desperately to copy his good-natured attitude.
Looking back, it probably didn’t help that I immediately spent several hours researching clowns and rakes, trying to find a connection. By the time I powered down my computer and fell into bed, I had come to the conclusion that while clowns were real – rakes were not.
Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had encountered something…what should I call it? Other worldly is about the best I can do.
Slowly, my life returned to normal. Then my work shift changed and I began having night-terrors in the middle of the day when I had to sleep.
For nearly two-years as a security guard, I’d worked day shift, getting up as the sun rose and going to bed long after it set. Now, I had been assigned three construction sites to patrol five overnights a week and it set me on edge.
“I can’t help but feel like I’m being watched all the time,” I told my relief one morning. He believed it was a case of PTSD from having killed a man in the doorway of my own home.
“Yeah, you’re probably right,” I replied as I attempted to shrug it off.
About a week later…
As a nighttime security officer, I had taught myself not to follow a set routine. I detoured from place to place, changing patterns at will, never knowing from shift to shift where I might start or end as I moved from one site to the next.
However, I did have one habit, lunch, which I took from two till three each morning. It was a habit that was established by the company that employed me and not of my own doing.
Finishing up my ham sandwich, I placed the empty wrapper back in the brown paper bag and tucked it into my backpack. Retrieving the metal thermos, I began to pour myself a cup of coffee, when I caught movement out of the corner of my left eye.
I snapped my head around – nothing there.
“Must be a black dog,” I muttered, recalling the term we used, when I was an active member of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children, to describe a perceived movement from the corner of the eye.
Satisfied, I returned to pouring my coffee when it happened again. Slowly, I turned my head to the left and saw the briefest flash of a translucent figure standing by my vehicle.
It disappeared immediately as I tried to focus on it. With a half-poured cup of coffee in one hand, I fumbled with the keys, which were in the ignition, fired up the truck and drove from where I’d parked.
The remainder of the morning was filled with tension for me. I refused to get out of the truck to wander from place to place and key-in, opting to remain sequestered in the safety of the vehicle’s locked cab.
The following night, I brought Charley-dog to work with me. He made me feel safe – or at least safer.
There was a possibility that I could get in trouble, even fired, for having my pet with me at work. No one said a thing.
Three night after I began bringing Charley, who had grown used to the new routine, he growled. I had jus’ looked at him sleeping in the passenger seat when he sat straight up and stared off to my left – the same area in which I thought I’d seen my ‘black dog.’
The hair on the back of my neck stood on end and I felt my body shutter with an involuntary shiver as I knew he could see what I could not. As calm as my shaking hand could, I turned the ignition over and slowly pulled away from where I was parks.
As I glanced at the rear-view mirror on the door, I saw the same translucent figure dart into the ink of the early morning. It was then that I knew I was being stocked – predator and prey – and I didn’t enjoy the idea of being whatever it was’ prey.
Finally, it was the weekend and I felt I could relax a little. I had long since set-up a security system around my home consisting of several cameras and lights that would instantly come on when something came close enough to activate one of them.
Long forgotten was the old saw, “Jus’ because you feel safe, doesn’t mean you are safe.” I would be reminded of it in short order.
So my guard was down as I got up to take Charley-dog for his mid-morning walk. It was something new for both of us, since I insisted on bring him to work with me anymore and he seemed to really enjoy the exercise.
We were less than two-minutes into our walk when I saw a woman approaching from the opposite direction. She looked to be in her early-50s, a little over weight, but pleasant to look at.
While I thought nothing of it as she crossed the street mid-block, Charley took note. The fur on his back stood up and he refused to take his eye’s off her as she suddenly turned down another street.
I felt on edge as I looked back and caught her, stopped, watching me.
Back home after our half-hour walk, I concluded that whatever these other-worldly things were, they were everywhere and my only defense against them was the early warning of a dog and a gun.
Laying down for my daytime nap, I plotted, trying to develop a plan to deal with these beings once and for all. Unfortunately, I could come up with nothing that could or world eradicate them from my life, but I did begin to wonder if they were somehow implanting themselves in other peoples lives.