A personal friend of mine, John Howard, took a particular interest in all types of scary tales. He would collect as many story ideas as he could in that interesting little mind of his. He wrote them down regularly. He was an excellent writer, and everyone enjoyed his tales. I found interest in these “made-up” short stories of his. Little did I know, they were all true. Every one of them. One story he wrote was about a lonely man who lived on the same property as John 200 years before the story was written in 1976. The man in the story lived in a different house that was later demolished, but on the same land. This man was a Patriot during the American Revolution. The American Revolution was in full swing, and people were being killed in battle left and right. One awful day, a small group of Redcoats broke into the Patriot’s wooden home. The man reached for his musket, but he was no match for the pack of enemies. He was murdered in cold blood. Patriots that happened to be nearby heard the gunshots from the house, and they cautiously entered. They arrived at the room where the war crime took place, and they engaged the Redcoats. The unlucky Redcoats were still reloading from their fire upon the slain man, and they were all taken down by the Patriots. Eight people died that day in the house. John’s story also accounted the ghosts of the Patriot and the Redcoats locked in perpetual battle throughout the property. The single Patriot hopelessly shot through his pursuers with his musket, and they freely opened fire on him resentfully. They reportedly knocked over vases and picture frames, which is typical for ghosts. However, John wrote that he was the only one that could see them. The Patriot dashed straight through John’s mother, followed by the infuriated Redcoats. She was completely ignorant of their presence, despite the fact that they had knocked her coffee mug out of her hands. John was confused, and ended his story there.
Another example of his writings was his story about things he saw in the mirror. Once, he supposedly looked into the mirror late at night as he got ready for bed. He saw his reflection for a split second, before it was immediately replaced by a ghastly face. John described the face as a girl, but she was horribly scarred. Deep cuts ran across her once beautiful face. The blood from these atrocious slashed seeped into her eyes and grinning, toothless mouth. Her hair was stringy and greasy. It sprawled on her face and clanged to her cheeks. It draped her hunched neck. Her black eyes were completely blank. John let out a shriek, causing his father to come running into the room. The father saw nothing unusual about the mirror. The father asked what was wrong, and John stammered about the girl. His dad laughed, thinking it was a joke, ruffled his son’s hair, and went back to bed. John thought of it as a trick of his mind and settled in for a sleepless night.
A third example was John’s experience with his television. For his birthday, he had received his very own TV. He was overjoyed. He sat on his bed one morning, happily watching the Saturday cartoons. Something seemed off, however. The characters didn’t seem so bright. Their colors were dull, and their voice acting was a slow drone. His younger brother was watching with him, and he found nothing wrong. The young boy happily sang along with the characters and giggled at their jokes. John’s rendition of the show had no songs or jokes. The older boy confusedly stared at the screen. He watched as the animation slowly deteriorated into a mush of grey, black, and white. Suddenly, the colors all morphed into blood red. The animation was suddenly back to the standard ’70s quality. Each character was on the floor, moaning and bleeding. The main villain was cackling maniacally while stabbing everyone else on the screen. John ran out of the room, bawling. The paper of this story was wet with tears.
These disturbing stories continued on for a few weeks. One day, the unexpected and sudden happened. My family and I were watching TV in the living room happily on a Friday night. My dad wanted to check the news, so he flipped to the news station. What we saw was mentally scarring. The anchorman read off a story about a twelve-year-old boy in a small town in New Jersey named John Howard – he was my best friend! I gaped and stared at the television in total awe. The man reported something I thought I would never hear. John had…. killed himself? What? I was flabbergasted, and so were my mom, my dad, and my little sister. I got up without warning and took off on my bike to ride to my best friend’s house. I sped off until I finally made it. What I saw would horrify me for my entire life. John had slice himself open. I began crying as I read what he had written in blood on the wall:
THEY CAN NO LONGER HAUNT ME. THEY CAN NO LONGER STARE ME DOWN. THEY CAN NO LONGER SCAR ME. THEY CAN NO LONGER HURT ME LIKE THIS.
I have never been the same since that incident. I’ve always been cautious. Always looking behind my back. Always listening for voices that aren’t there. My personality was mostly intact, but my habits and attitude were morphed into something different. Fear has gripped my very being. I let what happened to my best childhood friend happen to me. I can never disappoint my loved ones like that. I…. will…. never….