Halloween 2017 #12: It Followed Me Home From The Haunted Farm

Length: Medium

Today, my
friends and I started celebrating the Halloween season by going to a haunted
farm off in the outskirts of town. I use the term “haunted” loosely, because
this place is really just a scaled-down theme park that’s been in the region
for over twenty years. I don’t scare easily, so I wasn’t expecting much from
the visit aside from a bit of light-hearted fun with friends. 

Who would have
thought after an evening of cheap jump scares and screaming mostly to be
polite, I’d find myself sitting in my bed, genuinely shaking in fear? I
certainly didn’t, yet here I am, all because something followed me home.
Whenever a car drives down the street, I can catch glimpses of it slowly crawling
down my neighbor’s house and towards mine, as though toying with me. It all
happened because of that damn farm.

We
arrived at the farm late in the afternoon. It was nice out: not too hot, not
too cold. The farm was neat, though it wasn’t overly spooky-looking in the
light of day. They’d built a few old Wild-West-style houses they’d decorated
with pumpkins and giant spiders, had a few “creepy” mascots walking around, and
sprinkled demonic baby dolls where they saw fit. In the daytime, this place was
a playground for kids. I saw more bouncy houses and face-painting stations than
scary attractions, but I expected things would change once the sun went down.
My friends and I headed out to do the corn mazes while they were still open,
and then headed to the food trucks for supper.

By
the time we were done eating, it was finally dark out, and the toddlers had
sprouted into teenagers. As expected, the park looked a lot creepier at night.
They’d turned on their fog machines and colored lights to give the place a surreal
atmosphere. The mascots had changed their make-up from
sort-of-menacing-but-still-friendly to sort-of-demonic, with a few vampires and
masked witches thrown in for good measure.

It
was fine. Not all that scary, though.

I’m not
trying to make myself out to be some unshakable badass or anything, but I
honestly don’t scare all that easily. I’m not really susceptible to things I
know aren’t real. Creepy music and plastic hatchets just don’t work on me. You
could blame my time hanging around NoSleep for the desensitization, but the
truth is, I’ve always been pretty numb to horror. I’m more afraid of practical
things, like being stuck in line for a haunted hayride for half an hour with a
bunch of rowdy 13-year-old kids screaming profanities to try and out-shock one
another, splinters, and disgusting porta-potties, the first and last of which I
experienced at the farm. Ugh.

My
friends and I walked around and tried out the different attractions. We did the
aforementioned hayride, the witches’ coven, and the demonic funhouse, which was
fun for all the wrong reasons. See, the funhouse was pretty tame, all things
considered. You walk your way through the world’s most straight-forward maze,
and from time to time, a creepy clown appears out of nowhere and kind of shuffles
behind you and follows for a bit. 

I can see how that might be a bit unsettling
to kids,
but like, these clowns were all actors and they weren’t allowed to
actually touch anyone,
so there really wasn’t anything to be scared of. That didn’t stop this one
chick from breaking down outside the attraction. This 20-something gal totally
lost it. She was sobbing in her boyfriend’s arms, and I couldn’t help but laugh
as we walked past her. Sorry, but if you can’t handle a clown standing next to
you for half a second, mayyyyybe you shouldn’t be going into a demonic
funhouse. Just sayin’. Check ‘yoself before you emotionally wreck ‘yoself.

It
was getting late, and we still had one major attraction to go to. According to
our map, it was the scariest of them all. Four chainsaws out of four. Having
heard screams of abject terror coming from that side of the park, I was really
looking forward to seeing what all the fuss was about. Along the way, my friend
pointed out a cemetery with a half-opened gate and not a soul in line to go in.
There had been a 30-minute wait for all the other attractions, but this one was
as still as the grave (pun intended).

“Should
we go in?” she asked.

“Might
as well,” I replied.

The
door squealed as we opened it the rest of the way.

Oh,
boy. Someone had left the fog machine on overnight. The curtains of smoke were
so thick, I couldn’t even see my own feet. I grabbed the friend behind and in
front of me just so we wouldn’t lose one another in the mist. That’s how dense
it was.

I didn’t
really like the cemetery. For one thing, there wasn’t much to it: a few
tombstones here and there, a crypt, some gargoyles… but overall, it was just
annoying. I kept tripping on exposed tree roots and fake plastic bones. It was
a pain in the ass, but it was worth it for the one genuine
scare I got all night: as I was turning a corner, I felt something grab my leg.
I let out my only authentic scream all evening, because I had no idea
we weren’t alone in the cemetery. The fog had done a great job hiding this guy
in a pitch-black morph suit crawling around on all fours. I only saw him
because, as I screamed, I also flapped my arms around like a drunk duck trying
to take off, and the motion dispersed the fog for a second. The guy crawled
away and disappeared behind a tombstone.

My
friends laughed and laughed and laughed.

“Whatever,”
I mumbled, “wasn’t even scared.”

We
found our way out of the cemetery after that, and headed to the main
attraction.

The wait
was longer than any other attraction at the farm because it
was allegedly the scariest of them all. The cream of the crop. Hell, after the
scare I’d gotten at the cemetery, my expectations were pretty high for this
one.

Annnnnnd…meh.
It was fine. I mean, there were guys in pretty realistic pig masks running
after us with chainsaws, but even in the dark, I could tell the blades weren’t
actually moving. I didn’t feel like I was in danger. Well, aside from the very
real danger of possibly losing all blood circulation in my arm when one pigman
jumped in front of us, and my friend grabbed me so tightly my fingers went
numb. She screamed. I just kind of stared at the pigman, unfazed. I half
expected him to tell me to feed the pig. Not tonight, buddy. Not tonight.

We
drove home after that and chatted about our favorite parts of the night.

“You
got sooooo scared in the cemetery,” taunted Jules.

I
huffed. “That dude startled the shit out of me.”

The
car went silent.

“What
guy?” someone in the back seat asked.

“Dude
in the morph suit,” I answered.

“Huh?”

“He
was crawling on the floor.”

“Didn’t
see him.”

I
shrugged. “It was foggy.”

We
went back to chatting. Eventually, I dropped off everyone at their places.

I wasn’t
tired by the time I got home, so I booted up my computer and uploaded the
photos we’d taken that night. Everything was pretty normal, until we got to the
cemetery. Or rather, after the
cemetery. Morph suit guy was in the background of all the other photos I
took…which was really strange to me, since I thought the mascots were supposed
to stay in their attractions. They had these lame bios for their mascots on the
website, so I looked him up just to see.

He
wasn’t listed.

I
felt a small knot in my stomach, but laughed it off. There were plenty of
guests in costumes. Maybe this was an annoying teenager having fun.

At this
point, I thought I could hear a squirrel or something scratching at my bedroom
window, but couldn’t spare a glance. I was too busy staring dumbfounded at the
website. I’d clicked on the venue map link. I’d noticed the distinct lack of a
cemetery. The thought did occur to me that this was all intentional on the part
of the people running the farm. A great way to get one last scare out of their
guests after they’d
gone home. It was as easy as not drawing
a cemetery on their little cartoon map. As simple as not including
it on the list of attractions. As easy as omitting one spooky
mascot from their character bios.

I wish
that were the case. I wish that, when I looked out the window, I hadn’t and
seen the figure in the morph suit staring back and me, and then quickly
skittering backwards across the yard and up to my neighbor’s roof. I wish he’d
stop crawling nearer whenever I blink or look away.

Every
time I focus on my screen to write another line, I catch him in my peripheral
vision. He’s at the window right now.

I
give him a quick glance.

He
runs away.

I
can’t help but worry…what’ll happens when I close my eyes and fall asleep?

I
think I’ll find out soon.

I’m
so tired I can’t keep my eyes open.

Credits
to: manen_lyset (story)