I know my local legend has a stupid name. Fingers Man. Make your jokes now,
people. I’ve heard them all before.
Man was a legend I only ever heard in my hometown in Philadelphia. I went to
college in Jersey, and now reside in Rhode Island. No one else has heard of him
or anything similar.
first learned of Fingers Man when I was 9 years old. One of my buddies from
school gave me the run down. He comes to you when you’re asleep and presses you
all over with his fingers. If you wake up, he takes you to play with him and
you’re never seen again. If you stay asleep or don’t move a muscle, he
eventually moves on to the next person.
bullshit,” I told him.
I’m telling you, it’s true! Fingers Man visited my cousin last year and he
pretended to be asleep. He almost got him!”
Man’s actual backstory varied from kid to kid. Some said he was a lonely beast
from the forest that wanted friends to play with. Others said he was a tall man
with no eyes that would kill and eat those that he was able to get.
his ridiculous name and my general tough guy attitude, I ridiculed Fingers Man.
I made jokes whenever I could, he was a joke to me. To others… not so much.
Stories got intense amongst the kids and after enough angry phone calls from
parents, our school banned the Fingers Man from discussion. I started the “Free
Fingers Man” movement and was promptly suspended.
middle school, he would be brought up from time to time. Sometimes as a joke,
others whenever a kid wanted to say that they “used to be terrified of him.”
Personally, I think those kids still were scared.
school was when talks really picked up again. Call it nostalgia or just teenage
tomfoolery, but we really made Fingers Man a school icon. On Halloween, kids
made him their choice of costume above any other. It was pretty cool, everyone
had a very different take on what he would look like.
were all inaccurate.
the Fingers Man was again banned from our school. Too many asshole guys used
him as an excuse to poke girls wherever they felt like it. Fingers Man was once
again locked behind bars.
girlfriend at the time Sam was terrified of the legends. Any jokes I made
unsettled her greatly. She told me that she had a sleepover as a kid where her
friend pretended to be Fingers Man and she peed herself. She also punched me
when I laughed about it.
lived right next door to me. Our windows met and we’d often play jokes on
eachother with laser pointers or put signs against our windows. It was more
King of the Hill’s Bobby and Connie and less Taylor Swift’s “You Belong with
started dating freshman year after I asked her to be my Valentine on a heart
shaped note against my window. She wrote “I guess” on a whiteboard and put it
against hers. Score.
parents were pretty strict and she was often grounded. That didn’t stop us from
communicating via window. I spent most nights having long conversations with
her via window. On one October night, my senior year, we did this for hours.
talked about life, the future, the world. Every existential issue that a 17
year old could possibly think of. When I started to conk out, I wrote goodnight
inside of a big heart drawing and she did the same. I turned off my light and
crawled into bed.
wasn’t sure what time it was. But, I woke up. I didn’t usually wake up in the
middle of the night, so I thought it to be pretty strange. When I finally came
through, I felt light tapping on my back.
taps timed ever so softly on my back. Despite all of the years of fun and
ridicule, I was paralyzed. Even though I knew the Fingers Man to be fake, how
was I to know that it wasn’t some intruder or my friends filming a scare prank
that I wouldn’t live down until graduation?
was in my room and I didn’t want them there. I just continued to lay there. The
tapping continued. From the back of my neck to my shoulder blades to my lower
don’t know how long that went on. Eventually, the fingers went deeper and the
tapping was stronger.
was annoying but I continued to ignore it. I wasn’t going to move.
eventually, it stopped. I waited a few minutes before springing out of bed. I
ran to my light switch and turned it on, examining my room. Nothing. My room
was empty and as quiet as could be. I flicked off the light switch and began to
return to bed when I looked out my window. I froze.
was tall. Taller than anyone I had met before. So tall that there was a strong
arch on their body to avoid hitting the ceiling. Their form was like a candy
cane. On top of its head was a top hat. Their arm was extended impossibly long
and tapping Sam’s back.
was frozen. What I was looking at defied anything I had ever seen before. This
figure, illuminated by Sam’s blue night light, was hunched over and tapping her
I just stood there. I stood there completely frozen. What was I to do in a
situation like that? Should I have yelled out of my window? Should I have ran
into her house and busted into her room? Or should I have called the police?
of these thoughts swirled in my mind as I stood there paralyzed. I couldn’t
move a muscle. I couldn’t do anything. Even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t have
been able to do anything. Because, before I knew it…
Sam woke up.