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by Nicholas Kleinhenz 12 months ago in Adventure · updated 11 months ago
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A fictionalized account of real events

On one ordinary midsummer night, something happened that would relentlessly haunt me for the rest of my life. I awoke with a start at the shrill sound of a single scream piercing the night air. I quickly rose from my bed and looked out my open bedroom window. The county road was barely illuminated by two lights: the front porch light of our house and Hamilton’s flashlight.

Hamilton had been our neighbor across the road since long before I was born. He always struck me as a friendly man – albeit a little slow in the head. He was a stocky, out of shape man who, more often than not, offered to help my parents with yard work or whatever else they needed. My father would stand on the road after checking the mail and talk to him for hours sometimes. My mother, however, thought he was strange and avoided him. Maybe it was the way he looked at her sometimes.

Normally, at any peep near the house, our dog would have been barking fiercely. Even though she was all bark and no bite, she was a solid deterrent for trespassers, thieves, and, of course, the mail carrier. Tonight, however, she was happily seated beside Hamilton who had spent many years befriending her. She never barked at Hamilton.

I did notice something strange though. A pickup truck was parked in Hamilton’s driveway. I had noticed the maroon truck parked there earlier that afternoon, but assumed he had company. I never could understand how Hamilton got so many visitors or why I would see most of them only once. Nothing about Hamilton exactly screamed, “Hey, let’s have dinner at my place tonight.” Hamilton lived in an old bus that he had converted into a home. Furthermore, his property was always full of junk. If you drove further back the road on the rare occasions he mowed the field at the side of his property, you could see about thirty rusty junk cars parked behind his old barn.

Most people would be too distracted by the two large grain silos beside the barn to notice the cars, but I noticed them. My parents hadn’t even noticed them until I mentioned something about them. They played it off, of course, but it always struck me as odd. Hamilton couldn’t have owned that many vehicles; I had only ever seen him drive a white pickup truck. When my father asked about the vehicles, Hamilton told a story about how people would drop vehicles off for him to fix and then never come back to pick them up. I didn’t buy it, but my father seemed to take Hamilton’s word for it.

I wasn’t as gullible as my parents. I was always a curious child with a rampant imagination. My mother said it was because I watched too much television. I thought about all of the outlandish possibilities that adults would never consider. Unfortunately, this time, one of those possibilities would prove to be the conclusion to this story.

The motion-activated light on our front porch turned off. It must have been triggered by the dog as she walked over to greet Hamilton. Hamilton’s flashlight turned off moments later as well. The road was no longer visible, but I had a strange feeling. I checked the time to see that it was 3:14 a.m. I quickly got dressed in shorts and a short-sleeve T-shirt. I put my shoes on and quietly crept downstairs. The way our creaky old house was laid out, I would have to sneak past my parents’ bedroom, through the living room, the dining room, and the kitchen in order to reach the side door that we used as an entrance. The front door, which was directly outside my parents’ bedroom, would have been much too loud anyway.

Reaching the door was no easy task and the journey seemed like it lasted forever. I held my breath much of the time while paying close attention to the sound of my parents’ loud snores. Luckily I could do this because the walls were thin and they both snored loudly. If I heard an interruption in their snores, then I would need to quicken my pace toward the bathroom. Whether luck was on my side that night remains to be seen. My parents did not wake up to catch me sneaking out.

Once outside, I understood that it was imperative that I still creep silently through the dark yard. I had memorized the range of all of the motion sensor lights in our yard; I had always been fascinated by them whenever I was allowed outside at dusk. This knowledge allowed me to slip through our yard undetected. I swung out wide from the house to avoid being noticed by our dog. I remember being nervous as I slowly crept down the gravel driveway. I can still remember my heart pounding as if it were attempting to leap out of my chest.

I stopped to breathe once I had reached the road. I was blocked from sight by trees and bushes on all sides and, after a few minutes, was able to regain my composure. This was my last chance to turn back and continue living a normal, peaceful life. My mind was running wild with “what-if” scenarios. Knowing the likelihood of me finding anything was very low, I proceeded onto Hamilton’s property.

I crept around the fork in the road hoping not to be seen and walked onto his property near the grain silos. I gazed up at them as if they were two awe-inspiring monuments. They looked a lot larger up close. I heard rustling sounds coming from inside Hamilton’s old barn. Cloaked within the shadows of the grain silos, I crept closer. I peered through the gaps in the old wooden boards and saw nothing but darkness. I could still hear the faint rustling sound, however, so I continued to observe.

A flash of light hit me as the light inside the barn flickered on. I took a step back and clapped my hands over my mouth to muffle my astonishment. The light had illuminated a terrifying scene. Inside the barn a woman was tied up on her knees with a piece of cloth tied around her mouth. She did not see me, but I could see her clearly. She was wearing nothing but a white tank top and panties. She was crying and attempting to break free of her bindings. Her panic could be heard through muffled screams, but she couldn’t fully cry out for help due to the cloth in her mouth.

I thought that I would run for help, but fear froze me in place as Hamilton entered the barn holding a revolver. Not a single muscle in my body could move as he pulled the gag down out of her mouth. “No, please, don’t do this!” she cried as he caressed her cheek.

“No one will hear you even if you scream. All of the neighbors are sound asleep.” Hamilton replied softly.

It became clear to me that I really was the only close neighbor that was awake. Even if I was able to run for help, would I have time? How long would it take for me to get back home, wake up my parents, and beg them to call the police? How long would it take to explain why they needed to call the cops? Would I even be able to convince them that their child with a wild imagination saw a woman tied up in Hamilton’s old barn? All of these questions ran through my mind as Hamilton forced the barrel of the gun into the woman’s mouth.

Hamilton let out a sigh, “Just like earlier.” he said.

A sudden, muffled bang echoed through the warm night air. My eyes widened as I jerked my head away. My hands were still covering my mouth to prevent myself from screaming involuntarily. Tears began streaming down my face as the woman’s body dropped to the floor with a thud. I did not look back inside at the gory scene. Due to the shock of what I had just witnessed, the only thing my mind could fixate on were the lines cast onto the ground through the slats between the old barn’s boards.

I lowered my head and crept back off of Hamilton’s property. I quickened my pace once I was on the road and kept an eye on the barn’s entrance as I passed by. I reached the side door of my parents’ house a few minutes later with my hands still cupped over my mouth. Only then did I realize that I had walked all the way home like that. I lowered my hands to my side and cried on the side deck. Knowing it was too late to save the woman, I crept back up to my bedroom without a peep to anyone. I laid down on my bed and sobbed into my pillow until it was soaking wet. I felt so helpless.

Just then I heard another noise that prompted me to look out the window once again. I saw Hamilton dragging a trash bag out of his old barn. That’s her. I thought to myself as more tears flowed down my cheeks. Hamilton threw the bag into the back of his truck. He looked around to see if anyone had been watching, got in, started the engine, and drove away. There she goes. I thought as I laid back down in my bed. I ended up crying myself to sleep that night.

I never told my parents about what I had witnessed. I never told anyone, actually. I pretended to act as if nothing had happened. Months later I saw the maroon truck behind his house as we were traveling farther back the road to visit my grandmother. I wiped the tears from my eyes before my parents noticed. Twenty years later I think back to what I could have done differently. There isn’t much a child can do in situations like the one I’ve described. I often wish that I could travel back in time and handle the situation appropriately myself, but that is merely a pipe dream. No one would have believed a child that possessed such a wild imagination as mine. I convinced myself of that long ago and I am still convinced of that.

To this day, Hamilton still lives across the road from my parents and his collection of junk vehicles slowly continues to grow.


About the author

Nicholas Kleinhenz

Aspiring author.

I write horror stories.

That's all you need to know.

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