The Yard

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
A long walk. No one around to help her. Unfounded paranoia, or rational fear?

Submitted: May 02, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 02, 2016



I exited my psychiatrist’s office.

Some woman was being rude to me. I think I dressed in a way she didn’t like, so she yelled at me after standing next to me in the waiting room for a minute, because she had the mentality of a high schooler or something. I don’t know what she was babbling about, but it had the word “boy” in it.

I had forgotten that my girlfriend took my car while hers got worked on. As I looked at the small parking lot around me, I sighed and trudged forward onto the dreaded walk ahead. I had offered to walk or find a way home, even if I had to call someone, but I mostly reassured her that I’d find out how to take the bus. I wasn’t even familiar with buses in my hometown. I’ve always driven.

So I’m 20 minutes by car away from home, exiting the only familiar block I’ve been to in this city.

The area I live in is a really deserted farm type area. I’m new here. I’ve only been staying around here for 3 months and have only been out walking a few times per week around the house. I haven’t been out to new places or areas. My girlfriend usually has to tell me directions everywhere, and even then, I only go to get food or groceries, or we go to the store together and she navigates.

She’d given me an old flip phone of her grandma’s that I could text her on so that I could use my smart phone for only the internet. This way I would not drain my battery. I looked at the Maps app on my smart phone and it was frustrating and I was sweaty and my eyes were blurry with tears. I have dry eyes and am allergic to exercise. I sweat, break out in hives, and my nose pours snot just by walking for a few minutes. I’m also about 90 pounds overweight.

I finally made it out of this business/residential complex and after thumbing the app seeing what’s clickable and what’s not, I typed in the address to see that it was going to take 6 hours to walk home and it’s 18.2 miles away.

I can’t walk that. I need to call someone or sit and wait for her to get off work.

But I didn’t want to wait. I kept walking. Plus, I needed the exercise. It would be smart to do at least part of this walk while it’s needed and the opportunity arises.

I saw a sign that said “Paseo del Muerte” at a T intersection and I started to text my girlfriend. “That’s cool but weird. There’s a sign that says ‘Paseo del Muerte’ on the street positioned like a street name.” It means Death Ride.

I crossed the street and turned left and walked ahead, down a dirt trail that was for biking/walking. I thought I was on a trail called “Liberty Trail” but my app said otherwise. It said I’m on the road called “Paseo del Muerte.”

The trail was heavily in use at this time. Before long, there was a brown dog running up beside me, looking like his owner sic’d him on me. He was panting and exerted, and I felt him nipping at both my pant legs for a moment, until the man glared at me and passed, speed-walking. The dog bounded after him.

These people are probably judging me like that lady at the psych's office just was. Is it my shirt? That I’m wearing too much black? My hair is too long and covers my eyes—maybe that’s why. I probably look like a target to them. Plus, I’m fat.

I prayed in my head that they’d just walk on by assuming I’m another one of them. You don’t know someone’s opinions or sexuality at a glance! You can’t just make assumptions about people and glare at them like that! For some reason I felt on edge, about to be attacked.

I kept walking and every person I passed made me anxious. But nothing resulted from passing them other than the normal anxiety I get. I have social anxiety, so already sweating and walking for so long, which is out of my norm, and passing people in the afternoon with the sun beating down on me made me more self-conscious. It was far out of my comfort zone and I was scared and worried that I wouldn’t make it home that night.

Before long, I’d walked 3 miles. That’s the standard for a physically active person to walk in 24 hours. 10,000 steps—the default target on pedometers. I was proud of myself for doing it. But any longer and my feet were going to ache and blister so bad.

I passed a man who was bent over, standing at his car parked across from the houses lining the street next to the trail. He was arguing on the phone with someone. I also heard a shout from across the street. Someone was doing some kind of work outside or in a house (couldn’t tell which one) and yelling questions to someone else. It startled me because they yelled so loud. It’s almost surreal how loud they yelled, like it was amplified on a PA system.

The trail led to a sidewalk on this street, past the arguing man. It had come to an end.

I realized I might not be following the directions on the smart phone in my pocket, faced with this dilemma, and I looked at the app. Luckily, I had only passed the last turn by a few feet and turned around, passing the man again. I turned on Peligro Norte. It led to another T-intersection, but residential. The app’s directions were leading me right and it made a weird pointed line at some other street then continued to the left, which was north. The name wasn’t popping up yet on the map, and I hadn’t figured out how to see the directions listed out like I usually can when I’m driving. This app always gives me problems.

At the end of the road (the top of the T with the left side cut in half and the right side elongated) there was a huge lot, like a mostly empty junkyard fenced in, but with only a few junkers scattered about. Huge metal plates were plastered on the chain link fence across the field and a brick divider was beyond that, even higher, blocking my view of what sounded like a freeway or a highway from the quantity of cars passing.

My instinct told me ‘Danger.’

Midway across the field was a shack, like a garage people worked in. I could hear tools and clunking from what appeared to be that shack, but I couldn’t tell. I felt the presence of people over there, but I couldn’t hear anyone talking.

I just couldn’t figure out how I would get past the yard. The road to my left was a dead end and it’s not like I could hop fences in people’s backyards. The road to my right was far for my aching legs and back. I normally sit too long so my back has ached for a month straight. I just didn’t feel like walking down the right side of the street just to see if by chance it led to a main street where I can continue north, to home, or to a business of some sort where I can wait. Like a Starbucks! Anything.

The sun glared in my eyes. The everpresent tear drops blurred my vision even more. I walked to the beginning of the dead end to my left and stared at the houses blocking what could have been sanctuary, backed by that dreadful brick divider covered with vines, like creeping fig or something.

Suddenly, I was shocked by a man exiting the chain link fence’s opening where I’d just come from. Through the blur I could see that he was huge and over 6 feet tall, towering over me. He had one of those builds where a sleeveless shirt made his reddish-tan muscles gleam, and he had sun damage on his skin from working so long outdoors. He looked like a man with a beer belly and his dirty oil-splattered jeans were worn low with his belly billowing over it. His black goatee and hair were greying. He must have been in his late 40’s.

At a loss for what to do, I quickly had the courage to speak. “Hey, do you know how I can get around here? I’m stranded, trying to get home and it’s 15 miles away and now it says I go that way,” I pointed my finger up and to the right.

I walked up to show him the app on my phone. I felt like a little kid. “Let me see,” he said. He took the phone and scrolled around on my phone, trying to get it to zoom in, trying to do things I’d already tried.

“Why isn’t it turning?” he asked. He rotated the phone, as it’s supposed to change the view of the map as you rotate. The phone looked miniature in his large hands.

“I don’t know, I think there’s something wrong with it.”

He sighed, looking back toward the shack for his friends. It was apparent he was busy working but it seemed he wanted to help me. I was willing to wait just about anywhere if I could get a ride home or they’d call me a cab of some sort or drop me off at a bus stop and tell me what to do and I could pay them back or something. I don’t have a card and I shut down my bank account because it gave me nothing but overdrafts while I’d been unemployed. I had no money on me because I was broke.

“Well look, I’m not sure where this is telling you to go. Where’d you say you live?”

I gave him my town’s name.

He raised his eyebrows, looking down. “That street doesn’t go through—” he looked toward the sound of traffic—“and the biggest street that leads anywhere near there is gonna be miles away. I’ll see if I can get you some help.” He handed my phone back and left toward the shack.

I felt like he could tell I was clueless and much more lost than I should be. I didn’t even have to explain much. I think people can tell from first impression that I’m shy and scared off the bat.

I continued trying to zoom in to see the street name. I switched it to “Driving,” but it lagged on loading the directions and I hit cancel. I didn’t want to waste my time if it would kill my battery while I’m lost and hopeless.

He came back with black plastic tool boxes and I followed him inside the gate silently as he loaded them in the trunk of a car that was coincidentally like my old car I’d totaled in an accident about three years ago. A 2001 Chevy Prizm. It was old and rickety, like someone had tried to trash it but it was still able to drive.

“Hop in,” he told me.

The passenger side was loaded with black trash bags of what looked like heavy stuff, so I got in the back behind the driver’s seat. He sat in the driver’s seat, shaking the car with his weight. I took out the flip phone because I needed to tell my girlfriend what was happening. She’s the only person I have here and I was scared and so far from home.

I wasn’t used to texting on a number pad. I searched my girlfriend’s name in about 50 contacts: three letters. I started nervously trying to type “I’m lost getting help” to my girlfriend, while simultaneously trying to talk to him. He turned the keys and A/C blasted, making my cold sweat start to dissipate. My shirt was soaking the leather seat behind me. My thighs were chafed and I felt disgusting in this helpful yet scary person’s car.

I said, “Thank you so much. I don’t know what to do. So if it says go right over there, I guess we should drive there…? I don’t know what else to do. You can take me part of the way till the map corrects itself or makes more sense or whatever you want...”

“Let’s see,” he said. He took out another smart phone that was giant and was typing something in. I don’t know what he could have been typing because he didn’t have my address. He must have been putting in my town’s name.

I looked down at my flip phone as I hurriedly tried to finish the text. I looked around hoping to find some marker of where I was to tell her because if I turned out to be a missing person, she could tell the police. I thought, When I get out I should text her the plate number, but I quickly wanted to throw that idea in the trash because he would totally be able to tell and it would make the whole experience really awkward. I thought I was just being paranoid.

“Hold on one second,” the man said. I could see the app on his gigantic phone, bigger than any I’d ever seen, showing red and blue lines on the map of this foreign place as he exited the car. I sat in there alone with the A/C still going and proceeded texting. Quickly, I cracked the door open next to me and propped it open with my leg so I wouldn’t be locked in somehow.

I heard shouting from the junkyard, from an unknown location. Finally, I heard angry voices that indicated other people were there. Not that they would be more helpful. Why were these people seething with rage?

A bigger truck of the same make pulled around the corner of the shack and pulled in front of the car. I assumed that it was the man I’d met behind the wheel, and he started backing it up to the front of the car. It kept going and going. My heart sped and my eyes widened as I watched in fear. I didn’t know what he was doing or why. He only stopped until it was almost touching the hood.

If he had needed to continue his work, why didn’t he tell me? He was really freaking me out. I started to think that he was blocking me from taking this car and leaving, possibly to the police station.

I heard the trunk of the car open behind me, as if by accident. He wasn’t exiting the truck and it was roaring like a truck in a monster truck rally. Again and again, he punched the gas. So I exited and tried to shut the trunk, wanting nothing but to leave.  I looked behind me at the entrance I’d walked into and it was shut and padlocked. Someone had walked by and locked it while I’d been in the car looking at my phone. My heart sped and adrenalin kicked in. I considered leaving, jumping over the fence.

The trunk wouldn’t shut—it just popped right back up. I checked the hinges while the trunk was raised, moved some identical metal pieces that were on both sides, hoping that would do it, but the trunk still clunk like it was stopped by something and popped right back up.

The biggest exit for vehicles looked to be next to the walk-in entrance—a swinging gate that was closed and locked too.

No one was around, but I heard yelling from the direction of the shack, despite the intermittent roaring of the truck, unending... It sounded like people were arguing because of me, but I couldn’t hear distinct words being yelled, just "She" this and that. The fact that the man wouldn’t exit his truck scared me. This was the most tense 10 minutes of my life.

My breathing quickened and I looked at the truck and back to the trunk. The trunk had toolboxes in it. I started to open one while I hoped he wouldn’t finally exit the truck and catch me snooping. I pipped the clips on the box open and stared in horror at the sight before me. This wasn’t just any tool box—this was a gun box. A velvet pouch also lay beside the pistol inside where I could only guess were bullets.

I sped like a track runner around the car, popped the door open really fast and turned the ignition key. The engine just turned, to my great demise. I tried again and again and punched the gas. One, two, three. No. This can’t be happening.

Just then, the man crunched down the gravel to the hood of the car, opening it, shouting, “What are you doing!?” In a loud, roaring voice. Now both the hood and trunk were open. I came out from the driver’s seat. I looked at him, spitting out "Sorry!" and he looked at the engine. I didn’t think I had just been paranoid.

He was looking only at the engine and starting to fidget with parts I knew nothing about.

Then the man cocked his head to the right and immediately the shouting from inside stopped. Was he listening for noise? No, it didn’t look like he was listening, with his hand frozen over the engine. It looked like he was petrified in a contorted position, like a demented mannequin who’d just shown its true form. His eyes were open, but unmoving.

This was not the kind of help I was hoping for. I said, “Nevermind. I’ll go somewhere else.” I took off running toward where it looked like maybe another exit from the yard was. He started running after me. He looked furious. The look on his face was something like a Hulk-like character—teeth baring, tense muscles. I always knew that with the force of adrenalin I could outrun someone if I had a fighting chance. I found a break in the fence and continued down the long side of the street, which I’d been avoiding. It looked half a mile long.

Sprinting lasted what felt like 5 minutes until I had no more strength. I looked behind me and saw no one but an empty street. I continued walking fast and looked back often. My back felt a prick with fear of what could happen behind me.

I didn’t know what it was—maybe not fear. Maybe just an intense apprehension. The man was vague. He had a vague, unsettling, disturbing way about him.

I had to catch my breath. It felt like I would suffocate. After a few minutes, I started checking Facebook where, still, I didn’t know any people who live here, but wanted to desperately tell someone where I was and beg for help. I started searching in the web browser for meet up sites where maybe a stranger would come save me and soon I could be laughing about it while also meeting a new person.

My back ached and my legs were practically locked up in pain. This is the point I usually buckle down and lay in bed after a long walk.

I started typing into Maps, “Starbucks” with my jumbled fingers mistyping and having to backspace and still landing on the wrong letters. Finally, as I clicked search I could see that the phone was locking up. I only had 5% somehow and had to restart in the middle of all this bullshit. Just powering up takes battery power!

I had no other choice. I held down the power button and walked fast, my back throbbing with each step. I considered jogging just to look down the road at the end and see the answer—is it another dead end or not?

My rationality started speaking to me. Maybe him having this gun case didn’t mean anything. He’s working here. He didn’t know me or have a motive to murder me. Maybe it was just him putting his concealed weapon in his car. He’s pissed off that I tried to steal the car. That’s why he’s mad. Nothing about the situation guarantees he’s dangerous.

The sky was midnight blue and the street lamps had come on in all this time. It was late--10 pm on a Tuesday. I made it to the end of the road and my phone wouldn’t turn back on. The only things I could see down the road were house porch lights on with no cars parked anywhere in sight. The road appeared to stretch for over a mile. I couldn’t see the end.

What the fuck? Are all these houses even occupied?

I opened my flip phone and started to text my girlfriend and there was no service. My only solution was to go back to the yard and hope then I’d have service, because it was the last place I’d had it.

I limped back and my thighs burned. My feet were probably bleeding—that’s how much they hurt from walking so long. I couldn’t tell if I felt blood or sweat in my Converse, which were not the best for walking in. The sky became totally black by the time I got there.

The entrances to the yard were closed but I could see a light on the shack where he must have been working still. The engine of the truck that had formerly been on was quiet now.

I checked the flip phone and it still had no service, so I turned it off and back on.

Still no service.

From what little I could see in the dark, there were no cars parked at these houses either.

These streets had cars on them before, didn’t they?

I looked at the shack hopelessly. My arms were limp beside me. The opening was dark and I couldn’t see anything from the orb of light glaring at me. I began to question existence. Is this even really happening? I have never seen a street so empty on a weeknight. Maybe they’re all out. Maybe they’re newly built houses. They are pretty fancy.

I started pacing back and forth in front of the entrance. Over time, I thought no one was in there and I wouldn’t see someone who could help me again. I was prepared to sleep on the sidewalk. Maybe my girlfriend would search for me or the phone would regain service and start ringing and I’d tell her where I am. She’d pick me up and everything would be okay.

“Why’d you run away!?” I gasped and turned around with a jump. He was right beyond the fence. “I was trying to help you.”

“Hey! I’m sorry!” I said, trying to sound genuine. He stopped and looked at me. He wiggled a wrench back and forth at his side. He sounded pissed off. “I’m sorry. My phone actually died.” I gave a knowingly embarrassed smile.

“I need to close up for the night!” he sounded more irritated.

“I’m sorry.” I started to back away. “I can knock on one of these people’s doors.”

“No, no,” he gestured as he opened the gate. “I’ll help you.” He bowed his head.

He opened the gate and I crunched over the gravel, through the threshold. Assuming he’d still take me, I followed him to an undisclosed location past more high chain link and metal plates forming a wall.

Another shack sat behind this wall, bigger, and with a door. No light lit it up and the inside was dark and musty. The flimsy door felt of cardboard, it was so thin. He flicked on a desk lamp. Inside was only a radio, miscellaneous tool boxes, paperwork, and file organizers lining the desk. A window showed the yard ahead. I could see the houses with no lights on inside across the street from the yard.

A chimney and stand-up closet lined the back wall. It looked like the manager’s building of whatever this place was, but the floor was full of dirt and walls lined with cobwebs as if it wasn’t in use.

Afraid of telling him I had two phones, I asked, “Do you have a phone?” I sat in the chair. “I can just call someone to get me.” At this point I wanted to call anyone. I had friends hours away who would come get me.

“Yeah, let me go get it.” He put the wrench on a shelf and left, the door closing behind him. I sat for a while, scared. Now it was so cold, I was shaking. What used to be my unwanted sweat was now an unwarranted icy coat of oncoming hypothermia. It must have been below 50, which I’m not used to and is freezing to me.

I looked around at my surroundings and opted to pick up the heavy wrench, as he’d left it just perfectly as a viable option for a weapon. I took a step behind my seat, and my shoe thudded loudly on the old hollow wood. Outside, I heard creaking from wind blowing leaves and the rickety awnings surrounding me. The sound startled me, as I hadn’t noticed the wind in the past few minutes. A moment of hesitation, listening, and I heard something else with the wind… what sounded like a voice. But it couldn’t be.

Amidst the silence of what used to be a loud, active workshop of some sort, there appeared to be no one there. Then I heard… groaning. It was that sound when a cat is in attack stance, faced with another cat on the street. Cats make that sound in a demonic lower pitch. It was human. It was like an elderly man’s monotone groan at the scene of his death as he’s spit up and exhaled his last breath.

The voice sounded again. I couldn’t decipher what it might be, but the only thing I could think of was some kind of mechanism in the closet or behind this shack.

In the shadow of the stand-up closet, I knelt and crept toward it, bowing to look under the decorative pattern that opened up to reveal its dark underneath.


The groan got louder and I knew I was nearing its source. But I didn’t know what to expect or what it was. I got off the ground and knelt on one knee, reached for the handle, and slowly opened the closet.

I fell back in horror, dropping the wrench, yelling, “Oh, fuck!” and stared for a moment in shock. A woman was bound and her mouth taped shut. She was beaten to a bloody pulp. There were no eyes, just congealed blood covering where her eyes used to be, and pus-like goo where her eyeballs must have been gouged. She had no consciousness or way of recollecting and talking to me. I shut the door before any sign of my knowing could be realized and looked at the window from my position beneath it. My throat was so dry, it hurt to swallow. All I could see was black. Surely if the man was right out there I would be able to see him, right? He could see me perfectly fine in this brightly lit room if he were looking in the window.

Dammit! I need to get out.

I lost all inhibition and opened the door and ran. I sensed he was around me, but not exactly where, but losing all inhibition, I was through with this now. No more putting it off. I needed to get out.

My logical conclusion was to bolt straight to the nearest house with a side gate I’d seen, jimmy its lock to open and go into the backyard and try to hop the fence. Hopefully someone was in there, but if not—these are probably all houses for sale. Maybe crates and planters were back there that I could use to gain some height. Or maybe it came furnished with tables and patio furniture.

I made it quickly, finally hearing, besides my own heaving breaths, a loud deafening engine starting in the yard. It sounded like the engine of the Prizm I’d tried to start. I managed to hook my elbow over the gate and pull the latch up and let myself in and close the latch behind me. Not that it would matter. He’d be after me in a second.

I saw concrete fences with what looked like thorny weeds attached to their tops. I could try to pull myself over them with the weeds, but I don’t think I could make it. They’d cut me and I’m not strong enough to jump high and pull myself up. No embellishing patio furniture was to be seen to aid me either.

I crouched up a couple of steps to the back door, tested the nob, but to no avail. I saw a rectangle shape jutting out of the brick on the house’s exterior that looked a lot like a step to me—a step big enough for me to fit on, with a large upstairs window just diagonal to it.

I did a difficult pull up onto it because it was low enough to and I was full of panic. Reaching with one arm, the window wasn’t too far so I easily dug my fingernails in its flaking plastered crack and pushed to the right with all my might, shaking with the force. When it budged a little, I dug my hand in and threw it open fast and found a foothold on a porch lamp to make my ascent. I was in a dark bedroom with white tarp-covered furniture. Outside the window, I could see the cars speeding by below. It was far away, and lower than these houses. The house was a high one on a hill.

It was a low window because it was huge. It took up the whole length of the bedroom wall. I shut the window behind me quickly. In this room was a closet and I took it as my chance to hide and leave no traces. I could sleep there until my phone worked, or not sleep, as this nightmare would have it.

For the next ten minutes, I heard what I thought to be footsteps. I might have been delusional from overstress and lack of rest. I typed on the flip phone, “Come get me NOW” and all the turns I’d made from the psychiatrist’s office until now, including which house I was in. I pressed send and it failed. I kept pressing send for 10 minutes straight.

Finally, I heard an engine start normally outside, but closer this time. It must have been the car I had sat in. The Prizm. I exited the closet, exited the bedroom I was in, and slowly crawled over the carpet, but sped up, thinking—if he’d started the engine then he couldn’t be in the house with me. I looked out the window facing the yard, only my eyes peering over the sill and across the street. I had a perfect view of that old Prizm, waiting for me on the street this time. Tempting me.

It’s a trick.

What other choice do I have? There’s a car with the ignition key in it. Or I could get over that fence somehow and jump into a black abyss where I don’t know what’s below and only hope that I make it to the highway and get help. Other ways out include attempting to climb multiple fences and getting away that way or passing the junk yard anyway and walking somewhere I’ve already walked like a regular person, so I might as well get killed trying to escape rather than walking by nonchalantly.

I found the stairs, lit by the moonlight spilling into the hallway windows. I walked down quickly, without a squeak. The front door was across the floor ahead of me. It was open.

I stared, wide-eyed as I hesitated behind a thick drywall next to the stairs that I couldn’t see around, and he couldn’t see me. If he were in here, I could run by or spot him before he spots me. He couldn’t have known where in the house I was. The problem was, I didn’t have a weapon.

I peered around one corner, spotted a dining room and China hutch with decorative plates and no sign of him. I quickly turned my head the other way and jumped about a foot in the air, screaming. A shadow of a man raised his beefy arms just in time to send a weapon crushing down toward my head, but I dodged it with the speed of Usain Bolt. Lunging off the step, I went full speed to the car rumbling with its lights off.

With a quickness, I pulled the driver’s side open and threw myself in place, hand on ‘lock,’ foot on brake, hand on gear—and I reversed away. I floored it so hard that the tires squealed and the engine warbled under the force and I went so far backwards, I just kept going until I was 5 houses down. I did a 3-point turn backwards and sped the elongated street, past the yard, until about five turns later, I left the tract and reached for my phone.

It wasn’t in my pocket.

The strange thing about the man was he wasn’t the one I’d been talking with. It looked like he had a hat—the kind police detectives wear. He had white eyes. White as the lights you’d only see on a headset that workers wear in the darkest attics. He wore a dark trench coat. It was too dark to notice his face.

Breathing heavily, I adjusted the mirror above me and tilted it down to the back seat, until—the man from the yard’s face reflected, in a huge grin stretching his cheeks upward and contorting his eyes, which stared right into mine. He burst into laughter, booming and shaking the whole car as my heart stopped in my chest and I screamed and burst into tears.

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