Parker Barrett, class of 2023
Mystery Man
fiction

My house was built in 1904. It is a tiny, single family home with a wood frame setting on a concrete block foundation. I have been living there for about 12 years. Of all the weird things that my siblings and I have seen and heard in this house I have a favorite on in particular. This event happened to my brother. About ten years ago my brother and his best friends had started a garage band playing mostly heavy metal, in my opinion the worst kind of music. He and his friends could only get together on Sunday afternoons. They would practice into the early evening, and they would usually call it quits by eight at night. This was the time I usually showed up and went to bed, because I worked the graveyard shift.

This happened in late fall, so the days were getting shorter, they had just finished a long session when the decision to head to someone else’s house sprung up. My brother handed his car keys to Michael, one of the guitarists, so they could load up the equipment. Everyone had filed out of the basement, but the tricky part was that they needed to walk all the way to the back of the basement, up the backstairs, through the kitchen doorway, down the hall into the living room and out onto the front porch. Everyone was outside sitting in my brother’s truck, an ugly, beaten-up 1989 Toyota Tacoma, waiting for my brother. He was walking up the backstairs when he remembered that he had left his half-eaten ham-and-cheese sandwich sitting on a speaker in the basement. He made the decision to go back. Now the basement is not clean, with full sight lines, there had been partitions made, and the boiler and main heating unit are right smack in the middle. So after my brother walks back, he is about to grab his sandwich real quick, when out of the corner of his eye he sees it.

It is a dark, shadowy figure, right at his peripheral vision, this feeling of death and coldness washed over my brother. We had been taught that if you are in the presence of a spirit or ghost and you felt a bad vibe, to say a quick prayer or to cuss at it. My brother chose the latter, he basically just told it “Hey f*** you, I don’t have time for this s***.”
My brother started to walk to the back of the basement and briskly up the stairs, closing doors and turning off lights as he was walking out. The last light switch is on the opposite side of the front door…luckily the door was open and the light from the street lamp was flooding the living room with its amber light. My brother said he felt something at his back, but at no point did he ever turn around, nor did he intend to. As he flicked the last switch the living room went dark, as did rest of the house. As he stepped out he pulled the door closed behind him, still holding his sandwich in one hand he jogged down the few porch steps. He walked towards the front gate…our house resides far from the main street, essentially having a large front yard but no rear garage at all. As he closed the gap between himself and his truck full of friends he kind of smiled and thought things over in his head, mad at himself for spooking out when there was no reason.

He climbed into the driver’s side of the truck, putting on his seat belt and getting ready to pull out of the parking spot directly in front of the house, when one of his friends asked “ Hey wait what about your brother, isn’t he coming with us?” My brother answered, “What do you mean? He went to work earlier tonight, he is already gone, do you see his car anywhere?”

The next question they asked was, “So then who was walking behind you when you were leaving the house?”

THE END