November 7, 2016

Hello. My name is Astaroth Regina Smith, and I’m not afraid of anything. I was never scared. I thought I couldn’t be scared. At least that’s how I used to be. That all changed the night I passed through Baker’s Cemetery alone.

I didn’t think anything like that could happen. I didn’t think something that could even exist. 

My apologies, let me start from the beginning.

When I left work, it was already dark, and the moon was casting long shadows across the road that I followed home. I didn’t wanna’ walk alone in the dark for too long because it was too quiet. I hate the quiet. And the nighttime streets were as silent as the grave.

That thought gave me an idea. I could cut through Baker’s Cemetery and get home more quickly.

As I neared the huge, wrought-iron gates of the cemetery’s entrance, I sensed something peculiar. But I ignored it and kept going. It was silent; I could only hear the sound of my own breathing. I would do anything if it meant I didn’t have to be in such a quiet place.

Just then, a small piercing screech erupted from the trees above me, and I stopped in my tracks. The noise had only lasted a moment, so I wasn’t even sure I heard anything. I waited for a minute or two, my ears seeking out every sound they could. I heard nothing. So, I pressed on as if nothing happened. My courage didn’t last long.

Suddenly, I heard a thump as if something had leaped out of the trees onto the ground behind me. I stopped again and turned to face whatever it was, thinking it was just a cat. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I couldn’t see much of it in the darkness. But what I could see were the long canines protruding out of its mouth like a wild boar’s tusks. And its eyes--red as blood.

Within an instant, I was running. There was panic in my own ragged breathing. I could hear my feet thumping upon the ground.

Wait…Not my feet. It sounded like the stride of a large dog, its pads hitting the ground.

It was following me.

I tried to make sense of the situation, trying to figure out how to escape this thing. But my mind was racing, and I couldn’t stop the same thoughts from circling around my brain.

I’m being chased. Dog, wolf maybe...No, not a canine--a creature. Running, keep running. It’s too fast. It’s gaining on me.

I choked out a distressed scream as I spotted houses not too far away, hoping someone would hear me. I saw my own house off in the distance, and a small feeling of hope ran through me. I kept running, forcing my burning feet to carry me farther.

Almost there.

I heard a vicious snarl erupt from the creature’s throat. Snap! went its jaws.

I’m almost there.

I quickly ran up the front steps of my house, my hands trembling as I tried to grab my keys from my pocket.

And I tripped. My foot scuffed against the wooden step, and in a flash, my chin hit the top step. The wind was knocked out of me, and I struggled to breathe. Without the sound of my breathing to focus on, I realized it had gone quiet.

Then hot breath hit the back of my neck. I hurriedly crawled up the steps and spun around, still on the ground.

It stood before me, and I was unable to move. I gasped for breath in an attempt to scream, but to no avail. The world felt like it was in slow motion. The beast stared at me with its large, probing eyes, its mouth open slightly, revealing rows of jagged teeth between the tusks in its bottom jaw.

Body of a large black wolf. Snake-like red eyes. Boar’s tusks.

The beast let out a deep, sinister growl like nothing I’ve ever heard before. I slowly crawled backwards as I stared at it, reaching into my pocket and grabbing for my keys once more. The thing took two steps closer, still snarling and staring. I kept my motions slow, fearing that fast movements would trigger it to attack. Slowly, I reached up to the doorknob, and I pushed the key into the lock, turning it to the right. It made a reassuring click.

It took another big step. Then it was standing over me.

I sputtered, my lungs still searching for fresh oxygen as I hastily turned the knob and pushed the door open. I fell back onto the floor, halfway inside.

The beast went for my leg.

I was crawling backward like a crab, so it only was able to grab ahold of my left boot. Its head shook violently back and forth.

I suddenly found air in my chest. I screamed, kicking at its head with my other foot. My steel toed boot caught it in the eye, and it let go. I backpedaled quickly and slammed the door shut, locking it behind me.

Then silence. I was safe.

Or so I thought…Just then, the beast crashed through my living room window, showering me with shards of glass.

At that very moment, I awoke from a dream…A terrible nightmare. And I was in the middle of that very cemetery in which it took place.

But was it really a dream?

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