by C.R. Langille
What I’m about to tell you is true…only the facts have been changed to protect the innocent or something like that. But really, just bear with me on this one. If you knew me, you’d know that I wasn’t prone to telling tall tales or other bullshits; however, I’m sure this whopper-jaw is going to push those limits.
By now I’m certain you’ve at least heard of the new virtual crack that is Pokémon Go. I wasn’t going to get into because I didn’t need another reason to stay up late or stay glued to my phone. Yeah, but who was I kidding? Stupid, stupid, addicting game. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t play coy with me, I’ve seen you wandering around the field next to the school, eyes glued to the screen. How do I know? I was there too.
I’d caught word from (OMITTED) that the programmers had hidden away the legendary Pokémon in remote places so that only the truly committed would find them. After hearing that, I spent most of my time away from the busy places roaming around the farms and abandoned buildings at the edge of my town (look, I’m not going to tell you where I live, because then you’d just want to hop in your car or hitch a ride or some shit to come on down here to see for yourself. That would be a BAD idea. Really bad, like riding a unicycle while juggling rattlesnakes kind of bad. So don’t ask me, because I won’t tell you).
Taking the cue from (OMITTED), I decided perhaps she was on to something, so instead of walking around my neighborhood and through the outdoor shops, I hopped on my scooter (don’t judge) and busted it out to an area dubbed by the locals as, the Creaks (and no, that isn’t a misspelling for creeks, I know what I’m doing here). The Creaks used to be an old cannery back in the late 60’s, but due to economic blah ditty blah and money-whatsits, it went under. Add in nearly five decades of neglect, dozens of mind-bending storms and the general bull shittery of teenagers who love to destroy things, and it was a miracle that the building was still standing. According to local legend, the building was supposed to be haunted. But who really believes in that scuttlebutt?
The Creaks sat on a barren piece of landscape that was home to a few dead oak trees that stood as sentinels next to a dried up stream. The building itself was made of faded, red bricks and broken windows, rising from the dried grass like a tombstone. I checked my phone, and sure enough, (OMITTED) was right! The map showed the silhouette of what looked like it could be a Mewtwo! An in the flesh (well digital flesh) Mewtwo! It was only a couple hundred meters away with the teasing rustle of leaves bouncing right over where the building sat.
I ran to the door, excited as my avatar got closer and closer to the Pokémon. However, as I neared the threshold of the cannery, I stopped. The air was cooler here, stale and smelled of something off that had been sitting in the sun too long, like a package of hot dogs or pickled herring (don’t know what I’m talking about? Well you’re lucky). There was something else too, and it took me a moment to figure out what it was.
The building was breathing.
Not a literal, in-out, in-out action used to circulate oxygen through the body, but it moved in a slight rhythm, creaking and groaning as if it were a large tree swaying in the wind. The Creaks…it made sense.
The sun was out, but so were the clouds, shading the light and covering everything with a gray hue. It also made the interior of the building darker than it should have been. The Pokémon app said the Mewtwo was further in the cannery. My hopes of being able to stand outside and get to it were dashed against the digital rocks. This wasn’t going to be easy, but what did I expect? If I was correct, it was going to be right smack dab in the middle of abandoned building.
It would be best to knock it out as quick as possible, a snatch and grab operation like in the movies. I took a deep breath, bounced on my toes a couple times, and then walked into the cannery with a purpose. I was doing my best to navigate by looking at my phone to zero in on the Mewtwo, and using my periphery to avoid tripping on something. I wasn’t very successful with that and ended up catching my foot on something and crashed into the ground. My phone skidded across the floor and for a moment I was lost in utter darkness. Pain radiated up my arm where I had hit the ground, but for the life of me, all I could think about was the wet feeling on my cheek.
I must have landed in a puddle or something, but the smell told me it was more than that. I couldn’t quite place it, but deep down I knew it couldn’t just be water.
I got to my knees and was about to stand up when something shuffled in the corner. It wasn’t too loud but it got my attention.
I waited for a response, but none came.
It moved again, closer this time. I scrambled forward for my phone. It wasn’t too far away, the LCD screen’s glow outlined as it laid face-down on the floor.
Whatever was in the room was coming at me, fast. It scraped across the wall, then moved to the floor. It was big, and dragging something behind it.
I let out a grunt and jumped for my phone, rolling across the floor like a bad-ass ninja. Or at least, that’s what I was going for. What really happened, was I jumped for the phone, rammed my shoulder into something, and flopped onto my back. However, I did grab my phone as I had intended.
I rolled to my side and pointed the phone’s light toward the noise. There was nothing there but overturned chairs and empty desks. The room was so cluttered that I was amazed I hadn’t tripped earlier.
I flipped the phone around and activated the flashlight app, which bathed the room in a brighter light. I couldn’t find the source of the noise, and all was quiet again. Chalking it up to an overactive imagination or a Wienerschnitzel Chili Dog-induced hallucination (those are real by the way) I went back to trying to find the Mewtwo.
I had to keep the phone light on to navigate as well as the Pokémon Go app, which meant my phone’s battery life was dying faster than a newb playing on a PvP World of Warcraft server. According to the app, the Mewtwo was close.
I moved through the doorway into the next room when a loud clatter occurred behind me. I spun around and found a scene that almost made me Squirtle my pants. The desks and chairs were arranged in a horseshoe pattern just beyond the door, effectively blocking my way. Moments before they were scattered, but now…
Movement flashed across my screen as I lowered my phone and for half a second I forgot the crazy paranormal business that had just happened thinking that I was about to catch me a Mewtwo. Victory was about to be mine and then I could get the hell out of the Creaks.
I brought the phone back up expecting to see the Mewtwo animating on my screen. What I didn’t expect to see, was a creepy little Ring wannabe girl in the corner.
The girl sat in one of the chairs with her back to me. She had short brown hair that was plastered on top of her head like a wet mop. Her skin was blue, almost translucent, her veins contrasted against it like purple roadways. She was looking at her feet, head slumped as if she were praying; however, as I held the phone toward her, she stood. When she did, the chairs and desks slid away from her in all directions as if pushed by an unseen force.
I took a step back and accidentally kicked the door, sending it careening into the wall behind me. She turned and looked up, smiling a rictus grin that stretched across her face like a mask. With her head cocked to the side, she took a step forward, bones snapping and cracking as if she hadn’t moved in years.
I took another step back, lowering the phone subconsciously. As I did, she disappeared from view. I brought the phone back up, and there she was, but closer now, giggling.
I moved the phone away.
I moved it back into view and she was closer, on all fours like a tiger about to pounce.
That’s when my phone’s battery gave up the good fight and died. The room went pitch black.
I was frozen in place, unable to move. Unable to even breathe. Something pattered toward me and I caught the faintest giggle echoing off the walls.
I turned and ran as fast as I could, smashing my way through obstacles like a runaway semi coming off a mountain. She gave chase, laughing all the way. I could picture her in my mind, running for me with her arms outstretched, her smile growing larger as she got closer and closer, knowing that if she caught up to me, I would never be found again.
Call it luck or whatever you want, but daylight poured through a broken window up ahead, lighting the way and giving me a bit of hope. I started running faster believe it or not. That was until my hoodie snagged on something.
It had to be her, grabbing me and trying to pull me back. I wrenched forward with everything I had, tearing the fabric but getting away. With a mighty yell, I jumped through the window, shielding my face with my arms.
Let me tell you this much…Hollywood is a bunch of bullshit. Jumping through that window hurt like hell, and landing on a tree root hurt even worse. I still can’t walk without a limp on a rainy day.
I didn’t look back as I ran, afraid of seeing her in the window. I just high-tailed it back to my scooter and got the hell out of Dodge.
I never went back to the Creaks, hell, I even had a hard time going anywhere alone after that. I still run my Pokémon Go app as well, but not for what you think. I keep it on as a warning because sometimes I get an indication of Pokémon nearby, but the silhouette isn’t quite right. That’s when I can hear her giggling. I keep my app running as a warning because she’s getting closer and one day she’ll catch me.