Ranch Home Hauntings in Rural Florida
II grew up in a haunted house. But it was not a ghost that took up residence there, for a ghost is the spirit of something that once lived. This creature had never drawn breath and had no right existing in the material world.
The house was about twenty years old, wood-frame in lowland Florida. Okeechobee, to be precise, land that once belonged to the Osceola. Perhaps the whole town is cursed, nothing good ever came of that place. I am glad to be far from there now.
The basic design was a ranch home, every room branching from a central hallway running perpendicular to the front door; a crossroads, in other words. My parents' room was at the far end, across from mine and my brothers', with the bath further down, then the living room, and finally on to the kitchen.
Try though we might, neither I nor my brother could ever walk down that hallway from our rooms toward the kitchen. Our skin would develop goosebumps and the hair on the back of the neck would raise. It felt like something was chasing you the whole way, hot on your heels, full of rage and hunger.
Is it any wonder that we always ran down the hall as if our lives depended on it?
We lived there for almost eleven years. Not one day was spent without something frightening the life out of me. Often just a feeling or dark thought, but I knew neither originated from me. It was always cold, and no matter how many lights were on it was too dark. In Florida that's unheard of.
About once a week, I would see it. Always at night, watching TV in the living room with my family. We used to watch Newheart. The theme music would always put me to sleep. Before that, something would catch my eye.
No, that's not right.
Something would tell me to turn and look at the doorway, just in time for me to see it shoot past, pelting hell for leather toward the kitchen from my room.
It was about four feet high. Thin with wiry musculature, hunch-backed and bow-legged. It was bipedal, and took long, loping strides, almost like a twisted version of a bunny-hop. The skin was leathery, shining, mottled brown with a snake-like yellow belly. The skull was like a goblin, long, torn ears held close to the sides of the head. Thin, jutting jaw and needle-like teeth. The eyes burned with a malevolent humor, as if it knew we caught a glimpse of it and reveled in the chance to show off.
For the longest time I thought I was seeing things. I never told anyone, until my brother turned and pointed one night. For almost ten years, he'd been seeing it too, and he thought it was just him. Turned out Mother had been seeing it as well. Dad never noticed anything, but he always was the hard-headed sort that refused to acknowledge much of anything, even us.
We compared notes and found that our experiences were identical. I should probably explain that Dad's Catholic and had us raised the same. His solution to the problem was to have our parish priest, Father Duffy, bless the house.
That was a bad idea.
Mom, my brother, and I all took sick within a month. All the same functional disorder, completely incurable, completely debilitating, but not life-threatening. Mom's disabled now, so am I, which is why I try to make money online where I can. My brother is in pain all day. He can function if he's on pain meds, but only just.
Nothing ever happened to Dad. He hadn't seen it.
I should've warned people about the place, but the only way we could get out of there was to sell it. So we did. Haven't heard anything from the new owners. Hopefully they're the hard-headed sort.
Where the thing came from, I don't know. I don't know what it wants and what it's in a hurry to get to. What I do know is I'll never go back to that town again. I'll drive around the entire county if I have to, because that place was bad medicine.
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