Dear Hannah,

I’ve been doing a lot of running lately.

It’s an excellent way to stay in shape. Obviously. But that’s not really why I do it. Mostly I just like the fresh air and the freedom, y’know, it gives me time to think.

An hour or so with only my Mp3 player and the pavement for company can really put those office blues and relationship issues in perspective. Like it all seems a whole world away.

Not that its an avoidance tactic either, I really feel that this time to myself, just thinking, helps me deal with my problems in a more level headed and effective way when the time comes.

I heartily recommend it.

Just. . . be careful. . . I guess. I don’t quite know how to say this. . .

A couple of weeks ago you and I had this huge argument, its funny, I forget what that argument was even about now. Like I said, the running. . . It takes your mind off things. . .

So I was stressed, y’know, needed to get outta the house, pound the pavement a little, take my mind off things. I decided upon one of my favourite routes, in a city like this you’ve pretty much gotta resign yourself to the urban scenery, but there’s a nice little park not too far from where I live, you know the one, I’m sure we’ve been there once or twice.

Ordinarily I’d avoid the park after sundown, just common sense really, but I needed a little greenery to improve my mood. I decided that I’d do a circuit around the outside of the park, close enough to be scenic without being too reckless.

It was about 10:15, so while the streets weren’t exactly deserted you could go quite some time without passing another pedestrian or even seeing a car on the road. I was glad for that though, usually my mind can only wander freely if I’m completely in a world of my own and solitude always helps.

I was glad at first anyway. . . As I saw the dark outlines of the trees that lined the park come in to view I became dimly aware a of weird, creeping sense of unease. I was unable to drown out this irrational feeling with music, even, because it was around this point my Ipod began to malfunction. As I got nearer to the park the reassuring sounds of the White Stripe’s Seven Nation Army (a classic motivation song, if a little overplayed) were steadily overtaken by a weird sort of static, unlike anything I’d heard before, it almost sounded like a quiet but persistent cacophony of voices speaking or laughing but mingled together so as to create a single unintelligible sound.

I made a note that I had one more thing to deal with tomorrow. Creepy as the sound had been a broken Ipod made me all the more determined to calm my frustrations with a nice long run. Still, I was starting to wish that there had been a few more people around or that it was a little lighter out. It would have been better, even, if the moon weren’t hidden behind a dark, foreboding cloak of cloud.

But I pushed on, what’s the worst that could happen, right?

Well I’ll tell you.

As I began my circuit around the outside of the parks 3 foot metal fence, the large, central field came into view through a break in the tree line. In the day the field would be occupied predominantly by people playing sports, football, Frisbee, running like myself or whatever. Obviously, that was not the case at night, but neither was the field empty.

A muffled cry drew my attention to the figure, no. . . two figures near the center of the field. One is holding the other as though in an embrace, in fact seemed at first that they were kissing, or possibly that the larger one was. . . Nuzzling the smaller’s neck. . . Seemed an odd time and place for romance but I kept on running, it was no business of mine. On the field the larger figure suddenly jerked its head up away from the. . . Kiss? I was becoming less sure. It released the second figure who seemed to be falling to the ground. . . But the view was obscured by trees as I ran.

At this time I felt no need to stop and watch, the scene had increased my sense of unease but, I was still able to convince myself it was just a couple weirdos macking in the park. As the tree’s thinned out however my illusions were swiftly shattered.

The second figure was indeed lying on the ground now and the second was crouched over it. This stopped me in my tracks, though it was difficult to see in the dark and I still wasn’t totally convinced that I wasn’t accidentally peeping on someone’s weird outdoor sexcapade.

But then that moon that I had been wishing for earlier came out.

Suddenly the scene, bathed in the stark white light of the almost full moon, was given a disturbing clarity. While the distance still made details a little difficult to make out, I could see clearly enough that the victim’s (That much was now obvious) body and limbs were jerking about violently as the hulking form crouched over it, ripping, tearing. . .


The moonlight must have illuminated me too because the . . . Thing in the field stopped suddenly and looked directly at me! I wasted only a second of standing there, panic struck, but that second will haunt me as long as I live, the two eyes, which I couldn’t possibly have seen from where I was even if they were glowing, (which seems impossible) burned into me. I could feel it looking at me.

No it wasn’t just that.

I could feel it smiling at me.

With huge, jagged, uneven teeth crammed haphazardly into a maw still bloody and red from its latest meal, it smiled. I knew that much. I didn’t see it, I sure as fuck didn’t imagine it, I just knew.

Then I ran. The road I had been on ran parallel to the park and there were few turnings along its length so I knew I had a long way to go before I’d actually be putting distance between myself and the Thing. I chanced a couple of glances at the field as I raced down the middle of the deserted road, moving faster than I’d ever thought possible, even as an experienced runner. There was the victim, left sprawled carelessly on the grass. No sign of the thing.

I looked back to where I was headed and there the fucker was! Perched languidly, mockingly on a streetlight right in my way. How was it so fast!? This was my first good look at the thing, blood was still dripping from the wicked claws at the end of arms that hung, disproportionately long, past the light on which it squatted. The mouth, still grinning, was exactly how I’d seen it in my mind and yet, somehow even worse, it covered a large amount of the creatures face, more that seemed biologically possible. The eyes glowed with a faint, red intensity. Overall the thing put me in mind of some kind of giant, emaciated monkey or deformed, hairy man.

I was trapped, there was just no way to outrun this thing. I wasn’t even sure I could start running, up close the Thing’s gaze was hypnotic. My limbs felt heavy. My eyes began to burn. I just wanted it to be over. Slowly a loud rushing sound filled my ears.

Suddenly the Thing hopped nimbly from the light and into a nearby tree, disappearing from sight. It was gone but I felt heady, it was as though I had been marked in some unknowable way, my eyes still burned, the area around me seemed to grow lighter as though illuminated by a pale light, the rushing sound only grew louder.

Then it hit me.

The car I mean.

Don’t worry, no major damage, apparently the driver had seen me in time to slam on the breaks so just bruising mostly. When I awoke in a hospital bed the doctors told me I was a lucky man but I’ll admit I didn’t feel so lucky when I saw that flash of red eyes and yellowed teeth through my 3rd floor hospital window.

Anyway I wrote you this letter to explain why I wasn’t at the hospital when you came in to see me, and why you haven’t seen me at all since.

And, well. . .

I’ve been doing a lot of running lately.

Pray for me
Love, John.

Credit To – T.R. Swain

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