As I walked, about two blocks up I saw him…the boy. I decided then to abruptly change direction, having heard from others that when coming across this particular child, it was advisable to give him a wide berth. He was climbing out of the sewers. It was abnormal for anywhere else, but par for the course in our little village.

I live in a small Kentucky township called Bradenville. There’s no need to visit to picture it: that familiar slice of Americana with houses in perfect little rows. The kind of place where everyone you meet says “pleasure to meet ya” and means it. I’ve lived here my entire life. On the surface, it’s your basic “straight-from-TV-drama” suburban town and that’s the impression we want to keep perpetuating here. It’s better than the truth. The truth is that people go missing a lot. People are found dead a lot too. Half of the town is in a secretive cult, there’s something big hiding beneath the waters of the lake and strange bouts of collective amnesia seem plague most of the residents from time to time. It might be that they’ve actually forgotten things, but probably it’s easier to ignore the unexplained than to face it.

I was walking home tonight after my shift at the small grocery on the corner of Dover and Main. The streets were dark and cool and the light October air was sweet with the taste of after-midnight and the scent of leaves. Most people say it isn’t advisable to be out this late alone. I’ve never given it a second thought really…I’ll probably keep doing it, even after everything that I’ve seen tonight.

The kid climbed up out of the storm drain, his little hands finding purchase on the asphalt as he pulled himself out, into the night. I paused to watch. I’d heard about this kid from my mother so many times, I’d thought he was a joke…

“Watch out for Ansel.” She’d said more times than I could remember to count. His clothes looked out of place. Three decades too old. He was not a child as he seemed, but something else entirely. Once he pulled himself free of the drain, he looked up and down the empty street. I had ducked behind a shrub where I remained unseen. Standing out in the road, he reached behind his head and pulled something like a zipper forward. As his hand moved across his face, his skin split in two as though he was bursting from within, like an overcooked hot dog. He split across his center and shucked away his false skin. In his place stood a hulking creature that should not have fit inside. A seven foot tall black monstrosity with elongated arms that reached almost to the ground stood in place of the boy. It remained there in the center of the road sniffing the air for a moment, as though searching for something before spreading two hidden and massive black wings from it’s back and taking flight…

Nope! I thought then, fuck nope. I didn’t want to get stuck in a conversation with that guy, to be sure. I headed down an adjacent road, unseen by the being. I’d already had a strange enough day without adding that experience to it. There were still several other directions I could head while managing to arrive home at relatively the same time. I decided to go one of those other ways.

As I headed down the sidewalk, I happened upon one of the cultists. He stood at the edge of his driveway. This man received a wide berth from me as well; I had to cross to the other side of the street to give it to him. I had learned from experience that it was best to avoid acknowledging members of The Nephilim all together. They had prided themselves on making every interaction with them stranger than the last. This man was no exception.

He looked at me from across the street with a glint of recognition. “Uber?” He questioned loudly from his driveway on the other side of the road. His long gray robes flapped noisily in the breeze.

“No man,” I replied. “Just a regular dude walking home.”

“Oh,” he said, “thought your car might be invisible or something.”

“No friend, just walking home.”

“Oh,” he said, “well…uh…have a great night.” As our exchange concluded a man pulled up. He arrived as if driving, but was seated on thin air. “Jebidiah?” He called out. The cultist nodded. “Hop in!” The driver told him.

There was no car to hop into, but unhindered by reason or logic, the man mimed opening the door of the invisible car. He tucked his robes beneath him as he sat ‘inside’ and the two headed off to his destination as I watched.

“Humm.” I said, “weird.”

As if my walk home hadn’t been weird enough, from above a small girl descended from the clouds. She was probably six or seven. She came slowly down from the sky held aloft only by her hand which was gripping the string of a small blue balloon. She was humming One-Two-Buckle-My-Shoe. She waved to me from ten feet above. I smiled and returned the wave, quickening my pace in the hope of arriving home before seeing any other strange comings and goings.

Once inside my apartment, I finally felt safe and realized I was starving, so I headed to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. Betty Scarborough’s face looked back at me, blinking against the harsh light of the appliance’s Appliance bulb. Realizing then that the rest of her body was nowhere to be seen, she screamed the most blood curdling scream I have ever heard in my lifetime.

“Shut up,” I told her. I reached into her open mouth and plucked her tongue away. I ate it greedily. “Next time, it’ll be your eyes,” I said.

I shucked away my false skin, and stretching my dark wings, sat on the couch with what was left of Betty’s right hand for a snack. I began watching Forensic Files on Hulu.

This town is so weird.

ss