Bogleech.com's 2016 Horror Write-off:
City Diaries: I'm Not Sure That's What Drugs Do
I live on Long Island, where nothing out of the ordinary really happens. But several times a month I commute to New York City, and there always seems to be some sort of unusual occurrence around every bend. I figure it's a city thing. I've decided to record some of my experiences, in hopes that someone might relate. Maybe somebody will be able to tell me how to avoid these strange encounters.
In my time in the city, I've passed many people from all walks of life.
I've seen dozens of homeless people, leaving change and food for them when I can, but there's a certain type you learn to avoid. The type that's quite clearly on drugs of some kind, and would most likely use your money to buy more. It's risky to get close to these people, as they are often unpredictable and could lash out if provoked. At least, that's what everyone tells you when talking about city safety.
Most of the time, these people are easy to pass by and ignore. But sometimes they follow behind you. Usually, the best course of action is to continue not giving them the time of day and carry on. Sometimes they're not doing it on purpose. That's what almost always works for me, but in this one instance, it didn't quite turn out right.
However, I'm not sure it was drugs in this situation.
The man who followed me seemed like the handful of the people I'd seen on some drug or another around the city. He looked unwashed, hair wild and greasy, clothing ragged and covered in dirt and stains. He twitched, especially in his hands, and his teeth chattered and clenched in an almost rhythmic fashion. Black bands bound his tattered sleeves around his forearms, and his brown shoes were falling apart. He muttered words in between his teeth, indiscernible ramblings that I couldn't catch a real word of. It was rhythmic but random at the same time, a flowing of quiet, mumbled lines.
I was wary, of course, but I had pepper spray in my pocket and a knife in my purse, and there were other people in the area. At least, there were at first. I kept myself to the busy streets until I entered the subway station, and while I expected to find a good deal of people there, it was almost empty. One of those older stations downtown. I was slightly unsettled, but I could clock through the turnstile and I didn't see the man with a metrocard, so I figured it was safe enough and went into the station without looking back.
Unfortunately, I was too soon to drop my guard, because once I got down into the tunnel to wait, I turned to see the man standing at the top of the stairs. I backed further away from the staircase, a hand in my pocket to have my pepper spray prepared just in case. The particular part of the tunnel I ended up in was regrettably empty, and there were no trains pulled in. We were alone, just the twitching man and I.
He didn't move for a few minutes. He just stood there at the top of the stairs, tapping his fingers and droning on. From watching him, I noticed that his fingers moved in a pattern, a sort of rhythm that matched the grinding of his teeth. I thought nothing more would happen, but as soon as I had the thought the man starting to spasm violently.
The tremors moved from his hands and up his arms, a wave passing through his body until every part of him was convulsing. I watched, unmoving, as he twisted and fell forward onto the stairs, a moan emerging from his body that started silent and low but became louder as he slid further down, face pressed against the steps.
It was enough that he'd followed me for blocks and I had no one else in the area to help if things went further awry, but there was something about his convulsions and his steady descent down the stairs that seemed entirely unnatural and discomforting. It was less like he was falling down the stairs than being pulled, a purposeful slide that he didn't look like he was enjoying.
I stepped backwards away from the stairs, not taking my eyes off of the man, but being careful not to stray too close to the tracks. I'd noticed before that there was an elevator about 20 feet away, and I wanted to get to it before the man could catch up to me.
I'm not one to get very easily scared; strange creatures and odd happenings are the normal whenever I visit the city, and I've come to accept them. But this man gave off the most ominous feeling I'd felt directly aimed at me, and I got the sense that something horrible would happen if I were to let him catch me. I needed to escape, yet my curiosity made me move slower than I should have.
As I got closer to the elevator, the man reached the bottom of the steps, and his body pulled itself off the ground like a marionette. He stood there for a moment, still moaning. His eyes were wide, but I could only see the whites, and his mouth was open wider than should be humanly possible without showing teeth. As he started moving forward again, a dark, chunky substance began pouring out of his mouth. My back hit the elevator, and I reached out to quickly press the button. When I turned my eyes back to the man, it was like something had been triggered, and he was dragging his feet forward at a steadily increasing speed.
His moaning got louder, a bit gurgled now. The elevator made its way down to the platform, a loud ding sounding as it reached the ground.
As the neared the substance continued pouring, coating his shirt and dripping down his arms. I think it was starting to come out from underneath his fingernails, leaving inky trails on the ground. The doors of the elevator seemed to open agonizingly slow, and as soon as I could fit I quickly rushed inside and mashed the 'door close' button. With my free hand I reached into my purse for the knife inside, though I feared it would be useless.
I believe he would have caught up to me, and I may have been doomed, if a subway hadn't come into the station at that moment. He was only about 2 feet away-- the doors were just starting to close, and he would only have to reach out to stop them. But a train came rushing in, and the noise seemed to startle him. He stumbled back and covered his ears, the dark substance leaking out between his fingers as though pouring from inside his head, and he let out a loud, deafening scream.
The elevator closed and began moving upwards. As soon as I reached the top level and was sure the man wasn't there waiting, I went out to the street as quickly as I possibly could. I didn't look back where I'd been, made sure to stay among a crowd, and nothing more happened that night.
After that encounter, I was a bit wary of going to that particular station, but it was eventually necessary. Two weeks later, I ended up in the same tunnel, but thankfully, there was no sign of the man. The only trace remaining was a large, dark stain outside the elevator doors.