Have you ever seen something so strange and unexpected that it left you with chills running down your spine? That’s exactly what happened to me during one rainy night when I was a child.

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[Music] it’s raining now I can’t sleep it’s hard for me to talk about this openly now none ever believed me before I don’t know why any of you would now I was young fragile I get that trauma can crack an adolescent brain to create Fantastical excuses for things they weren’t developed enough to understand but I was 12 not stupid I saw what happened I know what happened I need to get this off my chest I just want someone to hear me out that doesn’t instantly hand me a prescription I grew up in East Texas Rain Country every bit as wet as West Texas is dry several popular fishing lakes and the occasional town were all that broke up the crowded looming Pines that towered over us Timber was a boon many fathers paid their mortgage and put food on the table with the inevitable loan taken on their backs still for as simple as they were my family were quite capable Hunters Lumberjacks the occasional police officer or military vet these were not soft people and my uncle Mick was one of the hardest not in his heart of course as cholesterol Laden as it was the Titan of a man was a softy at his core grizzled scarred hands often pod around mine helping adjust a rifle sight pulling a hook free from the gaping mouth of my first bass desperately pointing between two numbers on a math homework question he likely understood less than I did Mick dwarfed My Father by a clean foot the eldest brother in a family born into log trade years of Timber work made for wide shoulders and corded legs he built me a small writing desk for my 11th birthday in his carpentry shed I adored it stars like the ones we would Camp under sporadically hand carved into the pine sides I still have it somewhere I just can’t look at it now cherish the sleepover memories he had no kids himself and after my aunt passed he never remarried he had a standing offer that I could come over anytime and stay any night many s’mores were consumed on his back porch those days under the Texas Stars just me him in blue you know every redneck has or has had a dog named Blue right this is scientific law right between gravity and thermodynamics to this day I don’t know if my uncle was being ironic or simplistic when he named him all I know is that by the time I met that Blue Tick Hound if he wasn’t the oldest dog on planet Earth he was in the top three

alright that’s the fun stuff this is the part that’s hard talking about that day describing his house it’s tough my psychiatrist says it’s good to journal my thoughts which brought me here even though I found a career in copywriting later in life and I’ve always fancied myself a writer there are some things that I just don’t have words for or the words simply won’t do justice to the reality of it but I’ll do my best it’s been 24 years he lived on a small ranch nothing intense more of a hobby than a livelihood still he had a decent collection of animals to take care of a coupe housing 20 or so chickens that he would let out to roam his property every morning mixed in were a few stray ducks that had settled down with them as a kid I always enjoyed thinking that the Ducks believed they were chickens themselves it wasn’t unusual to see a mother duck caring for a trail of baby chicks behind her having nested a set of eggs after their hen was picked off by a hawk or coyote more importantly he had a dozen goats I don’t remember what breed he had built a wooden gymnasium for them to climb and play on mainly to help lift them off the muddy earth when it rained hoof rot was a constant battle for livestock here it was always a sonorous event when my dad pulled into the driveway that day was no different goats bleeded for attention and food knowing they’d receive both when I eventually convinced my uncle for us to go see them several chickens opened a full gate across the long grassy yard towards my dad’s F-150 drawn cause echoed around the door as I opened it expecting leftover tater tots or french fries I loved it there my house was eight miles up the road not too far but far enough a kid shouldn’t walk it both ways I waved at my dad as he pulled out of the drive and ran up to my uncle’s front porch surprisingly the door was locked I don’t remember a time it was ever locked before I made my way to the back porch the one I preferred anyway the front had an awning to keep people that visited dry from the sporadic rain the rear had no such obstruction meaning the only obstacle to see those Starry Texas nights were the Treetops and the clouds it was damp the wet grass licked the sides of my tennis shoes sharing their moisture a little too effectively there had been a small shower earlier in the morning at my house it eventually moved this way I guessed as I walked up the three small steps of the back porch I heard a loud bang from his shed like something slammed against metal followed by the sound of something hitting the ground hard I stared at my uncle’s little red carpentry Hut but I heard No Cry No whimper just silence I took a single step towards it when a meaty Palm landed on my shoulder with more weight than it ever had before Hey where’s where’s your dad Uncle Nick seemed to sputter you shouldn’t be here I watched him can’t explain why instinct or childhood curiosity I don’t know why I just remember that log of an arm guiding me to the back door of the house and his eyes oh his eyes they locked on The Woodworking shed as we moved inside a kind of stare that predicates a fight or a hunt adrenaline pumped orbs that an animal has before it’s eaten by a large predator I snuck one last glance at the shed as I was guided indoors noting the Crimson wooden walls in the bolted middle roof there are two things to remember for younger listeners here first we didn’t have internet access in a lot of places in the 90s especially in rural Texas Wi-Fi was essentially sorcery and we had no practicing Wizards computers and phones had hard lines my uncle quickly headed for the ladder second no cell phones I ended up getting my first cell phone when I was an adult got out of basic training and collected two paychecks to get one they were a luxury in the early 2000s and this was years before that it’s difficult to understand how alone you could truly be back then this also meant he had no way to contact my father making the eight mile drive back to our house

that’s when the rain started man the rain in truth the pattern droplets were my lullaby as a kid no matter if I was at home in a vehicle at my uncles or friends The Irregular Symphony of water tapping its cords on various surfaces always tugged my eyelids down my uncle said that’s why when it stormed his pregnant goats would normally give birth any Predators would be hiding from the rain opting to rest and wait instead the bonus of covering the scent of blood that would guide a carnivore to Freshly burned Offspring wasn’t lost to me even back then there was safety in the rain a part of the world’s order an unspoken treaty that all natural creatures understood and abided I was naive

it was light at first Uncle Nick’s kitchen was attached to the back wall and had a large double pane window that took in most of his backyard as the rain steadily grew the chicken coop and goat stable slowly faded out of you leaving the only real visuals in the downpour being a handful of Tree Trunks and the porch itself

blue came up to me in the kid’s body trembled so I reached down to pet him he was damp caught out in the rain from before I guessed his eyes looked eerily similar to my uncles I heard him speaking in the other room I assumed with my mom it was hurried and short but I don’t remember what was said my child brain processed the meaning well enough they needed to come get me I wasn’t mad or even upset I was just confused the rain got heavier

do you remember being a child most of us don’t and normally remember specific or traumatic events if we do it wasn’t the visuals or sounds that haunt me not really my psychiatrist says I can see images and hear sounds but what I really remember is how they made me feel she’s right I remember the sound this the screaming goats muffled by the now pounding rain I remember the sight a single white furred hoofed leg landing flatly on the plywood porch I remember the feeling of that shadow standing half behind the furthest tree of obscured by rain and distance I remember the feeling of it watching me my uncle returned to the kitchen now and he had a rifle I was too young to know what kind stay inside your paw will be back soon and we have to leave said with a chilling flatness I’d never heard from him this was my cool fun loving uncle right

I heard metal scream I didn’t even know metal could at that age somehow I knew mix fingers strum the weapon with a nervous pattern unable to remain still with heightened nerves and hormones this is when he noticed the limb on the porch what little blood it had before washed away his face steeled but the nervousness remained in his eyes stay here lock the door behind me he said without an attempt to smile or comfort me in any way I nodded like a child could protest he pulled a long cap from somewhere I didn’t see John Deere I assume now it was to keep the rain out of his eyes to shoot and it couldn’t take an umbrella while using a rifle he opened the door and stepped into the downpour defiantly he didn’t even take a coat

I’ve said for years that one thing Humanity has never deserved are dogs whatever fate my uncle was going to face out there he wasn’t going alone will Faithfully passed through the frame as well the truest purest love a man will ever have is with his dog whatever happened now as in all parts of their lives the best friends would face it together I slid the deadbolt on the back door and hurried to the window I couldn’t hear the goats anymore if I had heard them at all the rain had grown harder somehow loud enough that the pounding on the roof sounded like being under a hundred out of sync marching bands the furthest trees including the one with the shadow before were no longer visible I could barely see past the edge of the porch now my uncle grabbed an Ax from a stack of firewood he stuck the handle into the back of his belt until the metal head hung snugly on it drenched already both hands on the rifle he marched down the stairs toward the pens flew dutifully beside him they were gone in moments

it’s hard to explain how the next few minutes felt I remember hearing my breathing little more than shallow gasps I remember seeing a shadow I think Dart somewhere to my right I remember that feeling being helpless that ominous overbearing pressure of a child’s fear

the weirdest part of it all was the silence that silence the thunderless storm drilled straight down lacking both electricity and wind it was like being under a waterfall noise crashing completely around me in every direction but I’m telling you there was silence I felt anguish in that waiting that desperate anticipation to hear something anything other than that awful rain I ran to the landline meeting my mom my dad needed protection needed safety needed away from here I felt guilty then less so now like I was abandoning my uncle to his fate as if I could do anything to help him silence again in a cacophony of sound it’s silence I remember the most Silence of the animals outside The Silence of a loaded gun not firing The Silence of the phone receiver the anticipation built in me more I longed for a noise to pierce that quiet desperate for it imagination is a boon for an artist it’s a nightmare to a frightened child

still think I heard a gunshot then at least I thought I did I sprinted to the back window anyway squinted into the downpour I saw them two shadows in the yard one was clearly Uncle Mick hunched slightly forward as one does in a fight the ax bobbed in his right hand but he held his left arm to his body the other Shadow loomed directly Beyond him facing towards the house even more obscured by the rain it looked like a man in a long cape that pinched up between the shoulders combining at the base of an overly round head and it was taller than my uncle Mick was six six my dad later told me he was a linebacker in school the largest player on the team only one of the other Lumberjacks was able to meet him eye to eye he was looking up at it I remember hearing his yell unsure if it was Rage or pain or both I remember seeing the ax rise remember those four massive shadows unfurling in the storm black tarps expanding out as a giant moth like a horrible carnivorous flower blooming in a forgotten jungle ready to swallow him whole I remember the feeling oh that feeling as those quad Wings slam downward launching both Shadows into the air and out of sight in a single soundless burst the feeling of disbelief of shock of dread the feeling of my heart sinking to my feet then the silence I remember the silence I shook so hard my head was physically rattling Vision shakily scanned what distance they could make he was gone just gone it was like that for a long while I don’t know how long I just shook and stared time and horror stretched reality in odd ways oh then I saw the shadow I don’t know how long it had been there or how I missed it I never saw it move it was simply there slightly to the left of the porch I couldn’t see its eyes but it was staring at me I could feel it my breathing had slowed to a crawl but it stopped completely when I noticed a second Shadow behind it then a third I ran to my uncle’s room I didn’t know what else to do squeeze my frame underneath his bed the irony even then not lost to me a child hiding under the bed from Monsters I stayed there for so long the rain never ceased didn’t even let up a little in that time it was a crushing oppressive Sensation that even those words do not do justice then it finally happened the silence broke with a new growing sound good guys were coming good guys with guns and tanks and rocket launchers I childishly hoped maybe uncle Mick was still alive maybe they would get here in time to save him too I emerged from under the bed now making my way over to the bedroom door it stood open leading to a long haul that saw directly down to the kitchen and out the rear window I slowly slid one Iris around the frame I’ll never forget no drug no shrink no medication or prognosis or Kumbaya will ever erase it a giant standing in the window rain obscured its Visage still with frustrating ceaselessness that rounded skull faced me the shadow circling down to the neck and then out to broad shoulders then running down out of sight under the frame I could see no detail still and even as the sirens grew louder I grew more afraid it moved slightly its right shoulder Rose as the arm did the same three long shapes appeared from beneath the window each home to an exaggerated claw Trio tapped to three note staccato against the glass as its Left Hand Rose now as well I screamed then not as a child nothing’s so innocent it was a beastial thing something I couldn’t imitate now if I wanted to something I don’t think any word can describe they said I was screaming still when they found me wedged between my uncle’s nightstand and bed frame curled in a weighty nerve-laden ball the last real memory I have isn’t tangible not the shadowy haunting Visage unreadable in the storm not the sound of those vile digits taunting me with their irregular chaotic Cadence upon the glass I could somehow hear over the rain not even the sight of its left hand slowly lifting my uncle’s scalp above the window’s lip my psychiatrist is right as horrifying as these images are and as weird as the sounds my final memory is a Feeling of a hidden sneer quite a joy that monster had with its Rock Terror it was no animal it was not mindless it acted with purposeful deliberate malice even now I think it let me live only because it recognized the emotional damage it left upon me dooming a child to a lifetime of therapists drug abuse and inpatient centers it was evil that’s the last thing I remember it’s been a parade of well-meaning psychiatrists and other diplomas ever since drugs I can’t pronounce for diagnoses I don’t understand I was in my 30s before I had the courage to talk to my parents about it my dad wanted no part of course said I needed to let it go and move on that’s what Uncle Mick would have wanted he’s right of course but some things are more important than being right

mom helped me though they had copies of the police reports stashed away in a small office safe tucked under their banking documents they had not been opened for a long time

my parents had told me some truths as a kid mom said Mick was rattled on the phone telling her to call the police and send his brother back up there to get them then the phone died the police said the downpour completely halted when they reached the driveway not that it died down in severity before eventually fading completely the way rain normally does the rain stopped just stopped they also told me that all the animals were missing goats chickens Ducks blue there was no blood no feathers or fur Tufts they were just gone they also told me one lie we held a traditional wake for Uncle Mick but not a funeral my parents told me they never found his body Banished with the others

my uncle always said that when he died he wanted to be cremated and has remained scattered on his property he got half his wish I shouldn’t have looked at those pictures

there was a final question the police also couldn’t answer the last Polaroid in the folder my uncle’s little red woodshed the corner of the metal roof now pointed Skyward ripped and twisted into a standing position

the officers made only one note about it chalking it up to the storm tornadoes to damage like this all the time I grant that but not without damaging the trees pens or the house right next to it I often try to disassociate to see it from the outside as a normal adult would what’s more likely a pack of rain demons or a small twister I get it but I am no normal adult I’ve never gotten to be a normal adult still see it sometimes in my sleep I imagine it’s stocking up on my Urban apartment Window to finish its job from decades earlier finally right from dread like some kind of succulent human fruit I still hear the rain sometimes either a small powder outside my Nevada window on the rare occasions we do get rain or the last few drips from a leaky faucet or shower head that Rings far louder than it should I always expect that oppressive Cascade of sound to slowly build its weight behind them I remember the way the rain used to lull me to sleep as a child now it Heralds to a foreboding nauseating night of panic attacks and no sleep I still feel it like it’s out there like it knows me knows where I am and what I’m feeling this is what it wanted

I need to drink thanks for listening my little nightmares I hope it’s not raining Wherever You Are (Music)

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Written by: u/Entropy_Kid

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  • SomniumMusic

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