It Happened on Jackson Street
134 Jackson Street.
This was the address of my wife and I's first house. How excited we were to embark on the journey of homeownership. The day we unpacked the last box, she had wrapped an arm around me and gave me a small peck on the cheek.
"First day of the rest of our lives," she had said.
"You are my life," I had told her.
That first week showed us what we were truly getting into. We felt so stupid thinking we could handle it. After a while we were fine, but at first we were pathetic. Due to years of renting we never realized what we'd have to pay for other than just the rent itself until it was the biggest part of our lives. We handled our finances about as well as children do with birthday money. We were just young and silly….my were those the best years.
I thought back to them as I sat in a bar booth, 20 minutes from my new home in Lebanon. As for Jackson Street, it's a mere 2 miles. My drink sits almost untouched as I'm a bit fearful to indulge in alcohol nowadays. After what happened, I went way overboard for a time…but that was long ago. My phone lay upon the table untouched as well and I contemplated leaving or maybe trying to call. It wasn't quite my greatest desire to be here anyway.
The front door opened and I recognized who it was immediately. A large man in a brown coat slowly made his way in, scanning the establishment's many patrons. We locked eyes and he made the face you'd make when you make eye contact with a stranger on the street. Despite this, he started my way and muttered a hello as he sat across from me. The man was Jeff Benson, an old neighbor who resided in the house across from mine back on Jackson Street.
"How are you?" I said quietly and took a small sip of my drink.
The waiter came back over and asked me I was ready to order. I informed him I was only drinking.
"Nothing for me," said Jeff without looking up. The waiter nodded and walked back behind the counter.
Me and Jeff had been neighbors when it happened, yes. He had reached out to me last night wanting to talk about it. At first I was skeptical but he said there was more to what happened than I could imagine. You see, he is currently the only one still living on Jackson Street of those involved, including me. I mentioned earlier I had moved to Lebanon. There were 6 houses. Me and my wife, Karla, in 134, Jeff and his wife, Rebecca, in 135, Mr. and Mrs. Burk in 136, Greg Balance in 137, Darren and his wife Brenda in 138 and lastly, Janet Pedigo in 139. I'll give more info on the residents as events unfold.
Jeff sighed and looked at me.
"I know this seems odd," he said. "But I never really got a chance to talk to anyone before all you guys moved away. I understand don't get me wrong, but I had noticed…some things…before it happened. Things that I never have said aloud."
I wasn't sure what he could possibly be talking about, but I leaned forward anyway.
"You dont have to talk or say anything," he told me. "I just have to get some stuff off my chest. We never really talked much…but you were the only one who's number I still had and could even get a hold of. So here we are." He gave a half ass attempt at a smile but my emotionless stare convinced him I was in no mood to smile.
He collected himself and started to tell me what he knew. What I know now…is something I didn't want to know.
"About a week before it happened, I notice the behavior of everyone starting to change. I would normally look out of my second story window on nights I couldn't sleep. I dont like to admit it but I was having an affair on Rebecca. So many late nights I'd sneak in and find her passed out on the couch where she'd watch her shows…she made it easy, honestly. I'd walk right up to our bedroom and sleep would only elude me. I'd look out that window, just barely able to see my reflection in the night. I'd look into my own eyes and wonder how I became who I am. Either way…something caught my eye one night as I looked."
I could tell his hands were shaking slightly at this point. Normally I would be in no shape to talk about what happened but this seemed very important to him and my curiosity won in the end.
"A flash of white came from your roof, it was unmistakable," he continued. "I kept looking for where it was but it didn't show itself again immediately. Ever so slowly it came into view and when I realized what it was I knew it couldn't be true."
He took a deep breath before saying what he saw, and no matter what I prepared myself for I was still no match for what he said.
"It was Janet. Janet Pedigo."
I mentioned earlier that Janet Pedigo was the woman living in house 139. She was older, in her mid to late 60s, but still managed to get out enough to to look okay for her age. At the news that apparently one night, ten years ago, she was apparently on my roof my ears perked up and my eyes widened at the man across from me.
"I know how it sounds," he said raising his hands. "But as sure as you're in front of me, that woman was on the roof. Just standing there. She wore a bright white night gown. Her arms hung at her sides as she slowly walked to the edge of your roof. I was about to open my window to yell for her to stop but then….she just…floated down."
I shook my head.
"I'm sorry, what?" I asked
"You heard me right," he said. "She slowly floated down from your roof and landed softly on the grass in your front lawn. Not knowing how to react I simply stared own as she made her way to the middle of the road and continued away from us. I kept watching until I couldn't see her anymore. She just kept…walking. So slowly and awkwardly as if she was about to fall over after each step she took."
I wanted so badly to not believe him but something about the way he said it convinced me otherwise. I took a big gulp of my beer and saw our waiter walk up as I sat it down.
"Another," I told him.
"I'll have what he's having," Jeff said, his nerves getting the best of him. The young man nodded at both of us and left to retrieve our drinks.
"I didn't tell Rebecca," he continued. "I never really could talk to her about anything anyway, let alone something as crazy as this. I was always an emotional guy and she was so cold distant. I'm not justifying what I did, but I'm just saying if I had a reason…I guess that'd be it. Doesn't really matter now anyway."
He cleared his through and looked to be stifling tears. "I saw her the next day watering her garden, as if nothing ever happened. I thought I was going crazy and I knew if I told anyone that's what people would think. So anything I saw I just kept to myself."
We sat in silence for about 15 more seconds until the waiter brought us our drinks. Jeff immediately took a swig of his, as did I. He breathed heavily and told me about house 137, the house of Greg Balance.
"I was in my backyard pulling up some weeds when I heard the door bell. I had left the back door open so I could hear in case someone came. I hurried to the front and looked through the peephole to see Greg standing on my porch."
Greg was about 25 I believe, which would've been my age at the time as well. He kept to himself mostly. Every now and then I'd see a pretty woman walk out of his house but they were always different. I guess he was just living the good life while he still could.
"I opened the door and before I could even greet him he said 'Hello, Jeff. I would like to borrow some hedge clippers if you have them.' He said it very robotic and didn't blink once has he looked me in the eyes. Despite how odd he acted he seemed like a good kid so I let him borrow them. The only thing is I dont ever remember telling him my name in the time I knew him. I seen him around and stuff and we'd exchange hellos but I'm really not sure he knew my name…"
"Maybe he learned it from one of the other neighbors?" I suggested.
He looked at me. "Yes…possibly." He didn't seem to really take it into consideration.
"Anyway…the pair I gave him weren't great but I couldn't find the newer pair I had recently bought at the time. So I gave them to him and said if I find the better pair soon I'd run them by. He didn't say anything after his initial greeting and just smiled and nodded. After he left I just kept thinking about how odd he was acting. He was usually silly and funny from the few interactions I had with him but this time he just wasn't there."
He paused to take another drink of his beer and then continued.
"I did find the new clippers in the inside broom closet. Figured Rebecca put them there not listening to the hundredth time I've told her it goes in the tool shed. I walked down to Greg's but as I approached the door I noticed something in the window on the right. I stepped back a bit and saw Greg and his woman of the night making out against the wall. They groped each other for a few seconds before disappearing into what I assumed was the bedroom. I remember smiling to myself and shaking my head, thinking 'damn…if only I was that young again.' I started back towards my house but then the left window held more for me to see."
He rubbed his eyes and sighed as if he didnt want to say what he was about to, but he had me here for a reason. He had me here for this.
"I saw Greg clear as day standing in his kitchen. I thought to myself 'did he really get to the kitchen in the few moments I looked away?'…surely that must've been what it was. He was holding the hedge clippers slightly open staring at the tip of both blades. Ever so slowly he brought the clippers to his throat and rubbed them against it. He pushed in on them a bit and a little blood trickled out from underneath them. That's when he saw me. I moved to run but something about the way he looked at me made me stop in my tracks. He took the clippers from his throat and pointed them towards me. He started clipping them at me slowly while picking up speed. I could see his mouth moving and could read his lips just fine. What was weird was the whisper that gently touched my ears. I'm not sure how I heard him from where I was, but ever so quietly I heard…snip…snip…snip…it sounded nothing like him either. It was very deep…and guttural."
I only looked at him not knowing what to say. Eventually I was able to get out, "So what'd you do?"
"I'm not sure how long it went on," he replied. "But I eventually found my legs…and ran home."
He downed the rest of the drink and looked across the room. He was able to make eyes with our waiter and gestured for another. The young man then looked to me and I shook my head, signaling I was finished for the night. Jeff waved at him and held up two fingers at which the waiter nodded and went behind the counter.
"You're gonna need it," he told me. "I'm not even close to being finished."
Once our new drinks were sat before us, he started to tell of what he saw next.
"Now, each thing I saw occurred one day after the other. Exactly one week before the first body was found, was when I saw Janet. The next day I saw her watering her garden that morning and what I saw with Greg was that evening. After both of those things happened, I knew something was wrong. I've never been a skeptic but I only believe something paranormal is afoot if I can rule out any other logical explanation. In this case, it's safe to say I can put the blame on that."
"Hold on," I finally said. "I've been listening and don't get me wrong, you're a wonderful story teller, but I can't just believe this stuff like it's nothing. This is some seriously fucked up shit you're telling me, okay?
"You don't think I know that?" He retorted, slightly annoyed. "I'm not asking you to believe me, I'm just trying to get this out there so someone else besides me knows about it. I know what I saw so…can you humor me?"
I considered for a moment and motioned for him to continue.
"I had already decided something was going on by day three and wanted to see if the other houses, yours and mine included, had something screwy going on. When I was ready, I walked outside and decided to pay you a visit. You were at work I believe but Karla was there."
I winced at the mention of my wife's name but Jeff didn't seem to notice. He continued like normal.
"I knocked on the door and she answered. I had talked to her before but this was different. I came up with some kind of dumb reason I needed to borrow sugar. She didnt say one word or greet me the entire time I was on the front porch. Only listened with a cold look on her face. Once I finished she told me she'd get it and closed the door…but never came back."
"Karla never told me abo-"
"I'm not finished," he cut me off. "I walked back to my house once I realized she's probably not coming back. Right before I went inside, I turned around and I saw her. Standing in the doorway with a large toothy grin from ear to ear."
I took a sip of my drink and closed my eyes. Trying to imagine what he's telling me.
"She stared at me so aggressively and that smile…Jesus Christ it was huge. She took a step forward and another…and then another. She started taking these long exaggerated steps towards me, and kept going even when she got in the road. That's when I noticed a car was coming. I shouted for her to stop but she kept walking. The car sped on and was getting closer and when she was in it's path was when she actually stopped. The car came into contact and but my eyes were glued to the scene…despite what I was fearing…it simply phased through her as though she was a ghost. Then just like that…she was gone."
You'd think the story that centered around my wife would have been my breaking point but…there was just something about the way he said it that made me believe him. I knew he wasn't fucking around and that there was much truth to what he had witnessed. After all, the day it happened I too had seen something impossible but i've repressed it more and more each day. Now this man comes to me with these revelations…and the horror that awaits me is now right in front of me.
I tried to ask questions to further this particular story but…I just couldn't. Instead I decided to further the story as a whole.
"What did you see next?"
He thought for a moment and his shoulders slumped. "Oh yea…" he whispered quietly. "The next night…was the night Mrs. Burk came to my window."
That sentence alone made my skin crawl. Mr. and Mrs. Burk were a very private couple in their mid-fifties. They both taught at the local high school, hence why we just called them Mr. and Mrs. Burk. I'm not even sure of what their first names were. While they did keep to themselves, they were polite in passing and exchange hellos with me and Kara many times. Jeff sipped his drink again and continued.
"Nothing happened that whole day. I was starting to think it was all in my head. I started feeling off and couldn't get to sleep, which wasn't unusual as you know. This time Rebecca was in the bed with me, sound asleep. The tapping was the first thing I heard. I immediately knew where it was coming from and I knew I had to go see. It was calling to me without saying a word. I quietly got out of bed and made my way to the window. Had I pulled the blinds back before what I had already seen, I would've screamed into the night…but I already knew it wasn't going to be something normal. She was upside down clinging to the window. Each of her long nails colliding one after the other with the glass. Her whisper reached me the same way Greg's did. 'Stay awayyyyyy,' she said. She drug out the end of it. It seemed to echo. 'Ssssttttaaayyyy awayyyy.'"
Jeff's hands were shaking quite a bit at this point. It was as if he was reliving every experience the more he told.
"She crawled down the window and onto my roof but remained only on her hands," he said. "She stood on her hands a few moments, her eyes burning into mine and then disappeared over the side…but I never saw her go back to her house."
We both downed the rest of our drinks and I felt a buzz coming on. It may have been the only thing keeping me sane at the time.
"They knew I had seen them," he said wiping his mouth. "They all knew I was aware something was going on and this was my warning to keep to myself. I don't know what I could've done to change the outcome but not a day goes by that I dont wonder…what if I could've?"
It is true. What could he have done despite what he knew? For all we know something even worse would've happened had he tried to stop it.
"Did you see anything with Rebecca?" I asked him.
He looked at me.
"Something small, yes…that was actually the day of it. Just moments before."
I was listening now more than ever.
"What was it?" I pleaded.
"That morning, she was being so abnormally quiet. She always nagged me about my duties around the house but not a word was said to me as I got dressed nor did she even cast a glance in my direction."
His voice was wavering a bit so he took a moment to compose himself. It really did seem this was the first time he'd ever said any of it out loud. If this was all a sick joke on his part I'd be infuriated…but it just wasn't looking that way. Technically that was worse than a supposed prank…this was real. Too real.
"She was heading for the door to leave and turned to me. Her eyes more emotionless than they've ever been. We stared at each other for only a little bit but then she said-"
"You're needed in the bathroom," we both said simultaneously.
He looked at me with the look I expected from him. Both amazement and fear wrapped up in one bewildered stare. He had confessed quite a bit to me and there was a small reason as to why it was so easy to believe him. I deemed it my turn to tell what I knew. Though it wasn't nearly as much…it was something worth talking about.
"That was the last thing she said to me," I informed him. "Right before she left for work. That morning she was a bit quieter than usual…but I was used to that. She wasn't much of a morning person. She said it as she was going out of the back door. I was about to ask her what she was doing but…that's what she said to me. I was needed in the bathroom."
It were my hands that were shaking now. I had been telling myself for years this wasn't real but here it was. Right before us and screaming louder than ever.
"I was understandably confused but I did as she said. I slowly made my way up to the bathroom. I thought maybe she had a cute surprise or something for me. How stupid, right? Nothing could've prepared ne anyhow. I opened the door and all I could do was stare…I never said anything or screamed…I just couldn't wrap my head around it."
Jeff bowed his head and I saw a couple years hit the table. I knew what we saw weren't much different from each other.
When I walked on the bathroom Kara was in there taking a bath. The water was almost completely red by the time I found her. Her wrists were cut so deeply it looked as if her hands could almost be pulled off as easy as pulling tall grass. The butcher knife lay in front of the tub, blade as red as the water. I remember backing up and recounting the morning. I just saw her I thought myself. She was downstairs. She took a bath this morning and I'm sure I saw her come downstairs…or…did I. I told myself for the longest time that I saw her come downstairs after her bath but in reality I didn't. The next time I saw her she was coming out of the kitchen. My brain filled in the rest and until now I just figured she never left out of the back door. She had gone back upstairs and done what she did even though I know she wouldn't have looked how she did if it had only been that long…but I didn't. It was as close to blissful ignorance as I could get.
The screaming started right as I was about to call the police. I looked out of the window and saw Darren running out of his house. Him and his wife Brenda were a newly married couple in their 30s residing in house 138. Extremely nice people. Me and Kara had them over many times. At this time, he looked nothing like before. He was pale as a ghost and appeared to have blood on his hands and was shouting frantically for help. I ran out and he almost collapsed into me as I approached.
"Sh sh sh he…she was just there! I just saw her!" He screamed. He started back towards his house pulling me by my shirt. In all the commotion I didn't even stop him. I was far gone and even when I closed my eyes, all I could see was Kara's lifeless body. When we approached his front door he almost fell in but retained his balance and pulled me through his house to the back door. I could hear him sobbing and repeatedly saying, "This can't be…this can't be…". I saw her immediately as we stumbled into the backyard, the shotgun not too far off to her left. The top of Brenda's head was open, blood and brain matter covering the grass beneath it.
Seeing the scene pulled me out of my fog as I thought How did I not hear a gunshot?
Through his frantic screams and sobs Darren couldn't effectively tell me what happened. Come to find out he had come downstairs to see his wife sitting on the couch. He bent down behind her and gave her a kiss on the cheek. She looked up at him and right then he heard the gunshot from the backyard. He went outside to find Brenda, who was just sitting on the couch, dead on the ground, her head nearly blown off. The house was empty when he came back in.
As Darren picked up his dead wife and cried harder into her, I dialed the police on my phone. The image of Karla's lifeless body flashed before my eyes again as I tried to calmly explain what had happened. Jeff walked up just as I was hanging up. I stood and put my head on my hands not sure of what to do.
"She's dead…" he said as he approached.
I gave him a look that told him we all obviously knew that but he shook his head.
"No…I mean…Rebecca…she's dead too."
We looked at each other a for a long while after that. At that moment I only knew three people on Jackson street were dead, and all of the were wives. I slowly backed up without another word and ran once I was out of site back into my house. Once I was back with Karla, i could hold it in no more and I cried for my wife. For the loss of my love.
I dont remember a whole lot from when the police got there. It was so surreal. As the officer questioned me, I saw them bagging my wife up behind him and load her into the truck. I was answering the questions effectively enough but I truly wasn't there. My mind was far gone and would stay that way for a long time.
As for the others, the police found their bodies while trying to question them. When no answer was given from either house they busted down the doors and found more of the same. Greg Balance was found in his bedroom, head almost nearly decapitated from a supposed self inflicted wound from Jeff's clippers. He was of course questioned and brought to the station several times, but there was no believable evidence to support the fact he murdered Greg. As for the Burks, both of them were dead. Mrs. Burk was found hanging in the living room while Mr. Burk was found in the bed, a bottle of pills clutched in his fist. My guess is that she was the first to go, according to what Jeff saw. When he found her he couldn't handle it…so he followed suit.
It caused quite a stir in the town. In the paper they dubbed it "The Jackson Street Suicides." I never told anyone, including the police, about what I saw. The only one of us who did was Darren, and I'm pretty sure he's still committed to this day. I put the house up on the market as soon as soon as I could. I took quite a loss for it but I didnt care at all. I just wanted out.
We paid our tab but remained in our seats, not really knowing how to continue. It was Jeff who broke the silence.
"The main reason I wanted to get this out…is because I believe it's about to happen again."
I looked up at him.
"What makes you say that?"
"There's a young man who lives in your old house. Name's Brett, nice kid. I saw him standing in his living room yesterday."
I gave him an odd look.
"He's vacationing in Florida," he told me.
I sighed and rubbed my eyes. I didn't know what good this information could do me currently. If we could stop it, I honestly had no idea where to start. Clearly there was something malevolent going on and Jeff is still there in the heart of it. After what we've both seen, I couldn't help but offer my assistance.
"Tell you what," I said. "Go home and pack some of your things. I have an extra room. You can stay with me tonight and tomorrow we'll do some research together. Find out if this has happened anywhere else and if something exist to stop it."
He raised his eye brows.
"Really? You'd do that for me?"
"Of course," I replied. "Someone has to take action against whatever this is."
I wrote down my address on a small piece of paper and pushed it towards him.
245 Pickering Lane
We stood up and he offered his hand to shake. I obliged.
"I'm not gonna lie…I have done a bit of research and haven't found anything yet."
"Dont worry," I told him. "We'll just look harder."
For a moment there was some pride in what we were doing. That moment as we left the bar we felt a glimmer hope that we could find the solution and save anyone from ever experiencing what we went through. I still felt it as I drove home. I felt I was doing right by my dearly departed wife for once since her passing and I would get some closure at the end. If only…if only it wasn't short lived. For now, as I sit in the darkness of my basement the whispers somehow reach me. Their many promises of mercy do seem tempting but I must resist. My moment of pride came to a screeching halt about and hour ago while I was watching the news. There was a knock at my door and Jeff's voice came from behind it. As I got up, a breaking story caught my eye.
Hung with Barbed Wire
A familiar name appeared in the next frame, underneath an image with an even more familiar face.
Submitted June 14, 2018 at 04:58PM by LawstonSpace