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 The one armed man [S/9] [G/1]

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breakyoudown
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PostSubject: The one armed man [S/9] [G/1]   Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:22 pm

When I was 11 we went to a funeral. The man who had died was a good friend of my father's from the mill where they worked, and he had died rather suddenly, though for the life of me I cannot remember his name. He operated one of the machines, and my father worked as the custodian. While he and my father were talking one day, a piece of lumber stuck in the machine. For whatever reason, the man ignored safety procedures, and tried to free the stuck lumber. He succeeded, but got his arm caught in one of the moving parts, and torn off. He died in my father's arms before paramedics could arrive. At the funeral, my father read his eulogy, an spoke of how his friend would always follow procedures, until that one day when he lost patience.

It was a couple of days later when I first saw it. I was an 11 year old boy at the time, and our neighbor across the street was a young woman who worked as a nurse at the hospital. I'm not terribly proud of it now, but I would peek out my window late at night to try and catch a peek on one of the fairly common occasions when she forgot to close the blinds in her room. Our street was a small cul-de-sac, with rows of squat evergreen trees lining the street, which cast long shadows in the light of the two street lights. The lights had been placed too far apart, so there was a small area between them that was always full of shadows.

That night, I was disappointed that the blinds had been closed, but I caught sight of movement down the street, just leaving the edge of the pool of light given off by the far light. The other streetlight was very near my window, so I caught sight of it as it made its way back into the light.

It was a man, though his skin seemed to be a mottled purple-and-green, even from a distance. He had one missing arm, but was dressed in very fine clothes. A tuxedo, with a bright red cummerbund. He was walking casually up the street, this man I didn't recognize, until he stopped at the foot of our driveway. I was confused, and growing a little scared, as he just stared up at our house. I turned away from the window, assuring myself he would be gone when I looked back, but when I did he was still there. I thought about crying out for my parents, but I couldn't find the words. After nearly a hour, he turned, and walked away down the street the way he had come, disappearing beyond the light of the far street light.

I told my parents, but they assured me it was only a dream. I overheard my mother telling my father that it was a nightmare brought on by attending the funeral. That night, I checked the street, but there was no sign of the figure, but the blinds were open. I distracted myself with the nurse who was disrobing, and when she finally turned out the light, leaving only the dim, flickering glow of the TV that she always left on, I decided to turn back to my own bed. Then I saw that he was back. Standing just where he had been the night before. Soon he was gone again, and I slept fitfully.

This continued on and off for the next week. Some nights he never appeared at all, others he would stand in the same spot, and still others he would stand near the crooked old tree on the corner of our yard. But even when he came, he was always gone soon after. One night I called for my parents to come see him, but as soon as I did, he turned his eyes on me before casually walking into the shadows and disappearing. My father was rather upset about being woken up for nothing, and told me that I would be grounded if I ever bothered him with this again.

It was another week before he showed up again. I watched as he strode up the street, through the shadows, and to the end of my driveway. Then he turned towards the house, and kept walking. By heart leapt into my mouth, beating furiously, as the figure came ever closer. But the door was always locked at night, he couldn't get in. I told myself this, but when he got to the door, I heard a faint click and a creak, and then quiet footsteps in the hall. Someone had forgotten to lock the door. I held my breath as the steps got closer to my room, but they suddenly stopped, and I heard another click and creak. A few more soft footsteps, and then the room seemed to grow colder. Then the footsteps were back, retreating out of the house the way they had come, and I watched him stroll back down the street. I ran to my parent's room, but my father would hear none of it and sent me to bed. I didn't sleep.

I didn't see him again the next night, or the night after. But on the third day, early in the morning while I prepared for school and my father made his way to the car to go to work, he suddenly went stiff. His arm clutched at his chest, and he sank to his knees. I stood transfixed, while my mother screamed and snatched at the phone, and the woman from across the street sprinted away from her own car to my father's side. His face was twisted in agony, and his fingers grasped violently at the young woman holding him, but just as the lights of the ambulance rounded the corner, he relaxed, and sank to the ground.

My father died that day.

I don't remember much about the days that followed. My mother cried. I cried. Friends and family offered sympathy, and there was a funeral at some point. They dressed him in his finest suit, the one he had boasted he would wear on my wedding day.

I slept very rarely, and very lightly, after that. I would lie in bed and weep quietly to myself until sleep came, and then weep when I awoke. It was only by chance that I returned to my bed from the bathroom one night in time to glance the woman across the street. She had undressed, and soon turned out the light. It was only then that I saw them. The one-armed man in a tuxedo stood staring at her house, while a tall man in a fine suit stood next to him. Even with mottled skin, I recognized my father. Then they started up the woman's driveway. Step by step they walked in unison, and when they reached her door, my father opened it. Together they slipped inside. I was crying by then, and shaking with fear. By the light of the woman's TV, I saw two shadows enter her room, and then saw her window fog up. When the two emerged from her house and set off down the street, I fell on my bed and wept until I slept.

The nurse was killed in a car accident four days later, and three weeks after that the man who had stopped to help her died too. Then the doctor from the emergency room who helped him, then the doctor's wife. Their neighbor, who was drowning when the kind old man who lived up at the end of my street tried to save her. I had developed a compulsive habit of checking the street every night, to see if my father was coming back, but he never did. There had never been any sign of either specter, until that night. Suddenly, figures appeared out of the shadows. A one armed man. My father. A young woman and a man with a limp, a man and a woman holding hands, another woman wearing a white dress.

They all walked in unison up the street, past my own home, on their way to the old man's house. They be back every night, I knew then, until the old man forgot to lock his doors. I never saw that day, because the old man was fastidious and my mother moved us in with her sister due to money problems. But I know they are out there. Each a link in a chain, each leading them to the last person they ever saw.

That is why I never visit people in the hospital. I will never be the last person someone ever sees.

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PostSubject: Re: The one armed man [S/9] [G/1]   Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:44 pm

Wow. That one us actually good.
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PostSubject: Re: The one armed man [S/9] [G/1]   Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:03 am

If anyone has seen Arrested Development this story becomes hilarious. Otherwise, damn scary

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PostSubject: Re: The one armed man [S/9] [G/1]   Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:42 am

that was a pretty good one
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PostSubject: Re: The one armed man [S/9] [G/1]   Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:51 pm

That was quite awesome. Why do all these posts have the [S/9] [G/1] things by the way...it's confusing me....
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PostSubject: Re: The one armed man [S/9] [G/1]   Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:08 pm

S is for scary
G is for Gross

Just thought I'd rate them lol

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PostSubject: Re: The one armed man [S/9] [G/1]   Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:35 pm

Ah...you should probably have made that a little clearer I thought it was some random code shit or something LOL.
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PostSubject: Re: The one armed man [S/9] [G/1]   Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:46 pm

Haha I only really mentioned it in one thread
Sorrry

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PostSubject: Re: The one armed man [S/9] [G/1]   Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:19 pm

Fascinating.
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