The Disappearing Man

Before I start, I want to let you know, listener, that I understand how stupid I am going to sound to you. I admit, this wasn’t one of my best moments, but you’ll understand, hopefully, why I did it. Why I followed him.

I mean, it had been just like any normal day. I was waiting outside of my friend’s apartment, pretty much getting more and more annoyed that she was taking so long to get ready. Especially since I had told her to be ready before I even left my house. We were supposed to be heading to a movie, and the time was fast-approaching.

Anyway, I had been chilling on my phone, trying not to get too mad. There were people walking around all over the apartment complex, more than likely enjoying the beautiful day outside. Children were playing with dogs in the grass, and a few people were picnicking on the lawn. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, the temperature was cool, and the complex had just mowed all of the grass. It was great.

All the sudden, a weird, jerking movement caught my eye. I looked over towards the back end of one of the units, and to my surprise I saw a frail looking old man hobbling aimlessly in the grass. He was using a cane and looked very much like he was ready to fall at any moment. I was horrified and shocked to see people walk right past him without offering to help him. They didn’t even look at him; dogs zipped past him without even bothering to sniff him or spare him a glance.

Utterly ticked off, I put my phone in my pocket and was about to exit my car and help him myself…

Then something weird happened. The old man, who had seemed almost dazed only seconds before, suddenly looked very alert. He whipped his head around, his eyes sweeping his surroundings until they landed on me. We made eye contact for what felt like 5 minutes; he then dropped his cane and began to walk away quickly and without issue.

I watched, mildly entranced, as he made his way towards a wall of trees and vines. It looked impenetrable, so I had no idea what he intended to do. I realized, though, that there was a possibility that he did need help. What if he was confused and didn’t know where he was?

This time I actually did get out of my car. As I began to make my way towards the old man, my phone in hand ready to dial 911 if I felt he needed emergency help, he began to rip at the leaves and vines. I paused for a moment, a little bewildered by what I was seeing. He didn’t look frail anymore.

Instead, he looked almost feral. In no time flat, he had ripped a hole in the vines big enough for him to slip through. I looked around, hoping someone else had seen and was trying to help, but still no one seemed to care. If anything, they were giving me weird looks because I was so shocked.

Instead of asking them why they weren’t helping, I simply followed the man. Like I said at the start of my story, I know it sounds stupid of me. But by this point I was almost drawn to whatever that man was doing. I couldn’t stop myself from following. It was like I was on auto-pilot.

As soon as I stepped past the wall of trees, it seemed like everything was instantly hushed around me. I couldn’t hear the people playing with their dogs or walking. Nor could I hear birds or, really, any other sound. All that I could make out was the sound of crunching twigs as the old man pushed forward.

I followed the sound of his footsteps, deeper and deeper. The trees grew denser, and I kept walking. At some point, I finally caught sight of the old man. He looked strange. I couldn’t explain it to you if I tried, but something about the way he was moving was just… off.

As the trees around me grew closer together, I struggled to keep up with the man. Just when I thought I had lost him, I broke out into a small clearing. Standing right in the center was the old man. He just stood there, staring at me and never saying a word. Slowly, an exaggerated, creepy smile began to creep across his face. The wrinkles on his face deepened in an abnormally sinister way. Still he did not speak.

Instead, he merely began to… fade away. Look, I know how it sounds, but that’s what happened. Without a word, he went from a solid, physical being to a light fog that surrounded me in that clearing.

***

It has now been 3 full days that I’ve been wandering through this forest. I cannot find my way out. I ran in the exact direction from which I had come (or at least I thought it was the right direction), but I never seemed to reach the end. I walked in one direction for hours and hours, even though I had only followed the man for about 10 minutes.

Obviously my first instinct was to call someone for help. But, cliche as it may sound, I had no signal. It was like the entire forest was a huge dead zone. I could make no emergency calls, nor could I send any texts. I was completely on my own.

I can feel myself getting weaker and weaker. For 3 days now I have been walking in the same direction, almost never resting. The forest isn’t silent anymore. I keep hearing something stepping just outside of my vision. No matter how far I walk or how quickly, whatever it is seems to be following me. I can’t explain what happened with the old man… but I think he lured me here on purpose. I don’t know where this forest is, but there’s no way it’s normal. I am scared, and if I don’t get out of here, I know I am going to die soon.

Honestly, I am sure no one is going to ever hear this. I have conserved my phone battery, hoping to find signal somewhere. But I am using its last ounce of charge to record this message. Someone needs to know.

Excerpt from THE EDMINTON TIMES

Two days ago, our news station received word that yet another person has gone missing in a string of strange disappearances. Twenty-three year-old Veronica Perez was reported missing by her friend. This friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims that Veronica had messaged her minutes before she went out to Veronica’s car. When she got there, the car was still on, keys in the ignition, but Veronica was gone.

Authorities currently seem to have no leads as to why we have seen an influx of these missing persons cases in the last year. As of now, the only information that we have that seems to link the disappearances together is that they appear to have abandoned their personal property at will. Whether it be their cars or homes, there is never a sign of a struggle. There is no other connection between the victims. More updates as information is gathered.

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