Have you ever heard the old wives tale about how every time you feel a chill go down your spine it means someone just stepped on the spot where you would be buried?
I had heard it and figured the reason it was so popular is because it was one of those myths that everyone knew wasn’t true, But every time you got that chill down the back of your spine the thought crept up in the back of your mind, and you wondered if it was really a myth, just for a second. After that second was up of course you were snapped back to reality and forgot about the instance almost immediately as the constant blur of daily activities manifested itself once again.
I never really bought in to all of the superstitious stuff. I was never scared by the ‘creepy’ ghost stories or the ‘haunting’ tales of things that apparently lurked in the shadows. I was, however, very afraid of real horror stories. The kinds of stories you see on the news of a man that was murdered after he interrupted a break in, or the girl who was kidnapped and locked in a basement and found twenty years later. My fears were based in reason and the primal instinct to survive.
I got up Monday morning and began the routine. Wake up, shower, breakfast, brush teeth, shave, get dressed, leave at 7:35 on the dot. I lived alone so there was never any wait for the bathroom. Get in the car, drive for 20 minutes. Three rights and a left to get to the highway, and then exit 73 and two more lefts and I arrive promptly at 7:55, 8:00 if traffic was bad. On my way to work every morning I would pass a park, three Starbucks, and one Walmart. The only reason I mention the park is because of a group of older ladies that were apparently as dedicated to punctuality as I was, because every morning as I drove past the park they were always rounding the third corner of a 5 mile long walking trail that dipped into the woods for about a mile. The old ladies and I always exchanged a wave and it had become a kind of tradition for me. 7:43, wave to old ladies.
I got to work at 8:00 this particular morning because of a wreck that was blocking traffic. After I sat down at my desk I got that unmistakable chill we discussed earlier and after readjusting myself in my chair thought nothing of it. After a full day of work I usually go home at 5:00, however to my chagrin many nights I would be forced to leave later due to working late on the massive amounts of paperwork that had been piled on my desk. Leaving later meant I was not ever in control of the exact time I left work because it was dictated by whether I was finished or not, and not being in control was one thing I was not fond of.
Every morning now at 8:15 I got the chill like clockwork. It was like there was a new part of my daily routine that had been inserted against my will.
One night I left the office extremely late clocking out at around 11:57 and began the late night commute home. As I rounded the corner of the park I saw something that I had not ever previously seen because I had never left this late before. The old ladies were rounding the corner opposite the woods again and I assumed that they simply did another walk around the woods again late at night to double their daily exercise. I came home again the same time the next night and saw that the ladies were around the same spot on the trail, confirming my suspicion that they probably rounded the trail two times a day. Both nights after I got home I got the chill laying I bed about to go to sleep, both times around 12:45.
The next day something happened that changed the routine. The ladies weren’t there to wave to me that morning. That was normal though, not everyone was as dedicated to schedule and repetition as I was and any number of things could have happened to cause them to push back their walk time or cancel it completely.
Weeks went by and I still hadn’t seen the ladies, but I had other things on my mind. Another break in my routine, I had a doctor’s appointment. Normally a checkup is just something you dread for a few days and end up going hoping all the while you’re still I good health and nothing is wrong. This checkup however was something I was looking forward to. See, the chills that had been occurring every morning and night on the dot like clockwork had stopped with no indications around the time of the ladies disappearing. anyway I was going to inquire to my doctor about it.
My doctor’s appointment went less than optimal when I was told that even though I was by no means obese, my weight was slowly but steadily increasing and it would be important for me to start exercising. I asked my doctor about the chills but to be completely honest I stopped listening after he used the words spinal spasm and myoclonic twitch, and I just accepted the fact that I would never understand.
Now that I had been told to exercise more I was once again forced to alter my routine. Now when I got home I immediately walked over to the park the old ladies used to walk at as it was a five minute walk from my house. After about a week Things had once again become boring. There were never any more disturbances in my schedule and the chills only came every couple days or so and never twice at the same time. Then about a month later something happened that shook me to my core. I was watching TV one night before bed when the news came on. I was just about to turn it off when I saw their pictures. The four women I used to see months ago every morning on my way to work. Their pictures were up under a headline that read ‘remains of missing women found in sewage treatment facility’. The police had found partial remains of up to a possible seven other victims when an investigation of the plant was conducted.
I took a week off walking on the trail because of the news report I had seen, but ultimately it was the best option for me to get quick exercise and I was forced to go back. When I went by I noticed that at the beginning of the trail was a small memorial sign for the deceased victims and I thought that was nice. I began walking when I noticed someone walking behind me. It was unusual because usually no one came walking this late at night. I entered the part of the trail that was in the forest and the man was still behind me. As I walked over the drainage pipe I was disgusted by the fact that I had walked over the place where these women and several others were buried so many times without even knowing. I continued walking and looked over my shoulder at the man behind me. As he stepped up to the spot where the drainage pipe was buried he stopped and stood there. I heard a laugh coming from where he stood and he pulled something out of his pocket. As soon as his foot hit the pavement where the drainage pipe was buried A chill shot down my spine and I finally understood. All these months I spent adhering to a specific detailed schedule. I had overlooked what may have been the most important detail in the history of my life because I didn’t pay attention to the obvious. Every morning about the time the ladies would have walked over the drainage pipe I got a chill. Every night about the time the ladies would have crossed over the spot where it was buried I got a chill. I wanted to run but now I knew that there was no avoiding what was going to happen. The man that had been behind me the whole time picked up his pace and I knew what was coming. I only wonder how many other people had been feeling chills late at night when I would go for walk.