The night was dark and there was a crescent shape of a silver moon pitch black sky. Unluckily, there were absolutely no traces of constellations or stars tonight. The air was so humid that it was threatening to suffocate Romano. Everything was black – the sky, the houses, the pavement. The entire town was dark. All the lights had been turned off in the houses, all the lightbulbs from the lamp posts and streets had been shattered. They were deliberately shattered. Not even the local baseball field had any shining lights. All the cars had either stayed parked near the houses or had been flipped over and battered with already extinguished flames. The only hint of illumination was from the moon ; the teenager hoped the clouds wouldn’t cover it.
The neighborhood was completely deserted. Almost everyone was gone…but not by choice. Romano was running; he had to get out of here. He just had to find his parents and younger brothers before they could get to him or his family. He and his family were the last ones left in the neighborhood that was invaded by them. He wanted to burst into a sprint, he just wanted to be out of this real-life nightmare right now but he had to jog so that he could preserve his stamina. He had to keep to the grass while jogging because the slapping sound of his feet against the pavement would only bring them closer to him. As he was running away, he was straining his eyes for the familiar shape of his dad’s Nissan Versa also he was looking around the neighborhood to see if anyone of them was near him.
He knew it was dangerous but he had to do it once in a while; he took out his smartphone from his pocket and shone it all around this area. The light shone everywhere around this part of the neighborhood; there was no sign of his Dad’s car. He had to keep looking so that they could all get out of here. His parents told him that they would be parked in a street but they didn’t exactly tell him which street.
Hair stood up on Romano’s neck and his heart was pounding so hard that he could hear it; he hoped that they wouldn’t hear it. His legs were quickly turning to stone nd they were growing weak but not out of fatigue. Every inch of this place had grown an eyeball and was watching him. He was afraid that if he turned around, he would find that one of them would be following him.
He remembered when he was younger he had played a computer game called “Slender”. This situation reminded him of that game. In the game, the main character was stuck in the woods at night for an unknown reason; in order to get out of the woods, he would have to find all eight, yellowed notebook pages that threatening messages scribbled in chicken-scratched handwriting. The notes would be placed in random places such as a brick-built restroom, giant boulders, and abandoned Chevy pick-up trucks.
The game wasn’t as easy as it sounded; you also had to avoid the Slenderman. He was a ridiculously tall, thin man who was as white as a bone; he wore a crisp, midnight black business suit with a matching tie and had tentacles sprouting out of his back; also, the scariest part about him was that he was bald and had no face. In the game, he would stalk the main character so that he would eat the character’s soul before they could snatch all of the pages.
The main character would have nothing but a flashlight quickly ran out of battery so attacking the Slenderman would be impossible; the only way the character would protect himself would be by not looking at him and retreating. If you stared at the Slenderman, static would appear, he would attack you and the game would end with Slenderman’s blank face blinking with the static. The more pages you would get, the more frequently you would spot the Slenderman.[i]
This hazardous situation that was going on right now was similar to the game “Slender” except that he wasn’t collecting pages; he was in his own neighborhood instead of a bizarre forest or park; also, there wasn’t a monster following him, instead there were many men searching for him and his family. To top it all off, this was reality! Romano had never been so afraid for his life.
Out of the blue, a flourescent light shone and Romano’s shadow popped up in an instant. At first Romano cussed himself because he thought he accidentally turned on his phone until he realized his phone was in his front pocket of his jeans. He slowly turned around and looked behind him…he couldn’t see very well because the light was burning his eyes but he knew it was one of them. He made out a silhouette of a tall man wearing a fedora and had a bazooka slung over his right shoulder.
“Good evening to you, sir.” he greeted with an Asian accent but in a sinister way.
As soon as he said that, Roman bolted. He instantly turned into an athletic marathon runner and did not stop sprinting. He didn’t care about preseving his energy anymore, he just wanted to leave – to escape! But where in the world was the Nissan Versa? Although he couldn’t see well, he hastily looked around for the car but to no avial. He turned and sprinted another block. He scrambled for his phone and pressed the button which turned on the light of the smart phone. His eyes scanned for the car and – there it was! The Nissan Versa was black but Romano recognized the license plate. He dashed to the car and banged on the window.
“Mama! Papa! Abele! Alessandro! Aprire la porta!”[ii]Romano panicked in Italian.
The passenger car door then opened. Romano got inside the car and sat in the passenger’s seat. He looked around and saw that his entire family had their hands up in the air and there was an African American pointing a gun at all of them. Romano couldn’t see the man’s face in the darkness but he knew that the cats had finally cornered the mice.
“You aren’t staying here,” he spoke in a calm voice “you aren’t going to be able to escape but you are going someplace to a very special someone doing special kinds of stuff.”
Glossary and Footnotes
Italian-English Translation of the conversation
[ii] “Mom! Dad! Abele! Alessandro! Open the door!”