12. Top Floor

When he burst through the treeline, he saw, in one of the windows upstairs, a dark figure. It was pressed against the glass, banging its head against the window. Even from far away, John could hear the figure making noises like a snarling dog.

But then, a flicker of recognition crossed his mind. He holstered the rifle and ran through the door to his home, ascending the creaking stairs, the eerie noises growing louder. Each step seemed to echo with the weight of the unknown, driving him toward the top floor, where the sinister figure awaited.

13. Nothing

He’d seen the figure in his bedroom, and he could hear it now as he ran up the stairs. The cacophony of sounds intensified, a nightmarish blend of snarling dog and grunting pig, creating an eerie symphony that echoed through the house. He heard the repeated cracks as it assailed the window, like a relentless force seeking entry.

John thundered up the stairs, his heart in his throat, throwing the door to his room open. But there was nothing there. His bedroom, once a place of comfort, now felt empty and cold. The shattered window bore witness to the earlier struggle, but the dark figure had vanished.

14. The End

The window was cracked, but, otherwise, the room was undisturbed. Heart thumping wildly, John Bell felt something behind him. Something angry, something hostile. The presence was hot on his back, eyes glaring at him. It hated him.

Turning around would be a death sentence, but he was powerless to stop his own body. He pivoted, his eyes meeting the malevolent gaze of the presence. The last thing he saw was a flash of copper, a glimpse of a sinister figure, before a searing pain tore through him.

15. 1967

The year was 1967. Kon Tum, Vietnam was not known for temperate weather, and, as James Richardson stood outside his mother’s home in Tennessee, he thought that, though this Southern heat was oppressive, he was glad the air wasn’t as humid as it had been in ‘Nam.

He’d take American heat any day. Fresh from Dak To and missing an arm, Richardson had no choice but to return home to his mother. And that he thought is a good option to be with her mother when he needed her the most.

16. Coming Home

The Tennessee estate was built in the Antebellum style, and it had been deeded to his family by a man named John Bell in the early 1800s. The home was gorgeous, painted yellow and white with three floors and a wraparound porch.

James couldn’t stand being there. He had to bite the bullet, so he walked into the home, arranging his face into a smile. His family greeted him with happiness and relief. They even did a good job not staring at his stump of an arm.

17. Nineteen

Laying in his childhood bed, staring at the ceiling, James thought about what this meant for him. He thought of his future as a massive stretch of time, one from which he couldn’t get away. He’d have to find a girl, have kids, work a job, retire, die.

James Richardson was only nineteen years old, but the war had aged him in ways he couldn’t fully grasp. The innocence of youth had been sacrificed on the altar of experience, leaving him to navigate the uncertain path ahead, where the scars of war would forever be etched into his soul.