In spring my dear friend Ann and I began a strenuous walking routine (like once a week at a clip of about 2.17 miles per hour), covering grueling park bench-lined paths that wind through the serene county park adjacent to our quiet neighborhood. Our walks were awesome — filled with chatty gossip and commiseration over our middle-aged medical issues. You know…stuff like failing eyesight, fallen arches, and menopausal mustaches. But sadly, I haven’t seen Ann in months.
The reason this is strange is because she lives in the house directly behind mine – so close that her son, Eric, had Noah convinced that he watched us eat dinner every evening through a pair of binoculars pointed at our kitchen window (for the record, when I asked Ann about this, she said they don’t even own a pair of binoculars). I know when Ann is mowing her lawn or tossing something into the recycling container parked next to her garage door. I can hear her, but I can no longer see her.
You see, we’ve stopped visiting one another because the brush and trees in the woods that border our properties have become severely thick and strangling. What once was a easy stroll to her house via a path her husband had cut through the woods (originally, for our boys so they could “hang” together) has become an extremely hazardous undertaking. Roots and vines threaten to trip us, limbs pull relentlessly at our hair, and branches angrily scratch us if we try to maneuver our way through. But that’s not the only reason we no longer venture into the woods: our teenage sons have warned us that there is a girl that lives amongst those trees — and not a nice one that sits around braiding her hair, skipping rope, or playing with pink toy tea sets. This girl is creepy and haunting. She is The Girl with the Bleeding Eyes.
I first heard about The Girl with the Bleeding Eyes a couple years ago after Noah had spent an evening jumping on Eric’s trampoline with a group of friends. It was dark and although I left a bright yard light on, a fearful Noah bribed his friends to walk him home through the forest with the promise of candy from a glass jar that sits on our kitchen counter. Frightened, but hungry enough for a few pieces of candy (stuff no one in our house wanted like banana Laffy Taffy or stale Tootsie Rolls), Noah’s friends agreed to the terms, walked him through the dangerous woods, and received the sugary payment for the task. But as they did it, they scared each other with horrific stories of The Girl with the Bleeding Eyes that hides in our woods – a hideously grotesque girl so lonely that she’d drag you away and hold you captive forever. No more iPod. No more television. No more Xbox. Ever. Plus, she ‘s not the kind of girl you wanted kids from school to see you with. She was really ugly.
The entire notion of this dreadful girl living in our woods was starting to freak me out a little bit. “Did you hear about The Girl with the Bleeding Eyes?” I asked Ann one day as we were chatting.
“What? No! Wait…what are you talking about?” Ann responded, visibly shaken. I proceeded to tell her about Noah, Eric, the woods, the candy bribes, and the scary bleeding girl that was living in the stretch of trees between our houses. I spilled it all–and then I almost wished I hadn’t. “I think I’ve seen her,” Ann said, her eyes wide open staring into the trees.
When I opened up my email later that day, Ann had sent me her rendition of TGWTBE (The Girl with the Bleeding Eyes). And you can clearly see how ghastly she is. Do you blame the boys for not wanting to walk through the woods alone? For the candy bribes? For the fear of the forest?
Ann’s composite drawing of The Girl with the Bleeding Eyes
As I mentioned, this summer those woods have become intensely overgrown and the path from my house to Ann’s is almost indiscernible. Chilling sounds are heard coming from deep within the trees and neither she nor I can help but wonder if the noises are coming from The Girl with the Bleeding Eyes (or one of her captives). What I do know is that neither of us is willing to risk life and limb to get to each other’s house. Especially to exercise.
Ann has mentioned wanting to feed The Girl with the Bleeding Eyes (TGWTBE) daily just to keep her happy. But personally, I think that if she’s living in our woods, she needs to earn her keep and help out around here. I don’t think pulling weeks, mowing the lawn, or shoveling is totally out of the question. And heck…since she’s out there, she may as well scoop the dog poop, too. She’s living rent free in our woods. Then she has the nerve to scare us on top of that?
Because fear has overtaken me, all I can do is stare out my window at the trees and know Ann is beyond them somewhere. But until fall when the leaves begin to drop, the brush clears, and the path is visible again I shall not see her. All because of our teenage boys who told us of The Girl with the Bleeding Eyes living in the woods.
What kinds of things get your kids worked up? Have they ever transferred their fears to you? Please comment!