Heather’s Scary Story: Just Before Midnight
The year was 1989, and I was seven. We used to live in Atlanta, Georgia, but my parents had decided a few years back that we needed to get out of the big city and reconnect with nature. So we moved to a very tiny town two hours north of Atlanta where there were only dirt roads, and we built a house in the middle of the woods. When I say built, I mean built. As in, my family and friends from the neighborhood cut down the trees on the land, laid the foundation, pounded together the boards and raised the roof. We moved in when the house was only partially finished. The roof didn't leak, but there were few internal walls (only our bedrooms and the bathroom). The rest was just exposed studs delineating where walls would one day stand. My two older brothers and I joked that we could walk through walls.
You might think that my story would be about the big black scorpions that often crept in through the cracks in the house, or the giant copperhead snakes that shed their skins in woods just outside. Or maybe that my story would be about the abandoned moonshine pit to the left of our property or the tornado that turned the sky green and ripped trees, roots and all, right out of the ground.
Instead, my tale centers on a night where earthly dangers were not at play, but instead, perhaps, forces not of this world were.
It was eleven thirty at night, far past my bedtime. My brothers and I had snuck out of bed and turned on the small black and white TV my oldest brother Dave had in his bedroom so we could watch The Arsenio Hall Show. My parents slept at the opposite end of the drafty, unfinished house, so they couldn't hear.
I’ll never forget, during the beginning montage, there was an elaborate set of dominos that were knocked over to create an intricate design. We watched the dominos start to fall, but then my other brother Mark said he had to go the bathroom and didn't want to go alone in the dark, so Dave and I agreed to go with him. I glanced at the clock so I’d know how much of the show we missed when we came back. It read 11:37 in clear bright red numbers. We all headed down the darkened hallway with its skeleton walls. We each used the bathroom in turn and headed back a few minutes later, laughing and feeling a little giddy about being up without our parent’s permission and watching what was then the coolest show on TV.
Until we got back to Dave’s room.
And saw that the ending credits of the show were playing.
The clock read 12:30. Almost an hour later than it should have been.
My brothers and I all looked at each other, completely freaked out. We checked another clock in the house and it too read 12:30. Then we looked at another and another. All of the clocks said the same thing. Somehow, an hour of our lives had disappeared into thin air.
We tried to reason out what had happened. We couldn't have been gone for more than six minutes to the bathroom. We’d clearly seen the beginning of the show, so it wasn't like the show had changed time slots. There was no VCR hooked up to the TV, no way for one of my brothers to have pulled an elaborate prank by recording a previous show and fast-forwarding. Besides which, both brothers were either in my sight, or in the bathroom the entire time.
We spent the next hour speculating about what could have happened, but there were no logical explanations, at least none of this world. We all settled uneasily on the possibility of some kind of otherworldly abduction. Was it possible? Could we have been zapped somewhere else and then been returned to the moment we’d left without being any the wiser? Or had there been some anomaly in time? We came to no firm conclusions. I slept in a sleeping bag on my brother’s floor for a week before my parents made me move back to my own bed.
To this day, I don’t know what happened to that missing hour. Memory’s funny, though. I've learned that time and again. Maybe what I *think* remember happening didn't actually happen at all, or happened differently. Maybe it’s just a story my brothers and I told over and over to each other enough times that we began to think it was true. It’s happened to me with other things—I’ll think for sure I know how a book or movie ended, only upon rereading or re-watching to find out it turned out completely different. Or maybe, just maybe, being out there all alone and secluded in those big woods made us a target for the unexplainable…
Author: Heather Anastasiu
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 371 Pages (August 7th, 2012)
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.
When Zoe starts to malfunction (or “glitch”), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.
As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.
In this action-packed debut, Glitch begins an exciting new young adult trilogy.
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Heather, thanks for sharing this story. I have to say that it not only creeped me out, but it makes me wonder what the heck happened to you all that night. I'd also like to know if anyone else out there has had something like this happen to them? Also, a HUGE thank you for donating a signed copy of Glitch to giveaway!
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