A scary encounter

Read this scary non-fiction story by Hadia Ahmad ’23.

Graphic by Lindsay Gillston ’24

Ghosts, demons, even ghouls, people believe in all kinds of supernatural beings, and around Halloween, they decorate their houses accordingly. Their front lawns are adorned with spider webs, carved pumpkins, and anything else that’ll give it a “creepy” yet festive look. Many people focus on scary stories in October, remaining apathetic to these topics in other months. It’s different in other countries. In places like the Middle East and Pakistan, Jinn stories are told all year long. In Islamic Mythology, a Jinn is like a spirit. It is not dead and is its own being, however, they typically aren’t seen by the human eye, similar to a ghost. The most popular Jinn stories sound something like this: “I saw a Jinn at the park. I know it was there because it was dark and no one was around, and all of a sudden a swing started to rock back and forth.” People who tell these stories will guarantee that the wind wasn’t to blame. There are also stories of Jinns possessing humans or animals, causing them to say things that are eerie and frightening. One time my uncle claimed his son was possessed by a Jinn. In the middle of the night his son knocked on his door saying words in a language he didn’t recognize. I always doubted this. I thought, “He was sleepwalking and started speaking gibberish. That has to be it.” I constantly doubted these Jinn sightings until one night, I saw one myself.

It was 2018 and I was driving home from a family friend’s house after a small dispute. I didn’t have a phone at the time so the only thing that kept me occupied was looking out the window. Our car weaved around familiar roads and I found myself fidgeting with the hem of my shirt, anxious to get home. The summer heat seemed to affect everyone’s mood making them easily irritable. There wasn’t a single car on the road and we were illuminated by the headlights and flickering street lamps. It felt like the opening scene of a cheap horror film.

We were about to arrive at home. I breathed in and felt a lump in my throat when I swallowed. I took my hand and applied a small amount of pressure on my neck, thinking that would ease the feeling. “We’re gonna be home soon anyway, I’ll just wait until I can drink water.” We had finally reached our town. There’s a train station by my house, during the day it’s nothing short of a peaceful scene, but at night it’s unpleasant to look at. The side of the station is accompanied by a looming forest, darkness overtaking the surrounding area. We turned onto the street which led to the train station, but the car felt lopsided. I sat up. The lump in my throat felt worse.. I pressed my neck and glimpsed out the window.

Why did we stop?

My cousin, who sat next to me, was the first to point out what we saw. Something emerged from the forest and started to move towards the car. The thing moved closer to us. It picked up speed and we saw it clearly. It was running towards us. I sat still and this creepy thing was coming closer to our line of sight. Why are we stopped? Why arent we going? My mother was focused on a conversation with my aunt and she didn’t notice the scene taking place right outside her window. 

The “thing” looked like a man, but it wasn’t a man. It had the longest legs and hair I’ve ever seen, and when it ran it seemed to jump a little and it’s knees bent in such a way that I thought its legs would give out at any moment. I suddenly let go of my neck. I accidentally put too much pressure on it, so when I did, it sounded like a gasp.

It was next to us. 

It was at the stop sign. I forced myself to look. I didn’t care if it was a murderer, we could just drive off. I just needed to see its face. I scanned everywhere. “Wait, but that’s not possible,” I remember thinking, “It doesn’t have a face”. My mother was looking at it too now. Her eyes looked glossy. She was searching for it, I could tell. She was looking for its face. It stood directly under a street light wearing white, torn clothing and a skirt that ended just above the knees. Every single detail was so prevalent except for its face. It didn’t have one.

We drove off and I turned back right away to catch another glimpse, but it was gone. 

Ever since that night, this has been a story I’ve told time and time again. Whenever I make a new friend, this is one of the first things I tell them. When my other friends hear me tell this, they loudly sigh and laugh. It’s a night I’ll never forget, a night that had completely resolved my doubts.