Two friends and I (11F at the time) were playing outside at a park near Friend 1’s house. It was a beautiful, sunny day and we had been playing at the park for around an hour. I had just asked Friend 1 what time it was, and her watch said it was 1:26 pm. I had to go to church with my family at 4:00 pm, and I did not want to make my mom late because I was out playing and lost track of time.
Next to the park was a big hill, and the top of the hill plateaued into a wooded area where we would run, collect flowers, etc. Friend 2 started to run up the hill, calling for a race to the top. Friend 1 and I followed her up the hill, laughing and trying to playfully trip one another as we went.
We made it to the top and slowed down to a jog. My tennis shoe came untied during the race, so I bent down to tie it. Out of nowhere, my head felt fuzzy, and I got an anxious knot in the pit of my stomach. I closed my eyes to catch my breath. While they were closed I stopped hearing the wind through the trees, and I couldn’t feel the breeze on my skin. An unnatural silence took over and I was afraid to open my eyes. When I finally opened them, it was dark outside. In the distance the sky looked, for lack of a better description, wrong. It looked almost bloody; it was foggy and an unsettling shade of dark red.
There was no noise. There was a road on the other side of the plateau, but I couldn’t hear any cars. There was no wind, and I could not hear crickets. I couldn’t hear the sound of my breathing. I looked around for my friends, and I could faintly see them standing about 100 yards front of me. All the hair on my body suddenly stood on end, and I turned around to back-track to the hill. I tried to slow down as I got close, but my friends crashed into my back and we rolled down in a tangle to the bottom of the hill.
We were all in pile breathing heavily at the bottom of the hill. I’ve always been on the sensitive side, so I immediately burst into tears. We were clinging to each other like our lives depended on it. As we caught our breath again we started to hear the wind, as well as some crickets chirping. The grass started to feel cool and damp with condensation. The foreboding numbness we experienced at the top of the hill began to subside.
I asked Friend 1 what time it was. She said it was 12:07 am. We untangled ourselves and walked back to her house. A police officer was there with our parents, who were furious that we had been gone for so long, as well as relieved that we were safe. My friends and I did not try to explain that we had literally lost time. We were too scared and confused by the whole thing to be able to rationalize what had happened and put our experience into words. On my way home, my mom offhandedly told me that, even though we lived in a small town, there were still bad people who could’ve taken advantage of us. I brushed her comment off as her trying to scare me into being obedient.
In the following days it was revealed that a sex offender and suspected murderer (though it was never proven), who lived on the opposite side of the hill from the park, died in a house fire while he was cooking meth. The sky looked so weird because the light from the fire was bouncing off of the smoke the fire was generating. To this day we have no recollection of what happened after we reached the top of the hill, and none of us know how we ended up losing that much time. Friend 2 likes to think that someone (or something) was protecting us from going any closer to that house, but the sensation I felt did not remind me of a comforting presence. For now, I’m content to ignore that this ever happened to us.
Posted originally on Reddit by HandMallardApple
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