Tag Archives: manhole

Just Accidents

The first time I saw him was in early January. I was on the sidewalk when his car turned around the corner. I heard the motor roaring, saw the car gaining speed, then noticed his grin. The woman in business attire didn’t stand a chance.

He didn’t drive away. He even pulled her body from under the car and tried to resuscitate her. It didn’t help. When the police came he cried.

That day I wasn’t sure whether I had really seen the grin; he looked genuinely concerned about the woman and he didn’t try to flee. He told the police that it was an accident; I told them that I thought he was accelerating when he came around the corner.

I never heard what came out of the case.

In late January I saw him a second time – or to be precise, I saw the grin a second time. It was on a woman behind the wheel of a black SUV.

Three children were on the pedestrian crossing. The oldest ran; his two siblings were too slow. I think I even heard the woman laughing.

The small boy was pulled with the car; the girl was thrown against a fire hydrant. I can never forget the face of the older brother, the one that got away, in the moment he touched his sister’s body.

The tires screeched; the woman jumped out of the car and fell on her knees. She just stared at the long, red marks between her car and the pedestrian crossing.

Since that day I work my way through three or four newspapers per day.

And every day there is at least one accident. Every day there is at least one driver with an unblemished record that, as the newspapers put it, “lost control of his car.” Sometimes they have better excuses – a leg cramp, a technical fault, a distracting dog in the car.

The third time was on the 3rd of March. I had noticed a pattern; an area particularly prone for “accidents.” The police had told me that I was crazy, that it was all just my mind – and I nearly believed them.

Then, near the large public library, I saw the grin again. The car was waiting at a red light. I saw his face, his serious expression, and looked away. A moment later I heard his engine howling. I only saw his face for a short moment.

There was no mistaking it. Different people, but without a doubt the same unnatural grin; the same widely stretched lips and closed teeth; the same unchanging expression and focused, glassy eyes.

I didn’t see the accident, but I heard it. His car sped through the red light and around the corner. Car horns; then a crash; then screams.

When I ran around the corner the only audible sound was a blaring car alarm.

The man fell sidewards out of the driver’s side door; got back on his feet and slowly walked to the front of his car. He didn’t try to help.

The woman’s body was cut in half; wedged between the two cars with her blood slowly trickling into a storm drain. She said something about love and family. She stopped talking long before the ambulance arrived.

At least one per day; only once it wasn’t a car – a motorcycle instead.

They all deny that it was on purpose.

I’m not crazy; I’m not the only one that saw it.

Two articles said that the drivers were smiling.

I barely sleep anymore. I lost my job and it might be good that way. Now I have time to research; to figure things out.

Besides the grin there is one more connection I made. I noticed it last week.

I saw the black car in the distance. It was too far away for me to see the driver, still I knew. I felt the grin.

I ran towards it to watch the events and it sped in my direction. It took me too long to realize that her eyes were on me. It might have been just her large face, but the grin seemed wider than the other times.

I ran in the other direction; then ducked behind a parked truck.

That moment the driver’s eyes turned to the young man across the street. I screamed at him to run; he reacted too late.

The crash threw the young man several meters backwards, right next to a storm drain.

The car crashed against a street light; the woman was thrown through her windshield.

The woman survived. The young man died.

I only saw the connection when the blood seeped out of his body. A thin stream ran from his body and towards the storm drain.

That moment I noticed the pattern. I remembered the arm of a woman in business attire bent over a storm drain; I remembered the long red line of a young boy’s blood on a manhole; and I remembered the trickle of thick, red liquid into a storm drain just below a severed body wedged between two cars.

The young man’s blood reached the grate bars. And in the dark below, just between the bars, I saw the body of a man.

He was thin; his whole body and face black. I wouldn’t have seen him – if not for the white teeth and the wide grin.


This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.

They Come Out When It Rains

I don’t know where else to turn anymore. I just have to get this message out. Please don’t think I’m crazy. Please just hear me out.

I live in a rather large U.S. city. I saw them the first time in early October, when we had several days of heavy rain. I was walking home at night, I don’t remember why, or even what day it was. But it was definitely October and the sky was dark from the late night and the thick clouds.

It was pouring without end. Maybe that’s why they came out – so far I’ve only seen them after heavy rain.

I was on a street near my apartment block and I didn’t really pay much attention to my surroundings. There are some rough areas nearby, but my area is quite safe – it’s okay to walk with headphones in your ear.

First I thought it was a dog. This thing was cowering at the end of a blind alley. It looked completely black; that’s why I saw it – it was darker than the green metal fence behind it. This thing was just sitting, in a hunched, nearly round posture, leaning against the fence. Its head was bent forward and covered by its long front legs.

Maybe I was walking too loudly, I’m not sure if it was really me. From one second to the next this thing unfurled; that’s when I saw the face. The body was a lot like a stray dog – it stood on its four somewhat bent legs and the thin ribcage was clearly visible. But the face wasn’t like a dog. It had clear, white eyes, a small bump where a human would have a nose, and small, human-like teeth.

It stared at me for two or three seconds, then the bent legs began to move forward and this thing crawled into a manhole. I was stunned. I thought I had just gone crazy. Then a hand came out of the manhole and I watched as it pulled the manhole cover back in place.

I ran home.

While brushing teeth in the morning I remembered the scene and laughed; I was sure I must have seen it wrong – after all the rain made the whole scene slightly blurry.

I would have forgotten about that night. But the blind alley was on my usual route home from the bus stop – and from that day on, once in every few nights, I saw the manhole cover open.

Every day I walked past that alley and every day I wondered what I saw. And by the day my urge to check, to just look inside the manhole grew.

At the end of November, another late night, I was walking home with too much liquid courage in my bloodstream. Liquor overrules brain. Curiosity overrules fear.

I didn’t even approach slowly. I saw the open manhole only twenty to thirty steps away and shambled towards it. I looked around, didn’t see anything suspicious, approached the hole – and nearly tumbled inside when I leaned to look inside.

I didn’t see anything except the top three steps of a metal ladder and darkness below that.

I suppose you could say I wanted to be a good citizen. My brain thought it would be wise to close the hole so that nobody would fall inside. I kicked against the manhole cover, it inched forward and I kicked a second time, stronger.

The hissing started straight behind me. I knew that they were close; then I turned and saw the white eyes and bared teeth of a small human-like face on a frail, crippled body. It was crouching on its legs, the hands stretched towards the floor. Its eyes were on me and the hissing, almost whistling sound was directed at me.

It didn’t move. It hissed at me; I raised my hands and slowly took a step back. It still remained in place, with air pushing through its broken and stained teeth.

I took a second step backwards, careful to navigate past the manhole. A third step; but before my foot touched the ground I felt a small hand gripping my jeans.

It was only instinct. I kicked backwards, my foot crushed against something hard, a loud grunt followed; the thing in front of me leaped forward, I broke out to the side and ran. I was sprinting away, but the thing was closely behind me; the sound of four bare, bony feet hitting the cement followed me around the corner, and then abruptly stopped. I kept running; from behind me came a short hiss and a growl. When I looked back I saw its short, black hind legs disappear around the corner.

I don’t know if I just never paid attention. Maybe they were always there and I just didn’t see them. But since then I see all the open manhole covers; in my area, in neighboring areas, all across the city. Now I always make sure to stay far away.

Maybe they know that I know about them; maybe they’ve always been hidden in plain sight.

But since November I’ve seen more of the bony, hunched creatures. After heavy rainfall I saw several hiding behind bins and trash; when the first snow fell I saw two huddled together behind cars in a back alley; a few I saw crawling below a pedestrian bridge.

Today I saw another one. I walked through the air, still clean from the wet snow that fell in the afternoon. Just two houses down from mine I saw movement in a basement window. I shifted my eyes, looked closer while walking past the window – suddenly a bony, black hand slammed against the window.

I ran. I think nothing followed me. But the hissing still rings in my ears.


This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.