Author’s note: This is the first part of a two-part follow-up to October 2009’s “Night of the Harlequin” (http://from-the-shadows.blogspot.com/2009/10/night-of-harlequin.html). Dan Mitchell’s childhood waking nightmare still haunts him.
The entity would visit five-year-old Dan Mitchell’s bedroom at night. The thin, androgynous creature that called itself “the tooth fairy” would appear and tell him stories. Large, wide-open eyes – too large to be human eyes – stared at Mitchell as words spilled through its always open, round mouth.
Angel, demon or extraterrestrial?
It’s been more than 28 years since he first saw the entity he grew to call “the Harlequin,” but, although he goes years without feeling its presence, it’s always been with him, walking like cheap animation along the side of the road, or staring at him from the dark.
Mitchell and his family lived with his mother-in-law in a Milwaukee suburb briefly in 2009, just a few blocks from the house where he grew up – the house where he first experienced the Harlequin. It was waiting for him.
“A couple weeks ago I was helping my mother-in-law clean out her basement and organize a few things,” he said. “I woke up fairly early to get a head start on it before everybody started to wake up.”
Mitchell started working in the basement about 6:30 a.m. when he heard a noise from the top of the stairs.
“Within the first 10 minutes of going downstairs to organize, I keep hearing a tapping noise coming from upstairs by the back door,” Mitchell said. “It sounds like someone was gently tapping the window of the back door.”
At first he thought wind caused the sound, until it grew louder.
“Almost instantly it goes from a tapping to some quick thuds on the door that just stop abruptly,” Mitchell said. “It sounded like someone was knocking rather desperately. I was actually pretty startled by it.”
Mitchell grabbed a piece of pipe and slowly ascended the steps.
“I get to the top of the stairs and notice that whoever was knocking on the door was walking away toward the alley,” he said. “I can only see this person from the back and my heart utterly sank. I knew immediately what I was looking at.”
It was the Harlequin.
The entity walked away from the door like a bad theater actor. It wore a blonde wig, black winter cap and reddish-pink pants pulled up to the knees revealing unnaturally pale skin. It also wore penny-loafers with no socks and a winter coat with ruffles sewn onto it.
“For a brief second I thought maybe it was a homeless person, but there is just no way,” he said. “These things communicate they aren’t human just by their presence. I can’t describe this; you just can’t mistake it once you see it.”
The thin, sexless thing walked to the end of the sidewalk that cut through the back yard and disappeared behind the garage.
“I felt like I went instantly pale,” Mitchell said. “As it turned the corner to go behind our garage I caught a very quick glimpse of the eyes, the orbits were gigantic and the face was expressionless, almost mask-like. The thin mouth almost too small for the face.”
The thumps on the door woke Mitchell’s wife and she rushed downstairs worried her husband had tripped on the stairs. She found her husband staring out the window of the back door. Mitchell’s voice quivered as he told her what he’d seen.
“They don’t understand the dress at all or how to fit in,” Mitchell said. “I could have left this event as being a homeless person for the sake of my own comfort, but then we had another strange thing happen.”
Part two: The Harlequin speaks.
Copyright 2010 by Jason Offutt
Got a scary story? Ever played with a Ouija board, heard voices, seen a ghost, UFO or a creature you couldn’t identify? Let Jason know about it: Jason Offutt, P.O. Box 501, Maryville, Mo., 64468, or email@example.com. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”
Jason’s books on the paranormal, “Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us,” and “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” at Jason’s blog, from-the-shadows.blogspot.com.