The Monkey Man

The grass that we were so used to was coated in two feet of snow. No green was visible beyond the radiance of the white, and it felt as if it would devour us whenever we leapt from the safety of that same old play-set that had always been there. The schoolyard hadn't changed in any way that we could recognize, and there was something comforting, yet disturbing about that fact. We were high schoolers now after all; life was basically about change. All you heard from every person that had authority over you was that change was coming - nay, happening constantly. You just didn't know it because at the time you were far too stupid to notice. That was their job in fact: to lift your veil of naivete and youthful stupidity so that the real world could smack you in the face with its dick.

Soon enough we would all be driving. Some of us would have our own cars; some of us wouldn't. A few of us would acquire our first jobs early in life, while the others would wait a little longer. Girlfriends and dates would start becoming much more commonplace, and curfews would be a thing of the past in the very near future. Booze and marijuana would suddenly be a constant presence, and we would all react different to each strange experience or temptation that came to call over the next few years. But at that very moment, we were just a bunch of teenagers with nothing better to do than to sit on a playground from our childhood. And sat we did, for hours even, just so that we could talk about better days.

There were five of us there, I think. We had already made our way through the woods behind the library and had actually taken the time to visit the other play-set on the opposite side of the school grounds. I hadn't set foot on that patch of blacktop in over a decade. By the time we had found our way to this shabby pile of metal we used to climb all over as children, we were already a little bored and ready to leave. Nostalgia be damned, am I right? But that's when we saw something... Rather odd, across the field. Along with the two I've already mentioned, there was actually a third play-set outside of the elementary school; one that the "big kids" used to occupy pretty much exclusively. Instead of hard concrete or blacktop, the ground surrounding the giant, twisting slide and firemen's pole was covered in that strange mulch that always seemed more appropriate for a hamster's cage rather than a child's play area. To the left of that was a handful of benches facing the nearby soccer field. In the middle of all of those benches was a strange figure that none of us could quite make out. We were a good hundred-and-fifty yards away, and had to strain our eyes to even confirm that it was, indeed, a person. Or at least, something that had the vague size and shape of a person.

We all began to argue about what exactly we were seeing. Somebody thought that it was a tree stump with clothes piled on top of it. Someone else insisted that it was alive. Whatever it was, it was clear that it was wearing a huge bubble coat, some sort of beanie and what appeared to enormous white goggles that dominated its face. Eventually we fell silent, and chose to simply watch the thing to see if it would move eventually. One of my friends quickly exhausted his patience, and leapt from his perch. Without hesitation, he sprinted ahead and proclaimed his intention to, in his own words "Piss on it". One by one we all joined in his charge, but before we could even begin to close the gap, the oddity ahead of us began to run back and forth along the tree line at a furious pace. We all stopped dead in our tracks. It wasn't his speed that confounded us; it was the fact that he was running on all fours.

By now it was clear that he had the body of a normal human. Despite his behavior, he was fully clothed and dressed to suit the weather. We watched for what seemed like hours as he hustled back and forth, never going further than the playground and only to return to where he had been sitting. What was even more disturbing was that it was clear he had been there for some time, apparently just watching us as we enjoyed our day out in the frigid cold. None of us had even thought to glance in his direction the entire time. Why he was there and what his intentions were, none of us will ever know. At the time, none of us were even concerned. Here was this person- a man as far as any of us could tell; moving like a crazed gorilla that had been rotting in a cage for years.

And suddenly, he departed. With his incredible and completely inhuman speed, he swiftly broke free from his insane loop and thrashed his way into the woods behind, still moving entirely on hand and foot. My friend wasted no time pursuing him, and we reluctantly followed. Now understand that my friend was extremely quick back in the day, and at first he seemed to be catching up to whatever we had just seen. We followed him as he tracked the hand and footprints in the snow, only to stop abruptly as he yelled in pain. We caught up and found my friend completely engulfed by a large and menacing thorn bush. He had been so focused on tracking the creature that he neglected to keep his eyes ahead, and had ran directly into the brush without slowing down. After pulling him free, we did our best to regain our lead on the man-beast that had gotten away from us. We scanned the ground beneath the bushes and found that hand and foot prints continued through the thorns and on to the other side. Doing our best to avoid the angry green needles, we cautiously slid by, only to find that the tracks had stopped just past the brush.

We continued our search through the small patch of woods beyond the playground, but to no avail. A wealthy neighborhood lay just beyond the opposite tree line, and several children a few years younger than we were had been playing in a backyard. We asked them if they had seen or heard anyone or anything running through the woods, but they said no. We ventured as far into the woods as we could, but eventually we simply wound up in another phantom neighborhood. Confused and somewhat frightened, we returned to the school grounds. An hour later, our ride arrived, and we left.

A few of us still talk about what happened and speculate on what the hell it was we had seen on that peculiar day on that same old playground. It was seven years ago now, and still the memory remains as clear as day in my mind. After a while we began to refer to the baffling figure as the "Monkey Man" and the name just sort of stuck.

If you're out there, Monkey Man, and you're honestly just some guy that is way too good at running on all fours: you seriously need to get a damn hobby.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

This seriously happened to me when I was a freshmen in high school.

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