Rosenburg, Texas, was my home for many years, back in the country part known as Riverside. It was one of those tiny towns where the back roads are just as safe in the witching hour as they are during midday; so my cousins AJ and Amy and I took advantage of this and wandered them whenever we could, seeking adventure of the tamest sort.
“Did y’all hear that noise?” Amy looked uneasy as she paused and put her hand on AJ’s shoulder.
He shrugged her off. “No,” he said.
“What did it sound like?” I asked.
“A man,” she said, “screaming for help.” Her face was white in the moonlight.
“Let’s keep walking,” I said, and ushered us all onwards. We kept our ears tuned to see if we could hear it again, but there was no sound for a good ten minutes.
It started to get cold — AJ was shivering, and my fingers were numbing — so I suggested we go back. We all turned as one and froze in our tracks.
About thirty feet away from us stood a man. Tears were streaming down his face and his shoulders trembled in silent sobs. My stomach churned with fear.
“Let us pass! We need to get home.” This was from AJ.
The man lifted his head and started to scream. The screams were sobs, but they pierced our ears and hearts and made us shiver with fear. Then the man began to run towards us, waving his hands in the air, his screaming growing louder.
We bolted. Before we knew it, the woods were surrounding us, the branches ominous arms reaching for us. I grabbed my cousins’ hands and pulled us all to a stop. A frantic look around us revealed that no one had followed us. Still, I didn’t let go of their hands.
We waited a little while, hoping the man would tire of his chase and leave. When we finally poked out of the woods, we saw him there, standing in the middle of the road, crying silently again.
Headlights turned the corner behind him. I squeezed Amy and AJ’s hands, but no sound tore out of my throat as I watched the car strike the man and drive on as if it had passed through air. I let go and ran towards the car, which pulled to the side of the road when the driver saw us.
I looked at the road behind the car; the man was nowhere to be seen. Nor was there blood on the road. I swallowed as the friendly woman rolled down her window, looking worried.
“Are y’all okay?”
“We’re fine,” I said. “Did you…” I shot a look at my cousins, who nodded. “Did you see a man? In the middle of the road.”
She looked at the driver, who shook his head.
“Just y’all three,” she said.
To this day, we don’t know what happened to the crying ghost.