ATTENTION READER - The following is a prequel to CTstories' creepypasta, The Ombra. If you haven't read it, do that before you read this or else you won't understand any of the shit that goes on here. I have CT's permission to write this, and there is a high chance that this will be integrated into the original story's canon. So, in conclusion, I hope you enjoy this creepypasta. THE PRAWN ORDERS YOU TO ENJOY THIS.
Multiple Sightings - An Ombra PrequelEdit
1971 - 1977
16-year-old Daniel Stoltz blessed the moment that the school bell rang, freeing the students from their day-long mindless drovel within the walls of Hillsboro High School in Hillsboro, Kansas. Dan was a sophomore student in this dead-end town, wishing for greater things and a way out. With his books in hand, he stumbled out the door and into the day. It was overcast, with patches of sun and rain here and there. Dan had heard the saying about April showers, but it was more of a faint drizzle than something significant.
As he began the walk home through the streets. The coniferous trees which had been planted almost strategically at intervals next to the sidewalk were re-growing their periodically colorful leaves after a bitter, dry and blistering winter that had left crops dead and animals bewildered from what seemed in their minds to be a catastrophic climate change. And as Dan negotiated the sidewalks to his home blocks away, no one noticed him. Why? Because Dan Stoltz, in 1971, was a stereotypical loner, an outcast, a nerd, an egghead, a regular Poindexter who was mentally ruled by his overall blatancy.
Dan stared down at his feet as he walked. A pair of Adidas running shoes, how cute. Not only did Dan observe his feet but he noted the cracks in the sidewalk and the waste being funneled into the sewer grates next to the curb by some natural force that Dan couldn't put his finger on.
He then looked up, to the other side of the road.
On the opposite sidewalk, he could've sworn, was a tall figure (about six or seven feet) with grey, pallid skin, stand there next to a tree, with its fingers curled up into claws and its back hunched over, diminishing its overall height by a couple inches.
He blinked, astonished.
Nothing. Not even the negative of footsteps or any physical indication that anything had been there.
It was probably nothing, he thought, shaking his head and continuing on his walk.
This was Dan Stoltz's first encounter with the Ombra, but definitely not the last.
The second encounter was in 1973, when Dan was 18 years old. At this point in his life, Dan was attending McPherson College in the nearby city of McPherson in order to abtain a Ph.D. It was his father that told him that to obtain a medical degree would open the door to a variety of different occupations. And hell, Dan's father was right.
After a day of tests and note-taking, Dan had retreated to his dorm for some much needed shut-eye with his roommate, Tyler.
It was the summer time, so Dan cracked open a window in order to circulate some fresh air throughout the room. In retrospect, Dan would've determined that would've been a bad idea.
That night, Dan and Tyler were fast asleep, their bedsheets pushed aside as they lay in their underwear and t-shirts, bodies clammy and hot to the touch.
All of the sudden, Dan was stirred out of his shallow slumber by a light knock on the window.
Dan, knowing the probable causes of something like that, rolled over into a more comfortable position.
There was another knock. And another.
Dan, complaining to himself under his breath, clambered up to the sill to see what was causing these knocks. It was probably a branch or wind knocking something against the window.
It wasn't either of those. In fact, it was in fact a ghoulish face, with black pits for eyes and sizable blades for teeth, stared back with a faint grin.
Dan screamed and fell back of the bed and onto the floor.
The scream woke Tyler up, Tyler nearly falling out of bed himself.
As Tyler collected himself with wide, terrified eyes, Dan peered out the window again.
Dan didn't know it at the time, but he had seen this same creature before many years ago. For now, he sat in his bed and pondered about the nature of what he saw and Tyler asked the what the fuck had happened and demanded an explanation.
The third encounter took place in late August of 1975. Dan was now 20, and, barely evolved from the gullible egghead that was born and raised to be, he had taken a knack to all the teenage risks a member of the Baby Boomer generation could ever attempt. He and a kid from his college nicknamed 'Twenty' were driving south on Interstate 135, in Twenty's baby blue pickup, in a drunken search for Mexico. Cans of Budweiser were tossed out of every open window as the car swerved across the lanes of the highway, fueled more by the embers of a vanishing summer than gasoline.
As the truck sped towards Wichita in a haze, Dan and Twenty took turns making jokes about homosexuals and while extolling the virtues of women and porn, whilst Black Sabbath's latest album blared on the radio.
"Y' know, ti's and ass are th' best thing women c'n have, y' know," Twenty blurted out as he burped.
Dan laughed. "Yea, t'tlly. Nice rack, give m' a back massage...."
"Asian bitches 'r' th' best at giv'n massa-ma-maseg-massages, heh!"
"Yea, wit' that 'ching-chong' thing and the sexy Asian asses an'...."
Before they could continue their philosophical debate, something rolled under the wheels of the truck, causing the truck to violently keel to one side and dart off the road, landing in an explosion of dust.
Dan and Twenty both coughed as they exited the truck in a cloud of kicked-up dirt and gravel. Twenty went to check out the road to see what they hit while Dan guarded the truck from 'fags'.
It was then that Dan's quivering gaze became fixed on the outline of a figure in the dark; kind of like a cut-out of black construction paper glued on a background. The figure was tall, waifish and limping, a hand clutching its torso as it stumbled onward.
By the time that Twenty arrived, it was gone, blended into the night like everything else. On this note, Dan and Twenty got back in the truck and drove on, reaching Topeka at 2 am, sleeping in the truck over night, before realizing their mistake and hastily driving back to McPherson the next day.
The fourth time occurred on Halloween night of 1977. 22-year-old Dan was walking back to his dorm from a customary college Halloween party with a flashlight in his hand. After the realization that the substance known as beer would cause Dan to inadvertently worm his way into some crazy shit, and thus should be avoided. Thus, Dan had taken up a grudging, austere code of abstinence, which had bent ever so little. He only had one or two beers tonight to avoid sarcastic comments from his peers, and he was feeling alright, even in the semi-uncomfortable pirate costume. He told himself as he walked, y'ou're alright, Dan. You're alright. Just follow the trail back up to campus and you'll be fine.
However, as the flashlight's field of illumination veered behind him at the direction of Dan's partially shaky hand, the beam caught a creature, about seven to seven-and-a-half feet, that looked like a sickly version of a grey alien with a smaller head.
During that split second, the creature stood there almost in a pouncing stance, its arms outstretched.
Dan held back a shriek and began to run. He could hear the creature's pursue him with bizarre, almost angry growling that pierced the all-round silence. He began to pant and a cold sweat enveloped his body as he ran.
Finally, he pushed the double doors aside and began to run even faster when he caught his dorm room door in his view. However, the creature actually followed Dan into the school hallway while hissing and feet gracing the linoleum floors, although it moved much slower.
Dan stopped at his door and put his hand in his pocket to fish out his keys; his costume was so tight-fitting, though, that it took some difficulty to get the key out, all the while Dan had his vision set on the slow-moving creature, who was advancing towards him.
Finally, Dan managed to fish the key out of his pocket. Now, he had to unlock the door. At this point, he had to tell himself to do things and made him feel like one of those special-ed kids somehow.
The creature was getting closer.
Dan's body shivered as he fumbled around to put the key in the lock. Come on, Dan! Open the fucking door! Now, the creature was within the reach to put a hand around Dan's neck and choke him to death. And after what felt like hours, the door unlocked with a satisfying click.
He could feel warm breath on the back of his neck.
Dan reacted like someone would if they sat on a pincushion; move away from the point as fast as possible. For Dan, he squeezed him through the door and, as the creature attempted entry of his room, he slammed the door in its face, causing it to fly back on the floor. Enraged, the creature began to pound and claw at Dan's door as muffled screeches were heard from inside. Dan hid beside his bed until the sounds stopped, and didn't open the door until next morning.
1979 - 1985
Now, it was around 1978 that Dan began to see a pattern. Before then, it was simply a matter of connecting the dots, but now he clearly remembered four separate occasions of the same creature visiting him one way or another. Also, as far as he knew, no one else was experiencing the same thing, so that added to the overall level of unease.
For a brief time in 1978 Dan was sure he was going mad. However, he managed to conquer his memory-induced paranoia in early 1979 and forgot about it for the rest of the year.
That was, of course, until the fifth encounter during December of 1979. Dan was remotely excited for the amount of snow that had fallen in town; of course, Kansas was still in the Midwest, so he couldn't really say that he lived in a desert. After all, he didn't. Contrary to the popular belief of most, even Kansas had snowfall during the winter.
Dan was now 24 years old, and it was during the previous year he finally got around to buying a car, having got his driver's license seven years earlier; it was a 1978 Ford Fairmont, a lousy, four-door piece-of-shit sedan that, despite being new, it was simply another K-body that the bigwigs high on the Ford food chain were shipping out by the thousands. It was cheap too; a mere $1,750. Of course, at that price, one could say that Dan paid too much.
Now, Dan was driving his car through the ashen streets of Kansas City, Missouri, the landscape looking as though it had been irradiated by a nuclear bomb. He was there to visit his family, and a few days before Christmas he was sent for groceries while the adults chatted over the coffee and the young kids played hide-and-go-seek-tag in the basement.
Finally, Dan arrived to the house of his grandparents, who were in their early 70s, and pulled the car into the driveway. It wasn't chilly this day, but Dan avoided stepping in snow and getting his feet wet.
As he opened the door (which was unlocked), he turned and looked to the other side of the road.
There it was. Still seven feet tall, the creature's thinly stretched skin looked a little paler, but he could still distinguish it from the background as snow fell on its head and shoulders, like clothes identifying the Invisible Man. Almost itching to forget about it, Dan rushed in the house.
It was then that one of Dan's young cousins, Patrick, retracted from his spot in the window and ran up to Dan.
"Danny!! Danny!! Did you see the man outside?"
"The t-the tall guy!! The tall man, Danny!!"
It was then that Dan Stoltz knew he wasn't crazy. It was both a relief and a burden.
It was in late autumn of 1980 that Dan would meet the love of his life, Theresa Carlisle. She was a couple months younger than him and fresh out of South Dakota, but their chemistry was undeniable. Dan was shy, smart and funny, and Tessie was beautiful, sociable and outgoing. Despite some of their differences and idiosyncracies they struck up an instant friendship. Besides the thought up being stalked by something either less or more than human, Theresa preoccupied his day-to-day life most of the time.
Their first big date came in the January of 1981, on the same day that 26-year-old Dan would have his sixth encounter with the creature. Dan had taken to a personally favored salad bar in Topeka.
For the most part the two had a wonderful time. They chatted about home life and news and politics and pop culture and opinions, eating many plates of salad amongst these conversations until the time came to the end of the date and Tessie needed a ride home. It was a moment of melancholy, as the two enjoyed each other's company a fair bit and the departure was disheartening.
As they drifted across the parking lot and towards his car, arm in arm, Theresa looked over to the right, before tapping Dan's shoulder gently.
"What's that?" Theresa asked, pointing to a recognizable figure loitering around the corner of the restaurant.
Dan stared at the figure, frightened and furious at the same time.
"Get in the car, Tess," Dan ordered, looking her in the eyes.
"What, do you know him?" She said, her voice becoming inconsistent.
"It's not a 'him', Tess. Get in." Tessie appeared confused at this statement, but followed his order anyway. As soon as she sat down, Dan belted the gas pedal before she could apply her seat belt. Tessie's body was forced back, to her grievance, as the car bolted like a bat out of hell onto the road as the image of the figure dissipated from her view.
The two sat in silence for the rest of the car ride, Tessie questioning had happened back there.
"Dan, what was that?"
"What was what?" Dan really didn't want to talk about at the moment, instead diverting his flow of attention to the road.
"Don't bullshit me! The thing back there, what was it?"
"I don't KNOW, Tess, but....damn, I swear I've seen that goddamn thing before. Lots of times."
Over the course of 1981 and 1982, Dan and Tessie nurtured an intensely close relationship. By the summer of 1982, they had been introduced to each other's parents and were living in a small flat in Hannibal, Missouri. In October of 1982, Dan finally earned his yearned Ph.D from McPherson College and in November, Dan got down on one knee and proposed to Tessie.
She said yes.
Dan and Tessie weren't particularly keen on hiring a wedding planner. Instead, with Tessie's conservative, steadfast sense of drive, they were able to plan the perfect wedding in 5 months whilst saving up for expenses.
On April 3, 1983, at the Catholic Church in Hillsboro, Dan and Tessie were united in marriage. As Dan's father Ted and Tessie's mother Judi walked their respective children down the aisle, between the pews. Their respective friends and families attended, and Dan and Tessie looked like the epitome of a young couple, stunning in their steam-pressed suits and dresses. Confetti was thrown, and everyone cheered as they said their I do's and kissed.
However, as Dan and Tessie passionately locked lips, he made a quick take at one of the church's windows.
Outside, there was a familiar-looking silhouette standing outside the window, its hands stuck to the glass like suction cups, begging to get in.
Cursing in his mind, he hid his terror and frustration by smiling and hugging his wife before exiting the church and driving off in a Lincoln (complete with the knick-knacks and the 'Just Married' sign) to an entirely uncertain future.
By the time he and the creature would meet again would be another two years later, in July of 1985. Dan was now 30 years old, greatly matured from his previous guise; in 1971 he was lanky, average height, with sullen eyes, peach-coloured skin and a crop of brown hair on his head. Now, in 1985, he was a little more muscular, an inch taller, with paler skin and darker hair. Yet, his personality was what changed the most. Before he was quirky, impressionable and unhinged. Now, he was a bit more restricted, world-weary, and a greater sense of responsibility and purpose. Tessie had helped with that more than a little.
Tessie was now nine months pregnant. Dan wanted a boy, Tessie a girl (due to a variety of reasons, some of them influenced by deductions and/or common and uncommon stereotypes). However, the common ground was that the girl would be Virginia and the boy would be Lance. Still, despite the animosity surrounding their child, their relationship was stronger than ever, rejuvenated by the prospect of offspring.
Thus, as Tessie sat and watched television with her feet up on the couch whilst Dan vacuumed the patterned carpet of their house, Dan mused quietly on how Tessie's pregnancy jeopardized her constant mobility; she couldn't walk around as much, she couldn't run to save a life, and physical labor was just asking for a miscarriage. On this scary factor, they both agreed that it was for the likes of their baby that she become a sloth for about a year.
As Tessie was fixated on CBS and Walter Cronkite, Dan stored the vacuum in the broom closet and fixed a small snack of sliced Spartan apples for her to eat. However, as he finished cutting the apple in four equal quarters, he heard a trembling "Dan...." from the living room.
Dan walked over with the plate of apples, curious.
"There's something outside, Dan. And it isn't a man."
Those words, for a minute, froze Dan in his tracks while he was in the process of handing her the plate. After some contemplation, he gave her the plate and ran for a meat cleaver in the kitchen. With a worried expression on Tessie's pallid, prepartum face, he ventured out into the late-morning air.
The sun was obscured by wispy gray clouds, and thus gave something of a warm phosphorescence down on their heads.
Dan turned around the corner of the house, gripping the cleaver, briefly catching a glimpse of a gray blob slink its way around the other corner. Angered, Dan stamped his feet as he approached the corner, almost expecting something to jump out or something to occur.
And he was right. The creature, bearing its fang-like teeth which seemed to extrude an abnormal span from its inhuman mouth, lunged right for him. Dan, surprised, fellow to the ground with an 'OOF' and the cleaver escaped his hand. The creature then quickly leapt away. Dan, though, was quick to get up on his feet, grabbing the cleaver from the ground and engaging the creature in pursuit like many years before.
"GET BACK HERE, YOU MOTHERFUCKING BASTARD!!! YOU FUCKING SON OF A BITCH!!!" Dan was both physically and mentally drained after five minutes, and this factor contributed to the end of the chase.
Dejected, Dan wandered back to the house, put the cleaver in the sink to wash, and shrugged off all of the dazed and alienated questions that Tessie asked him.
I'll get 'im some day, Dan thought. Just not today.
1987 - 1993