This is not meant to scare anyone.
Calling it a creepy story would be kind of an insult. This is an expression of gratitute toward a friend - a friend that was always there for me. He watched over me when I was growing up and was the best friend any kid could have, even if I didn't realize it at the time.
He was always there, even though I couldn't see him. He was always acting in my best interests, even if I couldn't understand it. I'd like to take some time to share with you our story, because if you're lucky you might have a friend like this too.
I bought a new computer back in May 2010 and took my old computer to the store to have everything backed up. When I took my new computer home, I set everything up and began restoring my files from my portable hard drive. While I was installing some programs, I noticed a file in the Misc folder the technician at the shop made for files that didn't really belong anywhere. The file was called "HappyBirthdayBaby.txt".
My initial thought was that it was a joke message my mom must have written for me that I never found. I opened it and found this...
You might find this one day. I'm not great at this computer stuff, but I've watched you tinkering with this machine lately and I think I know how to save this so you'll find it. Seeing as it's time for me to go, I want to leave you this last little message.
I know you never met your father, but to me he was Col. Marcus Andrew Stadtfield. As I'm sure your mother told you, he was a good man. He had the pride of a lion, the strength of a bear, and a heart of pure gold. Truth is, I was almost like his son way before you were born. I was his second in command and served with him for three years.
I watched as your mother wept when she heard the news, her belly swolen with your soon-to-be debut into this world. I stayed with her every second of every day until the day you came into the world. After that, my focus shifted to you personally.
I watched as they cleaned you and handed you to your mother. She seemed to look right at me with a knowing eye as I stood over the both of you, almost as if she knew all along. I'd be willing to bet my last penny she did at that time. I've watched you grow; I remember everything, even the things you don't. You were such a happy baby. You seemed to have inherited your father's sense of humor, as when you were getting to be four months old you would do just about everything to hinder your mother's attempts at changing you, laughing all the way. You were a wild one at heart, just as you are today.
Just like Marcus.
When you were about six months old, we used to play all the time. We had a game where I would grab your toes and tickle your belly; you would have a great time. When your mother came in, I'd have to stop and it always perplexed her as to why you'd start crying. She seemed to think you didn't like her, which is when I realized I had to back away some. But hey, I knew it was because you didn't want the fun to end.
When you were a year old, you seemed to develop a sixth sense for me. Although you couldn't really see me so well anymore, you knew I was there. I couldn't play with you much because I knew it would only hurt you in the long run, but I always kept guard. However, I knew you remembered seeing me because you had a way of testing my presence. You'd throw toys into the corner where I stood and waited to see if I would play with them.
Now, I know you won't remember, but once you threw a bear and a rag doll at me. Because your mother was busy in the kitchen, making dinner, I kept you entertained by putting on a little show. It wasn't anything special, all I did was make them dance a little. You were laughing loud and your mom came to see what was so funny, but when she saw what she saw, she wasn't laughing. I bet you could mention the bear and rag doll dance and the color would run right out of her cheeks.
Do me a favor and don't, though; I think it would be much kinder to ask if you ever threw the toys into the corner. That isn't so much a bad memory for her than the dancing.
Do you remember your first word? I do. "Love." Haha. Your mother made damned well sure you knew just how much you were cherished by her. Every moment of every day she would always say "Love you, baby." I remember you tugging my heart strings something awful once, when your mother was changing you in the bathroom this one time. You seemed to have caught my reflection in the mirror.
You pointed and said "Love." Your mother laughed and affirmed it. It was your only word for a time, but as I walked out of the reflection you started getting restless and I knew again that I had to be more stealthy. You were growing more and more every day. I couldn't afford to break my promise to your father, which is why I had to step back further.
I broke the rules many time to protect you. That promise to your father was everything to me. I remember when you were three and had mastered walking. You were a regular little scout. Haha. You could never keep still. Those little legs opened up a whole other world to you and you weren't shy at all about exploring it. One day you were with your mother in the market and a lady with a shiny purse caught your eye.
You went running after her. This other woman was running with her trolley in front of her, coming the other way, and didn't spot you. Because you were running after the purse, you didn't spot her either. Breaking the rules wasn't allowed, but allowing you to get hurt wasn't allowed either. When you noticed her, it was too late. You fell on your ass before you could scamper out of her way. Not having any other option, I sent that trolley flying into the side of a freezer. As it crashed, that woman screamed bloody murder. "A-A-A MAN IN A UNIFORM!"
You giggled as the crowd gathered and your mother came running. When she found you at that scene, you were safe and sound. You pointed to the trolley that had smashed the window to the freezer and you know what you said? "Love mommy." Though I had to hide myself and was shamed for creating such a scene out in the open, I was laughing too.
As you grew and became more aware, so did I. I knew when I could and couldn't intervene. Doing too much would hurt the both of us, so I picked my moments. You were a smart kid just like your father and most of the time knew how to handle any and every situation. If there was an option, you took it.
Though I slipped up a few times while you were growing up, I think I did well to keep an eye on you. It was just little things to make your life a little easier, things you probably won't remember: putting your piano music sheets in your bag at night, turning off your television when you fell asleep, pulling the sheets over you on the colder nights, sorting your drawers, setting your alarm clock, closing your window and door, etc...
You caught me doing one or two of these things a few times and I want to take the time toapologize for scaring you. This one time, you were doing your homework at your desk and fell asleep, so I filled in all the answers for your math quiz. You made such a fuss to your mother about how strict the teacher was about homework and I knew you knew the answers anyway, but you suspected more than ever when you woke up and found that half a sheet you left was done.
You were older and forgotten that we were friends. Things you saw in the media about ghosts scared you and had every right to be scared. I just want to say I'm sorry. I never meant to make you cry. If only I had taken a little extra care, you'd never have known. I just wanted to keep you safe and happy.
As you matured, you began to take form as a young lady. As such, you began to know the evil of men. Though you had your wits about you, you were always taking stupid risks. Watching over you became a little more of a worry for me and I had to expose myself more and more.
Most notably was that night when that no good boy you brought home started putting the moves on you when your mother went to work. He was only after one thing and, although I knew it wasn't my place to choose for you, you were still only a baby girl, just fifteen years old. As he got on top of you and started undressing you, took his top off and began saying those sweet nothings...your face said it all. You were scared. When you told him to stop, he wouldn't. When you tried to push him off, he got angry, struck you, and tried to put his hand up your skirt. All the evil I kept inside of me came out at that moment and it was something I couldn't control.
My temper and rage boiled over as I began to growl. The lights started flickering. The TV volume began to rise. The doors and windows bashed. The keys on your piano began to rattle. With your father's roar, I yelled, "GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE, BOY!!!" As he ran out of the room, you tried to follow, but I slammed the door in your face and wouldn't let the handle go until your mother pulled up in the driveway. I'm so sorry that whole thing traumatized you for a while. You became more frightened of me than ever, having such an experience. I knew from then on, despite how much I loved you, we could never be friends. Not after what I'd done.
Some nights, you used to sit awake to watch for me. I'd have to sit in the darkest corner, looking right back at you, unable to reassue you that I wasn't here to cause you harm. You used to scream "I HATE YOU! GET OUT! LEAVE ME ALONE!" Just as you used to do as a toddler, you threw things into my corner. Instead of toys for me to play with, this time it was heavy books, cd cases, and just about anything else you could get your hands on to get me to move. You used to sit in your bed watching that corner. I always felt terrible about what I did. I'd almost broken that promise to your father. More importantly, I'd almost broken my personal promise I'd made to you, too.
It was like that until the night you tried to make peace with me. That night, you sat in your bed and said "If you're here, I'm sorry. You were only trying to stop him." I wanted to say something, but I couldn't, even as you shuffled around nervously. "You're here, right? Could you show me a sign?" I wanted so badly to give you something, anything to show you I was there and heard that, but I kept silent and just nodded. I feared you would lose it if I gave you a sign. You have to know, I was never mad at you. You were just a girl and that little prick tipped me over the edge. Promise me you'll never do anything like that again, okay?
It's your eighteenth birthday today, which is why I'm writing this to you. I want to wish you a happy birthday. I'm sure your dad's getting sick of keeping that bar stool open for me, though. Live a good life and try not to forget about me. Know you turned out great. Your father would be so proud of you.
This letter is my present to you. Don't you worry about the spooky corner anymore. My last order is complete. I don't know about you, but I think this trooper deserves a drink; you were such a handful. Haha!
If you find this one day, try calling out to me.
Take care, be safe, and live a happy life.
Lt. Anthony Gilchrist.
PS. If you call out my name, call out what you used to call me as a kid. That always got me to come running.
I was gobsmacked when I read this letter; everything made so much sense now. All the things that happened when I was growing up...I always thought I was seeing things until the day my boyfriend at the time almost raped me. I'll be the first to admit I was scared of him. I didn't understand what he was, why he was there, or what he was after, but I got it all wrong.
A few days after reading, I asked my mom a few questions about the spooky things that happened when I was growing up. She was very nonchalant about it until I mentioned what happened in the market. She stopped cleaning, set down her cloth, turned to me, and smiled. She said, "You always had a guardian angel watching over you, honey. I don't know if it was your father or not, but who or whatever it was made sure nothing bad happened to you." She turned around and began cleaning the dishes again before asking, "So I guess you met it then, right? Your spirit friend."
"Not exactly." I replied. "He left something for me." I went upstairs, brought the laptop down, and showed her the letter. My mother was crying by the time she finished. Afterward, she told me about my dad's friend.
"He was a kind boy. Marc brought him home once to meet me and he had a certain air about him. He was as loyal as a dog to your father. He had a love and respect for him that even I was intimidated by at times. When he came to our home on leave, Marcus had to practically order him to make himself at home. He eve had to be asked to take his uniform off. He looked up to Marcus almost like a boy looks up to his father. I don't really know his background, but I remember your father telling me he was a good drinking partner, a fine soldier, and an invaluable friend."
She took a deep breath and choked back a few of her tears before telling me the next part.
"They found that poor boy and Marcus all alone in a building that had been overrun by their enemy. They were out on recon and their team got separated when they came under fire. The rest of the boys in your father's team survived, but those two weren't so lucky. The way they found them was peculiar." As she choked back tears, she looked me right in the eye and continued. "That boy was found right on top of your father, riddled with bullets. He was shielding him right up until the moment he died. He could have gotten away, but he refused to leave your injured father's side."
With that, we both burst into tears. Love. That's exactly what he was. He was a guardian. I had no reason to be afraid of him. I'd have given anything just to tell him I was sorry and I loved him back. I had no right, with all the terrible things I did to him at the end. I realized that he loved my father so much, not even death could keep him from the promise he mentioned in the letter. When I asked what the promise was, my mother looked at me with tears in her eyes. "It was made in this very house while they were setting up your room. It was simply: 'No matter what happens, promise me you’ll watch over my daughter.'"