ME : The First Letter
“A story is only a story when you don’t believe.”
My name is Austyn. This is my story. I was born on July 19, 1985, in the quiet little town of Goddard, Kansas, thirty miles from the air capital of the world; Wichita, Kansas. During my birth, something extraordinary occurred: My heart stopped. For approximately thirty minutes I ceased to live, before I even began my life. Miraculously, the doctors were able to restart my heart, bringing me back to the world of the living, so that I could live a normal life. Everyone had become hysterical, thinking their baby would never breathe a breath… If only they knew their baby would live more than most people ever could.
Now, I can’t recall the occurrences that happened while I was a mere toddler, but my parents and relatives have told me stories. Stories that, if I wasn’t me, I wouldn’t believe. My mother had always told me that I was a normal baby. However, she also said her friends would often feel weird when around my crib. At times, they would feel as though they were freezing, and at other times, they would swear a fire was raging within the room. The only explanation I can think of for the intense temperature around my crib is that perhaps it was an effect of my evolving that was brought on by the stopping of my heart for such an extended amount of time. The initial effects that began the true forming of me.
My father had told me that the extreme temperatures continued all throughout the first year of my life, but on my very first birthday it ceased. That day was a fairly normal day, except for the moon. The moon that sat positioned in the night sky that night was a full moon. That night’s moon was forecasted to only be a quarter. He told me the reason I have never read of the unscheduled full moon is because it was kept out of the news to prevent uproar.
My mother has also recounted my first birthday. She said I cried for two days straight before my birthday. And that year, aside from the moon, even more extraordinary things happened. And I couldn’t possibly have been the instrument for these occurrences. One night, lightning was reported to have TRIPLE struck three houses in nearby towns. Every third Wednesday of every month a fire would reportedly start with no explanation of why or how. It was mainly houses that would catch fire, but on some days, there were fires in the middle of the highway.
My grandparents had once told me that when I turned the age of two, it seemed my evolving or forming, or whatever was happening to me, had completely stopped. They didn’t say those words exactly, but they said the weird occurrences seemed to stop two years after I was born.
It wasn’t until I turned six that new changes began. I had moved to a new city, Pratt, KS, where I had begun going to school. I don’t know if it was the stress of moving to a new house or possibly the change in environment (I had never been around so many kids) but whatever the cause, my evolution reignited.
I have been told from the young age of two to the still young age of six that I lived a normal life. However, I still have flashes of memories in my mind of my young childhood. I recall falling off the jungle gym and swings constantly, but when I would bring this up to my mom, she would always say that she never had to doctor me.
“How can a child go through life without having to face hydro-peroxide?” My dad would always ask. Many of my relatives simply believed I was extremely cautious or just a quick healer.
As far as anyone can remember, apart from never seeming to get injured, nothing truly extraordinary occurred during my early childhood.
Age seven is a different story. During this year, I would sleep, and when I awoke, minor things had been moved around my room. Perhaps this was another side effect or result of my forming? As a child, I dismissed this by believing I was just forgetful. After a while, I began to think the bogeyman was rearranging my room.
I didn’t know any better. I was just a little kid who thought the bogeyman existed. Even as a grown man, I stand by the reasoning that the only reason we are told things do not exist is to keep us from looking. I have never set limits to my mind. I do not believe that all we see is all that is present.
The rooms weren’t the only things rearranging in my seventh year of life. I was also plagued with bad dreams. Almost every night I had a nightmare, sometimes so bad that I would wake up sweating. In these night terrors, I can remember falling and running from something unknown. I can’t recall anything else inside my night terrors, except that there was often a faint figure of a monster behind me, unlike anything I had ever seen on television. Perhaps it was a figment of my imagination. Or maybe it was truly something I should fear.
After age seven, my nightmares reached equilibrium alongside pleasant dreams. But a year later, in 1994, my night terrors became more extreme. These terrors scared me and scarred me. To this day, I still remember two of the nightmares more vividly than anything else I have ever witnessed in life.
I dreamed both of these dreams only once. In one nightmare, for some reason, my mom and older brother are in my room standing by the chimney. Then, suddenly, without warning, my brother starts to float up and my mother screams my name at the top of her lungs: “AUSTYN!!!!” I am downstairs eating, but when I hear her yell, I feel a shiver and the hair on my arms stand up. The rest of the dream is lost to me.
The second dream takes place in my room as well. From what I can remember, I am sleeping and when I wake up, I see my grandmother, or what I think is my grandmother, sitting at the corner of my bed. But just as quickly as my brother floated, my grandmother scurries off my bed and into my dresser cupboard, and then vanishes. She looked like herself at first glance, but also resembled and moved like a reptile.
I had never seen the movie The Exorcist back then, so my dream couldn’t have been reenacting the movie. To this day, I can remember her staring back at me just before she vanished within the cupboard. An expression of pure evil and empty eyes that still sends my spine tingling when I picture this reptilian version of my grandmother.
I had other night terrors when I was eight, but I can’t recall the details of them. They were most likely the same as when I was seven; repeated nightmares of falling and running.
As I got older, my dreaming changed. I began to have real dreams in which I could swear I was awake. In one dream in particular, that I had dreamed several times in several different variations and scenarios, I would always be searching for money or finding money. However, once I awoke, I would find that it was all a dream, and I never had the money in the first place.
In another dream, on a night where I had to sleep in the guestroom for some reason, I awake to see the tooth fairy. She stands at the foot of my sleeping bag in her ridiculous sequin, medieval, royal clothing the tooth fairy is perceived to wear. She tells me to go back to sleep, and that’s all that happened in that dream. Next to the night terrors, this kind of dream, where I awake in the middle of the night within my dream, scares me the most. I remember waking up that morning to find that an inn table had fallen on my legs while I was sleeping, along with the lamp that sat on it, but I was fine.
There wasn’t a scratch on me, and I didn’t feel bruised at all. This is quite a change from an accident that happened only a year prior. My family and I were at a mall, and I ran face first into a wide cylindrical column. I cried for hours. For the longest time, I figured I was just getting stronger. If only I knew how strong.