I remember this account of my life, because I was an especially terrible child during this time. It was a brisk, paltry fall in 1988. I was nine years old. A couple of friends, my two brothers, my sister and I were all heading north along a river in Chicago. We weren’t in a boat or anything; we were walking right along the banks. The banks were filled with trees, shrubs and tall grass, and on top of that, the bank was on a slope. It was a bit difficult to navigate ourselves, but we just had to do it. What were we up to? Well we had heard stories that in this particular area of the river, there were Satanic worshippers who sacrificed women to Lucifer, the Devil. As we go north, on this bank along this river, I will be anxious to reveal our exploits along this path, the “devil’s rock”, and our, almost, disastrous escape.
The morning started just as any other. I would wake to a bowl of cereal and then make a dashing escape out of the house to meet a friend. My friend’s and I all lived on the same block. Anything we had going on involved one of us. We were a very tight pack and never let anyone get in with the group without some sort of initiation. On this particular day, in the late September month, we had decided today that we were going to finally find out whether the stories were really true. The weather was perfect, not a cloud in sight. When all of us finally got together, we began our trip to the river.
Getting to the river was not a very long or hard task. We lived relatively close, to say the least; it was about five blocks from our houses. It was a little strange while we were traveling to the river, because as time went by, the clouds started coming in. By the time we made it to the river, it was no longer a beautiful, bright sunny day, it was now a cool, colorless day. How could the weather change in such a short amount of time? Good question! When you are young and walking with a bunch of friend’s, you tend to talk fast and walk very, very slow. I believe it must have taken us anywhere between twenty minutes to an hour to get to our destination.
When we finally arrived we all agreed to stay together no matter what happened. This is easier said then done, as you will see. We began our endeavor by engaging ourselves into the thicket of the river bank. This was somewhat of an arduous task. To begin our descent onto the bank, we had to grasp hand-to-hand, in order, to bring each other down in a slow enough manner so that we might not fall into the river. In the process of doing so, my sister was the unfortunate one to have been burdened with an oversized appetite. She plummeted down the slope of the bank and was barely salvaged by one of my brothers’ at the other end. To some degree, we could see that we were in over our head, but like any young adolescent, we pushed ahead.
It was petrifying when we finally managed to arrive to the rock that many referred to as “the devil’s rock”. As we gazed upon this huge slab of stone, which was conveniently shaped in a circle and rose just over the edge of the river bank, we noticed a few red candles that looked as if they were recently used. We, also, could make out a faded painting of a pentagram on the rock. The candles were only located on the five points of the pentagram. This gave us the impression that the stories had indeed been true. The very last thing we spotted as we came closer to the “rock” was what appeared to be remnants of old blood. After this we definitely knew we were in over our heads. We decided we had had enough and that it was time to head back home. In order for us to get back home, we would need to travel further north past an underpass, and there we would be able to climb out from where we were.
When we arrived at the underpass we noticed a stairwell that went further down and under the underpass. Coincidentally, someone had a flashlight, so we flashed the light down the stairwell to see what was down there. Now I don’t know about you, but I was always scared of situations like this. I grew up, along with my friends’, watching movies such as “The Nightmare on Elm Street”, “Dolls”, and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. I didn’t know what the hell was down there and I was not very eager to find out. As the light shined down the stairwell, we could make out a door. One of my friends’, with all his benevolent wisdom, decided that maybe shouting down the stairwell would be better. After he was subdued, we shut the flashlight and gazed down the stairwell. We had hoped that no one was down there and that that “nobody” heard nothing. Unfortunately, we were wrong.
The door opened slightly and a mellow, orange light made its’ way into the stairwell. For a moment we heard rock music, but then silence. We dashed out of sight and waited to see what may happen next. We were all very much terrified, and we thought we were either imposing on something secretive, something dangerous, or that our lives were about to come to an end. You get one of those feelings in a situation like this. Nothing happened for about ten minutes, and then we heard someone talking, and then more silence. After about another five minutes, the music came on again. We came out of the brush and slowly made our way to the stairwell once more. This time the door was open and the music could be easily heard.
When you are young, you tend to do the stupidest things and think it was a wise decision. I picked up a rock and decided to throw it down the stairwell and wait to see who was down there. When everyone in the group realized what I had just done, they braced for the resolution. The music stopped and immediately someone in a black outfit, that resembled that which a biker would wear, appeared and was none to pleased. We immediately ran off together to get out of the area. When we finally realized that there was no one giving us chase, we stopped.
As we were walking and reminiscing of our adventure, we walked right into another person. He was wearing an outfit that looked similar to that of the other man who was in the stairwell. We could see patches of devil insignia’s and devils and, also a big patch of the number 666 on his back. He asked us in a very discerning way what we were doing there and we told him we were minding our own business and that he should do the same. We thought that the whole lot of us would have no trouble taking him on; if that was what he were thinking. He answered us back again and we decided it best to get out of there. When we were a comfortable distance from him, one of my friends called for the man. He turned and my friend gave him the “birdie”. This enraged the man, who gave us chase. By this time, we were already close to the exit. As we all exited the river bank, the man stopped and answered us with tasteless, offensive words.
While walking and reminiscing, we were puzzled as to where our next day would lead us. By this time, it was already around five o’clock and we were restless. We had had enough fun for one day and we would retreat to our homes until the next adventure, or misadventure, was planned.