It was October 17, 2003. My 13th birthday was Saturday the 18th, and some friends and I were going to my grandma's 160-acre farm in Wheeler County, Texas to play war games for the weekend. Done with school for the week, we piled into my mom's car and headed for the farm at about 6:30 p.m. for the two-hour drive. Six of us all had our clothes, paintball guns and other gear cramped into the white Voyager.
We arrived at about 8:30, found our designated rooms and unpacked. The farm house is a small three-bedroom stucco structure. Behind it is a chicken coop, barn and sheep barn. There was no livestock, except for a few cows. And there were no crops whatsoever. The land was hilly and most of it was covered by trees. That night went on without incident.
In the morning, we all got ready to play war games. We had harmless guns of various kinds: paintball, play, air soft and bb guns. Only I had a real .22 rifle, which was not loaded. One of my friends from church and I were on a team (Team 1), my other friend from church and my best friend's brother were on another (Team 2), and my cousin, my best friend and my mom were Team 3. My team, Team 1, went out first. We went down the hill into the shelter belt that went across the property. As we entered the shelter belt, the other teams left together, which really aggravated me.
The Figures in Black
We went up on a hill that lay behind the shelter belt and on the north side of the pond, which also lay on the other side of the shelter belt. The grass was about three feet tall and could easily conceal us. My friend hid behind a tree, not being very brave. I was in the tall grass, crouched, waiting for anyone to come by. For about five minutes nothing happened.
Suddenly, there was a whistle to our right, where the trees went all the way to the end of the property. We all had whistles in case we got lost. My mom and I were the only ones who knew our way around, but we had whistles just in case. In front of us was the pond and open fields. How the other team got past us, I do not know.
Several minutes later, I was looking out into the fields. From my left, at the bottom of the hill, for adult-sized "people" walked in a single-file line around the bottom of the hill and into the trees to our right. They were all "dressed" in black, from head to toe. My friend, cowering in the trees behind me, didn't see them.
I don't know what I was thinking, but for some reason I thought they were the other two teams teaming up on us to find us, even though I knew none of them were wearing black and my mom was the only adult. Besides, one team was already to our right and there were only seven of us there. As these figures were passing, the one in the lead looked up in my direction, even though I was concealed in the grass. It was as if he smelled me. But they kept on walking into the trees.
Suddenly, we heard "BANG! BANG! You're dead!" It was my cousin confirming that we'd been "shot." We walked back to the house in defeat to wait for the others.
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