By Phanat Xiong | HmongTales Staff

When I was still young, around 5 or 6 years old, my father would take my siblings and me to one of the local parks once a week.

While we were at the park, my father and his friends would play soccer in the field, my siblings and I, along with the other kids, would play at the playground.

Near the playground was a forested area with many wild blackberry bushes. The wild berries will ripen every summer, and my siblings, the other kids, and I would go into the forest and collect them to eat.

Because this area was forested, my father warned my brothers and me not to venture too deep in fear that we may get lost.

One summer day, while at the park, I followed three kids, probably a few years older than me, into the forest to collect and eat some wild blackberries.

A few minutes after entering the forest, the kids were so fast that I lost track of them and ended up alone. But, even though I lost them, I wasn’t scared because I knew I was only a few minutes away from the playground, and I felt pretty good about finding my way back.

I decided to stop where I was standing and waited to see if the older kids would return. While waiting, I noticed a bunch of wild blackberry bushes not too far from me and decided to walk over to pick some.

I was so focused on picking the blackberry I didn’t realize I had wandered some distance from where I had started.

After realizing this, I tried to backtrack to where I had started, but nothing looked familiar.

I knew I was a bit lost, but I wasn’t concerned about it for some strange reason. So instead, I focused on looking for the biggest blackberry to pick.

As I was making my way around the blackberry bushes, I saw a colossal size blackberry, larger than the ones I had been picking, and made multiple attempts to grab it. But unfortunately, my arms were too short, and I gave up after getting pricked by the thorns a few times.

Disappointed, I stopped and started to eat the blackberries I had in my hand. As I was eating, I heard someone behind me and thought it was one of the kids. But instead, when I turned around, I saw an old lady standing behind me.

Upon seeing her, my first thoughts were, “Wow, this old lady is so short; she’s only as tall as me.” She had long black fuzzy hair that covered her whole face. She was wearing a dirty black dress that was too big for her. It looked like an old dress because the color was starting to turn shades of grey, like it had been in the sun for too long.

To my surprise, she had a hand full of giant blackberries, like the one I was trying to pick just a moment ago. She offered them to me, so I picked one from her hand and ate it. It was delicious.

Just as I was about to grab another one, I heard the other kids I’d lost earlier talking loudly from a distance. For a brief second, I turned around and looked in the direction where their voices were coming from, hoping I could spot them, but I couldn’t. Then, when I turned back to face the old lady, she was gone. It was as if she had vanished into thin air.

The kids eventually came in my direction and found me. When they saw me, they asked me where I’d been. I told them I got lost following them because they were too fast for me. One of the kids told me they’d been searching for me for about thirty minutes and became worried because I was nowhere to be found.

After hearing that, I told them my story about how I’ve been in the same area this whole time. One of the boys asked me if I was scared of being left alone. I replied that I wasn’t afraid and that they didn’t have to worry because there was an old lady with me. One of the kids asked me where she was, and I told them what had happened.

After hearing my story, they all freaked out and started running back to the playground. I didn’t know what was happening, so I ran as fast as possible and followed them.

I’m not sure what happened that day, but I started to sense and notice unnatural things after that incident. It was as if my soul became sensitive to the supernatural world, and I would perceive and envision things I wished not to. Sometimes these visions become so intense that they feel real, and it would scare the living hell out of me. They’re like random videos playing in my head. As if I was watching and standing in front of the scene. Not only can I see them, but I feel all the emotions attached to them. I can feel sadness, bitterness, happiness, fear, resentment, hatred, and so much more.

I’ve been questioning myself for years on how this came to be and always wondered, was it because I ate that blackberry from her hand? What was supposed to happen on that day? Let me know what you think.

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