Beverly French stepped outside her home November 25, 2008, dragging a box of Christmas lights she and her husband Bill would soon string across the eaves. Bill had taken his box of lights out back.
The French’s had lived in their home, along a cul-de-sac on the outskirts of a small, Northern California town, about 40 years, and owned a general store/gas station in this town of about 2,000 people.
The day, two days before Thanksgiving, was peaceful. That peace did not last.
“I was sitting on the porch with a box of lights at my feet when I heard someone call out to me,” Beverly said.
“Do you need any help?” the voice asked.
Beverly looked up from untangling strings of lights to find two children on the sidewalk in front of her house. She hadn’t noticed them approach, which was unlikely on this quiet dirt road, engine noise and a cloud of dust advertising visitors. What struck her as even more odd, she didn’t know them.
“Our neighbors, all six of them, were good friends of ours and we all looked out for one another,” she said. “Point being, not a single car, person, bike or bird came through that neighborhood that we all didn’t know about.”
One child, a tall girl of about sixteen, was dressed unlike a teenager. She wore slacks, an argyle sweater, overcoat and pearls, with her nearly white hair pulled back from her face. The boy, about ten, had thick, dark hair. He held the girl’s hand.
“She was the one who spoke to me and as I stared, not responding, she spoke again,” Beverly said.
“It looks like you have a lot of work to do,” the girl said, staring unblinking into Beverly’s eyes. “We would like to help you.”
The girl’s voice was confident, polished, “like a radio show host.” This wasn’t the voice of a teenager. A shock of fear ran through Beverly.
“I just felt afraid,” Beverly said. “I had no idea why but these kids unnerved me unlike anything else. I’ve been robbed at gunpoint and even that didn’t make me as quaky as these kids.”
It was the eyes.
“It was something about the way she looked at me,” Beverly said. “It took me a few months after the incident to place where I’d seen that look before but I remembered while watching TV one day. It was the way I see sharks look at their prey. No emotion in their eyes, no motivation beyond hunger, just this cold deadness.”
Beverly knew she had to make these children leave.
“No thanks, you all should run along, I’m fine here,” she said. Then the girl smiled and Beverly thought she might die.
“Beverly, we want to help you. It looks like you have a lot of work to do and you need some help with it,” the girl said.
Owning one of the ten businesses in this small town, Beverly was used to hearing her name come out of all sorts of mouths, but not like this.
“It was creepy as all get out hearing her address me like that,” she said.
“Do I know your parents?” Beverly asked her.
The girl ignored the question. “You should let us help you,” she insisted.
Beverly nearly screamed for her husband who worked on the other side of the house, but something inside her didn’t want these children to know she was terrified.
“I’m fine,” Beverly told her. “Your parents wouldn’t like you being all the way out here. It’s getting dark. You go on home.”
Then the expression on the boy, the quiet, quiet boy, changed. He looked directly at Beverly and smiled.
“It was kind of dazzling, like he was really happy,” Beverly said. “He didn’t say anything to me, he just kept smiling while they both stared through me.”
“I felt my hands start to shake,” Beverly said. “He was aggressively chewing on his lower lip.”
After what may have been a few minutes or a few seconds, the girl shrugged and led the boy away. When they disappeared down the street, Beverly dropped to the porch, tears welling in her eyes. The garage door opened, and Bill walked up to her; he was upset as well.
“What’s the matter?” Beverly asked.
“I was working out back and this real tall, black-haired girl comes around the gate and asks me if I need any help,” Bill said.
At first, he thought she may be selling magazines, but she looked too old for that.
“I told her that I was fine and asked what she needed. She told me she needed to help me,” Bill said. “Beverly, I tell you, something about her gave me the creeps. She kept staring at me like she wanted me to do something. I told her to leave and she went out the back gate into the alley.”
Beverly told Bill her story, and they realized these frightening children had no transportation – they had to still be in the neighborhood.
“I hadn’t heard a car or bike,” Beverly said. “How did they get down the road? Walking? No one would come out to our property by foot. It’s just too far off the highway and nothing else is in walking distance.”
They locked their house and got into their car to try and find the threatening strangers, but the children were gone.
“Bill and I drove the road between our cul-de-sac and the main highway four times,” Beverly said. “We even drove up and down the highway for a couple of miles in each direction. We saw no trace of them. At the time, I honestly thought that maybe they were casing houses.”
When the French’s returned home, they reported their encounters to the police, and told their neighbors. Beverly thought this was the last she would see of these strange children, but three days later they came back.
Beverly had just come home from the grocery store and while pulling bags from her car, someone said her name.
“I turned around to see the same two kids as before plus another girl, who I assumed was the one who had spoken with Bill,” she said.
The blonde girl and dark-haired boy wore the same clothes. The new girl, taller than the first, looked to be in her early 20s, her short black hair framing a strikingly pretty face. The young, dark-haired woman stood at the end of Beverly’s drive; the others remained further back.
“Can I help you carry those?” the young woman asked.
This new girl unnerved Beverly more than the younger children.
“This girl had a confidence that I could not believe. It absolutely oozed from her,” Beverly said. “It was like she was laughing at me or superior to me.”
“No thanks,” Beverly said. “Are you all Mormons? If so, I already have a stack of pamphlets in my recycle bin. No use for any more.”
The young woman smiled.
“No, Beverly, we just want to help you,” she said, then held out her hand like she wanted Beverly to shake it. Beverly didn’t move.
“I could see that she was visibly annoyed with that,” Beverly said.
Beverly put her grocery bags on the hood of the car, reached in and triggered the garage door opener, never taking her eyes off these terrifying children.
“I don’t need any help,” she said to them. “I told your two friends that I’m just fine. If you’re looking for a job, try the help wanted pages. You all should run along home.”
Beverly shut her car door, picked up the groceries and began backing into the garage when she noticed something that froze her soul.
“I glanced over at the boy, who was staring at me intently,” she said. “This is when I began to realize there was something else going on. I tell you, this kid’s eyes were solid black. They were the color of asphalt and had no shine to them at all. I felt angry at myself for being afraid and angry at my inability to understand what was going on. I stared at that little boy’s black eyes and wondered how much was going on in the universe that I didn’t know about.”
Beverly knew she was in danger. Maybe the young woman felt the fear inside Beverly; she took a few bold steps forward. As this eerie woman stepped closer, the urge to sit rushed through Beverly, “like suddenly I had no energy.”
Drawing as much strength as she could find, Beverly remained on her feet. The young woman didn’t move closer, but when Beverly looked back at the blonde girl, the child’s eyes, like the boy’s, had darkened into dull black voids.
“Although I was quite unnerved, I will admit that I wondered if they had put in contact lenses or were playing some kind of a trick on me,” Beverly said. “I hadn’t yet given in to thinking this was a paranormal experience. I did think that I was potentially the victim of a clever robbery, although they made no motions to take anything from me.”
“I want you to leave,” Beverly said to the young woman and the two monstrous children. “I want you to leave and I never want you to come back. I want you to get off my property or I’m going to call the police again.”
The young woman smiled again, sending more chills through Beverly. This person’s eyes weren’t black like the children, they were an icy blue.
“She nodded like she thought what I said was cute, the way you nod at a child telling a story,” Beverly said. “I am not a violent woman but I felt this rush of hatred toward her and, I’ll admit, I toyed with the idea of attacking her.”
As this ran through Beverly’s mind, the young woman slowly shook her head, like she could hear Beverly’s thoughts.
“You don’t want to do that, Beverly. You should really think first,” the ominous young woman said. “Some people don’t realize that other people are just trying to help them. It makes me really sad that these people who refuse help have no idea what they’re missing. You’re going to regret this.”
The woman stared deeply into Beverly’s eyes for an uncomfortably long time. Then she turned and walked down the gravel road toward the highway, the two children close behind her. When the three were out of sight, Beverly bolted inside the house, locked the doors, and called the police.
“I didn’t really know what to say, except that I thought a group of kids was casing houses,” she said. “I had no proof of this and although the officer I spoke with was very polite, I could tell that nothing more would come of it. I didn’t mention the black eyes.”
Beverly never saw those children again, but they weren’t through with her.
“Later that afternoon I began to feel ill,” she said. “I had a horrible migraine and spent the day in bed.”
Her sleep was wracked by dreams of those children with their dead, black eyes.
“I wrote this all off as stress but I was still sick the next day – and the next,” she said. “I figured I just had the flu or a cold, but my dreams were getting really intense. I even started to imagine I was seeing the two kids wherever I went.”
Nausea, fever, and rashes plagued Beverly for two weeks. Fear gripped her tightly, and she refused to leave the house without Bill or a neighbor accompanying her.
“I hated the idea of pulling up to my driveway and seeing those kids again,” she said. “I did eventually get well but I never forgot my meeting with these people. I continued to have vivid, frightening dreams for close to six months.”
Bill and Beverly eventually sold their house and moved to a larger town, but the memories of the wicked children followed them.
“I was relieved to not have to look at my home and remember my experience with those kids,” she said. “I have no idea to this day what they were or what they wanted.”