Restless Leg Syndrome is a spooky ghost story about an old man who has a pain in his leg that just won’t go away. One night, he finally tells his grandson the chilling truth behind his ailment.
My grandfather suffered from restless leg syndrome. At least, that’s what he told me for years. He rarely got a good night’s sleep. His leg hurt too much and he had to keep getting up and walking around to dull the pain.
My Grandmother said he had the condition ever since he came back from the war. The day he returned, she was there at the train station to greet him. He limped down the platform, and fell into her welcoming arms. She said he had always refused to use a cane or a crutch, no matter how much he struggled with walking.
One dark and stormy night, Grandad was limping down the hallway, on his way to bed. I was walking behind him to make sure he didn’t fall over. Just then, there was a flash of lightning. That was the first time I saw it. I thought I caught a glimpse of something wrapped around his leg.
“What was that?” I asked in alarm.
“When he got to the bedroom and turned on the light, I could see there was nothing there.
“What was that on your leg?” I asked again. “I thought I saw something… just for a split second… something strange… What was it?”
“I guess it’s time I told you,” said my Grandfather as he lay down on the bed. “It’s not Restless leg Syndrome. It happened during the war. In 1942, I was stationed in New Guinea. I saw terrible things… horrible things… the kind of things that would make you sick to your stomach. Most people who have been to war try to forget… You try to push it to the back of your mind… You try not to think about it… I have tried to forget… but it never lets me. Not even for one day. I am cursed, you see… cursed to carry it around for the rest of my life as a reminder.”
“When we landed in New Guinea, we were all fresh-faced and inexperienced. We had no idea what lay in store for us. We set up camp on the island’s Southern coast and some of the local people – Papuans, they called them – were helping us out with supplies. There was a little Papuan boy who used to hang around our camp. He couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6. I can’t even remember his name.”
“The only words he knew in English were Yes and No. I guess he was impressed by all the soldiers in uniform. He would run around trying to get all the fellows to play games with him. With the Japanese soldiers still nearby, it was very dangerous there for him, so we tried to scare him off. No matter what we did, the little fellow just kept coming back.”
“One night, the Japanese attacked us. We were outnumbered and they damn near overran our position. I awoke to the sound of yelling and screaming outside my tent. It was chaos. Shots were being fired left and right. It was close-quarters combat. I was terrified. I stumbled out of my bunk, grabbed my gun and rushed to join the fighting.”
“In the darkness, I felt something wrap itself around my leg. I didn’t know what it was. All I knew was that I had to get out to my position as fast as I could. My buddies needed me. Whatever it was, it had me in its clutches. I could barely move my leg. It was almost pitch black and I was desperately trying to free myself. I swung my rifle butt down viciously in an effort to break its grip.”
“Suddenly, there was a flash of lightning and it illuminated the tent for a split second. I looked down and I saw his scared eyes looking up at me. Blood was running down his face. I had bashed his head in. Out of fear, the little Papuan boy had run into my tent and grabbed onto my leg. I saw his eyes slowly roll back into his head as he breathed his last… but he didn’t let go… He never let go… He will never let go…”