Thursday, October 30, 2014

2 Days to Halloween: Reality Can Be Pretty Scary



It's Thursday, and Halloween is tomorrow - do you count that as day 1? We've been having a debate about it. Seems like the sort of thing you'd want to mention on the first day of a series, eh? Just to clarify, these meanderings are not the scary part (ha ha).

Today's scary post is based on reality. A few weeks ago, Stephanie Faris (most excellent Tween author, plug, plug) ended her post with the question:  "What is the scariest true story you've ever heard?" and I posted my own scary story - something that actually happened to me. One of my readers thought I should add it to the lists of scary things leading up to Halloween. I aim to please.

It's not exactly a ghost story, as you might expect, but it did haunt me for a very long time. 

When I was about sixteen I was walking to a friend's house on one of the main roads in my home town when a car pulled up and asked if I needed a ride. Never, ever would I consider such a thing, even though this guy appear normal initially. He was wearing a white dress shirt and I could see he has a light colored coat on, like a trench coat - only it was really wrinkled, like it had been pulled out of the laundry basket. Of course, I declined the offer and barely slowed the pace of my gait; in fact, I started walking a little faster. Looking around me, I wished someone was nearby but I was on a part of the street that had several businesses that closed at five and it was already dark. 

Then he parked the car and got out, still talking, "Hey, what's wrong, I just wanted to give you a ride." That marked the beginning of the scary part; I couldn't imagine why he got out of the car. I looked over my shoulder and realized he was walking very quickly towards me. 

Frantically, I ran and looked for some place to hide - I was afraid I couldn't outrun him. This incident happened to occur right in front of a garden/plant nursery business that had a pretty big lot. Piles of bagged mulch and seed lay all around on pallets. The biggest maze of pallets, however, consisted of some baled straw stacked high. Weaving in between the stacks, I found a dark corner to crouch down and hide. He followed me, but didn't see where I went after I ducked behind the first stack. For several minutes, I could see him under the security lights, looking for me and cursing under his breath. It was the most vile, nasty language. He was so angry; he was stomping and looking all around. He sounded like evil personified, and that face was burned in my brain. Pure fear can do that, I believe; it can imprint a powerful image till you can't forget it - even if you wanted to do so. 

As I hid, thoughts raced through my head so fast that I felt like I had lost the ability to comprehend. What in the world was this guy thinking? What was his plan, had I said yes to his offer of a ride? How long is he going to keep looking for me?

I understand what they mean when they say "an eternity passed." In reality, it was probably ten minutes - but I remember each second so vividly. He finally left and by that time my whole body was shaking and I felt like I couldn't breath. I stayed in place for a while longer because I thought I saw his car pass by again. When I thought the time was right, I ran in the opposite direction, constantly looking all around me.

Two years later, I saw that same face on television when they caught a known serial killer. I knew that face with absolute certainty; I'd seen it many nights in my sleep.

They said all his victims had the same look - it was exactly how I looked, too. Same color of hair, same basic style. 

I dreamed about him coming back until he was executed.

As I typed this out tonight, my hands began to shake again and I felt like my body was vibrating. Maybe I'm subconsciously trying to reject the memory. 

Reality can be pretty scary.



12 comments:

  1. Cherdo, that is terrifying. I'm grateful you were able to hide. You tell this story very well. I'm sorry you have it to tell. As far as I know, I've never been in the presence of a killer, but when we lived near Seattle, a young woman told the story of her car breaking down. It happened to be at the end of our street. An attractive young man stopped to offer her a ride. She accepted his offer and requested help transferring her little boy and his car seat to the young man's car. He suddenly decided he couldn't help her, and drove away. Later, she saw the nice young man's photo in the newspaper. His name was Ted Bundy.

    Yes, I am still up. I promise I'll go to bed now.



    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I can't point fingers - I was up at that time, too.

      There is nothing scarier than the "close call."

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  2. What a horrifying experience! You did all the right things to save yourself. Glad you did.

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  3. Nothing in my experience compares, dear Cherdo, and I also started shaking as I read your story. When I got to the part about all of your would-be assailant's victims sharing similar hair color and style, I was also reminded of Ted Bundy. Thank goodness you did the right thing and ran to a place where you could hide. Those who became victims trusted that stranger instead of their instincts.

    It makes me sad to know you went through that terrifying experience, Cherdo, and that you have that evil man's face burned into your memory. I ask that you replace that image by looking at your own face in the mirror, remembering your resourcefulness that pivotal day in your life and seeing yourself as a courageous survivor.

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    1. It only looks resourceful in the rear view mirror. At the time, it was just frantic fear.

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  4. Thank you for the mention. Yes, when you commented, your comment really hit me hard. Even if I saw a ghost, it wouldn't come close to comparing to what you went through. This is the real-life stuff that is TRUE horror. I watch a lot of Dateline/48 Hours, Investigation Discovery and stories of things like this are so scary...young women are abducted way too often and in many cases, the story started like yours but ended all too differently. I'm SO glad you thought to hide and that he didn't find you. It is funny that they all have the same look...and many of them look so normal, their victims would never suspect.

    I was watching something where a statistic flashed up that I can't recall but it was basically that after the age of 20 (or so) a woman's chance of being abducted decreases by some ridiculous percentage. Juvenile abductions by people they don't know are way higher than adult abductions and I think the number of female juvenile abductions is much higher, too. All this to say parents of teenage girls need to make them aware of the risks. I think it's ridiculous that malls and department stores make teenage workers park far, far away from the building when young female employees have been repeatedly abducted from parking lots throughout recent history.

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    1. The thing that always resonated with me about this event was the fact it could have gone the differently, and really it was just luck that it didn't. I've thought a lot about it and I think it was that I entered the middle of the back of this maze of straw bale pallets and then ran forward and got behind one of the pallets towards the front - he kept going back. Why he didn't follow, I'll never know.

      I have no way of knowing the details of this crazed guy, but I don't believe he just got bold one time. In my mind, he was comfortable with it. That tells me it had worked for him in the past. That is the scariest part of all. I'll never know what that looked like or who it impacted.

      Reality, eh?

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  5. You have a guardian angel my dear. I don't know why some are taken in such a cruel way and others are not but reading your story tells me what a survivor you are. Ted Bundy came into my head as well just because of the well dressed look and all. Regardless, you had the ability to run, hide and remain quiet and stayed there after...you knew what to do despite the major fear and danger you were going through. I had an experience of travelling home from volunteering late at night and a van following me and followed me home. The van waited for me to get out of my car, but I didn't, the van sped away only to return 1 minute later. I was honking my horn until, finally, my first husband came down fro the apartment to see what was wrong. We called police but never heard anything. This happened around the time Kristen French went missing. Very Scary but not nearly as scary as what you went through. I am glad you made it home safe and sound.

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    1. Again, those near misses! So scary! Really stays with you a long time (I'm a geezer, remember, ha ha).

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Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo