Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Guns, the Solution or the Problem?

My husband occasionally hunted and had guns in our home. I was scared of guns because I had never been taught much about them. Through the years, anytime that my husband was going to be gone overnight he would pull out a handgun and show me what to do in case I needed it for protection. I hoped that he would just hurry up and put it away, I WAS NEVER GOING TO NEED IT.As our children became teenagers, I asked my husband to place gunlocks on all of his guns. You know, with all the horror stories you hear about kids and guns. We had several arguments about the gunlocks but I finally won. The only time that the gunlocks would be off was if he was going to be gone overnight. I agreed to that.On August 2nd, 1997, my son Justin was supposed to be home at 12:00 A.M. At about 11:30, I called his phone to make sure he would be home on time because I was ready to go to bed. He was at a friend's home playing videogames and asked to stay out until 1:00 A.M. I agreed, but told him he must be home by 1:00, no later. At 12:40 A.M. I heard the doorknob jiggle.

I got up and started towards the door, thinking it was Justin. I had looked at the clock because I thought, wow he's home early. I stopped before I got to the door because I did not hear him set his alarm on his car. I heard a loud noise. My door was kicked in. I heard someone scream, "Get down Ma'am" or "Lay down Ma'am." I was so scared that all I could think was to get to the bedroom where my husband Mike was sleeping. I ran, screaming for my husband.I made it to the bedroom and tried to close and hold the door to keep the intruders out. It never closed all the way but enough so that they could not come through it. I was screaming as my husband ran over and the door broke in half over my body. I do not remember if they shot through the door before it broke or if they shot after it broke. But I know that I took a 9MM bullet to the chest. We still do not know if Mike was shot once at this time because he does not remember. Mike began pushing them out of the bedroom and I guess he was trying to push them out of our home. They were hitting him and fighting him because he was fighting for his life. I called 911 and told them our address and that we were being shot. I hung up the phone.

I could still hear them fighting in the living room. I thought about the gun that was within my reach. Thankfully the gunlock was not on the gun, since Mike had been gone overnight the night before. I grabbed the gun and did what Mike had always showed me. I cocked it and I took the safety off. I thought, if I run out and shoot, I will shoot Mike. Then I thought, if I run out and shoot over their heads, they will run and everything will be okay. I ran out and shot two bullets. They didn't run away. One of the intruders ran after me, as I ran to the bedroom for cover. I turned to fire at him, but he did not follow me into the room. I waited a few seconds to see what he was going to do. I peeked out the bedroom door and I could see his arm and the gun but he could not see me. He was waiting to shoot me again when I ran out.

What he did not know was that I could slide against the wall, run through the dining room and back into the living room. This put his back to me. I opened fire with the gun that I did not think I would ever need. I turned to look at the intruder who was still fighting with my husband, and to my horror, he placed the gun against the side of my husband and fired. I tried to fire my gun but I was out of bullets. As I turned to run, he started firing at me, and one of the many shots he fired, hit me in my chest again. I made it to safety in the bedroom. I didn't hear anything for a moment and thought that maybe they finally left. All of the sudden I heard one of them scream at my husband, "Where are the f------- keys to the truck?" Mike answered, "In the bedroom, on the gun cabinet, in my hat." At least Mike was alive. But now the intruder was heading back to the room that I was in. He paused at the door of the dark room and screamed, "Where are you?" I was about six feet in front of him but he could not see me. I did not say anything, hoping he would leave. He put the light on and stuck a shotgun to my temple. He screamed, "Where are the f------- keys to the truck?"

As I was trying to get the keys he screamed, "Have you called 911?" I lied and said no, hoping he would leave and the police would catch him outside. Where were the police? It took 14 minutes for the police to arrive. I am not holding this against the police; just pointing out that it only takes seconds to be shot and it takes minutes for the police to arrive. It is over before they can help you. The intruders were already gone. The one that I shot made it to my yard and died from the two gunshot wounds that I inflicted from the gun that I did not like, but used to save my life and the life of my husband. His friend ran over him with our truck when he was trying to leave. We are not sure if this was an accident or if he ran over him to make sure he could not talk to the police. I won't go into the horror after the shooting of a month in the hospital, lung surgery, scars that will never go away, the death threats, the trial, the nightmares, and the fact that I had to take a human life. But I will tell you that if you read this story and still choose not to take action to protect your own life then you should not expect anyone else to take action to protect your life either.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Empty Apartment Noises

I live above an eye doctors office, and including mine, there are only three apartments total. My apartment is on one end, my neighbor Michelle's apartment is on the other end, and there is an empty apartment in the middle. I don't know what it is, but people in that middle apartment don't seem to stay long.

The middle apartment has been empty for months, and I really like it. Michelle, my neighbor at one end, and I have an entire apartment between us, and no matter how loud we are we can't hear each other. It is peaceful, because we mainly keep to ourselves, but are friendly when we run into each other in the hall or doing laundry.

It does get creepy sometimes though. I don't live in the best part of my town, near a small bar that runs a lot of drugs, and a liquor store, and some run down multi-family apartment houses. There is the occasional broken window, or fight, or drunk person causing problems.

Another problem is that the downstairs entry door is broken. The door closes, and the door is locked, but a decent tug on the handle and the door opens right up. Both myself and my neighbor notified the landlord, but he is slow to fix things.

Last night I fell asleep fairly early for me, probably around 10:30 or 11:00. However, something wakes up not long after I'd fallen asleep. I sit up in my bed, and try to figure out what woke me. Then I hear it. Voices from the middle apartment. I check my clock and see that it is 12:45am. I immediately think that someone has broken into the apartment. I groggily grab the baseball bat beside my bed, and get up. I listen...

My apartment is also right by a bus stop, and at this time of year there is often an unfortunate homeless individual hanging out there late at night, because the covered benches has heaters in them. So, I'm thinking that maybe a homeless person broke in to the apartment to stay someplace warm... I don't know how well my logic holds, but I was asleep and I'm' groggy.

I listen some more, and hear hushed talking, and then I hear the noise of people sliding the closes doors open and then close. Then I hear the bathroom faucet turn on. The noise is familiar because my closet doors are the same. As I wake up more, I realize that if the water is on it means that it has been turned on, because surely the water was turned off while the apartment was empty. If the water had been turned on then it means that there must be new renters.

I breathe a sigh of relief and realize that the apartment must be rented, and my landlord didn't tell me. I called him the next day, and it turns out I'm right. Now I just hope they aren't creepers.

Probably Nothing

One night when I was 16 (I'm 38 now), my friend and I were in my living room watching movies. My mom was divorced at the time and she was asleep in the bedroom. We heard some noises outside and so my friend and I looked out of the window and saw my neighbor walking down the street. This woman was about 30, and lived at home with her parents. She was single, sort of big and this particular night, she was as drunk as could be. Staggering through the street, she barely made it to her house, which was right across from my house.

We were watching out of a big picture window and began to feel like we might be seen so we shut the light off and lowered the blindes. They were horizontal blinds so that allowed us to "peak" through. Just as we were about to go back to our movie, we saw someone else walking down the street, from the same direction as my neighbor. It was a man dressed in jeans and a jacket. He didn't appear drunk, and he walked with a purpose. Almost as if he were trying to catch up with my neighbor. Eventually he made it to her house and from where he was down the street, he would have been able to see her walk up to her door.

It was late, around 11pm but the street was brightly lit due to street lights. We watched, ready to call the police because after he jerked the door knob trying to get in, or at least open the door, he began checking windows and even went around the back of the house where he was out of our view. We got really nervous thinking maybe we should wake my mom. Before we could decide, the guy came back out of the back of my neighobrs yard, and headed without hesitation toward MY house! He walked straight to where we were as if he knew we were behind those blinds watching him. CREEPY! He came right up to the bushes in front of the window and STOPPED. He just stared straight at the window.

I nearly wet my pants. We both ran to the back of the house to get my mom and by the time she got up and came in there, he was gone and she assumed we imagined the whole thing--being "silly" teenagers. So we went to the bedroom with my mom trying to convince her it was REAL, there he was---right outside the bedroom window. We all screamed and my mom callled the police. It was probably nothing.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Suicidal in Sweden

{Thanks for Marcus for sharing his story. Though, we're still taking scary dream stories, Marcus's tale is a true event, and not a dream. - AANSS Staff.}

It's currently December, and as I live in Sweden the month is almost always one with plenty of snow and cold. Seeing it reminds me of something that happened to me around 2001, in December, when I was eleven years old.
Back then, my family used to live in a house in a pretty calm and typically suburban neighbourhood. This particular evening, I remember the snow was falling down hard and, being winter, it had already turned dark. My parents had gone out for the evening, leaving me and a friend of mine alone in the house, but seeing as this had always been a calm area, it wasn't a big deal (I was pretty used to being home alone).

Anyway, our house had a pretty big basement, and one of the rooms down there had been converted into a living room where most of the entertainment could be found. I remember that me and my friend where sitting down there playing video games, when suddenly I heard a noise. It wasn't like some big crash or anything, just a faint murmuring. Thinking nothing of it, we proceeded with what we were doing until – there it was again, louder. This time, it kept going, so I got up to track it down, only to come to the conclusion that it must've come from upstairs. In fact, the more I listened, the more I realized that it sounded just like a voice. Male, from someone in their 30's or so. And it wasn't a friendly voice either. He sounded angry. At this point, my friend could hear it too, and the first rational thought that struck us was – someone's broken into the house.

Our thought was more or less confirmed a moment later when we started to make out words. I can't quite recall what was said, but I do remember that it struck me as strange and almost incoherent, as if he possibly had some mental disorder. I remember that me and my friend both went completely silent after that. We both stood there, staring intently at the stairway leading upstairs, waiting for someone to burst down the stairs at any moment. I remember that in the span of the twenty minutes or so we stood there, it felt like an eternity. Eventually, it had been quiet from upstairs for a while and we were starting to get the impression it was safe. The basement of our house had windows near the top of the ceiling (since it wasn't completely ”submerged” underground, in lack of a better way to explain it), so we could use those as a way to look outside to the street. What we saw were flashes of blue and red, and we instantly realized that someone had called the police.

Upon entering the street, we were greeted with an eerie sight – the snow-covered ground had small droplets of blood in it, trailing along the street going by our house, ending in a small red puddle. We were greeted by another kid I knew who lived further down the street, and he told us about what had happened. Apparently, this man (unknown if he had a mental condition) had appeared on our street, wielding a knife with which he had previously cut his wrists (not fatally, but enough to cause him to bleed heavily). He had tried to enter some of my neighbours' homes and even asked one of them if he could borrow some rope (strange, but my best guess is he was suicidal and perhaps wanted to attempt a hanging?). Someone had called the police and he had been arrested right there in the street, but not before literally covering it in his own blood. Anyway, he probably didn't pose much of a threat to others but I know the experience scared the hell out of me. There's also the little fact that – I still don't know if he was actually in our house or not.

Have a good one!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Man with no Face

My scariest dream, that I remember, started out innocently enough. I was walking along a cobble stone street, like the kind you imagine when thinking about old Italian towns. The street was very narrow, more of an alley then a street. Building flanked either side of the alley, and stretched far into the distance. There were no doors on the buildings fronting the alley, just stucco walls. As I'm walking along this path, which is very straight and very long, I feel something moving toward me from behind. I turn and there is a man with no face. He is dressed in a dashing black suit, and hat. He radiates menace.

In the dream I am terribly frightened. His lack of face is kind of sucking my mind in. I can't stop thinking about where his eyes and ears, and mouth should be. I'm so occupied thinking about his missing face that I don't notice him moving closer to me. The next thing I know, he's standing right on top of me. What is really odd is that I can feel his warm breath against me, even though he has no mouth or nose. It stinks, and I turn to run. He grabs my shoulder and spins me around to face him. His face is inches from mine, and somehow makes a horrendous muttered scream, part furry and part frustration. He grabs me and shakes me.

Then I wake up.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Burglar Beatdown

I don't live in the best area of my town. In fact I probably live in one of the worst areas of my town. I've been witness to countless drug deals, a gang related shooting, and several homes on my block have been broken in to. Why do I live here? It's all I can afford and it's home.

My security system is non existent, but I have done what I can. My windows are nailed shut, and I have multiple locks on the front and back doors. Many homes on my street have bars on the window, but mine does not. This was a problem.

I'm a heavy sleeper. I mean a heavy sleeper. The world could end, and I'd sleep right through it. I slept through a shooting that happened just two houses down from my place, if that gives you a better idea of how heavy a sleeper I am. Being such a heavy sleeper, coupled with living where I do, I lock my bedroom door at night. It even has a deadbolt on it. I made a decision that I don't want to be murdered in my sleep. I'd like the opportunity to fight back.

One evening I'm listening to some music, a new CD I got by The Black Keys, which was very good btw if you're interested in music, I highly recommend it. They're better than any Lady Gaga or Taylor Swift or any other pop icon of these days. But, I digress...

It's getting late and I have to work the next day, so I grab my CD player, yes I still have a Walkman, and head off to bed. As I'm falling asleep I awake for seemingly no reason. I realize I've fallen asleep with the headphone still on, so I take them off. No sooner did I remove the headphones than I hear glass shatter. Some fuck has broken my window. I grab the baseball bat next to my bed, and unlock my bedroom door, move my way out into the living room, where it seemed the shattering noise came from. Sliding through my window is some guy, looking like a snake wiggling his way in. He suddenly grunts in pain, and I realize he's cut himself on some of the window glass. Serves him fucking right.

Before he can stand, and before I even realize it, I'm after this guy. I'm just going off on him with my baseball bat. He's trying to fight back, but he's got no chance. I give him one more good crack in the head and he's out. For a moment, I petrified that I killed him. Immediately I think of retribution from his family or friends, and how much trouble I'd be in. Luckily, I see that he is breathing.

I run to the kitchen, grab my cellphone off the charger, and then call the cops. As I'm talking to dispatch I hear the guy stirring. I walk out into the living room and see the man pull out a gun. Apparently I hadn't knocked him too unconscious. I still had the bat in my free hand, so I drop the phone, and knock the gun out of the still woozy criminal's hand. I beat on him more, until again he's out. I pick up the phone and explain what is happening. The cops arrive just shortly after the criminal had regained consciousness for a second time, but this time he was too beat up to do anything, and he saw that I had his gun. Cops came and the next few steps in the story are boring, so I'll skip to the end.

Winds up the guy, of course, is affiliated with some bad people, and while he's in jail they're coming after me, their words. Cops are little help, so there wasn't much else I could do. I sold my house, which was bought unusually fast, and got the hell out of dodge. Sadly, moving wasn't enough. At work one afternoon, I went outside for a smoke break, and found my car tires slashed, and a Ken Doll (like Ken and Barbie) headless underneath my windshield wiper. Personally, I'd like to gun up and shoot all the fucks that made my old neighborhood a bad place to live, but I have an intense desire NOT to go to prison. So, that very night I started my job search, and moved from MA to MI, back to the same town as my parents.

It's a shame that criminals can run a decent person's life. Within the law, we are powerless. It might be time that someone steps outside the law. It's Batman time. =)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Safety Tips for Women

The man's hands were on my throat, and I remember thinking that a parking garage was a lonely place to die. The story had all the stereotypical horror movie elements except that it was real. A chilly October thunderstorm, and an empty parking garage set the scene. I was the blond and pretty actress, and he was the masked (well hooded at least) madman. And in typical horror movie fashion I, the leading lady, escaped.

I'd been working in a large law office in Chicago for only three months before this story took place, but I remember being creeped out from day once by the parking garage. First, because I'm a lowly paralegal I do a lot of grunt work that is tedious but essential to cases. This means that I have to meet deadlines, which in turn means that I often work late. Secondly, I knew from the start that the parking garage was going to be trouble.

One October day, 2010, I was working on a case, and the lead lawyer handed me an avalanche of work to do, of course, as he was walking out the door at 5 pm. This last minute assignment which would mean a late evening for me was no longer a slap in the face or even unexpected. The lawyer was an asshole, and I had quickly come to understand this. This evening was just like many others. I watched as one my one my fellow employees left for the day, first the high priced lawyers, then slowly the secretary's and then finally the lowly paralegals, my colleagues and peers. Then, it was me and the night time janitorial staff working away into the early morning hours. About 12:30 am, I had finished enough of my assignment to be able to finish it in the morning hours before the dick lawyer arrived. I decided to go home.

The offices in which I work are not in a bad part of town, but Chicago is a large city and evil people are not limited by imaginary boundary lines demarcating good and bad parts of town. There were stories of other people, almost always women, harassed in the parking garage by vagrants, thugs, and crazies. I dreaded the walk to the parking garage, and often times asked building security to walk me to my car. However, this evening I just wanted to go home. I didn't want to take time it took to get a security officer, whom often times are just as creepy as people you'd meet in the garage, to walk me to my car.

In the parking garage, (safety tip #1 I always try to park near an entrance), deciding the less time I spend walking through the garage the better. This evening, however, there were a lot of early arriver's, and most of the best parking spots were taken. One thing I should mention is that after 5pm the parking garage is electronically operated and thus there is no security, though the building security does do a once an hour (I assume) sweep of the garage.

Running through the rain, I arrived at the garage soaking wet, and pretty chilled. I entered the garage and took the stairs (safety tip #2: never use the elevator.) Climbing up to the third floor I noticed that the first two levels were empty of cars. Reaching the third floor, the one on which my car was parked, I walked out of the stairwell but stopped dead almost immediately. Parked next to my car, but on the far side, was another car. I couldn't see much of it, but enough to know that I didn't recognize it. Of course not recognizing the car doesn't mean much. There are simply too many people that come and go to my office to recognize all the cars. I remember letting go a stream of silent swears before putting on my big girl panties and proceeding to my car.

As I got closer I noticed that there was a person in the other car, and to make matters worse he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, so I couldn't even get a look at him. I decided that my car was closer to me then his car, so I'd go for it. As I got closer the man turned and looked at me. He had a gray scruff of beard, and small eyes. I don't know if it was a conscious decision or not, but the next thing I know I'm running at my car. I remember seeing the shock on the man's face when I began my dash toward the car -- the surprise then the furry.

As quickly as I began my sprint to my car, the man exited his, and moved around the back of my car. I got to my door, (safety tip #3 with keys in hand) but the man was able to grab me before I could open my door. He spun me around to face him, and I could feel his hot breath on my face as his hands grew tight on my throat. Instinctively, I grew up with a couple of mean older brothers, (safety tip #4 I kneed the man in the groin.) He didn't fall like you see in the movies or American funniest home videos clips, but he did let go of me. I opened my car door and locked it, put the key in the ignition, put it in reverse and I tried to run him over as I backed out. I tried to run him over again as I drove away, but both times I missed him. I raced out of the parking garage, checking my rear view mirror like a man woman. I stopped at the gate, which is funny looking back on it, and fed my card into the reader. Why I didn't just blow through it I don't know. The gate opened, and with one last look in my rear view mirror I took off.

I live in the suburbs of Chicago, and took a winding path home. I didn't see the man's car once on my way, but felt better to be safe than sorry. Unfortunately it wasn't until I was about halfway home that I thought to call the police. I was just so distracted, and scared that my thoughts weren't right. Of course I never heard anything from the police after filling out my incident report.

I still work at the same company in the same building, and park in the same garage, but now I never, ever, ever walk to my car alone. I always either, (safety tip#5 walk with friend or use security.)

Friday, December 3, 2010

When a Stranger Cries

I like to think of myself as a good person. I hold doors for people, donate a few bucks to charity every once in a while, and buy copious amounts of girlscout cookies. I feel good about myself, and I like being able to help others. Sometimes, however, I think maybe being a good person isn't worth all the hassle.

One summer, I think two years ago now, I was coming home from my girlfriend's house very early one morning, probably around 2:00, and I notice my gas light comes on. My gf lives a good 45 mins away from my apartment, so I have no choice, I need to stop for gas.

The only 24hour station along my route home is a seedy joint, that a lot of weirdos hang out at in the early morning weekend hours. But, I'm riding high after seeing my gf, so I don't sweat it. I pull into the station, and am greatful to notice it is pretty deserted, no oddballs hanging around the payphone calling their drug dearlers, no thugs just looking for trouble, nary a soul.

I pull to the pump and start to fill it up. As I'm pumping a red pickup squeals into the parking lot, comes to a rolling stop, and out flops a woman. She's hardly out the door before the pickup takes off like a rocket back the way it came.

The woman, girl really, she couldn't have been over 21, staggers toward the payphone. Right then the pump stops, tank is full, and I walk inside to pay my bill. When I come back out the girl is now sitting on the curb of the parking lot crying her drunken eyes out. She's wearing a shorty skirt, and high heels, and I that stupid instinct in me starts nagging. The little angle on my shoulder tells me, "It is pretty dangerous for her to be here, in her state, in her clothes, at this time of night."

I walk over to the girl, and ask her if she's okay. She says she's fine. I ask if she has someone coming to pick her up, and she says to mind my own business. I shoudl have listened to her. I told her that it was dangerous for her to be all alone, in this area, at this time of night. She stops crying a bit, and seems to have lightened up. She starts telling me how her and her boyfriend had a fight at some party, that he cheated on her, blah blah blah. I ask again if she has someone coming to pick her up and she admits that she doesn't. I ask if I can call a cab for her, and she explains that her purse is still in her boyfriends truck.

I'm a nice guy, but I'm not a sucker. I realize that this could have been some sort of scam on he part to get some money out of me. However, I looked at this situation like I look at most situations of this manner: I would rather get scammed 9 times out of 10 and help that 1 person that really needs it then to not help anyone to keep from getting scammed.

I ask her where she lives, trying to figure out how much money she'd need for a cab ride home, and when she tells me her address I realize that her place is actually on my drive home. I don't have a lot of money, but I want to help this girl, so I decide to offer her a ride.

As she is considering it, the same red pickup that dropped her off comes barreling into the gas station again. Instantly I knew I was in trouble. Out jumps her boyfriend, and instead of coming at us, he walks to the back of his truck and picks up a tire iron. I grab my cell and dial 9-1-1. The boyfriend quickly walks towards me and the girl, and he's screaming like a mad man. He calls me this and that, and tells his girlfriend he's going to beat her "fat ass to death."

I try to make my way toward the station door, but the girl is holding on to my coat, trying to hide behind me. We get tangled up and both fall to the ground, and I drop my phone. I see that it is connected, so I just yell out the name of the gas station and the approximate location, saying that I need help. I hop back up to my feet, and the boyfriend is within feet of me. The girl is still on the ground. I'm trying to talk some sense into the boyfriend, telling him that I was just seeing if she was okay, and he's telling me how he's going to kill me.

The person running the gas station cashier opens the door, and yells that the cops are on their way. The boyfriend shoots the cashier a dirty look, and the cashier disapears back into the station. The girl is finally back up on her feet. She runs insde the station, and the boyfriend looks at me like it was my fault. I was sure he was going to take a swing at me, but he doesn't.

We both seem to hear the cops cars in the distance at the same time. The boyfriend looks at the girlfriend, hiding behind the counter with the station cashier, screams that she's a whore, and then walks back to his truck. He drives away like a lunatic in the opposite direction of the sirens.

The police arrive a few moments later.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Man's Best Friend

This is my dad’s story. This happened to him around four years ago. I believe a story like this is better in the first person, so I’ll be typing it as if I were my dad.

I own and run a micro microbrewery in Boston. We’re a tiny brewery, but we make some damn fine beer. I’ve run my business for nearly a decade located in Dorchester. For those of you unfamiliar with the Boston area Dorchester is one of only a few semi seedy areas in the Boston area. Up until the night in which this story occurs, I never had any troubles.

Owning your own business is a lot of work. I am there at all hours, day and night. I actually enjoy working overnight occasionally because there is less stress, and fewer disruptions than when during the day when I have to deal with shipments, and my few employees, and the phones, etc. Usually when I work in the early morning hours I take my bullmastiff, Sampson, along to keep me company.

For those of you unfamiliar with bullmastiff’s, Google them. They were bred to guard estates, and according to Wikipedia, attack and immobilize poachers. They’re large, mean looking dogs. However, Sampson is a teddy bear. He never once growled at anyone we’ve ever had at the house. He barks occasionally, but usually it is at his reflection in the window.

When I work alone I usually have the radio blasting. This particular evening was no different. Sampson and I were working late and it was around 3:00am when Sampson went nuts. He began barking like a lunatic and growling as if he were Cerberus. I find him and he’s standing in front of the supply closet door, glaring at it.

I have a .38 special in my office and with it in hand I moved to open the supply closet door. Sampson sensing my intentions puts his 130 pounds against my leg, pushing me away from the door. I don’t want to call the cops before checking the closet, because what if there isn’t anyone in there, or what if Sampson found a mouse or rat or something. I try to open the door again, and Sampson turns on me, and takes a nip at my hand. He missed and I’m sure he missed on purpose. It was like a warning nip, almost like he was saying “Hey, idiot. There’s someone bad in there.”

I can’t decide what to do at first. Then I call out. “Whoever is in the closet, come out or I’ll let my dog inside and close the door behind him. Nothing. I try again. “Maybe, I’ll just unload with my .38 special through the door, and then let the dog in.” Then I hear a voice, which really surprises me. I was certain Sampson was going nuts over nothing. The man says, don’t shoot. I tell the man not to try to leave the closet or my dog would kill him.

I’m on the phone with the police immediately, leaving Sampson to guard the door. Within a few minutes the police are there, and I get Sampson under control, and the police get the guy out of the closet. Here’s the thing, the man was carrying s six inch bowie knife, like the type Rambo used. If not for Sampson, I might be dead. He’s our family hero.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Witches or Bitches You Decide

I used to live just down the street from state park. It was a wonderful place to explore as a child, but around the time I was ten or eleven, rumors started to reach my ears about people doing weird things in the park. I remember one story was about a cult of witches that would hold their ceremonies deep in the woods in the park, where they would sacrifice birds, and squirrels to whatever Gods or Goddesses they worshiped. I was not the bravest of kids at that age, and I recall vividly, nearly twenty years later, something that happened to me in that park.

Normally, even after I heard the rumors, the park didn't scare me. It was a place I'd always known, a place I grew up playing in. My mom and I would take evening walks, and pick flowers (which is a no-no, but we did it anyway). My dad and I would sometimes fish the river running through the park, and as a special summer treat spend a week camping. However, one evening ruined all the magic the park once held for me.

I was around 10 to 12, not sure exactly, and I was playing in the park with some friends. We were on the north side of the river, which was the farthest part of the park from my house. We played hide and go seek, one fall evening. As it got later, I remember a fog rolling in, seemingly at the snap of your fingers. I was getting creeped out and I called out to my friends, saying that it was time to head home. I hated being the scaredy cat, but the fog was creeping me out.

I waited to hear back from my friends, but couldn't find them. I began to really spook myself. I was convinced that I heard voices, and that I was being watched. I remember not being able to see more than a stone's throw away from me. My fright got the best of me and I ran off, not waiting for my friends.

I literally ran, and I headed in the direction of the foot bridge leading over the river, back to the south side of the park. As I reached the bridge I saw two girls, probably in their mid to late teens, standing by the bridge. I stopped in my tracks, all the stories about witches coming back to me instantly.

I can only guess at their motivations, but upon seeing me, the girls seemed to notice my fright, even if I wasn't wearing it on my face I was certain they could have smelled it on me, like dried sweat. For fun, for some sinister reason, I don't know, the girls chased me. They yelled taunts, and they chased me. I was so scared. I ran back the way I came, away from the bridge, and back into the woods. I ran and I hid.

I don't remember how long I stayed hidden, but eventually I made my way out of the woods. I do remember it was dark, and I was getting pretty cold. I didn't see the girls on my way out this time, but for the next year or so I remember I would not go to the park without at least one of my parents.

Gang Initiation

I know there are always rumors and urban legends about gang initiations. There is the car without the headlights on one, and the Wal-mart shooting woman with baby one, and probably more. I was the victim of a gang initiation and it wasn't nearly as clever, or thought out, or for the lack of better word -- interesting.

I was walking home one Friday night from a friend's house. He lives only four blocks away, so it is a short walk. The neighborhood in which I live is not that great of a part of town, but having no car, and not very helpful parents, I walk everywhere I go. Usually, when walking back from my friend's house, I walk home down Maple St., because it is more frequented by traffic, has a couple businesses that are open late, and is better lit, but it is also a block our of the way. This night was cold, this only happened three weeks ago, and I didn't want to extra time walking so I went down a side street named Jefferson.

Jefferson st. is a neighborhood st. There are nothing but houses, and houses serving as apartments (part of the problem with the neighborhood). As I walked down the st, bundled up against the cold, I see two guys in their late teens standing just off the sidewalk in an alley. I knew immediately that something was up. They were black and I'm Asian, so I knew that if I crossed the road they'd think it was because they were black. This isn't the reason. I wanted to cross the road because they were flagging for a local gang. I didn't cross the road though because there was the chance that they weren't going to bother me. I tucked my head down and started to walk past them, but as soon as I past them, I got attacked from behind.

True to stereotypes, I am fairly advanced in karate. I fought back, knocking one attacker to the ground. I always carry a pocket knife on me, for protection, whenever I walk anywhere. With one of my attackers on the ground, I drew my knife. This was a mistake. The remaining attacker got me in a headlock from behind, and his buddy knocked the knife from my hand. While one held me the other hit me. I managed to slip free and tried to run, but they caught me.

The next thing that happened will scar me forever, and not just because I have the actual scar. One of my attackers picked up my knife and tried to cut my throat with it. I suffered a three inch cut across my wind pipe, but the guy didn't press hard enough, and the knife didn't fully cut through my throat. With that attack over, my assailants ran off, and left me to die. Not more than thirty seconds after my throat was cut and my attackers fled, the cops arrived. Someone in one of the houses bordering the ally had seen what was happening and called the cops. An ambulance arrived shortly after, and I was taken to the hospital.

For the most part I was okay. I had, and still do, a nasty cut on my throat, and a few bruises. The police caught both of my attackers a few streets from where I was attacked. They confessed it was a gang initiation and that they were supposed to kill someone. I was unlucky enough to be that someone, but I am very lucky too, because I'm alive.