Monday, April 27, 2015

Getting Lost

Getting lost has always been something I enjoyed. When I was a kid I would spend long summer days riding my bike taking random left and right turns until nothing looked familiar. Then I would ride around until I knew where I was. When I was 16 and got my license I did the same thing just on a larger scale.

I've always  been restless and when I was in my mid to late teens my parents constantly fought. Not wanting to be around when they did, I would hop in my car and drive. Like when I was a kid, I would take random lefts and rights until I had no idea where I was. Of course, since I was older and had been around my town and the surrounding towns quite a bit, it took me a much greater distance to get truly lost.

One evening, near midnight on a sticky summer evening, my parents were vocalizing their intense distaste for one another with all the creativity and alacrity that two high school dropouts could muster. Of course I was in my car and miles from home before the push could come to shove.

Miles outside the city it seems like there is a moat of cornfields. I don't know who or what they're meant to keep out. It was into this sea of yellow silk that I drove until asphalt roads turned to loose gravel. Those narrow farm roads flanked by eight-foot tall watchmen and me in a busted up Mazda.

I've never been one for car maintenance and that coupled with my shockingly brutal dose of bad luck made it was no surprise that my car broke down that night. It was 1:00 AM and I was good and lost. This of course was always a possibility of my hobby. I could have blown a bike tire as a 10 year old and had to find a trustworthy looking adult to call my parents, or, and this would have been more likely, fuck calling for help and walked my bike the miles back home. Now, as a near-adult, the inevitable had happened. Broken car, late at night and lost.

For those wondering about cellphones, this was 1998, Some teenagers had phones, but plenty didn't. I'm usually a late technology adopter anyway.

The crunch of the gravel as I walked down the road is what I remember most clearly, like an audible omen of things to come.

I wasn't about to stop by any house I came across. Not only would that have been a bad life choice, but it would also have been rude. It was after midnight after all. I couldn't remember the last gas station or store I passed, besides, where I was few were open at that time anyway. I considered sleeping in my car and then trying to find salvation the next morning, but for some reason, don't remember now why, that idea didn't appeal to me. So, I hoofed it.

I don't know how long I was walking before I heard the truck coming down the road behind me. The gravel under the tires warned of its approach well in advance and if I had known what was headed my way, I would have made myself scare and fled into the corn field, just another silky yellow and green watchman. I, however, was 16 and though life had taught me well and often that I wasn't invincible, I still held humanity to a level of decency that experience has since taught me is tenuous at best.

As the truck neared, I stood off to one side waiving like a fool. There were two men in the truck. It slowed to a crawl and then stopped inches from me. The men in the truck conversed without looking at me for an amount of time that should have struck  me as suspicious.

The passenger in the truck finally rolled down the window. He said, "Looks like you're in some trouble." It was a statement and not a question. I didn't think at the time, but now I'm sure that he meant it was in "Well, now that we've come across you, young man, you're in a heap of trouble."

The passenger opened his car door and before I even knew what was going on I was flat on my back. Both passenger and driver were at me then. Passenger was beating me and driver was taking off my pants.

I did what I could. Fighting back as I could, scratching and punching, gouging and pulling. I fought like a mother fucking devil. Every time one of them would get my pants half way down, I redoubled my efforts and fought them off and pulled up my pants. I was winded and bloody and losing. I knew I wouldn't be able to hold out much longer.

In terror there can be beauty. Headlights in the distance coming our direction. Through a blood filled mouth I yelled, "headlights!" to alert Passenger and Driver. They looked at each other and Driver said to Passenger, "Kill him."

Passenger proceeded to try to stomp on my head repeatedly. Too many times he connected. Then Driver yells, "Come on!" and Passenger gets in the truck and they speed away.

I stagger to my feet in time to waive down the oncoming car. They kept driving. I must have looked a fright. I don't blame them for not stopping. They did call the cops, though, and eventually I was taken to the hospital.

There's no real reason to recount the damage I sustained, both physically and psychologically. Needless to say, it was severe.

My mom and dad got divorced not long after the incident and life got better for everyone involved. They were happier and I was happier. I still enjoy getting lost.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Texarkana

It was 1995, I had just graduated High School, an old friend who I haven’t talked to in 7 years now and I were hanging out and I said, “Let’s go to New Orleans.” And we did. We had $140 between us and back then that was more than enough. We made it New Orleans, almost died from culture shock, and turned around and headed to Magnolia, MS to get some sleep. We stayed at Magnolia Inn, it was a shit hole, but it was nice and cool. It was May or June, in south MS; cool was the only adjective that mattered. We stayed up that night playing poker, drinking Gordon’s vodka, and talking about who knows what. Probably girls, college, and college girls. At some point I said, “Ever been to Texas?” “Nope.” “Pack your bag and let’s roll.” We had a road atlas; Marshall, TX was right across the border from Shreveport.


We arrived in Shreveport, made a phone call to another friend, who we were actually supposed to be staying with. Both of our mothers had called looking for us. The only person that knew where we were was the buddy on the phone. It was no big deal; we would be home in a day or two.


I’m being short on details because if I don’t this will turn into a novel length story about chasing armadillos and being chased by the boogeyman.


Before we left that rest area in Shreveport where we made the call we saw an armadillo. Let me tell you something about armadillos, those bastards will hiss, jump, and turn into Tasmanian Devils if you corner them. They also carry leprosy. We were 18; we chased that armadillo around for an hour. Now let me tell you about Shreveport. I don’t know how it is now but in the summer of 1995 it looked and smelled like a place where oil and metal went to die. It was dirty. It was a shit hole. We crossed a bridge and saw people fishing a 100 yards from where a drainage pipe from a factory was spewing forth waste upriver from the fisherman. The locals reminded me of the locals in Adamsville, bald headed women and cross eyed men. A lot of bald headed, cross eyed kids. I’m sorry but it was a Rob Zombie movie come to life. I felt like I was going to be raped because I had a full head of hair and could see straight. The best part of Shreveport was an armadillo that might possibly have leprosy. Marshall, TX was 40 miles away. We rolled on.


Marshall was a decent little town. Home of the Fire Ant Festival. We stopped at a little bar-b-q joint and had a coke, a smile, and some pulled pork. It was getting late, and the sun was setting, we looked at the map and decided to back track a bit and head up rural route 43, through Karnack, and past Caddo Lake. We would eventually run into Hwy 59, head to Texarkana and then head back home. When we left the bar-b-q joint and headed towards 43 it was dusk. Hwy 43 wasn’t well lit, it was almost as dark as Natchez Trace Parkway (I’ve got a good story about using a pair of pantyhose as a fan belt for an old diesel Mercedes. Do not EVER get stuck on the Trace after dark. Ever.) My friend was driving and we were doing about 45 mph, any faster would have been reckless even for a couple 18 year old dumbasses.


This road was kind of like Christmasville Rd. (The locals reading this will know what I mean. The non-locals just have to use your imagination) It was dark, winding, full of hills that ended in curves; there were beady and glowing eyes on both sides of the road. You could hear the crickets and the bullfrogs over the sound of the wind rushing by that old Sentra. It was peaceful and creepy at the same time. The humidity was a real thing, tangible. The air was thick. It smelled like pastures, hay, and swamp. We drove for what seemed like hours, it was after midnight, and I saw a sign that informed me that Bivins was the next town of any size. I was hypnotized by the yellow lines on the road; we hadn’t seen another car in at least an hour, sleepy. I rolled the window down and lit a cigarette. There was music coming from the radio, the tape player, it was either Tupac or Bob Seger. I smoked my cigarette, absent mindedly flicking ashes out of the window. I took one last puff and flicked the Camel Wide off into the woods. Then I saw it.


I never looked to my right; I didn’t even kinda peek to the right. Maybe I did a little when I flicked the cigarette away. I don’t know. What I do know is that in my periphery there was something running alongside the car. It was just behind my window, behind where the edge of the door ends and before where the back window begins. I looked over at the speedometer, 40 mph. I looked at my friend, he was looking straight ahead, I looked straight ahead. I could still see it. I could see one huge arm, matted hair, reddish brown, sticky looking, primal. I eased my right hand over and rolled up my window. My friend was still looking straight ahead, his jaw was clenched, and he put both hands on the wheel, he sped up.


No words were said. I looked straight ahead and still out of my periphery I could see that arm moving, muscles and tendons visibly rippling beneath that matted hair. As the car gained a little speed the thing running alongside us lost pace, slightly, I then saw the hand on the end of that nightmarish arm. The hand was clenched into fist the size of a cantaloupe, a big cantaloupe. It was covered in the same hair but slightly darker around the fingers, like it was stained with something. Suddenly the hand unclenched and then I saw the claws, black as this damned after midnight Texas night. Those claws were at least two inches long, sharp, like an animals. This wasn’t a hand so much as it was the killing paw and claws of some beast whose only purpose was to kill and eat.


I looked back at my friend; I looked at the speedometer, 50 mph. I looked straight ahead, it was still there. I lit another cigarette, didn’t roll the window down, and simply said, “Shit.” The music had stopped. I finally broke the silence and said, “Hey, do you...” and before I could finish my buddy said, “I see it, I’ve been seeing it. I can’t even see you but I can see whatever the hell that shit is.” “How much do you see?” “More than I want to.” “Speed up, John, just speed up. It can’t keep up forever.” I looked over, 55 mph, whatever was chasing us, silently, was starting to lag behind. I finally looked to my right, just a bit, imagine the scary part of the movie where you put your hands in front of your face but still peek through. In 37 years I have two regrets, one is picking up that first cigarette and the other is me looking to my right that night. This beast was huge, its chest was above the top of the car, and all I could see was that matted reddish brown hair. Then it bent forward as it ran, I saw the face of this thing, all reality stopped. We were no longer driving down some country road in Texas. We were now trying to escape from the depths of a monster inhabited hell.


This things face is beyond my powers to describe. It was evil. The eyes were black and the pupils were red. It flashed its teeth at me in a snarl, yellow and huge. Saliva dripped from its mouth. It opened its eyes wide and it looked hungry and pissed off. Then it opened its mouth, the skin pulled back until all you could see were black gums and yellow teeth. Immediately I could feel the car accelerate. “Fucking hell, John, just go!” I prayed. I cussed. I lit a cigarette. Then like sunshine breaking through the clouds the road straightened out. “Don’t you slow down.”


We drove through Bivins, and we drove to Texarkana. Then we drove home. We never said a word. It was years later, 11 to be exact, before we ever even talked about it again and we didn’t talk about it much. He said he’d never told anyone and I hadn’t either. I told the story a few years back for the first time while I was parked out on a gravel road, doing the things you do when you’re parked out on a gravel road with a good looking woman. I told it a year or so ago to a couple of kids who wanted to hear a scary story while they sat around a camp fire. They didn’t sleep for a day or two but they asked me a dozen more times to tell them the story. I never told anyone until now that I saw its face.


I’ve been scared for my life exactly two times. Once was on that road and once was looking at a grizzly bear in front of me with a terminal velocity inducing drop to the side of me. Call it what you will, call it bullshit if you want, but look me in the eyes and let me tell you this story and you’ll know. Never doubt that there are things in this world that defy explanation and logic. The boogeyman is real. Some 16 or 17 years after this happened I ran across a story and a movie called The Legend of Boggy Creek. Fauke, Arkansas (Where the aforementioned story and movie takes place) isn’t that far from Bivins, TX, as the crow flies. Invite me over, buy me a beer, sit on the porch with me and I’ll tell you the story, over a pack of Marlboros and a few of those beers.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Reddit


Hello sudden influx of Redditors. Thanks for visiting. I hope you enjoy the site. If you have any scary stories (anything scary, really) to share, you can email it to aloneatnightblog@gmail.com, or leave it as a comment on another story. 

Thanks for visiting. 

-- 
Alone at Night

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Key



When I was a student, I shared an apartment with a couple of friends from university. The apartment was owned by my friend's dad. I lived there for about 3 years. As you'd expect, I needed 2 keys to get in: one for the building; the other to open the main door to the apartment.


A weird thing happened one morning, after I'd been living there for about 18 months. The other guys had gone into classes early, and I had the day off. I went out to pick up some food, and locked the door, as usual. I was out for less than half an hour. When I came back, my key wouldn't turn in the main apartment door. I was annoyed, but didn't think much of it, since I know locks can get stiff etc and it was an old door. I called my mate, and he came back and opened the door with his key.


Later on, I tried my key in the door again to see what went wrong. At that point, I realised something bizarre: the key for the apartment door was not on my key chain, and instead, there was this chewed-up old key that I'd never seen before. At first glance, it was similar to my apartment key, which was why I hadn't noticed it earlier, but on a closer look, it was a different cut and make to the apartment key. I only had 1 key chain with the 2 keys on it, so there was no way it was an old house key or something that I'd forgotten about.


I was pretty creeped out. I had locked the door that morning, as I had done many days for the last year and a half, with the right key, and then in a short space of time, that key had vanished and been replaced by a totally random one-all without my knowing. I keep thinking of whether someone could have pick-pocketed me while I was out or something...but then slipped another random key back onto my chain?! Totally insane. Though I can't think of any alternative!

Abduction



I was about 16 and my best friend and I went to watch my ex-boyfriend's band play in a friend's garage they'd set up with couches and chairs and a makeshift stage. Think shag carpet remnants nailed to the walls. There were maybe twenty of us watching. Afterwards someone decided we should go grab some food at a local hangout.






As my friend and I were leaving this creepy older dude with stringy blonde hair asked me to ride with him. I said no but he persisted so I stupidly agreed as long as my friend followed. We got in his car and took off. I tried making small talk but he didn't say much. All of a sudden he took a hard right onto a side road. I asked what he was doing and he just said, "Shortcut," and kept driving.






My friend was still behind us so I wasn't too worried. After a few minutes he starts taking all these crazy turns and is flooring it. I start yelling at him to slow down and he just stared straight ahead, gripped the wheel and wouldn't say a word. We got to an old two-lane highway and he turns on it, goes wide open. I start screaming and he turned the radio up to drown me out. He'd managed to lose my friend.






Finally, I start to panic inside and contemplate that I'm probably about to be raped and murdered. This was before cell phones and gps so I had no way to get in touch with anyone and didn't really know where I was. I tried talking nice and politely asking him to let me out. Nothing. Steely eyes ahead and driving in silence. I'm imagining my parents getting a call that the police found my head in a ditch when all of a sudden he says, "Fuck. We're out of gas," and a couple of minutes later we see an old mom and pop gas station and he pulls in.





Again, this was the stone age when you had to pay inside because there weren't credit card machines on the pump. We are in the middle of nowhere, no one else is there but one grandpa worker inside. He gets out of the car then leans back in and says, "Don't even think about trying to run," and goes inside. Well, what the hell could I do? I got out and ran like a grizzly bear was chained to my ass.






He didn't see me right away but I hadn't gotten very far at all when I heard him yelling for me to come back and he started running after me. A car was coming down the highway so I started screaming and flagging them down. Damned if it wasn't my very pissed off best friend! She thought we were playing a joke on her! I jumped in the car and yelled for her to go. She sat there yelling at ME until she saw that crazed mofo running towards us and she floored it away from there. I started freaking out and crying and eventually we made our way back to town and the restaurant with our friends.






I didn't even tell my parents because I had lied about where I was going. I did tell my ex-bf and his friends. They didn't know where the guy lived but he showed up a couple of weeks later and they proceeded to beat him within an inch of his life. My ex (who is still a good friend) broke a metal folding chair across his face. He wasn't seen again.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Squatter Saved By...




I used to squat in an unoccupied house that was for sale in Washington DC.


I knew the people who had recently moved out of there, and had a key to get in (The real estate agent put his own padlock on the front door, but didn't do anything for the back.) I only slept and showered there and used the electricity because it hadn't been turned off yet. Free living while saving my shitty working class wages wasn't so bad.


The house had a walk-in closet in the basement that I would sleep in with a sleeping bag (it was kind of uncomfortable setting up camp in a big empty room with hardwood floors, and the closet was carpeted & kind of womb-like.) I crashed there for four months without incident.


I knew the place back to front and had what I felt was a pretty foolproof routine. I wouldn't turn on any lights at night, I had a car that I parked down the street at the grocery store while I was in the house, I left no trace that I was staying there other than my rolled-up sleeping bag and Dopp Kit which I hid in the ceiling.


After a long evening at work, I got in at about 3am, and immediately went into the closet to get some sleep.


I don't know what time it was --it couldn't have been long after I dozed off-- but I was jolted awake by a ringing telephone. There were no phones in the house, I was absolutely certain.


At first it sounded like it was right next to me, but as I got up, it was actually kind of quiet...and it didn't stop. It just kept going. I went upstairs (with no lights on, mind you) into the master bedroom to try to figure out what the fuck was going on, and I saw a police patrol car pull up in front of the house. I started freaking out because the phone was STILL RINGING and there were now cops coming up who could very easily throw me in jail for vagrancy if they saw me.


They scanned the house with their flashlights, I assume to check the windows and doors for break-ins while I hid in the bathroom which had no windows. I always locked the back door so I wasn't in danger of them coming in. Sometime while they were doing this, the ringing finally stopped, but I never found out where it was coming from.





Scared as hell of the possibility of getting arrested, I waited until they left and packed up my shit and walked down the street to my car. By this time, it was early dawn and getting light out. I took a nap for a couple of hours, and drove by the house at around 8am to see a maintenance van in the driveway along with a person I assumed to be the real estate agent. I avoided the place for a week, couch surfing with friends, and when I came back, the real estate padlock on the front door was gone, and both the front and back door locks had been changed.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Pretty Bird

About 10 years ago I was at a small fair in a small midwest town. It was middle of summer and I was sitting in this barn like place that had some picnic tables set up. I noticed this bird was flying around being pissed off and then noticed a young bird that couldn't fly off in the corner that had probably jumped out of it's nest.

No biggie, it was off in the corner by itself and nothing would bother it.
This little girl (maybe about 4 or 5) walks over to it to get a closer look. I keep my eye on her to make sure she doesn't pick it up or anything but she stays her distance and just looks at it. And I hear her say a couple things like "oh such a pretty bird, you're a pretty bird"

I look away for about a minute and look back up and she's standing over the little bird STOMPING the fuck out of it. This goes on for a few more seconds and then she quickly covers it up with dirt and runs off into the crowd. No one else saw this except for me and I was way too awestruck to even do anything about it. Hell, even to this day I'm not sure what the fuck I really could have/should have done.

Burritos

I worked at a small convenience store in the early 1990's. They had one of those fry delis that had chicken, jojos, corndogs, burritos etc. This particular night I had run out of burritos and chicken. I also shut the thing down and cleaned it all out about an hour before closing.

About 5 minutes before I was closing up a guy walked in and asked for some burritos. I told him I was out of them, and that I was just about to close and the fryer was shut down. He walked around the store for a minute (I assumed he was looking for something else to buy) and then he came up to the counter, pulled out a knife and told me if I didn't cook him some burritos he was going to stab me.

I freaked out, but told him I had none to cook. I showed him the freezer and told him I would happily cook anything he wanted from it, but he will see I was out of burritos. He looked in it for a minute, turned to me and said, "You really are out." I replied, "Yeah." He then put the knife away and left the store.

Never Give Your Real Name on the Internet

About 10 months ago, I made a comment on a post in /r/gaming on Reddit saying that first names don't matter on the internet and that my name was Paul. A few people said stuff like "Oh, you done fucked now, Paul" and other such things. Like most comments on Reddit, I thought it was funny. Someone thought it would be really funny to make a subreddit dedicated to finding out information about me. Within 12 hours of my comment, this nefarious gentleman found out and posted where I live, links to my Youtube, Myspace, Twitter, and Facebook pages, a few of my old usernames, a picture of me when I was 9, and a bunch of other shit. That was the first time something on the internet really freaked me out. I reported him and that subreddit and it was closed within a few hours.