I grew up in New Jersey. When I was about nine years old, I attended an elementary school that was roughly a mile and a half walk from my house. The walk was mostly through residential neighborhoods. There was, however, a straight stretch of road about three-eighths of a mile long that didn’t have any houses on it. It was there that my experience began.
I usually shared my walk home from school with a friend who lived two streets down from me. On this particular day she had left school early for a dentist appointment, so I was left to my own devices. My walk home started out uneventfully enough. I made my way through the neighborhoods. I arrived at the aforementioned stretch of road and made a right, following the sidewalk.
Now, at this point I should probably describe the exact layout of the road since it comes into play later on in my story. As I mentioned before, the section of road is about three-eighths of a mile long. It begins at the top of a hill and ends at an intersection with a stop sign at the bottom of the hill. On the left side of the street was an empty office building with a ‘For Rent’ sign in the window. Bordering the lower side of the building is a chain-link fence which is adjacent to a large park that includes a ball field and a playground. On the right side of the road is a factory and a parking lot. No houses.
I started down the hill following the sidewalk on the left side of the road. I heard a car turn the corner behind me. I half subconsciously waited for the vehicle to pass me and when it doesn’t, I peeked over my shoulder. I saw a small, white, late model pick-up truck with orange lights on the roof. Almost like the lights you would see on a volunteer firefighter’s car. There was a man behind the wheel. He was creeping up behind me at a snail’s pace. He pulled even with me on his side of the street and now he is positively leering at me from the other side of the road. I will never forget his face; grey-blue eyes, brown hair going grey at the temples, stubbly beard. He GRINNED at me before picking up speed and driving off down the road, stopping at the stop sign and turning off. It was very unnerving to say the least and I continued walking along, albeit a bit faster.
I look up and see him turning onto the road at the bottom of the hill, now coming at me on my side of the road. He did the same thing. He pulled up close along the curb and leaned over the passenger side while staring at me and driving at a slow speed. By now I am truly freaking out inside. He straightened up and pulled away. He drove on up the road and turned off in another direction. I was really upset at this point and all sorts of things are running through my head.
Once again, I heard a vehicle turn the corner behind me. This time when I looked over my shoulder I saw him pulling across the street towards me at a faster rate of speed. He pulled up to the curb just next to me and opened the driver’s side door. I could see his pants were unbuttoned.
I broke into a dead run. I ran faster than I ever had my entire life up until this point, down the sidewalk with the chain-link fence on my left and him following in his truck close behind. I reached the end of the fence and turned left into the park. I ran across the grass with him driving right up on the grass in his truck close behind me. To this day I still swear I heard him laughing.
Bordering the park at the far side of the ball field was a group of houses whose backyards butted up against the edge of the park. I was still running for everything I was worth, in absolute terror with my backpack jouncing on my back. This madman had never left my heels. He could have easily ran me down with his truck or pulled up alongside me and grabbed me up. He did neither of those things. He just chased me. I must have been screaming. I honestly don’t remember. I was running full tilt towards that group of houses with everything I had.
There was a man mowing his backyard. He looked up and saw me. He stopped mowing right away. At that moment, the man in the truck behind me slowed down and backed off. I didn’t stop to see where he went or what, if anything, the man mowing his yard did. I kept right on running in a half blind panic until I reached my front door.
No one was home at the time. I lived with my mom and my paternal grandmother. My mom was at work and my grandmother worked part-time, so she was also out. I let myself in and locked the door quickly. I peeked out the window and I saw the truck! It was making its way slowly down my street. I lived on a dead-end avenue, so no one drove down that way unless they lived there. I ran into my bedroom and locked myself in, sobbing uncontrollably.
My mom came home about an hour later to find me crying in my room. She was completely bewildered since she had no idea what happened. I managed to get the story out. She called the police. They came and asked me all kinds of questions. I told them everything I could. They wrote it all down in their notebooks and left.
I never did find out if anything became of my story to the police. I also never saw that truck again. Anywhere. What I do know is for many years afterwards, I refused to go anywhere by myself. I am now in my late thirties. If I am out walking down the street on the sidewalk, I still cringe a little when I hear a car drive past me too close.