I was trying to escape the busy city life of Nashville; I needed some fresh air and an escape to think and breathe. I’m not used to all the city commotion; I grew up in a small town so I knew a back roads drive was exactly what I needed.
I left my friend’s apartment I was staying at and got in my car. I headed the opposite direction from the center of the city and went where the streetlights started being replaced by the stars. I eventually got on a highway that took me away.
I felt great. I felt the window blowing through my hair as the sun started to set on the warm autumn night, singing along to the radio and freeing my mind. It was exactly what I needed.
I was probably driving for about an hour or so without even realizing where I was heading, but I noticed as soon as I saw my gaslight come on that I had no idea where I was.
Shit, I thought. Where am I going to find a gas station out here?
I knew exactly what I was going to do; pull off at the closets exit. There was bound to be a gas station close to the off ramp.
By now the sun had set and the sky was black. I didn’t even realize how creepy it was until I thought of having to get out of my car and pump gas. The only other thought that was running through my head was, I hope I make it.
If I ran out of gas all the way out here I wouldn’t even know where to tell anyone I am. I barely have phone service as it is, plus there’s hardly any street signs; all I’m surrounded by is trees and eerie noises.
But after a few more minutes of driving there was finally an exit ramp, I grabbed the wheel and turned down the road.
I knew there had to be a gas station close to the ramp, there always is.
But there wasn’t.
I think I was forgetting just how far outside the city limits I was. There was nothing out here except open roads. I barely saw any houses, aside from the occasional run down farm house and abandoned trailer on the side of the road that looked like no one had lived in them for years.
I tried to push every fearful thought out of my head and stay positive as I was just eyeing for a gas station. But one mile turned to two and two turned to 10. That’s when full panic set in.
I’m not going to make it, I thought. There’s no way and if I do find one it won’t be open.
I started getting a lump in my throat, the fear kept growing inside me and I didn’t know what to do.
Then up ahead I saw a little flicker of light. My eyes widened and I saw a sign for gas.
My heart dropped and I prayed as I got closer that it would still be open. It was probably around 9:30 at this point, so it wasn’t ridiculously late, but the sun had started setting earlier than the summer nights.
I pulled up to an extremely outdated gas station; it had two pumps that you couldn’t prepay on, but I didn’t care. I walked inside and handed the man my card. He told me he had to go to the other register because that one only accepted cash. So I followed him around to the next register.
The fear I had instantly came back the longer I was in there with him. He talked slow, very slow and it wasn’t just because we were in the south. I think he could sense the impatience I had in my voice, but he didn’t hurry at all. He just started getting creepy, asking what a girl like me was doing out here in the middle of the nowhere in the dark. I think he was trying to flirt, but it made me extremely uncomfortable. He was probably in his older 40s, maybe even 50s.
My heart started racing as he started laughing, I’m guessing he could sense my fear. I grabbed my card and I headed back to my car. I pumped my gas and I felt his eyes glaring at me through the window. But I didn’t turn around. I finished pumping, jumped in my car and locked the doors as fast as possible.
I put it in drive and turned to head back down the road I came and get the hell out of these creepy backwoods. But just as I started heading down the road I stopped dead in my tracks.
There was a clown in front of my car. A fucking clown.
There is no way this can be happening, I thought. It’s not real, it’s not real, it’s not real, I repeated to myself.
But it was real. Standing right in front of my car inching closer with each step. It was standing in the middle of the road, but I was frozen. I put my car in reverse and backed up to the gas station to get the creepy man’s attention, but he was gone.
The lights inside were off and no one was there. He must have closed immediately after I pulled out, but it didn’t make sense how he could have done it so fast.
I looked forward again and the clown was still there holding a knife, waving it in the air.
Oh shit, I cringed. Why did I leave the city? Why?
I knew I was in trouble. I was alone in the middle of nowhere.
I didn’t know what to do, full panic set in. I put the car in drive and started driving for it. But the clown didn’t move. I wanted to hit him, but I was terrified to actually hit a human. I started trying to swerve around him to get through but he kept jumping from side to side not wanting me to get past him.
I didn’t care at this point, if I hit him oh well; he wasn’t playing games I could tell that now. I floored it and drove past him, I thought I had made it. I thought I was safe now, that there’d be no way he could catch me, not on foot.
But I wasn’t safe.
He jumped on the back of my Jeep when I drove past him. He was holding on to the racks on my roof and still had the knife in the other hand. I started swerving side to side like a maniac. I knew there was only a matter of miles until I reached the highway and there were bound to be other cars on the road.
I just floored it and kept swerving, but he started hacking away at the back windshield of my car. I started screaming when I heard the glass break.
This is it, I thought, this is it. I’m going to die.
He started climbing through the back of the car and I couldn’t control myself; I was hysterical. I was screaming and crying. I was begging him to stop, but he didn’t. I stopped the car and jumped out.
He wanted me dead.
I started running down the road as fast as I could hoping he wouldn’t catch me, that I could get away. But he didn’t slow down. He kept chasing me. I kicked my shoes off and kept running, my feet felt like they were bleeding from all the rocks and broken gas I’m sure I had stepped on. None of that mattered; the only thing that mattered was staying alive.
I didn’t want to run into the tree line incase a car came. I wanted be seen so I avoided the woods and kept hauling ass on the road, until I tripped.
I tumbled down and fell hard; it must have been a rock or a stick, I couldn’t tell.
I couldn’t see in the black that was surrounding me, but I knew I had to get up. I stood and started running, but the clown immediately took me back down.
I tried to fight, but his body weight held me down. I couldn’t escape and my punches didn’t even make him flinch. He told me to stop screaming because no one could hear me out here. I noticed he didn’t have the knife anymore; he must have dropped it in the car when I started running so I had hope.
But I saw him raise his fist in the air, then it all went black.