Once, when I was 5, my dad decided to buy a puppy.
He, of course, was ill-prepared for a puppy. So on the way home, he decided to swing by Walmart to pick up some puppy-supplies. My two sisters (7 and 8) and I were instructed to sit outside the Walmart with the puppy, since we obviously couldn’t bring him inside.
As we’re sitting on this bench playing with our new puppy, a man approaches us. We had received several comments from people entering and leaving the Walmart, usually remarking about what a cute puppy we had. But this man sits down on the bench next to my oldest sister, and starts talking to us.
He’s kind of strange looking. Tall, skinny, probably in his 40s. Has a short red beard, balding head. He’s asking us if this puppy is for sale. My oldest sister tells explains to him that, no, this is our new puppy. But the guy decides to continue sitting here and talking to us. At first, we just sort of assumed that he was just being friendly. But it turned weird really fast.
He then tries getting my oldest sister to go out into the parking lot with him because he has some “old puppy toys” that he wants to give to us. My sister is getting kind of scared at this point, and this creep is unrelenting. He’s insistent. My sister was the sort of child who wanted to please adults. She’s trying to be polite, saying, “Our dad is buying dog toys, but thank you.” But this guy keeps saying, “Aw, come on! It’ll just be a second.”
Finally, our dad (big scary hairy Iranian man) comes out the doors and gives this creep the glare of death. Creep immediately bolts. Cue my dad chastising us on the car ride home not to talk to strangers.
It’s about time i relate my experience from the night of July 3rd. For a little back story: in my town (as with probably every other town in America), we have a big firework show on the 4th of July. But, a couple other towns have their fireworks a day early for some reason. I should also note that my area has very dry summers, and storms are highly uncommon.
It started as a normal night at my best friend’s house. My other best friend and i were staying the night, and we were all just chilling out with some bong rips and pizza and Netflix. Around midnight, my friend Aaron started to doze off (he’s always the first to pass out). Once he’s gone, James (the one whose house we were at), looks at me and says “Wanna hit it again and go on a walk?” Of course i said yes. We used to take stoned midnight walks all the time through his neighborhood, but he had just moved, and i wanted to get to know this new one.
And so we set out around 12:30 in the morning. Immediately i knew something was amiss. There were no stars in the sky–no moon either. That’s usual. We live near the coast, so there’s always fog. But it wasn’t fog. It was too high, and we were on the top of a mountain. No these were clouds. Odd.
We hardly noticed the first few flashes. He was on his phone, and i was semi blinded by the back light. Soon, we were picking up on them.
“James, dude, did you see that?”
“Yea, was it lightning?”
“I dunno. I mean, it looks like it, but it’s coming from a concentrated point in the clouds as opposed to just the dull flash we’d normally see, you know?”
“Yea, I noticed.”
“Plus there’s no thunder.”
“Maybe it’s really far away.”
“No man, it’s been going on for like five minutes and I haven’t heard shit.”
It was kind of creeping me out, not being able to hear the thunder. But soon, i kind of just forgot about it and we kept walking and enjoying our view. After a particularly bright one, i heard a helicopter flying low to our left, which kind of worried me because the only helicopters that fly in our town are medivacs (my dad used to work for one). There were also some cracks and booms of people setting off illegal fireworks. But that was nothing compared to what happened next.
I dunno how long he had been following us before I noticed. James was checking his phone again, when i noticed our shadows cast on the trees ahead of us. The light causing this was from a rather powerful LED flashlight.
“Dude, did you see that?”
“I think someone’s following us.”
At first he didn’t believe me. He just thought it was some passerby behind us who spotted us and just moved on. But, after the flashlight was shined over us three or four more times, he believed me. We went about another half of a mile before deciding to call it a night.
Knowing we’d have to pass our follower, we crossed the street, and started heading back the way we came. After a hundred feet or so, we saw the flashlight shining from around the bend. When he came around the bend and saw us, the light went straight back to us again. As we came closer and closer, my blood started really pumping and I got really nervous. I’m sure James felt it too, but we both just kept our eyes forward. When we were about even with him, i made sure to shoot him a quick glare from my peripherals. We were prepared to bolt, but everything ended uneventfully.
Maybe a mile back to his house, the lightning started picking up again. Still with no sound, still eerie. I pulled my phone out to check the time and to make sure i still had battery. It was around 1:15 now. I put my phone away and looked up at James, who was still on his phone. And that’s when my blood chilled. The flashlight was back, shining our shadows on the trees ahead of us.
“The light’s back…”
He was silent for about a minute after that. I whispered his name a few more times, not sure if he heard me. I quickly realized he’d heard me perfectly fine. By now, the flashlight wasn’t just glancing around like it usually had been. It was fixed on us, only leaving us when we went around another bend. It took me a couple seconds to realize James was in a full sprint, seizing this temporary moment to escape. I quickly followed suit, and we didn’t slow down for the entire quarter of a mile back to his house. Thankfully we did not spot the flashlight the rest of the way home.
Finally able to breathe a sigh of relief, we decided to smoke a joint calm our nerves before going to bed. I don’t know what we were thinking when we went out to smoke on his balcony overlooking the street. About halfway through smoking, we saw it again. I think he saw it the same time I did, because he looked at me with horrified eyes for a split second before putting out the joint and ducking below the railing. Thankfully, his railing is solid wood, so there’s no way we were visible.
We waited there, terrified as we heard the footsteps in the street. The flashlight even glanced over his house and onto the next a couple times. We waited until the footsteps were well out of earshot before going inside to finish our joint in his room.
I used to live in a one bedroom house alone, in a neighborhood that wasn’t the best but wasn’t the worst. I was watching a movie one night and started falling asleep on my couch. I heard my wooden front porch creak and looked out the window expecting to see a raccoon or possum. Oh no. Turned out to be a tall man, dressed in black with his hood pulled up over his head.
Flicked all the lights on, screamed, called the police. They couldn’t find anyone in the area. Cops said he was probably watching me for awhile, since I’m blonde and living alone. Landlord let me break my lease and I moved out the next day.
Thank God for lifetime movies keeping me awake, who knows what would have happened if I would have been asleep in bed.