In the history of stupid decisions I’ve made, walking the two and a half miles to my friend’s house at 1 a.m. with no cell phone because the car wasn’t working…well, that probably takes the cake.
My hubby was working and my kids were at my sister’s house for the night. I called him to let him know I was walking to Kelso and that I’d give him another call when I reached the apartment; he didn’t like the idea at all, but he knows he can’t dissuade me when I’ve made up my mind on something like that, so he sighed and asked that I please, please be safe.
It was darker than dark outside. I only had a flashlight to light the way, and that really wasn’t much good, especially because there were no streetlights the way I take to my friend’s. I shone it in patterns to keep myself distracted.
When I reached the house with the dogs, I prepared myself to jump, because they bark every time I pass and it inevitably scares me. I was braced the entire time I walked past, but there was not a sound from the dogs. That made me frown.
Right as I reached the end of the dogs’ fence, I heard a strange set of noises behind me. It made me shudder and want to turn the flashlight on whatever was potentially stalking me, but then again — I didn’t really want to see what it was.
After a few steps, the noises became more distinct. They sounded like the moaning of someone in great pain. I kept walking, faster and faster, until I looked like a goofy speedwalker.
I didn’t get far, because the moaning grew louder and louder, and I finally had to turn and look. I wish I hadn’t.
There was someone on the ground, skittering along spider-like, crawling only on its hands. There was no lower half of a body, just the upper half, a head and a chest and a little bit of sides. It was moaning and shuffling forward after me.
I stood frozen for a split second, but then I turned and ran.
The thing let out a blood-curdling, hair-raising scream and I heard it pick up its speed, galloping along impossible fast on its hand-feet. I had never run so fast in my life, not even in all my days on the track team at school.
I was practically swallowing my heart every other beat. I tried to break through the fog of terror to think rationally. I realized I was just four blocks away from my house, so I bolted for four blocks, and still the thing was following me, screeching and sobbing.
I rounded the corner, and it was still giving chase, cutting in on my path towards the house. The corner store was just a few blocks away, enough of an opposite direction from the creature that I could reach it without being intercepted. I made a beeline towards the store, my breath ragged in my throat.
When I reached the store, I caught my breath and went in. The pay phone was in the back; I ripped it off the hook and jammed a quarter into the slot. My friend picked up, sounding a little sleepy.
“I need a ride,” I said without introduction. “Something’s chasing me. I can’t walk anymore.”
My friend was dead silent for a moment while I panted in her ear.
“Hold on a minute,” she said, and she put me on hold.
I stood in the bad lighting of the corner store, with the screams of the hands-walker echoing in my mind. Finally, my friend clicked back on the line. “Jason’s coming to pick you up,” she said.
I breathed my relieved thanks and hung up, cowering in the corner until I saw the blue truck pull into the parking lot. I practically dove into the front seat and kicked the car like it was a horse. “Drive, Jason!”
I looked in the side view mirror. The thing was there, still galloping towards us, and now it looked pissed. Really pissed.
“J-Jason,” I said, and pointed with a trembling hand to the mirror.
He nodded tightly. “Hang on,” he said.
He floored it. The truck lurched forward, and I gripped the oh-shit handle for dear life, my eyes glued to the mirror. As we went faster and faster, the thing went slower and slower until finally, mercifully, it vanished over the crest of a hill.
I slumped into the seat and found my even breathing again.
I never look back if I hear anything when I’m strolling by myself — which I do only when I must. I just keep walking.