***Disclaimer: Some of the story carry triggering elements for individuals that may have suffered from similar or worse circumstance. Please be advised.***
It was just another morning where I had to walk myself to the bus stop several blocks away to attend school. The autumn air is brisk this morning, which is an indicator that winter is right around the corner, and the birds fill the air with song as they chirp with purpose. The crunching sound beneath my feet echoes as I walk along the sidewalk filled with colorful leaves that have recently fallen from the surrounding trees. There is not a soul in sight, but can hear the sound of a car door being slammed occasionally in the distance.
Mornings like this are the most peaceful when you are the only one out. It gives me time to clear my head, and prepare for the day ahead. Some say it is dangerous for a girl like me to be walking out this early in the dark while alone, but it is something I have grown accustomed. My mother had other children to tend to in the mornings or occasionally had to work, so it was up to me to find my way to school. It was never a problem for me. Not until he showed up.
The walk to the bus stop was a brisk one. The cool air motivated me to move a little faster to catch an earlier bus; although, it would be the most crowded one. I got to the bus stop a little sooner than I would like with about ten minutes left until the bus showed. I stared up as I watched the sun slowly kiss the night’s sky. Hues of blue, red, and yellow dance across the sky as dawn quickly approaches. Then I hear a car.
In my right peripheral, I notice a white car, small in stature slowly making its way up the street heading towards me. I immediately look around to see if there was anyone else in sight…there is not. My anxiety rises as I watch the car move in closer to the bus stop in what seemed like slow motion. My instincts tell me to get ready to run, and my body tenses up as I search for the bus while keeping the car in sight. It stops right in front of me, and the driver’s seat window lowers. Dread fills me as I stare into the soulless eyes of a man within his forties.
He asks me if I need a ride to school, all while eyeing me as if I was a piece of meat. That predatory look is something I have always been able to recognize throughout the beginning of my puberty. I was taller than most girls, which made me look older than most. Men, especially older men, always took a liking to me whether they knew my age or not. He carried the same look in his eye as the same man who molested me when I was eight years old. From that day forward, I knew to avoid those who had the same glint in their eye.
I responded that I was ok, and that I did not need a ride. He insisted that I get in, and he would take me to my destination, but I knew better than that. His persistence frightened me. Most of the predators I have encountered on my peaceful morning walks to the bus stop have always pulled off after a firm no escaped my lips, but not today. Something about the look in his eyes, and the anger on his face had prompted me to run. He again insisted that I get into the car, and proceeded to open his door to step out.
With no hesitation, I took off in the opposite direction his car was facing in case he decided to chase me down with his car. It would not be the first time a grown man have followed me in a car. My legs took me home as fast as I could without looking back. My ears were listening out for the sound of his car or the sound of feet beating against the pavement, but there were the sounds of only mine. Panic coursed through me as I exerted every ounce of breath it took for me to make it home.
It was only when I got to my front porch that I realized my mistake. He would know where I lived now if he did indeed followed me. Frantically, I searched up and down my street, but there was nothing. Not one person or moving car in sight. After going inside, I quickly locked the door and slid to the floor. Tears poured from me as I cursed the day I was born a girl. Always dealing with predators of all shapes, sizes, and ages on a daily basis can become too much for any individual. When will I have to stop running? Will I ever feel safe? Why couldn’t I be less appealing? No matter the questions, the answer is always the same. This is how life is. It can be cruel with cruel individuals. That made me want to cry more.
Yet, I still stood up, walked to my mother’s room after drying my tears to come up with a lie just to get a ride to school. It was also the last day I ever took a peaceful morning walk to the bus stop just to get to school.
Image: From an article by LumberDad
This is based on a true story that not only has happened to me, but happens to so many of us at some point in our life time. Not just women, and not just young girls and boys. Lately, a lot of the past memories that I’ve tried to bury or not think about have been resurfacing. The only thing I can do to release the torment and anxiety these memories cause is to write and talk about them. Thanks for reading, and stopping by!
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