Once Upon an Autumn Night

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Winston Churchill once said, “Danger- if you meet it promptly and without flinching- you will reduce the danger by half. Never run from anything. Never!” That’s great and all, but what if your only choice is to run? I had never been a huge fan of running. I mean, if I was forced to for gym class then I would, but never just for kicks. Running and I never got along until that night, until the night running was the only choice I had. The sun was gone and the moon watched down on Haley and me as we laughed and joked on the way to her house for dinner. It was already long passed dusk, but the night was nowhere near over.

I felt my body shivering as I shuffled down the street, but ignored the convulsions as I was too busy laughing to pay them any attention. Being a thirteen year old girl, I hadn’t taken the time to care about grabbing a jacket. Leaves covered the ground and I heard their crackles as we stepped on them. The warmth of Haley’s house was pulling us forward, ready to welcome us in from the bitter autumn night, thought we knew we would only be there for a short time. We finally arrived, making it in time to eat. Haley and I ate quickly in hopes of returning to our friend Cory’s house before it became too late. When we had finished eating, we told Haley’s mom, Mama Robbyn as I call her, goodbye and where we were going, but she stopped us on the way out the door.

“Here,” she called from the other room. “Take this with you.” Mama Robbyn handed Haley a flashlight.

“Why do we need this?” Haley questioned.

“Because it’s getting dark out and I want you to be safe.”

“Let’s just take it with us.” I interrupted Haley as she was about to start a debate with her mom. “Thanks for dinner Mama Robbyn, see you later!” Finally, we were out the door and on our way back to Cory’s.

The darkness enveloped us as we started our walk down the deserted street. It somehow managed to get colder from the last time we were outside, the air biting at my skin. The wind sang and the trees danced along with it. Streetlights cast shadows on the ground as we walked. Everything was so peaceful until a single car drove down the street coming towards us. Haley and I were walking down the right side of the street with an entire lane separating us from the lone white car. Slowly, the car pulled over across the street and the doors started opening. The man in the driver’s seat looked as though he were going to get out of the car, but only sat there with one leg out the door watching us.

“What do we do?” Haley whispered, asking for an answer she knew I couldn’t give her.

“Where’s that flashlight? Shine it towards the car!” I demanded.

“I left it on the table by the door at my house!”

“That’s a great place for it! There’s only one thing to do then, run!”

“What?” Haley hissed, looking confused.

“Run!” I yelled as I took off down the street as fast as I could. Thump, eeek! The car sped off away from us. We stopped running and nearly collapsed on the side of the road, hearts pounding and minds racing.

The next few moments felt like a million years, though we kept moving; we were too afraid to stop. The street returned to its quiet, empty state, but it was now more terrifying than peaceful. My heart was pounding and my breathing was heavy. Thought after thought raced through my mind, being calm was not an option.

Where is that light coming from? I asked myself as shadows suddenly appeared in front of us with no streetlight in sight. My head slowly turned, inch by inch, to peer over my shoulder. Behind me I saw the lone white car creeping up on us. We were about twenty feet from our turn, and then Cory’s was only four houses in. I started sprinting, still watching over my shoulder.

“Why are you running?” Haley yelled before looking behind her to see the car. “Oh my God!” We reached the corner and kept going as fast as possible. I saw the car stop at the corner and the doors open; I came to a dead stop. I couldn’t run anymore, I was ready to give up. Two men got out of the car, but stood behind their doors staring at me. “Don’t stop running!” Haley screamed at me and grabbed my wrist forcing me to go with her. The pull became stronger as I gave in, turned back around, and continued running. I don’t really know what happened to the car after that, I was too afraid to look. The only thing I know is it was still sitting at the corner as we climbed the steps to Cory’s house and went in. That’s the last I saw of the lone, white car.

Before that night, I was completely carefree. I never thought anything like that could happen to me in my safe, little town. Now, I’ve realized that no matter where you are, there is always the possibility of something happening. This experience brought out a part of me I never knew existed. I have a part of me somewhere that when I get scared entirely shuts down and makes me give up all hope. I am now, and have a feeling always will be, afraid to walk alone outside in the dark. Because of this experience, I have learned to be much more careful and aware of my surroundings.





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