The month of October is one of my favorite months of the year. The smell in the air becomes crisp. Apple cider and pumpkins in abundance. And a whole month where I can binge on horror movies that I love without being looked at weird or people wondering if something is wrong with me. So I figured that for this month I would give a scary/creepy story each week. Nothing gruesome I promise but all these stories will have something in common...they are all true and have happened to me. Enjoy if you dare...bwahahaha!!
The year is 1994 and it's around October or November. I can't remember exactly what month. But I was in 8th grade and still at the age of 13 years. That fall I had recently returned to public school after spending my 7th grade year at Arlington Christian Academy. Even though I loved private school the previous year; the principle had been replaced my 8th grade year with a principle from a public school. A lot of what made private school great quickly began to change to where us, the students felt the school work and traditions were being changed for the worst, and the parents were not happy to be paying tuition for their children to be receiving public school level education as well as removing a lot of the Christian values from the curriculum and views that they were sending us there in the first place for. So I returned to public school and attended Barnett Junior High. I remember being so anxious my first day about whether I would fit in. It didn't click that I was only gone from public school one year and that I was about to be around all of my old friends and classmates that I had gone through elementary school with. By lunch time I had reconnected with so many of my old friends that it was as if I had never been gone. And by the end of the month I had already been asked to join the student council, the varsity acapella choir singers group, and to be a soloist to represent our school at UIL. Since the school was just a few blocks away from my house in my neighborhood it gave me the ability to be a part of all the extracurricular activities I wanted to be a part of because it was always a quick drop off/pickup for my parents. I was on cloud nine and was jumping out of bed in the morning with excitement to get to school. But it wasn't going to be too long before that was about to change....
This is the mid-nineties. The age of The Simpson's, Nintendo, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, riding bikes till the street lights came on, and board games were still pretty cool. My next door neighbor and I were playing Felix The Cat, my new video game. I was going to be having a sleepover at her house that night but we were not ready to give up on the game yet. Remember this is back before you could save your game and come back later to pick up where you left off. If you didn't wish to lose your game you had to either keep playing or leave the player running on pause till you came back. So she and I had decided that once we had finished our lives if we hadn't beaten the game we would stop and pack up my overnight bag to begin the sleepover at her house.
Now, many things were out of the norm on this evening and to this day I still find it crazy to think how meticulous I was about stuff but how in one day I forgot to do so many things. And I wonder if things may not have happened as they did if I had remembered to take care of all the items I normally did. Maybe if I had I wouldn't still have anxiety and fear on those occasions when I am alone at night.
My friend and I had started playing the video game before the sun had set. Now my bedroom faced the front of the house into the front yard. I had three long rectangular windows that ran across the wall and then just enough wall space for the headboard of my canopy twin bed to sit against without blocking a window. I hated the sound of my headboard knocking the wall when I would get into bed or sit on it so I had recently pulled my bed forward about four or five inches so that it no longer touched the wall and there was a gap where I usually stored my rolled up posters. Oh yeah, this was also the era when it was still big to have posters on your wall too. Each day when it would start to become dusk outside I would close my blinds because I always found it creepy if anyone could see into my room from outside. Especially when I could not see them looking in because we all know that once it is brighter inside than outside you can't see anything out there, but out there can see everything inside. Unfortunately, due to the mesmerizing and entrancing effect that the video game was having on me I did not remember to get up and close my blinds as it got dark. So it became pitch black outside and with our backs to the windows, engrossed in felix the cat, my room was lit up for all who passed outside to see my whole room and us. At some point we heard this hollow slightly soft knock, as if someone was tapping on one of the windows, and we turned around to look. Of course we could see nothing but our own reflections bouncing off the glass as it was completely black outside. After looking for a few seconds and asking the other if they heard the same knock but seeing nothing we turned back to the game. Not sure how much time went by before we heard it again but this time we were sure we both heard it. This time I got up and walked to the middle window and look out but could only see my grass that was lit up by the streetlamp a few houses down. Once I was sure nothing was there I closed all three of the blinds and we went back to playing our game. Not too long after that the knocks came again but this time they were louder, more distinct, and came with an exaggerated pause between the knocks. By this time we were totally getting freaked out. Being young girls we ran to the living room to tell my parents what we heard. My father of course believed we were being dramatic and that we were fine. We went back to my room but did not feel at ease but thought maybe it was the boys on our street messing with us. So we decided to open the blinds back up and try to catch them. While I stood up against the wall behind my headboard by the far right window, my friend stood against the wall on the far left side. We decided we would wait to hear the knocking again and then jump out in front of the two outside windows to catch the boys in the act.
I remember us looking at each other across the room and trying to hold our laughs in as we waited. I don't remember it taking too long but we heard one, strong, definitive, knock. We both jumped out to face our window. I was frozen. I could barely breathe. As I stood facing my window I was faced with the shadowed outline of an adult. I could tell by the shape of the black silhouette that it was a male. At first I don't think I heard my friend speaking. The shadow did not move and I could not see any distinct features because of the light on in my room that kept that from being possible. I very carefully and quietly without moving my lips told her to go get my dad. I could hear her take off from the room and yell out to my parents that someone was outside my bedroom window. At that same time I was still keeping my eyes focused completely on this figure. He slowly lifted his hand and waved at me. Then ran quickly to the side of my house between my bedroom and the neighbors home beside us. It was as if I had been under a hypnotism that suddenly was gone and my body could move again and I took off down the hall to the front of the house and to my parents. Hysterically I told my dad that a man was looking right at me, waved, and then ran to the side of our house. Reluctantly, my father got his gun that he always kept by his side on the couch and went to check around the perimeter of the house. Of course he found no one. He came into the house saying that it was probably the neighbor boys messing with us and to finish picking up the mess we had made in the study so he could watch us walk over to my friends house for the sleepover.
Still freaked out but happy not to be sleeping there that night we went to the study to clean up. Here is where another one of the unusual things that did not happen occured; I had not closed the window and blinds in the study before it got dark. This room shared a wall with my room and so it also faced the front of the house. The front yard bushes were lined in front of the windows in the study and to reach them you would have to rustle through the bushes to get to them. As we were picking up the folding chairs in the room we both heard the bushes begin to rustle. We both dropped the chairs in our hands and screaming down the hall to the living room we went again to my parents for safety. My dad beginning to get annoyed told us to stop and just put the chairs back in the garage and get going to the sleepover before he changed his mind on letting me go. Moving very quickly we took turns darting into the study to grab a chair as fast as we could. All that was left to do was to take them to the garage. Here is where the last unusual thing to occur this night that did not usually occur is that the front porch light was not on. Our front door and the door leading into the garage were diagonal to each other. My mom was always creeped out by not being able to see on the front porch after dark because it made her feel as if someone could be lurking and just waiting for someone to come out that would grab her. Even later in life when she was living in her last place she said even though the apartment was on the third floor and hard for her to climb the stairs she liked that it had a porch light right outside her front door. Funny how that memory came to me just now as I write this. I miss her so...but that's another story.
When we got to the door to the garage to put up our chairs I looked to the front door and noticed the light was off. I remember turning to my friend and saying I think I will feel better with the porch light on. We both nervously laughed and she agreed. When I flipped on the light I could see through the frosted glass of the front door a dark figure holding our screen door open and leaning into the front door as though he were getting ready to check and see if it was unlocked. We both saw this. We screamed and dropped the chairs and basically hauled ass to the living room screaming to my parents that someone was trying to open the front door. My dad was definitely annoyed but still got up and walked outside and looked around again and even yelled out a couple of times for whoever was messing with us to go home. I know he still believed it was the neighbor boys messing with us.
Nothing else happened and I spent the night at my friends house but we didn't do much sleeping. We spent most of the night freaked out either talking about what we had seen or trying not to think or talk about what we had seen. The next day and thereafter seemed to be back to normal and nothing happened...until two weeks later at 3:53am.
I will never forget the image of the electronic clock on my VCR shining 3:53am when I sat straight up in my bed at the sound of my mother's blood curdling scream. When she screamed I woke up as if I had been shot from a pistol. Heart pounding in my ears and so hard in my chest I almost couldn't breathe. I saw the clock and then she screamed again and it sounded as if she was in the motion of trying to get away from something. She then began to yell out to my father, "Get the gun! Get the gun!" At this moment I had curled myself into a ball and covered my whole self with my comforter and absolutely scared to death. Now if anyone knew my mom they knew her extreme phobia of spiders and that she would scream bloody murder at the sight of one so it's not too surprising that my father reacted a bit underwhelmingly to the situation at first. He thought she had seen a spider and I remember hearing him call out to her in a "what now" type voice, "What is it?" Then she said the words that forever changed my psyche. "There's a man in the house!" I remember trying to hold my breath when I heard her say that; thinking that maybe he won't know I'm under the covers if I don't breathe and make them move. I heard my father cocking a bullet into place and walk down the hallway to my frantic mother. She started hysterically telling him that the man went into the garage and then I heard my father kick the door with his foot and yell out to whoever was there that he had a gun. Most of the memories from there become sort of fuzzy because I was so terrified I was trying not to hear anything as though somehow that would make me safer in this situation but finally my mom came into my room turning on the light and bringing me into the living room while we waited for the police to arrive.
Once the police arrived and talked outside with my father and looked around the front yard, back yard, and the garage they came inside and we all sat on the couch while my mom told all of us what happened. My father has always been an incredibly loud snorer and still denies it to this day I'm sure that he's as bad as he really is (my husband is the same way). Our neighbors dogs had been barking a lot and woken her up. Then my father apparently proceeded to start snoring like a banshee and she could not get him to stop and couldn't get back to sleep. So she decided to get up and get the mini tape recorder from the living room and record his loud snoring to prove to him how bad it was. Now our doorknob on the door leading to the garage had recently broke and my dad had not yet replaced it so sometimes the wind that would be pushed under the garage door would blow it open a bit. We were all used to this so as she was getting the recorder and the door slowly began opening she thought nothing of it and she would close it on her way back to the bedroom. When you walk through the garage door into the house you can see straight down the hallway to the very back of the house (which is where my room was located). We had one of those galley kitchens that had a walkway into the hallway. So my mom stood at the stove light making sure she knew how to work the recorder before going back to the bedroom and operating it in the dark. She had forgotten about the door already and was turning into the hallway to go back to bed and record my father. When she looked down the hall she saw a dark figure getting ready to walk into my bedroom and that's when she screamed. The next scream that I had heard that sounded as if she was in motion was her trying to get out of the way of the dark figure running past her and back to the door to the garage. To me the creepiest part of her story was that she said he closed the door back just as slowly as he had opened it when she thought it had been the wind.
After she finished the police told us that he had taken a panel out of our garage door and climbed in. The door to one of our cars was still open but he had not taken the car which still had the keys in it or the cell phone my father had had installed either. They were able to grab a partial print but nothing very useful from the window of the passenger side door. They told us that earlier that night there had been a similar break-in of a single female and the MO seemed to point toward the 'Arlington Rapist' at that time who was stalking single females and finding out their routines then coming back and breaking in. When he said this and the fact that my mother had said he was about to step into my room
I blurted out "Remember the knocking on my window a couple of weeks ago?! The figure I told you I saw and that waved at me?!" My father brushed it off and told the police that was just neighbor boys that were messing with the girls to scare them. I will never forget how dejected I felt because I knew the silhouette I saw was too tall and too broad shouldered to be a 14 or 15 year old boy and definitely not any of the boys in our neighborhood either. They eventually caught the rapist a couple of months later.
Regardless, I never slept in my bedroom in that house again. For the next four to five months I slept on the floor on my mom's side of the bed (farthest from the door) and my father had to put a chain latch on the door in order for me to sleep at night. By April of the following year we moved to the other side of Arlington where we would live till after I graduated high school. Every moment of that night when that man, who was stalking me & learning my parents nightly
habits, stood in front of my window staring at me and waving and then hearing my mom tell how this figure was about to step into my room is forever engrained into my memory. That man had one purpose. He didn't go for the car with it's keys sitting on the dash or the cell phone which was expensive back then. He didn't want money because my mom's purse was sitting wide open on the kitchen table. He walked straight down our hallway to the very last room in the house because he knew which one was mine. And he knew what he was wanting. Me.