Short Stories - non fiction

A Walk in the Dark

How could this be happening again? Am I going to live to see another day? Or will I be raped and left for dead? These are the thoughts that ran through my head that summer night in Magog, Quebec. 

I was invited up to my friend Lynne’s cottage for a weekend that summer. We were 14 years old, and always looking for an adventure. 

Lynne was and still is one of my very best friends. She is smart, funny, and an absolute hoot to hang out with. I met her when I was 10, in grade four. That was 44 years ago. She is someone whose company I adore, and I was thrilled to be invited to the cottage.

On that trip, one night we decided to take a walk to the local convenience store. We had been there by boat during the day, and it wasn’t far at all. However, as luck would have it, by foot, it was really quite a long walk.

We left the house right after dinner, and thought we’d be back by 8pm or so, depending upon what fun there was to be had. Who is kidding who? We hoped that we would find some boys our age to hang out with. So we walked, and walked and walked. I would say that we probably walked for about 45 minutes, or maybe even an hour, until we reached our destination. By the time we got to the store, it was closed. 

It was pitch dark outside, and bats were flying overhead. Darker than I can ever remember. We did not have a flashlight. We were, however, both wearing yellow football jackets with reflective stripes on the sleeves. As it turned out, we both had older brothers who played football for the Cedar Park Panthers and they let us wear their jackets. We felt super cool wearing them. 

Beside the store, there was some sort of a chalet with restrooms, so we decided to make a pitstop before venturing home. The trip was a complete waste of time, and it was disappointing. Where was everyone? Of course, truthfully the teenage mind can create some rather unrealistic expectations. But this was far less exciting than we expected, and very disappointing.

As we left the chalet, we noticed two older boys or young men sitting by a picnic table. They had a motor cycle parked in front of them. and that’s when it started. The cat calling. As soon as they spotted us, they started to try to get our attention, but it was in a creepy sort of a way that immediately felt wrong.

Our spidey senses were tingling. This was less than good. This was a disaster. We had a good 45 minute walk ahead of us, no flashlight, and back then cell phones did not even exist, so there was no way to call for a drive home. Plus, at the time, we likely wouldn’t have asked for a drive because we would have expected to be not very well received. So….we….just….walked.

But the calling out from the losers didn’t stop. And it was creepy. And it was scary. So we walked faster. We headed down the dirt road, it was as dark and erie as could be. But we were making some headway, and most importantly, we were putting some distance between ourselves and the creeps. We’ll be okay we thought. 

Suddenly, to make matters worse, we heard the sound of the motorcycle engine revving. We did what we had to do to save ourselves, we literally dove into the woods, and we hid behind the trees. we were shaking like leaves. Trembling with fear. But the two men zoomed past us, we were okay, we were going to be fine. Thank God!

We waited until the sound of the motor was off in the distance before we crawled out of the woods and got back on our way to the cottage. That was a close call, but it’s over, let’s go home.

Moments later, to our horror, we heard the motor again. Holy crap! They hadn’t given up on us, this time they came back, and were going to find us. Again, we dove into the woods. I recall that this time Lynne landed in a prickly bush. Damn these reflective stripes on our sleeves! Each of us trembled with fear. I honestly didn’t think that we were going to live to see another day, I had never been so scared in all of my life, and I don’t believe I have been that scared since. 

The creeps weren’t giving up easy. This time they turned the light from their bike and shone it into the woods. We remained hidden, for a very long time. They tried to find us, but we did our best to remain stealth, and we tried our best to hide the reflective stripes for surely if their light caught our sleeves we’d be goners.

Eventually they gave up and drove away. 

We waited until the buzzing sound of the motor was in the distance, and we eventually had the courage to continue on the journey home.
Every sound we heard was cause for a stop and a listen, is that them? No? Okay, let’s keep going.

We arrived back at the cottage, exhausted, shaken up, but happy to be alive. Grateful for the security of home. Grateful to be alive. 

Who those creeps were, why they came after us, and had they harmed anyone? That remains a mystery.

  “I am not going to die, I am going home like a shooting star.” Sojourner Truth

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