In a way, I did the world a favor.
Let me tell you a story about something that happened twenty years ago. When I
attended a private school up north in the state of Maine. Situated between two
large pine forests, it gave the school a run-down, eerie feeling to it. There
were no buildings located within eyesight of the campus.
house was located a few miles away from the school. I was lucky enough to have
both my parents, but we were poor. I told my classmates that both my parents’
measly salaries were not enough to afford a car.
walked to school every day. And, just like that, every morning I began my three
mile trek across the frigid northern air, across the complex maze of gravel
paths that connected the entire rural area. Unlike most of the 11 year old
children attending my school, I knew the entire map like the inside of our parent’s
car. That is to say, the only path I knew was to school and back.
proved detrimental when winter came.
schooldays ends at 6:00 pm. I know, it’s downright outrageous for a child to
attend school for 10 hours. But this school was my only option.
school was let out, nightfall had already engulfed the pine forests.
darkness. That was the worst part of it. It swallowed reality as the tree
trunks were enveloped with a thick layer of tar-black nothingness. The
occasional sound emanated from somewhere deep within the darkness as the
northern winds let out a guttural moan as it blew across the barren branches of
was still forced to walk home.
gravel paths were next to invisible. Strange shadows cast across the paths,
plastered on the gravel from moonlight. The subzero temperatures and
overwhelming darkness made navigation next to impossible.
winter night, I made a wrong turn. I had been walking for at least 30 minutes
now, and at this point I could not see any recognizable features of the
familiar path I had walked hundreds of times before. Panic had not yet set in,
as I aimlessly wandered the dim, moonlit path, hoping to run into someone who
could take me home.
had not been another 20 minutes until I saw it. A van, parked almost inside the
woods, with a man dressed in a suit as dark as the surrounding woods standing
next to it, almost creating the illusion that he was but a floating head. My
parents had always told me that strange people lived in these woods. I’ve rarely
ever had contact with any of them, so I wouldn’t know about strange.
was waving at me, gesturing for me to come closer. I thought about how he would
be able to drive home with me, so I walked towards him.
I approached him, I saw through the darkness that he was a man, aged around
forty. His van was colored a shaded white, as if it had been used for decades.
He had a smile on his face, but even at the mere age of eleven I could almost
tell that the smile was dishonest. His facial features were rough, with a
trimmed beard and greased hair.
pupils were dilated. There were dilated to the point where I could easily see
them underneath the dim moonlight. A sign of pure lust.
began to talk. His voice was quiet and soothing, and eleven year old me listened
little boy. Where are your parents? Someone like you shouldn’t be wandering
around when it is this dark outside.”
responded, “I think I might’ve taken a wrong turn thirty minutes back. I want
to go home.”
why don’t you call your parents?” he said. “Are your parents home? If not I can
give you a ride in my van”.
they aren’t home. I think they said they are busy doing work stuff at the
office”, I said. “It’s just my brother at home alone. He’s 6, so he can’t
soon as he heard that my brother was home alone, I saw his right arm flex,
making a fist. He exhaled deeply, and I saw the cloud of misty air puff out of
his mouth in the freezing Maine air. As soon as he did this, I saw the shining
gleam of a knife blade in his sleeve.
did not run away. I didn’t even call for help. I gave him my address and got in
his van. When I looked into the back trunk, I saw deep scratch marks and rope,
as if he intentionally tries to ruin his van. A small blood stain located on
one of the corners of the van gleamed in the light of the van’s inside glow.
this point, even the most naïve of children would have taken a hint. But I
didn’t. I sat calmly in the back of his van as he drove towards my house.
thought about how big and strong the man was. His flexing arm in frigid woods
back where I found him. I saw his face in the rear-view mirror, and I caught a
glimpse of a sneer. Such a nice man. So much muscle and fat, matured to the age
of forty. He could have easily killed me. I saw how tightly he grasped the
steering wheel, as he pulled up to the front of my house.
stepped out, and I saw how thick his thigh was. Rippling flesh tethered to
immensely strong bones. I saw that my parents had parked inside their garage
today, both of their cars hidden from sight. Thank god. Being an only child
meant my parents rarely ever left the house, which made it even easier for me.
parents did not have a job. They’ve taught me that the only necessary thing
that people earn money for is food. Everything else is unnecessary. Cars and
bikes can be stolen. Houses can be displaced of their previous owners.
food? My parents didn’t need money for that either. Food was walking up to my
front porch, getting ready to kick the door down with his meaty leg, where my
parents waited inside with a rifle.
So I guess strange people really did
live in those woods.